Archetypes: Television: Review: ‘Big Little Lies” and the World of Neptune (2017)



As the waves relentlessly crash onto the shoreline of Monterey, you anticipate the emergence, any minute now, of bearded Neptune, sporting his trident as though waiting to pierce some high-end seafood and olives.

“Big Little Lies,” HBO’s seven-episode drama based on Liane Moriarty’s novel and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is about a murder tied to a coterie of good-looking and upper-crust female friends: Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Renata (Laura Dern); working gal and single mom Jane (Shailene Woodley); and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), the younger wife of Madeline’s ex-husband.

Even though guys litter this scene, make no mistake. The key male figure in this enterprise is the mythic king of the sea.

“Big Little Lies” is loaded to the gills with Neptune, the archetype that signals transcendence and utopia: everything not of this world.

The community here is about Neptunian perfection – of self, of schools, of domiciles. In seeking that ideal, the women here embrace another aspect of Neptune: illusion, lies and deceit. All hide either physical or emotional trauma, putting on a good front. And, at the relationship level, the Neptunian standard is either one of Redeemer (I Will Save You) or Victim (I Need to Be Saved), vividly detailed through married couple Celeste and my-love-triggers-my-physical-abuse-of-you Perry (Alexander Skarsgård).



Finally, the drama has even found room to spotlight Neptune as Subconscious, as seen in the quiet, compassionate and good-sense therapy sessions between Celeste and the couple’s therapist (Robin Weigert).

One needn’t be a student of psychology to appreciate what “Big Little Lies” has accomplished. It’s a primer on the consequences of a morally ungrounded life, which generates a chaos that is also Neptune’s bailiwick, the type of confusion that starts small but turns into a big deal.

This is a new glimpse of “The Jung and the Beautiful” and well worth your time.

Archetype: Lies. Perfection. Victim. Savior. Perfection. The Subconscious.

Astrology Archetype: ♆  (Neptune)

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