Big Little Lies was my favorite TV show in 2017, so you can imagine my elation when news broke about season two. That excitement only intensified when HBO confirmed Meryl Streep had joined the cast. Meryl. Streep. The Monterrey Moms were already a who's who of A-list actors, but adding a legend to the mix pushed things over the edge. Throw in the fact that most of the season-one creatives signed back on, and you have a recipe for success (and another Emmys sweep).
That could happen again next year, when BLL season two is eligible for the Emmys. The second chapter of this soapy series, about a group of wealthy moms covering up a murder, has been a success. It has an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The narratives feel timely and necessary, especially the ones centered around sexual assault. And of course, the acting is a high point. When Nicole Kidman slapped Meryl Streep in episode four? Reader, when I tell you I screamed, I screamed.
But these moments of over-the-top action have been few and far between. We spend most of each Big Little Lies episode watching Streep and the Monterrey Five (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz) walk and talk. And the conversations are pretty cyclical. Here's the gist:
Bonnie: We killed someone, and I'm worried about it.
Madeline: Shut the fuck up!
Celeste: [Half-Australian accent] Mary Louise!
Jane: Ziggy, tell me the truth.
Mary Louise: [To Madeline only] Short, short, short!
Don't get me wrong; this was fun to watch in the premiere. But by episode five—when I realized the women were having some of the same discussions over and over—I got, well, bored. These actors deliver in every scene, but they don't have much to work with. In my opinion there just isn't enough plot to sustain seven hour-long episodes. It wasn't until episode six, when Mary Louise and Celeste begin the custody battle over Celeste's twins, that I felt like there was a substantial something to engage with.
Not even the hook of "Will Mary Louise find out about Perry's murder?" is keeping me interested. This was heavily teased in the promos before the premiere, but the tension deflated for me by episode three. There are only so many worried looks the Monterrey Five can give one another before you're begging for something—anything—to happen.
And that's the thing: We're about to go into the seventh and final episode of Big Little Lies, and nothing truly major happened. I suppose you could make the case that season one followed a similar format. It was six episodes of slow burn that led to an explosive, delicious finale. The tension going into episode seven was so brilliantly paced, and the stakes were high: Someone died, and we were about to find out who it was; someone killed that person, and we'd soon realize who; and Amabella's bully would be unmasked. There was also the twist of finding out the identity of Jane's rapist. Truly everything in that finale was shocking and made the season's quieter moments worth it.
But the stakes in season two aren't as high, so I don't think the payoff will be as sweet. There are really only two questions Big Little Lies hasn't answered: Will Celeste lose custody of her kids? And will the Monterrey Five's murder cover-up be exposed? There's also the added issue of Bonnie's mother, who had a vision of Bonnie drowning. That could happen in the finale, but I have a feeling it's a false alarm. Having Bonnie die in the exact way that's been prophesied all season seems too on the nose. I think she's safe, so any interest surrounding these visions is gone for me.
How the custody story plays out will be interesting but nowhere near as compelling as the secrets in season one. As for the second mystery, the Monterrey Five would have to be convicted and all thrown in jail for it to be actually surprising. Is that something we really hope to see? At the end of the day, I want Celeste, Madeline, Jane, Renata, and Bonnie to get away with Perry's murder as much as I want Mary Louise gone—but I also know that ending is predictable and very, very boring.
There really is no winning going into this finale, unless a major curveball is thrown at us. Who knows? Anything is possible. But as it stands now, there isn't a narrative I'm dying to know the outcome to, which raises the question: Was season two of Big Little Lies even necessary?
The jury's still out on that, but ultimately I'm glad we have it. Seeing all these women onscreen together has been a delight, and I now have so many Laura Dern GIFs in my arsenal.
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrosa92.
Originally Appeared on Glamour