With just one more episode to go of Hulu’s dramatic miniseries Little Fires Everywhere, we’re that much closer to finding out who’s responsible for setting the Richards family home on fire — with Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) still inside of it. But as the stakes get higher in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the dust surrounding Elena and her family is also beginning to settle, clearly revealing the ambitious homemaker for the villain that she is.
Early on in the show, it was hard to pinpoint who was more unlikable between Elena and her new tenant Mia Warren (Kerry Washington). Elena is the textbook picture of white privilege, but Mia's permanent resting bitch face has also been enough to keep me rolling my eyes all season. However, the more that the tension between our protagonists builds, the clearer that it becomes: Elena is the bad guy here, and everyone knows it.
Last week, Elena's endless mistrust of Mia led her on a wild goose chase straight to New York City, where she uncovered the shady circumstances of Pearl's (Lexi Underwood) birth. Years ago, a young Mia had agreed to be a surrogate for a couple in the city struggling to conceive. However, she fled with the unborn child, raising her in secrecy until she became a teenager.
Elena was tickled pink at the discovery and held it over Mia's head, using her secret to convince the woman not to testify on behalf of Bebe Chow (Huang Lu) in her custody hearing. "Would you really want to lose your child to save someone else's?" Elena questioned threateningly. Chills.
But that wasn't the only time her dark side jumped out. The bad blood between Elena and her youngest daughter Izzy (Megan Stott) finally boiled over in a messy way. Izzy's art protest at school got her into trouble (again), and Elena flat out told her child that she was having a hard time being her mother. Cut to Izzy discovering that Elena had meticulously cut her out of their family Christmas photos.
Viewers of the Hulu drama were mortified at Elena's behavior throughout the episode, shocked that the woman could behave so terribly without a shred of remorse.
We've spent so long criticizing Pearl for her obsession with the Richardsons, Lexie for her appropriation, and Mia for her lip-quiver — everyone but Elena — that we hadn't even realized that the arson of her home was possibly the direct manifestation of her well-deserved karma. I'm not saying that whoever (cough*Izzy*cough) set the house on fire should get off scot-free, but they may have made a point or two.
We'll discover the identity of the arsonist and find out exactly how the power struggle between the Shaker Heights mothers pans out when the series finale of Little Fires Everywhere airs on Hulu next week, April 22. Time to watch it burn.