Big Little Lies Recap: The Bad Mother

Big Little Lies, S02E06 Recap

Everybody and they moms been asking, waiting, wishing for Big Little Lies to finally show the plot of its second season. Well wait no more, muhfuckas, ’cause Mary Louise served them papers and coming for Celeste’s kids, sending the whole Monterey 5 into a spiral. Here’s the breakdown: if Mary Louise brings it to a court hearing, she’ll need ammo to prove Celeste is an unfit mother. She’s got Ambien-powered car rides and salacious trysts with men, sure, but the big gun is inevitably the last thing Jane, Renata, Madeline, Bonnie, and Celeste want mentioned in a court of law: Perry died, and that shit wasn’t a fall. Once you open Pandora’s box under oath, there’s no putting the evils back in, and the detective has been reaching from outside the ring, hand extended, waiting to be tagged in so she can squeeze these organic nuts till one of ’em cracks. Celeste’s custody battle, coupled with the house of cards falling beneath the Monterey 5’s feet, makes for the Season 2 you needed and deserved.

So who’s it gonna be? Who’s gonna crack and turn state’s witness? I got the streets placing bets like it’s the California Derby and I’ll give you 3-1 odds on Bonnie, but let’s get into the recap before the crew gets locked up and talkin’ about how it was all good just a week ago. We start the episode with the same night we do every night, Pinky — the night Perry got merked. We replayed that shit so many times by now I’m not sure I didn’t kill him at this point. Jane in the whip with her Calm Like a Bomb face on and pulls up on Corey’s doorstep like she at the gates of Troy.

Corey look timid as fuck like he knows this the end, kissing his family goodbye and shit before Jane kick in the door waiving the 4-4. Jane like, you feds? Corey backpedaling, saying he can explain, and Jane like, you sure as fuck better. Jane gives him the full-court press asking for all the details, what he said, what the cops said, what coffee they offered him, how many sugar packets, everything. Corey regrets even drinking the coffee, man, he just tryna explain how he was shook, and they said he didn’t have a choice. He ain’t know shit though anyway so it’s not like he could snitch, but Jane’s on guard anyway ’cause the walls are coming down like Jericho. Corey lays it out for her, ’cause the detective laid it out plain: there’s 5 murderers here, first one who snitches gets a deal, the other 4 getting fucked, no orgasm.

Jane gets the thinking, ’cause each one of them has their own reason to be a liability. Let me count the ways like Toni Braxton: Renata could snitch to save her name and the status she’s determined to build after her bankruptcy, let alone the thought of losing her daughter because her shit-ass husband might be going to jail too for totally separate reasons. Madeline could snitch just to get the deal first, before everyone else pins the blame on her for being the failed mastermind who told them to lie in the first place. Celeste could snitch to get back to her kids faster, although she’s the least likely, and Bonnie could snitch because the guilt been pressing down on her like Thanos was pressing the axe in the middle of Thor’s chest. Jane gotta know she has reason to snitch herself at the mere thought of being taken from Ziggy. If she buried the thought, it’s in a shallow ass grave.

Anyway, the tape of their police statements are being played yet again, lying their asses off, and not even good lies either. Celeste on tape like, uh, if my story is inconsistent it’s because my memory is, uh, foggy. When we see who’s watching the tape it’s none other than Mary Louise and the Detective Quinlan, ’cause Mary Louise been out here making alliances and collecting her bannermen. This is chess, not checkers, so Mary Louise and Detective Quinlan would probably find the next scene cute as the Monterey 5 are squadded up in a parking lot like a football huddle talking about their murder conspiracy and how none of them are gonna break. Not two seconds into it, Madeline and Bonnie about to throw hands ’cause Madeline is like, you the one who pushed him. Yikes.

Bonnie like, the fuck you just say to me? Which, to be fair, is a ridiculous comeback, Bonnie. Like, you ain’t gotta grandstand as if everybody don’t know you did it. Jane tried to clean it up though like, he slipped! Remember? He slipped! Slipped! I say a slip, slop, a slibbet to the slibbie to the rhythm of the boogety bee! Everybody parted ways and went back to their corners, but the squad looking real weak out here, yo. This tempered glass got nicks and cracks all in it. Back at the hospital, Bonnie’s dad is tryna give Bonnie’s mom a motivational speech, but Bonnie’s too busy writing her confession to care. If this ain’t the dumbest mess I seent so far, man. Bonnie, look me in the eye. I don’t care how guilt-ridden you are, I don’t care how much your therapist told you to journal your thoughts, I don’t care how much you want to win the Friday night poetry slam, you do not write down your confession! Fuck, man. If this is y’all’s downfall ’cause someone finds your diary in the trash can…I swear to god.

Anyway, Madeline’s loose lips about to sink the Titanic too, because she’s at home trying to tell Ed how she almost came to blows with Bonnie that night. Ed is asking why they were even out there, because that’s the obvious fucking question that Madeline didn’t consider when she started running her mouth, and then Madeline’s looking all shocked and confused when she realizes she put herself in yet another position to have to lie to her husband. She ain’t commit to the lie though so it’s obvious she’s hiding something, and Ed points it out because his last fuck left on the midnight train to Georgia. So then later, feeling guilty for keeping another lie from her husband, Madeline is trying to convince Renata that maybe she should just go ahead and tell Ed the truth. Renata is like, when the fuck did you lose your mind? We made a god damn murder pact, Madeline. This is not how a pact is supposed to go. And you tryna tell Honest Ed, of all people? Nah, you gotta carry that weight, space cowboy.

Back at SeaWorld, Corey’s asking Jane if she’s gonna be ducking him forever just because he talked to the police. Her mouth says no, but her body and reject call button say “fuck yes.”

Later, Bonnie is at the hospital and imagines smothering her mother to death with a pillow.

That’s it. That’s the whole paragraph.

But now is when shit gets real, ’cause Celeste is walking into court with her lawyer and sits left of the aisle as Mary Louise and her own lawyer sit to the right. Mary Louise comes over to shake hands before the game, and Celeste bats that shit away, like I ain’t come here for friends and family, and you ain’t either. Referee walks in and says some legal shit and it’s sounding pretty good in Celeste’s favor — at least for all of 2 seconds. The judge is a mom herself, but she says she has her concerns and they’re going to have an evidentiary hearing where Celeste is gonna have some questions to answer. Celeste is outside afterward crying a river, and her lawyer is trying to get her to settle, but Celeste is resolute: she ain’t settling. We going to Game 2.

Back at the hospital, the doctor is explaining Bonnie’s mom’s condition when Bonnie interrupts to asks if they can just kill her.

That’s it. That’s the whole paragraph.

Back at the 1% of the 1% part of town, Renata sitting in an empty living room like it’s the last episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The nanny is saying her goodbyes ’cause she on her way to the unemployment office, and Renata’s talking about how she’s going to rise up again and re-hire her, trying to convince the nanny as much as she’s trying to convince herself. Meanwhile at the beach, Jane and Ziggy are surfing and having fun when Corey walks up to talk with Jane. He plays the same song he played at SeaWorld, like, are you gonna freeze me out forever, I ain’t even say nuthin’! Jane said it’ll take some time. She had popped her head out for a second back when she made a connection with Corey, but now she’s back in her turtle shell, no Michelangelo, no Mitch McConnell.

At Celeste’s hearing, the rest of the Monterey 5 come to support, and Renata buzzes as she walks through the metal detector as her standard reminder that her broke ass has no power here. Madeline takes the opportunity to apologize to Bonnie for starting beef in the parking lot, and Madeline’s stumbling over her words, and Bonnie recognizes that for the fear it is. She smells that shit, and it smells familiar. Bonnie like, the pressure getting to you, isn’t it? Welp, time to turn the pressure up even more ’cause it’s tipoff for Game 2 with Celeste versus Mary Louise. Mary Louise’s lawyer comes in calm and collected, polite and shit, and that’s the warning sign that it’s about to go south ’cause 2 seconds later he goes the fuck in. Are you sick? Are you over your sickness? Do you miss the violence of your relationship? Did you ever hit your husband’s mother? Mary Louise’s lawyer went on a 10-0 run, just murdering the game.

And he was just getting started. He puts a picture of Joe the Bartender on the Summer Jam Screen and asks Celeste if she remembers sleeping with him. He asks how soon she slept with him, where she had sex with him, and all the other details that should be inconsequential, but you know he’s going somewhere, and that destination arrives quick. He puts up a whole highlight reel of all the random men Celeste has picked up and had aggressive sex with recently, and I ain’t here to shame, but let’s just say the court ain’t gonna take this lightly and it’s looking bad as its ever been for Celeste. Celeste looks like she’s in a daze, tryna score baskets, but ain’t nothing falling and she’s looking like how the scoreboard get so bad this fast and Mary Louise’s lawyer just keeps on ballin’. He asks Celeste if her kids have ever met any of these random nameless-ass men, and Celeste can’t even recall because she was on Ambien at the time. Apparently, Celeste’s kids and her hookups have had whole ass conversations while she was passed out, like they got to know each other, talked about politics, maybe swapped bedtime story and spent the best years of their lives together while Celeste was in her Ambien-induced comas. Then he asks Celeste if she’s ever driven on Ambien and crashed her whip, and the look on Celeste’s face, like yo, she expected it to be bad but in her worst nightmares had no idea she would get merked like this. Rest of the Monterey 5 looking down at the ground ’cause they don’t want to see the massacre happening right before their eyes, and I’m looking at Celeste crumble on the stand and yelling at the judge to call a mercy rule.

And that’s not even the worst of it! Celeste tryna convince the judge, like okay, I’m not perfect, but I promise I’m healing and I’ll always be a good mother, but the lawyer wants to keep it moving and asks Celeste, dead ass, if she ever pushed her husband down the stairs. Celeste needs a fidget spinner ’cause her hands antsy as fuck when he puts a computer simulation on the Summer Jam Screen. He shows the court what a natural fall would look like, and what a fall might look like if he were pushed. Celeste tries sticking to the story, so the lawyer clarifies to make it crystal clear to the court: you’re saying he lost he balance and slipped immediately after you found out he’d been unfaithful with another woman who bore his child. Whole Monterey 5 looking like they’d rather be anywhere but here, and Detective Quinlin is looking on like this the moment she been waiting for all year.

They go to halftime, and Celeste is with her lawyer and the rest of the Monterey 5 in the locker room. Lawyer is like, okay, that went a little rougher than we expected, and Renata is like, you fucking think? I’ve seen actual slaughters less gruesome. Celeste is shook and keeps repeating the realization that Mary Louise had Magnum PIs following her as she been pounding it out for sexual healing with her kids in the house. Lawyer tells Celeste she has to go back on the stand ’cause they damn sure need to rehabilitate her image to the court, but Celeste ain’t tryna carry that L a step further, she already done went further than Jesus to Calvary. Madeline and the squad have to give her a motivational speech, Bonnie’s daydreaming about confessing, and Madeline’s desperate as fuck like she about to search for Celeste’s Mighty Morphin’ Ambien or whatever else she can find. ‘Bout to reach into her purse, like:

Detective Quinlin’s ready to put the pressure on even more, so she’s watching film from last season at the charity benefit where it all went down. Meanwhile, Ed is at a coffee shop with Yoga Wife from episode one, fresh off her recent cosmetic surgery, inviting Ed to just pound it out with her one time, maybe twice, maybe more, but at least one good time to get it out their system. She sounds like Ed from Episode 3 too, talking about killing two birds with one fuck: they can both get revenge on their exes at the same time and have some fun while they’re at it. Apparently, Yoga Wife keeps a masturbation diary and a bucket list, and Ed’s name is written in the book at both them pearly gates. She basically daring Ed not to Hulk Smash at this point. She done made a good case for herself, and she knows it. Back at home, Madeline’s begging for Ed’s trust again while Ed’s more likely to be thinking about them moving forward by him evening the score.

Later that night, Jane continues her reign of terror showing up unannounced at people’s doorsteps and demanding answers. This time she’s back at Mary Louise’s place — a short commute thanks to Mary Louise moving into her building — telling Mary Louise to call of her lawyer and drop the custody battle. Why Mary Louise would do that when she’s up 20 at halftime, I do not know, but Jane seems to think this is a good idea. Mary Louise got the paranoia of a seasoned detective and is also the type of person who’s comfortable enough to be honest with her thoughts, so she breaks Jane to pieces when Mary Louise asks if Jane is struggling with her conscience and if Jane moved to Monterey to hunt down her son with the gun she had bought. Jane. Loses. Her. Shit. For the first time, fam, Jane goes all the way off and is screaming at the door after Mary Louise closed it in her face, giving every detail of how she wishes to fucking god she would’ve killed Mary Louise’s son. She’d kill him, commit suicide, and kill him again in the afterlife if she could. She’s halfway through a time machine right now tryna go back to kill her son, there’s literally nothing she wants more. Mary Louise stands with her back to the door and just breathes that shit in like the People’s Champ.

Back at home, Celeste is self-medicating…And self-medicating…And self — god damn, now she just taking the bottle of Grey Goose to the head. She needs a whole lotta eye drops before going back to court the next day. Madeline’s having her own emotional breakdown party at her own crib as Ed and the kids come home to the smell of nostalgia and sadness. Madeline’s dancing at a one-person party in her wedding dress, but it works though, and Ed’s endeared to her for the first time in a long ass time.

At the hospital with her mom, Bonnie takes out her green notebook of sins and gives a whole ass speech to her mom on her deathbed telling her all the reasons she hates her. There’s a lot of reasons, too. Bonnie even confesses about killing Perry, and I’m just like, you couldn’t whisper that shit? You don’t know what bugs and leeches be in that hospital room! I know you saw Detective Quinlin in the hospital before. You need to be more paranoid, baby! Now, burn that book as fast as you can. Bonnie says that when she was pushing Perry down the stairs she was really pushing her own mom, and Big Little Lies finally gives Bonnie the depth she’d been given in the book.

Meanwhile, Renata’s at her bankruptcy hearing where everyone gets to lay claim to the debts that the Klein family owes them. The nanny stands up and mentions money for “services rendered,” and Judge I-Ain’t-Here-to-Play asks if she can be more specific. Renata’s whispering around tryna figure out what she might be saying and then her husband melts in his chair. The nanny is like “stress management,” and it’s clear she’d rather not be more specific. Suffice to say, Renata has a full Renata-level meltdown in her car complete with an impressive 12 fucks in 30 seconds at a rate of .4 fucks per second.

Back in court, Celeste is doing a little better this time as she’s questioned by her own lawyer and the judge. The judge has her reservations but wants to give Celeste every chance to convince her that she’ll be okay, for Celeste to explain why she stayed in her relationship, and how she might overcome the trauma as a parent now that it’s over. The judge says she’s ready to give her decision, but just before the ruling Celeste stands up and says she’d like to call a witness, ’cause Celeste wants to cross-examine Mary Louise for parental fitness. That’s right, Attorney Celeste is done playing defense ’cause shit is way past desperate and she’s ready to play desperation ball in Game 7. The judge agrees, and that’s where we leave off, and we headed into the season finale, y’all. My friends and colleagues, Celeste is loading up the pump.

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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