Last week on Big Little Lies, the show reintroduced us to all of the great characters we know and love, but it seemed everyone had trauma to overcome from the events of last season. The person affected most was Bonnie because she was the reason Perry fell to his death.
Complicating things, the season premiere introduced us to an amazing passive-aggressive character named Mary Louise — brilliantly brought to life by Meryl Streep.
That episode saw her chew the room with scenes that are certainly going to earn her some Emmys and Golden Globes next year.
This week, the show brings a dark secret to the surface that causes everyone to unravel. On top of this, paranoia begins to build about whether Detective Quinlan is destroying their world or if it’s just their “Big Little” secrets.
Here are five takeaways from Big Little Lies Season 2, Episode 2!
#1 Celeste has a wreck (emotionally and physically)
Celeste is having trouble sleeping, which leads to a decision with unfortunate consequences. She takes an Ambien and has no memory of getting in her car. Celeste blacks out while driving, leading to a car accident and a somewhat awkward encounter with the police. They make her take a breathalyzer which she passes.
She calls Madeleine to pick her up, which leads to another hilarious interaction between Madeleine and Mary Louise. Madeleine takes the blame when Mary Louise is frustrated that Celeste was out most of the night, and Madeleine claims it is because of a “short people emergency.”
This comment leads Mary Louise to insinuate that Madeleine is a bully, which leads to a mumbled insult under Madeleine’s breath. Celeste’s continued struggle with the fallout of Perry’s death finds her in counseling, which reveals more and more about their marriage and him grooming her as the victim.
Celeste was an only child with a dead mother, and no real relationship with her father, which leads Perry to say, “So basically if this works out I would have you all to myself.”
Her counselor asks her to picture Madeleine in her place while Perry abuses her, which leads Celeste to scream in anger, and the counselor to point out that she was right for wanting to leave an abusive marriage.
#2 Renata’s husband faces charges
Last week we did not see much of Renata except for a brief glimpse of her making a change in her life by taking on a modeling career. This week the modeling thing gets brought up again only for Renata’s life to turn upside down in an instant.
As she is bragging about making the cover of a magazine, the FBI appears to arrest her husband, Gordon. While having a meltdown on the arresting officers, Renata notices a car driving off in the background, which she later believes was Detective Quinlan.
Later in the episode, Renata visits Gordon in Federal holding, and he reveals to her an unfortunate truth. He shorted a significant stock for his benefit and told no one, and it violated stock exchange laws. Even worse, he put their ranch up as collateral, which means everything Renata worked for is falling apart and she could end up broke.
As Gordon makes bail, they end up having a fight that leads to her leaving Gordon on the side of the road. Despite her anger, she turns the car around and goes back for him. They both drive off without saying another word.
Sometime in the thick of all this chaos, Renata is paranoid talking to Madeline, expressing her concerns that Detective Quinlan might be causing these problems.
She asserts that maybe Quinlan is tipping off the FBI and causing their lives to fall apart. But is it Quinlan, or have their lies poisoned the fabric that holds everything together?
#3 Bonnie gets an unexpected visit from family
Bonnie’s struggle with PTSD continues. No amount of hiking, yoga, or friends reaching out appears to make a difference in the constant struggles she has with what happened that night.
In desperation, Nathan reaches out to Bonnie’s mom, explaining that he would like her to come to visit and see if she can figure out what is going on with Bonnie.
All moms appear to have a sixth sense when it comes to their children, and Bonnie’s mom Elizabeth is no exception. She calls Nathan on the carpet for not realizing the exact date of Bonnie’s transformation, pointing out that Bonnie hasn’t been the same since the school fundraiser and it is perhaps because she witnessed someone die.
This scene makes it clear that Bonnie’s history with her mom has its own problems, evident when Bonnie calls her mom out for drinking and making a scene at a restaurant.
Upon waking later, Bonnie finds a crystal and a chicken bone, evidence of her mother’s religious beliefs. She tells her mom she wants no part of her views forced on her family.
Upon being told of her mother’s visions, Bonnie appears afraid and quickly shuts down the conversation. Bonnie and Nathan do seem to be taking steps forward when she sits in his lap and tells him to be patient when he asks her to talk.
Perhaps her mom’s visit helped more than Bonnie wants to acknowledge.
#4 Perry’s actions make the world salty
The breaking point of the show is when the truth about Perry raping Jane rises to the surface. After Celeste has an uncomfortable flashback about her deceased husband, Mary Louise interrupts the moment to reveal a bombshell.
She tells Celeste that Max and Josh told her they have a brother — and thus begins a nuclear fallout.
The first wave hits the home of Madeline, where she finds out her younger daughter Chloe is the culprit for the secret coming out. Madeline discovers she found out by eavesdropping on her mother’s telephone conversations that Perry is Ziggy’s father.
Not only did she eavesdrop, but she also shared that information with Max, Josh, and Ziggy.
This revelation leads to the second wave of unrest between Jane and Ziggy. Jane calmly confronts her son after hearing the secret is out and asks him what he knows. He explains to Jane that he has known for some time but never brought it up because he figured she would lie.
Ziggy also explains in a heartbreakingly childlike way that Chloe said his father “salted” his mother — but what he misunderstood was “assaulted.” And knowing what Ziggy meant, Jane’s eyes fill with tears, and she lays next to him.
The final wave returns to Celeste’s home, where she has to explain all this to Mary Louise. Perry’s infidelity brings everything to the surface — the abuse, the lies, all of their troubled relationship.
As the scene wraps, Mary Louise expresses her doubts about everything. She does not believe her son was abusive or that Ziggy was Perry’s child. She becomes very cold to Celeste and also points out that most of these are details she did not tell the police — and she believes this to be intentional.
As the conversation wraps, it’s implied that Mary Louise may try and take the kids away from Celeste.
#5 Madeline has a marriage crisis
Madeleine is finally facing the consequences of that night in her personal life, and viewers feel horrible for her, but it honestly feels like it’s about time for Madeleine to stop playing a rather vapid character, and explore the depths of Reese Witherspoon’s acting ability. This episode delivers.
Madeleine finds herself worried about both Bonnie and Abigail — more specifically Abigail being in Bonnie’s house. Bonnie agrees she can’t be there for Abigail the way she should be.
This conversation leads Madeleine and Abigail to have another awkward conversation about the importance of education as one of the building blocks of life, alongside family. Unfortunately, this conversation will have far-reaching consequences.
Calling her out for hypocrisy, Abigail points out that Madeleine doesn’t value family that much since she cheated on Ed with the theater director last year. In a painstakingly silent blow, Ed overhears and claims he is, “leaving the house to go get his ears checked.”
The horrific cheating secret Madeleine has been keeping is only compounded by the fact Ed also just found out from Chloe’s eavesdropping that Perry was Ziggy’s dad, and he already feels betrayed that Madeline wouldn’t share that information with him so he could help her handle it.
Madeleine’s daughter’s mouth has gotten her in a lot of trouble this week, and one can’t help but think that this is most likely the end for Madeleine and Ed.
With this new blow to her marriage compounded by the other secret she is keeping, will we finally see Madeleine lose what little control she has over the monstrous secret in her brain?
Overall this episode was much tenser and had much higher stakes. So far, season 2 has exceeded expectations, keeping the consequences just as tense, the friendships just as real, and the lies and secrets just as damaging. Big Little Lies season 2 has been a must watch just like season 1.
Season 2 Episode 2 is aptly titled “Tell-Tale Hearts” a call out to any Edgar Alan Poe fan who remembers his short story of the same name when watching this episode. In it, a disgruntled man murders another and buries him in the floor of his home. After doing so, he cannot stop hearing the dead man’s heart beating, and its slow beat causes him to lose his mind.
Much like this man, the Monterey 5 find themselves losing their minds because Perry’s heartbeat follows them everywhere they go. In the story, most critics believe the man finally tells the police everything after his paranoia causes him to lose control.
Will the same thing happen to these women? Isn’t it already headed in that direction, with the way Madeline and the others remain convinced Detective Quinlan is following them everywhere? Is he really the one who supposedly tipped the FBI off about Gordon’s illicit financial activities?
All in all, this makes it seem like the women won’t be able to live with the guilt and will eventually go to the police. It will be interesting to see what their paranoia leads them to do in the weeks ahead.
Big Little Lies airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.