A good title of a television show tells you a lot about the series itself. Cheers was about a bar named Cheers. Game of Thrones was about the political games the ruling classes played to compete for power. Hulu's latest limited series, Little Fires Everywhere, sounds like it could be about the metaphorical fires surrounding the characters, or it could be about arson. In fact, it's about both, as the opening sequence begins with a house on fire. After watching the premiere, wide-eyed fans are already asking: Who set the fires in Little Fires Everywhere? Warning: Spoilers for Little Fires Everywhere follow.
The cold open of the show's premiere episode begins with a firetruck racing up in the middle of the night, as a house is consumed in flames. Outside stands Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) wrapped in a blanket in shock, watching her world burn. As the sun comes up the next morning, the fire is out, and the house is a blackened shell in the snow.
Elena's three kids sit in a car, wrapped up, discussing what their mother is doing. "She'll probably find a way to blame Izzy," says the oldest, Lexie, sitting upfront.
"She always does," responds her brother Moody. Their brother, Trip, sits silently.
While the kids sit in the car, Elena and her husband, Bill, are learning from the police chief there was accelerant found all over the house: "The guys said when they went in, there were little fires everywhere."
But despite the opinions of her children, it's not Elena who brings up Izzy; it's the chief. He knows the Richardsons' other daughter hasn't been found yet, and he's guessing the missing girl might be the culprit. But Bill won't hear of it, even as he admits they have no idea where their daughter is.
The police chief doesn't believe Bill. He tries softening the charges in hopes one of them will give up Izzy's location. "She's a minor... no other homes were damaged..."
When that doesn't work, he turns to Elena: "Someone intentionally burned down your house with you inside. if Izzy didn't do this, then who did?"
Who indeed? But Izzy isn't the only suspect, just the one child who is missing. The last year has been a hard one, starting from the day that Elena spotted a vagrant car with Mia and Pearl Warren inside.
Elena has had a rocky relationship with her younger daughter. Izzy isn't the type to conform to Elena's ideals of teenage youth. But though teenage years between mothers and daughters are fraught with these kinds of relationship issues, that doesn't automatically make Izzy an arsonist.
Nor do Elena's three children being present automatically make them innocent. There are a lot of suspects to be rounded up in the show's eight episodes before fans learn who set those fires.