Big Little Lies Recap: Tell-Tale Hearts

Big Little Lies, S02E02 Recap
Big Little Lies S2E2 Cover

We back in Monterey, California and things as messy as they ever been. If you need a recap of the season 2 premiere, you know where to find it, so let’s get into this.

Celesete is driving, looking at the trees like she high as a kite, before smashing into a tree. Police is like, ma’am, you drunk? She wasn’t, but she tells Madeline that she took some pills to help her sleep and then teleported into her car and started driving, apparently. Then they see Bonnie “hiking” ’cause she been trying to outpace her demons for a thousand miles now.

Big Little Lies 1

Back in the 1% of the 1% side of town, Renata’s busy being Renata, talking about how she’s gonna be on the cover of the leading women’s magazine in the country. FBI rolls up and doesn’t give a federal fuck about her magazine cover though. They arrest her husband while she’s screaming and shit, feeling like Cersei when the walls came tumbling down.

Meanwhile, Madeline drops off Celeste and runs into Mary Louise. Ding ding ding, Mary Louise versus Madeline, round 3! Mary Louise wins by decision and stays undefeated, while Jane is off on a trial date with Obvious Love Interest and he so direct that it’s equally adorable and strange.

Back to Bonnie who’s barely holding it together, she’s driving her daughter around when the kid hits her with the intuition, like “are you and daddy getting a divorce? I noticed he doesn’t make you laugh anymore, and you look sullen and dead inside.” Bonnie tries to distract her with a dope ass soundtrack, and then she sees someone tailing her in her rearview mirror. Paranoia or nah? We gotta keep an eye on that.

Celeste is back in therapy and the therapist asks her to close her eyes and replay one of the many incidents where Perry abused the shit out of her. We get glimpses of the flashback, and yes, it’s horrible. Then the therapist asks her to replay the scene again, but this time to put a friend in her place. Celeste tries it, picturing Madeline in that situation, and fucking loses it. Therapist asks if Madeline deserved it. Fuck, man. These therapy sessions will get you every time.

Renata tryna get into the penitentiary and yet again the FBI don’t give a fuck about her wealth, because they know something she don’t know. As it turns out, her husband Andrew did some insider trading and her money is tied up in that mess too, so Renata’s about to be dead broke! Renata like, am I not going to be rich?! I’m not about to not be rich, am I?! Renata ends up talking to Madeline and ranting about how the FBI tryna send her back to her broke ass childhood, and she ain’t having that.

Big Little Lies Season 2

Next scene is Jane and Bonnie going full Monterey, California at a yoga studio and shit, talking about Jane’s love life with the new dude. Bonnie’s mom shows up unexpectedly, because apparently, Nathan called her, because he’s desperate and knows something’s broken in her marriage. He doesn’t know it’s Perry’s brain that was broken by Bonnie’s shove, but anyway, Bonnie pissed at his audacity ‘cause she ain’t want her mom around.

Back at Otter Bay, Black Teacher talking to the kids about their feelings, saying they can trust him with anything. One of them is like, what about my dead father? Black Teacher like, fuck man, I can’t catch a break. Celeste driving home with her kids feeling the same way, like yo, this is family business. Kids is like, I’m starting to question if this is a good family. When she gets home, Mary Louise is waiting for her and asks Celeste what happened that morning with the car accident. Celeste tells her about the sleeping pills, and Mary Louise is like “fuck Madeline” out of nowhere. Celeste like, okay, that was a non sequitur but Madeline isn’t that bad. Mary Louise like, aight whatever, I still don’t like her. Then the twins start fighting outside and get a little too reckless. One of them yells “fuck you” while tryna push Celeste and she clears his ass out like a linebacker, talking about how he’s not going to grow up to be like his father. She lost that shit for a minute, but then she comes back to her senses and feels fucking terrible.

Out in the woods we got our first all-black scene with Bonnie and her mom. Her mom is saying what the Black audience been thinking all along, like what the fuck you even doing here, Bonnie? Ain’t no other Black people here, and now look at you, all fucked up. Speaking of tryna get somebody fucked up, Nathan challenges Ed to a fight and Ed is like, yawn, I don’t even think about you. Then, over in court for her crook-ass husband, Renata having her own nightmares of being a broke ass laughing stock. She will not-not be rich, y’all. She will not. Later, Renata’s driving her husband back from lockup and she pissed as fuck, turning off the radio. He’s like “you used to like that song” and she’s like “I used to like sitting on your face too, you think that shit ever gonna happen again?” Then she goes full Renata and screams her ass off about how he’s made them fucking broke and kicks him out the car in the middle of the highway. She eventually whips the Tesla around to pick him back up, but Renata’s on the edge, man. You almost forget she’s implicated in a crime too.

Big Little Lies Season 2

Later on, Bonnie and Nathan are out to dinner with Bonnie’s parents and Bonnie’s mom ain’t holding back. She like, listen Nathan, you ain’t shit. And I ain’t drunk neither, you called me because you’re ill-equipped to handle your wife. She saw a man’s head burst open like a wet piñata you unobservant trash ass son-in-law. Her husband tryna calm her down and she went Maximus on him like, “is this not why we’re here?” Bonnie’s mom be laying hands on her in her sleep and anointing the cabinets with oil, talking about how she’s been having visions and premonitions. Bonnie’s mom says that Bonnie is drowning and needs saving, and Bonnie is like, I done told you I don’t need saving from your evil spirits, now go back where you came from. She keeping her secrets insider and ain’t saying shit to nobody but the Monterey 5 and I must say, well played, yo. You gotta carry that weight. Smart move. Even later, Madeline asks Bonnie if everything’s okay and Bonnie’s like “Fuck no, I keep telling you I killed somebody! You were fucking there, Madeline, how many times I gotta tell you this?”

Back down horrid memory lane, Celeste is recalling her first dates with Perry and get interrupted by Mary Louise with some more traumatic ass news. Turns out Mary Louise found out that her grandsons have a half-brother from Perry’s “other woman” AKA his rape victim. Celeste is blind-sided by this, and Mary Louise is like, might you be kind enough to tell me my other grandson’s name? Turns out Madeline’s daughter spilled the beans in school after hearing Madeline’s gossiping ass, and now everybody knows everything, including Ed, who didn’t know this mess either because he’s treated like the neighborhood fire hydrant in his own home. Mary Louise knows it now though, plus she heard when Celeste had said “you’re not going to end up like him” when she pushed her son, so she’s gonna put that shit together. Now that it’s out in school, Jane’s son knows he has a father after all, and Jane has to tell her son about his father. Jane’s forced to decide how best to tell her son that he’s the product of rape. Terrible-ass Madeline is to blame, and Ed is mad as fuck being left in the dark yet again.

Over on Meryl Streep’s Emmy victory lap, Mary Louise starts interrogating Celeste about the “alleged rape,” bringing up every old-school rape defender argument they teach in Advance Ain’t Shit-ness 101. She goes as far to question why Celeste didn’t go to the police, why she’s so willing to assassinate his character, how Jane could’ve had multiple partners and how she doesn’t believe any of them. Mary Louise puts together the details, how Celeste learned of Perry’s cheating the same day he died and explains all the shit Celeste kept from the police, suggesting Celeste has a clear ulterior motive for the stories she’s been told about her son. Fuck, man. It’s getting real in Monterey.

Big Little Lies Season 2

Jane and Celeste talk, and Jane tells Celeste that she broke her agreement to hide Perry’s history. Jane couldn’t lie to her son anymore, especially now that the beans done been spilt, and Celeste understands. It’s all messed up now, but neither of them blame each other. Later, Celeste is trying to explain their father to her kids, saying how their dad was a beautiful and wonderful man, having to lionize the evil ass man who beat and traumatized her, and you can tell she believes some of it. Much of it. Maybe all of it. Man, it’s complicated.

Time for the grand finale of the episode. So, Madeline and Abby are talking about college and family when Abby’s like, you can’t talk nothing about family because you were screwing the theater director last year. Madeline is like, well that didn’t count, but Ed was standing in the shadows, and I think he’s got a different opinion. Ed like, what’s this about sleeping with a theater director? It’s finally time for this to come to a head, and Ed tryna be his calm, even-keeled self, which can be the worst kind of anger. He ain’t yell, he ain’t scream, but Ed’s ass is done with Madeline, and that shit couldn’t come soon enough.

But we end on a softer note, with Jane and her new co-parent and BFF Celeste have a family dinner with their kids to introduce them as brothers. It’s mad messy in Monterey, yo! And this just episode 2.

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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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