Spoilers ahead for the season finale of HBO’s Big Little Lies — but then again, the book has been out for three years, so maybe you already know.
For those of us who didn’t read the book before the limited-series, Episode 7, “You Get What You Need,” finally fills in all the blanks. We learn who’s biting Amabella, we learn who raped Jane, and more pressing, we learn who dies at trivia night. The entire season set up the fact that someone was going to die at the Audrey Hepburn/Elvis fundraises, but who? The last few episodes have included a LOT of allusions to violence (and, some real violence), including gun violence. Heck, Jane even sleeps with a gun under her pillow under her bed.
So, raise your hand if you were surprised to learn that the death in Big Little Lies is not gun related. The cause of death is falling down the stairs. And who dies? Perry.
Honestly, we should have seen this coming. (Maybe you did!) Celeste was getting ready to leave Perry as it is, and the episode opened with an especially awful instance where Perry, unquestionably, beats Celeste. Thankfully, Celeste has secured an apartment, and plans to move out with the boys in the morning, as soon as Perry leaves on business. However, they just have to go to this one last event together.
It really looks like Celeste is going to leave Perry without a hitch, but Perry accidentally gets wind of Celeste’s new apartment. He’s PO’ed. The two get into a huge fight on the way to the fundraiser, and once there, Celeste immediately moves to get away from him. If this isn’t enough for Celeste to deal with, she’s also just learned that it’s her son Max — not Jane’s Ziggy — who’s been biting Amabella.
The mother’s break off to talk about this (and also, Madeline is super drunk, lamenting about how she’s screwed everything up with Ed/Nathan/Joseph) and Perry assumes that Celeste is confessing everything to them. He gets angry, storms into their discussion, and demands to talk to his wife.
And one more thing: As soon as Perry walks into this discussion, Jane realizes that it was Perry who violently raped her all those years ago. Yes, this is the first — and last— time Jane and Perry meet during Big Little Lies.
The scene that then plays out is incredibly chaotic, intercut with images of waves crashing on the beach, because HBO. Perry begins beating Celeste in front of all the other moms, and the other moms fight back as best they can. However, Perry is so much stronger than all of them, and it’s clear he’s got the upper hand.
…that is, until Bonnie — watching from a distance— come rushing down and pushes Perry down the flight of stairs behind them. It’s the same set of taped-off stairs we’ve seen Madeline climb up a few times.
Yes, Bonnie kills Perry. Whoa.
The moms all agree on the same story to tell the cops, and insist that the whole thing was an accident. They make it clear that Perry was attacking Celeste, but he took a step back too far and tumbled to his own death. The moms are now here to protect Bonnie, and it sounds like a good enough story — but the Monterey detectives aren’t buying it.
So go ahead and cross your fingers that the Monterey detectives continue to not buy it, and that leads us to Big Little Lies Season 2.