WARNING: contains some minor spoilers for Big Little Lies series 2 episode 5. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.
This second series of Big Little Lies has had an almost dream-like quality to it so far, both literally and figuratively. It seems as if every third scene depicts either a dream, daydream or flashback and there are plenty of ethereal cuts of the Monterey Five and their family going about their lives that have something of the surreal and illusory about them.
Yet while things may appear dream-like, the reality is much darker. For most of the main players here, things have turned really quite nightmarish indeed.
Celeste is now fully enmeshed in a custody battle with the manipulative and cunning Mary Louise (not to mention her expensive attorney). Settle out of court and she loses weekends with her boys. Take it to court and she risks Perry’s death being a topic of conversation in front of a judge. With all the perjury and potential murder/manslaughter charges that all that may entail.
Renata is continuing to watch her empire crumble beneath her as her family’s bankruptcy sees her lose her big magazine deal, while Madeline’s attempts to salvage her failing marriage fall flatter than abs of the yoga teacher she cheated on her husband with.
Now getting regular flashbacks to her mother’s abuse, Bonnie is struggling to square caring for her hospitalised and stroke-addled parent with memories of her less than ideal upbringing. Making things all the trickier, Elizabeth finally says something to her… ‘kill me.’
Perhaps the overriding theme of this week’s episode – and one of the entire series – is the ongoing effect of abuse. Whether it be Bonnie with her mother or Jane and Celeste with the Jekyll and Hyde violence of Percy, trauma stays with you.
Big Little Lies does well handling so many stories and effectively sharing screen time between so many characters. It’s a fine line, though. Spinning plates isn’t easy and there’s a fair chance that we may start to shrug our shoulders a little with some of the plot-lines that are coming at us (Bonnie’s mum, we’re looking at you). So far, though? So good.
One story we’re teased towards the end of the episode concerns Ed and a possible hook-up with his ex-girlfriend Tori. And Joseph Bachman. Yep. A three-way with your ex and the dude your spouse cheated on you with? Surely not, Ed. C’mon, man!
The story we’re left really thinking about as this week’s fifth episode came to a close though is poor Jane’s. She’s seemingly thrown all in for Corey, trying to get physical with him and having him spend even more time with Ziggy. Just as she’s falling for him, though… The dream turns to another – potential – nightmare.
Jane doesn’t see it – Bonnie does – but Corey sneaked out of the police station late at night, looking more than a little shifty. He couldn’t be secretly working undercover in an attempt to get information on the Monterey Five, could he? A honey trap would be a pretty lousy thing to do to a vulnerable woman, a victim of rape. But Californian police have done worse, right?
Will they all live happily ever after…? Dream on.
What did you think of Big Little Lies series 2 episode 5? Let us know in the comments below!