'Big Little Lies' season 2 episode 5 sees Bonnie's guilt juxtaposed with childhood trauma from an abusive mother

'Big Little Lies' season 2 episode 5 sees Bonnie's guilt juxtaposed with childhood trauma from an abusive mother

Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz) is dealing with a lot at the moment, especially after her mother Elizabeth suffered from a heart attack in episode 4 of 'Big Little Lies' season 2. This is in addition to the guilt that she has been feeling since the beginning of the season since she considers herself solely responsible for Perry Wright's (Alexander Skarsgard) death.

In the previous episode, she also met Mary Louise Wright (Meryl Streep), Perry's mother, for the first time and she has been feeling uncomfortable about her gaze since then and all of that plays into what she is going through at the beginning of season 2, episode 5. 

A still of Elizabeth in 'Big Little Lies' season 2. (Source: HBO)

We see Bonnie recall all the times her mother came down hard on her in the name of discipline, and it is clearly abusive. This is very much in contrary to how Bonnie is caring for her mother who is in a hospital. Even as she wipes her mother's body down, she recalls moments from her childhood that she probably buried deep and with the guilt that she feels about Perry, everything is surfacing now.  It doesn't help her to see her father, who she believes did nothing to save her. 


She tells him he did try to make things better sometimes, diffused situations (between her and her mother), but he never protected her. Her father, of course, has a different perspective on things that occurred in the past, but at some point, Bonnie is going to be too burdened to accept it all and move past everything that has happened recently. She is still trying hard to care for her mother, despite her father's warning about how her mother has recently taken to mumbling something about Bonnie drowning.

He cautions her that sometimes, the things that her mother sees and feels have come true. This is probably something from the past. We did see a glimpse of Elizabeth trying to teach Bonnie how to swim despite how scared she was and even goes to the extent of dumping her in the water.

It doesn't really help her that the first thing her mother has been able to say in days is "Kill me". What does that really mean? Right after Elizabeth says this, we see Bonnie head out to Monterey's police station. The fifth episode is important because it lets us delve deeper into the contradiction that Bonnie is and at the same time clues us into the fact that Detective Adrienne Quinlan is much more adept at hiding her agenda than we had assumed.


By the end of the episode, Bonnie has become this living breathing embodiment of human trappings, and the further she looks inwards, the faster things seem to unravel outwards. What has not been answered clearly, however, is Elizabeth's reason behind what she said. What is it that influenced her to ask her daughter to end her life? Or was this another of her intuitions? We will have to see in the sixth episode of 'Big Little Lies' season 2, which will air Sunday, 9 p.m. ET on HBO. 

Share this article:

 big little lies season 2 episode 5 bonnie relationship with mother Elizabeth abusive guilt father