***Warning, Big Little Lies spoilers ahead!***
After two years of fans pining at their television screens, Big Little Lies has returned for season two— and this time, Meryl Streep is seeking vengeance. The show picked up with the same premise it ended with in the first season. The coveted ‘Monterey Five’ are attempting to return to suburban normalcy after the murder of Celeste’s abusive husband, Perry.
Although the plot is moving a little slower than the pace of the first season, the astounding performances have still left viewers with great satisfaction. All of the female leads have brought their acting chops to the table as they masterfully portray their character’s distress over unraveling lies.
Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) have been the most distraught over the death as they deal with their trauma. Bonnie has been shutting down and not providing too much insight, while Celeste has been selectively remembering her past and trying to hold onto the good moments with Perry.
Madeline (Reece Witherspoon), in her typical poised fashion, has been trying to remain as composed as ever, but she has been slowly losing her grip. While Jane (Shailene Woodley) has been navigating the truth that Perry is the rapist who is the father of her son, Zigi. Regardless of the outside pressure, children’s gossip, and Mary Louise’s disbelief, Jane has remained collected and honest in her choices to protect and share with her son.
The two standout performances of this season have to go to Laura Dern as the hilarious, unfiltered Renata Klein and Meryl Streep as the determined and scolding Mary Louise. As Renata deals with her husband’s financial troubles, she maintains her best attributes from season one such as her infamous lewd comments. With the looming pressure of losing it all, Renata is louder and more interrogating than she’s ever been, especially towards anyone in her way.
Streep’s performance brings a fantastic dynamic to the show. As the often soft-voiced grieving mother of Perry, she is trying to find justice for her son and discover the truth. However, Mary Louise has a dark aspect of her character that could be waiting to lash out against the Monterey Five.
As the season finale approaches, there is no doubt the plot will follow the unraveling of the women’s lies. Specifically, the past of some characters could provide further insight such as the home life of the Wrights. Not to mention if Mary Louise will discover the truth of how her son died and what she will do with the information.
With the upcoming courtroom battle, Ed and Madeline’s relationship status, and Bonnie’s mom, there is certainly a lot that will occur during the finale. I can only presume that whichever blowout resulting from any of the problems will lead to a cliffhanger in the hopes for another season.
Big Little Lies season two has not been a disappointment due to the phenomenal performances that take the prolonged script to another level. The cast has amazing chemistry whether it’s between Witherspoon and Kidman during their friendship vents in the car, or Witherspoon and Streep’s pretentious banter.
I find that this season has left me supportively chanting to any scenes staring the women, specifically Renata, and frustrated by the actions of the men on the show. With the women of Monterey handling way more on their plates, it still seems as though their husbands are the ones ill-equipped to deal with the small problems of their everyday lives. My favorite part has been the depth we as an audience get to see of all of the Monterey Five and how they manage to continue to fight through the trauma.
The highlight of this season has been when the characters cut the tension and finally confront and reveal their feelings, such as Renata’s car rides or Bonnie’s letter to her mother. However, I find that the writers haven’t done a great job in the procession of the buildup to these scenes as the audience has to watch most characters tiptoe around each other before these climatic altercations.
Both the music and cinematography of this season has been as impeccable as the first. The opening theme song, Michael Kiwanuka’s song “Cold Little Heart,” sets the perfect tone of the elusive Monterey and the secrets its residents keep. This year’s soundtrack consists of a versatile mix of beautiful songs that express the emotions of the settings before the actors even start their lines. This season features some of the most beautiful shots of the pristine location, which creatively tie into the transitions between major scenes.
Big Little Lies follows the aftermath of tragedy with the balance of promising hope and overall doom for everyone’s favorite set of suburban moms. The promise of more to come in the finale is clear. The pressure of the court case and everyone’s fears of the “end of the world,” whether it’s global warming, becoming poor, or the penalty of murder, is certainly leading these characters to their breaking point.
words & photo_makayla manning