Spoiler alert: The following contains spoilers for ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2, episode 7.
The big question in Big Little Lies’ Season 2 finale episode “I Want to Know” was always going to be whether the Monterey Five would get busted. The answer is, sort of, but not exactly.
Then there was Celeste’s revenge in court. Would she get to keep her kids? What happened to Perry’s brother? Would Bonnie kill yet another abuser, this time in the shape of her comatose mother? What would become of the traumatized Jane? Would Renata finally lose her marbles and attack her philandering, fiscally-challenged husband? And what about Ed—would he ever lose his ‘nicest man in the world’ title? Fortunately, we were put out of our misery on all counts.
“The friendship is the lie,” Celeste (Nicole Kidman) tells Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) against a backdrop of the custody battle and Madeline’s failing marriage, among other crises. This is a nice bit of foreshadowing for what would become the closing scene: the Monterey Five convening at the police station for their confession. Surely the bumbling Detective Quinlan (Merrin Dungey) will finally crack a smile after that.
But back to the episode’s opening. Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is in the shower going over yet another flashback of her nasty husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) dying on the stairs again—a handy reminder. Then, she finds something untoward on an old video, which will prove to be the clinching evidence in her court case.
With Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) on the stand, the truth of what happened to Perry’s younger brother finally emerges. Up until now his death has been vaguely referred to as a tragedy, but Celeste reveals what her husband had told her: a hot-tempered Mary Louise crashed the car, killing one son and blaming a then five-year-old Perry for distracting her. Add to that some kicking and general rage. “Your honor knows abusers don’t just happen, they are more than likely to be the victims of abusers themselves,” Celeste tells the judge.
And then comes her master stroke. A shocking video clip one of the kids had captured—Perry repeatedly throwing Celeste to the floor as she screamed. None of Mary Louise’s protests can compete with that.
“I was like Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk combined,” Celeste tells her kids later that night. The next day, the judge rules in Celeste favor and the kids even hug their evil granny. All is well (that is, presumably, until Celeste admits a few days later to lying about her husband’s death).
Meanwhile over at Madeline and Ed (Adam Scott)’s house, all is not well. “Are they going to get divorced?” Chloe (Darby Camp) asks her big sister, as she watches her dad duking it out with a punching bag on the deck.
“Is that me? That punching bag?” Madeleine asks him later on. But instead of raging at this wife for her infidelity and general secrecy, he instead announces they need to renew their vows. Is there no end to this man’s patience?
Then there’s Jane (Shailene Woodley) who’s struggling with the trauma of a brutal sexual assault at the hands of Perry. Her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) instructs that she should properly get together with her sort-of boyfriend. So she does.
Later on, it looks like Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) is about to smother her mom with a pillow. “So you want to go,” Bonnie says. But then, it turns out the pillow is just for Bonnie to sleep next to her in an act of forgiveness, and next morning, her dad finds them happily eating breakfast together, her mom miraculously awake. Is this redemption for their family? Not exactly. The next day, she has another stroke and is gone forever.
“I’m so sorry honey,” Bonnie’s husband Nathan (James Tupper) says at the hospital. But poor hapless Nathan is in for a shock.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this sooner,” Bonnie tells him. “I’m not in love with you. I know this isn’t the best time to tell you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been.”
Finally, Renata (Laura Dern) ditches her awful husband Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling). In a signature ‘Renata’ move, she enters his manchild cave and bashes his beloved train set to smithereens with a collectable baseball bat.
And since everyone is telling the truth now, it’s time to relieve Bonnie of her burden and admit the whole truth of what happened to Perry back in Season 1. And on a rainy night, wordlessly, the Monterey Five file into the local cop shop to tell all.
So is there room for more story? Could we see Celeste defending them all in a fantastically procedural third season? As yet, there remains no word from HBO on the subject.