HBO’s twisty new drama Big Little Lies made its debut on Sunday, February 19, introducing a bucolic seaside setting that’s riddled with under-the-radar turmoil — and when the credits rolled on the big (little) premiere, audiences were left with dozens of questions and virtually no answers.
With its monied families, dirty secrets, mommy wars and simmering resentments, the town of Monterey, California, is a hotbed of plot lines a-brewing … and that’s even before we get to the part where somebody just got murdered. Below, we’ve rounded up the biggest dangling threads that the series will need to unravel in the coming weeks.
Jane’s Mysterious Past
Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) is a cipher wrapped in a riddle and doused with a hot pour-over of who-the-heck-knows. What is this young, single mom doing all alone with her son in Monterey? In this first episode, we saw Jane (if that’s even her real name) instantly getting along like gangbusters with local queen bee Madeleine (Reese Witherspoon) — but girl’s got secrets, y’all. From her refusal to divulge details about her son’s dad, to the fact that she sleeps with a gun under her pillow, there’s something big and bad going on there.
Yes, that’s Amabelle, with an A-m-a — and no, we’re not sure she told the truth about Jane’s son, Ziggy, having assaulted and choked her on the first day of school. Someone is hurting this little girl, the daughter of Renata Klein (Laura Dern), but who? Expect a whole lot more inter-mommy drama before we find out the truth.
Celeste’s Terrible Secret
Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) were downright hashtaggable when we first saw them on screen. Perry is a devoted husband and father who just can’t keep his hands off his wife — but in the worst way, as we discovered when he violently grabbed her during a disagreement. So far, these two are the most complicated couple on the show … and the ticking-est time bomb.
The Show Must Go On
Although Madeleine was very much at the center of all the violence, trauma and drama (at least, per the various police witnesses we saw interviewed in flash-forward throughout the episode), her own conflicts are comparatively small potatoes. The biggest thorn in her side? Her ex-husband’s new wife, Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) — who just signed a petition to ban Madeleine’s upcoming, off-color musical theater production. (What kind of yoga teacher tries to censor the theater? That’s not very zen of her.) Will Avenue Q go on as planned? We’ll have to wait and see.
And Oh, Yeah, Someone Is Dead
If you know anything about Big Little Lies, you know that there’s a death (and let’s be real, it’s probably more like a murder) at the center of the series — but it’s still anyone’s guess who it is. In the premiere, we saw nothing but the aftermath in the form of flashing police strobes and informational interviews with Monterey residents (none of the core cast), who were all too happy to dish about the sordid underbelly of the town’s parental politics. What we do know? Someone is super dead, and it’s only going to get weirder from here.
Big Little Lies airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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