As if the Real Housewives series didn’t make you nervous enough about wealthy moms, now Big Little Lies has arrived to make you even more weary. The seven-part HBO miniseries could’ve been one part shorter, parts of the show certainly seemed to drag, but overall it was an enticing look into the lives of seemingly perfect moms in Monterey Beach.
Reese Witherspoon’s character Madeline Mackenzie served as the show’s “star”, but her problems (a defiant teenage daughter and a lackluster marriage that led her to an affair) were minuscule and frankly annoying compared to costars Nicole Kidman’s Celeste Wright and Shailene Woodley’s Jane Chapman.
While it seems at first that Celeste Wright has the perfect marriage to Alexander Skarsgard’s character, Perry Wright, we learn quickly that he is a violent and terrible husband. Disguised in passion, Celeste has been putting up with his abuse for what seems like years. We see her start to fight back and gain independence–with the help of a therapist–over the course of the seven episodes.
Jane Chapman has slightly similar issues. She’s new in town with her son Ziggy. At first, we can tell she’s damaged but we’re not entirely sure by what. Then we learn (when she divulges the truth to friend Madeline) that she was raped during a one-night-stand. It was the most traumatic experience of her entire life, and she continues to experience PTSD everyday. The one good thing to come from the experience is Ziggy, but she fears he may have violence in his DNA (more on that in a bit).
We also learn in the very first episode that someone has been murdered. At a fundraising event, no less (so very Real Housewives, am I right?). We have no idea who’s been murdered or who’s responsible, but over the course of the seven episode arc, we are introduced to several drama filled situations and storylines, all of which could lead to murder, I guess:
- At the back to school orientation, Renata Simmon’s (Laura Dern) daughter Amabella accuses Ziggy of choking her (she even has the marks to prove it). Ziggy claims he didn’t do it, Madeline defends Jane and Ziggy. A mommy war ensues and continues throughout the rest of the show.
- In retaliation to Madeline, Renata pushes to get “Avenue Q” shut down in the local theater. Which is, of course, Madeline’s pet project.
- Madeline is “happily married” to Ed (Adam Scott), but is eternally bitter that her ex-husband Nathan is now a doting husband to his young yogi wife, Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz). To make matters worse, their oldest daughter Abigail decides to move in with Nathan and Bonnie.
- Madeline had an affair with her Avenue Q director, Joseph. She feels really guilty about it, but is compelled (not by her brain or her heart) to continue it.
Are you yawning at all of that? Yeah, me too. Here are the actual interesting plot points that led to the murder:
- Celeste tries over the course of the seven episodes to build up the bravery to leave her abusive husband, Perry. But he’s jealous and insecure and continues to hurt her. She finally works up the courage in the final episode.
- Jane finds out (from Ziggy) that the real bully is Max, one of Celeste and Perry’s twins, which is not surprising in the least, due to what’s happening in his house. She tells Renata and Celeste. Celeste tells Perry. This drives him crazy.
- In the climax of the final episode, Jane sees Perry for the first time and realizes HE is her rapist. Madeline and Celeste realize this just by seeing the look on her face.
So Perry is the villain of all villains on Big Little Lies, and when he goes to attack Celeste at the party, because she’s finally told him she’s leaving him and outed him as a scum bag, all of the women try to attack him back. He appears to retain the upper hand, until out of nowhere Bonnie pushes him down a set of concrete steps. His bloodied, dead body is a satisfying shot after all of the pain he’s caused.
The women (Celeste, Jane, Madeline, Renata, and Bonnie) form an unbreakable bond in this secret, and that is how the show ends. As of right now, we don’t know if the show will get a second season–it was advertised as a mini-series–but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a season two. The performances (specifically Nicole Kidman) were sublime and they definitely have interesting stories to continue with. While one dirtbag may be dead, we may have another one lurking just under the surface…does anyone else think Ed may be a creep?