'Tell Me a Story' Season 2 Episode 2: Tucker's reverse 'Sleeping Beauty' tale can get very dark if original lore is followed
TV shows with creepy stalkers and the lengths they go to are dime a dozen. What is interesting is the allegory
Spoilers for ‘Tell Me a Story’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Writer’s Block’
At its heart, ‘Tell Me a Story’ is a thriller. But the show attempts to do a lot of things at the same time, making the whole experience a little bit of a mess. The second season of the anthology drama began with much promise - like season 1, it attempted to present several perverse versions of fairytales and folklore. But the second episode drops the ball by adding virtually nothing to the foreshadowing, and only tries to extend the plot. But there is something interesting to be examined here. Especially with Tucker Reed (Paul Wesley), the writer who is engaged to Maddie (Odette Annable). Tucker was introduced as a writer with sleeping issues and writer’s block. But there is a lot more going on with his story. He starts stalking a woman called Olivia Moon (Danielle Campbell). From keeping tabs on her Instagram to following her in person, to even breaking into her home, Tucker seems obsessed with Olivia. With no apparent reason being given.
In episode 2, we see that Tucker has her cat. And he uses this as a pretext to go see her, at which point, he doses her and traps her in his basement - a room with creepy serial killer clichés and sound-proof walls. Now, there is nothing exceptional in this on its own. TV shows with creepy stalkers and the lengths they go to are dime a dozen. What is interesting is the allegory.
Antecedent to the kidnapping, we see Tucker prick himself on rose thorns. While his actions were definitely self-harm, it does make one wonder if he is a grotesque mutation of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ trope. And if he is the titular sleeping beauty, does that make Olivia the wicked fairy or witch? Has the show reversed the roles here? Or is Olivia the 'prince' who saves him? Because that role reversal is far more insidious if you think about the origin of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
In the medieval romantic prose ‘Perceforest’, by all accounts, the earliest known version of the later-sanitized folktale, a princess named Zellandine falls in love with a man named Troylus. While her father sends him to perform tasks to prove himself worthy of her, Zellandine falls into an enchanted sleep. When Troylus finds her in this state, he impregnates her in her sleep. When their child is born, the child draws from her finger the flax that caused her sleep, waking her up from her deep slumber. She then realizes from the ring Troylus left her that he was the father of her child; and Troylus later returns to marry her.
If this is the path the story is to take, then it becomes a disturbing display of sexual assault. At the end of the episode we see Tucker lying next to an entrapped Olivia in the hidden room in his basement. What can follow, if the show is going for the less sanitized versions of the folklore, is only rape, and that makes for a very questionable path. Hopefully, the writers have a better plan for how to move forward.
New episodes of ‘Tell Me a Story’ Season 2 air every Tuesday at 9 pm ET, only on The CW.