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Little Fires Everywhere E03 Recap and Review

March 18, 2020
6 min read

Little Fires Everywhere‘ is a drama series by Hulu that tells a tale with a strong theme of motherhood. An adaptation of Celeste Ng’s novel of the same name, the series tells the story of a mother-daughter duo who move to an upscale locality with their lives intertwining with a Caucasian family from the neighborhood.

So far, the series has felt as if it lacks a sense of direction. However, while there has definitely been a narrative structure, a big, dramatic moment is what has been missing. This is probably the reason that viewers, including me, might have felt confused regarding the central conflict that ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is about.

Little Fires Everywhere Episode 3 Recap:

December 1996: In a flashback scene, Mia’s coworker, Bebe cannot afford food for her and her newborn. So, she leaves the baby on the street.

Approximately a year later, the series returns to its original time. Mia tries to convince Bebe to find her baby. Bebe tells her that it is tough for her to do so since she is an illegal immigrant. On the other hand, Lexie gives a handjob to her boyfriend, Brian while reciting her Yale admission essay. Lexie has copied the essay from Pearl’s letter to the school regarding her subject change. She swapped Pearl’s issues with racial discrimination to one with gender discrimination for her essay.

Brian visits the Richardsons’ house for dinner. Elena mentions helping Pearl with her change in subject, leading Brian to figure out that Lexie copied Pearl’s letter. Trip mentions how Izzy is called Ellen mockingly at school. Elena realizes that Izzy might be homosexual and that April is the one calling her daughter names in school.

Izzy asks Moody, Pearl and their friend if she can go with them for homecoming. Pearl likes the idea and convinces everyone to go. Lexie takes Pearl shopping and buys her a dress. She tells her that her Yale essay was inspired by her letter.

Elena and Mia prepare for a birthday party that the former is throwing for her friend, Linda. Elena tells Mia how Linda and her husband adopted a Chinese baby that they found on the street after not being able to conceive. Mia realizes that Linda’s child could be Bebe’s.

Mia sees Pearl’s dress and gets angry at her for taking something for free from Lexie. Pearl gets angry and asks her mother to be honest herself. She asks about her father. When Mia tells Pearl that it does not matter, the latter tells the former that her father might be able to help them with their financial situation. Mia gets angry hearing that and storms into her room.

Mia volunteers to take pictures at the birthday party of Linda’s child. At the birthday party, Elena asks April’s mother if she knows that April has been calling Izzy names. April’s mother tells Elena that Izzy had sexually accosted April. At the homecoming, Izzy kisses her dancing partner in front of April in an attempt to make her jealous. Moody takes her to the side and tells her that she does not need to prove anything to anybody.

Brian speaks to Pearl at the party and finds out that Lexie told Pearl that her (Lexie’s) essay was inspired by Pearl’s letter, not outright copied from it. He is upset over that. To appease Brian, Lexie kisses him. They have sex in the car even though they had previously decided to wait till prom on Lexie’s insistence.

Mia searches Linda’s baby to look for a mark that Bebe’s daughter had on her head. She manages to find the mark, confirming the fact that Linda adopted Bebe’s baby. Elena walks into the room after that. Mia tells her that she had come to click pictures of Linda’s baby. Mia leaves the party and tells Bebe about her child.

Bebe decides to go to the party against Mia’s suggestion. She sees her baby at the party, screams and then advances towards her. However, she gets stopped by people at the party. On the other hand, Izzy leaves the homecoming, hops on a bus and goes to Mia’s house.

Little Fires Everywhere Episode 3 Review:

The third episode of ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ finally presents viewers with a big moment that had been missing from the series so far. The moment (Bebe going to the party) turns out to be quite rewarding for patient viewers since it instantly sheds light on the central conflict of the series. ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ ceases to feel aimless like it had been in the first two episodes.

One of the reasons that the moment feels extremely impactful is because of the immaculate characterization. That has kind of been the saving grace for the Hulu series in its first two episodes. Each and every character feels rounded, possessing multiple interesting layers. Reese Witherspoon’s Elena, for instance, is quite privileged and her entitlement often floats to the surface. Mia, on the other hand, can often be unempathetic and overly defensive.

The dynamic between the leading ladies is what will most likely drive the series forward. So far, the nature of their relationship has been complex, making viewers wonder whether they would end up becoming friends or rivals. Now, with the plot involving Bebe’s child, it looks like they would be the latter.

After watching the third episode, I am of the opinion, that ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ might have been more appealing had it been a traditional broadcast network series. Despite all the flaws I might have pointed out, ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is a top-quality show with decent production value. Its writing is tight and the performances by its actors are flawless. Watching the show weekly might actually make it more engaging.

Bingeing usually requires a more intense, edge-of-the-seat conflict to keep viewers going which has been largely missing from the first two episodes. However, that being said, apart from the first three episodes, ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is going to be released weekly on Hulu. Perhaps, that decision was taken keeping in mind the tone of the show.  However, whether the series manages to be great can only be determined by how engaging the rest of the episodes are and whether ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is able to harness this episode’s momentum.

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