Big Little Lies Recap: What Have They Done?

Big Little Lies, S02E01 Recap

Get the sunhat out, ‘cause we back, baby! You knew what it was when you heard the theme song come on with the waves crashing against the coast, talm’bout “Did you ever want it?” Well yes in-fucking-deed, I did! Been waiting for this since Big Little Lies left us in 2017 – yes, that was a full two years ago, between Seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones when we were so young and naïve. And we got Meryl in this muhfucka? We took the 2017 Warriors and added KD? Let’s get into this shit. Unleash the flues on ‘em, guru!

Straight out the California Derby gates we get started with the heavy flashbacks so you can tell from jump Liana Moriarty ain’t come for games. Straight into the traumatic memories, airing out each character’s dirty laundry while they stare out at the beach like the Big Little Lies version of “previously on the X-Men.” In case you forgot, let’s get the rundown:

Bonnie? Murderer. You gotta carry that weight fam, don’t walk into the ocean on me now. Bonnie looking like she about to blink twice before walking into the waves and never coming out.

Madeline? Adulterer. Madeline tossing and turning, knowing she ain’t shit for being all high-and-mighty except when it comes to having basic morals. Madeline on an anti-vax message board right now tryna ruin your family’s life so she feels better about the mistakes she made in hers.

Jane? Traumatized, but to be fair, she the most used to it since she been living with that shit so long. Jane the most well-adjusted muhfucka out there. If you told me I’d be out here stanning for Jane Chapman two years ago I’d call you a gotdamn liar but here we are, wanting to Paypal funds to the People’s Champ of Monterey so she can keep affording to live there. Jane out here just tryna frolic on the beach and give us good soundtracks and be a good mom and so that’s what I want for her. She got the closest chance of living a normal life than anybody is, and the person you root for the most except for one other person.

Speaking of, where’s Celeste, you ask? Shit, Celeste carrying the cross, fam. Celeste battling demons, you know, the way you do when your abusive husband is the father of your new friend’s child who was born the Alabama legislature way.

Big Little Lies Season 2

Celeste is tossing and turning at her nightmares and then wakes up to none other than Meryl fucking Streep, the newest addition to the Death Lineup. Mary Louise is her proper name though, and for just a moment your heart melts for her as the mother of her newly-widowed, horribly abused daughter. Welp, scratch that record because Mary Louise isn’t Celeste’s mom, oh no. Mary Louise is Perry’s mother. So what do you call the mother of the abusive husband who is the father of your new friend’s child born from rape? Grama? Grams? Mama G? I got a feeling the terms of endearment went out the window like Perry’s brains flew out his ears. Mary Louise. We calling you Mary Louise.

Mary Louise is helping Celeste raise the kids and maintain the semblance of a balanced life, but your spider-sense already tingling knowing she birthed a monster, so it’s bad timing to find out Celeste be talking in her sleep, spilling all the tea. Which brings up a philosophical question in snitching, but that’s for another day because Mary Louise clearly doesn’t know everything. She thinks she raised the perfect little angel, which is fine I guess when you recall what Lucifer once was. We gonna keep an eye on that shit though. I’m not about blaming a woman for a man’s mistakes but t jury still out on Mary Louise, just out of an abundance of caution.

Back at Casa de Jane we’re reminded she just out here tryna give us hot soundtracks and be a great mom. It’s the first day of school so they hype off Joan Jett and singing about not giving a damn about their bad reputation, which is funny ‘cause the last time Ziggy went to the first day of school he got framed for biting a girl. Meanwhile, Celeste and Mary Louise are driving the real culprits to school, these twins who really test the limits of human sympathy because they showing all their dad’s traits. Madeline is taking her kids to school too, being her terrible insufferable self, and the Monterey 5 reunion begins! Madeline, Celeste, Jane, Renata, and Bonnie all reunite with the Motown sounds playing in the background, reminding you that 1) this series still got the best soundtrack in the game, and 2) so much done changed since exactly 1 year ago. Adversity brings you together, so they all hugging and shit, BFFs 4 Lyfe, while all the other moms looking at them fucking disgusted. Every other mom looking at the Monterey 5 like they’re, well, murders, and you damn near expect the camera to pan to the Ashleys saying “scandalous!” The school principal is the only one close to saying it to their damn face though ‘cause he hates Madeline that much, like every time she walks by he about to cough “murderer” under his breath.

Meanwhile, Renata’s being Renata because she witnessed a murder but that ain’t about to stop her from being rich and powerful. That just bolsters the resume. She pulls up to the new teacher and [pulls the siren] New Black Cast Member alert! We found the second brother in Monterey! Oof, your first scene is with Renata though so this ain’t about to turn out well for you, bruh. He got the beard but he ain’t Baron Davis. He ain’t the first and only 8th seed to upset a 1 seed. He ain’t know what he was dealing either with, so he’s left shell-shocked and obviously didn’t meet the other Black dude from season 1 or they would’ve gone through the shit with flashcards and practiced. Best believe we’ll keep track of the Adventures of Black Teacher in Monterey, but for now Madeline is being Madeline and telling Celeste how fucked up Bonnie looks these days. Bonnie look like the spirit done left the body and only a husk remains.

Madeline comes up on Mary Louise, and Mary Louise is like, “You’re very short.” Scratch the record right there, because what?! Madeline is like, “excuse me?” and Mary Louise fucking slits her throat before you even knew the knife was out. Mary Louise practically hits Madeline with then “I said what I said,” and Madeline’s living a Deborah Cox chorus wondering how’d we get here. Mary Louise kept it coming though, calling Madeline an insecure, people-pleasing, thirsty-ass wanter. This is grass-fed organic-certified USDA prime beef off sight.

Over at the local Whole Foods is Ed getting hit on by suburban mom, and he tryna keep the stone face. That’s gonna come back later for sure, maybe when he’s had enough of Madeline treating him like a participation ribbon, so bookmark this scene in your mind for later. This yoga model is looking at Ed like she about to throw it at him in the produce aisle.

On the other side of town Celeste is back in therapy, so we can all rejoice that we’re back to one of the most interesting dynamics in television, she and her therapist. Celeste talking about how she feels like a monster, which is equally rich and sad considering Perry was a fucking demon. Therapist like, “even in death, his message lives on,” referring to Celeste’s feelings that she’s to blame for everything. Perry’s a fucking ghost that’ll haunt Celeste forever if he could, probably because he doesn’t even know who killed him in the first place when he got sacked from the blindside and greeted the stairs. Now Bonnie out here tryna exorcise her own demons in the woods but she can’t outrun that guilt.

Big Little Lies Season 2

Back with Jane, she’s at work at the Monterey aquarium being all adorable with kids and she catches the eye of Obvious Love Interest. Obvious Love Interest comes over and tries being all adorable too, and then walks away while he’s ahead. That a G move, so that’s gonna pay off later for sure. He better be great though, ‘cause you know how I feel about Jane.

The tension is still real with Ed and Nathan, but this time Nathan wants Ed to help with his marriage, which Ed finds ridiculous given their history and positions in each other’s lives. Nathan doesn’t take kindly to Ed being… well, Ed, because Ed is dry, snide, clever, and always has the upper hand due to his deficit of allotted fucks to give. Nathan storms off, and Ed continues to be a personified shrug emoji.

Over in the top 1% of the 1% part of town, Renata is being Renata and doing a “Women In Power” photoshoot in her mansion. Something terrible is probably gonna happen to her soon because she can’t be flying this high. Look forward to seeing a powerless Renata soon, in one way or another, played to extreme passionate perfection by Laura Dern who has made this the most fun character to watch on a show full of fun people to watch.

Madeline and Nathan still trying to get their daughter to go to college. Daughter like, “I don’t want to go to college! God, it feels so good to say that out loud,” which is funny to me ‘cause that was literally the message she gave in the first episode when the series began. Anyway, Madeline mad as fuck and taking it out on Nathan, but she about to get hers because not a minute later is Madeline versus Mary Louise, part 2. Mary Louise is tryna move in town on a more permanent status, and Madeline decides to boss up about how Mary Louise called her stumpy and atrocious earlier. Mary Louise apologized, except that apology was a Trojan horse for the most savage take down on the day. Mary Louise out here scoring Kawhi Leonard-style. Buckets. Buckets. Buckets. Board man gets paid.

Meanwhile, Jane doing interpretive dance on the beach. This is what I want in life, yo. Frolicking in the beach in California to a soundtrack nobody can see, looking all weird. Obvious Love Interest rolls up during the weirdness and is like, uh, you’re weird, and aren’t you one of those murderers, too? He says it all endearing though, as if to say he’s not like those other people who judge her, he’s all for her weirdness and murdering. Jane shook though because this is the first time she’s realizing that streets is talkin’. She gathers up the girls and they talk in the car about how the police ain’t got shit on them.

Over at Bonnie’s crib, Madeline confronts Bonnie about how she hasn’t been looking so great and Bonnie is like, uh, of course I’m not great, I killed someone, remember? You were there, and it was your lying ass that turned us all into liars along with you. Nathan interrupts, and Bonnie takes her opportunity to leave, so Madeline goes to talk with her daughter Abby. Abby still like, I ain’t going to college, I’m going to work in an altruistic startup and save the world – I already got a job offer. She spits facts about homelessness and for a brief moment Madeline is so fed the fuck up that she shows her face and says what she really feels about homeless people, poor people, non-college grads, and herself. Madeline vomits that shit up like it’s been festering in her gut for years. Fuck homeless people, fuck the ocean, fuck charity. Fuck you if you doubt me. I’m a fucking piece of rich trash, I say it proudly.

We wrap up with Celeste, who is outside at the coffee shop with Jane. Jane is wondering if Celeste ever hates her, and Celeste is wondering why Jane hasn’t been accepting her child support money. Jane isn’t cashing checks and taking “rape money,” and on top of that Jane feels guilt about being complicit in Celeste being cheated on, despite it being from her rape. Perry’s ghost got everyone feeling guilty. Jane asks if Celeste is happy that the bastard’s dead, and Celeste is like, “grrrrrmmmmmm, we doing the hard-hitting questions, huh? Fuck, man, I don’t know. It’s complicated.” Then she has a flashback of all the good times that makes it that way.

Celeste gets home that night and Mary Louise made dinner. Mary Louise and the kids walk down memory lane about their father, thinking Perry was the perfect man and the dad and son they miss. Mary Louise tells the kids like, “you’re angry, and you should be! All these trash ass middle managers is alive and my boy is dead! We should be tears our clothes and gnashing our teeth, we should feel the full pain and scream!” And she does that shit! She fucking screams like she Achilles outside the gates of Troy calling out the fucking Grim Reaper himself for taking her son. Give her the Emmy’s, fam. Give ‘em all. Celeste is back to having night terrors though, talking about killing people. Mary Louise rushes in at the sound of Celeste’s nightmare and wraps her in her arms, on her third hardest scene of the episode and gets this shit in one bar. “So… who we tryna kill?”

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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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