Most people would move Heaven and Earth for their children and in Little Fires Everywhere, this much is apparent. With Elena and Mia both clashing and coming from very different backgrounds, Little Fires Everywhere sees these two come to blows over Bebe Chow and her child. Used as a backdrop for their own rivalry that’s been bubbling up over the episodes, this week sees the foundations for their bitter rivalry laid in the form of a custody battle.
Episode 4 of Little Fires Everywhere begins with Elena and Bill sitting together and trying to calm down Linda and Mark after Bebe burst into their house last episode. Bill decides they should leave but before they do, Linda berates Elena for telling her everything will be okay.
Izzy meanwhile does artwork with Mia as they talk about their process together. Mia is distracted though by a phone call, but allows Izzy to come back and do painting with her in the future.
Back home, Lexie talks to her friends about sex while Moody talks to Tripp about Pearl, who blew him off the previous night.
At work, Mia tries to convince Scott not to fire Bebe Chow after she stole money from the cash register. Eventually he succumbs and allows her to carry on. It turns out Bebe’s feeling even worse than she was before, now that she knows where her child is but can’t do anything for her.
In the morning, Pearl surprises her Mother with a new art piece and it’s here Mia tells her she’s happy she’s making new friends. As Pearl leaves, Mia phones her contact and tries to raise some funds for Bebe Chow.
At Elena’s house, Elena confronts Mia over the car and her possible involvement with the Bebe Chow situation, talking with an accusatory tone. At a stalemate, and unable to talk things through, the day turns to night and Halloween gets into full swing. As it does, Elena questions Bill over Mia being distant with her but he writes it off for now.
Pearl is picked up by her friends and arrives at the party while Moody is given some words of wisdom. He’s told to ignore Pearl completely in order to win her over. Instead, he decides to head straight up to her and comments on her outfit, joking that it’s racist she’s dressed as Scary Spice. It’s the wrong thing to say of course and he immediately regrets it as Pearl takes her leave.
Busy-body Elena phones Scott and poses as a reporter, telling him she knows what he’s done and demands to know the full details. Mia meanwhile, heads in to Elena’s house and takes a laundry basket full of random items, eventually heading into Izzy’s room and taking a red feather.
Elena sits with Linda and feeds back what she’s learned, telling her she’ll speak to Bebe and try to come to an arrangement. After calling her an “illegal alien”, Elena calms Linda down and promises to help her. At her house, Elena hands over a cheque to quiet the Mother but Bebe Chow bites back, telling her she won’t sell her child. Unfortunately Elena stirs the pot further by calling her a bad Mother and leaves.
Pearl and Tripp start studying together but midway through, she kisses him causing drama to ensue. One thing leads to another and inevitably Tripp feels guilty for sleeping with Pearl given Moody likes her.
In the aftermath of the issue with Bebe, Elena confronts Mia and calls her a bad mother too. The two come to blows and Mia admits to only taking the job to protect her daughter before walking out.
At dinner, the Richardson’s sit and talk, eventually spilling over to Izzy leaving while Pearl is forbidden from seeing the family again. Midway through the duo fighting however, Bebe shows up and sits with Mia as they talk. Pearl takes the opportunity to sneaks over to Elena’s. In order to get the money to fight this case, Mia makes a big sacrifice for her friend. Realizing that Pearl is gone, Mia drives over to the Richardson house and screams to her daughter to come out.
In the morning, she drives Pearl to school while Tripp intentionally sits the other side of the classroom to her. That evening, the press catch wind of the situation and unfortunately Elena and Linda do not look good as a custody battle over the baby looms on the horizon.
As the episode closes out, Mia ignites strips of paper resembling Elena’s face and watches it burn with glee.
Quite who started the fire at Elena’s house remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – this fight is far from over. With race and class continuing to be a driving factor for this series, Little Fires Everywhere bows out its episode this week with plenty to ponder going forward.
Tripp and Moody will almost certainly come to blows over the situation with Pearl while Elena and Mia will inevitably clash again. This custody battle looks like it’s going to be a very intense and personal issue for all involved and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a few casualties along the way. For now though, the series leaves things hanging on a knife edge and while this week’s episode does sink into a more formulaic role, there’s enough here to make for an intriguing slice of drama nonetheless.