Somebody’s dead on Big Little Lies. If you’ve read the 2014 Liane Moriarty book the HBO drama is based on, you know who that someone is, and who killed that someone. But this is for everyone else who hasn’t read the book (and if you have — keep your spoilers to yourself, please): Each week, we’ll take stock of which characters — played by big
little Hollywood names including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz — seem the most suspicious… and which ones seem the most likely to end up killed during an elementary school trivia night fundraiser. This week, we look at the second episode, “Serious Mothering.” Click here to see our theories about the premiere.
Who’s the most suspicious this week?
Ed (Adam Scott) — or Steady Eddie, as he apparently calls himself. “Scratch the surface of any Jimmy Stewart — Charlie Manson,” one woman in the police station says in a flash-forward.
Last week, he was all chill, and this week we saw some fire peeking out from underneath his nerdy exterior: Early on, he confronts Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) about how weird it is that she keeps getting upset about her ex-husband and Bonnie’s relationship, which causes her to ask if he’s lost his mind. “I’m never out of my mind,” he responds, very clearly trying to pretend like someone who is never out of his mind. “I don’t get to be crazy, Madeline. I’m stable. I’m grounded.” Steady Eddie is falling apart! Adam Scott might be our killer!
He shows his increasing instability later on when he and Nathan meet to talk about how Bonnie took Abby to get birth control without consulting with Madeline first. There, things get heated, and Ed ends up revealing that he was bullied in the sixth grade and regrets never physically retaliating, that he’s been waiting for the moment to make up for that for literally decades. Ed is giving out serious quiet-kid-in-a-teen-drama-who-everyone-thinks-is-harmless-until-he’s-not vibes at this point, meaning he could definitely be the quiet-man-in-a-drama-who-everyone-thinks-is-harmless-until-he-beats-someone-to-death-at-trivia-night.
So all of this is suspicious, and then Madeline calls him her “He-Man” at the end of the episode after she finds out about his confrontation with Nathan. According to my surface-level Google search, He-Man protects his land from Skeletor. The obvious interpretation here would be that Nathan (James Tupper) is Skeletor, but, again, that’s obvious. I’m thinking Perry (Alexander Skarsgård) could be the Skeletor here — or even Renata (Laura Dern). Sure, Ed doesn’t have direct feuds with them (yet), but his wife does explicitly say earlier in the episode, “I have a very low tolerance for injustice.” Perhaps her “low tolerance” combined with his repressed rage could result in a murder.
Or maybe Jane (Shailene Woodley) is Skeletor: After Madeline and Renata have a run-in at a bar, Madeline’s all, “The war is on,” and Ed is all, “Why do you even care this much about defending Jane, are you long-lost sisters? Blah blah.” He seems peeved that this Jane situation is interfering with his life the way it is — and if Madeline gets in too deep with this so-called war that she doesn’t actually have any real stakes in, I could see Ed retaliating as a way to protect his drama-loving wife.
On that note, Madeline is a little too aggressive (“Get laid, bitch!” she yells at a honking driver), but like last week, it would be too much of a red herring for her to be the killer. Example: At one point, she tells Celeste and Jane, “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets.” (Jane responds with, “I do the same thing,” putting herself in the same boat as Madeline.)
Then there’s Celeste (Nicole Kidman), who doesn’t do anything to point to possible guilt this week, but who might reach a breaking point soon: Perry hits her again, this time after he accuses her of withholding some unimportant school-related information. It’s a terribly s—ty situation, one that she reveals a bit about to Madeline when she admits they fight sometimes and then usually follow it up with sex. She also notably stays pretty silent when Jane and Madeline are talking about their love for grudges, so…
Who’s the least suspicious?
Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), who’s idea of being bad is splitting a bottle of wine with her husband.
So who’s dead?
Still think it’s Jane, partly because wouldn’t the ultimate Monterey thing to do be to murder an outsider? Plus, killing her off would be the most tragic option in terms of the kids: She’s the only single mom on the show, and her son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage), doesn’t even want to be in Monterey — he spends the whole episode asking why they’re there. This is no This Is Us, sure, but I could still see Big Little Lies going the most heartbreaking route in its conclusion.
Big Little Lies airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.