Warning: This article contains big (and little) spoilers.
So. Much. Went. Down. Last. Night. The custody case between Mary Louise and Celeste began last episode, “The Bad Mother,” with Celeste’s mental fitness and motherhood put into question. Gordon Klein has officially ruined his marriage with Renata in more ways than one (because bankruptcy wasn’t enough of an embarrassment), and Jane confronted Corey about his late-night visit to the police station. Meanwhile, Bonnie seems to be on the verge of cracking. The tense installment is the penultimate of the season, and the finale will find Mary Louise on the stand, examined by none other than Celeste herself. Who’s really got something to hide?
Good For Her
The episode came in hot, with Mary Louise’s attorney grilling Celeste on her medication, her dysfunctional relationship with Perry, and her series of one-night-stands with attractive younger men that just make us think, “Hey, good for her.” Some could argue Celeste was just exercising her right to party, but the judge didn’t seem to think having rough sex in a public bathroom counts as stellar parenting skills. The entire deposition dripped in slut-shaming and a blatant disregard for the nuances of surviving and coping past abuse, but it also succeeded in painting Celeste as a broken woman. The attorney also ventured to ask Celeste whether she pushed her husband down the stairs, revealing that the physics behind his fall indicates that he must have been pushed; he couldn’t have just stumbled. To her credit, Celeste stayed cool even under some of the most invasive lines of questioning. It wasn’t pretty to watch.
Renata’s bankruptcy woes just seem to be adding insult to injury. After being unable to pay her nanny’s severance, she learns that on top of losing all her money, her husband has been going behind her back and coercing the babysitter to perform sex acts for “stress management.” He had allegedly told her that she would be “taken care of” for her duties, which can’t happen now that he’s broke. Renata has undoubtedly been the standout character of the season, and arguably one of the biggest victims. First, her daughter gets ruthlessly abused at school, now she loses everything. If I were Gordon, I would stay away from tall flights of stairs.
Who Is This Guy Corey Anyway? Pt. II
After Bonnie caught him at the police station, Corey had some serious explaining to do. Turns out, he’s not a cop; Quinlan has just been bringing those close to the Monterey Five in for questioning. The ordeal still shook Jane, and she’s already had enough trouble learning to open up to people again. She decides to take a break, but they still work together (yikes). Still, Corey’s a good one, and with any luck, she’ll learn to trust him again. At least, when he’s not comparing her to sea cucumbers.
Elizabeth has been drifting in and out of semiconsciousness for three episodes now, but Bonnie’s mind seems clearer than ever. Watching the deposition for Celeste’s custody battle has put her guilt into overdrive, but Bonnie has come to terms with the fact that her mother’s abuse drew the fatal push out of her. In her bedside confession to her mother, Bonnie even intimated that she wasn’t really in love with her husband, Nate, and only married him because she needed ready validation. Quinlan told Corey at the police station that whichever woman confesses first will get off easier than the rest, but Bonnie isn’t looking to screw her friends over, only absolve her own conscience.
What’s to Come:
We can’t wait for the showdown between Celeste and Mary Louise (well, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep.) At the beginning of the series, Celeste was a competent lawyer with a beautiful home and handsome family, and we saw the perfect veneer slowly crumble. Despite everything, Celeste is still that powerful woman, even if she’s still in the process of healing. She has the power to turn the tide against Mary Louise, who no doubt has some skeletons in her own closet. Whatever happened to Perry’s brother, Raymond, anyway?
While Renata deals with her own lowlife spouse, Madeline and Ed’s marriage seems to be on the mend. He entertained a fling with Tori Bachman while she was looking to get even, but my bet is that he’ll stay true to Madeline, even if she doesn’t deserve it. All she has to do is trust him with her secrets. After everything her lying and secrecy has caused, you’d think the answer would be clearer to her.
The biggest question, of course, is whether Bonnie will spill before the other women have a chance to even get away with it. Elizabeth’s visions have a 50% chance of coming true, which means there’s a 50% chance Bonnie will jump into the ocean before she even makes a decision. Without a confession, any one of the Monterey Five could go down for what happened to Perry. Bonnie has been detached from her husband and family for a long time, and right now it feels like she doesn’t have much to lose.
The last season was meant to be a standalone miniseries, so there’s no telling if there are plans for a Season 3. After the drama between Andrea Arnold and David Kelley was revealed last week, BLL might have some trouble holding onto directors. The post-production schism explains why the past season has felt choppy and overly reliant on flashbacks, with almost none of Arnold’s characteristic touches. If there’s one thing the show does well, it’s screw over successful women, answering the question, “Can you really have it all?” with a resounding “Fuck no.” With the future of the series unclear, we can only hope that the conclusion addresses these moving parts adequately. If not, we can petition that Arnold release a director’s cut—ice cream throwing scene and all.
Big Little Lies airs Sunday at 9 pm on HBO.