I keep waiting for Big Little Lies to fall apart, but three episodes in and the show has been pretty consistent with regards to its tone and performances. I’m just so pleasantly surprised.
Nicole Kidman is this week’s MVP, managing to convey so much emotion and pathos with barely any dialogue during that bone-chilling therapy sequence. In fact, the biggest compliment I can give the abuse storyline is that it tackles the controversial issue of domestic violence with a hell of a lot of nuance. Yes Perry is despicable for resorting to such violence, but the show is careful to paint him as a man who truly loves his wife as well (in his own twisted way) as evidenced by that creepily romantic dance at the end. His behavior can not be excused, but at least Big Little Lies shows us his perspective, and all the insecurities that drive a person to become so violent. And Nicole? Well she’s just transcendent. Just look at the actress as Skarsgard gives his monologue in therapy; every one of her looks is carefully orchestrated and powerful. Wow!
Jane’s backstory was finally revealed this week and it was definitely gut-wrenching (as expected). All those bits of flashbacks we’d been seeing of her in a blue dress running on the beach finally came into context: she was raped by a man she met in a bar which resulted in her giving birth to Ziggy. It’s all quite disturbing, punctuated by that horrifying moment where Jane shoots a man who breaks in to her home only for us to realize that she imagined it. I have no idea if the show will bring in her attacker at some point, but so far, the storyline is certainly riveting, and Shailene Woodley is knocking it out of the park.
Bits & Lies
– Cringeworthy scene with Renata begging Madeline to reconsider her daughter’s birthday party. And then she turns wrathful (see the Snow White quote below). Go Laura Dern!
– Loved the gang singing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac in the limo. Talk about riding in style!
– Gordon getting high at his daughter’s birthday party was very amusing.
– I gotta admit, Bonnie IS a great dancer!
– The harshest thing I’ve heard all year: Abigail telling her mom that she can’t live up to all the Google and Yahoo moms. Ouch.
– How unsettling was Perry gifting Celeste a diamond necklace and then going down on her in the shower?
– Renata wasn’t kidding when she said she’d be loud during office sex. That’s not embarrassing!
– Bonnie hugging Madeline: can you say awkward?
– I find it hilarious that Nathan is still scared of Ed. Still waiting for the latter to go full-on serial killer!
– The fact that Chloe made her sister a playlist… awww!
– So why was Madeline sobbing in the car? Is it because of Jane’s rape? If so, I wish she showed her friend how much she was affected.
Abigail: You wanna do well in school, right, Chloe?
Madeline: Listen to your sister.
Abigail: If you don’t excel in first grade, you won’t get into private school. And then you can forget about Stanford. And then what’s the point?
Madeline: Don’t listen to your sister.
Renata: (to Madeline) I’ll even get Snow White to sit on your husband’s face. Maybe Dumbo can take a squat on yours.
Abigail: She doesn’t seem a bit agitated to you lately?
Ed: Honey, agitation is her preferred state.
Principal: Madeline sorry, is it okay if I call you Madeline?
Madeline: As opposed to what? Arthur?
Madeline: She wouldn’t leave if she knew I had cancer.
Ed: Well, you don’t have cancer.
Madeline: But I’d be willing to get it.
Renata: Well, trust me, those wounds can last forever. And she doesn’t need to know she’s seeing a child psychologist. Some of the best ones now dress up as clowns. We could sell it as another birthday surprise.
Gordon: Honey, I always desire you. Usually, it just annoys you.
Another week, another wonderfully consistent episode from Big Little Lies. Outstanding stuff!