Big Little Lies season two didn’t do enough to justice its existence

When it was announced that Big Little Lies was coming back for a season two, I criticised the idea on Metro.co.uk, saying it was only meant to be one series, as the action covered all of Liane Moriarty‘s book, and there was no real reason for a continued storyline, except for that little detective tease at the very end. I loved the first season and didn’t want a rushed, half-arsed follow-up to ruin it – and that’s generally what we got.

*SO MANY SPOILERS AHEAD, CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED*

Season two isn’t awful by any means. In fact, there were some great moments that I enjoyed, like Renata’s meltdowns or Mary Louise’s interactions with Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), but on the whole, it was slow and meandering and not much happened, considering how many episodes there were. The finale was so underwhelming and disappointing. It just felt quite soapy – like, can people actually make statements to court just before a judge delivers her verdict, like Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Mary Louise (Meryl Streep)? I don’t think so.

There were some good things, namely the introduction of Streep as Perry’s mum, but I only enjoyed her in the beginning, as she surprised me with her cutting remarks, which were at odds with her unassuming appearance, but she became a pain in the ass when it got into the custody storyline. The trial is the big source of drama this time and I wasn’t invested in it as much viewers should be, perhaps because I didn’t think Celeste was a good mother either.

I liked that Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) had more to do and it was interesting to find out more about her background and see her and Celeste struggling to cope after the death of Perry (Alexander Skarsgard). Jane (Shailene Woodley) had a nice plot showing her trying to let someone in after what happened to her – which I think will be important for survivors of abuse – and Renata’s bankruptcy angle made me laugh, especially when it turned out Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling) was screwing the nanny. But these stories weren’t enough to sustain seven hours, really. More needed to happen.

I just thought in this season they were going to get caught or one of them would crack and confess, but that didn’t happen. That’s been left as a tease for a potential third season (really?!) and it just made me wonder what the point of this season was. It was mostly filler, let’s be honest. Interestingly, I’ve seen that Poorna Jagannathan, who played Celeste’s lawyer, has revealed one of the main five was supposed to die in the script she received and she was surprised by the cliffhanger ending. Now, that would have been the explosive, dramatic moment I was hoping for this season.

The quality was really hit and miss in comparison to season one, as is often the case when second seasons are created purely because of popularity (looking at you True Detective). The script wasn’t as tight as before, the performances not as strong, and the characters weren’t as well written – Renata (Laura Dern) had some funny, meme-worthy moments, but her character felt very shallow, ridiculous and over the top and at times I just wanted her to shut up. Madeline was my favourite last time and I’m gutted she was only given one proper storyline and it was a redemptive one – trying to save her marriage to Ed (Adam Scott) – so we didn’t get her high maintenance sassy personality much at all, except for her run-ins with Mary Louise. I’m very annoyed that the scene where she throws an ice cream at her was cut!

The narrative style was also uneven, with choppy cuts and disorientating edits, but that has been explained somewhat with the recent report that director Andrea Arnold‘s style was removed in post-production. It feels clunky and not like a cohesive whole, style-wise.

There might still be some nominations but I doubt it will be the awards season frontrunner like it was last time. I would probably watch a season three (I’m part of the problem, I know) because then I’ll finally found out what happens when they *presumably* tell the truth, which I thought we would be seeing this season. I just hope the team take their time and make it good because this season has left a lot to be desired.

Trackbacks

  1. […] who unbelievably goes along with the pretence for six years!! After seeing her as Renata in Big Little Lies, it was refreshing to see Dern as this hippie songwriter who talks about her “art”. […]

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