Madeline Publicly Humiliates Herself in New ‘Big Little Lies’ Episode

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Last week on Big Little Lies, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) further pressed Celeste (Nicole Kidman) for answers about Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) mysterious death, while Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) tried to mend her relationship with Ed (Adam Scott).

And now, the Monterey Five put on brave faces as the community continues to scrutinize their story. Here’s what went down in season two, episode three of BLL, titled “The End of the World.”

therapist big little lies
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

The Aftermath

The episode opens on Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) thinking back to Trivia Night, when she pushed Perry to his death down a flight of stairs. Her flashback is interrupted by the sound of her mom, Elizabeth (Crystal Fox), and her daughter, Skye (Chloe Coleman), singing in the bedroom. Though reluctant at first, Bonnie joins them.

Cut to Madeline saying, “I f***ed up. There’s no other way to say it.” She’s sitting on the couch next to her husband, Ed, while Celeste’s therapist, Dr. Amanda Reisman (Robin Weigert), politely listens to her rant.

The therapist turns the conversation on Madeline, asking if she’s given Ed a reason to believe that he can trust her. When Dr. Reisman suggests that Madeline had the affair for attention, Madeline objects, even though she can’t pinpoint another reason.  

So, Dr. Reisman answers for her, saying, “You don’t believe in you. How can you trust the relational equation when you have no faith in the sum part of you?”

Madeline’s response? “Math is not my strong suit.”

When Dr. Reisman brings up Madeline’s issue with Abigail not wanting to go to college, Madeline explains that she thinks Abigail will be nothing without an education. The therapist fires right back, asking if Madeline feels that way because she never graduated from college.

For once, Madeline is speechless, particularly when Dr. Reisman mentions her parents. “You talk to them much?”

In the car, Madeline confides in Celeste and reveals that she hasn’t been the same ever since she walked in on her dad sleeping with another woman as a child. Since her dad made her keep it a secret from her mom, she’s never talked about it…with anyone.

In an attempt to change the subject, Madeline asks if Celeste is still having flashbacks. She is, and Celeste thinks it’s partially due to the fact that she’s not over Perry.

“As dead as he is, sometimes I think maybe I’m deader,” she says.

jane corey big little lies
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Mary Louise, Meet Jane

At the aquarium, Mary Louise corners Jane (Shailene Woodley) and introduces herself. She explains that Celeste told her everything, and she wants to know if Ziggy (Iain Armitage) is interested in taking a paternity test. When Jane assures her that Perry was the only man she slept with, Mary Louise offers a cringeworthy response, saying, “…that you remember.”

“Just a simple blood test,” Mary Louise shouts as Jane storms off.

Later that night, Jane finally gives in and agrees to go on a date with her co-worker Corey (Douglas Smith), who is getting stranger by the episode. Not only does he interrogate the waitress about where the restaurant’s fish came from, but he also provides gory details about his time working at Santa Monica Seafood.

Nevertheless, his quirky personality seems to be growing on Jane, who admires how passionate he is about, well, everything. When she accidentally mentions Ziggy, Jane apologizes for not telling him that she has a son. Corey doesn’t seem fazed and says he wants to meet him.  

“I’m sure you guys would get along great. He knows a lot of random s***, too,” Jane jokes.

Just then, Corey makes the amateur mistake of leaning in for a kiss, forcing Jane to awkwardly back away. She assures Corey that it’s not him and explains that she needs to “idle in neutral for a little bit.”

renata gordon big little lies
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Dr. Peep To The Rescue

At school, the teacher is reading Charlotte’s Web to the class when he notices a pair of legs sticking out of the broom closet: Amabella Klein (Ivy George).

At the hospital, the doctors tell Renata (Laura Dern) that Amabella had an anxiety attack. In a total Renata move, she ignores them and demands to know “who” did this to her child. After the doctors remind her that it was an anxiety attack, they suggest counseling…for the entire family.

Back at home, Amabella is receiving top-notch medical care. And by “top-notch,” we mean she’s getting visited by a therapist named Dr. Peep. (Think Little Bo Peep with an interrogative twist.)

After their, er, appointment, Dr. Peep sits down with Renata and Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling) and reveals that Amabella isn’t being bullied by anyone. She is, however, scared that the world is going to end after learning about climate change in school. Throw in her dad going to jail and her mom being a helicopter parent, and we have ourselves an overly anxious child.

“Something’s going on and has been for a long time,” Dr. Peep says.

celeste big little lies1
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Perry's Presence

At the therapist’s office, Dr. Reisman warns Celeste that she’s holding onto only good memories. When she suggests that Celeste misses the “war” she felt with Perry, the therapist presents Celeste with a terrifying realization: “Is Perry a drug?”

At the police station, Mary Louise demands to know if there are any new developments in her son’s case. Although the detective assures her that they’d call if they find anything, Mary Louise isn’t taking “no” for an answer.

“A mother needs to know,” she says through tears. “You don’t believe my son just slipped, do you?”

Later on, Celeste returns home to find Mary Louise watching old home videos of Perry with the twins, Max (Nicholas Crovetti) and Josh (Cameron Crovetti). Celeste tries to hide her tears as she joins them.

The next morning, Jane is loading Ziggy into the car when she sees Mary Louise watching them from afar. Later that day, Jane meets up with Mary Louise, who immediately breaks out Perry’s baby photos. To no surprise, he looks identical to Ziggy.

“I should like to be in Ziggy’s life,” Mary Louise says. “I’m his grandmother.”

Jane admits that she needs a little time to “wrestle with that idea.”

ed big little lies
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

The Assembly

When Madeline spots Ed having coffee with Bonnie, she immediately makes a beeline for their table. Although Bonnie appears noticeably happier, she excuses herself when she observes the tension between Madeline and Ed. When Madeline asks Ed how long he’s going to punish her, he makes it very clear that he’s not anywhere near getting over it.

In the car, Madeline is crying to Celeste, saying, “I don’t even know who he is right now.” The problem is she feels like a failure, since she’s potentially heading for her second divorce.

At the Klein home, Renata is preparing to head to the school assembly to address anxiety in the classroom. Gordon, on the other hand, is blasting music and living his best life. When Renata nags him, Gordon blames her for putting too much stress on Amabella.

“There is something going on with you,” he says.

At the assembly, the principal is trying (and failing) to convince the parents that climate change is a necessary subject to teach in elementary school. So, he calls Madeline onstage to address the audience for him. The problem? Madeline’s not in the right state of mind and proceeds to ramble on about everything but climate change.

“I think part of the problem is we lie to our kids,” she says. “We fill their heads full of Santa Claus and stories with happy endings when most of us know most endings to most stories f***ing suck. Right?”

Madeline returns home to find Abigail waiting for her. When Abigail says that she heard about the speech, Madeline immediately responds, “Can you get me some wine?”

meryl streep big little lies1
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

The Conclusion

At home, Celeste finds Mary Louise rifling through her drawers. When confronted, Mary Louise claims that she’s looking for something to help her sleep.

“You’ve been snooping?” Celeste says. “I think it’s probably best if you find another place.” When Mary Louise implies that Celeste has a pill problem, Celeste reminds Mary Louise that her son used to hurt her.

The episode concludes with Celeste watching home videos of Perry. *Wipes tear*

Will Celeste be able to recover from Perry’s death? Or will Mary Louise make it nearly impossible to move on? Guess we’ll have to wait until Big Little Lies returns to HBO next Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m.


Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...