She isn’t even part of the “Monterey Five” — the ladies who are keeping their lips sealed about what actually happened on the final episode of the first season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” after one of their husbands fell to his death down the stairs at an elementary school fund-raiser.
But it only took a couple of episodes in season 2 for cast newcomer Meryl Streep as Mary Louise, the mother of the volatile and sexually abusive Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) who took that fatal tumble, to beat out the likes of Lauren Dern‘s intense and shouty Renata and Reese Witherspoon‘s control-freak Madeline for the title of “the female character who you would least like to run into in a dark alley.” In our Gold Derby poll, La Streep handily received 45% of the votes while Dern came in second with 34%.
Of course, the Hollywood living legend is used to earning accolades, but she usually isn’t in competition for many scary roles. But as this week’s episode 3 revealed, self-righteous Mary Louise –upon learning that Shailene Woodley‘s Jane was raped by Perry and ended up giving birth to her son, Ziggy — had the gall to request this traumatized victim to take a blood test to prove the child’s paternity. She also possessed the termity to snoop around daughter-in-law Celeste’s home while finding her stash of prescription pills in a drawer.
As played by Nicole Kidman, Perry’s abused wife, she needed those pain pills because of the bodily damage inflicted on her by her son. But, of course, she could not say that to a grieving mother.
Meanwhile, Mary Louise basically gives the female police detective on the case a knowing wink when they finally meet, suggesting she shares her suspicions that the close-knit quintet have many more beans to spill about what actually happened. Oh, she is also diligently looking for a place to rent so she can continue to sniff around for what she considers the truth about her angel of a son.
Kidman’s Celeste, who is tortured by nightmares, only gets 4% in our poll, while Zoe Kravitz‘s Bonnie, who is the most haunted by the events of that fateful night, picked up a mere 3%. As for Woodley’s sweet Jane, she squeaks by with a wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly 1%.
As a bonus, here is a sneak preview for episode 4, titled “She Knows,” as the five close-knit pals — especially Celeste — are increasingly fed up with Mary Louise’s meddling into their lives. Catch the full episode on Sunday, June 30, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.