Truth Be Told is a crime series with a unique pace and distinct approach, one that is helped along by Octavia Spencer’s calming influence. It may be slow in places, but this opener utilizes an enticing hook and explores important, topical themes on racism.
We recap the Apple TV+ series Truth Be Told Season 3 Episode 1, “Unto the Sweet Bird’s Throat,” which contains spoilers.
Only Murders in the Building may be the most popular mystery series out there about podcasters solving crimes, but Apple TV+ has its own equivalent in Truth Be Told. The Apple Original drama series, starring Octavia Spencer as journalist Poppy Parnell, returns for a third outing, and this season, Poppy is investigating multiple disappearances of teenage girls in the Oakland area. The premiere episode, titled “Unto the Sweet Bird’s Throat” (a line from Shakespeare), introduces the latest case.
Truth Be Told Season 3 Episode 1 Recap
Two students from Oak Creek High School have gone missing within days of one another. The girls, Emily Mills and Drea Spivey are both sixteen years of age, but only one of them is getting all the news coverage and unfairly, nearly all of the police’s attention too. White girl, Emily is the one the media and the police have chosen to concentrate on, whilst black girl Drea is pushed to the sidelines. This blatant racism won’t stand with Poppy though, who decides to fight back against this prejudice.
Poppy is also linked to the missing teen in another, more personal way. Drea has gone missing before. She disappeared a year ago and Poppy became friends with Drea’s mother, Charise during this period of time. Thankfully they found the teen without any help from the police or the media. Poppy interviewed the teenager about the incident, gathering over ten hours of material. Poppy comments on how Charise is left to relive the nightmare all over again, with Drea disappearing for a second time. It’s a heart-breaking setup, although this reoccurrence does make for an enticing hook.
The podcaster refers back to this recorded material to search for any apparent clues. Drea talks about how she became addicted to drugs but is sober now. She mentions a new drug called High Hunter, which she declined recently. Poppy visits Detective Aames, who is working on the Emily Mills case. She asks Aames if he has heard of a drug called High Hunter. Aames believes it isn’t a drug, but possibly a dealer or a trap house. While they are chatting in private, mayoral candidate Andrew Finney enters the precinct, a man who is clearly using the Emily case to bolster his campaign.
While Poppy digs deeper into the case, we are introduced to a new character called Principal Eva Pierre (Gabrielle Union). This unorthodox Principal is seen discussing the student’s safety and she catfishes a student in front of all the parents to make a point about how easily influenced the youth truly are. The next day, the school hosts an event, promoting the importance of registering to vote. Tech entrepreneurs Lee and Cybil Hackman explain their latest app that allows individuals to vote and submit questions to the candidates.
During this event, the candidates are given a platform on which to promote themselves. While Andrew Finney speaks, Poppy and her gang brashly interrupt the candidate’s speech with a demonstration of their own. Holding signs featuring photographs of the other missing teens, including Drea, Poppy makes a stand. She explains how Drea’s search party received very little police support and how the news outlets haven’t mentioned her at all. Poppy wants to know why they have been ignored. Finney says that it is a good point, although this isn’t the time or place for such controversy. This comment enrages Principal Eva, who stands and begins a chant, shouting ‘Say her name’, which is repeated over and over again.
Poppy is impressed with this controversial approach and meets with Eva afterward. The podcaster and Principal get acquainted and then walk the grounds of the school. Here they meet one of Drea’s friends, Tanya. Poppy questions the girl, asking about High Hunter and any other suspicious activity. Tanya holds back but eventually reveals that Drea was involved with an older guy and mentioned going to her happy place. Using the interview material, Poppy is aware that Drea’s happy place was a Japanese garden. Poppy and Eva head to this place straight away to hand out fliers. Poppy worries Drea is involved in sex trafficking.
Out of the blue, Drea phones up Poppy, possibly as a subtle cry for help. Drea orders Poppy to stop looking for her, she is fine. Poppy asks questions and determines that Drea owes an older man money and she must pay him back with sexual favors. Poppy’s worst fears have come true, Drea is involved in sex trafficking. The podcaster tells Charise the bad news and asks if she can discuss the issues on her own show. Charise is willing to allow the painful truth to become public knowledge if it will help bring her daughter back to her.
Tensions rise between Poppy and her podcast producer Noa, who believes their marketing company, Boisterous, has become too sexualized and salacious. She doesn’t want anything to do with them anymore and announces that this podcast will be her last. Poppy asks Noa to trust her, but she has had enough. During the podcast, Poppy talks about Drea being a victim of sex trafficking, explaining how this crime has infiltrated our local schools and community. It has become an epidemic that Poppy cannot cure, but she hopes to expose it further at the very least.
While Poppy records her podcast episode, Eva takes matters into her own hands and meets with prostitutes in the local area. Poppy completes the podcast and says her goodbyes to Noa. Then Aames calls with horrifying news, Drea has been found dead in a motel. Poppy meets with the Detective at the crime scene. He informs her that the motel is nicknamed High Hunter – this can’t just be a coincidence. Poppy ponders the idea that someone wanted to silence Drea, then she spots Eva leaving one of the motel rooms in suspicious circumstances.
What did you think of Truth Be Told Season 3 Episode 1? Comment below.