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HBO's 'My Brilliant Friend' Season 2 returns in a striking premiere with danger looming over Elena and Lila

Elena quietly competes with Lila and like Lila, she too is keen to lose her virginity
UPDATED MAR 20, 2020
Gaia Girace (HBO)
Gaia Girace (HBO)

Spoilers for 'My Brilliant Friend' Season 2 Episode 1 Chapter 9 'The New Name' 

Any applause for HBO's 'My Brilliant Friend' is scant. And with its return for a second season, the show only proved that. 'My Brilliant Friend' returned with its second season based on the second book of the bestselling quadrilogy by Elena Ferrante 'The Story of a New Name'.

In a hard-hitting first episode Lila Cerullo (Gaia Girace), now newly married to Stefano Carracci (Giovanni Amura), recounts her honeymoon along the picturesque Amalfi Coast. Her honeymoon, however, was not all picture-perfect.

Still angry about Stefano selling the family's handmade pair of shoes to the Solara clan, they start on a bumpy ride. But it takes no time to escalate. A haunting scene where Stefano stands pressed up against a glass door outside a locked bathroom is an omen for what is to come for Lila — she is brutally raped by Stefano. 

Elsewhere, Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) is struggling with her relationship with Antonio Cappuccio (Christian Giroso) — she is comfortable, she says, but doesn't think she loves him.

At the same time, she finds herself having feelings with her classmate Nino Sarratore (Francesco Serpico). Drawn to him because of his intellectual charm, Elena sorely notes that Antonio is not educated. She doesn't mention her growing attraction towards Nino to Lila.

Elena quietly competes with Lila. Like Lila, she is keen to lose her virginity. After that is when Elena planned to tell her that she did what Lila did. In the opening sequence of the show, even though she doesn't really wish it were this way, Elena is ready to give herself to Antonio for this reason, apart from his whingeing.

'My Brilliant Friend' continues to be a visual masterpiece with striking cinematography and production design by Francesca Calvelli and Giancarlo Basili. The magnificence of the Amalfi Coast is a painful contrast to the whirlpool that Lila finds herself in.

Her greedy, proud husband beats her black and blue only to incite the fire of revenge burning in Lila's belly. 

In another particularly morose scene, Lila directly faces the Carracci family and must explain how she bruised her face — "I fell on rocks," she says. The family shakes their head cautioning her about slippery rocks. The one big happy family conveniently feigning concern.

The episode ends with Lila scheming a little revenge plot against her husband. And she puts on her swankiest black gown and wears her reddest lipstick, Elena fears for her best friend.

'My Brilliant Friend' airs on Mondays on HBO at 10 pm/9 c.