Friday's Indiewire report that creative control of Season 2 was "yanked away" from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, whose directorial and editing duties were handed over to Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée, seemed to offer an explanation for why this season has felt "frustratingly not-quite-right." But it's not the directing that's the major flaw with Season 2, it's David E. Kelley's writing, says Caroline Framke. "There’s no saying just how different the season might have been if Arnold had the kind of control she might have expected when taking the job, or how much Vallee specifically managed to change when he took over post-production," says Framke. "Still, having watched all but the finale, the biggest culprit of the season’s decline (and in fact the series’ weakest component overall) isn’t the direction, but the writing. And one of the most damning details of the Indiewire report is its suggestion that the new edit scrubbed the season of Arnold’s particular 'grace notes,' especially her way of filming between the lines on the page... With vanishingly few exceptions, that Season 2 dulled Arnold’s specific voice and more wholly embraced that of writer David E. Kelley is obvious from watching it. Kelley, best known for network procedurals like The Practice and Ally McBeal, has always favored a blunt approach to the Big Little Lies scripts. That can sometimes pay off; you don’t get characters like Laura Dern’s pointed Renata or Reese Witherspoon’s insistent Madeline without some seriously forthright writing. But other times, the writing’s clunky attempts to be cutting and memorable crowd the screen and blur the lines between satire and reality too much for the moment in question to stand on its own. This shortcoming was also present in Season 1; I spent many scenes in the early episodes wondering if Kelley’s ever seen two women speaking to each other out in the wild without a camera to capture it. The difference is that in Season 2, the lack of a cohesive directing and editing vision has made the scripts’ weaknesses doubly obvious."