This 'Big Little Lies' Theory About Mary Louise's Past Could Explain Everything

by Ani Bundel

The second season of Big Little Lies had a problem from the start. The original seven episodes used up the plot of the book, including killing off the main antagonist, Celeste's husband, Perry. To do a new season, therefore, required both a new plot and a new antagonist. Luckily, author Liane Moriarty worked with scriptwriter David E. Kelley to create a new story, and even better, Meryl Streep agreed to be cast as the new villain, Perry's mother, Mary Louise. But this Big Little Lies theory about Mary Louise suggests her role is more than just to needle the Monterey 5 about Perry's death.

Fans first impression of Mary Louise when the new season opened was of someone who could throw down harder than Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon). Season 1 had spent a lot of time reveling in Maddie's willingness to say precisely what she was thinking in the most cutting of ways without giving a damn who she hurt along the way. Mary Louise seemed like a taste of her own medicine, one that left Madeline's jaw flapping in the breeze.

But then there was that terrible scene at the dinner table. In what is now referred to be fans as "Meryl's Scream Scene," Perry's mother revealed herself as an emotionally manipulative terror hellbent on poisoning the minds of Celeste's sons, Josh and Max. She also showed herself to be a boundary-less wonder, who narcissistically reveled in inflicted her emotional outbursts on others to handle.

But as the season has gone on, there are hints this is only the tip of the Mary Louise iceberg.

In Episode 2, "Tell Tale Hearts," Mary Louise tries to insinuate that Celeste doesn't know loss the way Mary Louise has, mentioning that Perry's death was not the first time she's lost a child. Perry apparently had a heretofore never mentioned brother, Raymond, who died when they were young. Cut to a flashback as Celeste remembers Perry talking about his brother, saying Raymond's accident happened when he was 5 years old.

In Episode 4, "She Knows," Raymond comes up again. Mary Louise still doesn't reveal how her other son died, other than "an accident," but she pulls back the curtain enough to show the fallout from it. Perry's father blamed his wife for their son's death and left her to raise Perry alone.


Moreover, Mary Louise claims it was her fault Raymond died. But how? This could just be her seizing martyrdom. "I, who was left by my husband, deserved nothing less!" But what if it's true? Mary Louise's emotional outbursts are certainly terrifying enough. What if, in a fit of rage, she accidentally murdered her son, and has been telling herself it was just an accident?

If so, Celeste will need to put two and two together and fast. Episode 4 also saw Mary Louise take the first step to seize custody of Max and Josh away from her daughter in law. Fan's initial fear was that Mary Louise gaining custody would result in the creation of two more abusive creeps like their father. But it may turn out that fans should fear for Josh and Max's lives instead.