Big Little Lies season 2 episode 5 review: The kids are all right, but what about the Monterey Five?

Swetha Ramakrishnan

Jul 08, 2019 14:51:09 IST

(For the reviews of the first 4 episodes, click here)

Trauma cannot be controlled. It tumbles out when you least expect and want it. It manifests in the people around you. If you hold it in for too long, it bursts out. If you let it take over you, there's no saying when it will stop.

This is the reason why every episode of Big Little Lies starts with a flashback of the ill-fated night when Perry died. Each of the Monterey Five live and breathe the guilt and trauma from that night, and all are on the verge of combustion. Every episode, we expect that moment to come — where one if not more will explode and take the drama of the show to the next level. And every episode surprises you by never doing that. It takes you close to the moment, but then brilliantly reels back.

Mary Louise is no help. She's the one character holding all of the series' triggers on her shoulders. With the custody battle going on, Celeste and Mary Lousie Wright are at loggerheads in Episode 5, titled "Kill Me."

 Big Little Lies season 2 episode 5 review: The kids are all right, but what about the Monterey Five?

Meryl Streep plays Mary Louise Wright in Big Little Lies.

Mary Louise believes the boys should stay with her because Celeste is mentally ill, and Celeste's lawyer (Poorna Jagannathan) asks her not to give into this performance, and refrain from being provoked. Mary Louise also has encounters with two others from the Monterey Five. In the beginning half of the episode, Mary Louise meets Renata, in her "big house with no furniture." She tries to provoke her and shame her for being a working mom. Renata, not one to clamp down, hits right back. But the bankruptcy is her weak spot and Mary Louise gets to her. The next day, she and Amabella spend a day at home, in the pool, where they (literally) drown their sorrows away. This is a heart-warming scene in an otherwise tense episode.

Later, Mary Louise meets Madeline outside a cafe, and Madeline does not mince her words about the custody battle. She confronts her, and says, "What you are doing is indecent, trying to take those boys away from their mother. What is wrong with you." It is the first time we see Mary Lousie run away from confrontation, as she walks by without answering her. However, we also learn the famous ice-cream throwing scene has been cut out from this episode. This is a pity, given we could all do with some comedic relief.

The fantastic Laura Dern as Renata Klein in Big Little Lies.

The sassy, confrontational Madeline takes a backseat as she heads with Ed to a therapy retreat away from the city. But one awkward ice-breaking session is enough to freak them out. They bail, and instead have a heart-to-heart in the car itself. Ed confesses that he's having a hard time trusting her, and Madeline's vulnerabilities are at the fore. She pacifies him by saying that she is sure her next f*ck up won't be infidelity. And yet, at the end of the episode, we see Madeline dreaming about her steamy sessions with Joseph Bachman (Santiago Cabrera), who she worked with in the theatre in season 1. Ed, meanwhile, is seen flirting and sharing a drink with a woman in a local bar. Things are a lot rockier than they seem, between Ed and Madeline.

Trauma is omnipresent in Big Little Lies. Jane feels it every time she tries to get close to Corey; in fact on a seemingly unassuming day of dancing and drinking, Jane tries to have sex with Corey but breaks down the minute things get too heated. Later, she tells Celeste she admires her for having a sex drive while still being married to Perry. Both the moms, their sons and Corey are enjoying a day out kayaking. The boys have been suspended from school for ganging up against a bully who called their father a "rapist". Ziggy even asks Jane a question that has been on all our minds ever since season one, "Am I going to grow up to be like him (Perry)?"

A still from Big Little Lies season 2 episode 5.

Meanwhile, we learn a little more about Bonnie's childhood trauma: abuse on the hands of her mother. We learn that her father tried to passively diffuse it, but never ended up stopping it. This is perhaps why Bonnie had such a strong reaction on seeing Perry hit Celeste in the season 1 finale.

All of this trauma, tension and trouble will be manifested once the custody trial begins. Questions will be asked about the accident, and stories will tumble out. It's one thing to keep a Big Little Lie among themselves, but what will happen to Monterey Five when they are questioned about the Big Little Lie under oath?

The episode's second heart-warming scene comes when the twins, Max and Zack tell Celeste that they can protect her, and offer to tell the judges that they don't like their grandmom. "You don't have to protect me," she tells them. "Just tell the truth."

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2019 14:53:09 IST