Little Fires Everywhere and its heated discussions of race and privilege in the US


courtesy of SpoilerTV

Hulu recently released Little Fires Everywhere, the successful adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best-selling novel of the same name. The series stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in the leading roles. The show sees this duo portray two women in the 1990s experiencing the struggles of motherhood, race, and economic class. New episodes stream on HULU every week on Wednesdays.

Luis Ponce, Staff

Throughout the history of the United States, the country struggled with racial and economic equality and relations. The recent Hulu TV series Little Fires Everywhere criticizes this aspect of American culture by focusing on the upper-middle class and what happens when their “perfect” lives face a rude awakening. The limited series includes a total of eight episodes.

Shaker Heights, Ohio (the first planned community in American history) seems like the perfect upper-middle-class neighborhood where Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) and her “picture perfect” family live. When struggling artist Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood) start renting a home leased by Elena, everything begins to change as the seams in Elena’s life come undone resulting in someone purposely setting her home on fire with her inside.

An adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, the series premiered on Hulu to high expectations. So far only four episodes premiered, and everything from the acting to its social commentary pulled the audience in for an intriguing and stunning show. The show makes it obvious that race and privilege will serve as the main discussion points throughout the series by constantly showing how most of the white and rich turn a blind eye to the tough situations people outside of their demographic face by simply saying “This isn’t about race.”

(Spoiler Alert-released 3.25.20) 

Episode 4, “The Spider Web,” opens with Elena’s friends, Mark and Linda in a flashback where both of them prepare for the birth of their child which presumably they lost in the process. The show then goes back to the present and the couple sits in the living room with Elena, still traumatized after Bebe barged into the baby shower for Mirabelle/May-ling. Elena promises to help them and find out how Bebe found them. She then takes a check from Mark and Linda for $10,000 and goes to talk to Bebe. During the conversation, Elena brings up that the couple would possibly allow scheduled visits and even help her with her immigration status but that she would need to allow for them to keep the baby. She slides the check over and Bebe asks her if she has children, Elena answers that she has four Bebe proceeds to ask her, “How much would you sell them for?”. Elena then angrily leaves the apartment.

Mia, who promises to support Bebe with this process, remains quiet around Elena while working at her house. Elena confronts her one day and begins to verbally attack Mia, calling her a “bad mother” and accusing her of not making good decisions for her daughter Pearl. Mia holds back during the majority of the argument but starts to fight back and leaves Elena with the fact that Elena’s lifelong privilege and money allows her to make the “best” decisions for her kids.

Throughout the episode, we keep seeing the complicated dynamic of Moody and Pearl as she becomes more distant by hanging out more often with Lexie and taking interest in Trip. After failing an algebra test, Pearl offers to tutor Trip which ends up with them hooking up. Afterward, Trip quickly leaves the house as he realizes the mistake he made since his brother likes Pearl, making the relationship nonetheless awkward.

To help get money for Bebe, Mia sells a very important piece to a buyer, A photo of herself pregnant sitting in a bathtub. Mia cries as she thinks about the argument she and Pearl get into over how they use their money and their relationships with the Richardsons, who Mia now forbids Pearl to see. After another argument, Pearl escapes the house and spends the night at the Richardsons’ house and Mia arrives in the middle of the night yelling at her to get in the car.

Based on the first four episodes, this series shows great promise and could rank as one of the streaming service’s best works. New episodes premiere every Wednesday on Hulu.

The Chant’s Grade A+