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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Why the song closing out Big Little Lies’ most recent episode packs such a devastating wallop

Illustration for article titled Why the song closing out iBig Little Lies’/i most recent episode packs such a devastating wallop
Photo: Hilary Bronwyn (HBO)

[Spoilers for season two, episode two of Big Little Lies.]

Big Little Lies’ second season is starting strong right out of the gate. We’re only on episode two, and Meryl Streep’s nosy Mary Louise is snooping around the circumstances of Perry (Alexander Skarsgård)’s death, Renata (Laura Dern) is about to go bankrupt, and Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is doing mysterious midnight drives. But, from an emotional devastation standpoint, the episode ends with desolate Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), staring at the ocean, willing ex Ed (Adam Scott) to come back. He took off after finding out that Madeline not only kept the story of Ziggy’s true parentage from him, but also that she had had an affair. When Madeline pestered him to tell her how was feeling, he seemed pretty clear: “I think we’re done.”

It was a sad ending to our one-time least volatile Big Little Lies couple, but the episode wasn’t done with us yet. Sharp-eared viewers realized that the song playing over the end credits was Ed’s version of Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder Of You,” which he sang at that fateful Trivia Night in last season’s final episode. The song’s sung not by Adam Scott, actually, but Conor O’Brien of indie outfit Villagers; Scott told Conan O’Brien that, despite weeks of voice lessons, his voice just wasn’t strong enough.

We’ll never know what Scott’s version would have sounded like, but O’Brien-as-Ed is appropriately lovely and haunting, with lines like, “Your love for me is everything” resonating in an altogether different fashion in the wake of the pair’s possible split.


The cover is available on the Big Little Lies Spotify soundtrack for both seasons, along with a lot of Sufjan Stevens, more Elvis Presley songs, and Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted?,” a song Renata used to like but doesn’t anymore.


Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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