“The Last Thing He Told Me” is centered around the stepmother-stepdaughter duo of Hannah and Bailey. The first episode of this seven-part miniseries opens with Hannah crushing her phone in the bathroom of a hotel and longingly looking at the cracked image of her with a man. That’s Owen, Hannah’s husband and Bailey’s biological father. After snapping out of it, Hannah rushes out to get Bailey. But she’s nowhere to be found. And since Hannah has already broken her phone, she can’t use it to get in touch with Bailey, thereby putting her in this difficult position where she doesn’t know if she should look for her stepdaughter on the streets or hope that she’s going to come back to the hotel. When Hannah does return to her room, she sees some anonymous individual standing there, which shocks her. That’s when the narrative jumps back in time by four days, and we begin building up to this tantalizing moment.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Hannah Finds Out Something Is Wrong At The Shop
Hannah is an expert at woodturning, a skill that she has picked up from her grandfather, while Owen is the most important coder at a tech company called The Shop. Their 14-month anniversary is coming up, thereby telling us that they’ve been married to each other for over a year. They live in the floating city of Sausalito, California. Bailey has a good relationship with Owen, but she isn’t fond of Hannah. In addition to all that, while taking a walk back to their home, we see that the couple is being watched by a bald-headed guy. However, since none of them notice him, they don’t make a big deal out of it.
The following day, Owen leaves to drop off Bailey at school while Hannah goes about her day. She does get a weird call asking for Michael. Since it cuts off unceremoniously, she doesn’t think too much about it. We get some exposition in the form of Hannah’s telephonic conversation with Jules, who is revealed to be Hannah’s old friend and a journalist. And Jules is apparently in a relationship with Max, who works at the San Francisco Chronicle with her. Anyway, after all this dilly-dallying, the plot finally kicks into high gear as Hannah receives a note from Owen via a student at Bailey’s school with the title of the episode “Protect Her” written in it. Unable to make head or tail of the situation, Hannah rushes to Owen’s workplace and sees that it’s swarming with the FBI.
Jules Tells Hannah the Hard Truth
Since Owen is nowhere to be found, Hannah rushes to Bailey’s school to get her. While watching her sing, I think Hannah has this brief moment of realization that this girl, who dislikes her anyway, is going to be stuck with her for the foreseeable future if she doesn’t get her father back. Bailey is obviously oblivious to the fact that The Shop’s head, Avett, has been accused of embezzlement and is busy hanging around with her boyfriend, Bobby. Since Hannah knows Bailey is fooling around, she tells her to come to the parking lot ASAP, and Bailey obliges. But before going to her, she opens her school locker and finds a duffel bag in there.
When Bailey eventually gets to Hannah, she appears frazzled because the duffel bag is full of cash, and a note from Owen which states that he can’t help her make sense of the situation. However, he wants Bailey to know that she means everything to him, which is why he has left all that money for her. Well, at least that’s more descriptive than the note for Hannah. Thankfully, Jules arrives at Hannah’s house to fill her in on all the details regarding The Shop’s fraudulent functioning and how Owen’s involvement in it can be the reason for his disappearance. That said, Hannah isn’t ready to believe that’s what has caused Owen to go on the run because she feels she knows Owen better than anyone else in the world.
Why Is the U.S. Marshall Grady at Hannah’s Doorstep?
As Hannah bids goodbye to Jules and Bailey says goodbye to Bobby (who, BTW, has cast doubt on Hannah’s involvement in Owen’s disappearance), we learn that this is not the first time that Hannah has been abandoned. At a young age, Hannah’s mother left her, and it was her grandfather who took care of her. Hence, his picture is there in the feature article on Hannah’s woodturning business. Since Bailey is the same age as Hannah when her mother left her, she feels that she has to be as dependable as her grandfather. However, she thinks that Bailey’s situation is totally different, and Hannah’s grandfather’s tactics aren’t going to work this time. As Jules leaves, we again see someone keeping an eye on Hannah.
After retiring to her balcony or porch, Hannah starts to piece together her memories of Owen and remembers that he said that the one thing that defines him is his unwavering love for Bailey. It confuses her because how can a father who advertises his love for his daughter so much just drop everything and vanish? She doesn’t get a lot of time to process this revelation because she sees the bald-headed guy from earlier at her doorstep, who walks away as soon as he understands that he has been spotted.
The following day, Hannah tries to comfort Bailey, but she’s not in the mood for that because she’s convinced that her stepmother isn’t telling her everything. She comes off as the annoying teenager that she is. But it’s not entirely her fault, as it’s not that easy to accept a stranger as the replacement for your biological mother. That said, she has been purposefully written this way so that you feel that she’s excessively annoying. By the time you get to the end of the show, and she starts to become more reasonable, you’ll warm up to her. Nothing has changed in the way teenagers are written. It’s all predictable.
Coming back to the plot, U.S. Marshall Grady Bradford shows up at Hannah’s doorstep with a cup of oat milk just the way she likes it, which is highly suspicious. Grady does say that he wants to protect Owen, but Hannah isn’t ready to believe that. Like any normal human being, she thinks that Grady is trying to get any piece of information on Owen so that he can nab him. Realizing how this all looks, Grady leaves while giving his number to Hannah and telling her to contact him if Owen gets in touch via a burner phone. Then Grady says something ominous, i.e., that Owen isn’t the person that Hannah thinks he is. Now, that can be a hint towards his involvement with the company or something from Owen’s past, which Grady clearly knows about. If the latter case is true, maybe he’s the only person who can get Hannah and Bailey through this whole mess.