Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard) may have died in the season 1 finale of Big Little Lies, but his presence lingers in season 2. Perry appears in Celeste's (Nicole Kidman) flashbacks, in charged conversations between his wife and mother, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep), and most disconcertingly, in the behavior of his two sons, Max and Josh (played by twins Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti).
So long as Perry stays on everyone's mind, his character will continue to deepen posthumously. In "Tell-Tale Hearts," Celeste and Mary Louise talk about a formative moment in Perry's past: The death of his five-year-old brother, Raymond. Mary Louise called it an "accident." But knowing Perry's history of abusive tendencies, our alarm bells went off. Was Perry somehow involved in his brother's death?
The first mention of Raymond comes when Mary Louise brings him up in "Tell-Tale Hearts." Mary Louise says she understands Celeste's struggle to get through the daily routine after experiencing loss.
"Right after the accident, right after we lost Raymond, I was sure I would not be able to go on. I was never sure about anything in my whole life, that I wouldn't go on, but I did. Because of Perry. And so will you, because of the boys," Mary Louise says.
Freeze-frame: Who's Raymond? What's this accident? Things become slightly clearer during a flashback to one of Celeste and Perry's first dates. They're discussing their families. "I had a brother. He passed away when I was five," Perry explains. Wait — does that make Perry a twin?
For now, the Raymond story remains vague. Still, we know enough about Perry to be suspicious about his role in this so-called "accident."
In the final moments of "Tell-Tale Hearts," Big Little Lies may have dropped us a major clue about Perry and Raymond's dynamic. Celeste breaks up yet another fight between her twins, Josh and Max. Both boys are processing their father's death with violence — though that violent tendency is nothing new. Remember that Max, not Jane's (Shailene Woodley) son Ziggy (Ian Armitage), was the one bullying Amabella (Ivy George) last season. Could the mounting tension between Max and Josh mimic trouble between Perry and Raymond?
Max and Josh have a marked difference from Perry and Raymond, though: They have another (half) brother. At the end of "Tell-Tale Heart," the Wright twins are introduced to Ziggy as a brother, not a friend. How will Ziggy impact the Wright Brother Cycle of Violence?
This much is guaranteed: This Raymond business is just getting started. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Skarsgard said further insight into Perry's life was imminent. "There’s more to Perry’s backstory in season two. You understand his relationship with his mother and what he went through as a kid. And it explains a bit more about how he ended up in this really dark place and with those violent characteristics," Skarsgard said.
And Mary Louise is the keeper of that history. The women in Big Little Lies are experts at covering up crimes to protect the people they love — and even though she's judgmental of Celeste, Mary Louise is almost certainly no exception.