×
Back to IndieWire

‘Truth Be Told’ Season 2 Review: A Tedious Whodunit Despite Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson

Season 2 of Octavia Spencer's Apple TV+ drama is an overstuffed dud.

TRUTH BE TOLD, Octavia Spencer, (Season 1, ep. 103, aired Dec. 6, 2019). photo: ©Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

TRUTH BE TOLD, Octavia Spencer, (Season 1, ep. 103, aired Dec. 6, 2019). photo: ©Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

Apple TV/Courtesy Everett Collection

Does unveiling the worst side of humanity have a higher purpose beyond ratings? That’s the question begged after two seasons of Apple TV+’s “Truth Be Told,” which just premiered on the streaming platform.

Long before the 10-episode season ends, you’ll wish it was over. It’s a whodunit, but a tedious one. By the time the “truth” in the title is revealed, it won’t matter. It’s rather anticlimactic.

From writer, showrunner, and executive producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman, starring and executive-produced by Octavia Spencer, the new season also features Kate Hudson in her first lead role in a television series. The second season, which prides itself as a glimpse into America’s obsession with true crime podcasts, is ultimately a dud.

Poppy Parnell (Spencer) dives into a new case that involves a close childhood friend, Micah Keith (Hudson), and the murder of her husband (who may or may not be gay). Joshua’s flings were an open secret that apparently everyone but Poppy knew about. No surprise, Poppy’s and Micah’s lifelong friendship is tested. You figure out have this goes.

But the entire time, one wonders why she’s so committed to this? And it’s not answered.

Like “Murder on the Orient Express,” everyone’s a suspect, and the series immediately starts to misdirect. Is it Micah’s assistant, Ramon (he doesn’t help by snooping around and getting caught by Poppy, sans answers to explain his suspicious behavior)? Is it Micah herself? Or Micah’s ostensible stalker — a blonde, slender, runway model type named Holt (played by Christopher Backus). But is he really a stalker, or is there more than meets the eye? He has issues of his own, namely to do with childhood friend Rose Gil (played by Deborah Ayorinde). Meanwhile, Poppy’s hubby Ingram (Michael Beach) is an emotional mess. He doesn’t understand he commitment to what she does.

What’s going on? Too much. And too much to not care about. It’s a series that’s trying to rep Robert Altman, but it just doesn’t work.

Secrets are gradually revealed, and Poppy, unwilling to compromise her integrity, refuses to use some of the saucier details on her popular podcast.

Of course she’s previously compromised her integrity. Where’s the drama if she hadn’t? She’s done so in the past, causing strife in the lives of those close to her, which she’s often reminded of in Season 2. On top of that, a third of the way through the Season 2 she’s served with a notice that she’s being sued by a character related to the man — Owen Cave — who was at the center of the last case. This influences how she approaches this new case on her podcast, because “they” will be listening closely for any slip-ups that they can use against her. It’s all just a mess of a show.

In addition to Spencer and Hudson, joining the sophomore season are series regulars Backus, Alona Tal, David Lyons, Andre Royo, Merle Dandridge, and Mychala Faith Lee.

Grade: D

“Truth Be Told” Season 2 is no streaming on Apple TV.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox