Shock twist threatens to expose TV murder
WARNING: This is a recap of Big Little Lies season 2, episode 1. If you haven't seen it yet and don't want to know what happens, leave now.
Welcome back to Monterey, where the heels are high, gossip is rampant and dads get murdered at school fundraisers.
The show about bitchy mums turned into a full-blown murder mystery at the end of the first season, where Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) was killed by the "Monterey five" in an epic cliffhanger on the breakout HBO series.
After winning eight Emmys and garnering widespread critical and commercial acclaim, the drama has finally returned to Foxtel for its second season, and it's all centred around the fallout from the death that rocked the town.
Here's what went down.
FIRST DAY BACK AT SCHOOL
Despite just being involved in a murder, it's business as usual for Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) who has far more pressing issues to deal with; school drop off at Otter Bay Elementary.
"We have to earn our good mum badges again," she tells her husband Ed, as she prepares for the onslaught of judgment from other judgy mums.
"Has she gotten fatter over summer? Does she look older? These questions get asked, Ed."
Here, the Monterey five reunite and get totally eyeballed by all the other parents.
Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) are struggling to hide their shame, but Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern) and Madeline keep their cool.
It doesn't take long for interrogation to start, with school principal Warren Nippal, who welcomes the students back with a stage performance, throwing a not-so sly dig at Madeline about Perry's death.
"That was a beautiful service Warren," Madeline tells him. He doesn't hold back. "I like to think of it more as an assembly. A service is for when someone dies, like at a school fundraiser," he says sarcastically.
"You're not seriously going to go there are you?" Madeline snips.
Meanwhile, we're introduced to a new second-grade teacher Michael Perkins (Mo McRae), and Renata says to him what I say to everyone about myself.
"My daughter Amabella is going to be in your class, she has an IQ of 152, genius level. That's a very high number.
"I expect you to take care of my daughter. Special attention. Amabella was bullied last year, we're going to make sure that doesn't happen again."
So the whole murder thing and the possibility of being convicted seems to be water under the bridge for our gal Renata.
PERRY'S MUM ROCKS THE BOAT
We're introduced to Meryl Streep's character, Mary Louise Wright, who is staying with Celeste and her two sons in the wake of Perry's death.
She is enjoying a coffee alone before Madeline sees her and approaches for a chit chat, and we figure out pretty quickly Mary Louise is the queen of small talk breakfast banter.
"I can't complain. Actually I can, my son is dead," Mary Louise says pointedly.
"You're very short," she tells an astonished Madeline. "I don't mean it in a negative way. Maybe I do.
"I find little people to be untrustworthy. You seem like a nice person, but also you strike me as a wanter. You don't have to take it personally, I'm a wanter myself. I want Perry back. I want to know what happened that night, and I'm very tempted to ask you, but I doubt I would get the truth, would I?"
As I said, queen of small talk breakfast banter.
Madeline sticks with her totally BS story about how Perry slipped and fell down the stairs.
"Yes, that seems to be the company line, depending on whose company you keep."
Celeste interrupts and thwarts the cafe stand-off.
NEW GUY CAUSES TROUBLE
When we first met Jane, she was the newbie in Monterey with a checkered backstory that took a while to come to the surface.
It turns out she was raped by Celeste's husband, under the alias of Saxon Banks.
She seems to be feeling pretty euphoric these days, as we cut to her dancing on the beach alone.
She's spotted by surfer Corey (Douglas Smith) who is her colleague at the aquarium. He tells her not to act weird because parents of the children who visit their work don't like their kids being around "psychos".
"Noted, thank you," Jane says through a giggle.
"The way people talk in this town, I don't need to tell you," he added before running towards the surf.
"You don't need to tell me? What does that mean?" Jane quizzed.
"You're one of the Monterey five right? You were there the night the guy fell? I'll see you around."
Jane freaks out and runs to tell Renata, Madeline and Celeste.
"It was just the way he said it, like we all have scarlet letters on our backs."
Madeline seems to think everyone has moved on, including the police, and they all breathe for now.
CELESTE HAS NIGHTMARES AS BONNIE SHUTS DOWN
These two are seemingly taking the death a lot harder than the rest of the gang.
Bonnie, who is married to Madeline's ex Nathan (James Tupper), is on the verge of cracking. Viewers will remember Bonnie is the one who actually pushed Perry to his death, which was a random twist as she pretty much spent the whole first season doing yoga.
Madeline goes to check in on her as she's totally blowing their cover by acting depressed all the time.
"I killed someone, remember? That's heavy," Bonnie tells her.
"If I had just told the truth, I would've gotten off, but you said he slipped and everyone else joined the f***ing chorus."
As we near the end of the first episode, we see Bonnie walking to the police station, seemingly looking to come clean.
Meanwhile, Celeste is having horrific nightmares about her abusive relationship with her husband, and Mary Louise is watching over her in her sleep looking for clues.
After the first nightmare in the opening scene, Mary Louise points out Celeste was saying "rape" in her sleep.
We finish the episode with Celeste waking up screaming following another bad dream, with Mary Louise running in and comforting her before saying: "Who are we planning to kill?"
Big Little Lies airs on Fox Showcase on Mondays at 11am