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ElectricBoogaloo

S01.E02: Serious Mothering

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Note: HBO made this episode available On Demand and on HBO Go on Friday, February 24, so if you enter the thread before the episode airs on Sunday night, you will be spoiled!

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Jane deflects Ziggy's questions about why they moved to Monterey. Madeline gets news that her community-theater production might get derailed, and is outraged over a slight from Renata. Celeste suggests to Perry that they see a counselor. Nathan and Ed meet in hopes of smoothing out the tensions between their wives, and themselves.

 

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Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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I was not really crazy about Big Little Lies as a book but this production is really selling me on the story. The actors are all really good. 

The meeting between Nathan and Ed intrigued me. I don't remember that from the book. I didn't really get the idea that they were actually threatening each other till the very end of the scene, and it surprised me how antagonistic they were with each other, but it made sense in that even though Ed didn't really support Madeline's behavior, he had his wife's back. And I guess if he feels that Madeline is still hung up on Nathan, he would resent the hell out of him. 

With that said I really struggle with Madeline's behavior toward Bonnie. I understand her frustrations but her public, dramatic confrontations are really distasteful.

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1 hour ago, lovinbob said:

With that said I really struggle with Madeline's behavior toward Bonnie. I understand her frustrations but her public, dramatic confrontations are really distasteful.

I thought her reaction was over the top, but not at all unexpected. They have a fraught relationship that Bonnie is well aware of, and advising Madeline's daughter on sex and helping her get birth control without even giving Madeline a heads up is over the line IMO. Bonnie seemed to know that, which is why she just accepted Madeline's anger without fighting back. 

Intrigued by the "conspiracy to incite violence" charges. Makes it sound like someone is set up or given false information that leads to the murder.

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4 hours ago, stagmania said:

I thought her reaction was over the top, but not at all unexpected. They have a fraught relationship that Bonnie is well aware of, and advising Madeline's daughter on sex and helping her get birth control without even giving Madeline a heads up is over the line IMO. Bonnie seemed to know that, which is why she just accepted Madeline's anger without fighting back. 

Intrigued by the "conspiracy to incite violence" charges. Makes it sound like someone is set up or given false information that leads to the murder.

This. I agree Madeline handles it all wrong but Bonnie should have informed Madeline what was happening and that she was talking to her about it. It's a big deal.

Since I'm going into this show book blind I'm intrigued as much as Ed is to know why Madeline is behind Jane 100%. I personally don't think Ziggy strangled Annabella, but no one really knows for sure and it's interesting to me that Madeline is all out war for a person she met like four seconds ago. I know Jane was very nice to her by giving her a ride on the very first day but I believe that there's more than that and her whole "single moms must unite" or something that she told him.

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17 minutes ago, WhosThatGirl said:

Since I'm going into this show book blind I'm intrigued as much as Ed is to know why Madeline is behind Jane 100%.

Madeline was also a young single mom, and, based on how angry she still is at Nathan 15 years later about leaving her and Abigail, it must have been a very difficult time for her, so she relates to Jane more than she does to the other school moms.

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For a few seconds I didn't know what the hell little Ziggy was going to do when he slow-mo'dwalked up to the little girl. Yes, he was smiling and all, but it also had me on edge for a moment.  So all he did was kiss her?  And did I hear right, his full name is Ziegfeld?

Man, Maddie's kitchen is gorgeous!  And this is the second ep where they are eating at the kitchen island but I just keep watching her young daughter while she's eating and noticing her actions/continuity doesn't match up when they shoot it from both angles. *movie nerd*

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4 minutes ago, ProudMary said:

I'm confused.  I thought this episode didn't premiere until 9:00 p.m. EST.  Where are you all from that you've already seen the episode?

It's been streaming since yesterday. I'm guessing HBO knows most people won't be watching live tomorrow night due to the Oscars.

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1 hour ago, ProudMary said:

I'm confused.  I thought this episode didn't premiere until 9:00 p.m. EST.  Where are you all from that you've already seen the episode?

We're from one of those 7 planets that were discovered a few days ago.  Things are pretty chill here and we love HBO Go.

Nah, I'm kidding.  Some of us are acting out Chapters 2 and 3 of the book and then live-streaming it and the rest of us are critiquing the performances

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I'll add a warning to the episode description so that people know the episode has already aired!

6 hours ago, chocolatine said:

It's been streaming since yesterday. I'm guessing HBO knows most people won't be watching live tomorrow night due to the Oscars.

Sometimes HBO and Showtime make the episodes available online or on demand a whole week ahead of the actual airdate. I know there were some shows where they did that all season (Californication and maybe the last season of The Borgias?).

 

ETA: HBO released this week's episodes of Big Little Lies, Girls, and Crashing early because of the Oscars

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I had to laugh when we learned that Ed and Madeline have the Clapper on their bedroom lights.

Maybe Madeline shouldn't have confronted Bonnie at school, but I feel like it was a spur of the moment thing. She had just seen Abigail with birth control pills as she was about to drive the kids to school and then she saw Bonnie dropping off Skye so she just jumped out of her car and told her off. Not ideal, but I get why she did it.  As far as I'm concerned, the only thing she really did wrong during that confrontation was hold up traffic. Just pull over! Heh, it would be kind of hilarious if it turned out that the murder victim was Madeline and the murderer was the new traffic guy at the elementary school who had just had it with her blocking traffic every damn morning.

I was kind of cracking up when Madeline demanded to know how Abigail got to Planned Parenthood because it's "all the way in Seaside." That's less than ten miles from Monterey (according to Google maps, it's about six miles away and a 12 minute drive). Abigail is 16 so she must have friends at school who can drive. I guess Abigail was too caught off guard to lie, but I was like girl, your mom just offered you three plausible explanations as to how you got there. All you had to do was say yes to ONE of them!

17 hours ago, stagmania said:

I thought her reaction was over the top, but not at all unexpected. They have a fraught relationship that Bonnie is well aware of, and advising Madeline's daughter on sex and helping her get birth control without even giving Madeline a heads up is over the line IMO. Bonnie seemed to know that, which is why she just accepted Madeline's anger without fighting back.

Or maybe Bonnie is just very peaceful, as she claims her daughter Skye is. I kid, I kid.

I agree that Bonnie knew she had crossed the line and that's exactly why she didn't argue with her about it at all, especially when Madeline offered her a comparable situation about Skye asking Madeline for a ride to get birth control. I think Bonnie already knew she had screwed up but when Madeline put it that way, she was able to see even more from Madeline's point of view how hurtful it was.

9 hours ago, Morbs said:

I could watch Reese Witherspoon get yelled at for talking in Yoga all day.

A few weeks ago, something similar happened on Jane the Virgin but the teacher didn't tell them to STFU and I wish she had. If you want to talk, do it before or after class, damn it!

6 hours ago, Valny said:

Man, Maddie's kitchen is gorgeous!  And this is the second ep where they are eating at the kitchen island but I just keep watching her young daughter while she's eating and noticing her actions/continuity doesn't match up when they shoot it from both angles. *movie nerd*

My nitpick: I noticed that when Celeste came home from having wine with Madeline, the flashback she had of her and Perry didn't match the previous footage. Their clothes were the same but in the flashback footage he had his right hand on her hair and she had her left arm wrapped around his neck. In the scene we saw earlier, they barely touched each other while having sex. I couldn't figure out if this was a mistake or if they are showing us that she remembers it differently than it actually happened.

Madeline gets demerits for saying "between you and I." I hear this mistake all too often on tv so I blame the writers, the actors, and the director because NONE of them caught this error and fixed it. UGH.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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If Bonnie owns a yoga studio why WAS she there? Was it to get under Maddie's skin?

Sorry, I would have yelled at Bonnie too  and Abigail  has no chill. "Yes mom. I caught an Uber." Not difficult.

That scene with Perry and Celeste creeped me out. There is an odd power play between them that makes me cringe when they are on screen together. 

I really do not care about Jane and her past. Give me more of the rich ladies.

Edited by mochamajesty · Reason: Chloe is not Abigail
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9 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I had to laugh when we learned that Ed and Madeline have the Clapper on their bedroom lights.

Maybe Madeline shouldn't have confronted Bonnie at school, but I feel like it was a spur of the moment thing. She had just seen Abigail with birth control pills as she was about to drive the kids to school and then she saw Bonnie dropping off Skye so she just jumped out of her car and told her off. Not ideal, but I get why she did it.  As far as I'm concerned, the only thing she really did wrong during that confrontation was hold up traffic. Just pull over! Heh, it would be kind of hilarious if it turned out that the murder victim was Madeline and the murderer was the new traffic guy at the elementary school who had just had it with her blocking traffic every damn morning.

I was kind of cracking up when Madeline demanded to know how Abigail got to Planned Parenthood because it's "all the way in Seaside." That's less than ten miles from Monterey (according to Google maps, it's about six miles away and a 12 minute drive). Abigail is 16 so she must have friends at school who can drive. I guess Abigail was too caught off guard to lie, but I was like girl, your mom just offered you three plausible explanations as to how you got there. All you had to do was say yes to ONE of them!

Or maybe Bonnie is just very peaceful, as she claims her daughter Skye is. I kid, I kid.

I agree that Bonnie knew she had crossed the line and that's exactly why she didn't argue with her about it at all, especially when Madeline offered her a comparable situation about Skye asking Madeline for a ride to get birth control. I think Bonnie already knew she had screwed up but when Madeline put it that way, she was able to see even more from Madeline's point of view how hurtful it was.

A few weeks ago, something similar happened on Jane the Virgin but the teacher didn't tell them to STFU and I wish she had. If you want to talk, do it before or after class, damn it!

My nitpick: I noticed that when Celeste came home from having wine with Madeline, the flashback she had of her and Perry didn't match the previous footage. Their clothes were the same but in the flashback footage he had his right hand on her hair and she had her left arm wrapped around his neck. In the scene we saw earlier, they barely touched each other while having sex. I couldn't figure out if this was a mistake or if they are showing us that she remembers it differently than it actually happened.

Madeline gets demerits for saying "between you and I." I hear this mistake all too often on tv so I blame the writers, the actors, and the director because NONE of them caught this error and fixed it. UGH.

I think Celeste might be remembering it a different way, if only to make the behavior okay. I'm assuming that she places the abusing as passion because the always end up having sex right after. That's how she told Madeline their fights go. Then again.. I'm not sure how she acts. On one hand she tells Madeline that their fighting always ends passionately, (obviously she didn't tell her that their fighting is physical and not just screaming) but on the other hand she asked Perry if when he came back from his trip they could go back to therapy again. So I don't know what to think. I know most abuse victims aren't going to admit it, so I took it as her finding a way to make it okay in her head.

One thing that I found funny is that when Madeline saw which child was having a birthday party, why she was surprised that Ziggy wasn't invited. It was obvious that Annabella's mother was dead set on Ziggy being the culprit, so she was never going to allow him to her daughters party. I just assumed that when Madeline saw who was having a party she would be like "oh well you won't be going". 

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14 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

We're from one of those 7 planets that were discovered a few days ago.  Things are pretty chill here and we love HBO Go.

Nah, I'm kidding.  Some of us are acting out Chapters 2 and 3 of the book and then live-streaming it and the rest of us are critiquing the performances

ROFLMAO!
I figured it was one of those situations where Canada got it a day before the US did.  I had no idea that HBO was streaming it early.  Oh well, I saw this too late as I'm already watching the pre-red carpet stuff.  I'll watch the episode Monday.

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This episode turned up the heat but didn't really advance the story much.  I still enjoyed it though.

That private elementary school leaves a lot to be desired.  Now we have the teacher planning some family tree project for the kids, which should ramp up Ziggy's anxiety and anyone else from a non-traditional family.  What's next, DNA swabs run through CODIS?

 

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I don't know if Ed (per the recap) is the murderer, but I do wonder if he's the reason Abigail's on birth control. At the end, when she came downstairs into that little den and was caught short by the sight of her mother with him, it's reasonable to think she would have known HE was down there. But from the way the scene was set wouldn't have expected her mother to be there, alone or otherwise.

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1 minute ago, chocolatine said:

Renata's daughter's name is Amabella. That's part of the ridiculousness of Renata.

I've been saying it wrong the whole time. I feel like an idiot. I'm now watching a rerun of tonight's episode and noticing how they are saying it. I feel so stupid.

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Just now, WhosThatGirl said:

I've been saying it wrong the whole time. I feel like an idiot. I'm now watching a rerun of tonight's episode and noticing how they are saying it. I feel so stupid.

Don't. When I was reading the book I did a double take when I saw it spelled that way. In the first ep, the teacher also said "Annabella", and Renata corrected her.

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Okay good. I never would have picked on it without you saying something here. I would keep calling her Annabella. Amabella is such a strange name. It also took me like five times for  my autocorrect to let that go. 

I have been having a lot of questions while rewatching now. Like why Amabella was concerned with the stuffed animal liking to be hugged-unless it was foreshadowing for the kissing incident.. but I don't know..., why one of the people being interviewed said Ziggy was an off child? I know we the viewers saw him sleepwalking but in public he's been a nice kid? 

Edited by WhosThatGirl
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9 hours ago, mochamajesty said:

If Bonnie owns a yoga studio why WAS she there? Was it to get under Maddie's skin?

I can't speak for Bonnie, but I know that when I was a dance teacher, I still took classes from other teachers at other locations because I felt it was important for me to learn from other people and see what else was out there. I thought that if I just taught my class without taking other classes, I would get too comfortable in my routine and become a complacent teacher.

9 hours ago, WhosThatGirl said:

One thing that I found funny is that when Madeline saw which child was having a birthday party, why she was surprised that Ziggy wasn't invited. It was obvious that Annabella's mother was dead set on Ziggy being the culprit, so she was never going to allow him to her daughters party. I just assumed that when Madeline saw who was having a party she would be like "oh well you won't be going". 

I'm not sure if this is the case, but a lot of elementary schools have rules about birthday party invitations, especially in the lower grades. Some schools say that you have to invite everyone in the entire class. Some schools won't let you distribute invitations at school. I wouldn't be surprised if the school on this show has similar rules, which might be why Madeline was so surprised that Ziggy was purposely excluded. Realistically she should have known from Renata's behavior the day before that she was going to hold a grudge though.

3 hours ago, CleoCaesar said:

I always yell "BETWEEN YOU AND ME" when I hear it, which is pretty much all the time. People are terrified of the word "me" and substitute "I" to sound smart, when 9 out of 10 it's just plain incorrect.

I'm glad it's not just me! It's one of my pet peeves (along with the ever popular "please see Bob or myself"). It bothers me more on tv than in real life because when someone at work sends an email with incorrect grammar, it's usually just the fault of that particular individual. But when it's on tv, multiple people have seen the error and NO ONE CORRECTED IT. No one in the writers' room, none of the actors involved in the scene, no one present at the table read/rehearsals/actual shooting realized this was wrong? Ugh.

55 minutes ago, WhosThatGirl said:

Side note: Did anyone else wonder why Annabella asked if the stuffed Hippo wanted to be hugged? I thought that was a strange thing to ask from a child. 

Most of the people in this community are overly PC which is why Bonnie said that her daughter "would never sanction a non-consensual touching," so it's not surprising to me that Amabella would ask if the hippo wanted to be hugged.

And don't feel bad about thinking that the kid's name was Annabella. That's what any normal person would think unless they were listening really closely. And even in print, having two lowercase Ns right next to each other looks similar to one lowercase M so aurally and visually, it's totally understandable to assume that her name is Annabella.

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Got to say, I'm loving Reese Witherspoon in this role. In real life, Madeline would be absolutely exhausting to know, but in the show I'm finding her really charming, even if she is incredibly high maintenance. She's so driven by her passions and insecurities - sometimes to her own detriment, as she never even stops to take a breath, never mind think, she just barrels on through, and I'm really enjoying the complexity of her relationships with just about everyone.

Nicole Kidman I'm finding less convincing as Celeste, and I can't decide if it's the acting or just that she's a more difficult character to read and like. I did really enjoy her conversation with Madeline, when she confessed to all the angry sex and Madeline just looked really appalled, so Celeste tried to make it sound better and Madeline tried to smooth it over and it was just so believably awkward. It felt like they were on the cusp of unpicking something much bigger about Celeste's marriage...but Celeste can't seem to admit to herself, even, that there is a real problem with her husband. I get so many red flags from his behaviour, and at times Celeste seems to recognise those red flags, but other times she seems to bury her head in the sand and pretend nothing's wrong.

I can't stand Renata. And I really feel for Jane.

Now I'm curious to know why Madeline's community theatre director buddy Joseph was hanging back to avoid her in episode one - was he taking a moment to admire her from afar (doesn't seem likely from what we saw of them together here), was he trying not to interrupt her hanging out with her friends, or was he trying to avoid an inevitable scene if Madeline saw him and wanted to talk about the play?

Edited by Llywela
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18 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Renata's daughter's name is Amabella. That's part of the ridiculousness of Renata.

Someone I know opined that women who give their children florid, extremely feminine names--Isabella was her example--are usually just trying to compensate for their own lack of femininity. Given Renata's insecurities about being a working mother, that may very well apply to her, although Amabella is also an exquisitely pretentious name.

With all that said, I'd say about 80% of my friends and cousins' kids--across various socioeconomic backgrounds--have extremely unfortunate names. I can confidently state that one can--and many do, in fact--do far worse than Amabella. (Persephone, for starters. Not joking.)

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6 hours ago, WhosThatGirl said:

Side note: Did anyone else wonder why Annabella asked if the stuffed Hippo wanted to be hugged? I thought that was a strange thing to ask from a child. 

I did, and I thought it was maybe a sign that whatever happened to her in episode 1 was not an isolated incident. There are so many stray comments in this show that raise alarm bells; I'm sure some are red herrings but I have no idea which!

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23 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

Is this whole thing only 7 episodes, does anyone know?  I thought I cancelled my HBO subscription months ago but I guess not.  I'd cancel (again) now but I'd like to see the rest of this.  

I love the kid characters and actors for Chloe and Ziggy.  

Tiny nit-  Why does Laura Dern pronounce 'Madeline' with a long A, unlike the rest of the cast?  

I don't think Skarsgard is hot.  He looks like David Hyde Pierce to me.  

The first episode one of the Greek chorus people used past tense about him so I'm guessing he's the murdered person, maybe.  At this point, my guess is Woodley's character was raped by him resulting in Ziggy and she came back to kill him, and she and Kidman's characters might be intimate and in on it together?  Probably exactly what they're hoping we'd think, though, given the looks between them.  So I'd be shocked if each ep didn't usher in a new theory and that one is left in the dust.  But all the "you're not a monster" and rape memory stuff from Woodley suggests his bio-dad is a violent person.  

But good points about those twins. 

Yeah, I noticed that, too: Renata is the only one who pronounces "Madeline" with a long "i". Line, not Lynn. I wonder if it's a passive aggressive choice of the character. 

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10 hours ago, Auntie Velvet said:

I don't know if Ed (per the recap) is the murderer, but I do wonder if he's the reason Abigail's on birth control. At the end, when she came downstairs into that little den and was caught short by the sight of her mother with him, it's reasonable to think she would have known HE was down there. But from the way the scene was set wouldn't have expected her mother to be there, alone or otherwise.

You think Abigail is having a sexual relationship with Ed, and that's why she needed birth control? Wow. I didn't pick up on that at all.

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11 minutes ago, teddysmom said:

I wondered if Celeste went along with the sex because she knew it would keep him from hurting her further. She did seem kind of into it, tho.

Their relationship is confusing.

It's not the 'typical' domestic violence situation - where she cowers in fear of the abusive husband.  Celeste slapped him back - hard.  She only stopped when he slammed her into the wall.  I think it's because a slap is one thing but at the end of the day, she would lose in any purely physical confrontation.

Their scenes are hard to watch - but oddly fascinating, trying to figure out the pathology behind it all.

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6 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I can't speak for Bonnie, but I know that when I was a dance teacher, I still took classes from other teachers at other locations because I felt it was important for me to learn from other people and see what else was out there. I thought that if I just taught my class without taking other classes, I would get too comfortable in my routine and become a complacent teacher.

 

Well, I guess that makes sense.

 

A part of me wonders if Nathan didn't come along just to rub it in.

I am with Madeline on this one.  Running into them both all over town has to suck.

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I'm in love with this series. It's so cleverly done, and so weirdly relatable. I want to hate Madeline, but I also identify with her in a lot of ways -- and her smackdown of Bonnie about the Planned Parenthood trip was so righteously epic I was literally cheering for her.

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17 hours ago, mochamajesty said:

If Bonnie owns a yoga studio why WAS she there? Was it to get under Maddie's skin?

Sorry, I would have yelled at Bonnie too  and Chloe has no chill. "Yes mom. I caught an Uber." Not difficult.

Do you mean Abigail (Madeline's older daughter) has no chill? I would agree. Especially considering how easy a mark her mother is.

"You're on birth control, but you say you've never had sex? Sure, that sounds plausible! Just please talk to me before that future day when you lose your virginity."

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It's a running theme in the book that people always get Amabella's name wrong. My hubby and I made sure we didn't give our child a name she would hate us for later. lol 

It was a jerk move for Bonnie and Nathan to go to a yoga studio that (I assume) she knew Maddie frequented. I can't believe that's the only one in town, other than her own. Does Nathan even work? He's always around during the day taking yoga with Bonnie. We know Ed works from home and has more flexibility with his hours. Can't remember N's occupation in the book.

Liked Ed letting out his inner He Man. Bummed that I haven't heard Chloe say "Oh calamity!" Maybe she'll utter it later in the season. Adam Scott's beard is distracting. :D

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1 hour ago, hoodooznoodooz said:

You think Abigail is having a sexual relationship with Ed, and that's why she needed birth control? Wow. I didn't pick up on that at all.

Just in the realm of "fan theory," but I'm definitely going to watch that sequence again. Especially given that remark about Ed that the ones that seem like Jimmy Stewart are actually Charlie Manson (which is obviously worse than what we're talking about here, but still.)

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Nathan's a landscaper I think, according to Ed's comments on this episode. 

I think I may have to get this book. I'm really liking the series. 

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Okay this episode...was much better than the first.

I agree with everyone else...Bonnie and Nathan going to the yoga studio was crappy especially since Bonnie owns her own. The other thing is I don't agree with Nathan about Bonnie taking Madeline's daughter to Planned Parenthood. He doesn't seem to get it. It isn't about coercion or the fact that she encouraged her daughter to go. Bonnie should have encouraged her to discuss the decision with her mother or father not just given her a ride. Also what kind of *sshole goes to their ex wife's husband....that in itself would piss me off...

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9 hours ago, WhosThatGirl said:

Side note: Did anyone else wonder why Annabella asked if the stuffed Hippo wanted to be hugged? I thought that was a strange thing to ask from a child. 

There is a fairly concerted effort nowadays to not make kids give hugs and kisses to people they don't want to because it teaches them that they have ownership of their bodies. However it could also be commentary on Amabella's parents being more cold and distant.

I didn't read the book so maybe it plays an important part later, but I'm kind of annoyed that they keep spending time talking about the stupid play. I'd rather they focus on the main characters more.

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I don't know if Ed (per the recap) is the murderer, but I do wonder if he's the reason Abigail's on birth control. At the end, when she came downstairs into that little den and was caught short by the sight of her mother with him, it's reasonable to think she would have known HE was down there. 

Wouldn't Ed have driven her to the clinic, then? I'd really like to think that there's nothing inappropriate going on there. My interpretation of her backing away from her mom and stepdad hugging was that she knew it was a private moment - and possibly rare, given the lack of affection between them previously - and didn't want to intrude.

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Got to say, I'm loving Reese Witherspoon in this role.

Me too! You're right, knowing a Madeline in real life would be exhausting. But I somehow like her and think that's largely because of how Reese plays her.

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I really hope Ed doesn't turn out to be a creep, because one "seemingly doting father/husband turns out to be an abusive monster" storyline is enough for me.

As for Amabella talking about whether the hippo wants to be hugged, I took it to mean that after the choking incident, Renata had given her daughter a huge lecture about consent and how no one can touch her without her permission.

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