Big Little Lies May Be Over But The Little Big Lie Is Just Beginning
A somewhat in-depth look at what made Big Little Lies so much fun.
*This post contains spoilers*
The season finale of Big Little Lies aired this Sunday. We now know a few more things about our beloved suburban seaside We know the identities of trivia night’s victim(s) and murderer(s). We saw the immediate fallout of the night that the series’ tower of lies led up to. We felt the relief that flows from releasing secrets kept hidden for far too long. We also felt the captivity that comes with still keeping secrets hidden for far too long. But what the show’s finale did best was effortlessly weave together each diverging storyline, forming an warm, fuzzy blanket of deception and honesty.
For six episodes, five different women tiptoed along, sometimes trampled on, the trembling tightrope of bullying, abuse, adultery, and raising children. Throughout the series, each mother showcased a different approach to handling life’s challenges. Some succeeded, some failed, but we all learned from their experiences.
In its final crescendoing act, the show’s three major plots converged outside the school where the show’s opening act took place. Elevated above the ground level sidewalk that the children populated during the opening mock trial to name the child bully, the mothers assembled in an echoing congregation to unearth their lies and discover the truth. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Renata (Laura Dern), and Celeste (Nicole Kidman), later joined by Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), all find a way to escape the confines of a claustrophobic trivia night. The show’s shrewd creation of a Madeline fueled affair, paired with the abusing relationship between Celeste and Perry, combined with the constant bullying taking place at the elementary school erupts into a swirl of feminine prowess.
For those that hadn’t read the Liane Moriarty’s novel, I sympathize with the wonder and intrigue that likely consumed minds as the minutes ticked away and we still hadn’t experienced the story’s conclusion. Madeline, staggeringly drunk, swayed as she coped with her own affair and Ed’s stalwart love. Renata rushed to apologize to Jane for pretty much everything. Celeste frantically arranged her kids’ escape from their home as she attempted to escape Perry’s presence. And it culminated in what proved to be the show’s most surprising twist, next to Adam Scott shaving in preparation for trivia night.
Which reminds me.
Before the motherly murder mystery book, before the limited series adaptation, before the suburban warfare of Monterey Bay, there was Adam Scott’s beard. It was my first interaction with Big Little Lies, he was my first interaction with Big Little Lies. Throughout these seven weeks, the dominating image of the show has been this beard. For six episodes Ed’s beard was a symbol of comfort, mixed with slight deception. And in one week, it’s gone. And with it, so was his ability to hide.
Fully exposed, vulnerable, and beardless, Ed climbed the steps of the elementary stage to take the microphone and pour his heart out to Madeline. He showcased the same unwavering affection he had all along, but this time in an open, public environment. In the face of the show’s grotesque depiction of abuse within marriage, Ed’s devotion to Madeline stood apart. Yet the hidden lie that Madeline cheated on him furthers the underlying sentiment that a marriage, on it’s surface, isn’t always as perfect as it may seem.
At times, Big Little Lies seemed to abandon what some might call the root of the story. Surrounded by caution tape and covered up by the cloak of the Greek Chorus, the actual dead body tended to become a forgotten ploy that only existed as a distant reminder that, “Oh yeah, one of these people is a murderer.” The show’s true horror wasn’t the advertised homicidal investigation. Instead, it was the inner-workings of dysfunctional families, the emotional trauma associated with love, and the not so common struggles of parenting young children in a lifestyle that breeds and demands success.
Following the show’s final reveal and subsequent “ladies only” day at the beach, we find ourselves back at the police station. Behind those sparklingly clean one-way windows, each wine-loving woman was interrogated about the specifics regarding that fateful night. But all we saw were moving lips. No words. No sounds. No clues. Part of me wonders if this was intentional perpetuation of a limited series or a minor detail leading to a family force five friendship. I hope the latter.
A Few Favorites: Lingering “Lies”
*For all the stones turned over and embarrassing truths that were uncovered, we still have a few questions. Some “lies” were left lingering.
- Did someone actually mess up the spelling of “Amabella?” No one but Viola Davis will be able to convince me that someone didn’t happen to misread “Annabella.”
- Who was instrumental in Chloe’s taste in music? Was it Maddie? Ed? Was it Leon Bridges himself? Was it an innate sense of moral code? You’re not fooling me David E. Kelley.
- Adam Scott’s “borrowed” voice. This would be heartbreaking if true.
- Adam Scott’s “shaved” beard. This would be heartbreaking if true.
- Trivia Night didn’t have trivia.
- Tom actually isn’t gay. Biggest tease of the show and probably best scene in book. You give me the choice of housing on this coast and I’m picking that coffee shop every single time. Those muffins. That view. This crowd.