How ‘Big Little Lies’ Is Destined to End: Meryl Streep’s Scream Is the First Clue

When Big Little Lies first graced small screens – with Nicole Kidman playing a victim of abuse, Laura Dern donning helicopter parent pantsuits, and Reese Witherspoon bringing us wit and sass – we thought it couldn’t get any better.

Then, they went and got Meryl Streep to play Perry Wright’s (Alexander Skarsgard) mother, and season two became one of the summer’s most highly anticipated returns. For when Meryl Streep signs on, the world raises an eyebrow of interest in response.

Big Little Lies Season Two Cast
Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep | Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Warning: ‘Big Little Lies’ spoilers ahead

In season one of Big Little Lies, the narrative was built as a suspenseful culmination to Perry Wright’s ultimate demise. Catching many fans off guard – as few foresaw Bonnie Carlson delivering the killing push – the ending was surprising, yet inevitable, as all dramatic endings should be.

With season two kicking off last night, it’s clear that Meryl Streep’s character is in Monterey to discover the truth concerning her son’s death. As the mother to a strong and mentally focused man, he “just slipped” lacks believability.

Mary Louise stares into Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) eyes as she explains her distrust of short people, and the audience glares at the screen with bated breath – anticipating the head-to-head moments destined to satisfy our every need for shade and drama in this upcoming season. However, while Mary Louise Wright may be determined to discover the truth, she’s destined to be the lynchpin in protecting the Monterey Five’s secret.

Mary Louise Wright’s destiny in ‘Big Little Lies’ season two

In the Big Little Lies season two premiere, Meryl Streep emits a haunting scream as Mary Louise Wright, in response to – and as a representation of – the agony she has suffered since discovering her son “slipped and died.” Mary Louise then turns to Nicole Kidman’s character, Celeste, and questions if her “grief is too much” for her. This scene is vital, for it implies there is a disconnect in emotions between Celeste and Mary Louise.

Mary Louise feels nothing but loss and despair, but Celeste’s emotional response is more complicated than that: she feels safer. She may miss the man that abused her, but her loss is enmeshed with a sense of relief. Mary Louise, throughout this season, will come to see Celeste and come to see that something in her marriage was not to be emulated.

Mary Louise also witnesses her grandson’s tendency towards violence at the dinner table, close in time to her loud expulsion of grief. Seeing how her grandson handles his emotions – and knowing Celeste to be quite the reserved and quiet individual – she will have to accept that such violence does not come from Celeste.

Mary Louise will put the pieces together and save the day

In short, Mary Louise Wright will put the pieces together. She will understand that her daughter-in-law was beaten, and come to comprehend why distinctions exist in their grieving process. Mary Louise screams in agony, but Celeste cries out in the night for her nightmares reflect a persistent fear.

“Who are we killing?” asks Mary Louise, in response to Celeste’s dream, setting off the season with quite the bang. A bang that will lead to Mary Louise discovering the truth, and growing to accept it. Growing to accept that her son was not the victim.

As much as Mary Louise may want her son to be the victim – to be the fallen hero – she will come to accept that he was the aggressor. If and when she is asked to speak to his crimes, she will be the lynchpin in maintaining the lie.

Mary Louise will be the one who keeps Celeste and her children safe. For, you do not hire Meryl Streep without a grand plan. You do not hire Meryl Streep without providing her a character who is complex by nature, a character destined to become a fan favorite.