I am so torn. On one hand, I don’t want Big Little Lies to get a second season (and the show’s director insists there’s no more story left to tell). However, I loved spending time in this world and I really feel like seven episodes is not enough. Whatever happens with regards to the show’s future, there’s no denying that this was an absolutely perfect season, punctuated by a killer finale.
Funnily enough, the twists in You Get What You Need were pretty darn obvious. Many had predicted that Perry would end up being Jane’s rapist, and that one of the twins would be revealed as Amabella’s bully. But this finale did a splendid job of leading us towards these conclusions in an organic and satisfying way. In fact, everything about this season felt carefully plotted and constructed, from the sealed-off staircase that ominously foreshadowed Perry’s death, to the sound of the detective’s lighter constantly flicking on and off. Yes, this show is one that’s just begging to be rewatched. Outstanding!
But let’s discuss that final scene, which happens to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen on TV. The truth about Perry’s death is revealed as our five women enjoy a laughter-filled day at the beach with their kids. Through impeccable editing that juxtaposes Perry’s attack with the ocean waves furiously crashing, we see each of the women physically stand up for Celeste and get beaten in the process. It’s tremendously horrifying, and it culminates with a cheerworthy moment as a screaming Bonnie runs in and shoves Perry down the stairs with all her might. In a show that’s about a zillion little lies, the ladies finally come together with the ultimate “big lie” that protects one of their own. It’s such an empowering message, one that stunningly bonds the ladies together after so many differences divided them across these seven episodes. Director Jean Marc Valleé (who helmed all of the year’s episodes) utilizes the ocean for maximum effect here, conveying the raw and ferocious power of our women and the magnitude of their actions as they unite. How amazing is that?
Although Valleé insists that the show will not return for a second season, the final moments of this closer hint at something more: we hear the flickering of the detective’s lighter as she spies on our ladies through binoculars. I’m not too fond of this development, but it definitely doesn’t take away from the brilliance that came before. What a show!
Bits & Lies
– Horrifying opening with the screams and the cut to Celeste beaten on the floor in her underwear. That’s the kind of visual you never forget as a viewer. Apparently, Valleé focused on the vent to convey the idea that the twins can very much hear the abuse going on. Yes I’ve read a bunch of interviews with the director in the past 24 hours and they’re all extremely insightful.
– Did anyone else worry for Madeline when Joseph exploded in a fit of rage backstage? For a second I thought he might try to rape her.
– It’s a pity we didn’t get more of Dr. Reisman in the finale. She just got one measly scene as Celeste walked out on her.
– It sure feels like a lot of the men on this show are evil sometimes. Notice how creepy Gordon is when he threatens Jane? I love how Tom stands up for her (and the hilarious moment where she reveals that she thought he was gay).
– Much like before, we get silent shots of the abuse Celeste endured intercut with the present. It’s so devastatingly effective.
– Gorgeous scene with Jane telling Celeste that Max is the abuser. Nicole’s face says everything that needs to be said here, and we then see those scary flashes of the twins putting on headphones when they hear the abuse.
– Notice how Celeste doesn’t punish or scream at Max. Instead she merely hugs him tight and tells him it’s okay. It’s truly heartbreaking.
– Yet another uber unsettling moment: Celeste naked in the shower as Perry walks in. I was terrified he would attack her.
– The scariest moment of the entire year is undoubtedly Perry casually revealing that he saw the text message about Celeste’s apartment. Skarsgard is so menacing here, and the fear I felt pretty much rivaled that of Celeste’s. Even more terrifying was him not stopping at the school and driving off with Celeste. Thank God Renata interrupted the duo!
– So much singing this week. Apparently only Zoe Kravitz’s voice was kept; the guys had to be dubbed!
– I was sure Nathan and Ed would get into a big fight. Funny how they didn’t actually come to blows.
– I can’t remember the last time I was on the edge of my seat while watching a TV show. With its potent sense of dread (particularly during the gala), this finale hooked me like no other.
– Notice how Celeste and Madeline immediately understand that Perry is Jane’s rapist without saying a word. Jane’s face is enough. Wow.
– I love the stylistic choice with complete silence as the women are being interrogated. We hear nothing!
– Apparently it was made pretty clear in the book that Bonnie comes from an abusive past. It’s not mentioned in the show but I don’t think it lessens the impact of her act in any way.
– Another difference in the book: Jane specifically moved to Monterey looking for her rapist so it wasn’t exactly a coincidence that it turned out to be Perry. Maybe the show would have benefitted from this addition.
– Did the ladies lying to protect Celeste and Bonnie remind anyone else of the ladies on Desperate Housewives doing the same to protect Gabrielle in the show’s final season?
Madeline: You’re a real prince, Tom. I would’ve told him to go fuck himself. But I don’t talk like that.
Nathan: Divorce messes kids up pretty good.
Madeline: Oh, so splitting up can negatively affect the kids? Wish I had known that before I walked out. Wait, did I?
Jane: They’re kids, though, you know. They bully. It’s human nature. They grow out of it.
Celeste: Sometimes they don’t.
Abigail: I seriously doubt he’s gonna blow up his life. Why did you wanna blow up yours?
Madeline: I wish I knew the answer to that. I can’t really make sense of it. I think maybe sometimes I’m just holding on to this idea of perfection so tight something has to give.
Gordon: Why would you be the one to get vilified?
Renata: Because I’m a working mom, I’ve told you. Worse, a CEO, which deems me a bitch. You have no idea. If I get shot in the head tonight, half these moms are gonna say, “She couldn’t bother herself to duck? What, what, she couldn’t get the nanny to stop the bullet?”
Ed: She’s really good.
Madeline: Yeah, I’m sure the room is full of erections.
September Song by Agnes Obel
A nerve-racking and exceptional finale. This is certainly one of the finest episodes of television I’ve seen all year.