Wowsers. That's all I can really say about the latest episode of Big Love ("Take Me As I Am"), the series' penultimate episode before the season finale. This week's episode definitely propelled this season's diverse plots forward, tying together several loose strands into a razor-sharp ball of wire. Who would have thought that Wanda would try to repeat her crime? Or that Alby would prove that old dictum about the enemy of my enemy being my friend? Or that there's a Parselmouth wandering around Juniper Creek? (More on that last bit in a moment.)
She really has made her bed after all of these years. I did feel for her after she saw the wedding announcement for her mother (guest star Ellen Burstyn) and Ned (guest star Philip Baker Hall) in the newspaper. Her relationship with her family has been completely fractured as a result of Bill's testimony about The Principle. The scene between her and her mother outside the wedding hall, in which Barb admitted that while she doesn't know if they'll end up together in the afterlife she wants to see her in this life, brought tears to the eyes of this jaded TV-phile.
I do feel for Barb, for the sacrifices she's made in order to keep her marriage and her family together, and for the fact that she does want better for her children. (And with a sister like hers, it's hard not to sympathize about her estrangement from her mother.) Still, I couldn't believe that her mom was telling people that Barb had left Bill and was returning to the LDS church, even if it was the woman's wedding. But I had an even harder time stomaching the fact that Barb was prepared to cart Ben off to Sun Valley for the summer with his grandmother, without even telling Bill what was going on. Even if she was royally ticked off about the fact that Bill concealed the fact that he stole Weber Gaming from Roman Grant.
Nicolette Grant is going to get someone in this family killed between stealing the $68,000 in tithe money from Juniper Creek and unknowingly ratting out Bill to her insane brother Alby about the purchase of Weber Gaming. And if there's one thing Nicki is good at, it's self-preservation. So I can totally see her bolting with her kids and heading back to the compound, leaving the rest of the Henrickson clan to face the wrath of Alby on their own, especially if she can't convince Bill to dump Weber Gaming before it's too late. (Loved how Bill told Nicki that the poll was "closed.")
She's obviously slipping into madness again, as evidenced by the fact that she was ready to poison either Kathy Marquart... or commit murder-suicide and kill them all with a poison cake. She's so clearly not on board with Joey's sudden interest in plural marriage and I don't see why Joey hasn't noticed her blatant distaste yet. Even so, her sudden attempt to demonize Kathy even may have soured Kathy towards her plight. Just where did the trio run to and how long will it take before they show up at Bill's houses?
I knew that the writers wouldn't just drop the surrogate mother storyline and I'm glad to see they didn't. Just how Margene is going to wriggle out of this one, I'm not entirely sure, especially with Pam offering Margene $50,000 to carry her child. Something that Margene is actually considering, BTW. (How will Margie conceal the fact that in a few months her baby, meant to go to some childless "god-fearing" couple, is living at home with her?) I wasn't all that pleased with Margene this week. Sure, I'd be furious at Bill for leaving me in the car "like a dog," but it wasn't right to cause a scene outside Barb's mother's wedding like that.
Sarah and Ben
The eldest Henrickson children seem to be the most messed up by their parents' decision to enter polygamy. Sarah's relationship with Scott went on the rails this week as she discovered that he was cheating on her and having sex with multiple women as he can't "handle" her virginity. Despite her abhorrence of her parents' lifestyle, she was willing to "share" Scott with other women. (Hello, kettle? I've got pot on the line for you.) I was hoping that Sarah would be the one to run away with her grandmother for the summer and leave the clan behind (she so clearly needs to), but I didn't want to lose Amanda Seyfried for next week's finale, either. Still, Nicki did give Sarah some good advice: "Hold on to your chastity, but show him what he's missing."
Meanwhile, Benny is seriously considering dating those creepy twins from the compound that he met at Nicki's party? Shudder. I would have thought that he had more sense than to get involved with two backwards girls whose main goal in life is to "marry the same guy before they're seventeen." Would someone shake some sense into this kid?
There's no doubt in my mind: Alby is certifiably insane, a sociopath of epic proportions who would just as soon skin you alive as he would smile at you. His scene with Lois at Joey and Wanda's deserted house proved that. Lois claims that she is the only one to know what Alby really is (hmmm) and he grabs at her face, only to play a game of "got your nose." I'm not sure if he got in touch with the Greenes or they contacted him (I'm guessing it's the former rather than the latter), but I was screaming at the television when he fell for Hollis' ruse that it was Bill who put them up to shooting Roman. (Argh!)
I shudder to think what holy vengeance Alby will rain down upon the Henrickson household(s) in his quest to avenge his heavily-sedated father and prophet. But it's bound to be even more bloody than leaving a snake in Barb and Bill's bed. As soon as I saw Barb look at the bed, I knew what lurked under those covers. And when that snake pounced, I nearly leapt out of my chair. If this is the opening salvo in a full-blown war between Juniper Creek and our favorite polygamist family, I'm deeply worried about what next week's finale will bring...
Next week on the season finale of Big Love ("Oh, Pioneers"): the Henricksons receive a rather unexpected guest; Sarah and Heather team up to bring Ben back to reality; Margene makes a grab for power; and just where is Nicki off to in the middle of the night? Find out next Sunday.
* * *
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.