ADLG’s Big Lil Lies Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

Big Little Lies Blog 3
May 6, 2019 | Sara Khaki

The countdown is on! Fans of HBO’s award-winning drama Big Little Lies have about a month more to wait until the season two premiere on June 9th. Now is the perfect time to re-visit Monterey, California and the complicated lives of main characters Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Here at Atlanta Divorce Law Group, we are also excited for the start of the next season of Big Little Lies. Our new, weekly blog series helps you unpack some of the family law issues and themes addressed during the first season. (Click here to read our blog on Episode One: Somebody’s Dead or here to read last week’s blog on Episode Two: Serious Mothering). Spoiler Alert! If you have not seen season one yet, this blog reveals and explores many of the plot lines. Also, the content here is for mature audiences, as the episodes feature violent and sexual content.

Big Little Lies Season One – Episode Three “Living the Dream”

PLOT: This episode continues a similar pattern; we begin with the crime scene and hear what the residents of Monterey have to say about their favorite topics of gossip – Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Then, the episode jumps to Jane, who is having flashbacks again of the beach.

At Renata’s house, she is discussing birthday party plans with her husband Gordon and daughter Amabella. Monterey is a town divided: Team Renata is attending Amabella’s birthday party, while Team Madeline is taking an anti-birthday trip to see Disney on Ice. At Celeste’s house, Perry is upset about the party plans and why he was not informed about the Disney on Ice trip. Meanwhile, at Madeline’s house, Madeline is working with her younger daughter Chloe on the family tree project when she gets a call from Renata. It is a last-ditch effort by Renata to ask Madeline to cancel her trip so that Amabella can have more classmates at her party. But both sides refuse to budge.

Next, it is the day of the parties. Madeline, Celeste, Jane, their children, and some other Otter Bay classmates are on the party bus to Disney on Ice. At Renata’s, the palatial beach house has been transformed to birthday party central, complete with games, a bounce house, cake, and a dance floor. Bonnie’s dance moves cause even more gossip among the Otter Bar School crowd.

Back at home, Madeline meets with the director of the puppet show she’s producing. There continues to be community backlash (AKA Renata backlash) about the content of the play. Their meeting is interrupted by a call from Abigail’s school. Madeline learns that her daughter is overwhelmed with stress and wants to move in her with father. Madeline and Nathan see each other at the parent-teacher meeting that night while the school plans its annual fundraising event.

Jane skips the parent-teacher meeting and attends Ziggy’s t-ball game, instead. Excitement over Ziggy’s first home run is interrupted when Jane realizes that the family tree assignment is due. Madeline comes to Jane’s rescue, armed with craft supplies and support. However, the evening devolves as Ziggy pushes for information about his Dad, and the conversation triggers Jane’s flashbacks and hallucinations about her rape. Jane opens up to Madeline about the attack.

Celeste and Perry have also skipped the parent-teacher meeting. We first see Celeste in the shower; she is visibly covered with bruises. Perry surprises her in the shower by slipping a diamond necklace around her neck. The couple later attends a therapy session, where Celeste and Perry discuss their marital issues, including a very watered-down version of the aggression and sexual encounters. Later that evening, the couple talk about whether they think the therapy will help their marriage; they slow dance in the kitchen.

FAMILY LAW THEMES: In this episode, Big Little Lies presents the audience with a number of family law themes. Today, Atlanta Divorce Law Group is focusing on issues related to therapy. Several of the characters reference therapy in episode three. Renata suggests to her husband that maybe they should take their daughter to a child therapist to help her deal with the school biting incident and fallout. When Jane talks to Madeline about her rape and subsequent pregnancy, she admits that she has never spoken to anyone about the attack, let alone talk to a therapist about it. While Renata, Jane, and Madeline talk about the idea of therapy, Celeste and Perry actually go to a therapy session to address the issues in their marriage.

If you are having problems within your marriage or family, you do not have to deal with these issues on your own. A therapist can help provide guidance and emotional support at a time when you need it most. Therapists, whether it is a child therapist or relationship therapist, can help you sort through the emotions and pinpoint the issue that is troubling you. They can help you process your feelings and gain perspective about what has happened, and why. Therapists can also help their clients to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with emotions and stressful interactions, as well as acquiring the tools needed to mend/move on from relationships and build healthy futures. Therapy is an individual process; there are no standards when it comes to starting therapy or the length of treatment.

In addition to marriage/couple’s therapy, the other family law issues in this third episode include questions of fidelity (Bonnie/birthday party guests; Madeline/play director; Perry/Celeste), child custody (Madeline), and domestic violence (Celeste/Perry). For our full discussion on custody and blended families, read our blog on episode one. For more on the issue of domestic violence, you can read our blog on episode two.


  • Celeste and Perry’s relationship is a big little lie. Outwardly, they seem like a perfect couple – attractive, wealthy, happy family. But the audience is privy to what happens behind closed doors.
  • Ed continues to be a favorite character. Somehow, he managed to turn Madeline’s comment about “getting cancer to keep Abigail” into a compliment about how Madeline has raised an extraordinary and independent young woman.
  • While Madeline is on the phone plotting her revenge trip to Disney on Ice, Chloe says “I’d rather go to the party than that stupid show.” By forcing her daughter to go to the show, what is she teaching her about spite?
  • Poor Harry the Hippo; he is having a tough school year. First, he loses a leg, and now Ziggy and Jane lose him altogether.
  • The episode is called “Living the Dream” and we see the party bus singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” A not-so-subtle nod about the lengths these characters will go to maintain a certain reputation and outward appearance.
  • Who expected Perry to be so honest during the therapy session? Meanwhile, Celeste refuses to be honest (both with the therapist and herself) and blames the domestic violence on “too much passion.”

Be sure to check out our blog next week, as we discuss Big Little Lies episode four “Push Comes to Shove.” In the meantime, if you or someone you know needs help with your family law case, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (678) 929-5719 or via our website.

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