The Spark – | Review Score – 4/5
Seeds and All– | Review Score – 3.5/5
Seventy Cents– | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Spider Web– | Review Score – 3/5
Duo– | Review Score – 4/5
The Uncanny– | Review Score – 3/5
Picture Perfect – | Review Score – 4/5
Find a Way – | Review Score – 4/5
Little Fires Everywhere is a show that’s worth sticking with until the end. Hulu’s latest familial drama will almost certainly draw comparisons to Big Little Lies and with both Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon in the driving seat, it’s easy to see why. Armed with an intriguing mystery, lots of commentary surrounding class and race and a dynamic power struggle that changes and evolves throughout the season, Little fires Everywhere is a smartly written drama and one of the better shows of the year.
The story begins with an intriguing mystery. Elena Richardson and her family look upon the burning wreckage of their family home. Someone has set it alight and all fingers point toward Elena’s troublesome youngest daughter Izzy as the one responsible. But is she really to blame?
After this opener, we cut back in time and see what led to this event taking place. The catalyst for most of the drama starting is Mia, a free-spirited artist who arrives in Shaker Heights with her daughter Pearl, living out their car and making ends meet. Elena take pity on her and allows her to rent one of the houses she has on the market. As Mia comes to work for Elena, she and Pearl eventually become entangled in the Richardson’s lives and it’s here we learn their seemingly perfect family facade isn’t so perfect after all.
Elena’s prized daughter Lexie holds a big secret that she shares secretly with Pearl, Tripp and Moody become mixed up in a messy love triangle that tests their brotherly bonds while Izzy finds comfort in Mia, which causes even more rifts to grow with her estranged Mother.
As things start to become more complicated and messy, tensions bubble up further when Mia’s friend Bebe Chow finds her child adopted by Elena’s friends, leading to a very messy court trial. There’s an awful lot going on here and a flashback-heavy episode even shows up toward the end to try to sort through some of the emotional drama. There’s a lot of layers to this one but the ending gives good closure to almost all of our characters and a perfectly ambiguous final scene that’s certainly open to interpretation.
What helps Little Fires Everywhere stand out however is the way it approaches each of its different ideas. There’s a lot of juxtapositions, similarities and poetic ironies right the way through the show and what begins as a simple black/white, rich/poor divide soon grows to show a multifaceted set of characters that evolve over the season and learn from one another in the process.
Izzy learns how to express herself thanks to Mia’s attitude toward life. Lexie sees her true self thanks to her boyfriend Brian and Pearl, while Tripp and Moody both approach love in very different ways. All of this extends up to the stark differences between Mia and Elena, which ultimately acts as the catalyst for everything that snowballs in the season. It’s such a clever, deliberately placed spider web that captures you in its silky string early on and keeps you gripped until the final scenes.
A lot of the show relies on the dialogue between characters to keep things moving forward and at times this can be at the detriment of the pacing. A few of the episodes take a while to get going while that aforementioned extended flashback grinds to a halt any momentum built up until that point. Thankfully it’s rectified by a dramatic final few episodes but it’s still worth bearing this in mind when watching through.
Aside from a couple of pacing issues and wobbles here and there, Little Fires Everywhere is a solid drama and well worth a watch. It’s an absorbing family melodrama that portrays its socially charged themes across the different episodes beautifully and ends things on a high. Although it does sag a little in the middle, Little Fires Everywhere rewards your perseverance with a well worked finale and lots of ambiguity at the end. It may not be perfect but those little fires in the show certainly grow into a raging inferno, and that’s a sight worth sticking around for.