Warning: spoilers ahead! Big Little Lies season 2 is officially here, so the time has come for us to venture back to Monterey. Given the complexity of what’s going on in this California city, we thought it would be helpful to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Who is Meryl Streep‘s character? Here’s an explainer of everything you need to know about Mary Louise Wright.
Who is she?
Mary Louise is the mother of Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård), who died at the end of season 1 and whose death is the central storyline of season 2. While the first season dealt with Perry’s physically abusive relationship with wife Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), the second season is devoted to the aftermath of his death, when the Monterey Five — Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste, Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern) and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) — pushed him down the stairs at the school fundraiser.
What is her relation to the other women?
Given the events in the season 2 premiere, Mary Louise is going to be quite a problem for the Monterey Five. While she is living with Celeste to help take care of her grandsons in the wake of Perry’s “accident,” there is drama afoot. Celeste is having nightmares every night — with Mary Louise hearing her shout things like “rape” and that she will “f–king kill” someone. Plus, Mary Louise had a epic few run-ins with Madeline are already legendary. These women are going to have some trouble if Mary Louise continues snooping and poking around.
Why is she here and what is her motive for being here?
Obviously, Mary Louise has come to Monterey because Perry died tragically. What mother wouldn’t? On top of that, she is a rock for her grandchildren — after all, they recently lost their dad. It seems the possibility of her leaving is out of the question too because she is looking for a place to stay. Even if she does move out of Celeste’s home, we haven’t seen the last of her.
How is she feeling?
About as well as someone who just lost their son should be feeling, we guess. Mary Louise is upset — and the dinner scene proves exactly that. Celeste scolds her fighting sons, but Mary Louise says she can relate to the anger they are feeling, noting how “amazing” Perry was and how “unfair” it is that he is dead. (In fact, she even admits to being annoyed her friends’ “mediocre” sons are still alive while her son is dead. Yikes!) After this, she lets out a loud, powerful scream, clearly shaking Celeste to the core. There’s clearly a lot of emotion bubbling below the surface.
What should we expect from her the rest of the season?
A teaser for episodes ahead shows the Monterey Five worried about their lie, teasing some betrayal amongst the group. We hear Mary Louise say “grief, it’s meant to be shared” and see her spending time with Celeste’s kids. “I want to be here when you need me,” Celeste,” she even says. Too bad their relationship isn’t that easy. It also seems like the other women are becoming suspicious of her too. “I’m telling you, I think she’s been watching,” Renata says, paired with a scene of Mary Louise looking out of a window. The big moment, though, comes when Mary Louise asks Celeste, “You left some things out, didn’t you?” Mary Louise then accuses Celeste of planning to leave Perry that fateful night, which is completely true.
Looks like we’re just starting to understand Meryl’s latest character — and we love that!
Big Little Lies airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.