New ‘Big Little Lies’ Episode Teases the Start of a Gruesome Family Battle
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Last week on Big Little Lies, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) threatened to take Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) two children—Max (Nicholas Crovetti) and Josh (Cameron Crovetti)—after compiling incriminating evidence against the mother of two. And now, the pair go head-to-head in a gruesome custody battle.
Here’s what went down in season two, episode five of BLL, titled “Kill Me.”
The episode opens on a flashback of Trivia Night, followed by a present-day scene of Celeste standing in her kitchen, looking dazed as ever.
At the park, Nathan (James Tupper) is enjoying a much-needed run when Ed (Adam Scott) coincidentally passes him on his bike. When Nathan flags him down, he apologizes to Ed for his behavior at Amabella’s (Ivy George) birthday party, claiming he “overreacted.”
Unfortunately, Ed doesn’t accept his apology, saying, “You know what, I don’t believe you. That you’re ‘sorry.’”
Ed reminds Nathan that not everyone has to get along. In fact, they can be cordial without being friends. Ed leaves, prompting Nathan to shout a series of gibberish cuss words before continuing his run.
At the hospital, Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) is napping next to her mom, Elizabeth (Crystal Fox), who suffered a stroke in last week’s episode. When Skye (Chloe Coleman) wakes up Bonnie, Bonnie reveals that Elizabeth still can’t speak.
Later that day, Bonnie is rubbing her mom with a wet towel when she’s overcome with flashbacks from her childhood—including one where Elizabeth is aggressively yelling at her, followed by flashes of water.
When Celeste and Mary Louise sit down with their lawyers for the first of many custody hearings, the list of demands—including a psychiatric evaluation—is outrageous. Although Mary Louise is the reason they’re here, that doesn’t stop her from assuring the judge that she doesn’t mean any ill-harm against Celeste. *Eye roll*
“I do not consider Celeste Wright to be a bad person. She’s been a wonderful mother to the boys, and I don’t have any reason to doubt her ongoing commitment to them,” Mary Louise says. “That said, she’s not well.”
The judge interrupts Mary Louise and tells her that this isn’t the time to start pointing fingers.
Outside, Celeste is upset with her lawyer because she didn’t speak up after Mary Louise’s comment. The lawyer reminds Celeste that Mary Louise can’t win unless they “establish you as unhinged. We will not give them that.”
When Celeste confides in Renata (Laura Dern), Renata decides that she wants to talk some sense into Mary Louise. Although Celeste doesn’t think it’s a good idea, Renata promises that Mary Louise will call off the custody battle once she takes “a crack at her.”
Just then, Renata’s assistant interrupts and reveals that the magazine is pulling Renata from the issue. Why? The bankruptcy doesn’t look good for their brand. Thanks a lot, Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling).
At school, Ziggy (Iain Armitage) can’t seem to shake a bully, who thinks Ziggy has a “dumba**” name. “You know you’re a mistake, right?” the bully says.
When Max and Josh see what’s happening, they run over and defend Ziggy, telling the bully to buzz off. Cut to a montage of Max, Josh and Ziggy fist-fighting the bully.
All four boys (including the bully) are suspended, forcing Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Celeste to make a pitstop at Otter Bay. When Jane confronts Ziggy, demanding to know what the bully said, she’s faced with a horrifying realization.
“He said my father was a rapist,” Ziggy says.
In the car, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) is reminding Ed (Adam Scott) to be open-minded, since they’re visiting a “healing institute” in an attempt to mend their relationship.
When they arrive, they soon realize it’s not all it’s chalked up to be. (One of the exercises includes walking around the room and breathing in the essence of the other people.) Madeline, naturally, can’t stop giggling.
In the car, Madeline can’t help but laugh at the failed retreat. “Thank you for at least agreeing to try,” she says. “You’re a really good man.”
When Ed hints that she chose wisely the second time around (sorry, Nathan), he goes on to remind Madeline that he was groomed for this role.
“On our first date, it was like you were interviewing me,” he says. “Not so much for the soul mate position or love—but rather, father. The stable provider.”
Madeline was determined to fix her mistakes, and Ed fit the criteria. Now, he doesn’t know whether he should walk out or “stay with the woman I simply cannot trust.”
After assuring him that he can trust her, Madeline breaks down in tears and reveals that all she wants is to be happily married to him.
“If I f*** up again, it will not be with infidelity,” she says. “I give you my word.”
Elsewhere, Bonnie is surprised to see her dad, Martin (Martin Donovan), standing in the doorway during one of her yoga classes. He explains that he wants Elizabeth out of the hospital ASAP, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes.
“Look at you…getting involved,” she says. “Wow.” Martin is obviously offended, claiming that he stepped in when she was a child. Bonnie says, “Did you diffuse things? Sure. Did you stop s*** from getting worse? Sometimes. But did you protect me?”
The Custody Battle
When Renata invites Mary Louise over for tea, Mary Louise wastes no time accusing her of having a hidden agenda. To top it off, Mary Louise is distracted, asking about furniture and boxes and anything to deflect from the elephant in the room: Celeste.
When Mary Louise low-key insults Renata for being a working mom and—therefore—missing out on priceless moments, Renata blows up, demanding to know why she’s judging her life choices. Mary Louise assures Renata that she didn’t mean to be forward, saying, “You seem like a very nice person…who lives in a big house with no furniture.”
In another custody hearing, Mary Louise’s lawyer suggests a settlement: joint custody. However, the deal is contingent on Celeste seeking treatment for her alcohol and drug addiction.
Celeste is livid and puts Mary Louise in her place before responding to the plea. “There will be no joint custody,” she angrily says.
Outside, Celeste’s lawyer is uneasy, because the deal isn’t all that bad. Celeste fires back, asking the attorney whose side she’s on. The lawyer explains that while she’s willing to go to trial, the prosecution will dig into Celeste’s past—in particular, Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) death.
Later on, Celeste calls an emergency meeting with the Monterey Five—herself, Madeline, Jane, Renata and Bonnie—and warns them that she’ll likely have to testify. If she pleads the fifth, she’ll lose her kids. If she slips up on the lie, she could be charged with Perry’s murder.
To make matters worse, Celeste confirms that all their names are on the witness list. Although they assure each other they’ll be fine, our anxiety is at an all-time high.
Since the kids are suspended, Jane goes rogue and treats Ziggy to a day of kayaking with Max, Josh and Celeste.
When Ziggy brings up Jane’s co-worker Corey (Douglas Smith), Jane admits that she likes him. This prompts Ziggy to question if he’ll grow up to be like Corey…or his father, Perry. Jane promises that he’ll be the “kindest,” “most handsome” man.
At the Wright home, Celeste opens up to the boys about the custody battle. Although she promises that she won’t let Mary Louise take them, she encourages them to speak up during the trial. Max and Josh promise to protect her…at all costs.
Bonnie returns home to find a present from Nathan: a treadmill. Although he’s not at the house, her dad is. Martin immediately dives into a speech about how he only wanted to keep the peace between Bonnie and her mom. While it seems weak, he was trying to do whatever he could “to make the rage go away for you.”
Martin reveals that Elizabeth is starting to talk back at the hospital, and while it’s hard to make out what she’s saying, he was able to understand one thing: “Bonnie is drowning.” And he’s worried.
Madeline and her daughter, Abigail (Kathryn Newton), are enjoying their mother-daughter time when they run into Mary Louise. (Go figure.) When Mary Louise purposely refers to Abigail as Madeline’s college-bound daughter, Madeline interjects and calls Mary Louise “indecent” for trying to take the twins from Celeste.
Meanwhile, Jane is spending more one-on-one time with Corey. This includes listening to music, dancing and—you guessed it—making out. However, when things get too intimate, Jane starts crying. Corey proves that he’s boyfriend material by holding and consoling her.
The next day, Corey is entertaining the kids, while Jane opens up to Celeste about her emotional breakdown. Although Jane doesn’t understand how Celeste is OK after Perry, Celeste reminds her that she went through a different kind of trauma.
At the hospital, Bonnie’s mom finally opens her eyes and says, “Kill me.” Um, what?
The episode concludes with Ed sitting at a bar. When he’s approached by Tori (Sarah Sokolovic)—the wife of Madeline’s adulterer, Joseph (Santiago Cabrera)—she appears to flirt with him. That all changes when she nods to the corner of the bar, where Joseph is watching from afar.
Meanwhile, Bonnie goes on a walk and finds herself outside the Monterey Bay Police Station. When she sees a young boy emerge from the facility, she’s shocked to see it’s—drumroll, please—Corey.
So, is Ed being lured into a threesome? And is Corey a felon or—dare we say—undercover cop? Big Little Lies returns to HBO next Sunday, July 14, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.