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Little Fires Everywhere Episode 5 Recap/ Review

March 31, 2020
5 min read

‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is a miniseries by Hulu that meditatively builds its plot gradually until a complex and powerful narrative comes to the fore. The series is an adaptation of Celeste Ng’s novel of the same name and stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in leading roles.

In the first four episodes of the miniseries, Elena (Witherspoon) is seen renting out one of her places to a nomadic artist, Mia (Washington) and her daughter, Pearl. The lives of Elena’s family members soon starts to get intertwined with those of Pearl and Mia. However, a custody battle involving Mia’s coworker and Elena’s friend turns a potential friendship between Mia and Elena into a full-blown rivalry.

Little Fires Everywhere Episode 5 Recap:

Paris, 1976: Elena is in Paris with her boyfriend, Jamie. The latter decides to stay in Paris. The two have to break up because of that.

November, 1997: Bill decides to represent Linda. Izzy tells Elena and Bill that Mia is selling a portrait of her pregnant self to get money for Bebe’s trial. She shows them the portrait in the newspaper. Elena tells Izzy to not go to Mia’s house after she tells her that she has become Mia’s apprentice.

Lexie is pregnant and tells Pearl about it. Mia tells Izzy that the painting she saw does not belong to her. She asks Izzy to not return to her place since she invaded her privacy. Bebe picks up her baby from Linda for her one-hour visitation right. Linda sees Mia dropping Bebe and confronts Elena about it.

Elena decides to go to New York in the middle of the night to dig up some information on Mia. Lexie goes to get an abortion and sees one of Elena’s friends there. Pearl comes to support her, but finds out that Lexie wrote her name instead of hers on the clinical form.

Elena finds out that Mia enlisted herself as “Mia Wright” at the class of the professor who clicked the portrait. Then, she meets Jamie who works at the New York Times. She asks for his help in looking up “Mia Wright.” Later, the two meet for dinner where Jamie tells her that Mia’s brother’s name is Warren.

Pearl brings Lexie to her home since she does not want to go back to her (Lexie’s) own place. After Lexie goes to sleep, Pearl tells Mia that she slept with Trip and asks Mia about her father. Mia tells her that her father was persistent, charming and intelligent. Trip calls Pearl and wants to meet her. He tells her that she made him nervous because she is different and not like other girls. They hold hands.

Lexie asks Mia if she made the right decision regarding her abortion. Mia points out the fact that it was wrong of her to use Pearl’s name at the clinic. She tells Lexie that she can’t take advantage of her (Mia) like she took advantage of Pearl.

While walking, Jamie asks Elena what she really wanted. Elena tells Jamie that she wanted to see if he was happy with his life after the choices he made and asks her to come back to the hotel with her. Jamie says that he thought she might have wanted to apologize for something. He tells her that she is the same, unhappy person from years ago.

Izzy goes to drop an artwork that she’s been making outside Mia’s house when she sees Lexie walk out. Furious, Izzy returns home. She does not drop her artwork and burns it. Elena, on the other hand, goes to Mia’s parents’ house. Mia’s mother tells her that the baby Mia is carrying in the portrait does not belong to her.

Little Fires Everywhere Episode 5 Review:

‘Little Fires Everywhere’ picks up momentum in the third episode of the series and manages to maintain the intensity in the fourth episode as well. However, the fifth episode seems to be slower in comparison, repeating the slow, seemingly direction-less tone that is observed in the first two episodes of the show. However, viewers can at least trust the series to be building up to something major, thanks to its previous episodes.

Elena is seen kickstarting her investigation into Mia. This plot arc seems to be a little dragged on. While Elena’s meeting with Jamie surely presents very little new information and some characterization, that is all that the narrative track offers. The reveal at the end of the episode turns out to be the saving grace for the episode, keeping the interest of the viewers alive.

It will certainly be interesting to get some revelations regarding Mia’s past. However, more of the custody battle is needed to bring ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ back to the level of dramatic intensity which is seen in the third and fourth episodes. However, one area where the series has excelled at is its depiction of ethically complex scenarios. Even after five episodes, viewers would find it tough to decide whether Linda is right, or Bebe. Moreover, none of the characters on the series are depicted to be perfect. They are all human, with flaws that only make them more relatable.

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