'Big Little Lies' season 2 episode 3 continues to see the lives of Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz) and Renata Klein (Laura Dern) unravel.
Each is going through a tough time in their personal life, as they face the guilt and lies that they have been spinning. While their individual journeys are something that holds equal importance, what caught my attention was the developing equation between Perry Wright's mother Mary Louise Wright (Meryl Streep) and Jane.
It is one of the most heartbreaking conversations to watch, and as it unfolds, we begin to see what drives Mary Louise's life. It is the love for her son Perry, blind and unwavering, which stops her from accepting the truth. She cannot accept that he was a violent man who beat his wife when his temper peaked, or that he sexually assaulted someone.
One scene especially had me flinching and that is when Mary Louise shows pictures of Perry as a baby and kid to Jane and the two marvel at how uncannily similar Ziggy Chapman looks to Perry. She asks Jane if Ziggy is sweet to which she responds, "Yeah. He is the best." Just when you begin to think that maybe Mary Louise now understands the whole truth about her son and may even come around to accepting Celeste's truth, she says, "My boys are so sweet. I don't think there was a more gentler or tender little boy than Perry. He was so sweet."
She says this with a smile on her face and it is clear that she doesn't understand how this is affecting Jane, who was sexually assaulted by Perry. The discomfort is clear on Jane's face as she responds, "(He) Grew up to be neither."
Despite this response, Mary Louise continues undeterred and what she says next only worsens the situation for Jane and is reflective of the circumstances real-life sexual violence victims face. She says, "This is perhaps an unfair question. On the night of your rendezvous with my son, who initiated the encounter?" We know where this line of questioning is going and so does Jane. So she asks, "Does that make any difference?" Of course, in an ideal world, it shouldn't. In the real world, women are fighting victim shaming everywhere and this scene between Mary Louise and Jane is a trigger. But Mary Louise continues on with no qualms, "I know how devoted he was to Celeste. I cannot conceive how he... unless he was tempted as men can be in a moment of weakness. Did you initiate Jane?"
Jane says no and rightfully asks Perry's mother if she is trying to justify her dead son's actions. What is even more shocking is when Mary Louise says, "Celeste shared with me that she and Perry had a complicated sex life. One that included violence. So it made me wonder if he misinterpreted or misread a signal from you." This is after Celeste had revealed to her that Perry beat her. Jane responds emotionally, "Your son raped me, and as he was doing so I was screaming for him to get off. I don't think that he can misread that."
What she says next seals Mary Louise's fate on the show. She says, "I don't mean to offend you. I just can't surrender to this notion that he was evil. I can't. I do so want to believe that there was good in him. I can't. Did you see good in him before the bad? Did you see good in him?"
There is nothing that will stop her from seeking the truth about her son's death. A version of the truth that she can accept, one that would give her closure and this is only going to complicate things further for the five women in Monterey. She has now met Madeline, Renata and Jane. However, what will happen when she meets Bonnie? Will Bonnie's guilt resurface after seeing the mother of the man who she pushed to death? It is important to note that she has just begun to move on from the events that occurred on the night that Perry died.
The next episode of HBO's 'Big Little Lies' season 2 will air on June 30 at 9 pm.