- Merie W. Wallace/HBO
- Warning: Major spoilers ahead for “Big Little Lies” season two, episode seven, “I Want to Know.”
- The season two finale of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” aired on Sunday.
- The emotional episode wrapped up a number of complex story lines for the show’s six female leads.
- Here’s everything that went down.
Fans of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” may have seen the “Monterey Five” for the last time on Sunday night.
The prospect of a third season is unclear, but the show’s second season finale tied up plenty of loose ends for Celeste (played by Nicole Kidman), Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Renata (Laura Dern), Jane (Shailene Woodley) Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), and Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) – although it still managed to end on an ambiguous note.
Here’s everything that happened on the emotional episode. This is also your last chance to head back before spoilers.
Celeste found an explosive video of her husband, which she didn’t know existed before
Celeste’s husband Perry, who died on the season one finale, maintained a major presence throughout the second season – especially through videos on the family’s iPad. Both Celeste and Perry’s mother, Mary Louise, encouraged his twin sons to relive happy memories using a digital scrapbook of these videos.
But as Celeste was reminiscing, she happened upon an explosive video that her sons had secretly recorded.
Through a crack in the bedroom door, Max and Josh could see and hear their father physically abusing their mother. All the while, she begged him to stop.
The video proved essential for Celeste’s fight to win custody of her children.
A common theme throughout the second season was Mary Louise’s disbelief that Perry was an abusive husband. She even insisted during the trial that he was the real victim.
“Max and Josh need to believe in their dad. How do they get to do that with you, walking around, calling him a rapist and an abuser?” Mary Louise said on the stand, as Celeste questioned her. “The way you assassinate him, his memory – he’s not here. He’s not here to defend himself. He’s the victim here. Not you.”
By playing the video in court, Celeste was able to prove that she wasn’t “making up stories about their father.” It also cast Celeste in a more sympathetic light, while Mary Louise attempted to paint her as some kind of sexual deviant and compulsive liar.
Discovering the video, however, also had its downsides. Celeste realized that her sons knew far more about her abusive relationship than she previously thought.
Celeste’s argument also centered on the idea that ‘abusers don’t just happen’
One reason why Celeste decided to question and cross examine Mary Louise herself was because, throughout their relationship, Perry told her details about his childhood.
According to Perry, his brother died in a car crash because their mother lost her temper while driving. She then blamed her surviving son for “distracting” her.
Although Mary Louise denied this, a flashback implied that Perry was telling the truth. Earlier on the episode, we saw a younger Mary Louise grabbing Perry by the shoulders and repeating, “Look what you made me do.” These clips were interspersed with shots of Perry in bed with Celeste, telling her the story.
During the cross examination, Celeste accused Mary Louise of “emotionally battering” her surviving son after the crash. She also said that Perry claimed his mother would hit and kick him.
“My husband physically and emotionally abused me,” Celeste says in court. “Your honor well knows that abusers don’t just happen. They are more than likely to be victims of abuse themselves. Whether or not this witness is an abuser is certainly, certainly not beyond the scope of this inquiry.”
Celeste won full custody of her kids
- Merie W. Wallace/HBO
Finally, after the emotionally draining trial, the judge ruled that Celeste could maintain full custody of Max and Josh.
“As it’s been noted by all, these boys have been through an unimaginable ordeal,” the judge said in her decision. “They face great challenges ahead with their healing, their development. It won’t be easy. I’m not going to make it any harder by taking them away from their mother.”
After hugging her sons in celebration, Celeste asked them to hug Mary Louise as well.
At the end of the episode, Mary Louise was seen leaving Monterey and driving back to San Francisco.
Jane cemented her relationship with Corey, taking a big step in her healing process
After muddling through some ambiguous emotions and PTSD symptoms – and after having an enlightened conversation with her son, Ziggy, who encouraged her to be happy – Jane decided to commit to her new boyfriend.
“First, nothing is perfect. Nothing’s even ‘best.’ But if you can find ‘better,’ ‘nice,’ even ‘good’ is good,” Corey told Jane when she tried to explain her hesitation. “Secondly, no matter how good something is, you can ruin it by over-thinking it.”
At the end of the episode, an intimate scene implied that Jane and Corey had sex for the first time. Since Jane’s PTSD stemmed from her rape, this signifies major progress in her healing process.
Madeline and Ed renewed their vows
Madeline and Ed looked like they were hurtling towards divorce after he found out that she cheated on him.
But after some serious soul-searching, Ed decided he could forgive his wife’s infidelity. He proposed that renewing their vows, now “fully informed,” would inspire them to move forward together.
- Jennifer Clasen/HBO
“This is not some, like, ‘put a tidy ribbon on it, bygones be bygones’ ending. This is a shot at a new beginning,” Ed told Madeline.
They renewed their vows on the beach in front of their home, accompanied by their daughter Chloe. The ceremony was officiated by Madeline’s daughter Abigail.
After suffering a second stroke, Bonnie’s mother died
The show led some viewers to believe that Bonnie would take her own mother’s life by smothering her in the hospital. But after Bonnie “confessed” to her mother on the penultimate episode, it looked like she had finally made peace with her mother’s emotional abuse.
It’s unclear whether Bonnie imagined this moment, but just before her death was revealed, Bonnie’s mother whispered that she was sorry into her daughter’s ear.
In a behind-the-scenes clip, Zoë Kravitz said that Bonnie’s past – and relationship with her mother, in particular – is essential to understanding why she pushed Perry to his death.
“I think for Bonnie, there would have been, maybe, no push if it wasn’t for her scars,” Kravitz said. “In season one, she had tricked herself into thinking she was healed from her past – with the yoga, with the meditation, with her family. And the incident at the end of season one brought everything to the surface. Now in season two, she’s in the messy, uncomfortable part of healing.”
The death of Bonnie’s mother seemed to inspire her to come clean about all the secrets she had been keeping.
Bonnie told her husband that she never really loved him
“Nathan, you’re a good man and a wonderful father. Skye adores you, and she should. And I know you love me. But you’ve been right to think that something’s been going on with me,” Bonnie said as they packed up her mother’s hospital room. “So I’m gonna be truthful.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this sooner,” she continued. “I’m not in love with you. I know this isn’t the best time to tell you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been. I just can’t lie anymore.”
Earlier on the season, Bonnie’s mother said she suspected that Bonnie married Nathan because she didn’t want to be truly open with anybody.
Renata also decided she was ‘done’ with her husband
Renata came home to Gordon sitting in a room full of model trains and video games. He told her that he sold everything to a collector who only wanted to see whether the value would appreciate, so Gordon could keep it all in the meantime.
- Merie W. Wallace/HBO
After Renata expressed her frustration, Gordon told her to “calm the f— down.” He even made a horrifically disrespectful comment about his affair with their nanny. Renata promptly picked up a baseball bat and smashed his model train set to pieces.
“I’m done,” she told him. “No more bulls—. And no more lies.”
Bonnie decided she would tell the truth about Perry’s death, and the ‘Monterey Five’ stood in solidarity
While it was left ambiguous, the show implied that Bonnie decided to turn herself in, alone. But after she texted her friends the news, they all showed up at the police station and walked in together.
It’s left unclear whether the women would receive jail time for lying to the police, or whether Bonnie would be prosecuted for murdering Perry.
But the final shot of the season underscored the show’s major theme of female solidarity, especially in times of trauma.