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Let’s Talk About Who Died on Big Little Lies

3 minute read

This post includes spoilers for Big Little Lies episodes 1-7 and does not factor in Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, on which the show is based.

In the Big Little Lies finale titled “You Get What You Need,” we finally find out who died—as well as the identity of the killer. During an intense argument on the roof of the school, Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) shoves Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), causing him to plummet to his death.

This ending was the culmination of a narrative that kept Monterey’s most glamorous moms and dads in the dark about Perry’s behavior. Until that night, no one knew that he abused his wife, Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and sexually assaulted Jane (Shailene Woodley), resulting in the birth of her son.

A rapid chain of events on the night of the least fun trivia night in history all led to Perry’s demise. Here’s a rundown of exactly what happened.

Celeste’s choice:

Celeste learns that her son Max was bullying Amabella, tragically emulating his father’s abusive behavior. (Remember the stuffed animal’s missing limb?) This revelation is the pivotal crack in her denial that the twins were safe from Perry’s violence. Later on, Perry discovers that as he feared, Celeste is leaving him. She scrambles to set her hastily prepared escape plan in motion before the party.

Ill-advised karaoke:

During Ed’s (Adam Scott) cringe-inducing song to Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), she’s so overcome by guilt about cheating on him that she races to the caution-taped site of her affair with Joseph. Jane runs after her, and consoles her. Sporting the most elaborate Audrey Hepburn costume ever, Renata (Laura Dern) interrupts and apologizes to Jane for mistreating her. Celeste joins them. Perry arrives soon after, ordering her to the car. She refuses to go, insisting on staying with her friends. Bonnie hangs back and surveils the scene from a level above everyone.

Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies.
Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies.Hilary Bronwyn Gayle—HBO

The struggle:

In a chilling moment, Perry is revealed to be Jane’s rapist, as the horror on her face registers at the sight of him. Celeste quickly puts this information together as well. Enraged, Perry hits Celeste. Madeline and Renata try to restrain them, but he lashes out at them too. Bonnie races to the scene and shoves him, ultimately costing Perry his life. He tumbles down the concrete stairs to his death.

The end:

The show caps off with coordinated testimonies proving the core group doesn’t rat out Bonnie, who a detective says could potentially face community service for involuntary manslaughter. Perry’s death leaves his family on the road to recovery with a little help from the other moms. And help, the curtain dropper assures fans, is something that each mom will have. In this tidy ending, they all play at the beach, moving on together.

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