Mary Louise’s Crusade
Last week delivered one of the best episodes since Big Little Lies aired back in 2017. The masterclass in acting combined with the sublime way this episode tackled big themes around abuse and grief makes it one of the best examples as of late in how to show, not tell an audience about events. Continuing on from that, Big Little Lies delivers another solid episode, even if it doesn’t quite hit the same lofty heights achieved last week.
We begin with Bonnie remembering the events of the fateful night at the school before cutting to Madeline as she heads to counseling with her husband. Things are tense between them but the counsellor brings the questions back around to Madeline, questioning her original marriage and causing seeds of doubt to plant themselves in her mind.
After talking to Celeste about this, Mary Louise continues her crusade to find out the truth, heading to Jane’s work and asking her for a paternity test to rid herself of any doubts that Perry may not be the golden child she thinks he is. Jane refuses, of course, and heads back inside.
Meanwhile, Renata’s child Amabella is rushed into hospital with an anxiety attack, prompting Renata and Gordon to rush there themselves. After bickering with one another, they learn that Amabella is stressed about climate change, Gordon’s possible jail time and Renata harbouring a secret from the family.
Jane then goes on a date with the guy from work and things appear to be going well until he leans in for a kiss, causing her to instinctively jerk away. With flashbacks of Perry seemingly weighing on her mind, she apologises and attempts to get things back to normal again.
Celeste heads to counseling herself soon after where she learns she may see Perry as a drug and be self-inflicting wounds to cope with his passing. As she heads home and thinks over what’s transpired, she happens upon Mary Louise and the boys looking at videos of Perry on her tablet. She strains a smile and joins them.
Mary Louise presses on with her mission afterward, finding Ziggy and meeting him before Jane and Mary sit down to talk properly. She asks whether Jane instigated the sexual encounter between her and Perry but she vehemently declines, telling her she was raped. Mary Louise is relentless though, refusing to surrender to the notion that her son was evil.
Renata takes her frustrations out at the school which eventually spills over to her marriage back home when she talks to Gordon soon after. He tells her he suspects something is up and presses her on what it may be. For a split second, she appears to almost cave but instead, she keeps her defences up and defiantly walks aways.
The school then call an emergency assembly amid complaints from parents over the climate change topic. As it happens, Maddie is made to come up and say her part. She goes off on a tangent, leading her to burst out the room afterward while the rest of the assembly look on in stunned confusion.
After an interesting night, Celeste and Renata realize that Adam may well know about Madeline’a affair. As they all head home for the night, Celeste catches Mary Louise going through her things, leading her to tell Mary to find another place to live.
The episode then ends with the Monterey 5 still grappling with their own emotions in a final montage while Celeste realizes she may well be addicted to Perry.
Once again, Big Little Lies continues to impress. Weaving together some excellent acting (which Meryl Streep somehow still manages to stand at the top of the podium for) and a consistent narrative, Big Little Lies is an impressive, methodically paced show. It’s also one that should crush any qualms from people wondering whether it would match up to the excellent first season.
Big Little Lies has been great this season and a lot of that is thanks to the writing and acting which somehow match the first blow for blow. Hopefully it can deliver a knockout punch to finish things off at the end but right now, Big Little Lies is one of the hottest shows on TV and a beautifully written drama worth sticking with.