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


This is much more than the story of a murder

Big Little Lies may be a murder mystery, but at its heart it’s telling the story of being a mother. Madeline explained early on in the series that there is a divide between the “working moms” and the “stay-at-home moms” and ‘Push Comes To Shove’ develops a compelling argument for both sides.  With all of the characters looking to define themselves outside of how people see them, episode four offers up a lot of key details for the rest of the season.

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Nicole Kidman’s talent shines here, as the normally soft-spoken Celeste is transformed into the kind of confident woman she once was. Her commanding presence in her meeting with the mayor over Madeline’s musical gives as sweet taste of Celeste before she entered into a toxic relationship with Perry. As a lawyer, she feels completely in control, which explains why Perry is so adamant that she remain unemployed. When she tearfully breaks down in the car with Madeline admitting that motherhood just isn’t enough for her, she addresses a problem that many real women have. While there are some mothers who cherish the time they get with their children by staying at home, there are others who need a creative/intellectual outlet to survive. Celeste thinks her desire to return to work is selfish but Madeline convinces her that it’s okay to want for her to want to define herself as more than just a mother.

Image Credit: HBO

Celeste’s marriage continues to spiral downward. Alexander Skarsgard has become such an intimidating presence onscreen that every moment he walks into a room, the audience fears for his wife. His need to be in control makes him wary of Celeste rejoining the work force, which sends him into full on panic mode. First he tries to convince her to have another baby, citing that last time she was working she was unable to get pregnant. Celeste seems happy enough to try if that’s what he really wants, but then he ends up reporting to violence and intimidation. Thankfully she’s saved by one of the twins walking in.

Speaking of the twins, ‘Push Comes To Shove’ highlights just how aware children are of their parents. When one of them enters to see Perry hurting Celeste, his wide eyes give away his fear despite not saying anything. Chloe sees through Madeline’s tough façade and offers her up a song to try to cheer her up with the departure of her oldest daughter. Ziggy comforts Jane by asserting that she’s the only parent he needs knowing that it’s painful for her to look for his father. Children are a lot more observant that parents give them credit for and their parents’ behavior is definitely effecting their actions. After visiting a child psychologist, Ziggy’s name is officially cleared as the doctor asserts that he is definitely not the bully but may actually be a target. Now that Ziggy is officially innocent, the biggest question remaining is who’s hurting Amabella and why did she blame him?

“Yes, there will be a murder on Big Little Lies, but there is so much more to it than that.”

With the children’s storylines heating up, Madeline and Ed’s marriage seems to be heading to the dumps. Both of them are clearly sexually frustrated despite being loving and supportive, but for some reason aren’t attracted to each other. Ed awkwardly ogles Bonnie under the pretense of “maintaining the peace” when the two couples meet together for dinner while Madeline finds herself in a precarious position with the director of the musical. Up until ‘Push Comes To Shove’ the two were at least the most stable relationship, but this development, but that might not last.

Next: Sharp Objects grows its cast.

‘Push Comes To Shove’ closes with Madeline and Jane believing they found the man who raped her. Yes, there will be a murder on Big Little Lies, but there is so much more to it than that. With the clock ticking on so many reveals, it feels like there is a new revelation every week. And that’s not a complaint.