‘One Of Us Is Lying’ dropped its biggest twist of all in the finale. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Annalisa Cochrane about that jaw-dropping death, that final scene, what it means for a possible season 2, and more.
One Of Us Is Lying just took things to the next level. The season finale of the Peacock YA series went in a very different direction than the book. Jake, who was responsible for Simon’s death, ended up dead after a fight in the woods with Addy, Janae, and Cooper. When the Bayview Four and Janae returned to school, they all went their separate ways. But they all looked at each other when they got the same Simon Says text: “Do as I tell you. Or everyone will know what you did.”
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Annalisa Cochrane about the show’s game-changing twist. She revealed that the original script revealed who pulled the trigger on Jake, but that has since been changed. The actress also discussed Addy’s freeing haircut moment, Addy’s toxic relationship with Jake, and her hopes for season 2.
Going into this you probably knew how it ended or when you first started this journey, right?
Annalisa Cochrane: Kind of. Honestly, it was when we were in quarantine in New Zealand that we were reading the scripts and found out. Even then, what we originally read changed as the season went on so there was a lot of talking back and forth between the writers and Karen [McManus], who was very involved, about what they wanted to portray in that final scene and see what happens.
In the book, there’s an intense and visceral final confrontation between Addy and Jake. The show does have a confrontation, but Jake ends up dead. What was your reaction to the twist?
Annalisa Cochrane: I love that it’s slightly different than the book. I love that there is such an intense ending to it. Jake is such a horrible, horrible person, and I think to continue a character like that in season 2 made a good ending so that there’s just this whole other mystery going on with the Bayview Four. I was a little disheartened because I wanted Addy to have that final moment with Jake. I really loved the way the book had that fight even with Janae and Jake, but then I think that they brought it all together in the end. I think, knock on wood, if we get to season 2, there’s some exciting stuff that Addy is going to get to explore.
Did they tell you who pulled the trigger?
Annalisa Cochrane: The original script had someone pulling the trigger, and then they changed it. And it might change from there.
How do you feel about who did it?
Annalisa Cochrane: I can’t tell you anything. But I think it’s brilliant. Wherever they go, I think it’s brilliant.
What happened to his body? Do you guys know that?
Annalisa Cochrane: We also have theories. It’s so funny because we were on set and discussing it. It’s such a dramatic ending in the best way. We were all talking to the writers and showrunner Dario [Madrona] and we’re like, “Just tell us the details.” We were trying to pitch our own theories to him for what we think will happen in season 2. I don’t know if they’ll take any of it, but I will say it’s in very capable hands. Erica [Saleh], our creator, is fantastic.
Addy and Jake’s relationship was extremely toxic. He was abusive to her. In the finale, Addy obviously freaked out after he was shot. What is going through her mind in that moment? She did have feelings for him, but they were wrapped up in toxicity.
Annalisa Cochrane: There’s like that frozen moment that she has. It’s absolute shock and then, as you said, she made the choice to go back to him. Even when she saw something that was so incriminating, she made the choice to side with him. I think it speaks to a lot of women in general where we so often will go back to the thing that we know is wrong for us because we hold so much love and so much care for that person or that thing. That’s the same with Addy. She can’t just pretend those 4 years didn’t happen. This man, maybe as toxic or controlling as he was, loved her in his own way. He gave her a world and maybe a future, and I think she’d fully imagined what their kids were going to look like. I think she’d fully imagined what type of house, the specifics of their life together. I think, even knowing everything that he could have done and did, there’s absolute shock and then just this grief. I wanted to in that scene just let go in hysterics. For Addy, I think she feels she’s completely alone and lost, and then you see her turn back to Janae. I think there’s a realization. Janae comforts her and there’s a realization that she’s not alone. I think she thought losing Jake the first time was the end of her world and losing Jake the second time, as hard as it is, she knows it’s not the end of the world.
There has to be a guilt aspect on her end, too.
Annalisa Cochrane: I think also leading up to it, her constantly thinking like maybe what did I do wrong? Like, obviously, she cheated on him. But even later on finding out more and more, she’s like, maybe what could I have done to stop him earlier? He’s always made her feel bad. He’s always put guilt on her, and so maybe it’s her feeling I’m the reason for all of this.
The Halloween party is when it all fell apart. When do you think was the moment that Addy realized that her friends were telling the truth? Where do you think that switch was?
Annalisa Cochrane: When Janae reminds her about pancakes because they held that moment in the diner in episode 4. They’re talking about pancakes and Addy says she doesn’t really like pancakes, and then she orders them because she’s so stressed out. She realized that Jake would control everything about her, so she has no idea who she is without him. She has no idea in the beginning, so I think it’s that little reminder from Janae and from someone who actually loves her and shows her what love is. Addy not having to put on anything but Addy herself is loved by Janae and loves Janae. I think that reminder that this man is not who he is on the surface, I think it’s in that moment. I hope you can see it, the little eye flicker, but there’s this little thing. I think that’s the minute she’s like, oh… and then badass of her to still be able to hold it together and talk to him and play the room.
In the final moments of the finale, it appears the Bayview Four and Janae are no longer friends. Do you think they’re not friends? Do you think they made a pact to stay apart?
Annalisa Cochrane: I don’t know what I’m really allowed to say, but I personally think there’s a little bit to protect whatever happened in the woods that night. I think there is a little bit of a pact that everyone will just go back to their other lives, their lives before. But, of course, that final scene when they get those texts, you know that Bronwyn is making some sort of plan. You know she’s texting her people.
They also get that Simon Says text message, and this person knows what they did. Who do you think it is? Who was the first person that popped into your mind when you read that in the script?
Annalisa Cochrane: I truly don’t know. I thought that it could be Maeve, but then I’m also like these writers are so smart. The way they made it almost too obvious. Maeve walks away and then the text notification pops up. I’m like, they’re going to red herring us. We’re going to think it’s one person, and it’s not going to be them. So I don’t know, maybe a character that wasn’t in the final few will make some reappearances.
I think it could be TJ. I feel like there’s a lot that was left unsaid with him. He could have followed them.
I think that we just haven’t explored TJ or Evan. I think Evan can make a little comeback. Even Vanessa. We only know these characters on a very surface level. There is so much more just with the Bayview Four. Humans are so much more complex, so I totally could see any of those three being it too. TJ is a good one, though, because you see that there’s an angry side to him.
When it comes to TJ and Addy… they slept together and things snowballed from there. What do you think of the dynamic between Addy and Jake? I feel like she doesn’t know what love is outside of Jake.
Annalisa Cochrane: TJ references it in one scene, but TJ and Addy have always had that best friendship that you can have with someone. You maybe don’t even know them that well, but you feel so comfortable with them. Addy getting to spit water out of her nose in front of him and laughing so hard, that’s something that she would never be able to do in front of Jake. I think that TJ allows her to be her most free, funny, weird self. Jake wants her to be perfect and fit in the box of the perfect life, the perfect girlfriend. Addy is not that, and she already has that from her mom. She doesn’t need that from a boyfriend. I think that her little interactions with TJ, and I wish there could be more, but I think that they really allow her to first see who she could be. She likes who she is in his company. I think he’s the first one who kind of lets her explore who she is then with the Bayview Four.
One of Addy’s biggest moments is when she cuts her hair. It’s such a freeing moment for her. What was it like filming that scene and seeing that weight come off her shoulders like that?
Annalisa Cochrane: It was such a powerful scene to film. Honestly, the way they did it, it felt like I was cutting my own hair. Just the weight of playing Addy before, the insecurities and the anxiety and the drug-taking to be able to survive the day, there was something about all of that sitting on my shoulders the day that we filmed where it was just like, you cut it off and you’re free. And then being able to walk into the school, and they were playing the song “Brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo on the loudspeaker. It was everything. It’s such a nice moment as an actor because it’s so obvious. You see the change. There were a lot of conversations. I was willing to cut my hair, but then it was hard with continuity. I think, as a woman, we’re so tied a lot of times to our hair, and seeing her do it, I’m like, do I do it?
That was a first step in truly ending her relationship with Jake. I think that relationship is so important to showcase, especially in a high school setting, because I feel like so many young girls don’t view those relationships as toxic or even abusive, even though they are. What was it like exploring that complicated relationship with Barrett?
Annalisa Cochrane: It’s so important. I mean, thank goodness, the term gaslighting has become common because we as women get gaslit all the time. I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to work with Barrett because, as a man, he’s so open to having conversations and talking about things maybe where he even has shortcomings or doesn’t see something in a certain way because he comes from such a male perspective. We do a scene and after the day’s done you kind of just start talking about that stuff. As women, we’re often giving credit to everybody else, and men sometimes will take that and run with their the ideas that maybe you gave and not give proper credit, or they’ll belittle you in these relationships, especially the younger you are, you don’t recognize it and you just want to be loved. It was really, really great to be able to talk it out and discuss and see where people come from and perspectives. It’s so sad. It’s so prevalent in relationships.
The ending left things wide open for season 2. What else would you like to see explored with Addy?
Annalisa Cochrane: I just want to explore Addy’s friendship and relationships with everybody more than anything. I think getting to see who she is, who she is becoming outside of everything, it’s something that’s not really touched on. But for sharp-sighted fans, they’ll notice that Addy has a little drawing ability to her. In her room, we put up all these little sketches and that’s something that’s probably not encouraged with Jake, but she fully has her own art dreams. I want to explore who she is without anybody else as well. She has her friends but without a partner or relationship. But then also getting to see how she deals with potential TJ, potential Janae, whoever, whatever. Also, let’s talk about focusing more on her female friendships. Let’s see her and Bronwyn go do more things.