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S01.E07: You Get What You Need

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On 4/3/2017 at 5:58 PM, stillshimpy said:

I also liked that it was the male detective who told Zippo to just let it go.  I fully agree with him and honestly thought Zippo was being ridiculous to continue to watch all of the women. 

I haven't read the book (although I really enjoy Lianne Moriarty's books -- comfort reads because everything is fine in the end no matter how dire things look), but I was wondering after hearing Kelley's comments about the detective watching the women...how there is no closure ever. I didn't like that idea (because in Lianne Moriarty's world there jolly well is closure) because it seemed like something that he tacked on to be oh-so-clever. Was that in the book? Or is it discussed in the book thread? It added -- to me -- a false note.

Edited by carrps
Always forget Kelley's second 'e.'
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I actually recorded this five months ago but never got around to watching. Since Irma came along and wiped out my cable (fortunately about the only loss we suffered), I've been dipping into my Tivo reserves and just finished. It's all been said, but I'll say it again, everyone was fantastic. I didn't know how much I needed to see the ladies bonded at the end until it happened. I'm firmly against a Season 2 mainly because there's no way it could make me feel this good. I don't want to see then turn on each other to keep the drama going. I'm good where they left it.

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4 hours ago, Rina99 said:

I'm firmly against a Season 2 mainly because there's no way it could make me feel this good. I don't want to see then turn on each other to keep the drama going. I'm good where they left it.

That is very true. It ended perfectly. Perfect closure, they are all bonded and together. I, too, would hate to see conflict between them just for the sake of a story.

What I would love is for the actresses to do something else together in this same vein. Different characters, different story but same creative team.

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Just finished watching this at 2am last night. Echo everyone's sentiments here that this was a well-written, well-acted show. Two things that I just wanted to mention:

1) Chloe may be 6 years old but she can make a playlist for me whenever she wants.

2) That scene where Jane realises who Perry is, grabs Maddy's arm which causes Maddy to figure it out and then convey that to Celeste, was the high point of all that tension that had been building up to it prior. Really well done by all involved.

Edited by kdm07
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24 minutes ago, kdm07 said:

That scene where Jane realises who Perry is, grabs Maddy's arm which causes Maddy to figure out it and then convey that to Celeste, was the high point of all that tension that had been building up to it prior. Really well done by all involved.

That was a beautifully acted scene. You could see the realization on each woman's face. That scene alone deserves a ton of awards. I got chills watching them realize just how terrible a monster this man really was. My heart broke for Celeste when she realized what he'd done. The man she had made so many excuses for, the man she had kept in her (and her children's) life because she thought she was the only one he was hurting. It was like a gut punch. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/14/2017 at 4:58 AM, Mabinogia said:

That is very true. It ended perfectly. Perfect closure, they are all bonded and together. I, too, would hate to see conflict between them just for the sake of a story.

What I would love is for the actresses to do something else together in this same vein. Different characters, different story but same creative team.

I've been saying this all along. Instead of trying to get Leann to write an overarching story for season 2 I wish they would just focus on adapting one of her other books. The consensus seems to be that BLL is her best one, but take one of the lesser books and make better. You have an award winning cast, David E Kelly writing/adapting, Jean Marc Valle directing, Reese and Nicole producing, and HBO behind them 100%. 

Make it like an anthology series. I'm partial to the Husband's Secret myself. 

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Loved this show much. I say give it ten years, and then resurrect it. Perhaps set the story twenty years from the finale. The ladies are still keeping the secret and other secrets. Chloe runs a music company and has a mentor relationship with Renata, which Madeleine kinda resents. The other kids are varying degrees of messed up. Some of the marriages withstand time, some don't. 


They use flashbacks, revealing what has happened over those past two decades. The flashbacks would allow to keep the original child actors on the show. Kinda like This is Us. The criminal law element was always secondary, so setting it right after the finale just won't work. But the idea of keeping secrets and how that can infiltrate you is something I would like to play out.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally got the last two episodes on DVD and finished the series, and both my husband and I thought it was great. Especially watching this in the current climate of women speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, I loved the "sisterhood is powerful" message. Now I have to go back and read all the comments on the last two episodes, to get more insights from the terrific posters here.

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On 4/3/2017 at 8:48 PM, meep.meep said:

When I attempt to get my elderly braincells to think back to the first episode, wasn't there discussion about the details of the crime that didn't match up with what happened?  I remember the detectives saying that the brain had liquified.  If Perry died from being impaled , that doesn't seem like a likely outcome.

I haven't read through all the comments yet, so apologies if someone else has addressed this, but this apparent inconsistency between what the detectives said about the injuries and what actually happened is nagging at me. It seemed that when the detectives gave a statement to the press, they described the injuries in terms that suggested a violent assault (i.e.,  implying that the perpetrator beat the victim to cause the injuries).  In actuality, there were probably some lesser injuries from the women hitting Perry to keep him from hurting Celeste, but the most severe injuries were clearly from falling down the steps and being impaled by the rebar.  Even though there could be a question in the detectives' minds of whether he fell accidentally or was pushed, it should have been clear to them that the most serious injuries were due to the impact with the steps/rebar and not to someone beating him. So it just seems odd that they would recite these serious injuries to the press as a way of suggesting that they were looking for a violent murderer. Of course, this recitation of injuries was a good way for the writers to mislead the viewers into thinking that the perpetrator was a man (likely Perry) and the victim was a woman (likely Celeste). But maybe I am mis-remembering the way the detectives described the injuries.

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/3/2017 at 9:12 AM, dmc said:

Well first, well done. I loved the series and how it wrapped up.

My thoughts on the final episode:

Is it me or do the men all seem sort of awful...Ed is the best one and even he at times I wonder about...

It's interesting to me that even though much of the episode centers around Perry's abuse of Celeste...to me the most menacing scene was Renata's husband at the cafe.

Going to be honest, I always judge women who have men fight their battles for them. Renata and Jane had supposedly worked out their issue...so why was her husband involved??? Why would he take upon himself to down there for a situation that was already resolved...

Does anyone get the sense that Ed still has a thing for Madeline...why is he constantly competing with Ed?

I liked Madeline and Abby talking and getting closer.

I also liked that the women become friends at the end...I think this is realistic...a lot of times as women we decide arbitrarily not to like someone maybe they make us insecure, maybe they threaten the life that we have carved out for ourselves and then we see that we aren't that different from them.

I don't think Renata had her husband fight for her. He chose to do that on his own. She even mentioned on more than one occasion that she liked Jane. 

I think Nathan is definitely into Madeline in some way. And he's quite insecure, too.

I guess Madeline telling Abby about her affair got Abby to see that her mother isn't perfect and is someone she can be friends with. I thought it would have made her judge Madeline more harshly as a hypocrite. I'm not comfortable with it but I do recall Madeleine wanting to be her daughter's friend. 

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I bought the DVD's and just watched the whole thing twice, and slow motioned the death/fight scene at the end to catch every bit of it.

I loved this series, the acting especially, but really ALL of it, including the music.  BTW, not much in the way of "extras' on the DVD's.  My only quibble was the opening scenes with the Bixby Bridge, looking like the ladies were commuting or driving to school.  Still Big Sur is so pretty.

I completely didn't mind Perry being Jane's rapist.  The styles were so similar to what he did to Celeste, and it makes sense that Perry would abuse other women, because his rage would still be around, even with all the business trips.  Also, Santa Cruz and Monterey are just across the bay, not that far away, even though we don't really know where they were when she was raped, right?

Honestly, I'm kind of glad I was off message boards for this one, because I really thought Madeline would be the one to die.  Excellent misdirection there, for me anyway.  Perry made too much sense, and was so disconnected from the rest of the cast. 

Bonnie shoving him doesn't seem at all unbelievable to me, nor does her action to help.  I know many women who would have done the same thing.  Yes, she's small, but he was blindsided, and she did have momentum, as well as physical skills from her yoga and body awareness.  That focused energy against a distracted foe worked.  As far as not running for help?  That all happened very fast, and if she hadn't arrived when she did, Perry could have killed Celeste.  He was also tossing around the other wives pretty well.  By the way, having a lower center of gravity than your opponent can really help with leverage, as I learned quickly in judo sparring.

I'm so very glad there will be a season two, good job of leaving that open with the binoculars at the end, and I'm thrilled with the additions to the season 2 cast as well.


As far as lying to the police?  I just immediately thought they were bound together in a terrifying life or death situation and probably filled with Adrenalin and grief and horror, not exactly the best time to make decisions, they didn't have long, and they just continues the "protecting each other" mind set they were in.  It seems entirely plausible to me that they weren't making the best decisions right then.  However, there may be another reason now that we know there will be a season 2, involving Bonnie's past possibly, and/or a reason to not want to face police or even a self-defense homicide charge.  Totally guessing here, but maybe she's been done that before?


One small scene that just broke my heart was Ed walking away from Madeline to do his song, he just looked small, and like a defeated man shuffling away.  I wanted to hug him and then fuck his brains out with spectacular sex fulfilling ever dream he ever had that went on for hours, and I don't even find him attractive.

Also when he sang that song, Reese KILLED it.

Edited by Umbelina
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  • 5 months later...

  • 4 months later...

Loved the book. Binged the series in 2 days. I thought it was very well done - with the exception of Madeline's affair with the theater guy, which was not in the book. The death scene was very interestingly done. I was obviously spoiled from the book but the way that it was done was creative and different. Francie needs to let it do - recognize the domestic abuser for the monster that he is - and let it go. I loved the end scene with the 5 women and the kids on the beach. I hope that Renata can fit into the group; she needs the friends. 

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  • 10 months later...

Just watched this. Read the forum comments as I went along. I must say that once I read that this was based on a book, I realized that the Perry had to be the rapist. The story had a closed circle of characters. One of them had to be the victim, one (or more than one) had to be the "murderer," and one had to be the rapist. It couldn't end with "some stranger raped Jane all those years ago." Enjoyed the series, but yeah, a little trite that "all of the women" did it. I'd resisted watching this when it first came out, thinking it was some kind of chick flick series. I did really enjoy it, but the ending did put it into that category for me.

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  • 1 month later...

I had this on my TBW list for a while I got around to it this week. Excellent show! I like that there were many smaller mysteries to distract you from figuring out the larger one until the very end. I did not get that one of the twins was the bully, or that Perry was Jane's rapist, until pretty close to the end.

Actually the later is the only thing I didn't like about the series though. It's not that I thought it took anything away from the domestic horror, as I've seen some people posted. If anything it adds another layer to it, as you realize why he could just change or cut short those "business trips" of his. My complaint is that I can't buy the coincidence of Jane just happening to move to the same community he lived at, and just happened to befriend his wife's friend. I would have preferred there to be some sort of red thread to why their lives crossed path like that. Unless we're meant to read it as Jane having moved there because she suspected the rapist lived there and wanted to find him? 

Anyways, apart from that it was a great show. I liked how you sort of feel everyone was a bit unbalanced and you didn't really know who would come undone. Except for Perry of course, I kept hoping he'd be the one to die but I thought I'd be disappointed.

I'm not even sure I want to watch the second season. I have a pet peeve of book adaptations getting sequels.

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  • 2 months later...

The noises leading up to seeing Celeste on the bathroom floor were so strange. Such a weird way to start the episode going through that grate. The sounds were so repetitive that with the clicking, I thought it was going to be a fake out and someone would be playing a video game. 

Kidman was great in the way she had Celeste adopt that defensive body language as Perry returned. She didn't curl up immediately. When other actors move around a lot, it tends to feel like a planned mannerism, like it's too thought out. She's able to make those awkward gestures feel natural so they add authenticity to the performance since most people don't sit still all the time in real life. I notice it in the therapy scenes as well. I only wish it had been filmed with better angles and not overlaid with more terrible music. Why is this show so afraid of intimacy and POV and tone? It's determined to be flat and distant. For a show about the lies beneath a perfect exterior, it still seems too perfect. I feel like the director is happier shooting empty interior shots and endless abstract footage of Jane running than shooting anything with actors emoting or dialogue. Just go shoot Nike commercials, dude.

It's hard to sympathize with a man angrily shouting on a show with Perry on it but otherwise, yeah, good for Joseph. She is a "self-entitled rich bitch."

Every moment Celeste was setting up the apartment I was convinced Perry was going to grab her from behind. Why is this show filmed and edited so weirdly??? Stop shifting angles and framing so much negative space and doing all these quick cuts. My God, I've never noticed and hated direction and editing so much.

Ugh. Ew. A million times no to Madeline discussing Joseph with Abigail. She is your teenage daughter, not one of your girlfriends. You don't talk to her about the man you cheated on her stepdad with.

Madeline's nonsense about perfection felt like as much of an easy lie as how Perry whined about his insecurities at counseling. Like, maybe you're horny and not that attracted to your husband. A selfish person doesn't need a deep reason for chasing pleasure. And maybe she doubted there would be consequences.

I'm glad Renata was being genuine with Jane last episode. #TeamRenata

Bonnie had the perfect dress for the costume party. Was the party for the whole community, not just the parents of kids at the school? It seemed like a huge event. I also liked Renata's gown but it didn't look good on her... it was just a good interpretation of the movie outfit.

Nicole looked great as well but I couldn't help thinking of that Grace of Monaco movie I never forced myself to watch.

I wish I could tell the difference between the twins. I think we're supposed to. Which one was scared of the movie? And which one made fun of the other one for believing in the tooth fairy? And which one is the one who is always concerned for his mom? I'm guessing it's consistent and either one bullies his brother a little too OR it's the brother who has reasons to feel insecure who bullies the other children at school.

This is the first outfit that's looked bad on Skarsgard. His body is too rangy for that Elvis outfit. It doesn't flatter him like a suit does. The cropped jacket and tight pants made his body look oddly proportioned. 

Wait, did Perry have Celeste's phone? If so, why would she leave it out??? Also, making sure she didn't leave a trail like the property manager knowing where it was safe to contact her is the kind of thing that probably should have been in the plan.

What kind of psycho director films the confrontation between Perry and Celeste by mostly filming the back of their heads? This is not a play that only gets performed one time. You can shoot different angles and highlight the actors' performances. ARGH. And why are they in the dark? There's light coming from somewhere. If there's going to be an artificial light source just make it decently lit. 

I'm glad that with all the storylines to wrap up they didn't cheat us out of seeing Bonnie sing.

Let's review, Renata invited Bonnie to dance at the party without being the least bit threatened. Madeline made a snide comment about erections when Bonnie was dressed perfectly chastely and not singing a song particularly provocatively. Who is the girl's girl?

Thank God for Renata knocking on the window and giving Celeste a chance to escape the car.

That's not Adam Scott's singing voice, is it? Couldn't they have found someone who sounded anything like him?

Joseph and his wife were staring at Madeline what felt like a psychotic amount. Like, I got it. 

God, that was stressful. I thought Celeste was going to somehow escape Perry at the party or at least cling to Renata and Gordon to protect herself. But she was just admitting Max's guilt to Renata and then she had no allies nearby.

Nathan was great. Is that the actor's real singing voice?

Renata heard the truth and ran to apologize to Jane. #TeamRenata Even when she apologized she had to make the excuse "but I was just protecting my friend." In real apologies like the one Renata gave and the one Jane gave last episode, you don't do that shit.

No. Not Tom! Why are all the men terrible?

He was so focused on Celeste that it was hard to tell but did Perry recognize Jane when he walked over to them? Or did he only look at her when the women figured it out and started exchanging meaningful looks?

Was Perry being stabbed through the neck somehow from the fall???

Oh my God, is the cop's lighter going to be the new Jane running? Because hearing it a few times, I already want to stab someone through the neck. Christ, this show makes some of the worst choices.

Speaking of which... we finally got shots where Perry was filmed to looked menacing and convey tone and power dynamics and it was interspersed with shots of the waves and underscored with plinky piano music to make it as disorienting as possible and rob it of all its power. OH. MY. GOD. WHY.

Bonnie won the episode. She had her great song. She diffused the nonsense between Nathan and Ed. And then she was the only character attentive enough and not too self-involved to notice what was going on with Celeste, follow her instincts and observe what was happening, and then she was the one to finally save her. Go Bonnie!

I'm definitely interested in a season 2 that's about these 5 women keeping this secret but please let the season mostly be about Celeste, Bonnie, and Renata. Also, if the new director carries on the BS with the lighter sound I may scream.

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Can't blame her for hating the lies and cover up however.

I think it's partially that she's also had to listen to the lies of the Greek chorus of parents. 


My one gripe is that for a story that wants to say something about sexual violence, it seems like a weird message that all of it here comes from one guy.

You have a point. I do think the other men are varying degrees of terrible. But by taking out Perry you've taken out the source of all the physical abuse and sexual violence. He was made to feel like an extreme outlier. It's like that argument that people don't examine their bad behavior because they can reassure themselves that they aren't the same as the worst offenders. Sure, but that still leaves a lot of room for improvement. Everyone who isn't a Perry isn't automatically a good person. The only sense of there being a culture that allows someone like Perry to operate is little barely there things like the testimony of the other parents and the way two of the other mothers rushed up to him at the party. For example, Perry could have had a boys club office culture instead of just constantly disappearing on flights for his mysterious job. We could have seen his secretary and his coworkers covering for him. Or maybe involve one of the other dads in hiding infidelities and illicit behavior. Gordon would be ripe for that. I don't know. Maybe next season Celeste will join group therapy and we'll get a sense that this happens to many people and there's a culture that supports it. Or Tom will turn out to be worse than Perry. I'm so confused at what was going on between Tom and Gordon.

I do think the season made it way too obvious that Perry was Jane's attacker. Even if I hadn't spoiled it for myself before watching, there were really no other viable options. They weren't any red herrings. They were more like pink sardines. I don't mind an explanation that makes sense. I mind that we wasted so much time pretending there was a mystery that Jane needed to solve. Instead they could have played with the dramatic irony of it obviously being Perry and heightening the tension as we waited for them to meet. 


Seriously, the dumb Maddy and Joseph thing was a big time waster.

I didn't mind it. I think Maddy needed a major transgression to color her character because even though the entire season had people calling her out, I think the audience would have still found her too sympathetic without the cheating. Despite the way she behaved towards Renata, Bonnie, Ed, etc. people still liked her and were on her side. The cheating is something you really can't argue with. She's not irredeemable but it underlines what you see in smaller ways in other situations which is that she's a selfish, petty person with bad judgment. If anything wasted time it was footage of the ocean and Jane running. Cut out all of that kind of fluff and this could have been a five episode season.


So Perry thought he could fight off 5 women and still brutalize and kill his wife.  There is no doubt in my mind that he was trying to, and would have, killed Celeste in front of witnesses.  It is possible that he thought those witnesses were worthless, because they were women.  Or it is just that he was insane with rage.

In hindsight, Perry is a confusing character. I'm writing off anything about Celeste and Perry seeming to have aggressive sexual relationship as her rationalizing his abuse after years of his manipulating her understanding of events. So then Perry just becomes a classic abuser who uses violence as one of his means of controlling her. But I think it's more complicated. I think HE gets off on the violence from comments that Celeste made throughout the season and from the way he turned a consensual sexual encounter with Jane into a violent rape where he choked and brutalized her. Is he rationally planning sexual violence and also using physical violence to control and intimidate or is he an out of control rage monster? Premeditated crimes or crimes of passion? (I know that's not what the latter means but you get my point) I think I'm on the premeditated/rational side. I think he's a sadist who enjoys sexual violence and just hitting Celeste in general and also uses it as a way of terrorizing her and exerting control over her behavior. To explain the rage, I think he sort of powers up into Hulk mode at will. It explains why he can snap out of it so quickly. It's more like he feels anger while committing violent acts than that his anger incites him to violence. 


It was caution tape and there was a sign at the bottom in one scene that said "Stairs closed for repairs" or something, and that landing in the center with rebar sticking up.  

Thanks. I completely missed this. How long have they been in school? It seems like a long time to go without fixing that. I was so confused by the thing sticking out of Perry's neck. 


I think he felt he had nothing left to lose and probably wanted to kill Celeste and himself (but probably never would have gotten around to the killing himself part).

It doesn't matter now that he's dead. But I think there was a part of him that thought he could get control back. He just wanted to get her away. I do think he was really thrown by Celeste finally being able to shoot down all his nonsense and attempts to wheedle his way out of trouble. You could tell by how much he stuttered talking to her in the car. But I think some part of him still imagined that he had programmed her so well that if he could trap her alone for long enough he could use his combination of terror and false vulnerability to convince her to stay. Sure, he'd have to deal with the fallout of 4 witnesses that he'd pushed around. But if Celeste didn't want to pursue it, he presumably has the money and power to sweep the problem away. Can the police do anything about domestic violence if the victim doesn't want to pursue it? Jane was the bigger problem if she wanted to press charges for sexual assault. I feel like if he'd felt that desperate, he would have attacked both Jane and Celeste. I think in his crazy mind, he did have an idea of getting Celeste back under his influence, not just killing her. I do think that he would have beat her half to death though.


I buy that Bonnie could knock him down the stairs with a running start. He's off balance from fighting four women while beating the crap out of his wife. Just as importantly, tall people's balance is all messed up when they're crouched that far down. A shortie with a yoga-strengthened core can mess you right up.

That description really does make it seem like the final boss battle. 


I thought it was unrealistic, at that point, that Celeste was still going to go to the party with Perry. She looked so terrified for her life after he found out about the apartment. He easily could have killed her in the car.

Well, if she insisted on staying home, I don't know that Kelly and her sons would be able to help her if Perry didn't care about exposing his abuse. And maybe she had the therapist's words ringing in her ears that Perry would inevitably hurt the children and she didn't want to risk it. 


I suspect Madeline of orchestrating the lie, and we have seen her in the past not think of the ramifications of her actions  (finding Saxon Baker, the affair). I can see her following her first instincts of covering up the truth without realizing that it would make the police more suspicious. 

Honestly, that makes a TON of sense.


I don't think that Perry remembered Jane. I think he read the scene: he saw the terror on Jane's face, the realization dawn on Maddie's, and the recognition and horror on Celeste's. I think he figured out that Jane must have been one of his 'conquests', that she had talked, and he figured that everyone there knew exactly who and what he was. The Monster. 

I think that tracks. I cannot remember how much Celeste has told Perry about Jane. I don't know if he knows she was raped but it's possible she told him. Regardless, if the women can have all this silent communication, I can go along with believing that Perry was able to read the situation too. 


On another note, the mom who claimed that Maddie's dress was inappropriate, desperate and pathetic? Ummm...jealous much, Bitter Betty? 

I mean... I'd feel the same way about a middle-aged man doing the Tom Cruise Risky Business look. 


I really don't think Ed knew anything until the night of the party, when he witnessed the weird interactions between Madeline and the other guy's wife and put it all together.

I think he knew about the cheating but I don't know if he knew for sure that it was Joseph. Nevertheless, I think the important thing about the party was that it was so in his face. Joseph's wife could not stop looking at Madeline. Madeline couldn't stop staring at her. And as good as he is at pretending everything is okay in his marriage, Ed still faltered when he had to get up and sing a love song (that he presumably chose with his wife in mind). Instead of being able to be stronger with some truths between them after some painfully honest conversations since episode 1, he had to sing this love song to an audience that included his wife's lover and his wife. Like, if that doesn't make a mockery of the lyrics. But he powered through. I really expected some melodrama where he'd get up to the mic and dramatically reveal the affair but there was no time for that this episode.

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I know she pushed him over purposely but I don't think she meant to kill or even maim him, just end the violence. 

Oh, I definitely think she wanted to hurt him. But if we're assuming that falling down a flight of concrete steps won't kill you and the only reason Perry died was because of the pole sticking out of the ground then no, I don't think she thought far enough ahead to think he'd impale himself. 


I didn't really understand why the cop didn't believe he fell over.  How could she know he was pushed?  That was probably the most WTF part of the story for me-- that the cops wanted blood over this when it was clearly not really something someone should be locked up for.

I think this would make more sense if they were being investigated by a misogynistic male cop. Or a cop who has a reason to resent rich people and be looking for a conspiracy. Or a cop who was friends with Perry or is being influenced by someone who wants revenge for Perry's death. As it is, yes, it's weird she can't just let it go. I'm reading a lot of Agatha Christie right now. Hercule Poirot knew when to let it go even when there was a conspiracy to commit murder because the death balanced the scales of justice in a grander sense. 


Trying to portray domestic violence as realistically as possible was the bonus story line, not the main one IMO.

Agreed. I definitely give them credit for the things they did well but it was not the primary goal and it showed at times.


But ultimately, like I said, I think their first priority was to go with the mythical/mystery feel to the series so sympathetic Perry was sacrificed in favor of that.

I do think we lost any nuance as the series went on and he truly morphed into a Monster with no shades of gray. But I also think that (even though it was crazily muddled by the direction and editing and other distractions) sympathetic Perry was always a lie. I don't just mean the way he was being manipulative in couples counseling. I think that we didn't just see him escalate his level of violence during whatever time span season 1 encompasses. I think what we learn in the Lego blocks scene is that the show hasn't faithfully reported Perry's behavior because Celeste was mentally editing her experiences. (How does this work when there are few POV shots and it's filmed like the camera is an accurate outside observer? Idk, just go with it because I think that's what the show intends even if they bungled it.) So Perry has always been the same level of monstrous. And even his apologetic, gentler scenes may not have happened as we were shown them to have happened. 


If Perry is an abuser with very little chance of recovery, as many have said in other threads (and as statistics tend to bear out), is this something that Max can be treated for, or is he likely to continue down the bad path? Is he is a sociopath like his father may very well be, and can that be treated? I want to be optimistic, but I am not.

I have no idea what the show's writers actually believe about redemption and rehabilitation. BUT, I do think it's significant that they've framed it as Perry not wanting to change. The audience has been taught that every time he claims that, it's a lie. He is manipulative and counterproductive in couples counseling, he hasn't set up a meeting (presumably they were referring to therapy?), and we're made to understand that claiming to want to change is just a way to trick Celeste into staying. I don't think they're going for "blood will out" with the kids since they brushed aside everything with Ziggy and made a point of including scenes where Celeste comforted Max and he didn't respond like a sociopathic Omen/Bad Seed child. I think Max will be fine.


Another nit I had after the fact is Gordon threatening Jane. Was he following her? He didn't seem to randomly be in the coffee shop at the same time. 

He has some connection to Tom. I wouldn't be surprised if Tom has been spying for him. To what end... I have no idea. 


More of Vallee thinking Perry wasn't just a monster--

Oh. Um. Err... Guys, I think this director is completely incompetent. 


Perry IS a monster - sorry. I don't care how many articles are written saying otherwise.  His "Help me, Celeste" was another way of getting her to stay. It was another manipulation tactic.

The fact that the director of the show does not understand that... and didn't do a good job of conveying Perry's sincerity if that's what he was trying to do... WOOF x1000. Who thinks "I have to make the audience believe a character who has behaved atrociously is actually complex and conflicted" and decides to shoot the actor mostly in the dark and often facing away from the camera? Vallee, human beings connect by looking in each other's eyes. I'd assume he understood that by all the times Perry positions Celeste (and also Jane) so they can't make eye contact during sex but maybe someone else staged all those scenes. 

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It's weird that the characters kept calling it Trivia Night when it was a Costume Party + Talent Show + Trivia Night. They could have just called it a fundraising party. Or the annual gala. So strange to keep putting "trivia night" in the dialogue if they weren't going to depict that. 


But when Alexander chokes Nicole, slaps her, presses her head into the couch very hard, it looks completely real, like there isn't any technique there to not hurt the actor. So I'm very curious how they achieved that without actually hurting Nicole.

I did notice more of that fight choreography fighting in the close-up scenes... particularly the first closet scene. So I do think that stage combat you're describing was used in the show where actors come nowhere near hitting each other and the show compensates with crazy loud foley work to convince you there was an impact. I wasn't paying that much attention in this episode in the scenes where she was in the sheer black underwear. But knowing this show, I think they can hide a fair bit with the crazy editing. There are so many quick, choppy cuts. So for example, you see Perry put his hands on Celeste and then there's a cut and suddenly it's a different angle where she's rolling from the impact but because this show has trained you to watch all its frenetic editing, your brain thinks you watched that all as one move. But I also know old school directors would sometimes ask actresses if they could "take a slap" for realism. The final fight was edited so crazily that anything could have been happening.


Regardless, the suspicious cop character was a total unnecessary element, as was about 90% of the talking head gossip we saw that would have had NOTHING to do with the crime and I can't imagine the police would just listen to ad nauseam.

I feel like we got How To Get Away With Murder from the skeptical cop and Greek chorus when there was no conspiracy to commit murder and if anything, the cover up will probably end up being the real crime.


Subsequently, I expect he was more gentle with Celeste after the first few miscarriages and that's part of why he went on the prowl looking for a rough sex hookups.  But his victim of choice is actually a nicer person drawn in by the initial 'romance'.

I didn't think it was possible to find him more of a nightmare but, yeah, that does it.


In one of Amabelle's flashbacks they showed a kid poking a dead rabbit.  I figured the bully killed the rabbit.  I actually thought it was both twins.  

I thought the squirrel was supposed to explain the bite scar. Like, it was either not as dead as they thought when poking it (more likely) or they had somehow killed it after it bit her (less likely). The choking incident on orientation day is confirmed as part of the bullying but the bite is not. The only other explanation for showing the dead animal would be explaining why Amabella was quiet and traumatized and didn't want to talk to her parents. 


Yes, a threat because he promised Tom he'd get revenge on him for kicking him out of his coffee bar.

I think I misinterpreted the looks. I thought it was weird that Tom and Gordon exchange a look when he comes into the restaurant but I think it just doesn't happen to be busy. Upon rewatch, it just seems like offhand politeness and Tom looks wary of Gordon, not like they share a secret or planned to ambush Jane. Then when Tom lifts his glass at the party, he's smiling and I thought he was still smiling when Gordon mimed shooting him so it was still a playful thing. I had to rewatch a couple times because Tom is not that expressive but I think his smile drops a fraction after Gordon mimes the gun. So I guess Tom really did just have a crush on Jane the whole time and is not colluding with Gordon. Though I will say, the women should find a different hang out in season 2 if everyone knows they can find them here at any random time of day. Joseph found Maddy there multiple times.

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I rewatched the fight a few times and as awful as it was, those ladies were not giving up.  You see Madeline and Renata really trying to get him away from Celeste....and Madeline took a shot right away.

I think Madeline just rolled right off him. But Renata did something because he tried to grab the back of her neck when the other women jumped him and distracted him. I noted it because it was the only time he seemed to shift focus from Celeste into possibly hurting the other women instead of shaking them off to get to Celeste. 


A sociopath doesn't understand love or remorse.  A true sociopath isn't wracked with guilt while still continuing to do heinous, unforgivable, savage things.   The fact that Perry can feel how terrible and wrong all that he does is, makes him much, much, much fucking worse than if he was just a monster with no feelings or ability to love.

I do think he ultimately ended up seeming like a sociopath. The show made us doubt his apologies and as his behavior escalated/was revealed for what it was all along, I doubted if he even loved Celeste. I didn't see genuine remorse anymore in the car. I saw a sociopath trying all his tricks to manipulate his victim. I saw fear and uncertainty about losing control. I thought maybe he loved his sons. But by the end, I think he was only interested in controlling Celeste. If he was supposed to remain human and capable of empathy and understanding what he'd done... if he was genuinely supposed to be a tormented man struggling with inner demons... bad direction obscured all of that for me.


Dr. Chang: There was a 4x3 full thickness scalp laceration located on the superior occipital portion of the scalp. We also discovered a full thickness scalp contusion and associated subgaleal hemorrhages and a putrified and liquified brain.

So helpful. Yes, I remembered enough of this during the season to assume someone hit him on the head so that's what I was waiting for. 

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Unless Jane's friendship with Maddie is what had Celeste go to therapy I think most of it still would have happened only it might have been Celeste at the bottom of the stairs. Harper made it sound like a bad thing, but it's a good thing Maddie and Jane became friends because it stopped an evil man from continuing to beat his wife or worse, kill her. 

Hmn... now I want to think this through. I'm going to put aside little details like Renata knocking on the car window because who knows how everything would play out. There's no reason to believe it had to all come to a head at this fundraiser. 

Starting from the beginning, if Maddie doesn't twist her ankle then would she still feel compelled to defend Jane/Ziggy? Maybe, because she's a busybody. But maybe not. If not, then she probably wouldn't be escalating things with Renata. If she's not escalating things with Renata and trying to ruin Amabella's birthday party, then Renata has no reason to push so hard with her petition to shut down Avenue Q. If it doesn't seem like Renata is going to win, then Maddie has to reason to ask Celeste to serve as her lawyer again. If Celeste isn't seeming like she might be going back to practicing law and talking to Maddie as much about Maddie's problems and Jane then maybe Perry wouldn't be as abusive. I want to clarify that I'm obviously not blaming Celeste for provoking Perry. He would have been abusive regardless of what she did. But I do think he was threatened by her growing independence/friendship with Maddie and, more than anything else, the idea that she might want to go back to work. If Perry isn't violent enough, maybe Celeste doesn't feel the need to go to couples counseling and then to start seeing the therapist on her own and finally getting help to leave. And if Celeste wasn't trying to leave him, Perry wouldn't have been desperate enough to be open about his abuse. So maybe if Maddie doesn't fight with Renata on Jane's behalf then Celeste never tries to leave and Perry doesn't end up dead.

However, let's take a different angle. Whether or not Maddie and Jane become friends, Max would still be bullying Amabella. Let's assume she still accuses Ziggy of choking her on orientation day. With Maddie's support, Jane was encouraged to stay and no one had any other suspects besides Ziggy for the continued bullying. However, if you take away Maddie's influence maybe Jane talks to Renata earlier in a clearheaded way rather than being egged on to feel victimized and aggrieved. Or else she leaves Monterey and people realize the bullying is still happening. Either way I'm going to assume that Celeste would have eventually discovered that Max was responsible for the bullying. Based on what we know, this would inspire her to leave Perry. Maybe the timeline would change but she would still take steps to leave. It's possible that if so many details were different, Celeste would have been able to get the boys safely to a new apartment while he was away on a business trip. Of course it's equally possible that Perry might have still found out about the apartment or surprised her by coming home early as we've seen him do. And then Celeste would likely be having that confrontation at home or elsewhere and Perry could have ended up killing her. Even at the end, Celeste wasn't talking to anyone but the therapist about the abuse. (I'm on the side that believes she just told Renata about Max, not about Perry abusing her.) So she wouldn't have had all the allies she did if Perry had surprised her at home or if he'd decided to attack her at the new apartment. There are too many unpredictable variables.

The other thing to consider is whether Jane ever meets Perry. He does travel A LOT. So if Maddie doesn't befriend Jane then maybe Jane doesn't stay in Monterey long enough to meet and recognize him. Case closed. It's also possible that if you change a bunch of variables then Jane does happen to run into Perry at Otter Bay picking up or dropping off his sons. Would she try to talk to him or confront him? Would she have any support if she tried to make an accusation and press charges? Would she decide to take justice into her own hands and shoot him? Would Perry tell Celeste? Would Jane talk to Celeste if Maddy wasn't tying them together? If Jane talked to Celeste would she believe her and be inspired to leave Perry? Of course Jane could meet Perry at any time but let's assume it is at the costume party. Maybe he's just traveling so much that there's no other opportunity for them to meet. First, I do think there's a question of whether Jane goes to the party if Maddie isn't encouraging her. But if she does, then you have all the same questions about whether she confronts him or talks to Celeste. There are any number of ways it could play out. Maybe he flatly denies it and Celeste supports him. Maybe Celeste and Jane confront him but he just drags Celeste away and beats her at home for challenging him. Maybe he pays Jane off or is able to convince her to go away. Maybe he attacks Jane. Maybe Jane goes to his house in a week with a gun. Anything could happen.

tl;dr There are a lot of scenarios where without Maddie befriending Jane, Jane leaves town sooner and never encounters Perry and/or Celeste is never inspired to get help to leave Perry. However, I think the big issue that ensures some kind of confrontation between Celeste and Perry is that Max is bullying Amabella and when Celeste discovers this (as she inevitably has to) she will feel the need to leave Perry. And he will retaliate (though in the best case scenarios she can keep herself physically protected). Without things playing out as they did, I do think any confrontation with Perry (physical or otherwise) likely ends much worse for Celeste and/or Jane.

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  • 1 month later...

Just finished this season last night, and the best part of this episode was Renata going HAM during the big fight with Perry. The look in her eyes was scary.

I enjoyed this show. Loved all the performances, but Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Adam Scott were the standouts for me.


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  • 1 month later...

I haven't read all the responses and I'm a newbie to this show. Just watched the finale, anyone else notice the final shot where it looks like someone is watching with binoculars? Looks like even before airing this Episode a season 2 was in the works with a possibly sinister voyeur lurking about.

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  • 2 years later...
On 4/3/2017 at 11:53 AM, Eyes High said:

The rationale given is that had the singing been terrible, it would have been funny and given the wrong tone. But really, how bad could Adam Scott and James Tupper have been? It's not as if the songs they had to sing were particularly challenging. Jean-Marc Vallee's first choice to sing for Nathan was Chris Isaac. Seriously?

Adam Scott sang on his podcast a TEENSY bit and it was terrible. Like, he forgets how to make words out of his mouth--bad. He admits it openly, as he had his voice dubbed in StepBrothers as well. He does this twang thing, it's like his mouth is full of oil and the words fall out. Haha. I adore him, but he *can't* sing. 

However, his podcast cohost, Scott Aukerman, has an almost identical speaking voice to Adam Scott (to the point where it takes at least 3 episodes to figure out who is speaking) and a LOVELY singing voice. He should have voiced "singing" Ed. 

I gobbled up this season in 3 days. It was such a good show. I watched for Adam, and stayed for the gals. But I was worried Ed was abusing Abigail and that was why she moved out. It was worrying me the whole time!

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