Well, that’s it, folks! On July 21, HBO aired the second-season finale of its hit show Big Little Lies. There were laughs! There were tears! There was a sizzling court scene! There was an ambiguous ending! And we might have to live with that. For those of you anxiously searching for spoilers on season 3, don’t look too hard. According to showrunner David E. Kelley, the finale we saw is probably the finale we’re going to get for the whole series. “We wrote season 2 as if this were the end,” Kelley told E!News in June. And in a July 11 interview with TV Line, HBO president Casey Bloys said that the actors’ busy schedules make the prospect of a third season unrealistic. But still, fans have to hold out hope.
— alyssa (@1980swhorefilm) July 22, 2019
While the chances of a season 3 happening soon, if at all, seem pretty slim, we’re rooting for one more opportunity to see *our* fab five together on-screen—but we have some conditions. Here, everything we’d like to see in season 3 of BLL.
Justice for Bonnie
Since season 1, Zoë Kravitz’s Bonnie Carlson has been deemed one of the show’s most underwritten and underserved characters, pretty much fulfilling the stereotype of the hot, younger wife to a T. But, with her involvement in Perry’s murder at the end of the season, there was promise that season 2 would do more to unpack the character of Bonnie and her reasoning for that fateful push (beyond the fact that Perry Wright was viciously abusing his wife).
But season 2 didn’t deliver. Despite the inclusion of Bonnie’s parents and hints of what should have been a meaty backstory about Bonnie’s own history of familial abuse, Kravitz’s character remained firmly one-dimensional, only serving the purpose of being a punching bag for Madeline Mackenzie (played by Reese Witherspoon).
And the show continues to forget that Bonnie is Black—and that her race means something. While BLL addressed the lack of intersectionality through Bonnie’s mother (played by Crystal Fox)—she commented on the lack of Black people in Monterey, telling her daughter: “You are out here surrounded by people who don’t get you. They don’t look like you. I haven’t even seen one other Black person since I’ve been out here”—season 2 failed to do any of the actual work of examining how Bonnie’s race plays a role in Monterey or her place there. It’s relevant in how she’s portrayed compared to the other women (which Vulture critic Angelica Jade Bastién argues is as the “Carefree Black Girl” archetype), in her sexualization by others in the community and in the complex dynamic of her being a Black woman who killed a wealthy, white man. We can guarantee that Madeline was *not* thinking about the unfair persecution of Black people by the justice system when she told the other women to lie.
And that needs to change. There are so many avenues left unexplored with Bonnie’s character. We need to stop focusing on Jane’s bangs and *start* focusing on Bonnie’s backstory—which would be even more interesting to look at after her divorce and confrontation with her comatose mom.
And while we’re at it, could we get more Ed and Bonnie coffee dates, please? Those two characters as friends was one of the best combos—I would 100% be here for them as co-owners of Bonnie’s yoga studio. We already know Ed loves sweat on a woman…
An explanation on what happened to Tom
Corey was a controversial love interest this season among fans. The sea-life-loving surfer with a floppy head of hair oscillated between being an innocent if somewhat awkward love interest and potentially being a police informant and *maybe* being Perry’s long-lost brother. By the end of the season, I was firmly on team Corey. But what happened to Tom?!
The sweet, beanie-wearing coffee-shop owner became a potential love interest in the season 1 finale after showing up at Otter Bay’s school fundraiser with Jane. It was exciting! Jane was opening up! We were all as shocked as Madeline! But the romance was obviously short-lived, as Tom was nowhere to be found when the curtain rose on season 2, with the Monterey 5 tight-lipped and frequenting a new coffee shop.
And we have so many questions. Like, ummm, what happened?
Did Jane’s new job at the Monterey Aquarium become too demanding for her to make time for romance? Did Tom come into some money and decide to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening a café abroad? Did he and Ziggy have a hard time bonding over coffee-bean varieties and roasting techniques? Did having a first date end in a literal murder prove to be too much for a young, blossoming relationship? Or did he and Jane—like tons of couples—simply not work out? We’ll never know and We. Need. To. Know!
Everyone gets Jane bangs
Another controversial figure of the season: Jane’s bangs. After a trying first year in Monterey, Shailene Woodley’s Jane Chapman decided to really embrace the “New (school) Year, New You” epigraph by going full fringe. Baby bangs are back, baby! In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Woodley revealed that the idea for her character’s chop was hers and came with a whole backstory of controlling her identity post-Perry. FYI, Jane would have cut the bangs herself.
But the internet and the Monterey 5 were divided over whether or not Jane’s new ‘do was a major don’t.
It’s so hard to watch Big Little Lies this season bc I can’t stand Jane’s bangs
— lindsey ok (@lindseyyok) July 18, 2019
Even Madeline, realtor to Monterey’s wealthiest and Jane’s BFF, wasn’t into the fringe, venting her frustrations over her own faux support in the second-season premiere, telling someone over the phone (we assume Celeste): “I’m beating myself up that I told Jane I liked her bangs.”
But you know what? I LIKE THEM. Jane looks like a 1960s movie star—like Brigitte Bardot if she cut her own hair with dull scissors. Compared to the wispy blonde bangs of every other character on the show, they’re *unique.* And after two seasons of pain and unfulfilling flashbacks, BLL is ready for a shakeup. If season three really wants to come back with a *bang,* I say baby bangs for everyone!
what if the season finale twist in big little lies was shailene woodley ripping off her wig and revealing that she never really got bangs in the first place
— emily🌙 (@em_cas_) July 22, 2019
Andrea Arnold actually gets to see her vision on-screen
Since it first emerged, Big Little Lies has been heralded for its feminism both on- and off-screen. The show features powerful performances from a cast of strong women who tap into themes not often portrayed realistically and with nuance on-screen, like motherhood, the complexity of being in an abusive relationship and the repercussions of sexual assault. And according to a 2018 report by the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film, only 21% of TV programs featured a cast with more female than male characters, which makes the fact that BLL is made up of mostly women pretty freakin’ great.
Behind the scenes, the show and its stars have generated discussion (and change) about pay inequity at HBO, and the show is executive produced by leads Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. In a mARCH 2017 interview with Vulture, Kidman opened up about why it was important for her to be part of the show, speaking to the lack of roles and characters for women in the industry and how BLL helps change that. “As an actress, we can read something and feel it,” Kidman said. “And in this case, I could feel probably all of the women, which is a great thing.”
Which is why the recent news about season 2 director Andrea Arnold is *so* disappointing. ICYMI, a July 12 article by IndieWire alleged that after offering Arnold the directing role and free rein to envision and shoot season 2 as she saw fit, HBO and showrunner David E. Kelley gave creative control back to season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée in post-production, allowing him to come back and reshape Arnold’s work to mimic his own in season 1. Vallée was unable to direct season 2 due to conflicts with *another* HBO show of his, Sharp Objects. So, essentially, Arnold did all the hard work only to have HBO and Vallée come in and cut it all up into what they wanted…
And pretty much every woman had the same reaction when they heard that news:
Not only was this decision to overstep Arnold detrimental to the PR of the show, seriously shooting down its status as a feminist success story, but it was also detrimental to the storyline. While it’s always difficult to follow up a great premiere season like the one this show gave us, BLL‘s second season has been plagued by criticisms of the storyline, including messy plot holes and disjointed imagery. As ELLE writer Sylvie McNamara pointed out in a July 22 article, the first episode of season 2 featured whimsical Arnold-esque images, like Jane dancing to Sufjan Stevens on the beach, that didn’t translate into the rest of the season—to its detriment, she said.
So, yeah. We’d like another go at it—this time 100% Arnold.
A complete Renata Klein spin-off
Listen, Meryl Streep is a legend. But Laura Dern was the queen of season 2. As Renata Klein, Dern took us through the ups-and-downs of being a seriously wealthy woman who loses it all because of a grown man who still plays with trains—all while serving up some seriously iconic (and relatable) moments.
Oh, and also these:
BLL was her house, and she lived there!!
Dern proved that Renata is the star of the show and, tbqh, that she should have her *own* show. Maybe that means an Amabella and Renata Klein spin-off on HBO; maybe that means Renata rebuilds her empire vis-à-vis a Wendy Williams-esque talk show (with Celeste has her entertainment lawyer, of course). Imagine the gifs! All we know is we need more Renata on our screens ASAP.
So, come on, season 3!