Welcome back to Monterey, my little liars (you know that's a term of endearment, right?). Are you currently cross stitching a pillow with Renata (Laura Dern) in her power pose and the quote "I WILL NOT NOT BE RICH" on it? If so, please let me know and I will purchase it from you. Not to be dramatic, but I truly believe that transaction is the reason the internet was created. Don't fight destiny, cross stitchers! Send me your wares!
Speaking of drama, apparently Big Little Lies' Season 2 premiere episode was simply an amuse bouche of the life and times of the Monterey Five, because Episode 2 is giving us the whole meal. Things are taking a turn, is what I'm saying. Since I'm both obsessed with and terrified of Renata (exactly what you want in your role models, no?), let's start with her. Out of all the ladies, Renata seemed to have remained the most untouched by trouble following Perry's (Alexander Skarsgard) death, but that is no more. Renata, Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling), and Renata's Gucci fanny pack (honestly, the PERFECT accessory for this character) think they're all just out getting some coffee when Gordon is arrested by the FBI. Renata remains completely calm and understands that her husband did something wrong and should be punished.
LOL, do you even know Renata Klein? She causes a SCENE. However, it should be noted that the Gucci fanny pack remains snug throughout the entire thing, so maybe it is time to get on board with this trend. More important, it should be noted that hanging out in the background of this arrest is Detective Quinlan (Merrin Dungey). Not much comes of that nugget just yet (we also see her tailing Bonnie at one point), but it's safe to say the investigation into Perry's death is still very much on.
As it turns out, Gordon has committed all of the fraud. He'll most likely be serving time for it, but the real kicker is that because of this fraud and the lawsuits that will follow, the Kleins will be bankrupt by the end of the year. And that includes all of Renata's own money. From the other side of the prison glass partition she screams the line that instantly becomes iconic. She will not not be rich. She has worked too hard and too long to go back to a life without wealth. She rages. Anyway, I worship her.
After a humiliating bond hearing, in which Renata hallucinates everyone in the courtroom laughing at her expense — Renata is strong, but she's not a robot; the woman has insecurities too — the Kleins take a fraught ride home. If you're already cross stitching a pillow of Renata, might as well make it a set: For the second one be sure to include the other iconic line she utters when she turns off the radio and Gordon remarks that she "used to like that song": "I used to like to sit on your face, too. You think that'll happen again?" Reader, I stood up. Laura Dern is coming for everything you have in 2019 and honestly, let her have it. Gordon doesn't shake her hand and congratulate her for the perfect response AS HE SHOULD, but instead goes on to explain that it was because of her wanting so much that he committed fraud. Renata won't have it. She stops the car in the middle of the highway and kicks him out, speeding off while giving middle fingers out of both the door window and the sunroof, like a true lady. The trouble is, Renata loves her husband. She goes back and collects him from the side of the road — she just can't quit him.
Gordon Klein isn't the only one in Monterey being forced to come clean. We learn that Chloe (Darby Camp) overheard Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) talking about Perry being Ziggy's (Iain Armitage) father on the phone, and because kids are the worst (and don't know any better, I know, I know), she spilled the beans to Ziggy, Max (Nicholas Crovetti), and Josh (Cameron Crovetti). It forces Jane (Shailene Woodley) to have one of the most difficult conversations you could ever have with a child. But she's done lying to him, so she explains everything as best she can. It is gutting. Has Shailene Woodley ever been better?
Celeste (Nicole Kidman), too, has to have a similar conversation with the twins, although she leaves out the sexual assault part. When one of the boys asks if their dad was a bad person, she goes on and on about how wonderful he was. Although it must be near impossible to tell your second graders that their father was a monster, it seems necessary. Especially for a woman who is doing exercises over in therapy in which she imagines Madeline being attacked by Perry to help her understand that she didn't deserve what her husband put her through. Especially after she once again witnesses what living with violence has done to her sons when Max hits her and curses at her while she's breaking up a fight between them. She throws him to the ground and screams, "You will not be like him!" So, yeah, things are complicated at the Wright house. Those complications loom over the half-brother meet-and-greet Celeste and Jane decide to have now that their kids know what they know.
Let me take this moment to remind you that all of this is happening under Mary Louise's (Meryl Streep) watchful teeth, er, eyes. EYES. At least Celeste finally calls her mother-in-law out for being suspicious of her. It all happens after Celeste finds herself crashing into a tree one morning after taking Ambien. Madeline tries to help her cover when Mary Louise asks what's going on, but Mary Louise is even more suspicious of Madeline than she is of Celeste, so that doesn't help. It does, however, give us another Mary Louise-Madeline showdown, which honestly, I'll never tire of. This time Mary Louise calls Madeline a bully outright, all while rubbing her cross necklace against her chin as if to say, "Be gone, satan!" Madeline walks off muttering that Mary Louise is a "f---ing weirdo," and I feel truly blessed to be alive at this time in history.
Celeste eventually comes clean about the Ambien and defends Madeline, calling her a wonderful person (she also calls Perry "wonderful," so it's actually not that much of a compliment), to which Mary Louise simply replies, "You're mistaken," with an expression that better be a GIF by now. When Celeste tells her that one time Madeline saved Max from drowning (show me the tapes!), Mary Louise's only follow-up is to ask where Celeste was. What a dick! This is only teeing up the truly terrible conversation in which Celeste tells Mary Louise that Perry raped Jane and fathered a child and that he used to beat her. Mary Louise doesn't believe her. She immediately accuses both Celeste and Jane of lying because her Perry could never be capable of those things. And, she adds, if he beat Celeste, how could Celeste love him? If he beat her, why didn't she go to the police? She thinks it's very suspicious that all of this is coming out now and that Celeste forgot to inform anyone of this the night Perry died. Mary Louise thinks Celeste is keeping things from her and from the authorities, and she is NOT into it. So now we know Mary Louise is the most terrifying person on the planet. Cool, cool, cool.
Madeline knows what I'm talking about. Not that she has time to deal with her ongoing feud with Mary Louise. After seeing Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) walking along the highway like a zombie in the wee hours of the morning and listening to her talk about her nightmares about The Lie catching up to them and destroying them all, Madeline decides it's time to get Abigail (Kathryn Newton) out of that house. Bonnie is all for it, especially after Nathan (James Tupper) calls up Bonnie's parents for a visit. Bonnie's relationship with her mother (Crystal Fox) is, um, tense. Apparently her mother had a drinking problem and has recently picked up the habit again. She also doesn't appreciate her mother coming in and telling her about visions she's having of someone drowning. At least her mom finally points out that all of Bonnie's troubles started when Perry died and that Nathan's an idiot. Wait, could you imagine if Bonnie's mom and Mary Louise teamed up? Their superpowers are murdering people with scathing looks and cutting to the core of a person in one sentence. Scary!
So Abigail leaves her dad's house, arrives at the Mackenzies', and promptly calls her mother out for sleeping with the theater director last year. Surprise! Ed (Adam Scott) is in the next room and hears everything. Can Madeline's daughters keep any secrets? The scene in which Ed and Madeline finally have it out is hard to watch but impossible to look away from. Madeline is doing her best to hold back sobs and Ed is visibly shaking as he tells her that there's no trust in their marriage anymore and he's done.
So, it seems like lies are catching up with the Monterey Five, just maybe not the one they were worried about.