Mary Louise Crosses the Line in New ‘Big Little Lies’ Episode
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Last week on Big Little Lies, Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) marriage came crashing down, while Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) continued to search for answers about Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) tragic death.
And now, Mary Louise exposed her true agenda: securing custody of Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) two children, Max (Nicholas Crovetti) and Josh (Cameron Crovetti). Here’s what went down in season two, episode four of BLL, titled “She Knows.”
The episode opens on Madeline hosting a pumpkin carving party at her house with the Monterey Five—herself, Celeste, Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern) and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz)—and their kids.
Outside, Madeline tries (and fails) to smoke a cigarette in an attempt to manage her stress. The problem? She doesn’t know where she stands with her husband, Ed (Adam Scott), after he found out about her affair.
To make matters worse, Renata can’t stop rambling about Amabella’s (Ivy George) upcoming birthday party, which had to be pushed until 2 p.m. due to bankruptcy court with her husband, Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling). When Jane asks why she’s still with him, Renata brushes it off, claiming they’re working things out.
“Tell me to stop talking, please,” Renata says. “Just, all the time.”
Right on cue, the doorbell rings, and it’s Mary Louise. She explains that the twins told her about Madeline’s party, so she invited herself over and brought a cake. Go figure.
Max and Josh immediately greet their grandmother, while Ziggy stays put. “I see two handsome grandsons,” Mary Louise says. “Somehow I thought for sure there’d be three.”
Mary Louise approaches Ziggy (Iain Armitage) and tries to make nice but ends up low-key criticizing his jack-o’-lantern. When she turns to Jane, Mary Louise reveals that she rented a unit in her building, which means she can babysit, cook, clean—whatever Jane needs.
Celeste vs. Mary Louise
Celeste asks to speak with Mary Louise in private and demands to know if she’s lost her mind. “There are boundaries, Mary Louise,” Celeste says. “You are moving in with your son’s rape victim, for God’s sake.”
However, Mary Louise isn’t convinced that Jane was a victim at all. “If there’s one, there are others,” Mary Louise says, prompting Celeste to slap her.
At the coffee shop, Mary Louise sits down with Celeste and reveals that she’s concerned about her, since she’s been acting “unwell” and “erratic” ever since Perry’s death. Mary Louise dives into a speech about how she doesn’t blame Celeste for acting out. However, since grief is too difficult to bear alone, Mary Louise wants to be here for her.
“People can move on after tragedy,” Mary Louise says. “Just not together…sometimes.”
Later on, Mary Louise meets with a lawyer about the possibility of getting custody of Celeste’s children. The attorney hands her a list of family law firms in Monterey and advises Mary Louise to call them before Celeste, so they can’t represent her. Savage.
At the Mackenzie home, Ed walks in to find Madeline ranting about Amabella’s last-minute birthday party. Poor Ed can hardly find words to describe how he’s feeling.
“You know, there’s never any middle ground with you,” he says. “Like, when you’re upset, it’s charge—full speed ahead. If there’s a problem charge. If there’s a problem with us, where was the charge? Why couldn’t you come straight at me like you go at everyone else?”
Although Madeline explains that he wasn’t the problem, Ed doesn’t want to hear it and walks out.
Later that night, Madeline suggests they book a couple’s retreat in Big Sur. Ed ignores her. When Chloe (Darby Camp) comes in, asking for help with her “Opposites” project, Madeline seems pleased to have a distraction. That all changes when Chloe holds up her poster, revealing a picture of a door next to a photo of Madeline. Chloe explains the door is hinged, while Madeline isn’t. (Get it?)
Upon seeing Madeline’s reaction, Chloe offers to change her project.
Happy Birthday, Amabella!
At bankruptcy court, things aren’t working in Renata’s favor. It all starts when the judge implies that there’s nothing they can do to regain their finances. He then questions Renata about a $40,000 charge on her credit card, which she claims was a “medical procedure.”
When he further presses her, Renata blurts that she had work done on her face. The judge proceeds to confiscate all her belongings, including her watch, wedding ring and the car they drove in.
“There will come a day when you will pay for this, Gordon,” Renata says. “But today is not that day.”
At home, Amabella’s birthday party is in full swing. While Bonnie brought her mom, Elizabeth (Crystal Fox), and Jane brought her new beau, Corey (Douglas Smith), that doesn’t stop the Monterey Five from sneaking away from the crowd to speak in private.
Bonnie turns to Celeste and asks what Mary Louise knows about Trivia Night, since she’s been acting oddly suspicious. Celeste confirms that she’s onto them, saying, “Let’s face it, this f***ing lie has had quite a shelf life.”
Madeline is highly offended, considering she’s the one who came up with the lie in the first place. So, is everyone blaming her behind her back? While it’s highly unlikely, there’s no changing Madeline’s mind.
Later on, Elizabeth approaches Bonnie and reveals that she doesn’t like the energy at the party. “Something’s wrong,” she says.
Elsewhere, Madeline asks Ed to dance. He says no and then dives into a rant about how he’s sick of pretending like everything’s OK. When Nathan (James Tupper) sees what’s happening, he consoles Ed, saying, “I’ve been there, man.” Ed doesn’t take it well, shoving Nathan before starting a full-blown brawl.
Outside, Jane opens up to Corey and reveals that she wants to take things slow, since she was sexually abused by her previous partner. “That’s how I got Ziggy,” she says.
After the party, Renata is handing out gift bags. When she gives one to Bonnie’s mom, their hands touch, prompting Elizabeth to see a flash of water before having a seizure.
At the hospital, the doctors rush Elizabeth into emergency surgery. Bonnie nearly freaks out when she spots a female detective watching her from afar, though Jane assures her she’s there for another case.
Meanwhile, Mary Louise brings the twins home only to find Celeste in a daze. Just then, a shirtless man emerges from the bedroom, excusing himself out the front door.
Although Celeste is mortified, she doesn’t address the situation until she’s with Madeline. She admits that she took an Ambien and doesn’t remember anything else.
When Mary Louise interrupts their conversation, Madeline takes the hint and leaves. Mary Louise encourages Celeste to “take some real time to heal” and offers to take the boys off her hands. While Celeste says the mystery man was a misunderstanding, Mary Louise brushes it off before handing her a custody agreement.
At the Mackenzie home, Madeline is done with Ed’s passive aggression. “If you’re gonna leave me, can you just do it?” she says. “Can you just get it over with?”
Ed assures her that he would have left already if he wanted to. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to go back to normal.
The next day, Madeline meets up with Renata for lunch. The meal is interrupted by the same detective from the hospital. She approaches their table and mentions Madeline’s speech from episode three, asking for a copy.
When Madeline suggests checking Instagram, the detective says, “I’ll look for it,” before walking away.
Jane confronts Mary Louise, demanding to know if she’ll seek custody of Ziggy next. Mary Louise is appalled, assuring Jane that she’s a “wonderful mother”—unlike Celeste.
At the therapist’s office, Celeste confides in Dr. Amanda Reisman (Robin Weigert) about the custody battle. The therapist promises Celeste that she won’t be able to testify against her, since there’s a doctor-patient confidentiality agreement. When Dr. Reisman suggests settling, Celeste confirms that she’s not going down without a fight.
“I’ll win,” she says. “I’ll f***ing win.”
At the hospital, Bonnie is sitting next to Elizabeth’s bed when she stirs, wakes up and immediately has a vision of Bonnie drowning.
So, what does Elizabeth’s vision mean for the Monterey Five? Be sure to tune in to Big Little Lies next Sunday, July 7, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on HBO.