Now that you've read the news about Big Love's third season renewal (above), let's get talking about Monday night's episode ("Good Guys and Bad Guys"), which was probably the weakest episode we've had for a while.
I say that with the utmost love as even a weak episode of Big Love is a vast improvement on most things currently on the airwaves. While it lacked some of the dramatic punch of recent installments, it still kept me on the edge of my seat (or at least the Barb storyline did, anyway) and filled in some of Margene's backstory.
Barb. I was pretty surprised--and rather unnerved--that Barb would go to the Juniper Creek compound by herself, even though Joey begged her to retrieve Wanda from the mental hospital (or "booby hatch" as Lois calls it) and take her home. I don't like the idea of her being there in the first place, much less without Bill or Nicki for protection. Same goes for standing up to that evil bully Frank (apparently back from Mexico); good idea coming from the right place, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with. Still, the scene in which someone (Frank) cut the power to Wanda and Joey's house showed Barb exactly what the compound is as Wanda went hysterical, unable to grab a flashlight or candle, and Barb had to keep it together. The fact that she started crying when Joey ran in proves to me that she is still rethinking this entire arrangement. Is the compound truly a corruption of the Principle? Or is this the Principle in its true form?
Not sure why Joey was fixing Barb's car the following morning. Had it broken down and I missed something? Or was this a bit of a deus ex machina to keep Barb around until Roman created the road blocks around the compound's perimeter? Hmmm. Who else thought that she turned the car around in order to help Wanda or offer her support to Joey... rather than confronting Roman Grant, who minutes before had reached out to Bill to bury the hatchet?
Lois. I'm still slightly confused by what's going on at the laundromat, which really is closed, and just where all of this cash is coming from if the business isn't even open. Drug deals? Prostitution? I'm really not sure what's going on in that deserted building. That said, I was whooping and cheering when Lois pulled out the shotgun and pointed it at her no-good husband Frank. Would she really have shot him if Barb wasn't there? Probably not. But Frank is a dangerous goon, especially now that he knows Wanda poisoned him and Lois is holding out on what he perceives as his share of the "loot." This will not end well.
Bill. The Henrickson's pater familias is also playing a rather dangerous game, pitting Roman against the freakishly eccentric Hollis Greene; if he thought that Greene would drop things now that he told the polygamist cult leader that Roman was behind the purchase of Weber Gaming, he's got another thing coming. Especially now that Roman has ordered everyone on the UEB to cease any contact with the Greenes, under penalty of ex-communication and blood payment. (It's the blood payment that has me worried.)
Adeleen. I got chills when I saw those two silent and grey women from Greene's cult hovering above Adeleen (they could have been extras from the first season finale of Lost when the Others blew up the raft) and I could not believe that they hog tied her. Still, at least she wasn't branded. Let's be thankful for the little things.
Margene. I'm glad that we finally were offered a glimpse into Margene's life before she met up with Bill, Barb, and Nicki. And, oh boy, did we get an eyeful when Margie's mother Ginger showed up unexpectedly at the Henrickson houses for a visit. I was stunned that Ginger had no idea her daughter was a polygamist but she didn't seem all that particularly perceptive, given the fact that the cane "fencing" was meant to look as though these three women lived in three separate houses. I loved the fact that Ginger casually moved aside the fence to speak to Nicki, oblivious to the implications that this was a temporary divider between the homes. I'll admit that I was terrified of boozy Ginger's light-up shirt and of the fact that she kept sloppily trying to come on to Bill with her early morning disco dancing. It's amazing that Margene turned out to be the sweet, charismatic, and adorable little pixie that she is today, if this is the woman who raised her and the emotional blackmail she must have dealt with her whole life.
Best line of the night: Wayne's "She tipped over. I didn't do anything." I seriously think the writers give this kid some of the comedic gems of the series. (Still can't get his "When are you coming home, Mother Barb?" out of my head.) I laughed my butt off when he reacted to Ginger's drunken pratfall with this line of dialogue.
Next week on Big Love ("Kingdom Come"), HBO promises the most dramatic episode yet; Bill devises a new schedule for his three wives while inciting Roman to retaliate against the Greenes, Frank locates Lois' hidden stash, and someone fires a gun. I cannot wait.
* * *
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.