Review of Big Little Lies Season 2, starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz and Meryl Streep.
Murder has a tendency to change people. And the death of abusive husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård, who haunts Nicole Kidman’s Celeste in flashbacks) in Season 1 of HBO drama Big Little Lies has impacted the five women at the heart of this series. Well, most of them – Renata (Laura Dern) is as obnoxious as ever, oblivious to the implications of what went down at the school fundraiser. (Watch the trailer for Season 2 of Big Little Lies below.)
But Celeste, Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), Jane (Shailene Woodley) and, to a lesser extent, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), are all irrevocably altered. As school resumes, the real housewives of Monterey confront their complicated feelings about Perry’s demise, with Celeste in therapy and Bonnie pushing people away as she grapples with her guilt. While the first episodes of this second season don't progress the story very much, there is a lot to unpack and it feels right to spend the time processing the women's feelings.
New arrival Meryl Streep plays Perry’s mother, Mary Louise Wright – a woman with a habit of asking uncomfortable questions. In a series already filled with strong female performances, she brings a new subtlety to Big Little Lies. Sure, the scenes in which Mary Louise clashes with Madeline are great, but it’s the little moments, like when she fires off a disapproving look, that speak louder than any confrontation.
The same can be said of the series as a whole. Someone doesn’t need to fall down a flight of steps every episode when there is so much rich, layered drama surrounding these women. And as the series moves beyond the original novel by Liane Moriarty, the possibilities for compelling TV from this Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series are endless. (Starts Mon., Jun. 10 at 11am; Fox Showcase) 4.5 stars