Sweet Little Lies
Boasting an all-star cast, slick camera work and a nicely paced storyline, Big Little Lies was one of the bigger surprises when it dropped in 2017. I also thought it was a series that didn’t really need to be renewed for a second season, given the conclusion we received 2 years ago. Still, we return to the Monterey 5 with the glimmers of a tumultuous season to come and an introduction to a real wildcard this year – Celeste’s mother-in-law Mary Louise.
After some brief flashes early on, we return to all of our characters preparing for the morning’s rush back to school. Mary Louise arrives at the house, waking Celeste up and prompting her to get the kids ready for school as music chimes in while the Mums prepare for school; Madeline lamenting the playground hierarchy as she drivers, Bonnie becoming a recluse, Renata determined to let the school know how genius her son is and Jane dancing to pop-rock.
At school, the usual playground politics return, as the schoolyard Mummys all regroup into their small cliques. In her usual sassy manner, Madeline lays into headteacher Warren before heading off after dropping the kids off.
Here, she runs into Mary Louise drinking coffee and the two get talking. The conversation soon turns awkward and full of underlying sass as Mary Louise nonchalantly lays into Madeline, telling her she thinks she’s fake and putting on a front.
While Celeste heads back to counselling after experiencing more nightmares, Bonnie tries to put the past behind her too. However, she becomes reclusive and distances herself from the other girls, struggling to even communicate with her husband.
Madeline then heads to work where she runs into Mary Louise again, who’s contemplating moving closer to Celeste to help raise the boys. After goading her into an apology and finishing work, Maddie heads home and pushes Abigail to attend college but she doesn’t want to go. Instead, Abigail wants to work for a start-up company helping the homeless but Maddie is defiant – her daughter is going to college no matter what. This inevitably causes a rift between them that looks set to continue as the season progresses.
Meanwhile, Jane engages in her usual dancing by the beach when a boy approaches carrying a surfboard. After asking if she’s on the spectrum, he casually tells her that someone at work is telling everyone that the Monterey 5 were present the night Perry died. In an impromptu meeting in her car, she relays this to the other girls and they discuss the weight behind this. Although the police have closed the case, they learn the cops still have their suspicions over what happened.
The only Mum not to be present here though is Bonnie, who Madeline visits later on. Concerned for her wellbeing, she tells Bonnie she can speak to her at any time but she’s taken aback when she learns Bonnie’s anger is directed at the girls. She’s upset that Maddie and the others lied to the police for her as she wanted to tell the truth and put her mind at ease.
The episode then ends with Celeste waking up in the middle of the night, screaming and shouting that she’ll kill him, prompting Mary Louise entering the room and asking who they’re killing.
I’m remaining cautiously optimistic with the second season with a first episode that gets off to a pretty good start. Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon have a surprising amount of chemistry on-screen too and the scenes between them are easily the stand-outs of the episode. Given the 2 year hiatus, Big Little Lies continues its trend of blending decent music montages and slick editing, much to the credit of the show.
The all-star cast helps light this one up too and quite what direction Big Little Lies will go this year is still up for debate. All the pieces are here for another enjoyable season but whether it’ll match up to the prowess of the first remains to be seen. For now though, season 2 gets off to a very positive and intriguing start for what should be a very interesting season ahead.