Big Little Lies S1 01: My New Friend Jane

Mystery, murder, California moms, flashing lights and an apparent subscription to all of the indie playlists from Apple Music. These phrases best describe the first episode of HBO’s, “Big Little Lies.”

Having read the book and with the new season coming out next week on HBO, I decided to do a daily episode recap in anticipation for the new season to start. I loved the book and I’m aware that the plot is now in uncharted territory.

There’s also Meryl Streep. What more can you ask for? Anyway, on to the plot.

Big Little Lies follows the lives of moms living in Monterey, CA with a little murder thrown in. The plot follows these four characters:

  • Madeline Martha Mackenzie: Played by Reese Witherspoon. A mom stressed about her kids growing up while worrying that she is slowly becoming irrelevant in their lives. She’s often seen as the ringleader and no one messes with her because they know better. Lastly, she is very unhappy due to the fact that her ex is getting along better with his life than she is.
  • Celeste Wright: Played by Nicole Kidman. A mom of two twins. Often seen as the beauty though she is in an abusive relationship with her husband, Perry Wright (played by Alexander Skarsgård).
  • Jane Chapman: Played by Shailene Woodley. A mom new to the area. Madeline quickly takes her under her wing and shows her around town and gives her the run down of what is going on, town life and all. She has a son named Ziggy who quickly becomes singled out after he is accused of choking a classmate
  • Renata Klein: Played by Laura Dern. A full-time working mom, unlike the previously mentioned characters. She feels that she doesn’t get enough respect despite her accomplishments in her life. Her daughter allegedly gets choked by Ziggy and it causes a downward spiral after she threatens the boy.

I knew nothing about this series when it first came out, aside from the trailers that aired on HBO while “Westworld” was playing so I did not know that Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley were going to be on the series. Laura Dern holds a special place in my heart as she is one of my favorite actresses and Also Shailene Woodley is great.

The central focus of the first episode is a murder. Someone has died and sadly, no questions are answered in this first episode. The only thing we are left with when the credits roll are more questions.

Jean-Marc Vallée does a great job of introducing the characters through police interrogations of the other characters. We learn that the accused are jerks (like Madeline), something sketchy is going on with the Wrights (too much PDA raises some red flags) and other things. I also like how little we know of Chapman, her son and that gun of hers.

All in all, I was pleased with this first episode. I can’t wait to see when all hell breaks loose at the school party.

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