Wig Little Lies: “BLL” Is Back With a Bang and a Bob

A look at the hair-raising adventures of the Monterey Five, told through the lens of their fabulous flowing locks.

The second season of HBO’s Acclaimed Actress Happy Hour, Big Little Lies, premiered on Sunday night—the same time as the Tonys, which feels aggressive and downright homophobic on the part of the TV gods. The action picks up shortly after the events of Season 1. How long? Long enough for Jane (Shailene Woodley) to grow some ill-advised bangs.

Long enough for Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) therapist to have embraced a full-blown glow-up.

Long enough for Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise (Meryl Goddamn Streep), to come screaming into town with an austere bob stolen from the Mary Kay saleswoman she probably murdered in 1991.

She has that kind of look.

The Monterey Five, the women who were there to witness the death of Celeste’s husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), are dealing with the fallout after they kinda killed him and lied about it. Celeste, her hair weighed down by sadness and secrets, is having violent nightmares, leading Mary Louise to question what the hell she’s hiding under those sneaky strawberry-blonde tresses.

Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) has retreated internally, since she’s the one who actually delivered the lethal blow. Her braids are holding in all her anger and pain while everyone else is living more of a shake-and-go existence.

Bangs tend to symbolize a life change, and Jane seems to be feeling all kinds of free now that her abuser-slash-baby daddy (also Perry) is out of her life for good.

Meanwhile, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) is boiling over with rage that’s as hard to conceal as her roots.

And Renata (Laura Dern)… well, Renata is living her best life, to the tune of Diana Ross’s classic ode to proprietorship, “It’s My House.”

She’s perhaps in the most denial, pretending to be as loose as the golden, luminous waves cascading down her back. But this is Renata Klein we’re talking about: a woman coiled so tight she could turn coal into diamonds in the palm of her hand. In her very first scene, she comes in blazing hot, demoralizing a new teacher with a big old smile on her face and then reminding him that her little Amabella is a genius who will NOT be bullied this year.

The only bully of note in town is Mary Louise, who barrels over Madeline with a series of reads so iconic they’ve already been enshrined in the Library of Congress.

The detective on the trail of the Monterey Five might also want to look into Mary Louise’s assault with a deadly bob.

The rest of the episode was a bit of a snooze, which we’ll chalk up to the writers having to reestablish the world of Big Little Lies and the relationships at its core. But between Mary Louise’s snarky shade and Renata’s poolside posedown—plus the uneasy tension lingering just beneath the surface of everyone’s precariously perfect lives (and locks)—there’s definite promise here.

Or at least the promise of some disco diva ’dos.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat