The third and final episode airing on Wednesday for Little Fires Everywhere deepens the storyline further for our two conflicting protagonists. The hierarchical nature of school and the heartbreaking story from Bebe Chow collide into a messy third act that leaves plenty of questions hanging over this one going forward.
Episode 3 of Little Fires Everywhere sees us skip back to December 1997 where we see Bebe Chow and her daughter May Ling. She refuses to breastfeed and with the electricity out and no money to buy formula milk, it’s a serious struggle just to keep her alive. Unfortunately she’s forced into the difficult position of giving her child up.
After this brief flash through time, we see Bebe sitting with Mia as they talk about her fruitless search in finding her daughter.
At school Pearl asks Moody to go with her to the school dance, while at home Bill and Elena greet Brian, Lexie’s boyfriend. Given Pearl is there too, Elena makes a comment regarding her and Brian “having a lot in common”; a jab at their race.
The next day, Izzy talks to her Mum about school and the issues she’s having, prompting her to tell Izzy she should change the story herself. As she heads back in to school with renewed vigor, Izzy asks Pearl and the others to go to Homecoming with her. As they discuss what to do, Lexie is made Homecoming Queen, making her well and truly a mini-Elena and also causing Izzy to fall further into her shadow.
Meanwhile, Mia talks to Elena and learns that a 1 year old’s birthday party, complete with Chinese-themed fortune cookies and roses, is actually for Bebe Chow’s little girl, who’s been adopted by Elena’s friends Mark and Linda. Upon hearing this, Mia leaves the house abruptly, shocked at this revelation.
When Pearl returns soon after, Mia confronts her daughter about hanging around with Lexie and becoming her own “personal doll”, prompting her to bite back and ask about Mia’s lifestyle. She implores her mother to say more about who her Father is before the two butt heads and come to blows once more.
In the morning, Mia heads up to the Richardson’s house with Pearl and as they begin talking about photography, both Bill and Elena wind up shocked and taken aback by Izzy who shows up in a dress. As they notice she’s cut her leg open, Elena takes her back upstairs where they bond.
The Homecoming night arrives and Lexie makes amends with Brian. The party gets underway and Izzy heads off to dance while Pearl and Moody wind up together, doing their best to dance. Back home, Mia takes photos at Mirabelle’s birthday party.
She heads upstairs and finds Mirabelle in her crib, prompting Mia to pick her up and examine the girl, confirming that she is infact Mai Ling. Elena heads upstairs and sees her with the child in her arms, prompting big red flags to crop up when Mia is forced to backtrack on calling the child her real name.
After the party, Moody and Pearl disagree on what to do for an after-party, eventually settling on a quiet one watching TV together, while Lexie tries to make amends with Brian after he learns the truth about her essay. Those amends come from her offering him her body.
Mia informs Bebe Wong about her daughter and this consequently causes Bebe to show up at the party and incredulously shout for Mark and Linda to hand over her child as Mirabelle is on the verge of blowing out the candles.
After sleeping with Brian to get her mind off things, she tells him to leave while Izzy rides the bus home, thinking over Moody and her Mother’s words as she heads to Mia’s house for comfort instead.
As the episode closes out, Elena promises to find out who knows about the child while Mia looks up and down the street before heading inside with Izzy, where the episode ends.
There’s plenty to dissect from these first three episodes of Little Fires Everywhere and so far, the show has done a great job capturing the raw race and class issues at the heart of this story. Elena and Mia are worlds apart and although right now the house fire seems like a long way off from coming to fruition, there’s a consistent theme of fire being shown off in every episode so far, keeping this subconsciously at the heart of this show.
Little Fires Everywhere captures some of what makes Big Little Lies (the first season at least) so endearing and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this show takes going forward. Although the first episode is the strongest, at least in terms of visual storytelling and scene-setting, the series itself has done a good enough job to keep things interesting and keep you coming back to find out what happens next week.