One of Us is Lying Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Who killed Simon Kelleher?

ONE OF US IS LYING -- Pilot Episode -- Pictured: (l-r) Jessica McLeod as Janae, Mark McKenna as Simon -- (Photo by: James Dittiger/Peacock)
ONE OF US IS LYING -- Pilot Episode -- Pictured: (l-r) Jessica McLeod as Janae, Mark McKenna as Simon -- (Photo by: James Dittiger/Peacock) /

Summer is officially over, and school is back in session when One of Us is Lying Episode 1 begins. The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Karen M. McManus and revolves around the suspicious death of Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna), Bayview High’s resident Gossip Girl, with his own app to boot: AbouThat.

The pilot episode quickly introduces the main characters, all of whom have secrets to kill worth killing over to keep quiet. Simon teases his many readers that he will blow up their lives by the end of the week by sharing their deep dark secrets to AbouThat. Of course, his post is written so that no one but the four characters knows who he is referring to.

The cast of characters includes the popular cheerleader Addy Prentiss, straight-A overachiever Bronwyn Rojas (Marianly Tejada), bad boy Nate Macauley (Cooper van Grootel) and the jock on track for a promising baseball career, Cooper Clay (Chibuikem Uche). All four of these characters wind up in detention with Simon, and then Simon dies, and they become the prime suspects in his murder.

Just to prove how damaging AbouThat can be and the level of dirt Simon is happy to dig up for his website, he breaks his rule of waiting until Friday and releases a blast that aims at a new student who stabbed a teacher in the back at her old school. Apparently, the only reason that she avoided criminal charges is because she has a rich dad who paid to have it hushed up.

One of Us is Lying Episode 1 recap: Secrets secrets are no fun…

From there, it doesn’t take long for One of Us is Lying to kick off its main plot. Within the first 15 minutes of the episode, our five main cast members are in detention with the (rather mean and intimidating) Ms. Fox.

The first sign that something is amiss is Bronwyn having two cellphones. She lands in detention because someone placed a phone (not hers) into her backpack and then called it in class. Since phones aren’t allowed, Ms. Fox confiscates both phones (once in class and then Bronwyn’s actual phone when she tries to prove the former one wasn’t hers) and punishes her with detention.

Moments after detention starts, Ms. Fox is called away by a group of rowdy jocks pranking the school by streaking and egging the windows. With Ms. Fox gone, Simon suddenly has an intense allergic reaction to his cup of water. Someone laced it with peanut oil, which Simon is deathly allergic to. Even worse, his EpiPen is missing from his bag, and all of the EpiPens in the nurse’s office are also gone. The paramedics arrive in time to take Simon to the hospital, but it’s too late. He dies.

The police are, understandably, suspicious of what happened in that detention when the teacher was missing and the five students were left alone. How did peanut oil end up in Simon’s cup? Who removed all of the EpiPens? And thus, they must assume that one of the four survivors is lying about something.  Did one of them kill Simon?

One of Us is Lying Episode 1 recap: The main four are questioned by detectives

All of them are taken in for questioning, and this is where we learn about Nate’s past. He already has two strikes, and if he gets a third, he’ll do real time behind bars. The cops also question Bronwyn about her extra phone.

Someone also signed Addy’s name in the nursing log, although she claims she never went. Simon and Bronwyn were numbers one and two in the class. Were they competitive? Clay has a sealed record. All four of them knew Simon authored the content on AbouThat.

After being questioned, Nate visits Bronwyn at home. It seems like there might be a romance brewing between them, or as Bronwyn’s friend calls it, they’re “trauma bonding.” But more importantly, Nate knows Bronwyn swiped Simon’s bag, and he warns her to get rid of it. She stashes it in the back of her trunk.

Elsewhere, Clay invites Keely over for dinner. Apparently, Keely and Clay’s brother know that Clay is gay. Clay is still in the closet because despite how far society has come, we still have a long way to go, especially for athletes and especially for a Black male athlete. He’s afraid that if people found out he was gay that he would never get drafted. Keely and Clay are best friends, and their fake relationship is mutually beneficial, although we don’t find out why it’s working for Keely just yet.

Despite what Nate told the cops, he is still very much dealing drugs. His home predicament isn’t great either. Nate lives with a deadbeat dad who doesn’t appear to pay much attention to him if any. But apart from dealing drugs, Nate also has a bad habit of sleeping with other guy’s girlfriends. That’s how we first meet him, and later, said boyfriend roughs Nate up and steals his drug money.

(l-r) Annalisa Cochrane as Addy, Barrett Carnahan as Jake in One of Us is Lying Episode 1
ONE OF US IS LYING EPISODE 1 — Pictured: (l-r) Annalisa Cochrane as Addy, Barrett Carnahan as Jake — (Photo by: James Dittiger/Peacock) /

In the aftermath of Simon’s death, Cooper, Addy, their friend TJ (Chase Stokes) and everyone’s respective significant other are hanging out and complaining that the school is doing a tribute to Simon at a football game. Addy’s boyfriend Jake (Barrett Carnahan) mentions that all he wanted was to see what Simon had. What was in his final post?

In a twist, we learn that Simon’s post about Addy was referring to her cheating on Jake with their mutual friend TJ. “Our secret dies with him, and if anyone else finds out, you will regret it.”

At the football game, Nate hands over cash to his supplier. He comes up short. Bronwyn’s sister Maeve appears to notice his shady dealing, and she’s the one who has to point out Bronwyn came to the game with a date, a handsome British student named Evan (Martin Bobb-Semple).

One of Us is Lying Episode 1 recap: A weird tribute and a chilling confession

The game gets super weird when Simon’s best friend Janae (Jessica McLeod) sings a tribute to Simon. Her choice of “F**k You,” by Lily Allen, isn’t exactly the type of content the student body anticipates, and the principal quickly shoos her offstage.

Bronwyn and Evan leave the game shortly after the tribute. Nate watches her go and immediately follows up with Amber (the girl with a boyfriend who beat him up and the one he’s been selling to). One of the detectives watches Nate leave.

Later, as all the teens do their typical teen drama partying, someone updates AbouThat with a confession. An anonymous poster admits to killing Simon. Each of our main characters read a portion of the confession in clever voice narration.

All of them had motive, but which one did it? The narration plays over a montage of the characters doing something secretive: Bronwyn discovers that someone has taken Simon’s bag out of her car, Clay visits his secret boyfriend for a hook-up, Nate lies in bed next to Amber, and Addy hugs Jake in the pool while TJ watches from the sidelines.

Here are the main secrets we learned in One of Us is Lying Episode 1

  • Addy cheated on her boyfriend, Jake, with his best friend TJ, who also has a girlfriend.
  • Nate only has one strike left, or he’ll go to jail, yet he’s still dealing drugs.
  • Cooper is gay and has a secret boyfriend but is afraid to officially come out because he doesn’t want to risk his athletic future.
  • Bronwyn did something to ensure she didn’t risk getting accepted at Yale. She also stole Simon’s bag.

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Odds and Ends from One of Us is Lying Episode 1

  • “What Simon did off campus was his business,” that’s a feeble reason for AbouThat not getting shutdown. Maybe a decade ago, that might have flown, but it’s hard to believe schools would allow that in this day and age.
  • I’m not sure what’s going on with the filter/color scheme of the show it’s…a choice.

What did you think of One of Us is Lying Episode 1 recap? Who do you think killed Simon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The first three episodes of One of Us is Lying are now streaming on Peacock. New episodes stream on Thursdays.