Big Little Lies – a series overview

Warning: contains season finale spoilers.


Big Little Lies was perhaps one of the most gripping dramas to hit our screens this year. Focusing on some important societal issues – affairs, divorce, domestic violence, rape – and their affects on family life and childhood, this seven-part series hit the nail on the head with how it tackled these topics.

The series began with our leading ladies (played by the fantastic Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoe Kravitz) at the heart of a police investigation. Evidently, someone had died and these women were somehow all connected. The audience was left guessing who, and what, had happened as the next seven episodes provided a slow build-up to the final death scene. Throughout the series, we were provided with all sorts of conflict and implications, leaving the audience all with the same question on their lips – are any of these characters really capable of murder?

The characters were all incredibly complex and unpredictable. With all sorts of ongoing matters, it was hard to judge who would be the perpetrator and victim. A clear motive stemmed from the mothers of the school, who all seemed to be at each others throats, this seemed varyingly likely throughout the series as other factors were thrown into the mix. A raunchy affair, the hunt for a rape-perpetrator (seemingly touched on but not a considered a real final outcome for some fans of the show), an abusive relationship, new and ex relationship rivalry; all became, somehow, equally likely in the final showdown. This slow-build with many overlapping conflicts throughout the series left us jumping at the sign of any hostility in the climatic finale.

The characters we got to know through the show were played excellently. Madeline, played by Witherspoon, was definitely one of my favourites. Her funny outspokenness, and fierce loyalty to her friends gave a lighthearted feel to some of the darker topics touched on by the series, and despite her happy life and marriage, the revelation of her previous affair was a cheerful reminder that not everyone is perfect – but we loved her all the same.

The topic of domestic and sexual violence was a topic that the writer braved-out wholeheartedly. Nothing was left to imagination. One of the key reasons for success of the show was how it brutally dealt with these issues through its use of graphic scenes – portrayed excellently by Kidman, Woodley and Skarsgård.

This perhaps is what made the finale so satisfying. Above all, audiences wanted to know who was killed that night, as well as wanting justice for Celeste and Jane. As it turns out, good things really do come in three’s! After an episode of audiences willing Celeste to finally leave Perry, he appears in front of the leading ladies at trivia night. If the anticipation of the last 10 minutes wasn’t enough, the shocking plot twist that no one predicted hit us out of nowhere – not only was Perry abusive to his wife, he had form of violence, as it was revealed for him to also be Jane’s rapist.

It’s fair to say that the ending definitely met our expectations. Jane, Madeline and Celeste came together with their former rivals Renata and Bonnie to defeat this disgusting excuse of a man – ultimately killing him and the demons that had haunted them through previous episodes. This display of sisterhood against such violent acts (despite previous conflicts between the women) was truly heartening, and gave us some sense of a “happily ever after” in its justice.

This show deserves the high ratings and reviews it’s received since the beginning, with fans begging for more, will our heroines live to fight on with (and against) each other for another series?

Well we certainly hope so!