Celeste
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

8 Different Ways Big Little Lies Could End

Mar 29, 2017

This post includes spoilers for Big Little Lies episodes 1-6 and does not factor in Liane Moriarty's novel of the same name, on which the show is based.

The Big Little Lies finale is set for Sunday, April 2, and tensions are climbing. The dreamy miniseries opened on a mysterious murder at the most glamorous trivia night ever. But six episodes in, we still don't know who died and who the killer is.

What we do know is that an unidentified victim busts his or her pelvis and skull at the costume fundraiser, and the core cast — Shailene Woodley's Jane, Nicole Kidman's Celeste, Reese Witherspoon's Madeline and Laura Dern's Renata — seem to be in on it somehow. The star witnesses from the party where it all goes down are the most biased gossips on the West coast, making them mostly useless in solving the puzzle. But Lies builds up plenty of motives, so much so that the real mystery may be how only one person drops dead.

While there are endless directions for the finale to take, some are more plausible than others. Here, TIME ranks the eight likeliest theories about how the show might come to an end.

1. Jane Kills Perry

We already know Jane fantasizes about gunning down her faceless rapist, the absent father of her son Ziggy. Perhaps tellingly, the show routinely cuts to Perry, Celeste's abusive husband (played by Alexander Skarsgård) after scenes when she recalls the incident with her affluent attacker. It's well worth noting that Jane says her attacker suddenly morphed into a "monster." Sound like anyone we know?

The trauma Jane endured clearly led her to Monterey, and these two have never shared a scene. Could she instantly expose Perry as Ziggy’s father at the party and fulfill her revenge plot then and there?

Likelihood: High. She is, after all, packing heat.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

Alternate victim: Could the hyped up fundraiser put Jane face to face with a new character who turns out to be her attacker?

Likelihood: Low. Why throw a random new character into the mix at the final hour?

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

2. Perry Kills Jane

Perry would do anything to protect his utopian-looking lifestyle with the wife he has creepily nicknamed “Sparkle.” If Jane is able to identify and confront this violent villain as the man who raped her on one of his frequent business trips, he could panic. It would be totally in character for him to strike.

Likelihood: Pretty high. We have already seen this abusive man nearly choke his wife to death — not to mention threaten to kill her — so it would follow that he'd go to any length to keep Celeste from learning something that would hasten a separation.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

3. Ed Kills Nathan

Despite those top-notch ocean views, Madeline and Nathan’s divorce has been a plague on both their houses. Could it be that Ed gets so fed up with Madeline’s obsession with her ex that he charges Nathan, causing him to fall to his death? Even if Ed finds out that Madeline cheated on him with the head puppet master in town — and he already appears to be piecing together the evidence — Nathan is the one who really makes his life miserable.

Likelihood: Pretty high. Let’s not forget that Ed warned Nathan that he has always wanted to exorcise his demons by taking down a bully once and for all. Remember when he rode off in his spiffy cycling getup after dropping that tidbit? Ominous.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

4. Bonnie Kills Perry

Bonnie? Bonnie plant-snipping Carlson? The Zen master who makes her own necklaces? How could the story be so shocking as to choose Bonnie to take out Perry? One word: baggage. Remember when she cryptically tells Ed that everyone has baggage? She’s subtly trembling on the brink of losing her cool, as we saw when Madeline vomited organic food in her face.

Likelihood: Fairly high. She could totally bust out one of those yoga punches on Perry, who then falls to his death. Sade can’t heal all wounds.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

5. Celeste Kills Perry

Celeste lives in constant fear of her husband’s devastating abuse, and the trailer reveals an altercation between them at the party. The detective says the victim has “many” severe injuries. But the death of Celeste, who already has many injuries, seems like it would be too heartbreaking a conclusion even for this dark series. The most loathed character seems likeliest to perish. Celeste has increasingly shown that she will fight back. Could she kill her husband in self-defense?

Likelihood: Fifty-fifty. Celeste has convinced herself for so long now that Perry's rehabilitation is possible, and her pain at the way he treats her is wrapped up in how much she loves him and the love she witnesses between him and their sons.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

6. Madeline Kills Nathan

This. Lady. She’s been disassociative, reckless and vengeful all over town, tearing down caution tape and cursing out everyone from the yoga teacher to the crossing guard. No one messes with M. M. M.

If there’s one thing this alpha mom holds dear, it’s her grudges. At the top of the list? Nathan, who deserted her and then married Bonnie, the mediator-wife-goddess who barely tolerates his obnoxious behavior. Madeline’s proven to be a lightning rod for drama, but does she actually yearn for closure via cliff murder?

Likelihood: Possible but not high. She’s made plenty of murder jokes before and she's born to meddle, but the brazen coffee shop V.I.P. would probably verbally dress someone down before getting physical.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

7. Abigail Murders Perry

Madeline's daughter may not have a motive to kill, but this is one potato peeler ready to subvert our expectations. The socially conscious wildcard is definitely a neglected rebel no one should sleep on. Case in point: her virginity auction.

Likelihood: Not very high. Realistically, the troubled teen might lash out at the next phony who irritates her, but she's probably not ready to break the law by hurling a whole person to their death. She's definitely one slight away from throwing a phone though.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

8. Renata Kills Madeline

In Madeline’s Avenue Q-themed nightmare, Renata ejects her from a cliff and laughs maniacally. The CEO has always appeared primed to devour everyone in her orbit. Could she take things to the next level after another brawl?

Likelihood: Low. Renata may seem like a black-belt enemy collector with a real axe to grind. Persecuted? Check. Sufficiently stressed? Check. But now she and Jane have apparently come to a mature understanding, so that may well be where her thirst for blood ends.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO
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