Anton Chekhov once said — actually, he said it a lot — “One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off.” Chekhov died in 1904, but before he passed on, he added, “I also mean this about the Big Little Lies bridge.”
In its second season, Big Little Lies has essentially cornered the market on ominous foreshadowing. Bonnie and her mom are having visions of her imminent drowning. Celeste is popping pills and driving into trees. Meryl Streep is putting crosses into her mouth! Ed’s hair, growing slightly and almost imperceptibly floppier with each passing episode, threatens to become sentient at any moment. And if I have to see that freakin’ bridge — shot from afar in a muted blue-gray, looming precariously over the roiling seas, all that stands between our fragile protagonists and cruel, snarling nature — one more time, I am going to move to Monterey and drive off it myself. We get it, David E. Kelley: Somebody is going to die, and probably on that bridge, on Sunday night’s finale.
Since it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that BLL will kill off all of these characters, we must instead ask: Who WILL die? And how will that damn bridge be involved? Let’s place our cross necklaces firmly into our mouths and examine our options, ranked from least to most likely.
Bridge-related death: Falling off the bridge during a dissociative jog and drowning.
Non-bridge-related death: Yoga.
How likely is it? Bonnie has been slowly losing it since early on in the season, when she went jogging on a highway instead of on a beach like a normal rich person. Also, her mom is in a coma because she prophesied Bonnie’s untimely drowning. But I’d like to think Bonnie’s death would be too obvious, even for Mr. D.E. Kelley, and Bonnie’s fate is more of a metaphorical drowning: Bonnie is probably going to confess to pushing Perry down the stairs and go to jail.
11. Mary Louise
Bridge-related death: Driven off the bridge while in the passenger seat of Celeste’s car. (Celeste jumps from the car at the last minute, her extremely long neck ultimately saving her life.)
Non-bridge-related death: Choking to death on her cross necklace while practicing her threatening necklace-mouth in the mirror.
How likely is it? Mary Louise has been firmly set up as the season’s villain, and it’d make the most sense narratively to see her get a comeuppance. However, Big Little Lies hates sense.
Bridge-related death: During a heated argument with Gordon over Amabella’s post-divorce last name, Renata stuffs tissues into his eyes, forcing them both to drive off the bridge.
Non-bridge-related death: Renata spikes Gordon’s whiskey with Celeste’s Ambien, ground into a powder. Gordon passes out atop his model train set, and Renata creeps into the room and turns it on. It slowly erodes Gordon’s corporeal form. Renata collects the life insurance and starts a nonprofit dedicated to safer train sets.
How likely is it? Gordon sucks, but he sucks so much that his death would have no real impact on the audience.
Bridge-related death: During a heated argument with Gordon over Amabella’s post-divorce last name, Renata stuffs tissues into his eyes, forcing them both to drive off the bridge. Renata survives, clawing her way to the surface, expunging water from her lungs as she crawls onto the beach. Years pass. Renata and Amabella move to San Diego, where Renata falls in love with a female travel agent (the last travel agent on Earth) and begins to question everything. The travel agent leaves her when she realizes Renata will never be able to truly let her guard down. Amabella gets a scholarship to Harvard. Renata, lonely and unable to re-create the joy she once felt at Amabella’s disco birthday party, hires Celeste’s therapist to dress as a 1980s power broker and role-play with her to help her learn to love again. Celeste’s therapist gets too into character, becomes addicted to cocaine, and accidentally pushes Renata off the bridge.
Non-bridge-related death: In a flash-forward sequence, Amabella becomes a contract killer and is hired by Mary Louise to kill Renata. She complies.
How likely is it? Renata will never die.
Bridge-related death: Deep in another Sufjan Stevens reverie, Jane dances her way from the beach to the bridge, where she falls peacefully into the ocean in slow motion.
Non-bridge-related death: Mary Louise, who’s lost custody of the twins, corners Jane at the aquarium and forces her get into the whale tank. Jane learns to breathe underwater and lives among the whales for the duration of her days. She is occasionally visited by her Aquarium Boyfriend. She dies in her sleep at age 102.
How likely is it? Jane does not ascribe to the Western concepts of “life” and “death,” so it’s hard to accurately assess this.
Bridge-related death: A pilled-out Celeste drives straight off the bridge.
Non-bridge-related death: Her chaotic evil twins accidentally trap her soul inside a video game
How likely is it? Celeste has suffered a lot over the course of the series; I think it’s more likely that she goes apeshit and kills someone. However, I do get stressed thinking about Nicole Kidman’s schedule, and since the series appears to be setting up a third season, she might need to back out so she can help Ansel Elgort do The Goldfinch promotion without embarrassing himself.
Bridge-related death: After finding out Ed has cheated on her with Masturbation Diary Tori, Madeline stomps across the bridge out of spite to prove a point (unclear what point and to whom). She is sideswiped by Celeste’s malevolent twins, who have stolen their mom’s car to buy more iPads.
Non-bridge-related death: The “Beach” sign over Madeline’s stove finally falls onto the stove and bursts into flames. Madeline, desperate to save the “Beach” sign, throws herself onto the fire.
How likely is it? Reese Witherspoon optioned and produces the show. However, she might kill her own character to prove a point (unclear what point and to whom).
5. Jane’s Aquarium Boyfriend
Bridge-related death: Jane throws her Aquarium Boyfriend out of her car and off the bridge when she realizes he has, in fact, sold her out to the cops.
Non-bridge-related death: Ziggy goes out to sea during a surfing lesson, and Jane’s Aquarium Boyfriend saves him, but is eaten by a shark. He smiles inside the shark’s belly, where he lives for many months.
How likely is it? Why else is he on this show?
Bridge-related death: Desperate to figure out what’s been going on with Bonnie, Nathan follows her on her bridge jog. He accidentally jogs directly into the bridge railing and fatally concusses himself.
Non-bridge-related death: Madeline kills Nathan when she finds out Ed has cheated on her with Tori. It’s his fault.
How likely is it? Big, dumb, cute Nathan just might have it coming.
Bridge-related death: Madeline finds out Ed has cheated on her with Tori, and forces him to jump off the bridge in front of her to prove he’s sorry.
Non-bridge-related death: Tori beats Ed to death with her masturbation diary. His hair survives. It lives on for millennia, where it learns to contract and expand time. It travels back to 2017 and writes the story of its life, titled Big Little Lies, under the name David E. Kelley.
How likely is it? I love these odds for Ed.
2. Perry(’s ghost)
Bridge-related death: Perry reanimates underground, burrows his way to the surface, then throws himself off the bridge so he can die on his own terms — like a man!!!
Non-bridge-related death: Reanimated Perry heads to Celeste’s trial, where he takes the stand and defends Celeste’s right to raise her own horrible sons. Everyone listens to him because he has a lot of gravitas. He embraces Celeste, then walks into a wall and vanishes.
How likely is it? Very.
1. Bonnie’s Mom
Bridge-related death: On the ride from the hospital to a hospice, Bonnie’s mom wakes up from her coma just as the car reaches the middle of the bridge. She removes her seat belt, calmly opens the door, and hurls herself into the sea.
Non-bridge-related death: Bonnie smothers her, like she has been threatening to do this entire season.
How likely is it? Bonnie’s mom has been hovering on the precipice of death for many moons. Also, it would be awkward, at this point, if Bonnie did not smother her mom after talking about it so much.