Are we supposed to feel the same sense of unsettled, disorganized chaos that our heroines have been suffering in Big Little Lies season 2?
Because I totally am. I noticed it a bit in the season premiere, but since it hasn’t gotten progressively better already (with three episodes under our belt), I’m starting to think this was a purposeful, artistic decision made by the showrunners and the editing team.
Big Little Lies season 1 played it pretty straight and narrow. It followed a pretty logical, chronological story for the most part, with a few flashbacks thrown in for good measure, and it didn’t get anywhere near the scattered feeling I’ve been left with so far this season.
And at first I wondered if that was because we had more characters’ stories to follow. In addition to getting firsthand experience with Madeline and Celeste and Jane’s stories, we also are following Renata and Bonnie more than last season. Taking the time to dig into Bonnie’s mindset after the events of the season 1 finale and watching Renata’s family collapse in on itself eats away at the show being just about the core three women and their families.
And don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to spend all kinds of time with Renata and Bonnie. I love seeing what’s going on with all of the Monterey Five, but I have felt that this season is choppier, more heavily edited, and less linear than we saw in Big Little Lies season 1.
And I choose to believe that this is a creative decision. All five of our leading ladies are in their own states of turmoil. Jane is dating again and dealing with Perry’s mother trying to edge into Ziggy’s life. Celeste is giving houseroom to a living reminder of all the good in Perry, and it’s making it easier for her to forget all the evil he was capable of. Madeline’s marriage is fraying at the seams now that Ed knows about her affair. Bonnie is coming undone a little more every episode as the unnecessary lie eats away at her soul bit by bit. And Renata is desperately trying to hold her family together, even if it feels like all she’s working with is with dental floss and toothpicks at this point.
These women are stressed and scattered and rudderless in a turblent sea of judgement. There’s nowhere they can go that they don’t hear whispers of the Monterey Five. And the editing this season seems to help us identify with that feeling. Constantly jumping from character to character, from storyline to storyline, leaves the audience feeling unsettled and scattered, just like our heroines.
I hope that by the end of the season, things start to mellow a bit for our favorite Monterey mommies. I would love to see the editing take a softer, more seamless look as some of these women find peace and get back to their normal lives. Until then, I’ll just be holding on for dear life alongside the Monterey Five.