Finally, HBO has given Big Little Lies season two something close to a premiere date by announcing that we should expect the follow-up sometime in June of this year. But we still don’t know much about what to expect other than this. The network had previously debuted a “blink or you’ll miss it” series of clips in a longer, network-wide promo last month (complete with a shot of the women posing for mugshots in their Audrey Hepburn–inspired costumes), and has finally followed up on that with a series of promo shots.
Somehow they manage us to give us everything we’ve come to expect from the show: perpetually great coats in the perpetual-coat-weather climate of Northern California, dramatic intrigue fitting for a group of women who just killed a man in self defense, a peek at Meryl Streep’s character, and, of course, lots and lots of very dramatic stare downs from the cast. Still, the photos, which premiered on the cast’s various Instagrams, don’t give us much in the way of major hints about what will actually happen next season. Alexander Skarsgård, for instance, is no where to be found.
So, really, there’s only one thing to do: Rank the dramatic stares of the promo images from worst to best.
Of course, you might want to click through those photos for yourself first:
13. It’s certainly a testament to Shailene Woodley’s talent that she manages to surprise so many by holding her own against a legend’s ball of talent in season one, and yet Woodley hasn’t quite mastered her costar’s knack for carrying themselves, at all times, both on set and off, as if Annie Leibovitz could pop up out of a bush and photograph them for a Vanity Fair cover at any second. It’s not criticism. It’s just that she has stiff competition. In any event, amid a milieu in which all her costars seem to be reacting to a surprising appearance, Woodley’s character is just kind of sitting there looking like she’s wondering where Reese got those earrings.
12. Shailene got the short end of the stick with these promo images. Here we can only see about a quarter of her face, though with that mere quarter-face she does manage to convey the appropriate intense interest in Laura Dern’s story. So points for that.
11. Kidman is an absolute legend when it comes to pulling face. Maybe the best part of her otherwise ill-advised The Stepford Wives remake is a scene where her character gets fired and she goes on an intense facial expression journey that seems to touch on every emotion humanly possible. So we’re grading Nicole on a curve here, and, frankly, she kind of just looks bored.
10. Honestly, we’re not entirely sure what Laura Dern is trying to convey here. Sure, Renata’s “I’m so rich that I’m just generally upset by the presence of anything poorer than me” aura is here, but she could be reacting to the arrival of either a previously unmentioned ex-husband walking back into her life after 12 years or just a valet returning her car after making her wait 12 seconds more than she would have liked. We just don’t know.
9. In this two-for-one stare down, we find the perfect encapsulation of the relationship between Zoë and Reese’s character. Reese seems like her anxiety has been triggered by the scent of a hemp candle, while Zoe is internally asking herself, ”Why does this white woman think she can show up at my door at night?”—though with subtle undertones suggesting that the characters might actually need to get over it all and rely on each other eventually.
8. I’m not sure what it is, but I do want to hear whatever story Dern is telling here. Even if it just about the time the valet showed up with her car 12 seconds late.
7. When your friends tell you not to look, but you’re going to look anyway, and you’re not even going to be subtle about it, but then, suddenly, you realize why they told you not to look.
6. The fact that Reese does seem deeply invested if not disturbed by Dern’s story here yet is still fidgety enough to be playing with a strand of her own hair really captures the character of Madeline Martha Mackenzie perfectly.
5. Kidman’s character seems to be the only one who has figured out exactly what is going on in this scene so far, and you know what? She doesn’t like it. Not one bit.
4. Even bonded to the other women by way of manslaughter, Zoë’s Isabella still does not seem to want to be a part of their tribe. Her arms are crossed, sunglasses on, silently wondering why all these women are dumb enough to draw attention to themselves by turning around to stare someone down. None of them would know how to be chill even locked in a walk-in freezer. It’s as if she’s thinking to herself, “God, these bitches are going to get me arrested for murder, aren’t they?”
3. Why is this romaine lettuce being served on a plate all by itself in a household with two young boys? Where is the dressing? Toppings? Anything? What is its purpose, not only in this scene but in life? Lettuce served solo on a plate is one of the saddest fates any lettuce can endure, and this lettuce knows it, sitting there defeated and wilting.
2. This is a trademark Kidman look. Some tiny detail has finally punctured the image she’s constructed, and she suddenly sinks into herself completely unaware of what’s going on around here. Some tiny detail like realizing her mother-in-law might have realized she took part in the killing of her husband, or that she forgot to put dressing on the romaine lettuce.
1. Ah, finally, Meryl making her BLL debut with a dramatic stare the affirms she did not come to play around. She’s here demanding answers about the disappearance of her son and other related matters, like why her grandchildren are being served naked romaine lettuce on a plate.
Or maybe this is just an outtake of Meryl demanding to know why Nicole’s wig budget was so much more than hers. Either way, we can not wait until this show premieres.