REVIEW: The first episodes of ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ miniseries ignites viewer excitement

(Photo courtesy of IMDb)

Filled with excitement and suspense, Hulu’s new original series “Little Fires Everywhere” has already grasped viewers through only four episodes. The miniseries premiered exclusively on the streaming platform March 18, featuring heavy-hitting actresses Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. The two also executively produce the series, which is based on the novel of the same name written by Celeste Ng. 

The miniseries takes place in a wealthy Ohio suburb outside Cleveland during the 1990s. Witherspoon’s character, Elena Richardson, is an outspoken journalist living with her husband and four teenage children, all of whom are incredibly complex, adding dimension to an ever-evolving plot. 

Mia Warren (Washington) is an artist and single mother who has recently moved to the town with her teenage daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood). When Warren and Richardson first meet, audiences can immediately sense the tension between them due to the difference in their socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The success of the early episodes lies within the contrast between Warren and Richardson’s differing parenting methods and lifestyles. As Pearl grows closer to the Richardson children, Warren becomes weary of who her daughter is becoming. By contrast, Richardson’s youngest daughter, Izzy (Megan Stott), is the black sheep of the family and is constantly at odds with her mother. 

Both Izzy and Pearl fight against the mold in which their mothers attempt to enclose them and end up finding solace in one another’s mothers. Through the stories of their daughters, the series accentuates how different the two women are and effectively creates drama with their clashing values. 

Although the overzealous family conflicts are hard to ignore, it’s the show’s display of Richardson’s crashing world that captivates the audience. In the opening credits of each episode, items that represent her perfectly curated life are shown burning in flames. Varsity jackets, family portraits, an activities schedule and a crystal glass are all on fire, symbolizing the demise of her picturesque family. 

The show is not only well-written, but Washington and Witherspoon’s acting is also phenomenal. Witherspoon does not disappoint in convincing the audience that Elena is truly living her worst nightmare. Washington adds just as much value to the show by clearly portraying Mia as a head-strong mother with a complicated past. In just the four episodes that have aired, the two perfectly articulate their characters’ stubbornness while connecting with the audience through each of their character’s demise.

Even the actors that play the children are clearly invested in portraying each character to their fullest potential, making the story that much more real. While the show contains popular tropes like annoying brothers and an all-too-perfect sister, “Little Fires Everywhere” is far from a corny family drama; the show perfectly demonstrates the full range of human emotion that comes with growing pains, teenage angst and troublesome relationships. 

With the first half of the miniseries already out, the show gets a 4 out of 5, based on the acting, cast and plot. The acting and cast are brilliant, and while the plot is amazing, it is too soon to tell how it all unfolds. Given that there is so much more in the story to come, viewers can probably expect more dramatic scenes ahead. However, not knowing who truly started the fire, how Richardson and Warren’s relationship ends nor how the individual storylines of each child will unfold adds to viewers’ excitement, keeping them engaged. Seeing as there are only four episodes left, the audience can only hope that the ones coming up will only top the delivery of the previous spectacle of events and sew the storyline together. 

New episodes of the series air Wednesdays on Hulu for the next four weeks until the end of the season.