Big Little Lies

Actresses Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman star in the HBO miniseries. 

Between marriage counseling, visions of drowning and legal custody battles, episode five of Big Little Lies shows how fragile the central lie—about how Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård) died—remains for the Monterey Five. (A note: Spoiler alerts for episode five follow.)

This episode dives into the minds of the Monterey Five, showing how they can support each other while also exposing their weaknesses. Their relationships with each other and in their home lives are fraying more than ever.

Celeste Wright (Nichole Kidman) is fighting for a legal parental rights after her mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright (Meryl Streep) sues for guardianship. Although she is furious with rage—and an attorney herself—her lawyer assures her they are only looking to get a reaction out of her to prove she is incapable of caring for her children. 

Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) is going too far with her efforts to bring her marriage with Ed (Adam Scott) back together. She keeps pushing her apologies and heartbreak onto Ed as often as she can, and he clearly does not care about any of these efforts and continues to act disengaged toward her as he explains that he had to choose between leaving her with his dignity or staying with a woman he doesn’t trust. 

Meanwhile Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Celeste’s three second-grade children were suspended for three days after beating up a bully at their school, resulting in hospitalization, while trying to protect Ziggy. 

Bonnie’s mother, Elizabeth Howard (Crystal Fox) is still in the hospital after her stroke and is now only able to mumble words. As Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) uses a cloth to clean her mother’s face, arms and hands, she begins to see the visions that may have induced the stroke. Bonnie is also having flashbacks to her childhood where it is clear she was raised with violence around her, possibly explaining why she bases her actions around peace in her adulthood. Days later, when Bonnie visits her mother, her mom clearly says “Kill me”—also the episode title—but it remains unclear if Bonnie will pursue a medically assisted death, or if her mom would legally qualify for one.  

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Leave it to Big Little Lies to hold the cliffhangers until the end. After the Monterey Five had an emergency beach meeting, Bonnie goes to the police station, waiting to sense if she should go inside to confess her crimes. As she stands outside contemplating her choices, she sees Jane’s new love interest, Corey (Douglas Smith), leaving the PD—unmasking him as a detective who’s gone undercover into the Monterey Five’s lives in order to gain their trust, only to bring them down. 

As their lives teeter on the edges of relationship, financial and parenting collapse, that seems more and more likely, whether or not a reckoning comes courtesy of law enforcement.


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(1) comment

Richard Brinton

"Bonnie goes to the police station, waiting to sense if she should go inside to confess her crimes" Self-defense is a crime?

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