(Warning: Big Little Lies first-season spoilers will be found below.)
Big Little Lies‘ second season brought the addition of Meryl Streep’s unsettling, screaming character, but no one expected the return of Alexander Skarsgård’s Perry. He was revealed, of course, to be the character whose homicide was under investigation during first-season police-station flashbacks. The case still remains open while the Monterey Five reckons with the effects of their mounting lies, and Streep’s Mary Louise doesn’t accept that the death was an accident. Nor does she believe that Perry was a physically and psychologically abusive husband, and to apply even more pressure to Perry’s widow, Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Perry does indeed appear throughout the season in several flashback and video-footage sequences.
These are newly filmed scenes — other than the obligatory replaying of Zoe Kravitz’s Bonnie pushing Perry to his death because, c’mon, gotta have that in there — and Skarsgård spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about why he chose to return as a dead character. In short, he couldn’t pass up a chance to work with the cast again. Via Hollywood Reporter:
“What an extraordinary opportunity to work on a character with so much depth and complexity and being surrounded by some of the finest actors in Hollywood — not only amazing actors, but amazing people. It’s such a lovely, supportive group. That season one on set was intense. It was tough. But when you do that with people you genuinely love, it’s so rewarding.”
Perry’s presence, along with Celeste’s conflicted response to his death, may dredge up controversy about the lingering effects of abuse, but that only adds to the layered effect of the show. Not only are we seeing satiric, soapy drama, but there’s some truth-telling at work while watching Celeste struggle to close the door on the treatment that she endured. Kidman chimed in at the premiere to cheer on how Skarsgård “didn’t abandon us.” That is to say, he not only wished to help complete the second chapter in general, but he’s was willing to help Kidman sort out the “detailed, very, very complicated relationship” and all the residual feelings of “love, violence, shame, denial, betrayal” that Celeste still feels after Perry’s death. Skarsgård still brings a weighty presence to the role, and viewers can continue to watch the story play out each Sunday on HBO.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)