Et tu Barb? – A Recap of Big Love’s “Under One Roof”

Watch your backs, Big Lovers!  Tonight’s episode was all about betrayal.  Not a single character made it through the hour unscathed.  In fact, one character didn’t make it out alive.

 So, without further adieu, let’s take a look back at this blood bath of an episode, to find out who stabbed who, and which wounds were lethal . . .

She’s Baack!

While at a restaurant schmoozing a potential campaign contributor, Bill and Barb run into a very pregnant Anna, a.k.a the fourth wife that almost was . . . but wasn’t.  Doing a bit of mathematical calculation in their heads, Bill and Barb become instantly convinced that the bun in Anna’s oven is Bill’s.  Of course, the self-righteous Henrickson clan is certain that Anna should want nothing more than to rejoin “The Family” with her new baby.

Despite Anna’s pleas that the Henricksons leave her alone, the following evening, Bill and the wives arrive at the restaurant where Anna works to re-plead their case.  As far as they are concerned, the situation is a clear win-win.  After all, who wouldn’t want to join a family as healthy and functional as this one?

 

Clearly smarter than she looks, Anna blows them all off.  Later, however, she approaches Bill at his office to inform him that she has changed her mind.  Apparently, fifteen-hour restaurant workdays are not exactly healthy for a mother in her third trimester.  Anna proposes that Bill provide her with some monetary help.  In exchange, she will arrange for Bill to have some visitation rights, once the baby is born.  Anna conditions the agreement on Bill’s promise to keep the other wives out of the arrangement, because, frankly, they scare the crap out of her.

“Oh HELL no!  I absolutely refuse to become part of that loony family!  I’ll stay in your tummy forever, if I have to!”

Anna suggests that they hire a lawyer to draft a visitation agreement.  However, Bill assures her that such formal measures are not necessary.  He may be a D-Bag, but he’s no dummy.  After all, bastard children and political campaigns do not exactly mix.  The less evidence against Bill, the better  . . .

“Yeah, no sh&t, Sherlock!”

When Barb learns about what transpired between Bill and Anna, she is livid.  After all, any baby conceived during a Henrickson marriage is Henrickson property, as far as she is concerned.  (women and children apparently equal chattel, here in Big Love land).  Barb barges into Anna’s apartment and demands that she reconsider.   She is shocked to find another man there.    “He is my fiancé,” explains Anna.

According to Anna, her fiancé is aware that the baby Anna is carrying is Bill’s.  However, he is allowing Anna to receive help from Bill because he wants what’s best for the baby.  (Do you want to see a paternity test?  Because I sure do!  No man is that understanding.)

Barb remakes her lame argument about the baby being born out of “their” marriage.  This is the moment Anna chooses to drop her bombshell.  “The baby was NOT conceived during the marriage.  It was conceived before [Bill and I] were married.”

“Oh Billlllyyy!  You have some explaining to do!”

The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave . . .

The Henrickson’s not only had to deal with the woman who had abruptly re-entered their lives, they also had to cope with the one who just wouldn’t leave.  Evil publicist Marilyn, still intent on signing Bill’s casino to her client roll, finagles yet another meeting with Bill’s partners to make her pitch.  She goes one step further by approaching Barb with girl talk and sweets wrapped in a red bow.

 Beware of evil women bearing goodies, Barb . . .

Marilyn does a fairly good job of getting into Barb’s head, regarding the latter’s lack of equal standing at the casino, despite her being a full partner.  Marilyn then informs Barb about her pitch for representation of the casino – a pitch to which, of course, Barb was not invited.  Ultimately, Barb goes behind Bill’s back and signs Marilyn as casino representative, on his behalf.  Apparently, Bill is not the only one who can make agreements that affect The Family without the rest of The Family’s approval.

Not Without My Daughter!

Nikki’s “fashionable” new look

Nikki is appalled and disgusted when she learns that her “ex-husband” and the father of her child, J.J.,  is being “sealed” to her mother at the same creepy run-down motel where she lost her virginity at age 14.  When J.J.’s sister calls her to inform her that J.J.’s whole family is coming down for the “sealing,” Nikki begins to fear for her mother and her daughter’s safety.

To prove her independence, Nikki crashes the “wedding” dressed in “modern” clothes.  Or rather, she dresses in clothes she assumes are modern, seeing as she has basically  dressed like a pilgrim since birth.  Her sideways ponytail and short jean skirt were admittedly hilarious.  However, I think 1984 probably wants them back.  In all honesty, I haven’t seen Chloe Sevigny so poorly dressed since . . . this.

But I do feel a bit bad about harping on Nikki’s clothing, seeing as she was definitely the hero of this episode.  When Nikki learns that her 16-year old daughter is to be sealed to an older man, much like Nikki was sealed to J.J. in the past, Nikki breaks into the motel and gallantly comes to her daughter’s rescue. 

Getting Loco Down in Mexico

Things are going slightly better (at least, at first), for young Ben, as he bonds with his Crazy Grandma and Grandpa down in Mexico, while they attempt to carry out their “bird-brained” scheme to bootleg parrots across state lines.  Ben lies to his family, telling them that he is nursing his Grandmother’s broken foot.

Meanwhile, Ben and Grams are having a grand old time dancing (on both feet), eating shrimp cocktails, and talking about living together in Mexico.  Unfortunately, when they go to market to collect their parrots, things do not exactly go as planned.  Apparently, Ma and Pa Henrickson aren’t the only ones involved the bird racket.  The creepy mafia-esque polygamist Greene family like their birds as well, and aren’t big fans of competition . . .

Blind (and Dumb) Ambition

Much to the chagrin of the entire Henrickson family, Bill is determined that they come “out” as polygamists upon Bill’s election to Senate.  Under the flimsy rationale that it will help his campaign, he begins making rash decisions on the family’s behalf.  First, he decides to rebrand his “local family” casino by placing billboards for it outside of his voting district.  Then, he makes plans to purchase a larger campaign headquarters, despite the financial burden it will undoubtedly place on the increasingly cash-strapped family.

After meeting some unexpected opposition from his wives, Bill reveals his new “campaign headquarters” to his family.  These “headquarters” are not located in a stodgy warehouse, or office, but rather, inside a stately mansion.  Bill informs his wives that this is where he plans to move with them, after they come forward as polygamists.  According to Bill, it has always been his dream to have his entire family living under one roof.

Love Hurts (and Sometimes Kills)

Juniper Creek Trustee, Dale, and Albie are still involved in their heated love affair at the episode’s opening.  Unfortunately, their relationship cannot stay a secret for long.  Soon, Albie’s wife, Laura, finds the couple leaving their clandestine hideaway together.  Heartbroken, Laura begins to tip off the other trustees as to Dale’s sexual orientation. 

In a heart-wrenching speech, Dale confronts his religious leaders about his struggles with homosexuality.  He complains that although he has lived a righteous and religious lifestyle, he cannot change his sexuality, no matter how hard he tries to do so.  Still not satisfied, Laura approaches Bill about Dale and Albie. 

Bill meets Dale in secret to confront him with this new information.  Although he is sympathetic to Dale’s troubles, Bill has no choice but to ask him to resign, due to the obvious conflict of interest this presents with respect to the trusteeship.

Shoving the final nail in the coffin, Laura then confronts Dale’s wife and children with their patriarch’s secret.  In the last few moments of the episode, Albie enters the couple’s secret hideaway to find a dead Dale hanging from the rafters by his tie.

It doesn’t get much more intense than that, folks.  Tune in next week, to find out whether Bill can rescue his crazy parents and fairly sane, but Oedipal, son from the Mexican firing squad . . .

2 Comments

Filed under Big Love

2 responses to “Et tu Barb? – A Recap of Big Love’s “Under One Roof”

  1. imaginarymen

    I have no use for the casino/lobbyist storyline. None.

    The Dale storyline was HEARTBREAKING!! Poor crazed Albie. I wonder who he’ll “re-assign” devious Laura to if he finds out she’s behind this. Don’t you love how all the men in charge just treat the women like property? Isn’t that just charming? ;-p

    I was watching w/ a friend who just started watching this season and didn’t understand why I squealed in terror when the Greene’s showed up. I couldn’t even remember the entire list of awful things they’ve done to re-count to her!

    Loved Nicki-to-the-rescue, LOVED IT! I heart Chloe Sevigny SO much as Nicolette Grant I can’t even tell you! Her outfit and sideways ponytail were icing on the already kick ass cake she was delivering to La Esperanza.

    I didn’t see the Anna thing coming at all – her return, her pregnancy, or her spilling the beans to Barb. VERY interesting that apparently Bill couldn’t keep it in his pants w/ Margene pre-“marriage” either. Makes you wonder how much is him “following the Principle” and how much is him “being a douche who can’t keep it in his pants.”

    Last night was another total “watch through my fingers” ep!

  2. I am in 100 percent agreement about the casino / lobbyist storyline. I give it short shrift in my recaps each week, hoping it will go away. Then, every week, it comes back, like a bad rash. My impression is that the storyline was supposed to be a 1 to 2 episode thing. However, when Sissy Spacek saw that it was a small role, she balked at it. So the writers were forced to expand it to the monstrosity it is today.

    I thought the actor who played Dale did a brilliant job last night. He absolutely deserves an Emmy for that performance, although I fear the snooty, big name-loving awards committee might give one to Spacek instead. It was also nice to see a soft (slightly less creepy) side to Albie, for a change. Between his telephone conversation with Nikki, and his reaction upon finding the body, Albie broke my heart twice in one night.

    It’s nice to see both Barb and Margene standing up to Bill for a change this season. However, Barb’s holier-than-thou attitude is starting to grate just a tad. I’m kind of excited for her to “err” with Tommy, so that she can be brought down a peg . . .

    And, of course, Nikki was all kinds of awesome last night! I love that, of all the wives, SHE is questioning the principle the most. Very fitting . . .

    Thanks so much for your comments. Your insights always make my blog entries better!

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