‘Big Little Lies’ Episode 4 Recap: Push Comes to Shove

Need a quick catch up? Be sure to check out our recap of last week’s episode

This recap contains spoilers

As we sink our teeth into the latest episode of HBO’s Big Little Lies, one thing’s clear: this show is so much more than a simple murder mystery.

The characters are relatable yet so flawed, and the plot has me both rolling my eyes and gripping the sides of my couch. Each episode brings us just a tiny bit closer to discovering the truth about the murder while throwing us into the messy lives of this crumbling community. I feel that not only does everyone in Monterey have a secret they’re hiding, but they’re also on the brink of losing it.

Celeste is practicing law again, and while this seems to be a huge source of conflict in her marriage, I loved getting to see her in action. In a meeting to support Madeline’s production of Avenue Q, we see her completely blow everyone away, but then burst into tears out of guilt afterward. Not only is her passion for her career costing her her marriage, it’s also a crack in the facade of her image. Celeste is a wife and mother, but she admits that is just not enough for her. I imagine it’s not only the guilt of demanding more than motherhood that has her feeling depressed, but also the weariness of how Perry will respond.

After all, if there’s anything we’ve learned about Perry, it’s that he is an abusive, possessive man that is likely to have a terrible reaction to his wife reigniting her passionate career. Regrettably, we are right about this as Perry demonstrates his lack of control over his own demons. In the episode, there is yet another tough scene of abuse to watch that is, thankfully, short-lived as one of the twins walk in unannounced; it makes me think that it’s only a matter of time before Celeste and Perry’s dirty secret is exposed. If one of the kids doesn’t see what Perry does to their mother (or what they do to each other), I think it’s entirely possible that someone else will.

While Perry and Celeste seem to be drowning in their own misery, things are starting to brighten a bit more for Ed and Madeline. Or so I thought. I regret to say that I have no idea what is going on between these two. First, Ed is exhibiting strange behavior. He plans a secret (albeit inappropriate) meet-up with Bonnie, where he makes a gross comment about loving sweat on women (what the heck?). And as if that wasn’t weird enough, he has an even stranger moment where he’s donning an Elvis costume and performs late-night karaoke for Madeline. It seems he might be trying to spice things up in their marriage, but all it does for Madeline is make her laugh a bit.

As if it wasn’t obvious that she wasn’t into it, we later see Madeline cross a line for sure when she shares a steamy backstage moment with her co-worker and Avenue Q theater director, Joseph (played by Santiago Cabrera). Your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you, either; Madeline definitely cheated on her husband in that scene, though she later owns up to the whole thing during her confession with Celeste. Then Joseph and Madeline share an awkward public encounter later on in the episode where she shoves him away as he tries to kiss her. Madeline’s reluctance to resistance also tells us that this is not their first time at the rodeo with one another and that Madeline may not be the model wife she tries to portray. Which leads me to wonder two things: Where will this go? and Will Ed find out? Or is it more a matter of “When”?

Speaking of when’s, when will we learn the truth about this school bullying? I still believe Ziggy is a good, innocent kid. And I love the scenes he shares with his mother, Jane, but I still don’t understand how this kid continues to get accused of being a bully. Yet, his teacher still suspects something is going on with him and Amabella, though; she even suggests Jane take Ziggy to see a child psychologist. Hesitant and reasonably offended at the prospect at first, Jane does show some visible relief when the psychologist validates what I’ve been suspecting all along: Ziggy is no bully! But still, if Ziggy isn’t hurting Amabella, then who is? The doctor makes an interesting observation that Ziggy could very well be the victim of this school bully. It’s an interesting theory for sure, and just the sort of monkey wrench this subplot needed to have us seeking out new culprits. So maybe there’s someone bullying both Amabella and Ziggy?

I wish I could say that the school bullying is Jane’s only cause of stress, but when Madeline and Celeste show her a photo of who they believe to be Saxon Banks, her past catches up with her once again. Did Madeline and Celeste just find the monster that is Ziggy’s father?

As Jane studies the picture, we hear her say that she’d have to hear his voice in order to know it’s him for certain. We also hear her state that she would kill him if given the chance. We know that Jane’s got a gun stashed underneath her pillow, but I wonder if we’ll ever see the day where she has to use it. And on whom? She’s been experiencing a lot of stress lately, which has led to even more haunting hallucinations of Saxon’s return… but what if it’s all in her imagination? Will Jane be able to differentiate friend from foe? I certainly hope so.

With only three episodes left remaining in Season 1, there are still more than a handful of unanswered questions that have not been addressed. For starters, When will we have a better idea of who the town killer is? And furthermore, how are the mothers involved? What will come out of this dinner Nathan and Bonnie have planned for Ed and Madeline? Even though I think there are good intentions behind Nathan and Bonnie’s sudden hospitality, like most other things in Monterey, it’s likely to end badly.

What did you think of Big Little Lies?

Will Jane confront her past? Is Madelyn about to completely lose it? How much longer must Celeste put up with Perry’s abuse?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!