Sunday, June 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Big Little Lies' - Madeline Delivers a Passionate but Erratic Speech at a School Gathering in 'The End of the World'

HBO's Big Little Lies - Episode 2.03 "The End of the World"

Mary Louise tries to get closer to Jane. Rather than address her troubles at home, Renata focuses her wrath on Principal Nippal. Madeline is forced to confront her issues at a couples therapy session with Dr. Reisman. Celeste remains conflicted by her memories of Perry.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Big Little Lies.

"The End of the World" was directed by Andrea Arnold with teleplay by David E. Kelley and story by David E. Kelley & Liane Moriarty

This season has been so fascinated in exploring how the central lie reverberates throughout the lives of the Monterey Five. Some of them have had extreme reactions to it. But it's also just as compelling to see how many of them have their guards up as coping mechanisms. Madeline is forced to deconstruct her life and explain the choices that she has made. She and Ed are in therapy trying to make their marriage work after the exposure of her affair. It's also telling that Dr. Reisman is the therapist they go to for those sessions. That makes sense considering Celeste has made some remarkable progress with her even though she still pushes back at the suggestion that she needs to leave Perry completely even in death. Celeste doesn't understand why she can't just hold onto the good memories. She wants to watch all of the old family videos that show him as a good parent. She doesn't want to see him as a completely evil person. That's not what Mary Louise wants either. That's just how Jane sees him. She has no compassion for him. She knows him to be a monster. That defined their entire dynamic. Her relationships have been forever changed because of him. It's a struggle for her to open up and be intimate with someone else. And yet, that progress is happening for her. She needs to take things slow with Cory. However, they are moving in the right direction. Intimacy is an ongoing struggle for Celeste as well. Dr. Reisman sees her as a wounded veteran who is more accustomed to the excitement of war instead of the banality of life. Celeste craves the excitement. There is some mystery pertaining to the wounds that are still on her body. She may be harming herself. That's the concern raised in the therapy session. But again, it highlights how these relationships are so transformational and important. People rarely recognize the impact that others have on them throughout their lives. A decision may not seem important in the moment. And yet, it has the potential to reshape the entire narrative and how one views a particular subject. Madeline may just see marriage as a failed exercise that no one should aspire to have. That is absolutely cynical. Right now, it only forces her to admit that the marriage her parents have isn't great even though they've been together for 40 years. Nathan left her and that was explosive. She wanted something different and better with Ed. But now, he too has become a stranger who doesn't know how to support or defend her. He feels betrayed. He isn't let off the hook in the therapy session either. Dr. Reisman wants to know why he has always been so accommodating. He has allowed Madeline to dictate their lives. He is hostile towards her because of this massive betrayal of trust. Madeline is trying to take responsibility over that fact. She destroyed the marriage this time. That was going on long before Perry was killed. And yet, the two lies absolutely compound each other until Madeline reaches her breaking point. That is very devastating and shows just how much damage is continuing to be done because of Perry.

Mary Louise wants vindication and validation as well. She goes to the police to get clarity that her suspicions are valid. She wants to know that the detective also sees it as improbable that Perry's death was an accident. The action doesn't actually show the end of that conversation. Mary Louise knows that there is so much that the five women haven't told the police. They haven't shared those intimate details with their husbands or partners either. Even when Bonnie wants to be happy for Jane being able to share her whole truth with Cory, she recognizes that she can't do the same with Nathan. This is the burden that is constantly weighing her down. She seems better now. That may come from having her mother around. Even that seems like a troubling concern that could develop into something much bigger though. However, Mary Louise is the newcomer to this world who is seeking answers regarding her son. She doesn't want to believe that the sweet and good boy she raised turned into such a monster. The community isn't hiding the truth of who he was to her. They are telling her that he was abusive in his marriage and raped Jane. But Mary Louise wants to submit Ziggy to a DNA test in order to get confirmation. She doesn't ultimately have to do so though because Ziggy bears a striking resemblance to her firstborn son who also died tragically. She has been through this grief before. She wants a strong relationship with the grandchildren she has and the mothers who are now raising them. She has no biological connection to Celeste or Jane. As such, she can easily turn against them at any moment. She wants to know what they are capable of and if it was possible they did something to her son. She is getting more of the picture. It's becoming clear that something more happened that night. However, it's still difficult to understand for her. She and Celeste continue to clash. It may lead to some more distance amongst this family. But that too could stir up a lot of drama because Mary Louise has made her presence known. Her simply being around is enough to make everyone drop all of their other concerns and focus entirely on the lie that was spun out of this tragedy. Renata is dealing with a very real concern about her daughter having an anxiety attack at school. She has to accept that she is carrying a lot of anguish and uncertainty around as well. She thought she saw the detective when her husband was arrested by the FBI. That may or may not be true. It was proof that she still sees that concern as lurking over her shoulder. She wants to desperately be seen as a highly respected member of the community. She wants her concerns to be heard at the school. Instead, they are met with antipathy by the principal who just sees the parents as nonsensical. And yet, he still gives the floor to Madeline as she makes her crushing speech about kids learning about the real world at a younger and younger age in our culture. That too has been very disruptive and forced some very honest conversations to take place. That is an absolutely brutal moment that may reveal how these women can really only rely on each other in every aspect of their lives.