Big Little Lies was my favorite TV show in 2017, so you can imagine my elation when news broke about season two. That excitement only intensified when HBO confirmed Meryl Streep had joined the cast. Meryl. Streep. The Monterrey Moms were already a who's who of A-list actors, but adding a legend to the mix pushed things over the edge. Throw in the fact that most of the season-one creatives signed back on, and you have a recipe for success (and another Emmys sweep).
That could happen again next year, when BLL season two is eligible for the Emmys. The second chapter of this soapy series, about a group of wealthy moms covering up a murder, has been a success. It has an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The narratives feel timely and necessary, especially the ones centered around sexual assault. And, of course, the acting is a high point. When Nicole Kidman slapped Meryl Streep in episode four? Reader, when I tell you I screamed, I screamed.
But these moments of over-the-top action have been few and far between. We spend most of each Big Little Lies episode watching Streep and the Monterrey Five (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz) walk and talk. And the conversations are pretty cyclical. Here's the gist:
Bonnie: We killed someone, and I'm worried about it.
Madeline: Shut the fuck up!
Celeste: [Half-Australian accent] Mary Louise!
Jane: Ziggy, tell me the truth.
Mary Louise: [To Madeline only] Short, short, short!
Don't get me wrong, this was fun to watch in the premiere. But by episode five—when I realized the women were having some of the same discussions over and over—I got, well, bored. These actors deliver in every scene, but they don't have much to work with. In my opinion, there just isn't enough plot to sustain seven hour-long episodes. It wasn't until episode six, when Mary Louise and Celeste begin the custody battle over Celeste's twins, that I felt like there was a substantial something to engage with.
Not even the hook of Will Mary Louise find out about Perry's murder? is keeping me interested. This was heavily teased in the promos before the premiere, but the tension deflated for me by episode three. There are only so many worried looks the Monterrey Five can give one another before you're begging for something—anything—to happen.