Who gave the best performance this week in the finale episode of HBO’s “Big Little Lies”? “You Get What You Need,” like all seven episodes in the limited series, was written by multi-Emmy winner David E. Kelley and directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild”). But who was the MVP in front of the camera? Vote below in our poll.
In last week’s penultimate episode, the long debated musical “Avenue Q” finally had its opening night, after which Tori (Sarah Sokolovic) confronted Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) about her affair with Tori’s husband Joseph (Santiago Cabrera), who directed the show. Madeline’s husband Ed (Adam Scott) also seemed suspicious as he confronted her about the lack of passion in their marriage. And on top of all that, Madeline learned that her daughter Abigail (Kathryn Newton) was planning to sell her virginity to benefit Amnesty International.
Meanwhile, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) went back to therapy, where her psychologist (Robin Weigert) urged her to plan her escape from her abusive husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard). But last week’s episode left all the major mysteries unsolved. However, this week’s conclusion wrapped up the story and possibly even left the door open for a second season.
The first mystery was solved early on. Renata (Laura Dern) had been on the warpath against Jane (Shailene Woodley) and her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) over the bullying of Renata’s daughter Amabella, but it turned out she was really being bullied by Celeste’s son, Max. Celeste spent the first half of the episode preparing her new apartment for her new life, intercut again with scenes of violence against her by her husband Perry. Once Celeste confirmed that her son was the bully she was ready to take her children and run. Unfortunately, Perry learned about the apartment before she could.
At the school’s highly anticipated Trivia Night, the tension was fueled by alcohol as Ed wowed with a love song during a talent show that led a guilt-ridden Madeline to run off. Jane chased after her to comfort and reassure her. Then Celeste explained to Renata that it was her son who had been hurting her daughter, so Renata went to find Jane to apologize for antagonizing her and Ziggy.
Meanwhile, Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) noticed tension and suspicious behavior around her, watching Perry start to get drunk and Celeste flee to find her friends. When Perry confronted Celeste, Jane’s face said it all: it turns out Perry was the man who sexually assaulted her and fathered Ziggy. Then we cut to the aftermath of the confrontation, which left Perry dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. At first the audience was denied the specifics of how he died. Instead we skipped ahead to the main characters speaking to the detectives investigating the crime. Then they attended Perry’s funeral along with the rest of their Monterey community. Finally we saw the five ladies at the beach with their children in tow.
That was when we found out the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Another montage showed how Perry ended up dead: after Renata, Jane, and Madeline struggled to keep Perry from beating Celeste, Bonnie witnessed the abuse and intervened, shoving Perry to his death. The other four ladies lied to protect her, and as far as we can tell the investigation was dropped.
Skarsgard’s Perry learned hell hath no fury like five women scorned. But he was stellar as a desperate, despicable villain trying to hold onto his ideal wife and ideal life. The HBO veteran previously starred in both “Generation Kill” (2008) and “True Blood” (2008-2014) and could now find himself in a great position to not only gain his first Emmy nomination but a win, as he is a clear standout among the male cast. And with the Emmy for Best Movie/Mini Actress set to be one of the most competitive in decades, Skarsgard could be the cast’s best chance of scoring hardware.
But arguably the two in the best position to win Emmys for “Big Little Lies” are writer Kelley and director Vallee, since they were the men behind all seven episodes. With the Emmys changing from a ranked preferential ballot to a plurality vote it could be hard for a series with multiple writing or directing nominations to overcome vote splitting. That’s probably how Susanne Bier (“The Night Manager”) was able to win Best Movie/Mini Directing against three episodes of “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Also, the appeal of honoring individuals who wrote and directed a complete seven-episode story arc instead of just one hour of a miniseries or one two-hour TV movie will make them formidable competition.
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