Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Burning Love

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It's time to come clean.

The pressure of keeping secrets was getting to everyone on Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6, and admitting imperfections seemed to be the theme of the hour.

Still, not everyone is going as far as they should to unburden themselves with the weights driving their decisions and putting their respective families into jeopardy. Yes, Celeste, we're looking at you.

A Lot to Think About for Celeste vertical - Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6

Celeste's therapy session with Dr. Reisman drove home some excellent points about abuse and the mistakes women make in an abusive situation.

Saying women make mistakes in an abusive situation in no way places the blame on the women, but rather highlights that hiding the abuse, feeling responsible and culpable for it, guilty or shamed because they are abused and hiding it from everyone can ultimately hurt more than the abuse.

After all, bruises fade, but a vengeful husband during a divorce can strip a woman of a lot more than her pride. 

Even before she met with Dr. Reisman, Celeste was tired of living up to the facade of her perfect life.

My life isn't perfect, Madeline, bad things have happened to me. I do understand the concept.

Celeste [sighs]

Even hearing that, though, was enough to draw the ire of Mr. Wright. If anyone ever didn't deserve the name more than Perry, right?

The whole town thinks they are the picture of glowing love and sexual satisfaction when they're monsters. I swear, if I have to see Alexander Skarsgard pull that hunched-over monster bit with his kids one more time, I'm going after him a tennis racket.

The more Celeste becomes self-aware again, the more Perry senses it, and the angrier he becomes. His need to exert his power of her will get one of them killed, and only one of them has friends in that town, so I'm not betting on Celeste dying.

At her therapy session, Celeste talked a lot about power and how she believed it worked in her marriage. It's such an ugly place to find herself, wielding power until her bruises are gone.

Dr. Reisman: Start documenting the abuse. Write everything down. Photograph your injuries. Keep doctor reports. That could be important in a custody battle, and men like your husband usually do go for custody. He has the resources, the money, the contacts. Most importantly, he has the ego to see this through.
Celeste: I don't understand why you're being such an alarmist right now.
Dr. Reisman: Because I'm alarmed.

When women kill, it's usually a spouse. Women don't kill strangers, or if they do, it's a highly unusual case. 

Listening to the all too familiar pattern of attorney questioning in a case such as Celeste's is exactly why an otherwise strong woman would consider murder instead of leaving. They suddenly realize they've made all the wrong moves and when they finally do speak up, they won't be believed.

Dr. Reisman: Have you told anybody else about the abuse?
Celeste: No.
Dr. Reisman: Why not?
Celeste: I don't know.
Dr. Reisman: If you were to guess.
Celeste: Perhaps my self-worth is made up of how other people see me [chuckles].
Dr. Reisman: I'm sorry. I'm just amazed at patients that can harbor such profound self-awareness underneath the hard shell of denial. Find a friend to confide in. Do it today.
Celeste [looking frustrated]: Because?
Dr. Reisman: Because if there is a custody battle, you know what Perry's lawyer will be asking, "Did you ever tell anybody, Mrs. Wright? Hm? Really, you told nobody at all? Is that because it never really happened and you're just making all this up to win custody? In fact, you've repeatedly maintained what a wonderful husband and father Perry is, haven't you, Mrs. Wright? Nobody's ever witnessed this alleged abuse ever. Isn't that true, Mrs. Wright? We only have your word. You said he was wonderful. Were you lying then, or are you lying now?" You're a lawyer. You know how important it is to have a witness.

It really IS that easy to cover bruises, too, from all of your friends and family. Celeste wears long sleeves and turns to makeup to make sure nobody knows what's happening to her, but that only allows them to live in the dark and believe her lies about her beautiful life.

It will be as much of a surprise to them as it will be everyone else when she announces why she wants to leave Perry. 

You can tell Perry's losing his footing in the relationship because he flew home specifically to keep her from going to the play. He quite simply doesn't want her spending time outside the home. 

Who Has the Power Now? - Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6

But talk about a power play. Has Celeste ever brandished a weapon in an attempt to protect herself before? And what will that mean should they go to court?

Celeste: I'm gonna get you some ice.
Perry: You're lucky I didn't kill you.
Celeste: What did you say?
Perry: You could have done permanent damage.

He's soaking up the misery as a couch potato and a sad sack while Celeste gets an apartment. Still, though, she refrains from sharing anything real with a friend, which was one of the most important takeaways from her session.

While it didn't do Celeste any good, it did get Madeline and Ed to open up a bit.

Opening Night - Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6

Ed is madly in love with Madeline. It was opening night of the play, which was a raving success other than the fact Madeline was thinking back to sex with Joseph and Joseph's wife confronted Madeline.

Ed probably deserves more than Madeline is willing to give, but she knows that. And the more she's thinking about others, the more she's thinking about Ed in the long run.

Madeline is Celeste's best friend, and it's easier for her to believe sex would smash Perry's urethra than something else. Isn't that sad? But, as you would, she and Ed sat around contemplating just how hard they were driving at it to break Perry's

It was funny for a while, then got serious.

Ed: I just can't imagine the passion it would take to smash a urethra. In two places?
Madeline: You sound a little envious. You want me to smash yours?
Ed [laughs]: Well, not smash, but...we never have wild sex. We have nice sex, I mean I like it, you know. It's just that it usually times out between four and six minutes, and neither of us are in remote danger of physical injury.
Madeline: Well that's just mean, Ed.
Ed: Sorry! Maybe I am envious. What? Perry walks through the doors and whoosh. I wish we had that kind of desire.
Madeline: By we, you mean me.

A one-sided relationship isn't fair, and if there is no hope for both parties to come together, then they should consider what it might mean to spend some time apart. Can they regroup? Would Madeline miss Ed and his four-to-six minute sex?

Part of what Ed says is true; for happy marriages, sometimes you have to lie about being happy. But not all the time, and it's hard to believe these two have had a discussion like that in quite a while.

But deep down, Ed appeared to have known about Joseph and was willing to forgive her.

Ed: Madeline, I'm the lucky one. I get to wake up every day next to the girl of my dreams. I just feel like the loser sometimes.
Madeline: I'm sorry I haven't always been the best wife. I'm really sorry. I get angry sometimes and I made a mistake...
Ed: Nuh uh. Shhhh.
Madeline: I made a terrible mistake.
Ed: Don't say any more. [kisses Madeline's hand]

Maybe, in the final episodes, we'll see a different dynamic between the two of them. After all, with as truthful as she was with Abigail, I don't think Madeline was lying about still loving Ed.

A Candid Conversation - Big Little Lies

Was Madeline right? Was Abigail selling her virginity in a desperate ploy to get her mother and father back together and to impress Madeline, who she thinks is too perfect?

What I enjoyed about the entire ridiculous scenario was that it gave Nathan his first bit of evidence that there is a chink in Bonnie's armor. She's not perfect, either. Didn't you love how his defiance against her perfection was to eat more Cocoa Puffs?

Nathan wanted to blame Bonnie and her desires to fix the world for Abigail's choice to sell her virginity to make a point about the online sex trade. It was a good point, but Abigail might just be a girl too smart and contemplative to figure out a less thrilling way to share her unhappiness at her own life.

That it all came down to a conversation with Madeline and Abigail in which Madeline more or less said, "Can it," and walked away was beautiful. They understand each other in a way nobody else does, and it's the complexity of their relationship that also drives them apart.

Someday they'll be beyond all of the game-playing and will still disagree on a lot of stuff, but they will be so close. 

At the very least, and as messed up as everyone is on Big Little Lies, they put parenting right up there, which is not only commendable but nice to see on TV. So many times, you see the parents but their children are non-existent.

It's never felt as if these parents have tried to set aside their children to live their lives, and that's pretty rare on television. Kudos to that.

Jane v Renata Cat Fight! - Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6

Kudos to Jane and Renata, too, for getting their garbage out on the table. 

I know people hate me for my violent nature, and yes, it's childish. But sometimes you have that urge to push someone, you know? I've not done it since I was a kid, but I do backhand my sister on the arm sometimes in annoyance. She's my sister, I'm allowed!

Jane's reaction to the petition against Ziggy and then running into Renata and Gordon was the TV equivalent of a backhand to the arm had they been standing next to each other. Just pent up frustration that went a little too far.

But it also allowed Jane to see things more clearly, especially after she admitted to Madeline she took her gun to meet Saxon and how dearly she wants him to be a good person, for that day with her to be a fluke.

She wants everything good for Ziggy, even the worst day of her life, so imagine how terrible it must be for her knowing people are trying to petition her little boy out of school, to keep their children from playing with her son.

Jane: Truth is I finally realized I've been feeling exactly what you must be feeling. There's nothing worse than your kid being victimized, right? So I understand and completely empathize with what you're going through. I am as sure as any parent can be that Ziggy is innocent. I took him to a child psychologist, and she examined him and tested him and said that he was a gentle young boy. He's completely incapable of doing what he's accused of. Renata, I'm at my wit's end. I don't know what to do anymore. Does Amabella still say that he's hurting her?
Renata: No, she, uh, says he's a sweet boy.
Jane: And orientation?
Renata: Well, she hasn't taken back the accusation, but she refuses to talk to us about anything further. If you think you're at your wit's end, my daughter's the one getting hurt, and I can't stop it.
Jane: I'm so sorry.
Renata: Me too.

Renata even had a good idea at school later, to have a play date with all the kids in school so she could eye for herself how Amabella reacts when playing with each one. 

Laura Dern had that scene nailed. You could feel Renata's relief at being accepted, even for a minute, as one of the cool kids, hanging with Jane and talking in the parking lot. 

What I hope to see at trivia night, before anybody dies, is all of the girls dancing together. Can they all get one moment of happiness, Renata included? They've come so far and gone through so much; they deserve one morsel of freedom before it all comes crashing down.

I assume that will be in the next episode, because we need one hour to wrap up the murder, and Big Little Lies Season 1 had eight total episodes. I'm going to miss these characters. A lot. It's been a wonderful ride.

If you haven't seen any of this wonderful show, you need to watch Big Little Lies online. Seriously.

Burning Love Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Big Little Lies Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Dr. Reisman: Start documenting the abuse. Write everything down. Photograph your injuries. Keep doctor reports. That could be important in a custody battle, and men like your husband usually do go for custody. He has the resources, the money, the contacts. Most importantly, he has the ego to see this through.
Celeste: I don't understand why you're being such an alarmist right now.
Dr. Reisman: Because I'm alarmed.

My life isn't perfect, Madeline, bad things have happened to me. I do understand the concept.

Celeste [sighs]