Once Bitten
Big Little Lies Season 1



Critic Ratings: 11
Critics Consensus

"Once Bitten" leans into its stylish set pieces while adding a new layer of depth, carried by another powerful performance from Nicole Kidman.

Episode Info

Madeline gets encouraging news about the play from her director, but is unnerved by a significant change in his demeanor. Meanwhile, Principal Nippal and Ms. Barnes discuss the Ziggy-Amabella situation with Jane; and Celeste has a solo session with Dr. Reisman, who presses her for more details on her marriage.


Reese Witherspoon
as Madeline Martha Mackenzie
Nicole Kidman
as Celeste Wright
Alexander Skarsgård
as Perry Wright
Adam Scott
as Ed Mackenzie
Zoë Kravitz
as Bonnie Carlson
James Tupper
as Nathan Carlson
Jeffrey Nordling
as Gordon Klein
Laura Dern
as Renata Klein
Iain Armitage
as Ziggy Chapman
P.J. Byrne
as Principal Nippal
Santiago Cabrera
as Joseph Bachman
Darby Camp
as Chloe Mackenzie
Ivy George
as Amabella Klein
Virginia Kull
as Ms. Barnes
Robin Weigert
as Dr. Amanda Reisman
Show More Cast

Once Bitten Videos

Once Bitten Photos

Critic Reviews for Once Bitten

One thing this show taps into that I think is super-interesting is the idea that intelligent people can often end up in abusive situations- if you have the kind of mind that Celeste has, you can use it to justify anything.

Apr 5, 2017 | Full Review…

If there's a better edited television show out there right now, I'd be very surprised.

May 31, 2019 | Full Review…

Madeline, Celeste and Jane are all in various stages of emotional crisis -- it does give us the most compelling episode of the season to date.

Jun 25, 2018 | Full Review…

We were pretty wrecked by the end of this one.

Jun 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Once Bitten is an episode analogous to a knife thrust into your back by a good friend.

Aug 30, 2017 | Full Review…

Perhaps not the most elegant installment, but an enlightening glimpse into the lives of two women dealing with abuse nonetheless.

Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

And "Once Bitten" is straight up fantastic, reining in some of the show's most self-indulgent tendencies to further a story just as tense and compelling as that of any critically acclaimed drama anchored by a "brooding" (and, yes, melodramatic) man.

Apr 5, 2017 | Full Review…

This week we get more intimate with each of our main marriages in turn, and the results are astonishing even as they are volatile, emotional, and raw.

Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

I thank HBO, writer David E. Kelley, director Jean-Marc Vallée, and this cast for filling these characters with such humanity.

Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

The pendulum is swinging for the characters at just the right time.

Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

The episode belongs to Celeste. It's hard to overstate just how magically Nicole Kidman owns this role.

Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…