HBO’s compelling drama television series Big Little Lies, which has been an outstanding success, came to a dramatic end with Episode Seven, the finale. Created and written by David E Kelly based on the #1 New York Times Best Selling book by Australian author Liane Moriarty who hasn’t written a follow up story, it’s not decided yet if there will be another series.
Certainly the fine actors in its ensemble cast will need a rest, especially those involved in all the violence and are not dead.
So who does die? What did really happen back there in Episode One? Who was it that sustained the broken pelvis and facture at the base of the skull… are the answers and conclusion satisfying for the viewers. Do ‘you get what you need’ in the end?
Don’t read any more if you don’t want spoilers.
As the finale begins, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is on the floor of the bathroom. Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) says he’s taking the boys to school, stopping them from seeing her in her distress. Do they know about their father’s violence. It hardly seems plausible they wouldn’t.
Madeleine (Reese Witherspoon) is telling her daughter Chloe (Darby Camp) there’s a zero tolerance on being late for school. Her husband Ed (Adam Scott) is trying to find out on the internet if Abigail (Kathryn Newton) Madeleine’s daughter from her first marriage has launched her controversial story on line.
Celeste is back at the therapist, she’s hurt. She tells her she has secured an apartment. Is the refrigerator stocked she’s asked, are you going to leave. Your husband is ill Celeste, but so are you. The therapist is worried about the children in the house, but Celeste tells her she is sure he would never hurt them.
Six year old Ziggy (Iain Armitage) is feigning a temperature to get out of going to school. His mother Jane (Shailene Woodley) asks him what is going on. Do you feel sick or don’t you want to go to school. It’s not me that hurts Amabella (Ivy George) do you know who it is asks his mother?
I don’t want to talk about it… I promised Amabella I wouldn’t tell you… she said if I told I might get killed dead. So she shows him a picture and asks him to point to the person, and that’s different from telling. He points to Celeste’s eldest son, Max.
Renata’s husband Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling) turns up and threatens Jane in front of Madeleine, and the café owner Tom (Joseph Cross) who they all think is gay throws him out for harassing his customer. He admits after Madeleine has left that he likes Jane and is not gay and asks can he escort her to the party.
Madeleine picks up Chloe and her ex Nathan turns up to tell her about visiting a counsellor for advice about their daughter Abigail.
Celeste is at her unit again, drinking in the salt air, she’s reliving Perry beating her up again She’s getting ready for the next time he is out of town so she and the kids can leave.
Jane calls her on the phone and they meet at the beach. Jane tells her that it is her son Max doing the bullying and that he told her it was Max who pushed Skye down the stairs too.
She heads home.
Abigail (Kathryn Newton)is sitting talking to Madeleine whose getting ready for Trivia night, which is themed with the girls dressing as Audrey Hepburn and the boys as Elvis Presley.
She tells her daughter she’s holding onto an idea of perfection so tight, she has unreal expectations.
Abigail promises Madeleine she won’t go ahead with the project.
Gordon tells Renata that he went to have words with Jane… and she’s angry. Let’s just not go to this damn trivia night he says… and she retorts we will be demonised for blowing of a fundraiser… we’re too rich to get away with that
Jane is dressed glamorously to go when Tom from the café picks her up. Thank heavens, Ed has finally shaved off his beard ready to sing his Elvis number as all the guys are required to do.
Nicole is dressed like Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Perry has looked at her phone just as they are about to leave and has found out she has an apartment. And so she’s scared to death by the time they arrive at the party.
He wants to know what is going on… and so she tells him about Max hurting Amabella and he locks her in the car.
You cannot leave he says… I know I have demons and I am fighting them. But she’s insistent she is leaving. Perry is trying to talk her out of it. I kept saying to myself you are going to change says Celeste but you won’t and when a couple of parents come to the window of the car to talk to him she makes her escape.
Bonnie is on stage singing in a sultry fashion, drawing the crowd. Tom and Jane, arrive together – really, says Madeleine, pleased for her friend.
Ed is to sing next., but needs a triple Vodka to get himself on stage, so will it affect his performance. He sings Elvis big hit… that’s the Wonder, the Wonder of you and Madeleine can see what a fool she’s been. She has the best husband.
Bonnie comes to have a piece of her and she runs off with Jane in pursuit.
Celeste arrives, rushing into the crowd trying to find her friends with Perry in pursuit. She’s desperate to find Madeleine…
Perry arrives and can’t see anyone.
Celeste is busy telling Renata it is her eldest son Max who is hurting her daughter and she is mortified by what she has done to Jane and Ziggy.
Ed’s off stage looking for Madeleine and now it is Nathan’s turn to be on stage.
All these guys are rock star singers it turns out.
Renata who is My Fair Lady goes looking and finds Jane and Madeleine on a terrace above an area that’s taped off.
She tells them about Celeste telling her it was Max who was hurting Amabella. Bonnie sees Perry hitting Celeste over in the shadows and is curious about what is going on and follows him.
Perry arrives down on the terrace where Renata, Madeleine, Jane and now Celeste who has finally found them, are all in conversation above a taped off flight of steep stairs.
When Perry arrives Jane goes into shock because now having seen Perry for the first time she realises he is the man who raped her so violently and is Ziggy’s father.
Celeste looking at Madeleine’s face suddenly realises too. He attacks them all and it is Bonnie who comes rushing to the rescue and pushes him headlong down the stairs.
Jane, Renata, Celeste and Madeleine and Bonny are all being questioned by the police and they give the same story about why Perry is lying at the bottom of the stairs they were standing so near, dead.
They all claim he stumbled and fell. But we know it isn’t so, as do the police who presume if he had been beating his wife constantly, it’s a matter of self-defence and they should let it go.
And finally, we are left with all the girls with the kids on the beach as besties, bonded by a common hatred of a violent man.
Big little lies certainly do have big, not little, consequences. What a screwed up bunch we people humans are!
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017
- Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie
- Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright
- Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman
- Alexander Skarsgård as Perry Wright, Celeste’s husband
- Adam Scott as Ed Mackenzie, Madeline’s husband
- Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson, Nathan’s second wife
- James Tupper as Nathan Carlson, Madeline’s ex-husband
- Jeffrey Nordling as Gordon Klein, Renata’s husband
- Laura Dern as Renata Klein
- Iain Armitage as Ziggy Chapman, Jane’s son
- Sarah Baker as Thea Cunningham
- Sarah Burns as Gabrielle
- J. Byrne as Principal Nippal
- Darby Camp as Chloe Mackenzie, Madeline’s younger daughter
- Hong Chau as Jackie
- Kelen Coleman as Harper Stimson
- Joe Cross as Tom
- Merrin Dungey as Detective Adrienne Quinlan
- Ivy George as Amabella Klein, Renata’s daughter
- Virginia Kull as Ms. Barnes
- Kathryn Newton as Abigail Carlson, Madeline’s eldest daughter
- Larry Sullivan as Oren
- David Monahan as Bernard
- Kathreen Khavari as Samantha
- Joseph Cross as Tom, Madeline and Celeste’s favourite cafe owner