Lucy thought she had beaten Diana, but Diana refused to give up this battle for Stephen without a fight. In the end, Diana emerged triumphant. During the October 26 finale of Tell Me Lies, Diana and Stephen got back together and walked down the stairs at the party hand-in-hand right in front of Lucy — all while The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” was playing. Simply iconic.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Alicia Crowder about Diana getting her well-earned “revenge” on Lucy. Alicia noted that Diana “definitely pre-planned” to find a way to get back with Stephen. She also discussed her hopes for season 2, as well as Diana’s “fatal flaw,” especially when it comes to Stephen. Read our full Q&A below:
There are plenty of interesting characters in Tell Me Lies. What was it about Diana that really intrigued you?
Alicia Crowder: I think her confidence and ambition. But at the same time, she’s a very giving person, and I think a lot of the reason why she wants to be with Stephen is because she sees so much potential in him. He just needs that extra push. I think that she’s the kind of person that wants to bring the best out of everyone that she loves.
Lucy and Stephen’s relationship is at the center of the series, but Diana and Stephen’s relationship is just as compelling. How do you think those relationships at their core differ from one another?
Alicia Crowder: I love that you say that because that’s something that we really worked hard for in filming. These are two very different women, and they play very different roles in his life. I think that Stephen and Diana are like equal partners. They’re very much on the same level. With Stephen and Lucy, she plays more of a submissive role. That kind of changes, but it’s like, I don’t know if he necessarily sees her as his intellectual and emotional equal.
Do you think Diana is truly cognizant of a lot of the things that Stephen does to gaslight women and manipulate people?
Alicia Crowder: I think that she is a bit but less so because I think he does that less with Diana because he knows that’s not a tactic that necessarily works on her. So he tries but now that I’m thinking about it, I think that the gaslighting and the use of guilt, especially during their breakup scene and the whole thing with her having slept with Wrigley before they even got together… I think she was really blindsided by that actually and felt really, really bad. But at the same time, she’s like, this is ridiculous. The hypocrisy is just insane, and she kind of calls him out on it.
I think there’s a part of Stephen that’s always trying to catch up to Diana and get to her level. When he finds out that she slept with Wrigley, that was the first time he found a flaw in her. He used that to his advantage.
Alicia Crowder: It’s just textbook manipulation and gaslighting because whether or not she should have told him or Wrigley should have told him is one thing. But the fact that they didn’t even know each other when this happens and they weren’t dating — they had never even met yet, which is why I think that Diana’s so taken aback by his reaction. I also think it speaks to Stephen’s ego. It’s very fragile.
There’s that moment when Diana is performing and Lucy flaunts her relationship with Stephen in her face. It’s difficult to watch Diana struggle with what she’s seeing. What’s going through Diana’s head as this is happening?
Alicia Crowder: I think that this is another moment where she’s taken completely by surprise. I just thought about this: as far as Lucy’s motivation, Lucy has been so publicly embarrassed by Stephen, and now it’s her turn to embarrass me, but also embarrass him a little bit. I think that Diana is really taken aback and the breakup is so fresh. I mean, that’s the last time that we’ve seen her on the screen. But I think that she tries her very best to not let it break her. She doesn’t run off stage crying in the middle of the song. She finishes and really tries to maintain her dignity and keep her head held high in the midst of this insane situation.
Diana gets back at Lucy in the finale when she and Stephen get back together. My jaw hit the floor when Diana and Stephen walk down the stairs together. There are shades of the book in that scene, which I love. Diana knows how to play the long game.
Alicia Crowder: It’s her revenge for what Lucy did to her in episode 8.
Do you think when Diana went to that party and saw Stephen, was that her intention? Or do you think it was made up on the fly?
Alicia Crowder: I think that it was fully her intention. Like you said, Diana plays the long game. I think that she has it in her mind all the time, we’re going to get back together. He’s going to come back to me. This is a phase with this little freshman girl. He’s mine, and he always will be. I think it was definitely pre-planned.
Earlier in the episode, Stephen and Lucy cross paths with Diana at the coffee shop, and Diana asks Stephen about his internship. When she realizes he doesn’t have one, I was thinking that is the first hint to Diana that she could get him back.
Alicia Crowder: For sure. It’s leverage. I feel like Stephen and Diana are always trying to one-up each other. I think that’s part of the fun of the relationship. It’s a challenge. But this is a huge thing that she has over him, and she uses it.
I don’t think Stephen’s good for anybody. Diana deserves better. Do you think that she knows at her core that she deserves more than this guy who’s tossing her around?
Alicia Crowder: I think that is her fatal flaw in that she depends on him. I think that Diana’s self-worth is determined by how much she can help someone else. I think that that’s her one flaw. She’s so confident and independent, but she really loves this guy. She needs him, and she needs to prove to the world that he is good for her and that she can get him a spot at that law firm and everything will work out. I think that’s the one spot that she really struggles with.
That party scene doesn’t even feature any dialogue. There’s just that look Diana sends Lucy’s way.
Alicia Crowder: I think the look is: you thought you won, but I always win. It’s complete revenge and getting back at her for publicly embarrassing me like that. When I was doing my performance with the acapella group, those are all my good friends. The people in the audience all know me and know about my history with Stephen. Everyone saw that. It’s petty but I think college girls can be and people can be.
Diana still doesn’t know about the Macy situation. I feel like Diana is a fixer in a lot of ways, but how do you think she would handle what Stephen did?
Alicia Crowder: I thought about that, too. I think that’s a really hard question because I think that her morals and ethics are something that really defines her. And that’s such a big thing. I think that if she knew the extent of the truth that it would be a deal breaker for her. That’s just something that you can’t excuse or sweep under the rug. I don’t think that she would want Stephen to go to jail, but I don’t think that she would necessarily protect him in the same way that Lucy does.
The finale leaves it wide open for season 2. What are some of your hopes for the second season when it comes to Diana?
Alicia Crowder: I hope that we will get to see her and Stephen together more now that they’re back together. It’s their senior year, so it would be cool to see what her plan is going forward after graduation, going to law school, and how that will affect their relationship. Maybe some of her family, her background, her life before she was in college, that’d be really cool to explore.
Do you think there could ever come a point where Diana and Lucy lay down the gauntlet and finally see eye-to-eye about Stephen?
Alicia Crowder: I think at this point, the way that season 1 ends, no. But I think that down the line when Stephen has f**ked up so much that they finally come to their senses… it might take a couple of years, but if they run into each other at a coffee shop or a wedding or something, they could sit down and be like, whoa, that was horrible. We were both victims and took it out on each other when really we should have taken it out on him.