The circumstances of Perry's death, and the Monterey Five's decision to cover up what really happened, will change everything in Big Little Lies Season 2. While the women are used to keeping their own secrets, they've now placed their fate in the hands of the group: if any one of them breaks, they all go down. This shared secret may be what brought them together — but in Season 2, it could also be what tears them apart.
As producer Bruno Papandrea tells Bustle at the Season 2 premiere, Big Little Lies' second chapter "explores the corrosiveness of lies," posing the question of "what happens when you end with a group of characters with a big lie like that ... what does that unearth?"
When we met them, the Monterey Five were already bursting at the seams with secrets: Madeline's affair, the abuse endured by Celeste, Jane's past. Now that they're tasked with keeping another heavy, life-changing secret — and are forced to rely on one another instead of themselves — will they turn to each other for comfort, or will they turn away in an attempt to move on?
One thing's for sure: at the start of Season 2, the tension emanating from the Monterey Five is at a boiling point. "Season 2 starts out with this thing right under the surface ... and now that it's happened, it's been a year of them trying to suppress this, so the pressure is right there on day one," says Jeffrey Nordling, who plays Renata's husband Gordon Klein.
And with that tension mounting, a few things are bound to break under the weight. First off, it seems like some of the marriages are fraying. As Nordling notes, the Monterey Five's husbands are still very much in the dark: "The men are kind of [like], 'What is wrong with you women? What's going on?'" Reese Witherspoon echoes this, teasing only vaguely that her character, Madeline Mackenzie, faces "a challenge in her marriage" in Season 2.
For Bonnie, the trouble extends even further as her parents come to visit Monterey. "We have our own baggage, we have our own issues, we have our own family history that has not been resolved," Martin Donovan, who plays Bonnie's father, tells Bustle. "Some very major stuff crops up having to do with that."
Crystal Fox, who portrays Bonnie's mother, suggests some of the tension may be pointed at Nathan too. "Moms don't always feel like anybody is good enough for their child," she says, adding that her character has some suspicion toward Bonnie's husband. "How is she in the predicament she's in, if she's married to you?"
Ultimately, the theme of Season 2 will be the toll this massive secret takes on all of the relationships — including the friendships between the Monterey Five. "I think there's a lot of trying to keep everybody together and make sure [...] no one spills the beans," Witherspoon says when asked about her character's greatest challenge.
In sum, Madeline and Renata are having marital problems, Bonnie's feuding with her family, and trust between the Monterey Five is slowly eroding. If Season 1 explored the wounds inflicted by individual trauma, Season 2 seems to be taking the same approach with collective trauma — and the effects are far-reaching. As each of these women feels the burden of this one, big secret, their relationships are starting to unravel. And if their attachment to one another weakens, we can only imagine their willingness to protect the group does too.
Will Big Little Lies Season 2 see one of the Monterey Five commit the ultimate betrayal and share their secret? And how much will they lose along the way? In Monterey, appearances are everything — but if they lose their only real relationships trying to look innocent, they won't have anything left.