The kiddos declare that monsters are supposed to be scary, and “She Knows” proves that the monsters in Monterey are just that.
But the ‘who’ in who makes the monsters in town may vary depending on your idea of what makes a monster.
Some may say Perry was the biggest monster of them all, others that the mother’s who are harboring a major secret, but I’d lean towards Mary Louise being a monster that’s hiding in plain sight.
It becomes easier to understand why Perry was the way he was as we begin to peel back the layers that make up Mary Louise.
She means well while not meaning well at all.
She willingly draws up a petition to remove the children from Celeste’s care, yet she makes it seem like Celeste’s ambien-and-sex-filled night is what convinced her that she’s unwell and unstable.
Yes, Celeste’s actions aren’t convincing Mary Louise that she’s capable of taking her children, but it also doesn’t matter.
Mary Louise is operating on a pre-determined plan, one that helps her figure out what truly happened to Perry.
She’s inserting herself into the boys’ lives for a reason, bulldozing Celeste’s idea of normalcy and forcing her to crack under the pressure, provoking her to act in defense, all while trying to drive a wedge between the friends.
The more that Bonnie and Jane see Mary Louise around, the more freaked out they are that this big lie is about to concave in on them.
Jane tried to defend Celeste to Mary Louise and found herself all caught up in her agenda.
If Mary Louise truly cared about helping Celeste and the boys, she would ensure that Celeste received the necessary help instead of inserting how great of a man Perry was every time she saw her and ridiculing their violent relationship to something that turned Celeste on (is this what we call foreplay?).
She’d even refrain from pointing out that Perry looked for comfort somewhere else. Oh, and she’d absolutely never question Jane’s rape.
Meryl Streep’s goal was to make the viewers despise Mary Louise while also acknowledging that she’s spot on about everything she’s observed, and I’d say she’s more than succeeded.
Every time the women of Monterey come up for air, they are pushed right back underwater.
Which brings me to the very final moment of the episode.
Bonnie’s mother, who suffered a stroke and seizures at the bash Renata threw for Amabella, regains consciousness only to vividly see what seems to be a vision of her daughter drowning.
Could this be something from the future? Is she psychic? Is Bonnie going to die?
Or is this a metaphorical drowning as in she senses Bonnie is drowning under the weight of her secrets?
What do these premonitions signify? The show has never utilized supernatural elements before, and it wouldn’t make much sense in the sense of storyline to spring them on us.
However, in a sense, all of them are slowly drowning.
Detective Quinlan has been popping up here and there to remind the women that she’s onto them, which isn’t helping to ease their tensions.
Jane’s dealing with the PTSD coming up again as she attempts to open herself up to a new relationship.
Renata is grappling with the idea of losing everything and becoming poor.
Bankruptcy court seemed like the moment where she understood the severity of the situation.
Without her money, she could no longer say shit and get away with it.
Despite calling out the “losers,” the reality of the situation is that she and Gordon are the losers she’s referring to.
At least no one can take away her talents on putting on a fake front and pretending that everything is perfect.
If you took one look at her during Amabella’s party, you would never even know that her life was crumbling.
She may have believed her “they betray, we stay” motto, but if she doesn’t get her money back, it’s unlikely that she’ll stay with Gordon.
She despises him for taking away all of her accomplishments and turning them into shit even more than she despises him for ruining any future she’d crafted for Amabella.
And then we have Madeline, who, of all the Monterey Five, has the best problem you could have.
Don’t get me wrong, the demise of her marriage is dreadful, but in comparison to what the other four are going through, it’s a minor issue.
Especially since she’s not poised to lose much of anything.
Ed gave her the most Ed-like apology when he said, “I’m still here, aren’t I?”
It’s unlike Ed to forgive or make a grand gesture. Simply the fact that he hasn’t hit the road Jack just yet means that he’s willing to forgive the cheating.
A part of me also thinks he enjoys seeing Madeline suffer and try to smooth things over.
But there’s no denying that there’s no “ease” about his relationship with Madeline; there never was.
I’ve never seen Ed as relaxed or in his element as I have every single time he shares the screen with Bonnie.
I’d say those two should date, but I think Madeline and Nathan’s heads would explode.
It was also hard to take Ed seriously when he was chipping away at the fakeness of Monterey while wearing that afro wig.
It’s clear that he despises the lifestyle of the rich and the snooty, which speaks even greater volumes to his love for Madeline. He’s always been willing to make it work because of her and this is how he gets repaid.
There were plenty of really solid moments in the episode, but Ed and Nathan’s catfight took the cake, especially Nathan throwing Ed into a headlock almost immediately.
Those two are something else.
Other Monterey Thoughts
- Seeing all of the Monterey Five get along at Amabella’s party would probably be the most suspicious part to me. Previous to the accident, none of the truly got along.
- Just when we thought there was nothing worse than Mary Louise living with Celeste, she proves us wrong. Moving into the same building as her son’s rape victim is just wrong. Not only does Jane have a constant reminder of that night every time she looks at Ziggy — at least he’s a reminder of her strength and perseverance — she now has this woman, who doesn’t believe her accounts, by the way, hounding her.
- I could watch Nicole Kidman slap the glasses off of Meryl Streep over and over. What a powerful scene.
- You have to hand it to the Monterey folks for agreeing to yet another dress up party considering how the last one ended.
What did you think of tonight’s episode?
Will Elizabeth survive to tell Bonnie her vision? Will Mary Louise win custody of the children?
Will Renata and Gordon bounce back from these money woes?
Who will crack first?
Big Little Lies – The Bad Mother (2×06)
Some things are better left alone.
The first season of Big Little Lies was overwhelmingly successful taking home several awards and had it ended right then and there, it would have been able to live on in the glory.
Instead, it’s been handed a mediocre and slow-moving second season. Even the stellar cast couldn’t save this one.
What’s most problematic is that we’re now in the penultimate episode yet it seems like nothing is progressing, at least not at a rapid enough pace to keep up with the excitement and danger offered in the first season.
Celeste continues to battle her inner-demons, though this time she’s been grilled on the stand.
Nicole Kidman has been exceptional as Celeste and this week’s spotlight just speaks to her talent.
After all that she’s been through, it’s irritating to watch her get painted as guilty rather than the victim.
She recalls experiencing abuse, both physical and emotional, at the hands of her ex-husband, yet Mary Lousie scoffs and brushes off each sting as though Jane and Celeste ganged up on Perry.
There are moments where the judge acknowledges why women stay in abusive relationships, but it’s not enough to work in Celeste’s favor.
The most frustrating is that Celeste is right when she says that none of what Mary Louise’s lawyer is bringing up has anything to do with her ability to parent.
Wouldn’t it almost be more concerning if Celeste showed no signs of trauma or grief?
If she just woke up after Perry’s death and wasn’t affected? That would, in my opinion, indicate that she had something to do with Perry’s death.
No matter which approach Celeste takes to fight for her children, Mary Louise seems to be a few steps ahead.
And that’s worrisome as well. How is it okay for Quinlan to show Mary Louise interrogation footage? Isn’t this still and active and open investigation?
Mary Louise clearly has a personal stake in what happened to Perry, and she’s very clearly using all of this intel to paint Celeste in an unstable light.
Celeste interrupted the judge to call Mary Louise to the stand, and I’m all for it.
If Celeste was interrogated, no holds barred, it is only fair game that Mary Louise’s dirt gets dug up.
Maybe we’ll start by questioning her about what she did to raise such a monster?
I’d reckon that the mother of a rapist and abuser probably shouldn’t be raising his children.
This is one battle I cannot wait. Mary Lousie has been a treacherous antagonist, but she’s also been one-dimensional.
She swooped into town with one goal in mind and has been provoking the women around her ever since.
She’s good at it, but there are layers to her that we’ve yet to peel back.
Plus, I’m all here for a solid battle between Celeste and Mary Louise.
Much of this season is the Celeste and Mary Louise show so it’d be easy for the other characters to fall to the background, but their acting chops are so phenomenal, they could be, oh I don’t know, eating a salad, and it would be compelling.
Jane’s trying to move on, but finding out that Corey was recruited by the cops causes her to take two steps back.
I believed in Corey and found it refreshing that he didn’t push her out of her comfort zone, so I’m glad he didn’t turn out to be the jerk the writers wanted us to think he was at the end of Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 5.
It’ll take some time, but I think Corey will be good for Jane. Not to mention he totally suspects Perry’s death wasn’t an accident.
Jane tried to get Mary Louise off of Celeste’s back, but Mary Louise did what she does best and provoked Jane to where she said she would have shot Perry she just never had a chance to.
Speak your truth, Jane.
When Jane told her all mother’s struggle, I thought Mary Louise would try to get control of Ziggy also.
Bonnie’s storyline has been the weirdest of them all and considering her mother hasn’t left bed rest for a few episodes, it’s impressive how much it progressed thanks to Zoe Kravitz.
Her mother’s mystical vision warns us that Bonnie is drowning.
It’s unclear if the vision is a glimpse at what’s to come, but it almost seems impossible that they’d all make it out alive.
We’ve explored Bonnie’s tormented relationship with her mother, the abuse that drove her to push Perry off of the stairs in the first place.
Her “I resent you” speech to her mother was powerful and a sure sign she’ll wake up sometime next episode now knowing the truth about what’s been weighing her daughter down.
Considering how Renata initially reacted to the bankruptcy news, I think Gordon got off rather easy after she found out he’d been sleeping with the nanny, Juliette.
And the nerve of that man.
Renata’s life has been peeling away the picture-perfect image all season long, but this was truly the biggest blow.
She was upset about losing her money, her belongings, and the cover of the magazine, but nothing prepared her for finding out that her husband fucked them over in more ways than one.
I don’t see her going back to him after any of this.
And while Mary Louise did hit a sore spot when she questioned Renata’s choices, there’s no denying that she was right about wasting away all this time and working so much for some idealistic vision of success.
Renata would be much happier in a smaller house without crap-ass Gordon around. Kick him to the curb woman and get your power back.
Then, there’s Madeline, who is still going through a rough patch with Ed.
Though he was very easy going on Big Little Lies Season 1, he isn’t just laying down and taking her infidelity.
He’s upset, hurt, and re-analyzing his whole relationship, which he thinks was less about love and more about stability and checking off Madeline’s criteria of checkboxes.
Madeline, for her part, is trying hard to make it up to Ed, but it’s impossible to regain someone’s trust so quickly.
Ed considers getting revenge with Joseph’s wife who practically threw herself at him, but alas, despite Ed’s betrayal, he still isn’t the guy who would hurt Madeline.
At least, I hope not.
His decision to forgive Maddy seemed to be rooted in an understanding of what drew Madeline to seeking comfort and love somewhere else.
Hopefully, this is the last we see of their fight because we need one relationship to find stability even while this big secret continues to loom over the ladies of Monterrey.
- Bonnie almost admitted to not loving Nathan.
- Who took those pictures after the accident?
- Why is Quinlan so hellbent on solving a murder case for a terrible man who abused his wife and raped another woman? Do the cops in Monterrey have nothing better to focus their efforts on?
What do you think Mary Louise’s end-goal is?
Will this secret eat them all up?
Big Little Lies – The End of the World (2×03)
As the topic of Armageddon is broached in a second-grade classroom, it also feels like the end of the world for the Monterey Five as their personal lives fall apart as a result of keeping some very twisted secrets.
About halfway through Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 3, the therapist asks Celeste if she’s an addict and Perry’s the drug, and the answer is “absolutely yes.”
Celeste knows that Perry was a terrible person who nearly killed her on several occasions, but instead of acknowledging it, she chooses to stay in denial and remember the good times.
Sometimes, people mess up but it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people.
Take for example Madeline’s affair that has left her marriage to Ed in shambles.
Or even Gordon’s money laundering that’s left the Klein’s penniless, Renata raging and Amabella suffering from anxiety attacks.
Both terrible situations, but ones that can be forgiven and bounced back from.
In this case, Perry was a terrible person who did bad things and occasionally put on a pretty face.
If Celeste continues down this path, she’s going to completely forgive him and paint him as some kind of angel.
Yet, there are moments where she does acknowledge the toxicity of their relationship, mainly when pushing back to Mary Louise.
When she caught Mary Louse snooping around her medicine cabinet, she made sure Perry’s mother knew the Vicodin did its job when Perry kicked her.
There’s also the question of bruising herself to keep the memory alive.
Is he giving herself the bruises or was she telling the truth about getting them while breaking up the boys?
Bottom line is that Celeste misses the violence and whatever rush it gave her.
Without it, life feels almost “dead,” and that means she has a long way to go in therapy to even attempt to respect herself.
Madeline is dealing with the fallout of her cheating.
Considering Ed told Madeline that they were “done,” the fact that he’s attending couple’s therapy is a major step in their relationship.
The therapist, the same one Celeste has been seeing, tries to get to the bottom of the affair and doesn’t necessarily blame Madeline alone.
She does point out that there’s something in Madeline’s past that led to her decision to cheat (Madeline walked in on her father having sex with another woman and never told her mother about it), but she also brings up Ed’s indifference as possibly being disengaged in the relationship.
During the school assembly, Madeline has a breakdown when she talks about children being lied to and made to believe that happy endings exist.
But as Celeste said, Madeline shouldn’t give up on Ed.
It’s doubtful that Ed will leave Madeline, but seeing her realize just how much she loves him and wants to make their marriage work is necessary for them to move forward on a healthy path.
The only positive thing about this whole thing is that Madeline’s relationship with Abigail has gotten significantly stronger as she feels bad for essentially breaking up her mother’s marriage.
Madeline assures her that the problem wasn’t that Abigail outed her it was that she cheated in the first place.
Mary Louise is a bulldozer and a victim blamer, yet she tries to hide under the sweet lady facade and truthfully, it’s infuriating.
She was way out of line when she asked Jane if she’d submit Ziggy to a paternity test simply because she refused to believe her son was capable of something as vile as rape.
And when she finally saw Ziggy and realized he looked exactly like a young Perry, she asked to be in Ziggy’s life before suggesting that maybe Jane was to blame for her own rape.
Is this lady serious?
Meryl Streep is beloved by everyone and yet the series has made us hate and fear her in one fell swoop.
Jane’s a much bigger person than I could ever be for even entertaining Mary Louise with her judgment and finger-pointing.
She tried to play off Perry’s violence as a “misreading” of the signs because his sex life with Celeste was violent, she dismissed Jane’s recollection of the night and even suggested Jane was drugged by someone else and didn’t remember conceiving Ziggy.
I’m not suggesting anyone should ever punch an older woman, but Mary Louise would have deserved it.
If it were up to me, Jane shouldn’t let Mary Louise anywhere near Ziggy.
Not only is Mary Louise accusing victims now, but she’s also collecting more and more intel to support her theory that Perry didn’t fall accidentally.
A quick visit to the police precinct reveals that Detective Quinlan agrees with Mary Louise, which isn’t surprising. Any good detective would be able to deduce that much based on the crime scene and the way the women huddle together since Perry’s death.
It’s the way Mary Louise got the information out of Quinlan that’s troublesome.
The “grieving mother” card goes a long way.
We still don’t know how much Quinlan really knows.
Will Mary Louise inform her about the abusive relationship or the fact that Celeste found out Perry was Ziggy’s father just ten minutes before he plunged to his death?
Mary Louise consistently acts like the victim and yes, losing your son is a tragic experience, but the real victims are Celeste and Jane.
They’ve both had to pick up the pieces after Perry destroyed their lives and enjoyed every minute of it, and now they’re forced to hear how “great” Perry was this whole time.
Jane’s meeting with Mary Louise was troublesome for many reasons, but hearing her say that Perry was a tender and gentle boy raised some flags for Jane because it described Ziggy to a tee.
Is there a possibility that Ziggy will display monster-like tendencies like his father in his older age?
Should she put him into therapy now in hopes of curbing any genetic predispositions?
Then, of course, there’s her inability to connect with anyone on a more intimate level.
She goes on a date with Corey who, despite questioning where his fish came from, seems to be rather normal and totally smitten.
Yet, the moment he leaned in for a kiss, Jane’s whole body tensed up.
He agreed to take it slow, like a gentleman, and their dancing scene was equally as heartwarming as it was heartbreaking.
He even taught Ziggy how to surf, which says a lot about him, but Jane never explained her history to him yet.
Bonnie advised that if she’s serious about making this work, she’s going to have to open up to someone and let them get to know the real her, despite wanting to keep that part of her locked away forever.
Which led us to Bonnie mentioning that Nathan doesn’t know the real her.
There were brief scenes where Bonnie’s mother tried to teach her how to hold her breath as a survival instinct and when baby Bonnie refused to go underwater, she just dunked her in.
There’s also the abuse Bonnie witnessed as a child, which caused her to push Perry on Trivia Night.
Will we ever unpack that?
Laura Dern and her insults (I will be rich again, I will rise up, I will buy a polar bear for every kid in this school) is a blessing for us and a nightmare for Principal Nippal and the teacher.
The nickname “Medusa of Monterey” was warranted.
To them, her outbursts are so unbearable, they cope by smoking in an area where the kids won’t see them.
There’s nothing worse in Renata’s mind than being poor, but being rich hasn’t stopped Amabella from worrying about climate change — it’s a very rational thing to worry about — her parents splitting, or her mother not being present.
As we uncover the pasts of each woman, we realize that they are desperate to keep up the facades because they refuse to return to their humbler beginnings or where they came from.
Will they be able to maintain their picture-perfect lives to the public?
What did you think of the episode?
Big Little Lies – Tell-Tale Hearts (2×02)
Big Little Lies has a difficult task ahead — to deliver a show with a magnitude comparable to the first season.
There are two themes that are apparent right off the bat in “Tell-Tale Hearts” are secrets and family.
The women of Monterey, have been plagued by a secret that has bonded them forever.
The secret is lingering over them and tugging at their familial strings.
It’s hard to tell which of the women has it the worst.
After Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2, all of their lives are crumbling.
Two of them, Bonnie and Celeste, are dealing with a mother and a mother-in-law that’s very adamant about finding out what really happened.
Mary Louis is inconspicuous yet she presents a huge danger because she’s observant and apt at getting people to confess their sins to her without saying much of anything.
Her whole M/O is to find out what happened to her beloved son, Perry.
When Celeste finds out her boys know that Ziggy is their brother and vice versa thanks to Madeline’s eavesdropping daughter, Chloe, she tells Mary Louise that her relationship with Perry was toxic and abusive.
But as mother’s who are blind to what’s right in front of them because they want to believe their children are good, Mary Louise denies that Perry was capable of doing what they’ve accused him of doing.
In fact, she takes it one step further and questions Jane’s recollection of the night Perry “raped” her.
I put the word rape in quotation marks just to emphasize how disturbing and dark this moment was for the series.
Mary Louise scoffs at Celeste’s stories, rolls her eyes, and blames the other woman because she refuses to accept that her son was anything but perfect.
It’s dangerous for the Monterey 5.
Her love is so strong, even if she found out the truth when he was alive she wouldn’t believe him.
As Celeste broke down the nature of her abusive relationship, which often lead to hate-sex, Mary Louise gathered more and more information to prove that Perry’s fall at the function wasn’t a mere accident.
Finding out about Ziggy motivated Mary Louise to continue her search into that night.
And for starters, she knows that Celeste left out a lot of pertinent things when talking to the FBI about finding out about the rape and Ziggy, the fact that she was planning on leaving him, and that they were violent with each other.
As for us, we found out that it’s probably best never to whisper anything within an earshot of second graders. They know everything, and they are aware that their mother’s are harboring secrets.
At this point, everyone is.
Bonnie’s secret and her guilt is eating her up inside and poor Nathan doesn’t know what to do with it.
When Ed refused to help him connect with Bonnie, Nathan brought in the big guns and called her mother.
Elizabeth is ferocious, just like her daughter, and knows her well enough to know that she’s gotten herself in quite the mess.
But, in case you haven’t picked up on this yet, Bonnie doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it.
And when her mother presses with crystals and other talismans, she runs back into her husband’s arms because he’s too unobservant to realize she’s faking it.
Why raise any flags when you’re already worried they’ll catch you for murder?
Nathan may be unaware, but at least he’s concerned enough about his marriage and wants to do something about it even if it means calling in a mother-in-law who doesn’t necessarily like him.
As a victim of divorce, Nathan doesn’t want to rug pulled out from under him and when it comes to the males on this series, that’s a powerful move.
Also making a powerful move is Ed whose world came crashing down when he found out Madeline was keeping two secrets from him.
The first was about Ziggy being the child of the late Perry, but the other had the power to tear his family apart.
Abigail didn’t mean to throw her mother under the bus by saying that she fucked the theatre director right as Ed turned the corner, but those words couldn’t be taken back.
Ed, a man of minimal words who goes with the flow, cooled off before telling Madeline “he’s done” as she plead with him that it was a huge mistake and not about him.
Ed’s easygoing, but it’s that very nature that makes me think he’s not going to forgive Madeline for her indiscretions.
Some families, despite all odds, are meant to fall apart.
Renata’s reality is crashing down as Gordon was arrested for money fraud and they stand to lose everything.
I guess that explains the heavy drinking in the basement, and despite the situation, I’m glad he’s not just drifting into alcoholism for the sake of it.
Her impassioned: “I will not not be rich” shows just how much status matters in Monterey and how it has become a shield for the women to hide behind.
They don’t know how to exist without it, and they think they can get away with things because of it.
Renata’s fight with Gordon, when she kicks him out of the car and leaves him on the side of the road, hones in on another aspect of family that Madeline tells Chloe: “you can be mad and you can fight and you come back together because that’s what families do.”
Despite her anger, Renata swooped back around and picked up Gordon because he’s her husband.
The theme of forgiveness and being there regardless is seen with Celeste, Jane and the boys as they come together as a family.
It’s a moment that ensures the beginning of their healing process but that’s riddled with potential troubles as the truth of how these two women are connected comes to the surface.
Celeste hasn’t uttered one bad word to the boys about Perry and instead, painted him in a glowing light while telling them he had his “weaknesses” as we all do.
Considering Celeste’s boys are exhibiting bouts of violence, I think it would make more sense if she was truthful with them about who her father was and taught them that his behaviors, especially towards women, were wrong.
Jane’s approach — not lying to Ziggy but rather telling him he was a product of assault — seems to be the better option here.
Since these kids talk, it’s only a matter of time before the twins find out about Perry’s “weakness.”
Celeste constantly blames herself for what happened, but seeing the shoe on another foot showed her just how wrong her relationship with Perry was.
It’ll take some time, but Celeste needs a breakthrough that helps her realize Perry’s behavior was unacceptable regardless of how much she loved him.
If it wasn’t good to see her best friend treated that way, it shouldn’t be fine for her to experience the same treatment.
The faster she accepts it the quicker she’ll be able to heal and not be haunted by Perry’s death.
The second season of Big Little Lies is moving at a more steady pace but the stories are deliberately being accelerated.
Some unconventional families are being formed while others are falling apart, but the biggest test of all will be if these women will become victims of their own secrets and lies.
Other Monterey Musings
- Celeste needs to cut the Ambien for her health and to avoid the day-old eyeliner.
- Jane’s friendship and possible relationship with the Aquarium guy would be fine if she didn’t have the convo with Bonnie about him possibly Aspergers and Bonnie lamenting that “guys fake that sometimes to get away with saying dumb shit.”
- Is Bonnie’s mom teasing another death by the end of the season by saying that someone is drowning in the water in her vision? Is she referring to her daughter?
- Perry had a brother. The lead was buried deep in his happiness after finding out that Celeste didn’t have family and he could have her “all to himself,” which loosely translated to she wouldn’t have anyone to run to or tell about the abuse. His late brother will probably come into play later on, right? Maybe Perry was responsible for his death? Or his death created the monster Perry has become?
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