Big Little Lies Season 2 is almost upon us, and it'll pick up right where the first — and what was then supposed to be the only — season left off. Our quintet of heroines have now earned the derisive nickname "The Monterey Five" as a result of the questions that surround that fateful trivia night fight, and in addition to grappling with all that entails, they'll also have to prepare their children for the second grade. So, the drama is intense all around.
In anticipation of the show's return, let's look back on the most important events of the first season of Big Little Lies to refresh your memory ahead of the HBO drama's Season 2 debut.
The ailing marriage
Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) might have put on a collected front at the school drop-off line, but she had some serious trouble simmering on the home front. As the first season progressed, we learned that she had stepped out on her second husband, Ed (Adam Scott), with the local theater director, and their affair came this close to being discovered when the two got into a car accident together. However, Ed was still kept in the dark about it, even after Madeline confided in her eldest daughter Abigail that she'd slept with Joseph (Santiago Cabrera). Madeline and Ed also endured some marital strife as a result of her continued attachment to her ex-husband, Nathan (James Tupper), who'd gone on to marry Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz). Both couples had daughters who attended the same school, which brought those conflicts to the fore quite often.
The toxic home
Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman) also kept secrets about her marriage to Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), but they were much more dangerous. Celeste couldn't admit to herself or others that Perry — who seemed to the outside world to be an attentive father to their twin boys — was physically and emotionally abusive toward her. With the help of her therapist (Robin Weigert), she was ultimately convinced to leave him when she realized the violent example he was setting for their sons, but Perry caught on to her plans.
Jane (Shailene Woodley) was a newcomer to Monterey at the start of the first season. After becoming friends with Madeline and Celeste, she revealed that her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) was the result of a rape that happened several years prior. Her attacker told her his name was Saxon Banks, but after finding and confronting a man with that name, she realized the man who raped her had been using an alias. Ziggy was not made aware of the circumstances surrounding his birth, except that Jane refused to talk about his father.
The kids were not all right
The children of Big Little Lies reflected their parents' problems in some very upsetting ways. When Amabella, the daughter of Renata Klein (Laura Dern), said she had been bullied and bitten at school, she blamed Ziggy for her torment. Eventually, Ziggy revealed that he was taking the blame for Max, one of Celeste's sons with Perry. Max had been acting out and hurting Amabella, and Celeste realized that the boy was mimicking his father's behavior despite her best effort to conceal her abuse from her sons. Meanwhile, Madeline's relationship with her daughters — Abigail (Kathryn Newton) and Chloe (Darby Camp) — was also quite strained, to the point that Abigail attempted to auction off her virginity for charity and eventually moved in with Nathan and Bonnie.
The fateful fall
These threads all tied together in Big Little Lies' Season 1 finale when all five women ended up in the same place during the school's costume trivia night gala. Madeline had run out after seeing Ed perform an emotional song on stage, and Jane went to comfort her; Renata then followed to apologize to Jane for blaming Ziggy, and Celeste came along after them. When Perry arrived to confront Celeste about a text she'd received from her new landlord, Jane realized he was the man who'd assaulted her, exchanging a knowing look with the other moms. Perry attacked Celeste, and all of the women fought back; Bonnie, who ran over to help, ultimately pushed Perry down the stairs to his death. Speaking with the police, the group insisted his fall was an accident. The final scene showed that the police might not be so sold on their story, however, as the cops were seen keeping a close eye on the moms, who took their kids for a well-earned day at the beach.
Big Little Lies' first season left off with a few big question marks about what people knew and didn't know, which leaves plenty of room for more character exploration in Season 2. The new season also brings in a major newcomer: Meryl Streep joins the cast as Perry's mother, Mary Louise, who wants to get to the truth of what happened that night and why.
Big Little Lies Season 2 debuts on Sunday, June 9 at 9/8c on HBO.