Sunday, June 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Big Little Lies' - Mary Louise's Latest Action Could Disrupt Celeste's Life Forever in 'She Knows'

HBO's Big Little Lies - Episode 2.04 "She Knows"

Celeste accuses Mary Louise of overstepping boundaries with Jane. Renata endures a prying court hearing with Gordon. Jane opens up to Corey at Amabella's birthday party. Madeline continues to try to make things right with Ed.

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.

"She Knows" was directed by Andrea Arnold with teleplay by David E. Kelley and story by David E. Kelley & Liane Moriarty

During Amabella's '70s-themed 8th birthday party, Madeline goes up to Ed asking him to dance with her. He says he would love to dance. He just doesn't want to go through all the levels of pretending necessary to do so. In fact, he does have a joyous time later on dancing with Bonnie. It's just a moment he is incapable of having with his wife right now. And yet, so much of the world at the moment is the Monterey Five pretending that their lives are okay and not traumatized by Perry's death and the central lie. Bonnie has voiced concerns about the lie doing so much damage to her personal life and relationships. And now, Celeste extends that same sentiment. It makes Madeline feel like she's getting ganged up on by her friends who are now saying she bullied them into accepting the cover-up. The show is still choosing to revisit the murder without featuring any of the dialogue that comes from the five women in the immediate aftermath. Instead, it's just clear that a heated discussion takes place while some are in shock over what has just happened. Only now are Bonnie and Celeste dealing with the sheer magnitude of that decision. It feels like they are constantly being watched. Now, Detective Quinlan could very well suspect that the Monterey Five had something to do with Perry's death. She continues to appear in random places where the women also happen to be. That could be unnerving. It's unsettling because she is a constant presence where no one fully knows what's going on with her. She could just have suspicions like Mary Louise does. Or she could actually have some damning piece of evidence that could be slowly building an incriminating case against some or all of the women who went along with the cover-up. Until that is ultimately revealed, the sheer agony of the unknown is proving to be so destructive for the personal lives of these women. Celeste is literally blacking out with no awareness of what she is doing. Mary Louise sees that as an example of her being an unstable personality who should no longer be caring for her children. She adds that on top of how physical her marriage actually was. Celeste even slaps Mary Louise here simply for invading her personal space and not quite understanding the boundaries others might have in this community. Mary Louise has long been seen as a disruptive force for this season. But now, she is putting things into motion that could dramatically alter Celeste's life forever. She is preparing for a fight. That just means Celeste has fewer people she can actually trust. Madeline is still there by her side to defend her. Renata recommends a good lawyer to represent her in this case. Jane also goes to Mary Louise wondering if this is the same fate that could happen to her at any moment. That confrontation may only create more doubt and suspicion. Everyone has been trying to move on. It's just insanely difficult to do so. Jane always thinks she's on the cusp of a breakthrough only to be hit with another setback. She relies on Celeste. And yet, she left her at the bar only for Celeste to go home with the bartender.

Of course, this hour does a remarkable job at pretending as well. Renata doesn't want filing for bankruptcy to disrupt the energy of her daughter's birthday party. That's the greatest betrayal that she gleans from this whole scandal with Gordon. He has ruined everything she dreamed of having in her life and with her child. She is so happy to see Amabella having a fun time at this party. And yet, there is a ton of uncertainty over whether or not they will continue being able to live this way. Renata has to give up so much because the court believes that bankruptcy may not be an honest path for this family. It is though. It just comes as a complete implosion of everything Renata has proudly stood for. She sees herself as a self-made success. She worked hard to get everything she has. And now, it runs the risk of all going away. That puts everything into starker context for her. It makes her more committed to the central lie as well. She can't let anything threaten this carefully crafted reality she has created for herself. And yet, she doesn't understand how that anxiety is translated and being felt by the people around her. This is a fun and exciting party. But it too ends in disaster with Elizabeth having a stroke. That's such a stark and terrifying moment. Bonnie's mother just came to town. She is constantly searching for answers as to what is happening in her daughter's life. She instinctively understands that something is off. Something may potentially be sinister in this world. She is very intuitive. She is much more genuine and keen in that way. Meanwhile, Ed and Nathan are getting into yet another fight. That shows how they aren't always the most present when it comes to understanding what's actually going on in their own homes. That too may be a pattern for Madeline's life. She embraces these kinds of relationships knowing that she can maintain that dominance and control. She craves that in her life. And yet, she doesn't have it. She is at a loss for how to move forward because she feels stuck in this weird and uncomfortable holding pattern. However, she's still in bed with her husband. Bonnie is in the hospital with her mother's fate unknown while Celeste is going to court to push back against Mary Louise's assertions that she is unwell. But again, all of this could be hinting at further tragedy. That's what the final tease provides. When Elizabeth just touches the women who comprise the Monterey Five, she sees darkness. Now, the show plays that as causing her stroke. That's a little cliche and problematic. She apparently sees into the future and fears for her daughter's own death. That could lead to such lethal thoughts within herself too. Bonnie has such a complex relationship with her parents. Her family understands that Elizabeth has these big expressions to human connection. But she can also be cold and opinionated. And now, she too controls Bonnie's orbit in a way that could only further fray at her stability in this world.