Big Little Lies is back. The acclaimed HBO series airs its second season tonight, and we are providing live updates for the premiere below. Be warned, this post will have major spoilers for season 2 episode 1, titled “What Have They Done?”
The premiere picks up shortly after the events of season one. We get a series of flashbacks from the season one finale, with the most notable being when Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) pushed Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) to his death during the school’s Trivia Night fundraiser. It’s clear that the main characters are still dealing with the fallout of his death. The show then cuts to the present, where the flashbacks are revealed to be part of Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) nightmare.
Celeste gets woken by Perry’s mother, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep). Mary Louise asks Celeste what the nightmare was about, and claims that she used the word “rape” while she was asleep. Celeste blows it off but Mary Louise is visibly suspicious of her daughter-in-law. The scene then cuts to the local police station, where an officer is reviewing Celeste’s interview from the night of the Perry’s death.
After the title credit, we see everyone getting ready for the first day of school. Jane (Shailene Woodley) helps her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) get dressed, while Mary Louise drives Celeste and her sons. Celeste and Jane reconnect at the school and greet each other, before Renata (Laura Dern) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) join.
They all try to greet Bonnie, but she’s visibly different. After an awkward exchange, Madeline asks Bonnie’s husband Nathan (James Tupper) if they are fighting. Nathan reveals that Bonnie “shut down” after Perry’s death, and that she appears to be struggling with something. After the school drop-off, Celeste and Madeline bump into Mary Louise at a coffee shop. Madeline and Mary Louise instantly bump heads. Mary Louise says that the former has always been difficult to read, and insults her height, saying,“I find little people to be untrustworthy.”
Mary Louise then brings up Perry’s death and says, “I’m very tempted to ask you, but I doubt I would get the truth, would I?” In the next scene, Celeste converses with her therapist, Dr. Amanda Reisman (Robin Weigert). Celeste praises Mary Louise for helping with the boys, but she fears that the nightmares she’s been having won’t subside. Dr. Reisman suggests that Celeste start seeing other men, but the latter is opposed to the idea.
Nathan meets up with Ed (Adam Scott) to talk about Bonnie’s mental state. Nathan asks Ed to take her out to lunch to talk to her, but Ed doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “I’m no expert on marriage or anything. I mean, something tells me if you’re seeking out the husband of your ex-wife to, like, lead the communication charge with your new one,” he says. Nathan gets offended by this, and calls Ed a “snide f**k” before storming off.
Madeline is shocked to discover that her daughter Abigail doesn’t want to go to college, and takes her frustrations out on her husband. She worries that Abigail won’t amount to anything if she doesn’t attend college. After she returns to work, Madeline runs into Mary Louise, who apologizes for the way she spoke to her earlier. The show then cuts to Jane, who is dancing on the beach by herself.
She bumps into a co-worker from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who warns her about doing weird things in public now that she’s working with other people’s kids. He then says that she’s already familiar with fooling other people, since she’s a part of the “Monterey Five.” Jane meets up with Madeline, Celeste and Renata to discuss the “Moterey Five” and whether or not people are suspicious of their involvement in Perry’s death. Madeline goes to check on Bonnie after the meeting, since she was the only one who didn’t show up.
Bonnie says that she wish she would’ve come clean about Perry’s death to the police. “I killed someone, remember? It’s heavy,” she adds. Bonnie reveals that she’s had a hard time talking to both her husband and her child, and that the “Monterey Five” haven’t been there to support her. Madeline assures her that she can talk to them about anything.
Celeste treats Jane to dinner and asks her why she isn’t cashing her child support checks. “Do you ever hate me, just a little bit?”, Jane asks, but Celeste assures her that she doesn’t blame her anything. Jane asks if she’s happy that Perry is dead, and Celeste admits that it’s “complicated.” After she returns home, Celeste discovers that Mary Louise made dinner for her sons. One of them says that they miss their dad, and Mary Louise jumps on the chance to let out her frustrations. “We should scream and beat our chests,” she yells. “Don’t you feel angry!?” When she realizes that she’s scaring the children, she quiets down and apologizes.
We then cut to a scene where the “Monterey Five” are standing in a police lineup, seemingly after Perry’s death. When Perry steps up to the window as a witness, Celeste wakes up from the nightmare, screaming. Mary Louise enters the room and comforts her before revealing that Celeste said something strange in her sleep. “So, who are we planning to kill?” she asks.