WARNING: contains some minor spoilers for Big Little Lies series 2 episode 4. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
Nicole Kidman slapping Meryl Streep so hard that her rimless specs come flying off her face.
Until fairly recently, that’s the kind of high drama you’d only be able to imagine in a film nominated for some nine-odd Oscars. But not anymore. Not since television overtook cinema as the number form of quality entertainment and the likes of Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep were only too pleased to appear on the small screen.
To the slap we mention and, well, it’s been coming. Celeste’s stress, grief and increasing willingness to dip into her medicine cabinet is making her easier and easier to manipulate. Her now-dead abusive husband Perry may have been able to pull Celeste’s strings, but he’s proven to be a rank amateur in comparison to his mother. Mary Louise can control her daughter-in-law like a true puppet master. The whack was goaded. Mary Louise wanted it (“What should we call that? ‘Foreplay’?”).
The episode is entitled ‘She Knows’ and while ‘she’ may well know something, she’s not letting on quite yet. Meryl Streep’s character is, undoubtedly, collecting evidence about Perry’s death. Her immediate concern, however, is collecting up her grandchildren. She’s hired one of the best attorneys in Monterrey for a custody battle with Celeste and moving into Jane’s apartment complex to be near Grandkid #3, Ziggy. Much to Jane’s obvious and understandable concern.
As ever, biting jokes and organically laugh out loud moments are never all that far away here. As Madeline and Ed bicker about the ragged state of their marriage, daughter Chloe strolls over with her homework – a pictorial assignment about pairing up opposites. On the left? A large painting of a door. On the right? A doodle of Madeline. Why? “The door is hinged…”
The reality is that very few of the lead characters have too many working hinges left. Madeline’s failing marriage is taking its toll, Celeste faces the prospect of losing her children, Renata’s looming bankruptcy is eating away at her, Jane is struggling to embrace a new relationship because of the past, Bonnie is being consumed by guilt and now has a hospitalised mother to worry about…
Something’s got to give.
With just three remaining episodes left, we’re guessing it’s got to give soon too. The noose seems to be tightening on the Monterey Five. Each has their own issues, but let’s not forget that whole manslaughter/murder/conspiracy thing that the entire show is built upon.
While we’re looking forward to the conclusion of the main plot, it’s no longer the focus of Big Little Lies. This second series seems to be more focused on motherhood. Celeste and the twins, Mary Louise and Perry, Bonnie and her mother Elizabeth, Madeline and her two daughters, Jane and Ziggy, Renata and Amabella… It’s about the lengths a mother will go to protect and care for her kids, but also about how stressful it can be, how terribly wrong it can go and the toll it can take on everyone concerned.
Parenting isn’t easy. Especially when you’re trying to cover up a murder.
What did you think of Big Little Lies series 2 episode 4? Let us know in the comments below!