Tonight’s Big Little Lies is tied together by a series of unraveling threads. Every member of the main cast is finding themselves at the edge of a precipice, overlooking a vast and churning sea that is relentless. In that sea are the quantities of lies they have been regularly telling to others and more importantly, to themselves. In it is also the figure of a woman who is so desperate to never let go of a fictional idea of her child that she instead chooses to become a deep menace in the lives of multiple other women. In it is an understanding and fear that in spite of how much these mothers may want to protect their children from the harshness of the world around them, they will inevitably discover that darkness for themselves.
The strongest emotional undercurrent of the season so far is Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) battle to save her children from bearing reared by Mary Louise (Meryl Streep). There is a part of her that is fighting this battle on the pure ground of human indignity, that she has suffered enough. There is another part of her that could not bear to be left alone, especially because the memories of her abusive husband have not entirely left her. There is also an underlying fear that if Mary Louise gained custody of her children, then perhaps any work that Celeste might do to prevent her sons from following in their father’s violent footsteps might be undone.
Mary Louise herself grows more maniacal by the minute. There is a menace to her that has grown sharper over the past few episodes as her suspicion of her son’s death grows alongside her sense of power over Celeste. She is a powerful adversary in part because she has the capacity to pinpoint people’s weaknesses and use them to debilitating effect. She is a powerful adversary also because she is so thoroughly delusional about the reality of the world that she channels all of her energy towards a singular direction of what she believes, regardless of the destruction she leaves in her wake.
That is a decidedly different direction from the women she is up against. Celeste is at least trying to go through the conflicting emotions surrounding her late abusive husband. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon is trying to repair her marriage and at the very least have an emotional honesty that she for the longest time seemed incapable of having. Jane (Shailene Woodley) is trying to keep her life together while Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) is moving forward in spite of the struggle she feels as she does so. These paths are more complex, more difficult to traverse, but wherever they end seems more worthwhile and rewarding or at the very least more honest.
Big Little Moments
- Ed (Adam Scott) and Nathan (James Tupper) continue to be a singularly irritating pair
- Renata’s power suit is amazing
- Ed and Tori (Sarah Sokolovic) – and what is Joseph (Santiago Cabrera) doing there?
- Oh, poor Jane. Why is Corey (Douglas Smith) at the police station?
- Why are these episodes not longer? Where is the missing ice cream cone?
FROM AROUND THE WEB