Last night marked the end of the first season of HBO’s adaptation of Big Little Lies, a best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty. It starts like a murder mystery, emphasis on the mystery. All we know is that someone died on Trivia night, and we don’t know who. At least not until the end. The story takes place in Monterey, a city full of only the rich and entitled, each with their own trivial problems. The series, for the most part, revolves around the housewives who all have problems, all of which come together in the end.
The Main Characters
First, there’s Madeline, played by Reese Witherspoon: a wife, an ex-wife, a mother, and a perfectionist. Her past of infidelity comes creeping up to the surface when the audience discovers that she not only works with her past lover, Joseph, but that he is also still in love with her. The best part of her storyline is watching someone like Reese Witherspoon, who has a clean-cut reputation, swear as much as she does in this show. Then there’s Jane, played by Shailene Woodley: the new girl, the single mother to the sweet and innocent Ziggy, and a rape victim. Ziggy is accused of bullying one of his classmates, Amabella, and Jane is haunted by her unknown abuser. Both of which come to a conclusion in the last episode. More on that later.
And last but certainly not least, there is Nicole Kidman’s character, Celeste: a mother to twin boys, an ex-lawyer, and a wife to an abusive husband. The abuse starts almost like an angry act of passion but the sexual desire eventually dissipates into utter rage and violence. The problem proves to be ongoing as it becomes an integral part of her marriage as it moves on to the next generation; their son Max. It turns out he was the culprit who had been hurting Amabella all along, which means the boys, although they’ve never seen any of their marital brawls have at least heard it happen. In the end, Celeste finally springs into action with the plan of leaving her husband and taking their sons with her.
As for Jane, we finally find out who Ziggy’s father is: Perry Wright, AKA Celeste’s husband. And what about the murder mystery? The dead body is Perry with a knife in his throat and blood on the cement staircase and these three women plus Renata Klein, Amabella’s mom, and Bonnie Carlson, Madeline’s ex-husband’s wife. Now I’ve never read the book but all I can say is that it must be a great book not only because it was adapted into a television series but because it encapsulates the idea of a chain reaction, how something so small can turn into something so disastrous. All within the context of the upscale city of Monterey.