As soon as HBO cast Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright, it seemed certain that no character on Big Little Lies would be safe from her wrath. After the premiere, it’s all the more obvious: Mary Louise did not come to Monterey for a friendly elementary school fundraiser—she came for answers about her dead son. And she’ll do anything to learn the truth. The premiere picks up on the morning of the first day of second grade, with Mary Louise standing over a nerve racked Celeste who was having a nightmare. Naturally, Celeste is a sleep talker, so Mary Louise’s nap time eavesdropping resulted in hearing Celeste mumbling about rape. Bad news.
But as the season premiere continues to unfold, it’s abundantly clear that all of the women of Monterey are a little broken in their own way. Perry’s murder is still top of mind following the summer, and even if the police have deduced that there are no leads, it wouldn’t be a season of Big Little Lies without a tinge of mystery. So who’s going to take the fall for Perry’s death? Who is going to spill the very expensive beans? Or will there be a whole other twist that compounds the insanity around the Monterey Five?
In the premiere, Celeste is having a rough go of things. Haunted by dreams of Perry and flashbacks of better times, she’s wracked with guilt. During a session, Celeste’s therapist asks her to replace Madeline as the victim of Perry’s abuse and then answer the question, ‘Did she deserve it?’ Naturally, she says no, but one therapeutic exercise doesn’t undo a relationship filled with abuse and brainwashing.
The episode ends with Celeste screaming, “Fucking kill you!” as she wakes from a dream. That makes the second time she’s had a dream-induced outburst. This time though, it ends with Mary Louise consoling her and asking, “So, who are we planning to kill?” Is this foreshadowing to Celeste eventually revealing to Mary Louise that Perry’s death was murder rather than a tragic accident? Celeste remains the closest in proximity to Mary Louise and the one most likely to reveal information. But with her crippling guilt, it’s also very likely that Celeste takes the hit for Bonnie, whose big push last season was to save Celeste.
Speaking of Bonnie, our girl’s not doing so hot. Since pushing Perry down the stairs, she’s become a shell of a person. Haunted by the memory of her own actions, she’s shut out the other four women that were with her the evening of Perry’s murder. She spent the entire summer in Tahoe, removed from the rest of the women. In a conversation with Madeline, Bonnie admits that she’s feeling isolated and that she wanted to tell the truth from the outset.
Madeline is a mess, but honestly, it’s no worse than last school year. She is, however, Mary Louise’s number one target. Watching Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep exchange barbs throughout the first episode is an absolute treat, but it spells all kind of trouble for Madeline. Bonnie revealed that it was Madeline who came up with the story that bent the truth in the Monterey Five’s favor, so if there’s any additional guilt to be had among the group, it’s the busybody who created the lie.
Jane is probably getting underestimated a bit, but there’s not a ton going on with her in the premiere. She has befriended a potential love interest who has a soft spot for jokes about autism. What could get Jane in trouble is that Celeste mentioned that she wasn’t cashing the checks that she was sending Jane. Celeste argued that Ziggy was entitled to part of Perry’s estate, which is just a low key way of saying that there’s a paper trail connecting the two of them. If the wrong person gets their hands on that (Mary Louise? Police?), Jane’s name is front and center of the conversation.
Mary Louise is absolutely not going to be charged in the death of her own son, but her curiosity about the night in question could put her in the crosshairs of a group of people who are very capable at making a brash decision in a moment of desperation. Every time that Mary Louise questions one of the women of Big Little Lies one on one, she gets closer to the truth, but it’s hard not to feel that she’s getting closer to danger. Also don’t be too surprised if Mary Louise reveals herself to be capable of some serious debauchery herself.
If something tragic happens to Renata, it would be extremely out of the blue. While she was there on the night in question, she might be the most removed of the group. She’s dealing with Amabella and her high IQ and making sure no one bites anyone this season. She also seems most assured that the case is closed. Working off that alone, Renata is the furthest from danger.
Granted, there’s a whole six other episodes to get through this season, but it appears that it’s not a question of if the truth will come out, but how. Detective Meryl is on the case, and that likely doesn’t mean good news for anyone—including herself.