You knew it was going to happen. I knew it was going to happen. Reese Witherspoon knew it was going to happen. And, now, it has happened: HBO has renewed mega-hit Big Little Lies for a second season. That means the Nicole Kidman and Witherspoon-led limited series has followed in the footsteps of 13 Reasons Why to shed its “limited series” skin in favour of a life as a full-fledged drama. Both Kidman and Witherspoon will return to their respective roles as Celeste Wright and Madeline Martha Mackenzie for Lies’ second year, and it’s expected the rest of the season 1 cast, which was dominated by amazing women, will return. Big Little Lies 2.0 will even by helmed by a woman, as Oscar-winner Andrea Arnold will replace season 1's Jean-Marc Vallée as the director of all seven upcoming episodes.
All of this should be good — no, great — news, and still, I don’t want a Big Little Lies season 2.
Please think back to the ending of Big Little Lies season 1 finale, “You Get What You Need.” Unlike many beloved series, the instalment gave viewers a completely satisfying, decisive final scene, which is an unfortunate rarity in television. It’s been nearly a decade since Lost closed its mystery box in 2010, and people are still angry about “The End.” For many, including myself, How I Met Your Mother series-closer “Last Forever” ruined the entire nine-season show as a whole.
Big Little Lies season 1 does not have this problem. Rather, we see our heroines defeat the monster in one fell swoop and then enjoy their well-deserved happily ever after. In this case, the monster is toxic masculinity, personified by the abusive, sexist, and jealous rapist Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard); the happily ever after is our five indomitable lead women sipping white wine on the impossibly beautiful Monterey, California beach with their happy children, finally free of Perry’s malevolence.
As the final minutes of “What You Need” shows, Perry viciously assaulted Madeline, Renata Klein (Laura Dern), Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), whom he previously raped, and his wife Celeste when the women realised his sexually violent past. Bonnie Carlson (Zoë Kravitz) noticed the brutal scene and saved her fellow mums, throwing Perry down a nearby set of stairs to his death. Now, all five women are bound as sisters in blood and lying to the police.
It’s the ultimate example of women supporting women, as these former enemies — who squabbled over everything from local theatre productions and ex-husbands to the massive question of “Who Bit Amabella?” — are now each other's support system. In a watershed tableau, Renata massages the arm of Celeste, whose son actually bit the former’s daughter Amabella (Ivy George), while Madeline and Bonnie stand side-by-side after all their bad-blood over Nathan Carlson (James Tupper). Fans will remember Madeline raged throughout Lies season 1 over the fact ex Nathan was a terrible husband to her, but became a model spouse for the beautiful, younger Bonnie. Yet, such petty grievances no longer matter in the face of what this quintet shouldered together the night of the fatal Otter Bay Elementary School fundraiser.
As you watch the final seconds of Big Little Lies, you have no questions left. Yes, there’s a random person following the fivesome around while snapping clandestine photographs, but do you really care to find out who it is? No, because these five powerful women are finally living their best lives, as they deserve. The big questions of the series, like the true identity of Amabella’s biter and Jane’s rapist, have been answered. Both stem from Perry, who’s dead. So, the figure lurking aroud our heroines feels like a reminder there will always be lies to cover up and someone who will find them. Though, it’s not like viewers are praying Celeste and her friends will be exposed for their hand in Perry's death — especially not in the current climate, where we’re learning just how prevalent sexual predation really is.
Unfortunately, the description for Big Little Lies' second season threatens to unravel the perfectly told ending the season 1 finale crafted. HBO promises “relationships will fray, loyalties will erode[, and] the potential for emotional and bodily injury shall loom,” in the drama’s second year. Yet, no one wants to see these women's loyalties “erode,” since the entire point of “What You Need” is that the trauma of toxicity like Perry has created unbreakable friendships. It’s unlikely fans want to see these women’s romantic relationships fray, either, since they were never the point of the show anyway. Please raise your hand if you seriously care about the future of Madeline’s oftentimes tepid marriage with husband Nice Guy Ed Mackenzie (Adam Scott). In that same vein, absolutely no Lies fan wants to see either of these five starring women put into “bodily harm” à la the dead as a doornail Perry.
Yet, this doesn’t mean a new, different-from-BLL HBO show starring-slash-produced by Kidman and Witherspoon and directed by women wouldn't be a deeply welcome addition to television. When American Horror Story season 1 shut the doors to Murder House, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk recognised the fact they took that story to its logical, fulfilling end. No one wanted to watch Grandma Constance (Jessica Lange) raise her evil toddler gradkid, so the AHS masterminds moved onto the next story, and the next, and now, six years later, we just wrapped the very good Cult. In contrast, it's all-but-promised Murder House season 7 would be a train-wreck by 2017.
On the other hand, a ladies-led-and-helmed anthology series about soapy feminist friendships, various wealthy burgs' long-hidden secrets, and literally tossing the patriarchy to its demise sounds like my future favourite show. Someone tell HBO to make that and leave my favourite beachside pinot grigio drinkers alone.
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