Season 2, Episode 6: ‘The Bad Mother’
If you make a restricted collection tv present and wrap its finale in an honest bow, however then rabid enthusiasm for the present leads you to make a second season — but you are feeling fairly sure you completely is not going to make a 3rd season — properly, then the penultimate episode of the precise final season is the good place to drop a monster cliffhanger. And “Big Little Lies” introduced it.
But let’s get to that in a minute.
The entirety of Season 2 has been beneath a hurricane warning, and that storm is Hurricane Mary Louise. In Episode 6, we’re hit with some realizations that really feel like lightning strikes: Mary Louise has been combing interview footage of Celeste alongside Detective Quinlan. (Boom!) She’s been having Celeste adopted. (Crash!) She is aware of about Jane’s gun. (Kapow!) And she appropriately suspects her intentions with that gun. (Kablooie!)
The eye of the storm is available in the courtroom the place the struggle for Max and Josh is being waged. Celeste is known as to the stand. As predicted, she is questioned about the circumstances surrounding Perry’s loss of life. She sticks to the script — he slipped — whereas Bonnie is left fantasizing about confessing proper there in entrance of everybody.
But what occurs earlier than that may be a scene that feels as if it would launch 1,000 feminist assume items, which I’m voracious for. I’ll learn each one. Ira Farber (Denis O’Hare), with a matter-of-fact ease, forces Celeste to reply to her complete latest sexual historical past. Perry’s abuse kind of flies away in the breeze. It turns into instantly far much less scandalous than Celeste’s “sickness.” The violence she inflicted, the pleasure she derived from being hit, her latest promiscuity, her capsule popping: Farber paints all of it into an image he may title “A Deeply Sick Woman Who Should Be Nowhere Near Children.”
And Farber is so good that in sure moments, it’s straightforward to overlook how a lot of his assault is simply extraordinarily well-packaged slut shaming. Rough intercourse, by itself, is even one thing Celeste is demeaned for, and her sexual urge for food is shortly labeled an dependancy. Not solely does the decide (Becky Ann Baker) not step in to melt these blows, she as a substitute insists that Celeste clarify what’s “going on” along with her having had so many companions, and decide to getting assist.
The central thriller of this season — whether or not one in all the Monterey Five will lastly crack — is extra acute than ever on this episode. Even Madeline — president of the “he slipped” sorority — is displaying indicators of breakage. Ed can sense her dishonesty, which is one thing their marriage merely can’t deal with, particularly with Tori desirous to wrap her legs and arms round Ed if he lets her. Luckily, Renata is there to yell some sense into Madeline and speak her out of spilling to Ed. (And sure, it’s Mad-a-LINE each time Renata is aggravated along with her.)
We already knew Renata and Gordon weren’t the poster couple for an sincere marriage, however we didn’t realize it stooped to the degree of Gordon using their nanny for “other services rendered.” The cliché of sleeping with the nanny can be humiliating sufficient if it didn’t contain cash — cash that Gordon can’t even afford to pay. In Episode 4, Renata told Jane that for whatever reason, women just stay. “They betray us, and we stay.” But after telling Gordon she doesn’t want to hear one more word out of his “twerp mouth” (her full instructions are considerably more colorful) and maniacally stuffing it with tissues, it doesn’t look like Renata will be sticking this out.
Meanwhile, Corey may not be a cop, but the cops have certainly gotten under his skin. The fact that he is parroting Detective Quinlan’s statement that the first of the Five to come forward will get a “break” feels like bait the detective hoped he would set.
For Bonnie, it’s palpable how much a confession of the killing would bring her back to life. So confess she does, but to her semiconscious mother, and about much more than Perry. Because to Bonnie, Perry’s death didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was the result of years of enduring the great pain of being her mother’s daughter.
“I resent you for killing a man,” Bonnie professes through sobs. “When I lunged at him, I was pushing you.”
We still don’t know if any of this truth about Perry’s death will ever come to light. But it is, quite suddenly, a far less pressing question than what’s about to come to light about Mary Louise.
In the final seconds of this episode, Celeste stands up for herself, literally, against Mary Louise’s Farber-cloaked attacks. She tells the judge that while her parental fitness has been questioned, her mother-in-law’s has not, and she would like it to be. And she would also like to do the questioning.
This can mean only that Celeste has some table-turning knowledge up her sleeve.
We know from a flashback in Episode 2 that Perry and Celeste went straight to the deep stuff on what appeared to be a first date. Somewhere between the cocktails and the moony eyes, Perry told Celeste he lost a brother when he was very young. In all their years together, might this have come up again? Maybe Celeste knows more about that tragedy than Mary Louise realizes?
(And if she does, why has she sat on it for this long?)
What we do know is that we’re about to witness a clash more epic than the Battle of Winterfell.
What I’ll Be Thinking About Until Next Week:
Mostly I’ll just be playing “It’s Over” by Roy Orbison — the song that played on top of this week’s credits — on a loop, ruminating on how this all might end and steeling myself to say goodbye to this show forever.
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