Everything You Should Have Seen Coming on 'Big Little Lies'
Warning: major spoilers!
Warning: major spoilers!
Text: William Defebaugh
Last night saw the finale of one of the season's biggest TV shows: HBO's Big Little Lies. Based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, the miniseries was genius for many reasons—from its stellar cast (including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard) to its expertly-curated soundtrack to the way it approached masculinity and domestic violence—its biggest triumph was its writing and direction (by Jean-Marc Vallée). The events in the final episode were perfectly woven together throughout the season, hiding in plain sight. Read on for all you might have missed.
One of the series's core mysteries is who is harming Amabella, the daughter of Renata (Dern). From the first episode, we know that Perry (Skarsgard) is an abuser, and Celeste (Kidman)'s therapist is constantly warning that their children are witnesses to this abuse. Looking back, it makes perfect sense that one of Celeste and Perry's sons would be responsible for the violence at school, having learned how a man should treat a woman from his father.
Of course Perry is the one who raped Jane (Woodley). This one became a popular internet theory, but for those who weren't clued in, there were two big red flags. The first is that Jane and Perry never meet throughout the season, which is crazy! It's practically the only non-interaction between the characters, the type of plot mechanism that always comes with a reason. The second is that the guy Jane chases down the beach in one of her day dreams looks exactly like Perry (and at a towering 6'4," Skarsgard has a pretty recognizable body type).
It should have come as a welcome relief to all viewers that the murder victim turned out to be monster-husband Perry, as opposed to one of our leading ladies. This death was also heavily foreshadowed; aside from the obvious violence in his relationship with Celeste, at one point, their therapist even warns her that this will either end with her leaving him or death (at that point, it's inferred that it would be her own death, but hindsight is 20/20).
Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. Sweet, unassuming Bonnie. With her holistic outlook and frequent attempts to create peace among the moms of Monterey, Kravitz's character might seem like the least likely to kill someone, but the signs were there all along. Throughout the series, she's depicted as a tough-as-nails warrior goddess who teaches classes that seem to be equal parts yoga and some form of jiu-jitsu (remember that scene where Ed made an awkward comment about her sweaty skin?). She's also an advocate for justice, and generally wants everyone to be okay—meaning it makes sense that she would jump in and come to the rescue when she sees her fellow moms being assaulted by Perry. Bonnie for the win!
How many times did we watch Madeline walk up those damn stairs with the caution tape?! It's difficult to imagine a more clear warning sign than an actual warning sign. That plus Jane's vision of her falling off of a cliff should have been an unambiguous indicator of what the murder method would be. The fact that it wasn't with a gun was a bit of a welcome twist, though. To put it in Clue terms, it was Bonnie by the stars with a push!