HBO's "Big Little Lies" is generating big buzz, and that's no lie! This week we get more intimate with each of our main marriages in turn, and the results are astonishing even as they are volatile, emotional, and raw. As a whole, then, the scene continues the show's powerfully nuanced thinking on domestic violence. After the day was over, Amabella revealed that someone had choked her.
Jean-Marc Vallée's direction this episode is as showy as it's ever been, complete with jump scares, and alarm-like musical cues, but it makes the reveal so much more effective. You see a woman like Celeste and you're envious.
During the episode we learned that Madeline was struggling to deal with her ex-husband Nathan's (James Tupper) marriage to a much younger woman, Celeste is seemingly living a ideal life with her twin sons and husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) but may be the victim of domestic abuse, and Jane's move to Monterey was unexplained and it seems she's hiding something.
Nicole Kidman was solid in Lion, the recent Australian box-office success, but her work here recalls the slow matrimonial burn of her standout performance in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Reese is one of the executive producers for the show after all. "We're able to talk about everything", she said. Even still, she's not ready to leave him yet.
Yes, I've been watching a lot of television lately. It's the first time we see Celeste openly admit her problems to someone else who isn't Perry, who only hears it during one of their episodes of abuse. The two get into an accident that leaves Joseph in a bad state. Their attempted tryst in the kitchen captures how hard it is to maintain passion in a marriage, and how much easier it is to do in an affair.
Making Ed Ziggy's father would be great, drama-wise: The show's mostly painted him as a gentle dude who cares about his family and has a little chip on his shoulder about some past bullying. She says, "If you know then just cling to that".
In fact, the only element that rings even remotely false this episode is Jane's trip to meet her supposed attacker. If Jane shoots this guy, what happens to him? The women are getting increasingly pissed - Madeline at her director lover, Celeste at Perry, Jane at whoever Ziggy's dad is, Renata at... everyone. Celeste even races to the airport after her session, the twins in tow, in an effort to convince herself that her husband isn't a total monster (although the show offers us a slight fakeout that Celeste may actually be escaping with her boys). That's what bruises most profoundly represent for Celeste: the memory of Perry's hands around her throat or his fist pounding against her she'd rather forget. Madeline introduced Jane to Celeste, and the trio fast became friends. Whether it's Jane's constant, intrusive flashbacks to her rape or Celeste's increasingly violent marriage, numerous show's main characters have already coped with life-changing assaults. They're strong, they're empowered, and most importantly, they have each other.