On the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” Meryl Streep‘s Mary Louise continues to be a self-righteous monster and disrupter in the haunted lives of the Monterey Five as her fake rodent teeth keep gnawing away to get to the truth. With three more episodes to go, the women’s allegiance to one another to cover up what exactly happened that fateful night when Celeste’s abusive husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) took a fateful fall down a flight of stairs and died is beginning to unravel.
Episode 4, titled, “She Knows,” is somewhat deceptive because it refers not to Mary Louise but to Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz aka she who pushed Perry) and her seemingly psychic mother (Crystal Fox), who suffers a stroke at a lavish disco-themed costume party (a callback to Season 1’s finale) thrown by Laura Dern‘s soon-to-be-destitute Renata, after having visions of her daughter drowning in the water.
But push truly comes to slap earlier during a kiddy pumpkin-carving gathering at the house of Reese Witherspoon‘s Madeline. Mary Louise, who might be psychic herself considering she pops up at the most inconvenient times each week, stumbles in uninvited with a bundt cake. She also brings news: she has found a rental unit near Shailene Woodley‘s Jane so she can be near her grandchild Ziggy (Iain Armitage), who was conceived when Perry raped Jane.
As shown in the clip above, Nicole Kidman‘s Celeste decides to drag her mother-in-law into another room and give her an earful. She suggests moving near Jane is not a good idea because, you know, boundaries: “This is all feeling a little perverse. You are moving in with your son’s rape victim.” Mary Louise is shocked at the suggestion, adding, “I’m not as convinced as you are, perhaps, that she was a rape victim.”
She then takes out a verbal knife, asking Celeste, “How many other women did he go to? If there’s one, then there are others.” And — BOOM — one Oscar winner slaps another Oscar winner and causes her glasses to fly. But La Streep, whose performance here is starting remind me of her crusading nun in “Doubt,” delivers the ultimate coup de gras: “What should we call that? Foreplay?” — referencing Celeste and Perry’s sadomasochistic sexual relationship.
Some have questioned whether there was a need for a continuation of a limited series that seemed to have a satisfying conclusion in 2017. Well, this eminently award-worthy confrontation certainly makes a case for Season 2’s existence and could easily bring Streep her fourth Emmy and Kidman a second acting Emmy for the same role.