Is Jane Dead On 'Big Little Lies'? The Book Reveals Her Fate

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Courtesy of HBO

The premiere episode of Big Little Lies started by introducing the show's central mystery: Someone was killed at the school's fundraiser, but it's not clear who either the murderer or the murder victim might be. And, over the course of the rest of the premiere, the Monterey community came across as insular, almost impossibly privileged, and very hostile to those on the outside of their social circle. So, ? Could it be another one of the moms with a first grader in her son's class have decided to take normal PTA power struggles to life or death? She immediately falls in with Madeline, one of the queen bees of the town, but one who has more enemies than friends. And Jane is clearly hiding something.

Honestly, I thought that Jane was an early and easy guess for the victim. She has a secret past of some kind, she's several decades younger than everyone else in a town where youth is clearly prized, and she just introduced a Chekov's Under the Pillow Gun. But fans of the show aren't quite as convinced as I was — they don't even bring up Jane as a possible victim, calling it too close to call, or not even bothering to theorize when just a single episode has passed.

So, the confusion seems to be why the show is keeping the murder victim secret at all. And, honestly, while I thought Shailene Woodley was keeping up with her more experienced costars, she received a bit of criticism from fans for the strained realism of a young single mom impulsively bringing her son to this very expensive neighborhood. I think Jane is still a compelling member of the cast, and because of her complicated backstory and outsider status, could be the victim of the murder.

But there's one way to find out Big Little Lies spoilers, and that's read the book the show is based on. If you're interested in hearing the actual, SPOILER-heavy discussion of what probably will happen by the end of the series, read on. If not... you'll just have to wait for the rest of the season in order to find out.

Caution, Book Spoilers Ahead


So, the real victim in the book is Perry, and after four hundred pages of revealing how much of a domestic abuser and total jerk he is, it feels cathartic to make him the victim instead of the killer. But Jane is a huge part of why Perry even winds up being killed, because ultimately, she exposes that years ago, while using a fake name, he raped her and fathered her son. I think so far, Big Little Lies has been cultivating the same empathy for Jane that the book has, and I'm happy the series is taking pains to show Perry's abusiveness to help establish why Jane is struggling and why she's so driven to find her son's father. If the show mirrors the book's ending we'll just have to see. But, as of now, Jane seems safe from being the murder victim.