Now, Celeste has to appear in court - exposing her dark secrets (except the big one) to everybody seated. The prosecutor delivers a tough line of questioning, but is she ready for it?
Every episode of Big Little Lies has been a vehicle to boast the best talent. Often this is dependent on screen time, but it's Kidman who remains consistent as the best of the best. She’s vividly fragile, held together as if by kids’ glue, and constantly scrapes the edge of a breakdown.
Nicole Kidman remains consistent as the best of the best
Although Kidman competes with Laura Dern’s aggressive melodrama and Meryl Streep’s maternally deceptive smiles, she wields the force of the season with her endlessly watchable tears, fears, and furies. In the courtroom, writer David E Kelley rips open her wounds and raises her insides for all to see, with barely anywhere to hide.
Taking the stand, she pushes through the prosecutor’s harsh words. He reveals aspects of her lifestyle that are not only surprising to the court, but to us. The first line of questioning grows brutally - as the evidence builds, the case against Celeste becomes more reasonable. Is she really fit to be a parent at this time of extreme mental anguish?
The rest of the Monterey Five are also tipping over the edge, especially as Perry’s apparent cause of death is briefly scrutinised in court. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) considers telling Ed (Adam Scott) the truth and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) wants to confess to her bedridden mother (Crystal Fox).
And Jane (Shailene Woodley) keeps her distance from Corey (Douglas Smith) after he’s questioned by police about Jane’s involvement with Perry.
Ed (Adam Scott) meets with a mutual friend
Ed meets with Tori (Sarah Sokolovic), wife to the man Madeline had an affair with, in an irritating dialogue scene that skirts around the possibility of an affair of their own. Tori’s sudden desire for Ed feels forced, resulting in the stupidest line of the series: ‘I keep both a masturbation diary and a bucket list – you made both’. Beg your pardon?
But this season revels in its isolation, much more claustrophobic than in season one. Kelley doesn’t satisfy exterior curiosities, like what’s happening inside the police station or Mary-Louise’s schemes to steal the children. He restricts the action, mostly, to the Five, to their paranoia and strive for normality.
With the new reports about director Andrea Arnold, who was allegedly replaced during post-production by season one director Jean-Marc Vallee, it's now difficult to assess season two. These characters' developments, post-Perry, have been fascinating and hilarious to watch, but the enjoyment is tainted by the bleak cloud hanging behind the scenes.
Next week's finale needs to be a new level of impressive to overcome this distressing hurdle.
Big Little Lies continues Mondays at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic
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15 Jul 19 – 15 Jul 20, 9:00 PM – 10:10 PM