This is the first episode of Season 1 of Falling Water. It previewed on USA Network after the season finale of Mr Robot on Sep 21, 2016 and officially premiered October 13, 2016.
This episode is longer than "standard" 1hr episode at just under an hour long. A 1hr episode is normally about 42mins, when advertising breaks are added the program will run about 1hr. With advertising "Don't Tell Bill" will probably run to approximately 90mins.
|“||Three strangers realize they are dreaming separate parts of the same dream. A dream that has major implications for each of their lives.
Each of them is on a highly personal quest: one (Burton) is searching for his missing girlfriend, another (Tess) for a lost child while the third (Taka) wants to cure his catatonic mother. The clues found in their shared dream come to guide them.The deeper they dig, though, the more they come to realize that their missions touch on stakes that are much larger than their individual agendas, and that the visions found in their common dream just might hold the key to the fate of the world.
— from the official synopsis, http://www.usanetwork.com/fallingwater
A young boy, blue-eyed, blonde, and delicate -- plays at a dripping water fountain behind the counter of an empty Manhattan restaurant. Set to the jazzed pace of a rolling drum and smoky saxophone, he turns from the camera and runs back to the kitchen, pushing through the saloon-style doors to find himself in a barren hospital room. The next doorway leads to an early 20th Century apartment, where a woman maternally holds the boy’s hands through a quick swing-around dance. He exits right to find the entryway to a tunnel. A bright blue light shines from the opposite end, illuminating a steady stream of water running at the boy’s feet and into a sewer drain, where an unknown, shadowy beast is heard roaring below.
All the while, there’s a narrator urging audience’s attention.
“There’s a war going on -- a war for control of our dreams. And the outcome just may hinge on the fate of a single person -- a special and powerful person,” he says. “Now you can believe me or not, but what if your dreams are trying to tell you something? What if they’re trying to tell you your life is at stake?”
It’s the final sequence in the pilot episode of Falling Water, USA’s new hour-long psychological thriller. It follows the intertwining storylines of Tess, Burton , and Taka, who inexplicably have the ability to enter others’ dreams. While they are each in search of something -- Tess, her son; Burton, his lover; and Taka, his mother -- it remains unclear what they have to gain from one another.
This series from the producers of The Walking Dead and Homeland builds a lot of intrigue right from episode 1, titled “Don’t Tell Bill.” It may be a lot to chew at first, but the moving parts are already slowly coming together and leaving us wanting more.
Here’s what you need to know...
Tess may be that “special and powerful person.”
As a trends analyst (and a good one, at that), Tess reads consumers’ aspirations and dreams for a living, but she’s having trouble decoding the meaning behind her own. In the episode’s opening, our main protagonist dreams of giving birth to a baby boy. When she is told she lost the baby, Tess stands to leave the hospital bed when she steps into a puddle of water coming in from the main corridor. Eerily enough, the young blonde boy is there staring at her, silhouetted by the light in the hall. It’s the same boy, it’s later learned, she herself has been drawing obsessively in her notebook. She wakes with a start, so certain the dream is actually a repressed memory that she goes to three separate doctors to confirm that her body has given birth. There’s no evidence of a birth and no one believes her.
No one, that is, except for Bill Boerg, an Icelandic billionaire played by Zak Orth, who we come to learn is also the series’ narrator. He has proof of her son’s existence. Promising more information in exchange for her help, Bill convinces the reluctant Tess to join him in a hotel suite where she and an anonymous man will be monitored while sleeping next to one another. She can predict millions of others’ dreams; can she predict a single person’s dream on command? Bill is convinced that Tess will be able to enter this man’s mind -- and miraculously, she does.
The sleeping man, Andy, is not surprised to see her in the dream, but he tells Tess to lie to Bill about what she sees. Though the actual encounter has them meeting in a hotel lobby while Andy digs a tunnel and escapes the room through the floor, he tells Tess to tell Bill that he was playing a Cole Porter song on the piano. Once awake, Tess recounts the events of the dream to Bill, lying as requested, and it’s evidence enough that they did, indeed, connect. Bill is thrilled.
Dropping more breadcrumbs further down the rabbit hole, he provides information about Tess’s son, as promised, in the form of a hospital receipt billed to Tess for an epidural. Strange, considering there’s no account of her ever being a patient there.
So will Tess venture to St. John’s Hospital to further unveil the truth in the next episode? All signs point to yes.
Burton gets caught up in a waking nightmare.
Burton is the second of the three Falling Water protagonists. He gets swept up into the dream drama when tasked with running an internal investigation within his financial firm on a man named Jones (Michael O'Keefe) who is suspected of insider trading. It’s also learned early on that Jones has some sort of tie to Topeka, Kansas; Burton finds the city’s name scrawled on one of Jones’s cocktail napkins.
Simultaneously, Burton is wracked with dreams -- or are they? -- involving a beautiful, nameless ex-lover, simply credited as “the woman in red.” This may be the point in the show where reality and dream-state are most thoroughly interchanged. Was there ever a woman? Not according to local hotel records. Then who is she? And why, when Burton and she exit the restaurant in his dream, does he see Jones exiting a bar across the street? And why, in that same dream, is Burton run down by a speeding car before waking? As Burton is slowly losing sense of what’s real and what’s not, Jones becomes an increasingly malicious presence in his day-to-day, mysteriously making comments that imply he knows Burton has been dreaming of this woman. What does Jones know that he’s not letting on?
One night, Burton watches from afar as Jones takes a call from an unknown caller. It must be bad news, because the color drains from his face. Burton also sees a fellow colleague, Woody (Kai Lennox), corner Jones and promptly explode in anger. What had him so upset? Burton decides to follow Jones home that evening to find out and eventually makes his way up to the businessman’s penthouse balcony.
“What did Woody say to you?” Burton asks.
“Nothing,” Jones says. “Woody doesn’t matter. It’s Topeka. It’s always Topeka. So much bigger than we could ever know.” And by “bigger,” Jones clarifies, “It’s everything. You, me, Woody, your girl.”
The conversation is cut short when Jones promptly pulls out a handgun and shoots himself dead, leaving questions unanswered.
Taka’s struck by Topeka, too.
And that brings us to our third protagonist: NYPD officer Taka. Taka is shown early on caring for his elderly mother in an assisted living home; she seems to be a prisoner of her own mind -- unblinking, paralyzed, stuck staring straight ahead. It’s a play on this very image that haunts Taka’s dreams: his mother sitting in the same hospital room chair in the middle of tree-lined suburban street, paralyzed from the neck down, but shaking her head every which way. Her face is masked and wrapped in duct tape.
Taka later finds himself in that same suburban neighborhood he’s been dreaming of when an elderly woman’s mysterious death within the consulate brings him to the residence linked to her name, Ann-Marie Bowens. Inside her home, he finds a circle of seven adults in the living room stripped to their underwear and green sneakers, all dead. Written backwards in bold block letters on the wall is one word: Topeka. He later learns that the dead woman’s name is not Ann-Marie Bowen at all -- the real Ann-Marie Bowen was in fact a person who was outside the residence when he discovered the bodies; she called 9-1-1 for him.
Thinking the real Ann-Marie may live across the street from the crime scene, Taka goes back to the neighborhood, but is unable to find her. He instead finds an elderly woman living in the home. He leaves the woman, lost in thought, when a stone fountain two houses down catches his eye. It’s a fountain identical to one he’s been seeing in his dreams. Walking over to the fountain, he finds soaking within it one of Tess' drawings of the young boy. His pause of curiosity is interrupted when the home he just left rightly explodes.
It all comes to leave us questioning the narrative realities of Falling Water. Who’s dreaming? Who’s awake? How are they dreaming of each other without ever having met? Who’s the woman in red? Where or what is Topeka?
No matter what, one thing is certain: we cannot believe everything we see.
(In progress, feel free to contribute but this section is still being added to)
Tess is screaming in pain as she gives birth in hospital, surrounded by healthcare professionals dressed in scrubs.
We hear the baby cry as he is born, Tess asks to see her son and is told by a nurse (who is now the only other person in the room) "There is no baby dear"
Tess sits up, now alone in the delivery room, she swings her feet out of the stirrups and walks forward - the room is now empty of everything, all of the equipment has gone.
Water flows under some double doors and onto Tess's bare feet, she looks back up at the doors and and sees that a young boy has com in, she smiles and asks his name - he doesn't answer.
He smiles back and...
Tess wakes in a hammock on her balcony at home. She gets up and begins to draw the boy's face - her wall is covered in drawings of The Boy in her dream.
We see Burton and a woman in the bathroom, she is showering behind a glass partition.
She finishes and steps out, embracing him and suggesting dinner at Marcello's. Burton stares at a photograph of a falling man which is on the glass partition, she takes the photo and steps back in the shower - but the picture is still there.
She says "I can't do this anymore" and...
Burton is woken on his sofa by his phone vibrating. He sits up and reaches for it. Answers - says that it's not too late and asks for more details. He tells the person calling to "Be polite, and stay there".
Burton arrives outside a nightclub and speaks to the uniformed policeman there, they obviously know each other.
The policeman briefs him, saying that a man has been "rolled" (robbed) while he was drunk.The policeman thinks the man was looking for the services of a prostitute.
Burton points out that he's a married man and a senior partner - and asks if there's any reason he can't take the man home.
After some discussion the policeman agrees, having gotten a promise from Burton that he will give him a written statement the next day.
Burton walks over to the man who is sitting quietly on some stone steps, waiting.
Mr Jones, tries to explain but Burton interrupts and tells him that things are taken care and that a car is on its way.
Jones carries on trying to justify why he was there at all and Burton tells him that the more he talks the less believable he sounds. Jones subsides.
One of the women working the street watches him as they walk away.
Taka is walking down the centre of a street toward a woman sitting in a chair, she is shaking her head so fast it cannot be seen clearly. He approaches her and her movement stops when he touches her hand on the arm of the chair.
Once he touches her hand, her head stops vibrating and We see that her face is completely wrapped in duct tape.
Taka wakes. He's asleep in his car and a woman is telling him he can't park there - even if he is with the NYPD.
He enters a room, visiting Kimoko, his mother. She is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, neatly dressed and well cared for but completely but completely unresponsive.
He has bought her a foot-bath and describes it to her, he tells her where he got the idea from, where he bought the bath from, she doesn't respond. He gently puts her feet into the bath and turns on the bubbles, talking to her throughout. She doesn't respond or seem to notice he's there.
Tess meets with Dr. Song, she asks the Dr. to examine her and tell her if she has ever had a baby.
Dr. Song explains that this examination has already been done several times and suggests that she might do better to talk to a mental health professional. Tess is insistent, and despite Dr. Song's reassurances Tess is not convinced that she's never had a baby.
Burton is at work, in a meeting with Hull and Helena, his bosses at The Firm. Helena is summarizing the current security status to Hull saying that one employee is still talking about sensitive subjects in crowded public places. He says that he will talk to him.
He asks about Jones, Burton says that it is being treated as a mugging. He pauses and Helena prompts Burton to continue.
"Tell him." she says, and Burton gets out his notebook.
He tells Hull that their compliance software has flagged up some trades, that there's no direct evidence but that it points toward insider trading and market manipulation on one of the most profitable "desks" in the company.
Burton also says that that each Trade has the hidden label "Topeka", but that he doesn't know why yet.
Nicholas tells him to keep the investigation "off email", but that he wants the truth.
Nicholas leaves and Burton sits down, chatting or a moment. She teases him and he responds, smiles and leaves.
- Lizzie Brocheré as Tess
- David Ajala as Burton
- Will Yun Lee as Taka
- Lou Taylor Pucci as Andy
- Michael O'Keefe as Jones, the trader being investigated by Burton
- Jodi Long as Kumiko, Taka's mother
- Jessica Hecht as Miranda
- Melanie Nicholls-King as Ann-Marie Bowen
- Neal Huff as Nicholas Hull
- Daniel Oreskes as Police Captain
- Francesca Faridany as Helena Swift
- Adrian Martinez as Marcos
- Melanie Nicholls-King as Ann-Marie Bowen
- S. Bryson Williams as The Boy
- Ramon Fernandez as Latino Man
- Leslie Silva as Paula
- Tally Sessions as Det. Gary
- Liana Pai as Second Nurse
- Miriam Hyman as Woman in Scrubs
- William Hill as Hank, the Senior Uniformed Policeman
- Sue Jean Kim as Dr. Song
- Qurrat Ann Kadwani as Concierge at The Pierre
- Rita Gardner as Old Jewish Lady
- Vanessa Aspillaga as Doctor
15 GIFs that define "Don't Tell Bill".