From the very beginning, Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) was in contention for being pegged as the murderer in Big Little Lies. She had recently moved to Monterey and her son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage), was accused of choking Amabella (Ivy George), daughter of the powerful working mom, Renata Klein (Laura Dern). The class differences and the big question mark around Jane and Ziggy got pinned to them both like a scarlet letter in the premiere episode.
Then again, Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) is capable of some seriously questionable tactics in order to remain on top.
From the get-go, she’s been established as a master manipulator and was heard telling Jane that she is the only stay-at-home mom she knows. That vendetta against working women along with an apparent restlessness in her personal life (stemming from her deep discord with her ex-husband and his new wife), made Madeline appear more psychologically and emotionally explosive than the other women.
Jane is by far the one person most capable of murder on Big Little Lies, and this is evident from the outset.
The biggest case for this, in my opinion, is how she slips back into the memory of the night she was raped. It is a clue and key to her mental instability as well as the kind of violence she is capable of after having experienced it herself.
The image of her standing in a torn dress and overlooking a calm ocean is haunting too. It’s indicative of her separation from the rest of the Monterey women in social status and her relatability to those women. That image, that Jane is left along in the aftermath of a rage-filled assault, indicates the kind of mental state she is in throughout the show.
There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the Monterey women is the killer, but I also have a lurking suspicion that one of them is also the victim.
The issues between Ziggy, Amabella and their mothers makes me wonder whether the two women we should have our eyes on are Jane and Renata. The fact that Renata was so quick to seek a conference (or rather, a confrontation) with Jane in the days following Amabella’s public accusation says a lot about the kind of woman she is.
For a majority of Big Little Lies, Madeline really straddles the line between potential killer vs. regular catty mom. While it’s been normal catty mom behavior to see her take digs at Renata, she became a real threat when she confronted Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) in the school pickup line. Watching her get defensive over Abigail’s (Kathryn Newton) recent visit to Planned Parenthood (facilitated by Bonnie) and her subsequent vehement request to let Madeline do the mothering sent absolute shivers down my spine.
Big Little Lies spends so much time with the women and has only briefly begun dropping hints that the men of this show are also incredibly suspect.
Suspect No. 1: Ed. Don’t trust Ed (Adam Scott) any further than you can throw him — which probably isn’t far because that’s a hefty beard he’s sporting. From his spiky confrontation with Nathan (Madeline’s ex, played by James Tupper) wherein he vaguely threatens him after revealing he was a nerd who fantasized about beating up his bullies to the fact that he’s begun throwing super-creepy glances toward his stepdaughter Abigail (mostly looking at her backside or looking her up and down), I’m wondering whether the women are actually red herrings for a suspect like Ed.
Jane’s dream is ominous. Whether or not she is the actual killer, the fact that she is slowly hitting her boiling point has become evident over the last few episodes. Her outbursts of rage have become more frequent as her cold war with Renata escalates. She dreams about shooting her rapist in the broad light of day. Soon, she is taking her dream one step further and envisioning jumping off the cliff; it’s not entirely uninteresting that the murder scene at the fundraiser is on a patch of ground lower than the location of the fundraiser. It’s almost like someone jumped off… was there even a murder? Or did Jane actually do in real life what she’d been dreaming about for a while?
Renata’s vehemence to find Amabella’s abuser has brought out the worst in her. Watching her grip Amabella’s head while sweetly attempting to soothe her that her birthday party will be a success was chilling. Chilling to the max.
While early episodes had focused on the conflict between Renata, Jane and how the various moms of Otter Bay took sides, a mid-season plotline has begun developing that is the perfect pre-murder scene.
It’s revealed that the root of Perry (Alexander Skarsgård) and Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) steamy sex life is that he is a controlling husband whose jealousy manifests in physical abuse. The exploration of this abusive relationship and Celeste’s subsequent attempts to pull away from Perry for good have led me to wonder whether Celeste and Perry are the murderer and victim, respectively. Perry’s anger spells have been more frequent and violent, which could lead Celeste to react in an unexpected and very public fashion.
Jane’s ownership and mastery of gun use is absolutely a worrying clue in Big Little Lies. Understandably it’s for her own protection, but her fantasies of killing her rapist along with her obsessive checking to make sure her gun is close by worry me. If she keeps unraveling, letting the stress of her fight with Renata get to her, she could start bringing the gun everywhere she goes in real life. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of the gun on this show, and we definitely should not ignore that the gun, a violent object, is in the hands of a woman who’s experienced violence and appears very capable of violence.
Is it just me or is there some serious foreshadowing from the promo for the penultimate episode of Big Little Lies that Jane and Renata are actually the murderer and victim? It could go either way since the promo teases that they’ll both be at each other’s throats defending their children for a safe space at Otter Bay. We’ve seen both of them lash out at others in previous episodes, and Jane knows how to use a gun like a pro, for Pete’s sake. There’s no telling what they are capable of if and when things get tense at the fundraiser.
With every passing day, the cold and calculating side of Celeste emerges. She’s clearly dedicated to getting back to herself and is valuing her own safety since she is continuing to go to therapy without Perry. She was refreshed and vivacious after settling the legal issues around Madeline’s staging of Avenue Q. She is not going to go back to a life as a submissive housewife quietly. Her instinct to fight back with Perry is a great clue that she would fight back in a bigger fashion should the occasion arise. It’s quite clear Celeste is embarking on a new phase of her life, and Perry is about to learn that he cannot control her.
The penultimate episode will feature a moment when someone is curled up in the fetal position on the ground.
From the preview for this episode, it looks like it might be Celeste and Perry having another one of their fights; this time, though, it looks like Celeste has the upper hand (or is that uppercut?). Will their fighting escalate at the fundraiser? They’ve been on an extremely rocky road for a while now, and counseling does not seem to helping to alleviate their tendency to fight and fuck like wild animals. This kind of savage love sets the perfect foundation for an explosive event — like a murder — at a public gathering.