Welcome back, Big Lovers! A lot has happened since we last visited the Henrickson clan. Bill got the Senate nomination! Ben went off to live with his Bat-S*&^ Crazy Grandma! Barb got hot and steamy with another man!
Tonight’s episode had a lot to do with accepting responsibility for, and coming to terms with, one’s past. While some characters were able to do this successfully, others seemed to regress, resorting to pouting, name-calling, manipulation, and other childish antics, to get what they wanted.
So, what do you say we jump on the campaign bandwagon, to find out which Henricksons “grew up,” and which decided to remain in Never Never Land?
Father Knows Least
“I just can’t understand why all of you won’t cater to my every whim.”
If you recall, erstwhile D-Bag Bill kicked his 17-year-old son Ben out of the house, because his wife, Margene, developed feelings for Ben and kissed him on the mouth. All of this was clearly Ben’s fault! After all, despite his youth, Ben is a MAN! Therefore, he should ABSOLUTELY be responsible for controlling the inappropriate sexual urges of all of the “weak and feeble-minded” women in his life. Right?
(Ooh, perhaps I went a bit heavy on the sarcasm there . . . Naaaah.)
“Man, compared to this guy, even I’m evolved!”
In addition to banishing his own son, Bill is also giving Margene the cold shoulder. Barb initially pleads with Bill to take back his son and play nice with Margene. “You have to forgive her,” Barb lectures, using words that will come back to haunt her by the episode’s end.
However, when Barb learns that this was more than just a “missed peck on the cheek,” her tune quickly changes. She too begins giving Margene the cold shoulder. And how does Margene respond to all this iciness? By sucking on a helium balloon and speaking in an “adorably” squeaky voice, of course. (I’m not kidding. She actually does this.)
“Margene is hot and all. But I am starting to think that she is a bit too immature for me. Too bad Sarah is already taken . . .”
While crashing at his Big Sister Sarah’s, Ben calls his Grandma Lois, in hopes of getting some money with a much-needed side of sympathy. When Ma Henrickson learns what Bill did, she is understandably horrified, not to mention overcome with guilt. This situation forces Lois to recall how she sat idly by, while her husband threw Bill and his brother Joey out of the house, when both were barely teenagers.
Lois confronts Bill with the intention of preventing him from repeating his father’s mistakes. However, the self-involved Lois winds up merely defending her own cowardly past misdeeds. “This isn’t my fault,” she whines. (Oh, yes, it is!)
Later, when Bill gets roped into spending the evening at his own casino to please an important campaign contributor (This is the first time I’ve actually seen him there all season), he is mortified to find his own parents in attendance and causing a scene. Bill and his father soon come to blows. Bill blames his father for his crappy childhood. Papa Henrickson responds by calling Bill out on his own hypocrisy. They beat each other up a bit.
To make matters even worse for Bill, Joey, typically a staunch supporter of Bill’s, surprises his brother by taking his father’s side. “You are on the wrong path, brother,” scolds Joey.
And in polygamist speak, telling someone that they are on the wrong path is about as bad as telling them to go %$& themselves. (Worse, actually, since polygamists don’t curse).
Nikki Develops a Conscience
Nikki’s been a busy little bee lately. Bill has decided to pimp her out to his opponent’s campaign in order to collect some helpful intel. At the same time, she is posing as Bill’s “assistant,” Daphne, in order to quell the suspicions of the devious lobbyist, Marilyn. “Why am I always the one asked to do morally ambiguous things?” Nikki inquires. (Good question.)
Bill puts up some lame excuse about delegating jobs that cater to everyone’s individual strengths. Nikki, who obviously has dreadfully low self esteem, seems to buy into this. But I, for one, would be hugely offended, if I were her. Basically, Bill has just told his own wife that her “strengths” lie in being a conniving bitch. Based on past experience, this may be true, but still . . .
“I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”
Some Like it Hot
To say that Bill’s Senatorial campaign is bringing out the worst in Barb is the understatement of the century. Normally calm and collected, Barb lashes out at Margene when she finds out the true nature of her feelings for Ben, calling her a flirt and a floozy. Barb then gets real classy, outing Margene’s deceased mother as a low-class alcoholic.
“Oh no she di-dn’t!”
Barb concludes this “mature and rational” meeting of the minds by knocking down Margene’s bracelet sales display with the verve and intensity of a playground bully. Realizing that she needs to “cool off,” Barb heads to the casino where she encounters its co-owner Tommy. Instead of cooling things off for Barb, Tommy decides to heat them up, by taking Barb to a sweat lodge.
Tommy’s hot shirtless bod doesn’t go unnoticed by Barb, particularly when she finds out that he is a widower. The sexual tension between these two has been evident since they started arguing with one another early in the season about how to run the casino. Now, it appears the pair has reached a whole new level of “hot for each other”-ness.
Barb leaves the sweat lodge before things can get too steamy between her and Tommy. However, she returns there on her own to gather her thoughts at the end of the episode. I having a feeling that this is not the last we will see of Barb and Tommy.
(It is now official. Every single wife of Bill’s has had an emotion affair on his ass. It serves him right, as far as I am concerned . . .)
Rebel With a Cause
In Bill’s defense, he actually made some important strides toward being a decent human being, during this episode. For one thing, he refused to link up with the clearly EEEEVVVIL lobbyist Marilyn, despite the fact that doing so would undoubtedly help his campaign.
Bill does the right thing again, when tragic news hits Utah regarding a “Lost Boy,” who escaped from the Juniper Creek compound, robbed a convenient store, and ended up being killed as a result. When Bill’s Senatorial adversary, Coburn, pushes him to take a hard stance against the dead youth and the crimes he committed, Bill takes the high road and refuses. Later, in secret, he contacts the county and ensures that the boy be given a proper burial.
On the day of the primary runoff election, Bill returns to the convention center to find it wallpapered with his mug shot, which was taken during his own “Lost Boy” teenage years. And I’ll be darned if the young Bill Henrickson isn’t a spitting image of the young Frank Sinatra.
(Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the actual “Henrickson mugshot” to post here. However, anyone who saw the episode could probably back me up on this one.)
During the Republican Primary Debate, Bill surprises everyone by coming clean about his father’s abuse, his mother’s abandonment, and his childhood crimes. In a heartfelt speech that literally brought tears to my eyes, erstwhile D-Bag Bill invites his community to take responsibility for its “Lost Children,” and accept these neglected children’s sins as their own.
As a result of this admittedly awesome speech, Bill wins the primary against his highly unsympathetic opponent, who actually reminded me a lot of this guy . . .
During the celebration of his victory, a humbled Bill agrees to try and reconcile with Margene. He even goes as far as to patronize Barb for not being as open and godlike as he has just recently become. “You have to forgive her,” Bill scolds, throwing Barb’s own words from the episode’s opening back in her face. (Burn!)
As much as that line made me cringe, when Sarah tells Bill that young Ben did not come to his victory celebration; and has, instead, went off to live with Crazy Ma and Pa Henrickson, I genuinely felt bad for the guy.
Growing up isn’t always easy . . .