Ah, Big Love, how I missed you. Monday nights have once again been key TV nights in the Televisionary household, thanks to you.
Just as soon as it had wrapped up its recent plotline involving Bill "Mr. Cover Up" Henrickson's, er, cover-up of brother Joey's wife Wanda poisoning Alby, Big Love kicked off a few new plotlines in last night's episode ("Vision Thing"), including the possibility of introducing a fourth wife for Bill. (Yeah, this guy's got enough to deal with already, but that hasn't stopped him from thinking about the possibility.)
First off, does anyone else out there think that Bill just outright mean to poor Don Embry? I mean he constantly asks Don for his advice on everything from relations with his wives to how to run the Home Plus business, yet consistently throws that advice right out of the window to do whatever the hell he wants. It's clear that Don had a lot of moral issues with the gaming company (he wants Bill to get rid of a side business that takes unused slot machines and sells them to homes) and finally Don throws his hat in and says that he thinks Bill's motives aren't to protect their families and insure them for the future but rather cold revenge against Roman. And, quelle surprise, Bill goes ahead with the deal anyway.
Speaking of the deal, I'm still not quite sure what is going on with Lois and Eddie and the laundromat. It's clear that money is rolling in from their little venture, but from where and how? Especially as Eddie tells Lois, "I wonder how much we'd make if we actually opened the door to that place." Hmmm, what does THAT mean? Against the advice of his wives, Eddie comes up with the cash to front Bill but I'm still not sure what he's playing at. Sure, he took a sizeable decrease in his offer but there's obviously something going on here that will come back to bite Bill.
Lois. What can I say about this hellion? She's completely insane and utterly unstable and it's only complete chance that either of her sons are even somewhat functioning adults. When she's not giving Wanda a gun to shoot the DA at the courthouse (as in last week's episode), she's having her daughter-in-law committed to a mental hospital without consulting Joey and then arranging for a newly widowed woman on the compound to come over in the hopes of forcing Joey into taking a second wife. For all of that, Lois remains one of the most hysterical characters on the series and that's testimony to the strengths of Grace Zabriskie, who can say more with a raised eyebrow or grimace than most actors can with an entire script. (And how utterly different Lois is from her other tortured-mother role as Sarah Palmer on Twin Peaks?)
What's the deal with Joey and Barb? Sure he worships her and looks up to her, but is there something more going on here? I wasn't quite sure of his motives whenever he showed up at the house looking for Barb and half-wonder if he's got a thing for her, considering his belief that Barb is the ideal wife. But given that his wife is a half-crazy compulsive poisoner, that's not saying a lot...
Nicki throwing the rosary into the trash? Spot on for her character. I loved how Margene called her out for her religious hypocrisy, when really it was just lack of understanding and fear on her part. And, oh, more than a little dose of insecurity that she didn't fit in with the other mothers at Wayne's Catholic school. And nice touch to have Margene come from a Catholic background. It's little touches like that which remind me how much I enjoy this series.
I loved how naturalistic the scenes were last night between Sarah and Ben and how these two felt just like two squabbling siblings anywhere in America, rather than the children of polygamists. But poor Sarah is once again finding herself trapped between a rock and an even harder rock as she continues to slowly turn into her martyr mother, Barb, by trying to do the right thing by hiding Rhonda, even though it was she who betrayed her family by telling Roman about Barb's award. I'm not sure what Sarah hopes to do with Rhonda, but it was a bad move to have her stay with new beau Scott (Aaron Paul, who I just saw in the pilot for AMC's drama Breaking Bad), still it looks like it was a better idea than having her stay with estranged best friend Heather (the always incomparable Tina Majorino), given whatever happens next week. Rhonda is duplicitous, conniving, and manipulative and will do whatever she has to get her way, even if it means claiming rape (as she attempted to do in this week's episode). She's a tarted-up Anti-Christ in prairie clothes.
Finally, I cannot believe that Bill took off his wedding ring when chatting up Serbian waitress and pie devotee Ana at the diner. Given everything that's going on right now and the fact that the Henrickson clan seems to be being attacked from all sides, now is probably not the best time for Bill to be considering taking another wife, even one as cute and perky as Ana. But sure enough, he manages to palm his ring and get Ana's digits without a second thought. I'm not sure how his urges qualify as a sign from God, but Bill believes that this is a religiously sanctioned affair, rather than just a, well, affair.
I absolutely LOVED the fact that Margene caught them in the act, so to speak, and went back at the episode's end for some pie, as though she too were just as excitedly wooing Ana. I don't know about you but I did not expect that turn of events at all. Could Margene be open to receiving another sister wife, especially when it will promote her from the role of the newbie? Curious.
Next week on Big Love ("Dating Game"), Margene befriends Ana and invites her to a lunch with an unsuspecting Barb and Nicki, Rhonda agrees to an interview with an ex-polygamist that could expose the Henricksons, and an underground polygamist group resurfaces, possibly with dire consequences for the entire family.
* * *
Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.