Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL -- "The Delaneys" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Annette Bening as Joy -- (Photo by: Jasin Boland/PEACOCK)

Apples Never Fall Review: A Deliciously Dark Tale of a Fractured Family

Greed, arrogance, and masks are the perfect words to describe the Delaney family, well-to-do parents and their four grown kids living in Miami. On the surface, they look like the picture-perfect family. But beneath it all are secrets, lies, hatred, and hurt. Not everything is what it seems in Apples Never Fall. The series, based on the book by Liane Moriarty who also wrote Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers (both also turned into TV series) will have you gripped right from the start.

What is Apples Never Fall About?

The Delaney family posing for a photo in Apples Never Fall.
APPLES NEVER FALL — “The Delaneys” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Conor Merrigan-Turner as Logan, Essie Randles as Brooke, Sam Neill as Stan, Annette Bening as Joy, Alison Brie as Amy, Jake Lacy as Troy — (Photo by: Vince Valitutti/PEACOCK)

Apples Never Fall is a mystery drama about retired tennis coaches Joy (Annette Bening) and Stan (Sam Neill) Delaney. Starting to adjust to life outside of the working world, their quiet existence is disrupted by a mysterious young woman who shows up looking for help. One thing leads to another, and the ever-accommodating Joy invites Savannah (Georgia Flood) to stay as long as she likes. She’s a welcome distraction from the mundane monotony anyway. She helps around the house, cooks meals, and does everything Joy’s four grown kids never seemed to be interested in doing. She’s like the daughter they never had.

Savannah from Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL — “The Delaneys” Episode 101 — Pictured: Georgia Flood as Savannah — (Photo by: Vince Valitutti/PEACOCK)

Savannah may have overstayed her welcome, however, as both the kids and Stan start to get antsy about having her around. But the real trouble occurs when Joy goes missing. They find her bicycle in the street but no trace of Joy. Naturally, the police investigation swiftly points the finger at Stan. He claims to have no idea of his wife’s whereabouts and feels she might have just run off after a fight. But the outlook is grim when days pass with no sign of Joy.

The series follows the investigation by police, led by Detectives Elena Camacho (Jeanine Serralles) and Ethan Remy (Dylan Thuraisingham). Through the episodes, you learn different pieces of the puzzle from the perspective of each family member. It also becomes apparent that while the kids all have troubles their parents knew about, they are each also hiding dark secrets of their own; not to mention trauma they have held onto from their childhoods that cuts deeper than they care to talk about.

The kids in Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL — “Logan” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Jake Lacy as Troy, Essie Randles as Brooke, Alison Brie as Amy, Conor Merrigan-Turner as Logan — (Photo by: Vince Valitutti/PEACOCK)

Amy (Alison Brie) is an overly dramatic flaky spiritualist who dropped out of college and is still trying to figure out her life, well into her 30s. Troy (Jake Lacy), the eldest son, has become a successful businessman, but his self-sabotaging behavior means his personal life is anything but rosy. Speaking of self-sabotage, Brooke (Essie Randles) is in a loving relationship with her fiancé Gina (Paul Andrea Placido) but the fact they aren’t in a rush to plan the wedding suggests there might be trouble. Finally, there’s Logan (Conor Merrigan) who works on the docks and is in a seemingly healthy relationship with Indira (Pooja Shah), though he’s deeply tied to his family and seemingly unwilling to cut those strings.

One glaringly obvious fact is that none of the kids play tennis like their parents or are even remotely involved in the business. It’s instantly apparent that Stan isn’t happy about that. The reasons and how they tie into the plot are revealed through each episode.

Apples Never Fall Review

Joy riding a bike and smiling in Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL — “The Delaneys” Episode 101 — Pictured: Annette Bening as Joy — (Photo by: Jasin Boland/PEACOCK)

They say to never believe everything you see on social media because people tend to post their most successful and happiest moments versus those that paint them in a negative light. The same can be said for a family like the Delaneys, who present themselves not only to others but even to one another as a model family. Everything is perfect, everyone is happy, and issues can be easily swept under the rug.

The deep-seated anger and disdain, however, runs deep. Troy clearly doesn’t get along with his father. Amy is something of a disappointment. Joy and Stan’s marriage might be routine, but the fact Joy is so willing to bring Savannah into their lives and spend every waking moment with her suggests she might be trying to escape something. But what?

The big question is: was Joy somehow taken by someone? Kidnapped? Murdered? Or did she leave of her own volition to start a new life away from the façade? With each passing episode, there are more questions than answers. Joy was putting on a happy face most of the time, but she hated how her children turned out. She loves them deeply but they caused her so much stress. They were rarely interested in spending any time beyond the cultivated Sunday dinners and obligatory get togethers. Her career had ended, so what was left?

What’s most interesting about Apples Never Fall is how it tackles the idea of parenting and how you pass down both your best and your worst qualities to your kids. While the kids resent so much about their parents, they also fail to see that each of them possesses some of their parents’ worst qualities as well. Apples never fall far from the tree, the saying goes. Sometimes, those apples are riddled with holes, rotten, even, though maybe not right to the core.

Stan and Joy sitting outside drinking wine in Apples Never Fall.
APPLES NEVER FALL — “Amy” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Sam Neill as Stan, Annette Bening as Joy — (Photo by: Jasin Boland/PEACOCK)

Bening and Neill steal the show while the grown kids are relatively one-dimensional, stereotypical characters. Jake Lacey’s Troy is the most interesting of the bunch, far more nuanced than the others. Alison Brie delivers a wonderful performance as Amy, but the character comes across more like a caricature than a real person, while Conor Merrigan Turner as Logan and Essie Randles as Brooke could have benefitted from better storylines.

The story culminates in an end resolution that is one part predictable, one part shocking. Just as the book is a page turner, you’ll be eager to peel back the minutes of every episode to uncover the truth that the family and police so yearn to find. But sometimes, more important than what happened is why.

Should You Watch Apples Never Fall?

Two cops in Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL — “Stan” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Jeanine Serralles as Detective Elena, Dylan Thuraisingham as Detective Ethan — (Photo by: Jasin Boland/PEACOCK)

If you love shows like Big Little Lies, also based on Moriarty’s work, you’ll appreciate Apples Never Fall. The cast is filled with fabulous talents, led by a gripping performance from Bening and Neill. The show is relatable and eye-opening about life, regrets, mistakes, lies, deceit, grudges, and recognizing what’s most important. Delivered through a short seven episodes, some episodes are stronger than others, but each ends in such a way that leaves you wanting more.

With light, feminist undertones and inspiring monologues about the pressures of being a mother and dashed career aspirations, Apples Never Fall will have you contemplating your own family dynamics. You’ll probably also want to call your siblings and/or parents to tell them you love and appreciate them.

The family at dinner in Apples Never Fall
APPLES NEVER FALL — “The Delaneys” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Conor Merrigan-Turner as Logan, Annette Bening as Joy, Jake Lacy as Troy — (Photo by: PEACOCK)

Yes, the series is filled with expected murder mystery tropes, including misdirects, twists, and betrayals. But these are all essential to this popular genre that has been experiencing a resurgence of late. Apples Never Fall fits neatly between comedic takes, like Only Murders in the Building and more serious ones like A Murder at the End of the World. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but serious enough to make a viable point.  

Apples Never Fall is available to stream on Peacock in the U.S. starting March 14, and will be available in Canada on Global.