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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – Living the Dream (1×03)

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Big Little Lies took a different approach this week, showing the secrets behind all the glamour and the wealth. We inspected each “wife” with a microscopic lens revealing that absolutely nothing was perfect under the surfaced. But some had it way worse than others.

Let’s start with the hardest pill to swallow. What we all suspected was finally confirmed  – Jane was raped by Perry, who is also Ziggy’s father.

The scenes in the blue dress were finally explained when Jane was forced to tell Madeline all about the one night she thought she put behind her. Ziggy’s homework assignment required the kids to create a family tree, something Jane was dreading mainly because it led to an explosive fight with Ziggy demanding answers he just wasn’t ready for. Who is his father? Even Jane didn’t know telling Madeline he said his name was Saxon.

Now we know for sure that she came to Monterrey looking for a fresh start but also with the hope that maybe she’d finally track the man that took her life from her, while giving her the greatest gift of all. I seriously cannot wait to see what happens when she realizes the man is married to Celeste.

Which brings us to the next couple – Celeste and Perry. The bickering and the abuse continued into this week’s episode with Celeste finally standing up for herself and barking “I’ll leave you if you ever touch me like that again.” The threat seemed to work because the next day, the two were sitting on a couch at a therapist’s office. At first Celeste didn’t want to admit to any abuse but Perry took the lead, confessing that they’re relationship was volatile and full of rage. However he never blamed it on his anger issues, he blamed it on the fear that Celeste would leave him and “she’d have a line of men waiting.” Some might find this flattering, I found it to be a form of slut shaming, insinuating that this woman wouldn’t leave him cause she was being abused and felt threatened, but because she wanted another man? Get a grip dude. Celeste seemed to think they made a breakthrough at therapy though because she finished the episode feeling optimistic… until the next time Perry’s temper would leave a bruise on her body, I’m sure.

We saw a more softer side of Renata as she struggled with being upstaged for her daughters birthday. Madeline bought all the kids super expensive tickets to Frozen on Ice the same day Renata was throwing Annabella’s birthday as a punishment for her not inviting Ziggy, who she still thinks tried to choke her daughter. She tried to bury the hatchet by offering alternatives but Madeline wasn’t having it and it was nice to see Renata go from on-her-knees-pleading to borderline threatening when she told her “you’re done in this town.” As Drake would say, zero to 100, real quick. Madeline sure knows how to get under someone’s skin.

The only time we saw Renata, the high power exec, feeling vulnerable and letting go was when her husband convinced her to have (loud) sex in the bathroom. Like I said, nice to see Renata experience a whole range of emotions instead of pretending to be someone who has it altogether. No one does… I don’t care how much money you have.

Not even Madeline, who was forced to give up control this week when her eldest daughter Abby revealed that she wanted to move in with her father and stepmother Bonnie.Abby admitted that she “didn’t feel like herself” at home and her grades were slipping. As much as she hated it, she knew she had to let this battle goal. If she felt like she was losing her children last week, this week she had to deal with the realization that she was literally pushing them away.

The emotional subject matters were heavy this week but very essential in exploiting the internal and external conflicts that each of these women deal with on a daily basis and making us relate to them on a human level.  With all the real action happening in the past, the murder mystery is almost an after thought. And when you do finally remember that all roads lead to one tragic end, you can’t even figure out who dun it. At this point, there are so many possibilities…  Did Renata kill Madeline? Did Celeste kill Perry? Did Jane kill Perry? Did Celeste kill Jane? Did someone kill Madeline? Did Madeline kill Bonnie? Did Nathan kill Ed? Any of these would have validation in the scheme of things and they’d all be well… justified.

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – You Get What You Need (1×07)

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Big Little Lies You Get What You Need

Alright everyone take a breath after that dangerous, violent, intense, thrilling and freeing finale. I say take a breath because I realized I literally held mine the whole episode and was ridden with anxiety trying to figure out who killed who.

In a very twisted (and fitting way), 5 strong women who had so much hatred for each other and harbored so many little secrets were linked forever by one big lie. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and go through the episode from the beginning.

We begin with the basement of the Wright house and the boys seemingly tuning out the sounds of their mother getting beat by their father upstairs. With each episode, Perry has gotten significantly more violent and this time, he’d gone too far proving that if she didn’t leave like the therapist had said, he’d kill her.

She pays the therapist a visit and tells her that she took her advice and got an apartment so that she can grab the boys and leave Perry, but not before the gala that night. Clearly upset by the decision, Celeste convinces her that one more night wont change anything, especially because she’s confident he’s not hurting the boys.

That all changes when she realizes that he may not be hurting the boys directly, but they are indadvertedly being affected. When Ziggy tells Jane that Max, Celeste’s son is the boy who has been bullying and abusing Amabella, things come full circle. The kids aren’t immune to what’s happening around them, but rather picking up on the behavior and copying it and that’s just as dangerous.

Meanwhile Madeline is dealing with her guilt of cheating on Ed and he’s obviously starting to suspect something, especially when he sees Tori, Joseph’s wife, parked up outside of their house as she goes to take Chloe to school. Madeline decides to confront Joseph but it’s clear that he has no more love for her. All that’s left is fury and he even calls her out for “thinking she can run the town because she has money. Their encounter is unsettling and sets the tone for the fundraiser that night. Honestly, I’d be terrified of what this man might do too.

She’s shaken up after that encounter and things only get worse when Renata’s husband Gordon makes an appearance their coffee shop to threaten both of them. Honestly, the whole thing seems a bit over the top especially because I thought Renata and Jane had buried the hatchet. Plus, it’s a bit out of character for him. But I guess the purpose is to show that the men in the show have just as much drama as the women.

Tom kicks Gordon out of his shop and Gordon threaten’s him for making a “huge mistake.” Sticking up for your regular customers seems pretty logical to me though. It’s also his big moment to finally impress Jane. “You’re straight,” she retorts. Uh, low blow girl… low blow.

As the rest of the town prepares for the gala, Celeste is seen unpacking items into the new apartment and gearing up for her big move. We see flashbacks of attack on her and coupled with no sound, I feel like it’s mimicking the deafening silence she heard as she tried to stay strong and survive. It sends shudders down my spine.

Finally, she goes back home and confronts Max about what he’s been doing in school. He never actually confesses but she embraces him, constantly repeating that she loves him and that “sometimes people do bad things.” How else would you explain it to a child without permanently damaging him, you know? Plus she can’t break the cycle with more abuse, she has to show him that despite the wrong, there is forgiveness and second chances.

Madeline and Ed head for the gala where they awkwardly run into both Joseph and Tori and Nathan. Small towns really do suck sometimes. You can tell from the moment she enters the party that something’s up with Madeline – the guilt is literally eating her up from the inside. She eventually cracks when Ed goes on stage to sing Elvis’ “Don’t.”

As she runs off into the darkness, Jane runs after her, leaving behind Tom, who clearly wasn’t deterred by her “he’s not straight” assumptions. Madeline finally tells Jane about the affair, revealing that she’s guilty because Ed is the greatest man she’d ever met and she’s just self sabotaging while trying to uphold this perfect image. “None of us are perfect,” Jane tells her and literally, I feel like this scene calls for that to be emphasized 100 more times.

Meanwhile back at the Wright household, Celeste is gearing up for the ball, hoping that she’ll finally be free after. That is until he throws her phone at her and tells her that her real-estate agent called about closing the deal. At this point, she knows he’s aware of her plan and the fact that he’s acting so calmly means he’s about to take his anger out on her when they leave the house. As they kiss the children goodbye, you can see the fear in her eyes as she imagines this might be her final time seeing them.

During the ride over, Perry confronts Celeste and asks if she was ever going to tell him. “No,” she replies, holding her ground and reiterating that there are no more chances to fix this. He’s sick and she should have left a long time ago but she kept thinking that maybe he’d change, knowing damn well he never would. As things start getting a little heated, she finally escapes the car as Renata innocently knocks on the window and interrupts them. Never thought I would say this but thank god for Renata.

Celeste runs into the party, desperately looking for Jane and Madeline. The women are nowhere to be found. Perry hoofs it after her, pushing his way through the line hoping to get to her. He finally finds her talking to Renata and confronts her about what she said. Despite being surrounded by people, he begins getting handsy with her and Bonnie sees the whole thing from afar. She just broke up a fight between Ed and Nathan so it makes sense that she’s on high alert.

After Celeste makes a call to the nanny to take the kids to the new apartment, she goes off to find her friends and spots Madeline, Jane and Renata. Bonnie follows her and it’s unclear why but I’m going to guess she just got some bad vibes.

Renata apologizes to Jane and Madeline is finally able to appreciate it exclaiming that it takes a big person to apologize. Celeste joins the conversation but Perry is right behind her and he’s ordering her to leave with him. She refuses to budge and as he continues to get more and more angry, Jane begins having flashbacks from that night. When she realizes Perry is Saxon Banks aka Ziggy’s father, she unconsciously starts squeezing Madeline’s arm.

When all three women finally connect the dots, Perry then recognizes Jane. Knowing that he’s pretty much in a corner, he lunges at Celeste and then we flash forward to the crime scene lights.

We once again see the aftermath of the crime through Celeste’s point of view. We still don’t know who ended up being murdered… was it Jane? Madeline? Renata? Perry?

Thankfully, it’s Perry. We see him lying on the steps, some part of the construction wedged in his throat and bleeding. No matter how guilty he was and how much deserved it, it was still striking to see.

Next we see all of the women giving their statements without sound except for Celeste, who tells the cops that he was beating her when he took a step back and fell off. The leading investigator doesn’t believe any of them stating that their language is all the same, as if they’d rehearsed it.

As I’m sitting here guessing I’d say his death wasn’t an accident but rather self defense.

We then cut to the funeral scene and everyone is attendance. Celeste isn’t too distraught but Bonnie is a mess. Let’s not forget, she seemingly witnessed the whole thing when she followed Perry that night.

Celeste and Jane embrace and acknowledge the fact that they were both hurt by this evil man and are now a part of each others lives forever. It’s still unclear if Jane told Ziggy who her father was but I’d assume she’d want him to know he had brothers.

We then cut to the women all on the beach. The children are running and laughing, a different tone than we’d previously seen from Jane, chasing down her rapist on the same beach. The women are all enjoying each others company, finally freed from all that burdens them. But they are connected by one event, one lie… it’s almost the unspoken connection between them all.

That’s when the flashbacks start rolling in and the full story is revealed. Perry was unhinged, fully attacking his wife as all the other women tried to defend him. It’s as if they were using all of their anger and past experiences in this one moment while trying to protect a woman they all cared about in some capacity. It was very primal and animalistic, especially the surprising grand finale – Bonnie running out of nowhere and aggressively pushing him down the stairs.

I love that the writer chose Bonnie for the final nail in the coffin as she’s the one who was perceived as the most zen and the most perfect and the one that was hated by all the latest in unison. I’m told that from the books, it’s revealed that she had an abusive father and witnessing this stirs up some emotional trauma for her and she’s finally able to protect her friends. That was unclear from the scene but it didn’t make it any less powerful.

There was true girl power in this finale scene as the women rallied together against the man. And swore to take this secret to the grave…. and there’s just something about secrets that bonds people together.

I could definitely go for another season, getting to know these women more in depth and seeing the aftermath of it all and how it’s affecting them, their relationships and their children. And even though it was supposed to be a mini-series, I could see how they left the door open for more episodes with the lead investigator never fully believing their stories and spying on them to prove that there was more than met the eye that night.

Did you like the epic finale? Did you think it tied everything together?

 

 

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – Burning Love (1×06)

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Big Little Lies Burning Love

Burning Love is a fitting title for the second to last episode in the limited series Big Little Lies seeing the characters watched their “perfect” lives go up in flames.

The three leading ladies are reaching their boiling point – Jane’s has uncontrollable desire to find Ziggy’s dad and make him pay, Celeste’s is realizing that Perry isn’t a good man and she needs an out and Madeline’s affair is eating her up inside and she needs to come clean.

In fact, she does come clean when she tells her daughter Abigail about the affair when it comes out like word vomit…. right after she actually vomits on the table during a dinner at Bonnie and Nathan’s. Blame it on the Xanax.

Except I wouldn’t blame her for actually taking the Xanax. For the first time, it truly doesn’t seem like she’s overreacting – her reaction is understandable given everything she’s going through… everything she’s tried to keep pushed down.

She just found out her daughter’s “secret college project” is auctioning off her virginity online, something no mother wants to hear.  She’s being forced to be nice and friendly with her ex and his “perfect and zen” wife and her past is coming back to haunt her.

It all starts with Joseph’s wife Tori ruining her opening night by confronting her and asking if she’s the woman her husband was in love with. Madeline tried to deny it but we don’t know for sure if she ever comes clean.

She does however come clean to her daughter Abigail to show her that she’s not perfect. People make dumb decisions but they have to live with the consequences. Selling your virginity online, no matter how noble the cause, will definitely leave emotional trauma. When Abigail sees her mother as a human with flaws, I think she’s hit with the severity of what she’s doing – she’s a sheltered child from Monterrey trying to act out for attention because she thinks her mom doesn’t understand… but she does too well.

Then on top of the secret affair, there’s the obvious trouble in her marriage. Madeline loves Ed but she’s not in love with him or attracted to him – there’s no passion. That becomes blatantly obvious after they find out Celeste missed the opening night of the play because Perry broke his urethra.

Despite what Madeline and Ed believed, Perry’s injury definitely wasn’t caused by hot sex. Like many of the wives in Monterrey, Celeste has been keeping a big secret… her abusive relationship. Not telling anyone that matters to her makes it easier for her to lie to herself that everything okay but the therapist assures her that’s a mistake. As a lawyer, she should know that one day when he goes too far and she wants to gain custody of her children, everyone will simply think she made it up because she’s always hid behind the “perfect life.”

Celeste has been adamant that Perry’s a great husband and that she’s not in any real danger but she still continues to go to therapy as a cry for because deep down she knows the severity of the situation. Still, when the therapist advises she buy her own place just in case he gets too violent one day and she has to take the kids and run, she scoffs at the idea.

That is until Perry comes home hungry for his wife who has made her best friend’s play a priority. Realizing that she’s standing up for herself upsets him and when push comes to shove, Celeste breaks his urethra in two spots with a tennis racket. When they arrive back home from the hospital, he tells her, “you’re lucky I didn’t kill you.” That’s it – the final straw. The one thing she needed to prove to herself that he’s not a man who loves her, he’s a man who wants to keep her. There was no exchange of power, she was walking on eggshells and hoping for the best.

The next day, she finds an oceanfront apartment to rent and begins imaging her new life. Freedom – it feels good and liberating. My only fear is that I imagine a man as insecure and power hungry as Perry would make sure Celeste doesn’t have any of her own money to get away. Will he find out about the apartment?

Transitioning from one abusive relationship to another – it still hasn’t been confirmed that Perry is the man who raped Jane but I’m just sticking by it. It has to be right? What’s worse is that she’s been dealing with the nightmares of it all and he’s been right in front of her this whole time, they’ve just never had the “pleasure” of running into each other.

Jane’s story starts when she gets stopped by the cops on her way back from meeting Saxton Banks. Thinking she’s losing her mind, she confides in Madeline that she went to see him. Jane’s reasons aren’t purely for revenge though – with everything happening at school, she’s looking for a shred of hope that maybe Ziggy’s dad was a good guy so she can prove her son’s innocence, especially after one of the mother’s started a petition to get him expelled for “bullying” Amabella.

Her past coming back to haunt her and everything at school has left Jane helpless. She finally decides to fight back by confronting Renata and things get a little fiesty with Jane taking a shot at her eye and giving her what she’s had coming for a long time. As Madeline points out, there’s a million people who would have loved to do what she just did. Personally, Jane could have done more damage and I would have been okay with it. (Side note: how insane is it that these two play MOTHER AND DAUGHTER in Fault in Our Stars?)

After she’s had some time to cool off, she apologizes to Renata, who finally shows a shred of humanity. Both moms are at a wits end, not knowing how to protect their children anymore. Renata comes up with a solution to schedule play dates with every child in order to spot the bully. Thankfully, she doesn’t think it’s Ziggy anymore, which eases Jane’s mind a bit.

Ziggy is a curious child that’s for sure. Not only does he want to know about the birds and the bees, he really wants to know the truth about his father and I’m pretty sure, he definitely suspects something is up, although I don’t know how much children of that age know about rape. Will she finally tell him the truth?

I’m assuming that one of Perry’s boys is the one abusing Amabella because he’s seen his father do it to his mother. Does Ziggy know that? Will it be revealed?

What will happen when Perry and Jane finally come face to face? Will she recognize him? Act out and kill him? Tell Celeste? Will they team up to kill him together? Figuring out who Jane’s rapist was has been a bit easier than cracking the mystery of who died during the school fundraiser mainly because the latter storyline doesn’t feel as relevant. There’s so much going on in their less-than perfect lives that I’d prefer a second season rather than a quick summary in one episode. Let’s hope for the best.

 

 

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – Once Bitten (1×05)

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Big Little Lies Once Bitten

Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline took a little bit of a back burner this weekend as Big Little Lies focused more on both women who have suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the same man – Celeste and Jane.

Funny enough, these two mom friends don’t even know that their both going through hell because of the same man.

After yet another beat down by the manhandler, Celeste goes to therapy. She’s clearly seeking out some kind of help but refuses to accept what the therapist is saying – that she’s in an abusive relationship. She keeps explaining that both her and Perry are at fault, that they both have explosive attitudes and that they both hit each other. It’s really just a shield; a guard she has up to protect herself. In reality she’s trapped and she doesn’t know how to get out because she’s in denial that she actually loves the guy. And correct me if I’m wrong but that’s also a psychological condition, loving your abuser. She enjoys their confrontations and fights because that’s the only real passion she gets and she mistake’s it for love. Reality – no man would ever lay hands on the woman he loves unless it’s to admire her body.

An important part of her session included the children. Her therapist asked if the children might be acting out because of the abuse but Celeste denied that they’d seen anything. In fact, she believes that they aren’t affected at all and live a happy life, yet another example of how in denial she is. Well at least I think so because I believe one of her twins has mimicked his father’s behavior towards his mother and done the same thing to Amabella.

So while Celeste lives in denial and tries to cope with the abuse, Jane, who has also suffered her fair share of trauma, takes a different approach – arming herself and getting back what “Saxon Banks” stole. Is it wise? No. But you can’t really blame her can you.

Jane even went as far as to drive to San Louis Obispo to find confront the interior designer Madeline found to see if it really is him. At this point she’s acting all types of reckless, smoking weed while driving there but when she finally confronted him, she wasn’t exactly sure. And that’s the part that really sucks – she was a little intoxicated when she met Perry. Will she be able to remember? DNA tests will surely prove it though. And maybe that’s what it will finally take for Celeste to find it in her to leave him and save herself and her children. After all, both Ziggy and Celeste’s kids are the same age which means he did cheat.

And as Jane tries to navigate life while feeling like the odd ball out and having visions of that night, she’s also dealing with Ziggy’s school problems brought on by everyone’s least favorite person, Renata. When she and her husband find out that her daughter is still being abused, she rains hell down on Jane, even though both the teacher and the therapist don’t believe that Ziggy is behind it. In the end, Renata gets her way and a school aid will be watching the children’s interactions to figure out what’s really going on here.

As for Madeline, it seems like she’s suffering a mid-life crisis due simply because she’s bored. She’s been trying to spice up her sex life after hooking up with the theater director, who just can’t get over her. And this week, their secret affair was ALMOST exposed when they were both involved in a serious car accident while in a lovers spat during lunch. Both their spouses seemed very suspicious that these two were just driving around town together and it’s only a matter of time before Ed confronts her.

In the end, we saw Jane speeding recklessly after the meeting with her possible rapist. She gets pulled over by the cops and the lights transition to what seems to be the night of the murder. We see cops and Jane, alive, meaning she’s not the victim but possible the murderer. I’m banking on the Celeste and Jane teaming up to take out Perry but that might not be logic speaking, just wishful thinking.

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