Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4 Review: She Knows

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Each character sense a sort of unraveling on Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4.

While the final minutes reveal in detail the details of Elizabeth's visions regarding Bonnie, the idea was already coursing through my mind that one, if not several of the Monterey Five might not make it out of Big Little Lies Season 2 alive.

Their all dancing on the precipice of reality, and who survives will be determined solely by their strength of will and their family support.

Cautious Bonnie - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Although the women are all dealing with the same overarching secret that's tearing apart their lives, their inner turmoil in some cases trumps what happened to Perry even if it's been driven by the decision made after his death.

Jane is still plagued by her rape, Celeste is so far in her own world she won't even admit the full effect of Perry's violence, Madeline is struggling with her self-esteem, and Renata is watching all she dreamed go into the toilet.

Joining the Party - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

It's Bonnie who is directly suffering the most as a result of what happened to Perry. She wasn't even "friends" with the other four when she stepped in to do what she thought was right -- saving Celeste.

If not for the lie Madeline told about it being an accident, they could have all dealt with what happened and moved on. Instead, it's dragging them all far under, and some might not be able to get out.

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Bonnie's mother has been feeling her way through Monterey having visions every time she touches someone. While her clogged arteries sure helped, the concern for her daughter pushed her over the edge, and Elizabeth suffered a stroke.

Hearing her father try to blame Bonnie for the stroke didn't help matters, and we can still get images from both mother and daughter about something that happened to them long ago causing a divide. 

Whatever it is that's also haunting Bonnie might lead to her death whether by her own hand and her enormous guilt or heck, maybe her father will be the end of her.

Blaming Madeline - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Regardless, her life is in grave danger. I don't think Elizabeth's visions are a joke even if they're more difficult to understand than other types of concern. 

Elizabeth woke from the stroke, but she's altered. She cannot speak. Yet. Will she be forced to live with her worry and never be able to articulate it to Bonnie? That would be a horrible way for her to live the rest of her life.

And Bonnie doesn't have a strong man to lean on with Nathan. Sure, I think he loves her, but he is so out of his depth in understanding women at all, let alone one who needs his support.

Bonnie seems to have been finding some solace in her meetings with Ed, but that's to be expected. Ed is a good guy who cares about everyone even when he's pretending he doesn't.

Nathan picking a fight with Ed at the party proves how futile it will be for Bonnie to lean on him as her troubles mount, and they're mounting. She freaked out on the detective at the hospital, and that will only put her more into the detective's focus.

Disco Brawl - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

With her mother ill and her father already blaming her for that, Bonnie could get dragged out of her life even further than she has already with very little support. It's worrisome.

Because even if all of the others say they're there for her to talk to about what she's feeling, they just don't have the time to get out of their own way long enough to give her shoulders to lean on.

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Bonnie has gotten close to Jane, and their lives are more similar than the older women. But with Mary Louise in the picture, Jane's beginning to question other things.

It was heartbreaking when she was dancing with Corey, and his touch paralyzed her with fear from her encounter with Perry. Jane has been living with that for so long, and just when she thought she was doing well, she got thrust back into it again with the discovery of Perry in Monterey.

Before the Memories Rushed In - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

I have faith in Jane, though, because she has found a good egg with Corey. He's caring and doesn't push her beyond her comfort zone. Taking tiny steps with her will help them to build a solid foundation.

She's going to need it now that Mary Louise is in her life. It's understandable that Mary Louise wants to get to know Ziggy, but she's such a steamroller that she's given Jane pause about a lot.

Mary Louise tends to operate in a vacuum without thinking about what her actions mean to the greater group. That would have been fine when she first arrived, but now that she has another grandson and his mother in her life, she needs to slow down.

The rape is on Jane's mind all the time, and if Mary Louise really does not believe her beloved son raped Jane, then Jane has every right to be cautious.

Intrigued Jane - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Mary Louise may not be going after Ziggy now, but whose to say that if Jane experiences issues with regard to Perry's memory that it won't change?

I can also understand why Jane might get worried Mary Louise was coming for her kids, as well, but unfortunately, I don't entirely disagree with Mary Louise's assessment of Celeste.

Mary Louise: You're a mess, Celeste. And until you're better, we just have to think about protecting the wellbeing of our boys. We should at least agree on that, hmm?
Celeste: My boys will not be going to live with you.
Mary Louise: But they're at risk here. They're at risk in your care. And I'm their grandmother, and I will not forsake them. And I will not forsake what I know Perry would want me to do for them.
Celeste: I need you to get out of here. Right now.
Mary Louise: We can calmly...
Celeste: No, no.
Mary Louise: Celeste...
Celeste: Get the fuck out of here!

Mary Louise is pointing out flaws in how Celeste is raising her boys, but what do we know about Mary Louise and how she raised her boys?

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Once again, there was a discussion of Perry's brother and an accident. It drove away Mary Louise's husband.

Mary Louise: It's meant to be shared, you know, grief. It's... insurmountable. Too difficult a battle to be waged alone.
Celeste: Which is what you had to do. You were alone. After the accident, your husband left. Perry told me.
Mary Louise: Yes, he blamed me, and he left. And I deserved the blame, to be left. You know Ray, he got a new life. He got a new family. He became a devoted father, so I'm told. It's, it's good. People can move on after tragedy. Just not together sometimes.

What went on in their family that divided them so and that took the sweet little boy that Mary Louise remembers and turned him into a violent rapist?

Mary Louise Knows - Tall - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Mary Louise gets too indignant and seems too self-righteous only to have her grandkids in mind. It seems like she's trying to make up for the past. There is a lot more to her story that needs to get unpacked before I'm willing to give her any benefit of the doubt. 

But at the same time, Celeste has nobody to lend her the support she needs right now. Her friends are fighting their own battles, and Celeste is relying on memories of a violent man and drugs to get her through what she's experiencing.

Celeste: You really think this is a good idea?
Mary Louise: Why wouldn't it be?
Celeste: Because there are boundaries, Mary Louise.
Mary Louise: Well, where would you have me go? Canada?
Celeste: This is all beginning to feel a little perverse.
Mary Louise: I beg your pardon?
Celeste: You're moving in with your son's rape victim. For God's sake, it's not right!

When Jane dared to ask Celeste if Perry had ever raped her, Celeste answered too quickly. As we've seen in her therapy sessions, how she views her time with Perry is very skewed. 

If her friends experienced what she did at Perry's hands, she would have called it rape and demanded they leave. Jane, at least, wonders why the women linger so long with men after the magic is gone. 

Dejected Celeste - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Celeste continues to make excuses for staying with Perry, and she only remembers the good memories, but it's not Perry's death that has her so conflicted. She cannot understand why an otherwise intelligent woman would have remained in that situation that wound up with his death.

Her guilt about Perry's death is usurped by the guilt of staying too long, exposing her boys to violence she now sees erupting in them, and for taking on bits of Perry's volatile behavior herself.

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Celeste fooled herself into thinking Perry was OK, that she welcomed the abusive behavior willingly. Instead, she has slowly become a person even she no longer recognizes, and that's why the appeal of drugs are enticing.

Ira: Once we file, you can count on alienation from the boys. You might get custody, but affection...
Mary Louise: This isn't about me needing to be liked.
Ira: Everyone needs to be liked. I find that's especially true with grandmothers.

What would Celeste do if Mary Louise gained custody of her boys? Would she have the fight in her to win them back? Should she win them back?

Just like Ed said to Madeline, they're all pretending. Nobody knows who they are anymore, and they surely don't know each other. There are layers of walls up around each woman that they have to scale to find themselves again.

Too Much Pretending - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Ed doesn't know what he's doing with Madeline, but the love is still there. That's why he hasn't left the house yet. He just doesn't know how to give in and allow himself to trust that she'll be with him if they fight for their marriage.

And what sucks is that Madeline's MO is to run and seek solace elsewhere. She hasn't lost that desire yet, and it was exposed when she tried to make love to Ed in bed, but he turned his back on her.

Madeline didn't think back to a time when they were happy. She thought back to her affair. 

On Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 3, Gordon told Renata she's not present in their lives anymore. Madeline tossed that phrase at Ed during "She Knows." But Madeline hasn't been present in her life with Ed for a long time.

Madeline: Look, if you're going to leave me, can you just do it? Can you just get it over with?
Ed: Well, I'm still here, aren't I?
Madeline: Is that what you think, Ed? You're far from here. You're not even fucking close.

Unhinged - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

The kids see everything, of course, and nothing was more horrifying than getting a look at Chloe's school project about opposites.

I tried to guess before the reveal, and I imagined Madeline was like a closed door, hiding her feelings and not being present in their lives. Oh, was I wrong!

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Calling her mother unhinged was classic Chloe, but it's also distressing that she's got the biggest mouth in the school. Every conversation had in that house is on display for all of Monterey. But Madeline still can't hold back.

Ed: You know, there's never any middle ground with you. Like when you're upset? Charge, full speed ahead. If there's a problem? Charge. [pause] If there was a problem with us, where was the charge? Why couldn't you come straight at me like you go at everyone else?
Celeste: There wasn't a problem with us, Ed. There was a problem with me.

If she never fought for Ed as she did in other aspects of her life, maybe Madeline needs to take a step back and see who's to blame. She's not all in with Ed despite his affection and love for her. Does she think he's too good for her?

She's always pushing for recognition and to feel accomplished but took Ed's love for granted. Now, if the Monterey Five's carefully crafted house of cards comes tumbling down, Ed might see it as just one more time Madeline didn't trust him. What would Madeline do if Ed left for good?

Bankruptcy Court - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

Renata is seeing her life go up in smoke around her, but she's still with Gordon.

It was audacious of them to throw Amabella an extravagant birthday party on the very day they were addressing bankruptcy court. If the judge had gotten wind of that party, it could have had a much different outcome.

He took the Rolex off of Gordon's wrist and the wedding band right off of Renata's finger before he took their sweet ride, as well. Renata is a self-made woman, but she still has some wealth to flaunt with a crowd.

So I'm having a hard time reconciling that all my plans have gone to shit. All my hopes and plans for Amabella have gone to shit. That I married a man who would take my life and all my accomplishments and turn them to shit. Well, it's on me, right? My choices, my stupidity. It's my picker that's broken. My fuckin' bad.


Always pretending, after all. To what end is she staying with Gordon? He's going to go to prison, and Renata has to recreate everything she has done to this moment to become rich again. 

Up in Smoke - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4

The party was just a symbol for all of the women, though. 

For the past year, they've been skating after telling the lie about Perry. Looking over their shoulders all the time has ruined their lives. Their relationships imploded. Their kids are wrecks.

It's not about money or where they live. The kids want healthy, loving families. Most of them haven't been providing that kind of environment for a long time.

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But if Mary Louise thinks she has the answer, she needs only to look at how her own children turned out to realize she's not the guiding hand she so wants to believe she is. 

What do you think? Will Bonnie drown herself? Will Celeste kill herself while missing on Ambien? Will Madeline's self-esteem get the better of her? Will all of the Monterey Five survive to the final credits?

Share your thoughts on the women and their stories below!

She Knows Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

It's better than sitting around the penniless losers as if that's not us.


Renata: What are you doing?
Madeline: Smoking. I hate smoking.
Renata: Nobody smokes anymore.
Madeline: I'm just trying to manage my stress.