‘Tell Me Lies’ Ending Explained: Breaking Down the Biggest Twists of the Season 1 Finale
If you’re still recovering from this shock tell me lies final, welcome to the club.
Adapted for Hulu by Meaghan Oppenheimer and based on Carola Lovering’s 2018 bestselling novel, tell me lies follows a toxic relationship between Lucy Albright (Grace Van Patten) and Stephen DeMarco (Jackson White) for eight years. Season 1 consists of 10 episodes and is packed with lies, romance, college drama, and a major time jump.
Episode 10, « Our Friends’ Rooms, » ends on an unexpected cliffhanger and is full of jaw-dropping revelations. You might need a detailed final rundown, so read on for Decider’s breakdown of the tell me lies end.
Be warned, major tell me lies spoilers are ahead.
What is tell me lies About? tell me lies Plot Summary:
As indicated, tell me lies primarily focuses on the toxic romance between college students Stephen and Lucy. But it also follows their complex family life and relationships with their friends. After Lucy’s freshman roommate Macy (Lily McInerny) tragically dies during welcome week, she and her friends Pippa (Sonia Mena) and Bree (Catherine Missal), along with Stephen and his pals Wrigley (Spencer House), Evan (Branden Cook) and Drew (Benjamin Wadsworth) come together in grief and form a complex support system.
Over the semesters, the group of friends is tested and shaped by Stephen’s lies, secrets, conflict, sex and manipulation. At the end of Season 1, we leave the characters at the dawn of summer, then jump years into the future, where they reunite for an important event.
tell me lies Ending Explained: Season 1 Finale Recap
tell me lies Episode 10, « Our Friends’ Rooms, » finally shows Welcome Week from Macy’s perspective. We flash back to move-in day in September 2007, and Macy is setting up her room when she hears a knock at the door. It’s Stephane.
He welcomes her to campus, they hook up, and he explains that even though they had a fun summer together, they have to keep their connection quiet because he just broke up with his girlfriend Diana. Macy accepts the secret, and before Stephen leaves, he draws her signature flower for her – the same one he drew for Lucy earlier in the series. His parting words are, « I hope your roommate isn’t a loser. »
After Lucy arrives and meets Macy, Pippa and Bree, we relive Welcome Week – and Stephen’s early infatuation with Lucy – through Macy’s eyes. We see Macy asking Bree about her family on the first night, watching Stephen flirt with Lucy at a frat party, looking crushed as the ladies debrief, and texting Stephen asking why he had to flirt with his roommate. . We watch Macy invite Lucy to the off-campus party again, but when Lucy refuses, we see Macy leave alone, start drinking, and call Stephen. He meets her, and they smoke and hook up in the car so no one sees them together. When they’re ready to go home, Macy realizes she doesn’t feel sober enough to drive and suggests they find another way to get back to campus.
Stephen tells Macy he would be driving if he hadn’t been drinking all night. But after realizing Diana might see them together, he takes the keys and assures Macy that he’ll be fine behind the wheel. On the way home, Macy realizes her seatbelt isn’t working and questions Stephen about his interest in Lucy. She asks why he told her he couldn’t date anyone, only to ask his roommate hours later, and he argues with her. « Sometimes I feel like you’re just a bad person, » Macy told her. « You do all the things a bad person would do. » Just then, Stephen sees a car ahead of him, swerves, and crashes Macy’s vehicle into a tree.
Once Stephen comes to, he realizes Macy is dead – or about to be – and screams. After a brief moment of mourning, he begins to plot how to get out of the situation. He gets out of the car, pulls Macy’s limp body into the driver’s seat, and fastens his seatbelt. He erases all traces of himself from his phone, apologizes and leaves the scene of the accident.
The show jumps to May 2008, where the school year ends. Since Stephen is trying to find work to help pay for his accommodation next year, Lucy suggests that he let his friend Lydia’s father put him in touch with a gig at a country club reception. Stephen closes the idea, saying a job like this is beneath him. He also throws shade at Lucy for canceling her trip to India to stay home for the summer.
Stephen checks in with Wrigley who learned he might not be able to play football next and still avoids Pippa, who he believes wrote the incriminating letter about his brother’s involvement in Macy’s death. As a reminder, Lucy wrote the letter. And Stephen knows it, but he’s totally okay with ruining Wrigley’s relationship because he’s still angry that he slept with Diana. Lucy even asks Stephen to get Wrigley to stop hating Pippa and he refuses. Ugh.
Stephen learns that Lucy lied about meeting him the night Macy died to give him an alibi, so he rushes to his dorm and they argue. He tells her she has no ambition and she reminds him that she loves him enough to keep his secret. They connect, but when Stephen leaves, Lucy calls Lydia, her best friend from home, for comfort. Lydia reveals that she broke up with her cheating boyfriend Rob feels so much better now that he doesn’t treat her badly anymore.
Meanwhile, Evan, who is also tired of Stephen’s shit, decides to live alone off campus next year. And because Bree is going on a trip with Evan and his parents, she leaves campus early. The rest of the crew heads to a Hawaiian-themed party for one last celebration, where things get wildly out of control.
Stephen and Diana share a moment together, and she questions his relationship with Lucy. « What are you doing? It’s the last summer before we graduate. You can’t just hang out in Bayville, » she says. Did you imagine that’s where you’d be in high school? In a relationship with a teenager whose biggest ambition is to hang out with you 24/7? »
Stephen admits that « everything is a fucking mess », and Diana invites him to come with her to town for the summer and work as a paralegal in his father’s firm. « Why do you want to help me? » » he asks. « Because I love you, » she replies.
As « Mr. Brightside » from The Killers swells, Diana and Stephen descend a flight of stairs hand in hand and strut right past Lucy without a word. As Lucy sobs and absorbs her unexpected breakup, Evan comforts her and the two drink in the memory. The next morning, Lucy and Evan wake up together in bed, but before we have time to process, the finale cuts to Evan and Bree’s engagement party where the scenes that kicked off the pilot episode take place. repeat.
Wrigley appears. Evan makes a comment suggesting that Drew is dead. Lucy tells Bree that she’s really happy for her. And then she locks Stephen’s eyes through the crowd. He walks up to her and says she looks great, then answers his phone and tells the person on the other end where he is. When Stephen hangs up, he says he still hasn’t gotten used to saying the word « fiancé » and tells Lucy that his date is delighted to see her. We hope to see Diana, but the big last minute reveal is that Stephen is engaged to… Lydia! Lucy’s former best friend. PANT! “Oh my god, Lucy! It’s been so long. How have you been? » Lydia asks. Stephen looks at them with a mischievous look in his eyes, and the end credits roll.
For more details on the chaotic tell me lies finale, read Decider’s interview with showrunner Meaghan Oppenheimer.
Season 1 of tell me lies is currently streaming on Hulu.