When it was announced that Meryl Streep would be joining Big Little Lies season two as Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) mother-in-law Mary Louise, who comes to Monterey to find out what really happened to her son, I had one small question: will these bitches have to murder Meryl?
I mean, the “Monterey Five” as they’re known did kill Celeste’s abusive, rapist husband Perry, after all. The last thing they need is a nosey grandma played incredibly by Meryl Streep to figure out what all the women actually did together, which is cover up Perry’s murder like an accident. But as I watched the first episode, I realized that Mary Louise is a little unhinged herself; she’s rude, she screams, she’s just getting too close to Monterey.
Will someone have to kill Meryl, or will Meryl have to kill someone? Every episode of Big Little Lies Season 2, I’ll rank on a scale of 1 to 10 how close Meryl is to being murdered, or to murdering herself.
1 to 10, how close is Meryl to being murdered: Reader, I’m pissed. I can’t believe I stuck with this meandering, boring second season of a show (which is clearly not director Andrea Arnold’s fault) and I didn’t even get to see Meryl get murdered. All of that passive aggressive taunting, the slaps to the face, the infamous deleted ice-cream throwing scene, and for what! For a few heated exchanges between Mary Louise and the Five. She might as well have been a figment of their collective imagination, a visualization of their guilt for pushing Perry down a flight of stairs. The finale gets a permanent zero. Meryl will not be murdered.
1 to 10, how close it Meryl to murdering someone: To make matters worse, the show goes the route of mystery as to the exact details of Perry’s brother Raymond’s death, which apparently occurred in a car crash caused by Mary Louise herself. Though she blamed Perry for Raymond’s death, there’s no satisfying conclusion as to whether Mary Louise really murdered him, or if it was just an accident. Nor is there a satisfying murder at the hands of Mary Louise, who I clearly wanted to be the show’s villain but, alas, wasn’t even close (the real villains, in case you forgot, are: Bonnie’s yoga clients, Adam Scott the whole season, Madeline’s daughter Abigail’s newsboy cap, and Jane’s bangs.)
Mary Louise’s raging scream at the season’s start, the sucking of the teeth, the weird antagonism, all of this was a red herring for Big Little Lies’s bigger message about how murderous moms are more complicated than they seem, and how nobody should blame someone else for an accidental death because it will eat at your soul and make you a bad person, so you should probably turn yourself into the police now. The finale gets a .5, because who’s to say what Mary Louise will do when all those women she suspected of murder actually turn themselves in for murder in an imagined third season? I’m an optimist!