Polygamy in Public Causes Problems Again on Big Love

I cannot believe that there are only two episodes left of Big Love. But I also can't believe that, given those parameters, HBO would shift the drama back to Sundays beginning next week. Then again, maybe there's a reason I'm not a network programmer.

In this week's episode of Big Love ("The Happiest Girl"), things definitely built to a head not just for the Henrickson clan but for all of the other disparate characters and the multiple secrets they've been hiding from one another. What other series could wring such drama out of a gaming convention or the preparation for a party? Answer: none. And that's the beauty of Big Love, that it derives such pleasure from the mundane and ordinary and manages to create a taut drama with an added dose of unexpected humor.

Barb

I wouldn't be surprised if Barb decides to break free from the Henrickson clan by the end of the season. Given her distaste of Weber Gaming and her frustration with Bill and her sister wives, I could see Barb attempting to pull away and try and form her own life. (She's already attempting to do so with her return to school.) Does she have the courage to go it alone? And was she ever cut out for a life of polygamy in the first place? I thought she played her part astoundingly well when Bill summoned her to the convention to be his "public wife." Though like Margene, I was surprised that she came running as quickly as she did. That said, if there's one thing that Barb respects, it's responsibility. Still, I want to see Barb lose her sad martyr's smile and find some level of happiness for herself.

Nicki

Once again, Nicki is going to sink all of them in serious trouble with the compound. I cannot believe that she stole $60,000 from Juniper Creek and was throwing a lavish party for Joey, Wanda, and Kathy's announcement ceremony as though it were no big deal. With a sign that read "Hosted by Nicolette Grant," ice sculptures, and a chocolate fountain, no less! (That's how you know that the chocolate fountain craze is finally over: if a compound-raised polygamist wants one for a party, the trend has reached over-saturation.) Still, that was child's play compared to what happened when Alby tried to stop the party and then showed up at the Henrickson homes to demand she cease her activities. Alby knows that Nicki stole that cash from the UEB and that she was on the compound but didn't come to his testimony meeting. But he didn't know anything about Bill's involvement with Weber Gaming until Nicki told him! Grr argh! This will not end well and Alby will use the full force of Juniper Creek to rain down hell upon Bill and his wives. Nicolette Grant, I'd like to slap you now please.

Alby

Alby is dangerous, pure and simple. While Roman was a creepy old man, Alby is a sociopathic nutcase with no compunctions about using whatever means necessary to enact revenge and steal his place at the head of the table. Even if that means keeping his own mother from seeing Old Roman on his deathbed and inciting his creepy first wife Lura to inject his father with enough morphine to send the old man into an eternal slumber. "Sleep papa," Alby says as the morphine reaches its mark. "I will avenge you." Kudos to the wrtiers for setting the murder scene against that of Rhonda appearing on television, singing to Roman to "wake up, you sleepyhead." Classic.

Heather

Yay, Mac (Tina Majorino) is back! Or, well, Heather Tuttle, anyway. I was so happy to see Heather return to the show as Sarah definitely needs a confidante, but I really hope that the reason Heather was whispering to her overbearing LSD mother was that she was finally telling her that Rhonda was blackmailing her about her "feelings" for Sarah. Please let Rhonda get the comeuppance she so richly deserves. That said, was Rhonda on to something? Does Heather have feelings for Sarah that go beyond their friendship? And is that why she's so edgy around Sarah's boyfriend Scott? Hmmm, curious.

,b>Margene

I really did feel bad for poor Margene, who got majorly shafted this week. I had no idea that her and Bill's honeymoon was cut short (though I don't think Barb was lying when she said Teenie had a fever) and wished that these two could finally get the alone time they need. Still, Margene was not totally equipped to play the part of the public wife initially. She instantly revealed her status as third wife to a complete stranger. Still, she fits into the world of Weber Gaming better than Barb and proved her worth that evening; Barb is all about dinner parties and company functions but it's Margene who can steer Bill through this world. Who else cheered when Bill came clean about Barb and Margene being his wives? I thought it was one of the best payoffs of this season and got the poker players to view Bill as one of their own. In the end, I do think the the happiest girl in the world was Margene, after all.

Next week on Big Love ("Take Me as I Am"), the drama moves to Sundays: Bill makes Alby an offer; Barb reaches out to her estranged family (including mother Ellen Burstyn) while alienating her sister wives; and Sarah and Scott's relationship is tested.

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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.