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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 – Tell-Tale Hearts (2×02)

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Big Little Lies Tell-Tale Hearts Review

Big Little Lies has a difficult task ahead — to deliver a show with a magnitude comparable to the first season.

There are two themes that are apparent right off the bat in “Tell-Tale Hearts” are secrets and family.

The women of Monterey, have been plagued by a secret that has bonded them forever.

The secret is lingering over them and tugging at their familial strings.

It’s hard to tell which of the women has it the worst.

After Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2, all of their lives are crumbling.

Two of them, Bonnie and Celeste, are dealing with a mother and a mother-in-law that’s very adamant about finding out what really happened.

Mary Louis is inconspicuous yet she presents a huge danger because she’s observant and apt at getting people to confess their sins to her without saying much of anything.

Her whole M/O is to find out what happened to her beloved son, Perry.

When Celeste finds out her boys know that Ziggy is their brother and vice versa thanks to Madeline’s eavesdropping daughter, Chloe, she tells Mary Louise that her relationship with Perry was toxic and abusive.

But as mother’s who are blind to what’s right in front of them because they want to believe their children are good, Mary Louise denies that Perry was capable of doing what they’ve accused him of doing.

In fact, she takes it one step further and questions Jane’s recollection of the night Perry “raped” her.

I put the word rape in quotation marks just to emphasize how disturbing and dark this moment was for the series.

Mary Louise scoffs at Celeste’s stories, rolls her eyes, and blames the other woman because she refuses to accept that her son was anything but perfect.

It’s dangerous for the Monterey 5.

Her love is so strong, even if she found out the truth when he was alive she wouldn’t believe him.

As Celeste broke down the nature of her abusive relationship, which often lead to hate-sex, Mary Louise gathered more and more information to prove that Perry’s fall at the function wasn’t a mere accident.

Finding out about Ziggy motivated Mary Louise to continue her search into that night.

And for starters, she knows that Celeste left out a lot of pertinent things when talking to the FBI about finding out about the rape and Ziggy, the fact that she was planning on leaving him, and that they were violent with each other.

As for us, we found out that it’s probably best never to whisper anything within an earshot of second graders. They know everything, and they are aware that their mother’s are harboring secrets.

At this point, everyone is.

Bonnie’s secret and her guilt is eating her up inside and poor Nathan doesn’t know what to do with it.

When Ed refused to help him connect with Bonnie, Nathan brought in the big guns and called her mother.

Elizabeth is ferocious, just like her daughter, and knows her well enough to know that she’s gotten herself in quite the mess.

But, in case you haven’t picked up on this yet, Bonnie doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it.

And when her mother presses with crystals and other talismans, she runs back into her husband’s arms because he’s too unobservant to realize she’s faking it.

Why raise any flags when you’re already worried they’ll catch you for murder?

Nathan may be unaware, but at least he’s concerned enough about his marriage and wants to do something about it even if it means calling in a mother-in-law who doesn’t necessarily like him.

As a victim of divorce, Nathan doesn’t want to rug pulled out from under him and when it comes to the males on this series, that’s a powerful move.

Also making a powerful move is Ed whose world came crashing down when he found out Madeline was keeping two secrets from him.

The first was about Ziggy being the child of the late Perry, but the other had the power to tear his family apart.

Abigail didn’t mean to throw her mother under the bus by saying that she fucked the theatre director right as Ed turned the corner, but those words couldn’t be taken back.

Ed, a man of minimal words who goes with the flow, cooled off before telling Madeline “he’s done” as she plead with him that it was a huge mistake and not about him.

Ed’s easygoing, but it’s that very nature that makes me think he’s not going to forgive Madeline for her indiscretions.

Some families, despite all odds, are meant to fall apart.

Renata’s reality is crashing down as Gordon was arrested for money fraud and they stand to lose everything.

I guess that explains the heavy drinking in the basement, and despite the situation, I’m glad he’s not just drifting into alcoholism for the sake of it.

Her impassioned: “I will not not be rich” shows just how much status matters in Monterey and how it has become a shield for the women to hide behind.

They don’t know how to exist without it, and they think they can get away with things because of it.

Renata’s fight with Gordon, when she kicks him out of the car and leaves him on the side of the road, hones in on another aspect of family that Madeline tells Chloe: “you can be mad and you can fight and you come back together because that’s what families do.”

Despite her anger, Renata swooped back around and picked up Gordon because he’s her husband.

The theme of forgiveness and being there regardless is seen with Celeste, Jane and the boys as they come together as a family.

It’s a moment that ensures the beginning of their healing process but that’s riddled with potential troubles as the truth of how these two women are connected comes to the surface.

Celeste hasn’t uttered one bad word to the boys about Perry and instead, painted him in a glowing light while telling them he had his “weaknesses” as we all do.

Considering Celeste’s boys are exhibiting bouts of violence, I think it would make more sense if she was truthful with them about who her father was and taught them that his behaviors, especially towards women, were wrong.

Jane’s approach — not lying to Ziggy but rather telling him he was a product of assault — seems to be the better option here.

Since these kids talk, it’s only a matter of time before the twins find out about Perry’s “weakness.”

Celeste constantly blames herself for what happened, but seeing the shoe on another foot showed her just how wrong her relationship with Perry was.

It’ll take some time, but Celeste needs a breakthrough that helps her realize Perry’s behavior was unacceptable regardless of how much she loved him.

If it wasn’t good to see her best friend treated that way, it shouldn’t be fine for her to experience the same treatment.

The faster she accepts it the quicker she’ll be able to heal and not be haunted by Perry’s death.

The second season of Big Little Lies is moving at a more steady pace but the stories are deliberately being accelerated.

Some unconventional families are being formed while others are falling apart, but the biggest test of all will be if these women will become victims of their own secrets and lies.

Other Monterey Musings

  • Celeste needs to cut the Ambien for her health and to avoid the day-old eyeliner.
  • Jane’s friendship and possible relationship with the Aquarium guy would be fine if she didn’t have the convo with Bonnie about him possibly Aspergers and Bonnie lamenting that “guys fake that sometimes to get away with saying dumb shit.”
  • Is Bonnie’s mom teasing another death by the end of the season by saying that someone is drowning in the water in her vision? Is she referring to her daughter?
  • Perry had a brother. The lead was buried deep in his happiness after finding out that Celeste didn’t have family and he could have her “all to himself,” which loosely translated to she wouldn’t have anyone to run to or tell about the abuse. His late brother will probably come into play later on, right? Maybe Perry was responsible for his death? Or his death created the monster Perry has become?

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – What Have They Done? (2×01)

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Big Little Lies What Have They Done? Review

Big Little Lies didn’t plan on having a second season, but there’s a lot of story left to tell.

The Monterey 5, as Jane finds out the people in town dubbed them, are haunted by what happened the night Perry slipped and fell to his death after beating Celeste.

At least, that’s the story Madeline concocted and the remaining four told police about Perry’s death.

Renata assures the ladies that the police have all but closed their case without a lead to follow, but that isn’t necessarily the case from the tapes we see of their confessions.

Someone working the case knows they’re lying and is waiting for one of them to crack.

Since none of them have grieved or come to terms with what happened, it’s only a matter of time.

Then, there’s the welcome addition of Meryl Streep, who plays Mary Louise, the timid mother of Perry.

She arrives in Monterey to help Celeste through the loss but as she sneaks around town it’s clear she’s interested in finding out what really happened that night.

Her poking and prodding at Celeste about whether or not she feels angry, comforting her through the nightmares where she sleep-talks about “rape” and “plotting to kill someone” and talking down to Madeline is a ploy to catch them all in a lie.

She even retorts that she’d ask Madeline what happened to her son, but she doesn’t think Madeline would tell her the truth.

At least she’s astute.

Mary Louise may be right in her belief that the women aren’t fessing up to the truth, and her analysis of Madeline’s bubbly personality being a cover-up for a more vapid interior is insightfully accurate, but Mary Louise’s perception of her son Perry is flawed.

Mary Louise reminds me of those mothers that are in denial about who their child was when they sing their praises on TV after a tragic accident.

For someone who taunts herself as a “good judge of character,” could Mary Louise be so blind to the truth in front of her?

Perry was the big bad on the first season of Big Little Lies, but his mother is shaping up to be the enemy on this go-around.

Despite Perry’s violent tendencies, Celeste continues to blame herself to what happened to him.

Even in his death, he wields so much power that she thinks if she’d left him earlier, he’d never be at the party where he fell to his death.

It’s twisted and yet, continues the narrative Big Little Lies presented since the beginning: Perry had good qualities and he had bad qualities.

When he was good, it was really good. When he was bad, it was really bad.

His death is both a blessing and a curse depending on which memories Celeste clings onto.

Celeste will likely have to admit to Perry’s abusive nature at some point in order to get her twins some help.

Both of them are exhibiting behaviors that could be deemed as grief but considering the violence they witnessed and who their father was, it’s concerning.

The fans were begging for a second season so it was only fitting that the women of Monterey, who have always had trouble being honest with themselves, covered up the murder with another lie.

Some are better at swallowing it and pretending it never happened than others, but the weakest link is Bonnie.

Unable to forget what she did, Bonnie isn’t doing so hot.

It doesn’t help that the other women, the only ones she can confide in, turned away from her.

To deal with her new reality, Bonnie became reclused and shut down. The secret has not only affected her, but it’s also affected her family. Nathan is especially worried but since Bonnie won’t let him in, he believes he’s the problem.

Seeing Nathan all flustered and pushed away by Bonnie and attacked by Madeline when he reached out made me feel for him.

Nathan just wants some damn answers.

However, as Bonnie pointed out to Madeline, all of this was avoidable.

They all went along with Madeline’s lie yet she could have told the truth and gotten off with it being self-defense in light of Perry’s acts of violence against Celeste.

Instead, these women, despite looking normal on the outside, are forced to re-live the pain of that night day-in and day-out.

Bonnie makes it to the police department by the end of the episode but doesn’t go inside.

Will she confess?

Or will it be Mary Louise who gets justice for her sweet Perry?

Streep as Mary Louise is the dark addition this show needed.

Her unlikeability is effortless, she says what she means without actually saying it, and she’s almost as manipulative as her son was.

Maybe that’s why she never saw right through him; she’s exactly like him.

She’s inserted herself into Celeste’s life in a similar manner Perry did and suffocates her while masking it as care and concern.

We know Mary Louise will be trouble because we know women like Mary Louise yet at the same time, there have been moments where she’s been warm and nurturing. Those moments make us doubt what exactly we can expect from Mary Louise as she closes in on secrets and gets the answers she’s come to town for.

Can she even handle the truth she’s so direly seeking out?

With Nathan on the hunt for answers about Bonnie and reaching out to Ed for help, it’s shaping up to be a season where the men get some screentime.

And they should. The women are a handful yet the men somehow haven’t cracked yet.

That may change as whatever is happening with Gordon looks rather suspect.

Is he developing a drinking problem to cope with Renata’s “power stances?”

Ed’s “welcome to second grade” comment encompassed the essence of the show: this is the drama plaguing second-grade mother’s.

It makes me happy my second-grade experiences were nothing in comparison.

Considering much of the narrative revolves around the school, the children will once again have some kind of supporting role.

As I mentioned before, Celeste will have to deal with the twins’ aggressive outbursts.

Madeline is also dealing with Abigail’s decision to forego college to fight homelessness in a start-up.

Abbie seems to have put a lot of thought into her future and contrary to Madeline’s beliefs, she’s not going to be working retail (and there’s nothing wrong with her doing so.)

Wanting better for your children is a good parental trait to have, but in this case, Madeline fails to see that pushing her daughter to pursue a path just because she doesn’t want her life to be meaningless will make it meaningless.

Madeline has always been a victim of her bad decision making and now she’s trying to force it upon her daughter.

Hopefully, she’ll realize that trying to control her adult daughter will only lead an unfulfilled life.

These women continue to be their own worst enemies.

And that’s precisely why the season is shaping up to be yet another promising one filled with twists, turns, and character exploration.

I’m not sure where the series is going or how it will end this time, but that’s always been the fun of it.

Maybe it’ll even turn up with another dead body by the end of season 2?

Other Monterey Thoughts

  • Jane now has a job at the Aquarium and a possible new love interest.
  • What was the deal with Ed and the woman who got her boobs done to take attention away from her nose? I don’t recall her from season one.
  • Jane’s straightforward questions for Celeste underlines a bigger problem of why she keeps blaming herself. If she cannot acknowledge Jane’s fault in all of this, she won’t ever see the issue with loving a man who treated her wrong and abused her.
  • For a split second, I thought the scene with Perry identifying the women in the lineup was real and thought he wasn’t dead despite seeing his mangled body. I’ve never been more grateful for a nightmare scene before!

What did you think of the premiere?

Do you think Mary Louise is a promising adversary?

Did you like Streep in the character?

Where do you think the storyline is going?

 

 

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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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