The new season will see the women of Monterey dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic season 1 finale

By Jodi Guglielmi
June 07, 2019 10:00 AM
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Big Little Lies season 2 is finally here!

It’s a new school year in the scenic California coastal town of Monterey, which means a whole new set of concerns, conflicts and cupcakes for the ladies of Big Little Lies.

But before we find out how the “Monterey 5” is dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic school fundraising event, let’s take a look back at where things left off in season 1 and what we can expect moving forward.

Where did we leave off?

As fans recall, season 1 ended with the murder of Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), the abusive husband of Nicole Kidman’s Celeste.

When confronted about raping Jane (Shailene Woodley) and fathering her child years earlier, Perry attacked Celeste, causing Jane, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Renata (Laura Dern) to try and step in and defend their friend. But when Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) heard the commotion, she raced in and pushed Perry off a ledge, killing him.

Big Little Lies
| Credit: HBO

The women decided to tell the police that Perry simply slipped, forever binding themselves together with a deadly secret.

So, what now?

While little is known about the plot of season 2, it’s believed to pick up a few months after the events of the finale.

A trailer for the season was released in May, showing Madeline and Renata as they continue to toggle between their careers and closely monitoring their children. Bonnie, meanwhile has shut down emotionally as she deals with the guilt of her role in Perry’s death, and Jane is trying to move on with her and her son’s lives.

And while the investigation into Perry’s death continues, his mother Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) arrives to help her take care of her grandchildren — and try to uncover truth of what happened the night her son died.

Wait, Meryl Streep is in this?

That’s right! HBO announced that Streep, 68, had joined the cast in January. Although Streep’s a highly sought-after Oscar winner, it wasn’t as hard as you might think to get her to commit to the role. She said she didn’t even read the script before signing on to the project.

Meryl Streep
| Credit: HBO

“I loved this show. I was addicted to it, I thought it was an amazing exercise in what we know and what we don’t know about people,” she said. “About family, friends, how it flirted with a mystery of things. What was unsaid, un-shown, unknown was the pull, the gravitational pull of the piece. It was so exciting, so when I got the chance to join the crew I thought yeah, I wanted to do it to be in that world. … The dynamic between Celeste and me, I do love her, that’s the only thing about my character, but that’s the truth.”

Wasn’t this a miniseries? Why is there a season 2?

The second season was never supposed to happen, as the first covered Moriarty’s entire book, but the show’s writer David E. Kelly changed his mind after Streep agreed to join the cast. Moriarty brought the role to life a new novella.

“Last season, we didn’t close the chapter. It ended on a very open note of what’s going to happen next. … What will happen in these relationships?” Kelly said at TCA. “There was a lit of fertile storytelling to mine. Is the storytelling going to be compelling enough to rise to the first year. … Everybody up here can get jobs, we didn’t want to do this unless we could have a fair shot of living up to the bar we set in year one. … We were unflinching with each other about stories we thought viable and ones not good enough. We didn’t agree to set sail until we had the commitment from all of us.”

As for Streep’s role, “It’s a delicious character and I felt bringing her in was both liberating and daunting,” Kelley told The Hollywood Reporter in May. “Daunting because she sets a high bar and you have to measure up, but liberating in that now the show’s not going to be compared to last year. There was freedom in that.”

Big Little Lies returns June 9 on HBO.