It’s been two years since the Monterey Five and all their, ahem, Big Little Lies graced our television screens.
The first season of the HBO drama, based on Liane Moriarty’s hit novel of the same name, culminated in a doomed school trivia night, where it was revealed that Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) abusive husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), was pushed to his death by none other than Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz). The rest of the group — including Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), and Renata (Laura Dern) — agreed to keep Bonnie’s deed a secret, for both her sake and their own.
Season 2, which debuts Sunday, picks up a few months after the events of that fateful night, and throws Celeste’s suspicious mother-in-law (played by the one and only Meryl Streep) into the mix. Series creator and writer David E. Kelley teased to EW in May that the season will feature “a cord and a core of stress that’s pulsating through each of the women, some fueled and complicated by the lie, and some dependent on the lie.”
But how did these five women get there? Ahead of the second season premiere, EW takes a look back at where all the leading ladies left off.
Although she projects an air of perfection, Madeline Martha Mackenzie’s home life is anything but. By the end of season 1, her oldest daughter, Abigail, has moved out of the house and in with her father, Nathan, and stepmother, Bonnie. Madeline spars with Nathan and Bonnie over parenting Abigail, whose grades have been slipping, and things are taken up a notch when it’s revealed that Abigail plans on auctioning her virginity to raise money for Amnesty International. It’s also revealed that Madeline cheated on her husband, Ed.
The new girl in town, Jane spends most of season 1 defending her son, Ziggy, against accusations that he bit Amabella, Renata’s daughter. Jane later confides in Madeline, who has taken her under her very high-strung wing, that Ziggy was the result of a rape by a mysterious man who called himself Saxon Banks. In the finale, Jane sees Perry for the first time and realizes he is Saxon Banks, and Ziggy is his child.
Seemingly the most calm and level-headed of the bunch, Bonnie is a yoga instructor who goes head-to-head with Madeline over her stepdaughter, Abigail. She also has a daughter in first grade, but doesn’t get involved in as much of the school drama as the other four ladies. That is, until she witnesses Perry going after Celeste at the trivia night, and some deeply rooted rage overcomes her as she pushes him to his death. (In the book it’s revealed that her father was abusive, but the show is vague on this point — at least in the first season.)
An uber-successful businesswoman, Renata spends most of season 1 on a rampage to find out who attacked her daughter Amabella. Believing the culprit is Ziggy, she starts a petition to get him kicked out of school, which prompts a World War III between the mothers. In the finale, Ziggy finally fesses up to Jane that it was one of Celeste’s twin sons who bullied Amabella. When Renata finds out, she seeks out Jane at the trivia night party to apologize for blaming her son.
Throughout BLL season 1, former lawyer Celeste goes to a therapist who tries to convince her to leave Perry. After another fight with him in which she fractures his penis (yes, really), she decides to find an apartment for her and her sons and leave Perry. In the season’s final moments, Perry finds a text from Celeste’s new landlord just as the two are getting ready to leave for the party. Later, he pleads with Celeste to come back home with him, but he starts to violently attack her when she says no. Seeing this, the other members of the Monterey Five unsuccessfully attempt to fight him off, until Bonnie shoves Perry down a nearby flight of stairs. He dies, and the group mutually agrees to claim it was an accident.
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