Monday, 10 June 2019

Big Little Lies What Have They Done? Review

After a two year break, Big Little Lies returned to HBO tonight with an excellent season opener that saw our Monterey 5 dealing with a whole host of problems.

Watching the premiere it felt as though HBO were very alert to the fact that a lot of new people have found the show during its hiatus that was never supposed to be a hiatus, but in fact a definitive ending that got turned into a hiatus because of the shows runaway success. A two year break is more than enough time in theory for new people to give the first season a watch, but for those who didn't, the episodes opener serves as a perfect recap of the first seasons events.

Perry Wright was an abusive man who met his justly maker thanks to Bonnie pushing him down the stairs after the rest of the women had found themselves in a confrontation with him, that would've probably ended in Celeste's death if it hadn't been for Bonnie intervening. The first season ended with the women choosing to lie and claim that Perry simply fell down the stairs due to accidentally losing his balance, rather than tell the truth and end up in a whole heap of self defence trouble.

The first season ending gave the impression that from here forward, these women would always be united together no matter what due to the secret they shared. In fact they're anything but.

Bonnie hasn't been the same since that night. Some time away was supposed to cure her blues, but instead she's even more absent that ever which is causing Nathan serious concern. Whether it was right or wrong, Bonnie can't get over the trauma of killing a person, and whilst Madeline claims the rest of the women are there to support her? Bonnie's really not feeling that support, which has only left her even more isolated and sparking the other women's concern.

You would think an abusive husband being dead would mean that Celeste is free, but she's in fact anything but. Meryl Streep joined the cast for this season as Perry's mother Mary Louise Wright and she is quite the woman. She strongly believes her son's death was no accident, but more importantly? She has no idea of the man that her beloved baby boy turned into, and she doesn't want to know either. In real life people like this are extremely hard to deal with, so characters like this? Even more infuriating. Of course viewers know the truth about Perry, and so therefore having to hear Mary lament the fact that her friends sons are all alive, lambasting them for this fact, screaming her lungs out over her son's death and questioning why exactly Celeste isn't angry is incredibly difficult to watch. The case is made even worse by the fact Celeste has understandably been having nightmares since Perry's demise. Some of those nightmares see her talking lucidly about Jane's rape and wanting to murder someone, and unfortunately for her? Mary is there when Celeste wakes from both of these nightmares which only adds to her questions.

With Mary wrongly believing that her son was a shining example of a man, it makes Celeste's grief over the whole situation that much worse. At times she is able to comprehend and acknowledge the fact her husband was an abusive douche, even going as far as to assure Jane that she doesn't hate her for her relationship with Perry, as even though it started off as something consensual with Jane fully aware that he was married to someone, it did in the end turn into something non consensual which Jane isn't at all to blame for and Celeste is quick to tell her that. At other times though, she's ready to bathe in Mary's delusions, acknowledging the fact Perry had his moments of being a good father and a good man. Celeste's attitude isn't just worrying to us viewers but also to her Counsellor, who points out the behaviour and feelings Celeste is exhibiting are extremely common in people who have suffered from violence. There's no blame attatched to Celeste as everyone deals with things differently, but if Celeste is going to move forward with her life? She needs to be able to fully comprehend that whilst Perry had his moments of being good, ultimately he was not a good person, and his death has meant that she isn't dead.

Another of the Monterey 5 struggling in the premiere is Queen Bee Madeline. She's determined for Abigail to get into a decent college, doesn't at all want to listen to Abigail's proclamations that college isn't for her, has several clashes with Mary who sees right through Madeline's Queen Bee status, whilst also disliking the influence she has on Celeste and musing that Madeline knows far more about what happened to Perry than she's willing to admit. Mery Streep is one of those types of legendary actresses who lifts every scene that she's in, and also her scene partners. Her work with Nicole in the premiere on an emotional level really gets under the skin, whilst her work with Reese is more on a bitchy level of two alpha's trying to get the one-up on each other and never quite suceeding. Abigail's refusal to go to college though does force Madeline to look at her own choicesm and admit that she wants more for her daughter than what she herself got. Considering Madeline is living quite a comfortable lifestyle, it's a claim that doesn't neccesarily ring true, but with all of the emotional brunting of Perry's ghost lingering, it was good for the episode to have some lighter focusses.

The second of that being being Renata. She continues to be every teacher's worst nightmare in her determination to make sure her daughter isn't bullied during the new school year, and trying to give the impression she's still a thriving business woman. Unfortunately whilst she might be, it's clear all isn't well with her husband Gordon but Renata is unfortunately a bit blind to that and will no doubt live to regret that. Outside of her conversation with Celeste and brief flirtations with her coworker, there wasn't really a lot of action for Jane this week.

Overall Big Little Lies was back with a different type of bang, but still a massive impact. The premiere had to do a lot of work with setting up the storylines for this season, having enough of a reminder of the first season that new fans wouldn't be confused by all the goings-on, whilst making sure there was enough in the premiere for returning fans to sink their teeth into, and making sure a talent like Meryl wasn't wasted, and it's pretty safe to say the premiere accomplished all of this.