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PEOPLE Review: Annette Bening Goes Missing in Peacock's Delicious Mystery “Apples Never Fall”

Sam Neill, Jake Lacy and Alison Brie costar as members of her squabbling family

<p>Jasin Boland/PEACOCK</p> Annette Bening as a woman who seems to have it all—family troubles included.

Jasin Boland/PEACOCK

Annette Bening as a woman who seems to have it all—family troubles included.

Apples Never Fall, a new limited series on Peacock, is Nyad star Annette Bening’s first TV project in nearly two decades. The last time out, she was Emmy-nominated for her funny, blisteringly intense performance as convicted murderer Jean Harris in the HBO movie Mrs. Harris.

Blistering intensity is something Bening has always done well, but she’s also capable of great warmth, sharp intelligence and understated humor. All those qualities are here, but you have to wait for them.

As Joy Delaney, a Palm Beach, Fla., woman who goes missing within the show’s first 10 minutes, Bening is seen mostly in flashback. This can make you feel like a hamster in its habitat, waiting for a food pellet to drop down a chute, which isn't a bad thing. Hamsters seem to have pleasant enough lives.

Related: Annette Bening and Sam Neill Star in 'Complicated' Family Drama Apples Never Fall from Big Little Lies Author

Joy and husband Stan (Sam Neill) have sold off their tennis academy and are sailing into their sunset years. But trouble quickly rushes the net.

A traumatized stranger, Savannah (Georgia Flood), knocks on the door, begging for help. Joy, with touching if reckless kindness, allows Savannah to stay on, and on, and on.

But Savannah is probably better company than Joy's four adult children—squabbly, emotionally stunted adults played by, among others, Jake Lacy (The White Lotus), his jaw clenched in a permanent state of aggression, and Alison Brie (GLOW), wilting with insecurity.

<p>Jasin Boland/PEACOCK</p> Bening with Sam Neill, who plays her volatile husband.

Jasin Boland/PEACOCK

Bening with Sam Neill, who plays her volatile husband.

The kids don’t trust Savannah, but they don’t trust their volatile father, either. He's a short-tempered bully, smiling at them with bitter condescension.

After Joy vanishes, suspicion focuses on the interloper and the dad.

Related: Best Actress Nominees Emma Stone, Annette Bening and Lily Gladstone Embrace at 2024 Oscars

The mystery evolves considerably over seven highly bingeable episodes that shift perspective from one member of the family to the next. Although, the finish is disappointingly soft.

Based on a novel by Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies), Apples Never Fall is a highly polished apple—a Red Delicious, to be exact—but you may wish the worms were bigger.

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Apples Never Fall premieres Thursday on Peacock.

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