Big Little Lies showed up on Sunday with an episode that indicated that more than one of the show’s characters had become unhinged.
That aspect of the twisted premise for the HBO hour-long program seemed like a given. However, there was more to the saga that aired last night than initially met the eyes of television viewers. While Celeste (Nicole Kidman) seemed to keep her cool no matter how dire the circumstances, sometimes this seemingly demure woman snaps.
She did so last night during a stressful conversation with Mary Louise (Meryl Kidman), her mother-in-law. In fact, when Mary Louise’s take on Celeste and her lack of ability to take care of her own children wouldn’t get dropped by the grandmother everyone loves to hate, her daughter-in-law slapped her. Hard. Hard enough so that her eyeglasses went flying.
Mary Louise sneered at the aftermath of that physical altercation despite Celeste’s immediate apology. In fact, it appeared as if Mary Louise had been happy that the slap happened in the first place.
Meanwhile, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) was so upset about her life that she has started to smoke, a habit she had dropped decades ago. The Monterey mother said the act of taking in the tobacco and letting it out made her feel more relaxed. Her marriage was still a wreck and when she tried to lure Ed (Adam Scott) back into her fold through some kisses, he simply turned over and went to sleep.
However, that rejection was not the only reason Madeline was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It seemed Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), who is married to Maddy’s ex-husband, was now in cahoots with her current husband. That may or may not be true, but the two did seem awfully tight while having coffee in their small community of Monterey.
Renata (Laura Dern) had already become unhinged during last week’s episode when her husband was taken to jail due to financial fraud/money laundering. However, she became even further unhinged this week when the judge in the case absconded her wedding ring for collateral. That move was actually not all that surprising given that when they met, Renata could not stop being herself — meaning she was very nasty to the official who could do as he pleased with their communal assets while the couple went through bankruptcy.
Still, Renata spared no expense when she gave her daughter, second-grader Amabella, a birthday party to beat all birthday parties. The theme was the disco era of the 1970s and everyone did their best Saturday Night Fever impressions while wearing ’70s garb.
Of course, the party was not without its flaws. Bonnie still seemed to be flirting with Ed while Madeline became engaged in a disagreement with two of the other Monterey 5 mothers. The matter at hand was regarding the murder that has been the centerpiece of the entire series.
But that’s not how Sunday’s episode ended. Bonnie’s mother, Elizabeth, had been invited to the shindig that put Renata further in the hole and she had a blast. In fact, she probably had too good of a time because as she was saying her proper goodbyes she simply dropped to the floor. She suffered a stroke — as did almost all of the cast during that Big Little Lies hour, even if their strokes were merely metaphorical.