Big Little Lies Finale: A Perfect Ending?

Who died, who killed them, and how did it all end?

By Lauren Piester Apr 03, 2017 2:02 AMTags

It's so nice to feel so complete.

The Big Little Lies finale was everything we wanted, and while we'd love to have more of these women every week, we don't need more. This story is over, and it ended as well as it could have for everyone who deserved a happy ending, with all the moms hanging out together with their kids on the beach, running and laughing and drinking wine and forgetting all the things that tore them apart because now they've got a secret that will most likely bond them forever. We want to live in that final scene.

And for the people who were somehow only here for the answers, we got those too. Who died? Perry. Who killed him? Bonnie, technically. Who was hurting Amabella? Max. Who raped Jane? Perry.

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But the answers (most of which weren't that hard to predict) and the fact that we got them have little to do with what this series ended up even being about. It wasn't a murder mystery or a war of the moms. It was the story of how dangerous secrets can be, and the story of how one man's horrifying behavior reverberated through a community, turning people against each other with fear and anger, and the story of a bunch of women trying to be the best mothers without losing themselves.

And it was also the story of Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) grappling with an old affair, which just seems sorta trivial compared to everything else.  

In any case, we were thinking about the show in the wrong way before, pitting the moms against each other, expecting one of them to come out on top when it was more about them all coming together. We should have been pitting all the guys against each other instead. 

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Let's start with the first big reveal. Jane (Shailene Woodley) finally got Ziggy (Iain Armitage) to tell her who was hurting Amabella (Ivy George), and we weren't surprised to learn it was Max (Nicholas Crovetti), one of Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Perry's (Alexander Skarsgard) twins, or that he was also bullying Skye (Chloe Coleman).

Celeste wasn't at all surprised to learn this either, and along with an incident that had her crying and bruised on the bathroom floor, it was the last push she needed to finally, really leave her husband. So she stocked her new apartment with food and necessities and Ikea furniture and decided she'd leave with the boys after Perry left for Hawaii, the day after the Elvis/Audrey gala.


As they were about to leave for the gala, Perry casually dropped the fact that he had answered Celeste's phone and took a call from her property manager asking about smoke alarms, meaning he was now fully aware of her plans to leave.

At first, he was calm about it, and he and Celeste had a strangely reasonable conversation about it in the car. He knew he was violent, but he could change, he promised! Celeste was all, you've said that before, I've told myself that before, but obviously it's not going to happen. He tried to blame her for being violent too. He tried to make her feel guilty for tearing their family apart. He tried not to let her get out of the car once they arrived at the gala, but Renata (Laura Dern) saved the day by excitedly knocking on the window.

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Celeste took the opportunity to get out of the car and ran to the party, leaving Perry to go searching for her in the sea of Elvis Presleys and Audrey Hepburns as Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), Ed (Adam Scott), and Nathan (James Tupper) all performed some pretty impressive numbers on stage. She caught up with Renata again and filled her in on the situation with their kids.

During Ed's unexpectedly good rendition of "Wonder of Me" (if that was really Adam Scott singing, Parks and Rec really missed some opportunities), Madeline freaked and ran out. Jane found her at the top of those stairs that have been taped off throughout the series, where Madeline proceeded to wonder WTF is wrong with her, and Renata showed up to apologize to Jane.


In the midst of accidentally complimenting Ed's singing too much for Nathan's liking and ending up with Ed's drink all over her dress, Bonnie saw from a distance that something was up with Perry and Celeste. She saw him try to grab her, and she saw her break away and ask to borrow someone's phone (to call the babysitter and telling her to take the boys to the apartment). Meanwhile, Perry grabbed a drink, and spotted his wife leaving the party.

With Perry trailing behind her, Celeste found Madeline, Jane, and Renata, and Perry begged Celeste to go back to the car. That's when Jane saw Perry for the first time, and Madeline saw the look on Jane's face, and eventually all three women seemed to understand that Perry was Jane's rapist. Perry started forward, and then it cut to the lights of an ambulance, with Perry dead at the bottom of the taped-off stairs.

Big Little Lies Leaves Us With No Answers But a Lot of Intrigue Ahead of the Finale

Everyone claimed it was an accident, and that he just tripped and fell after attacking Celeste. But in a series of quick flashbacks accompanied by some incredibly Big Little Lies-ian shots of waves hitting rocks, we learned the truth.

Perry went after Celeste, and a full fight started, with all the women taking their shots and trying to keep Perry off of his wife, who ended up on the ground. Bonnie had seen Perry following Celeste, and showed up at just the right time to push that asshole down the stairs.

The series ended with Celeste, Jane, Madeline, Renata, Bonnie, and all of their kids running around on the beach, with wine glasses nearby, their biggest problems long gone (except, perhaps, for whoever was watching them from a distance).

Never has a trip to the beach felt so earned.

Extra thoughts:

—Bonnie is too great for her own good. The same could be said for all the women on this show, but we haven't praised her or Zoe Kravitz enough.

—Jane got closure AND a boyfriend, thanks to Tom (Joseph Cross) the coffee shop guy, who is not gay and is great at throwing Gordon Klein (Jeffrey Nordling) out the door when he needs to.

—All the performances on this show are good, but Nicole Kidman is incredible at every moment of every scene, even when her American accent is starting to slip. She deserves many, many awards.   

—Abby (Kathryn Newton) isn't going to auction off her virginity after all, thank goodness. Teens, man! 

Big Little Lies aired on HBO.