The Big Bang
After 6 episodes of dramatic back and forth for the Monterey 5, we arrive at the Season 2 finale which ends things on a whimper rather than a roar.
We begin with everyone preparing for the court trial to come. Renata and Mary Louise have a falling out at the coffee shop before Mary Louise is told by her lawyer to just answer the questions and nothing more.
In court, Celeste keeps her composure and asks Mary Louise questions about her temper before directing her attention to an incident that occurred with Perry as a child. This saw her Mother-In-Law crash the car while angry. She then probes further, asking whether she ever blamed Perry for what happened. After vehemently denying the accusations, Celeste proceeds to show the court a video depicting Perry’s violence firsthand.
With court adjourned for now, she has a heart to heart with Madeline who admits she’s not sure how long she can keep the lie going before Celeste heads home and puts the boys to bed. However, before she can get them off the sofa, Mary Louise shows up and pleads with her not to lie about Perry. Incredulous, Celeste ignores her and slams the door in her face.
Meanwhile, Bonnie tells her mum she loves her before she miraculously wakes up the next day. However, it’s the proverbial calm before the storm as Bonnie’s Mum passes away with her final words “I’m sorry” ringing in her ears. Deciding she’s had enough of lying, she tells Nathan she’s not in love with him as he leaves, tears stinging his eyes.
Meanwhile, Ed decides that he and Madeline should renew their wedding vows; a quiet affair, one without fan-fair and just him and the girls. Madeline agrees to the terms before heading to court with Celeste, the boys and everyone else as the judge delivers her verdict. The boys are staying with Celeste. She breathes a sigh of relief and asks the boys to go and hug Mary Louise in a touching send-off.
After a stressful day in court, Renata heads home and Gordon pushes her over the edge. After losing all their stuff, learning he gets to keep his train set and other collectables causes her to erupt in a flurry of anger, grabbing a baseball bat and smashing the set into tiny pieces. As she walks out, throwing her wedding ring at him, we then leave with a final montage of all our characters coming to terms with the lie and meeting up at the end, leaving things wide open going forward.
Big Little Lies has been one of the most peculiar rides over the past 7 episodes. The plot has meandered all over the place at times and in many ways this season reminds me of an indoor, pitch-black rollercoaster called X No Way Out at Thorpe Park. Without seeing the big picture, every twist and turn feels tense and overly dramatic until the lights come on and you see the entire track laid before you and wonder quite why you thought that was so scary. The same thing is true here.
Individually, the 7 episodes this season have been a masterclass in acting. The talented cast have done an excellent job breathing life into these characters and producing memorable character journeys for everyone involved, even the supporting characters. The problem is, it’s an utterly pointless and time wasting exercise.
The entire season has felt like it’s building up to something really dramatic before dropping the ball and delivering a season that really doesn’t do anything to give closure to these storylines. The detective looking at Bonnie suspiciously is never followed up, Madeline’s qualms about the lie are stifled out at the end, Mary Louise’s inclusion stirs the pot but hardly makes waves and no one really learns anything or suffers any consequences for their actions. The individual characters certainly go on a journey and their progression is pretty good but in terms of narrative structure, when you’re done with this one you’re ultimately left asking, what’s the point?
Enjoyable and dramatic no doubt, Big Little Lies delivers a decent finale but a poor ending to a season that perhaps should never have been green-lit in the first place.