What Did You Think of the Conclusion of “Big Little Lies?”
Posted on April 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm
Now that we’ve had a few days to think about it, or to catch up with the final episode of “Big Little Lies” On Demand or by DVR, what did you think?
There are some good discussions online, especially at Vulture, with
My enjoyment of this series was never driven by figuring out who died and by whose hand; I had no expectation that there would be some phenomenal “didn’t see that coming” type of twist. The murder serves mostly as a convenient narrative device that draws the audience into the story, then allows us to soak up the thorny dynamics between these fascinating women, who happen to be played by dynamite actors relishing putting on a weekly fireworks display. That said, the finale is so well-executed that it actually made me more anxious than ever to find out what happened during that explosive confrontation at the Audrey & Elvis party. Writer David E. Kelley and director Jean-Marc Vallée turn up the dial on the tension with such careful deliberateness that it’s impossible to feel any way other than on edge while watching.
The show started out by threatening to become a glossier, more art-house-pretentious answer to ABC’s Desperate Housewives, with a scrambled-up structure that sometimes interfered with the momentum of otherwise nicely shaped story lines. The regular cutaways to the police interviews grew tiresome, and even in the second half, which was stronger than the first, there were obnoxious moments when the series would cut to different subplots, rather than letting a strong scene build and crest. At the same time, though, there was real beauty in its cutaways to rolling, crashing waves, which complemented the loose, handheld camerawork, the silent-with-music montages, and the many unnerving moments when the dialogue dropped out.
The boldest thing about Big Little Lies, though, is the way it centers on women’s experiences as wives and mothers and depicts their internecine fights with each other as a distraction from a larger, ongoing conflict with men — some of whom truly love them. A show populated by one-percenters who live in mansions by the sea would seem an unlikely venue for a smash-the-patriarchy narrative, but damned if Big Little Lies didn’t deliver one.
As well as thoughts from the director, Jean-Marc Vallée, who explains why the audience does not hear what the characters are saying in a crucial moment:
The girls are being interrogated and we don’t hear them. It’s because we are seeing them from the detective’s perspective, from her point of view, and she didn’t want to listen to them. She turned the intercom off.
And from Alexander Skarsgård, who plays the abusive husband of Nicole Kidman’s character, where he says the final scene
made me think of like a nature documentary where you see a larger predator being taken down by a group of smaller predators, where they collectively attack him from all angles. He could take them down one-on-one, but as a group, it just exhausts him. It’s too many of them. It’s like when you set a bunch of dogs on a bear.