While I’m undoubtedly enjoying Meryl Streep on Big Little Lies, her Mary Louise is supremely aggravating in her bizarreness. Whether it’s the awkward mannerisms or her unsuccessfully trying to corner Jane into admitting Perry had good in him, this is a character that’s certainly flipping the show’s status quo on its head. I often find myself unable to detach from the fact that Streep is playing the role, but there’s no denying that her performance is both eccentric and entertaining.
Although there’s a serious conflict of interest with Dr.Reisman treating Madeline when she basically knows her entire story through Celeste, it’s admittedly satisfying to see Madeline attend a therapy session (with her husband no less). The subplot provides a lot of insight into what makes Madeline tick, particularly with regards to her walking in on her dad with another woman. In fact, this is a tremendous episode for Reese Witherspoon who gets a wonderful showcase during the speech at school assembly. Witherspoon plays a bunch of layers, and balances them all beautifully. Kidman often gets all the kudos for Big Little Lies, but there’s no denying that Witherspoon delivers consistently impeccable work as well.
Speaking of therapy sessions, I love Reisman alluding to the fact that Celeste is probably self-harming. It’s a horrifying thought, and yet it makes so much sense in the context of her intricate character journey. Plus it gives us one heck of a disturbing ending with Celeste touching herself as she watches Perry’s video.
What would we do without Laura Dern’s kickass Renata? She’s the show’s most potent source of comedy, and her one-liners this week are absolutely sensational (read them below). What makes her storyline even more effective is that it’s laced in bleakness with Amabella experiencing an anxiety attack. Sure it’s hilarious to watch Renata decimate the school’s principal, but it’s also heartbreaking to see Amabella suffer so much as a result of such a chaotic environment.
Bits & Lies
- Renata making fun of the doctor cracked me up.
- Is anyone enjoying Jane’s romance subplot? I like that she’s opening herself up after all the trauma but it’s not exactly the most engrossing of storylines.
- More scenes between Mary Louise and Detective Quinlan please. Actually more scenes of Quinlan period.
- I love that Jane says no to Mary Louise’s paternity test request. Go to hell granny.
- Ed sure knows how to piss Maddy off (have coffee with Bonnie). Uh oh.
- Witherspoon’s delivery of “she’s very strange” killed me. Also, I really need more scenes with Renata and Mary Louise interacting.
- Notice the quick shot of the entire auditorium empty except for Ed as Maddy breaks down during the speech. It’s a great way to convey that the whole thing was directed at him.
- I love Celeste criticizing Ed for not helping out Madeline. True friendship ladies and gentlemen.
- Proof that Celeste should just knock the lights out of Mary Louise: she caught her rifling through her freakin’ medicine cabinet.
Celeste: Life just feels colorless now. It just feels flat and dull. As dead as he is, sometimes I think maybe I’m deader.
Reisman: I work with and treat quite a few veterans. Many want to return to combat. They can’t handle the mundane. Normal life is dull. You miss the war, Celeste.
Mary Louise: My boys were so sweet. I don’t think there was a gentler or more tender little boy than Perry. He was so sweet and gentle.
Jane: He grew up to be neither.
Renata: What possesses two idiots like yourselves to teach eight-year-olds that the planet is doomed?
Principal: The children are constantly bombarded with climate change. It is all over the news. It’s our job to deconstruct it so that they can process it. Renata: Good for you. You deconstructed my little girl into a coma.
Principal: Renata, look. We scheduled an assembly for this evening. Okay? You are not the only parent complaining. Just, by far, the loudest.
Renata: You’re pitiful.
Principal: Okay, this is gonna come as a shock to you. This school is actually here to serve all the children, not just Amabella.
Renata: You think ’cause of this whole bankruptcy thing that the school thinks I don’t matter? Please. I will be rich again. I will rise up. I will buy a fucking polar bear for every kid in this school. And then, I will squish you like the bug that you are. Pretends like he’s not a smoker. Hasn’t been laid in 15 fucking years.
Principal: Don’t you talk to me like that!
Renata: And you, I can’t be bothered to squish you.
Principal: You’re a model citizen, Renata. (She storms out). I told you, these second-grade mothers, they are Shakespearean. That woman, she’s the fucking Medusa of Monterey.
Gordon: I mean, when I first met you, you had your guardrails up to your earlobes. Penetrating you was like It was like piercing a cement wall.
Gordon: There is something going on with you.
Renata: Correct. My husband put us in the poorhouse.
Another week, another cleverly written and charming episode of Big Little Lies.