Telling Lies is Sam Barlow’s latest full-motion video (FMV) game to be released, a successor to his critically-acclaimed Her Story. What starts off as a complex drama becomes a deeper story about infidelity, criminality and how much lies hurt or help others. Whether you solved the mystery or watched a walkthrough, here are the major spoilers in Telling Lies explained.
11 Cam Girl's Real Identity
Maxine Williams is not French, and she was never a dancer. There is no ex-criminal boyfriend named Max. She is Max, a former real estate agent turned cam girl.
Max changes her persona occasionally to draw in a new audience on her cam site, such as when she became a blonde and dropped her fake French accent. She also lies about many other “lives” and occupations she must protect her identity.
David sends FBI agent Harry to recover the tapes with all of Max and David’s sessions. Max shoots Harry in the leg to protect herself. Technically, Max is not relevant to the main storyline/conflict, but she provides some insight into David’s background and personal life.
10 Grandma Dies
While the scene itself is not shown, it is heavily implied that Grandma eventually dies at some point in the story. A couple of clips with Emma revealed that her mother (Alba’s Grandma) is severely sick and living with them so she doesn’t suffer alone.
In a particularly morbid clip, Alba is playing with her glowworm and chatting with David; in the background, Grandma is asleep, and Emma is crying to the doctor. The doctor said that she would be lucky to die in her sleep from the fluid in her lungs.
Alba even asks David, “Do you think Meemaw is going to die?”
9 David Is An Undercover FBI Agent
David’s status as an undercover FBI agent is revealed in a conversation he has with Mike, David’s superior in the FBI. His mission is to investigate Green Storm and their plans to blow up a bridge to stall construction of the Sovereign Pipeline. The pipeline, if built, threatens to feed oil into the local Native American environments and poison their water sources.
Ava, who is part of the organization, is that link into the group. Mike even called Green Storm “American jihadists.” Mike pulled David out of the FBI operation, stating that the agent is getting “too emotionally involved” with Ava.
8 Fairy Tale References Hold Up
There are multiple references to classic fairy tales, particularly from the Disney Princess canon. During the operation, David himself is codenamed “Prince Charming.” This is especially fitting since he eventually goes to many lengths to protect Ava and integrate himself into her life.
Ava is codenamed “Snow White.” She always thought herself “special” and aspired to be a singer. Unfortunately, the “poison apple” she “bit” ended up being one of her close friends, and now she works in a record store (codenamed The Cottage).
Other references include David’s boar, the Little Mermaid, and a story he told Alba harking to Rumplestiltskin; even the other agents involved in the operation are called Sleepy, Doc and Dopey. David called Dopey a liability because his questions were too leading.
7 Emma Was in an Abusive Relationship
It was no secret that Emma and David’s relationship was strained, but one shocking clip reveals how they got together. Emma demonstrates their history by playing with Alba’s dolls. The two met when “a drunk patient in the ER calls her a bitch.” That patient was Paul, Emma’s ex-boyfriend. Paul was physically and verbally abusive to Emma, continuing to harass her when she started dating David.
When Paul came to Emma’s house to confront her, David doesn’t immediately do anything. Instead, he lets the incident play out before coming in and shooting Paul in the lung. Emma tries to help Paul, but David stops her, remarking "It's better to let the bad guys die."
Emma and David got married after that traumatic event, but she always remained fearful of David and revealed her resentment: "You wanted to be a knight in shining f**king armor."
6 Ava Was Sexually Abused by Peter
David and Eric were having a conversation and a few beers. Then David enticed Eric to spill the truth about Ava’s ex-boyfriend Peter.
Peter drugged, sexually assaulted girls and recorded these acts on video. Ava came to Peter with the promise that he would make her a famous singer, and he did the same thing to her. While Eric wanted to help Ava, he claimed that he didn’t have any evidence to take to the police.
Peter’s tapes were recovered by the FBI, but David pleaded to Mike that they be destroyed.
5 Ava Becomes Pregnant
The final nail in the coffin. David and Ava finally have sex before the pipeline peaceful protest. A few weeks after, Ava discloses her pregnancy to David. They have an argument over whether David should carry out the bridge explosion plan, Ava stating that they need to consider their child, Star’s, future.
Before the plan occurs, the FBI raids some members of the Green Storm, including Ava. As a result, David is forced to separate himself from Ava and the community. In a later clip, David tries to come back into Ava and Star’s life, but Ava threatened him with the police.
4 David Detonates the Pipeline
Depressed and unable to go back to neither Emma nor Ava, David decides to complete Green Storm’s mission. The disgraced FBI agent leaves a videotape for Alba and Star, hoping the best for their futures.
As he finishes recording the video, a bloom of orange and smoke fills the scenery behind him. He blew up the bridge supporting the construction of the Sovereign Pipeline from the Little Mermaid.
3 Michelle Becomes an Entrepreneur
After shooting the FBI agent, Michelle/Maxine sells her apartment and moves to New York. The former real estate agent becomes the owner of a cam girl agency. While the company doesn’t become rich, they aren’t desperate either. Maxine even remarks, “everyone will get paid what they’re worth.”
In her complete ending, Maxine will publish a successful novel under her own name. She will be remembered as a prominent crime fiction novelist with “strong female leads” when she dies at age 84.
2 Emma Doesn’t Remarry
Like Ava, Emma doesn’t watch David’s tape in both endings. The first thing she did was throw David’s wedding ring into the ocean. She will eventually stop being a nurse, become a girls’ tennis coach and let Alba leave the house at 18 to pursue her own dreams.
In the complete ending, Alba’s occupation is unknown, but she will have a child at 40. She will put 100 pieces of paper in a bag and let her child decide their name.
1 Ava (and Star) Live Happily Ever After
In both of Ava’s endings, she never watched David’s tape and leaves the past behind her. Ava becomes a journalist, marries a schoolteacher named Jayden and continues to raise Star. In her complete ending, Star grows up. Star’s grandmother will try to tell her about David, but Star doesn’t want to hear it. “‘Shush, grandma,’ I’ll say. ‘I’m happy.’”
Sam Barlow is becoming more and more of an industry name with every FMV video game he and Furious Bee releases. Fans of his work will have to wait and see what the developer creates next.