REVIEW: ‘One of Us Is Lying’ Season 1 Delivers an Enjoyable Season

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One of Us Is Lying - But Why Tho

One of Us Is Lying, a Peacock original show, aired its first season in October 2021. The show is an adaptation of Karen M. McManus‘ novel of the same name. The first season follows four high school students who are under investigation after one of their classmates, Simon (Mark McKenna), is murdered while they’re all in detention together. Simon was known because of his gossip blog, About That, where he would expose his classmates’ secrets. Even after Simon’s murder, someone continues to post on the gossip blog that targets the 4 teens under investigation who all have secrets.

Addy (Annalisa Cochrane) is one of the most popular girls in school but cheated on her boyfriend. Cooper (Chibuikem Uche) is working towards his dream of playing professional baseball but worries about being outed as gay. Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada) is on track for early acceptance into Yale but is worried about her family finding out that she cheated on one of her exams. Nate (Cooper van Grootel) is under probation for selling drugs but worries that others will find out that he’s still doing this. With all these secrets, the investigation and gossip slowly controls their lives as they try and find out who killed Simon.

One of the most surprising elements from One Of Us Is Lying season 1 was the overall development that the central characters went through. From the start of the season, it’s clear as to the category that these 4 high school students fall under. By the end of the season, however, their journey and the choices they make completely changed them. Certain episodes emphasize on one character and the way they deal with the secret they’re trying to hide. The lengths they all go through to hide their secrets was surprising. There’s also the toll that the investigation took on them while also trying to keep everything hidden. Throughout the season, there are moments that will surely make audiences hate and root for the characters based on their actions and the effects of their secrets.

While One Of Us Is Lying season 1 focuses on Simon’s death and how it affects the 4 students that were with him in detention, two other characters play important roles in the story. Janae (Jessica McLeod), Simon’s best friend, conducts her own investigation. Her conflicted friendship with Simon and his gossip blog begin to weigh on her and dictate her actions throughout the season. She has secrets of her own that immediately make her a suspect. Maeve (Melissa Collazo), Bronwyn’s younger sister, has a connection to both Simon and Janae. Starting off as a background character, she quickly becomes an integral part of looking for Simon’s killer. The anger she has towards her sister and her mysterious connection to Simon make become motivations for her actions.

While Simon died in the pilot episode, the effect that his character has throughout the first season of One Of Us Is Lying is immense. The show tries to make his character incredibly unlikeable from the first few minutes of his introduction. This never changes, especially when the origins of his gossip blog are revealed. There are moments that attempt to explain his actions in creating and using his gossip blog, but they’re never enough to justify anything. McKenna’s mannerisms and overall portrayal was an added bonus that made his character completely unlikeable. While no update on a second season has been made, if the show continues, there should be more emphasis in establishing more on what lead Simon to create the blog. The explanation that was given is just too simple and lacks any originality from other media like this show. The outcast kid getting back at those who ridiculed him is a rather lazy motivation for what transpired and the effect it had on the entire student body.

Episodes of One Of Us Is Lying season 1 were released in different increments throughout three weeks. A total of 3 episodes were released during the first week of October, followed by 3 more episodes the following week, and the final 2 after that. Some streaming sites tend to release full seasons when they’re set to air while others follow the more traditional way and release a new episode every week. In terms of the way in which episodes of One Of Us Is Lying were released, it disrupted the narrative flow. With having to focus on various characters and plot points, all while telling the story in present time and flashbacks, having to wait another week for three new episodes takes away from the thrill of a mystery. With a mystery that has multiple levels and affects a lot of people, releasing the entire season in a day could just completely take away the feeling of suspense altogether. Releasing an episode weekly adds suspense to a greater extent by making the audience wait for what comes next. That would have made the overall mystery of the show and seeing who the central characters really are much more enjoyable.

Overall, One Of Us Is Lying delivers and enjoyable season with complex main characters, surprising supporting characters, and the focus that it puts on a focal character even after he dies. The way in which multiple stories come together around the theme of secrets is impressive to watch. However, releasing the episodes would have added a bigger level of suspense. As the season progresses, each character and their actions will surely leave fans guessing what’s true and who has been lying this entire time.

One Of Us Is Lying season 1 is streaming now, exclusively on Peacock.

Rating: 8/10

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