So, we’re back in Monterey, and boy do we have some things to unpack.
We have the beginning of second grade and all relevant drama, but more importantly: the introduction of the most glorious of queens, Meryl Streep. I was most interested to see what kind of character she would play, and while that question remains mostly unanswered, Meryl is terrifyingly fantastic in the role of Celeste’s mother-in-law. I do not trust Mary Louise one bit, and every time she opens her mouth my reaction goes something like this:
(Also, can we talk about how amazing it is that Mary Louise is Meryl’s real name?)
Understandably, she is grieving for the loss of her son… but she openly says it is not something that should be recovered from. She seems to still be working through a plethora of emotions, namely anger and the desire for vengeance, as shown during her outbursts of passive (and not-so-passive) aggression.
To be honest, she seems like a terrifying person to know, if only because it’s almost impossible to tell what she is really feeling. Run far, and run fast, Monterey Five (what even is that nickname, though? Are we in an adult version of an Enid Blyton novel?)
Meanwhile, Renata (Laura Dern) is living her best life, being the glamorous, image obsessed, over-bearing mum that we know her to be. Madeline even sums it up for us: “Did you see Renata getting up that new teacher’s ass? I thought she was gonna have to pull out her snorkel.”
Thank you, Reese Witherspoon, for embodying small, ferocious women in the most perfectly sarcastic way.
Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) continues to bless us with the feistiness turned up to level 1000, and her facial expressions are honestly just a pure work of art.
Jane (Shailene Woodley) is still the absolute cutest, managing to be a great mum, work, and find simple happiness in dancing alone by the sea, like the precious, magical faery that Shailene is.
I suspect that Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is living through a new form of hell, exchanging one Wright (Perry) for another (Mary Louise). Which begs the question – where did Perry learn his abusive behaviour? Did he observe his father being abusive to his mother, thus leading to strangeness of Mary Louise? Or was she the abuser that he learnt from?
At least Celeste is still going to therapy, so she does have a safe and productive space to talk about her feelings.
The same can’t be said for Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) though, who holds herself solely responsible for the death of Perry, and is withdrawing from everyone in her life to deal with it. Madeline makes the effort to reach out, but Bonnie is resistant. JUST LET US LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU PLS
We care 3000, Bonnie.
And then the episode ends on a chilling note, with Celeste waking violently from Perry-related nightmare, screaming about killing him. The ever-present Mary Louise comes in to comfort her, which should be nice, but feels more like she is hunting for clues/evidence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I DO NOT TRUST HER.
I pray to the Californian gods that somehow our band of Monterey women can somehow pull through Mary Louise’s passive-aggressive wrath unscathed, and ship her off to Spain or something. Bye-bye, meddling mother-in-law.
And if not…? More wine, please.