There really isn’t anything more “high school” than a bunch of teenagers gossiping and blaming each other for everything. Peacock’s “One of Us is Lying” is a perfect representation of that, except it acknowledges these cliches and makes it into a more relatable watch. A little bit like “The Breakfast Club” mixed with “Pretty Little Liars,” this series, based on the first few episodes, is going to be a chaotic one.
Based on Karen McManus’ vastly popular novel, this drama begins when five students at Bayview High school are sent to detention, but only four students make it out alive. Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna) is the school outcast who runs an online gossip app with his best friend Janae. Bronwyn Rojas (Marianly Tejada) is the overachiever who looks to be hiding something about her schoolwork. Nate Macauley (Cooper van Grootel) is the drug-dealer and criminal who is on the verge of going to prison. Cooper Clay (Chibuikem Uche) is the star baseball player who hasn’t come out yet. Last but not least, Addy Prentiss (Annalisa Cochrane) is the popular girl cheating on her boyfriend. When these five all go to detention, Mark, who is allergic to peanuts, drinks water from the cooler that someone tampered with when no one was looking. The peanut oil eventually kills him and the blame turns on to the other four students present. They all had a motive and Mark knew all their secrets. It’s just a matter of whose motive was strongest.
Don’t worry about being bored by this show. Simon’s death happens in the first 15 minutes of the first episode, and after that, it’s just one drama sequence after another. This show is obviously a murder mystery, but it makes it everything about every character a mystery of its own. That’s what makes the show addicting to watch. Every character has an in-depth backstory shown, and while the plot is based around finding the killer, it’s definitely important to know what is going on in each of the characters’ lives. Janae, it would appear, is the biggest mystery of all.
Unfortunately, just because a show doesn’t bore you to death (pardon the pun) doesn’t mean it’s a good show. While there are assorted dramatic monologues and plot points, it never goes any deeper than that. There is never a raw or vulnerable moment where audiences can see a character show themselves break down from the barrier of their stereotype. Secrets absorb the show and without any levity or real pain shown, it’s difficult to see the show as anything more than another high school drama.
With only three episodes currently aired, who knows (unless you read the book) what else these teenagers are plotting. I hope the coming episodes bring more authenticity to each character, while still being self-aware of the classic cliches that come with any high school drama. Rest assured, this show is an easy one to binge. There’s hardly a moment of calmness, and the characters’ anxiety doubled with their constant absurdity will make for an intense watch that you might not even remember after the binge is over.
New episodes of “One of Us is Lying” premiere every Thursday on Peacock.
By Cyna Mirzai