Escape from Crazytown: A Recap of Big Love’s “Next Ticket Out”

 

Welcome back Big Lovers!  Can you believe the season finale is just one week away?  It seems like only yesterday we were driving around Utah, with Roman Grant’s frozen dead corpse in the back seat . . .

Ahhh, memories . . .

It has been a bit of an uneven season — one filled with some jaw-droppingly amazing moments (Margene’s romantic encounters with Ben, Dale’s tragic suicide, and Nikki’s heroic rescue of Cara Lynn), some truly bizarre moments (anything involving J.J.), and some teeth-clenchingly annoying moments (anything involving Marilyn, and the entire bird-smuggling / Mexico storyline – up until Hollis got his arm chopped off . . . that was cool). 

 Yes, it has definitely been a wild ride.  None of the Henricksons have had a particularly easy go of it this season.  Is it any wonder that this latest installment of Big Love focused on the theme of escape?  After all, who wouldn’t want to run away from this family of wack jobs?

Auf Wiedersehen, Sara!

“You are OUT!”

Near the end of Godfather III,  Michael Corleone utters the iconic line: “Everytime I think I’m out, they pull me back in!”  (The line was practically the only good thing about the film, which was a major disappointment, especially following the awesomeness that was the first two Godfather movies.)

I bring up the quote, because I imagine that this was how Sarah Henrickson felt, throughout most of the Big Love series.  Having been raised for most of her young life in a “normal” two-parent home, Sarah never really bought into the whole “polygamy” thing.  And I was always under the impression that her hasty  marriage to Scott was simply a way for her to distance herself from her family and their religious beliefs, permanently.

My suspicions were confirmed in the opening moments of this episode, when Sarah announced that she and Scott had put a downpayment on a home in Portland, Oregon.  The couple would be leaving Utah ASAP.  Now, I understand that this was somewhat of a plot contrivance, given that Amanda Seyfried wanted out of the show to pursue her burgeoning movie career.  However, I also happen to think that Sarah’s actions were consistent with the overall development of her character throughout the series.  And, I can’t help but be proud of my girl, Sarah,  for FINALLY escaping the utter craziness of the rest of her gene pool . . .

“Sayonara Suckers!”

Although the family initially balked at her decision,  the Henricksons ultimately came around to supporting Sarah.  Even Bill ultimately caved, arriving at Sarah’s home late at night, with a pizza pie and $5,000 as proverbial olive branches.   Sarah returned the favor, by publicly supporting her family during a television interview for the Senatorial campaign.  At the conclusion of the episode, the Henricksons gave Sarah an admittedly sweet parting gift, a quilt made from various family members’ attire and prized belongings.

Although I wasn’t particularly keen on her “baby napping” storyline this season, I must say that I overall enjoyed Sarah’s character during her run on Big Love.  Sarah was a relatable island of sanity amidst the show’s sea of craziness.  She will be missed . . .

Goodbye and Good Riddance, Marilyn . . . Oh, wait . . . You’re still here.

Last week, I compared Sissy Spacek’s devious and highly annoying lobbyist Marilyn to an itchy rash that just wouldn’t go away, no matter how much Benadryl you slathered on it.  This week, she proved herself to be exactly that.  When Barb comes clean to Bill about Marilyn’s double-crossing of the Casino, by hiring right-wing extremists to terrorize them, Bill immediately fires Marilyn’s ass.  I literally pumped my fist in the air in triumph.  Hurrah!  The Wicked Bitch of the West is finally gone!  I cheered.

And then . . . The Rash came back. (Boo!)  Marilyn popped up at Margene’s office, accusing the latter of having “an affair” with Bill.  (har de har, har)  When that didn’t work, she called Barb in the middle of the night to tell her about the affair.  The character’s motivations are becoming increasingly less clear as the season progresses.  I’m starting to think it all comes down to one thing:  BITCH IS CRAZY!

“I will not be ignored, HENRICKSONS.  And I will not leave, FANS, no matter how much you all want me to!”

When Barb doesn’t react to Marilyn’s claims that Bill is cheating on her, Marilyn puts two and two together and criticizes Barb for her unhealthy polygamist way of life.  At the conclusion of the episode, Tommy, who has been digging up dirt on Marilyn throughout the episode, informs Barb that Marilyn has waged a personal vendetta against the Henricksons, going as far as to stealing all of their personal financial information.   Someone’s not getting the bid for fourth wife anytime soon . . .

To Marry or Not To Marry, That is the Question

The Henricksons might NOT be getting a fourth wife this season.  However, it looks like a  second husband is definitely in the cards for them.  Initially, Bill refuses to condone Margene’s green card marriage.  Margene’s a part of this family, dammit!  And she’s going to have to give up her career, life, and happiness for Bill, just like everyone else!  When Margene assures him that the marriage is only a paper one, Bill asserts that a legal document now binds Margene to Goran.  Margene counters nicely, arguing that if legal documents are so important, than Bill’s marriage to Barb would be more real and binding than his marriage to Margene.

Later, Anna, who has oddly become the show’s moral compass (go figure), again calls Bill out on his hypocrisy.  When Bill whines that a woman can only have one husband, Anna laughs in his face.  “Do you even hear what you are saying?”  She inquires.  “You people are crazy!”


“I LIKE her . . .”

Bill’s tune rapidly changes when Marilyn threatens to expose the Henricksons as polygamists BEFORE the election.  Now Bill NEEDS Margene to marry Goran to reduce suspicion and keep the dogs at bay.  In a passive aggressive move that made me smile, Margene takes the liberty of inviting her new husband to the Henrickson home, arguing that doing so is necessary to make their marriage seem more believable.  Bill responds by getting into a classic pissing contest with Margene’s other husband, and knocking him violently in the head with a tether ball.

“Those homo sapiens . . . so unevolved.”

There’s such a thing as the Women’s Movement?  Who knew?

“Wake up and smell the new millenium, Barb!”

After being fired from the casino by Bill for putting Crazy Marilyn on the payroll, a frustrated Barb speaks to a group of local female voters about the challenges associated with being a woman in the 21st century – one who is expected to be perfect at all times.  She then makes an offhand comment about women solving their problems by becoming addicted to prescription medication. 

The statement backfires on Barb, when Bill’s senatorial opponent mischaracterizes it, asserting that Barb believes the woman of Utah to be a bunch of drug-addicted freaks.  Bill reprimands Barb, demanding that she retract her statement, regardless of its original harmless intent.  A distraught and newly unemployed Barb seeks solace from Tommy, who offers her a few words of encouragement and the steamiest hug I have ever seen!  Can these two hook up already?  Please!

“Stick with me, babe, and the only PILL you’re going to need is birth control!”

At the conclusion of the episode, Bill redeems himself a bit by sticking up for Barb on national television regarding her statements about prescription drugs.  Too little, too late, as far as I am concerned . . .

Nikki Loves Bill!  Alert the Media!

One of my favorite storylines this season has been the evolution of Nikki Grant from a shallow, immature, self-centered Daddy’s girl, and devout polygamist, to a sympathetic, caring, and strong woman coming to terms with the shortcomings of both her family and her religion.  Sure, she has had some missteps along the way.  Like, for instance, there was that time when she dressed like this . . .

However, ultimately, it has been rewarding to watch Nikki come into her own this season.  In the opening scene of this episode, Nikki appears at the family dinner in a modern and stylish, if slightly revealing, dress.  She continues her fashion-forward trend later that evening, coming to Bill’s bed dressed in sexy lingerie.  It is there that she comes clean to Bill about her difficulties conceiving a child and her visits with a “fertility specialist”  a.k.a. J.J.’s creepy son.

When Barb accidentally spills the beans to Nikki about Joey killing her father, Nikki rushes to Joey’s home to confront him.  However, instead of lashing out in anger, as the old Nikki was wont to do, Nikki finds herself immediately concerned for the safety of Joey’s fragile and  unstable wife, Wanda, who is nearly catatonic when Nikki finds her.  Just as she did with Cara Lynn a few episodes back, Nikki gallantly rescues Wanda from the compound.

“Think Bill will like my new outfit?”

Clearly in the rescuing mood, Nikki makes a pitstop at her brother Albie’s home.  As a result of Dale’s suicide and the resulting investigation into the latter’s finances, by the UEB, Albie appears to be having some type of nervous breakdown.  He is sweaty and shaking.  He keeps having hallucinations involving his father.  And he has become (gasp) a bad dancer!  Albie is bopping around his home to 80s music, when Nikki arrives.  (What is it with the Grants and the 80s?)

“What?  Those were good times!”

(BTW: Albie’s wife, the traitorous Laura, announces Nikki’s arrival.  Based on his interaction with her, it appears that Albie has not, in fact, put two and two together, regarding her role in Dale’s demise.  It seems unlike Albie to be so dense.  Is it possible that he DOES know and is merely waiting for the right moment to seek revenge?  I am intrigued to see how this will all play out. . . )

Nikki offers to go away somewhere with Albie, so that he can escape the toxic atmosphere of the compound.  Unfortunately, Crazed Albie is not exactly in the vacationing mood.  He violently pushes Nikki away, harshly ridiculing her new wardrobe and lifestyle.

Later, Nikki again confides in Bill that, after all these years of marriage, she has finally come to love him.  Compound living had taught her not to love, but only to obey.  Now, that Nikki truly loves Bill, she no longer wants to share him with Barb and Margene . . .

“It looks like monogamy is coming to get you, Mr. Bill.  Be afraid, be very afraid.”

The Devil You Know Versus The One You Don’t

In other Grant news, Nikki’s mom, Adaleen, has just learned that J.J. is crazy.  (Shocker!)  But not just your garden variety crazy, so crazy that ROMAN didn’t want J.J. around J.J. ‘s OWN daughter!  Apparently, prior to his death, Roman did, in fact, sign off on young Cara Lynn’s “sealing” to the dirty old man from a few episodes prior. 

However, as it turns out, Roman did so, not to seek vengeance against Nikki, as we once thought, but to rescue Cara Lynn from J.J.!   Now, when Roman Grant thinks your an evil nutjob, you KNOW things are bad .  .  .  I have a feeling this J.J. storyline is going to come to head next week in a major way!

That’s a wrap Big Lovers! Tune in next week for the grand finale, where, HOPEFULLY, Barb and Tommy will hook up, and we will FINALLY see the last of that pain in the ass, Marilyn . . .

4 Comments

Filed under Big Love

4 responses to “Escape from Crazytown: A Recap of Big Love’s “Next Ticket Out”

  1. imaginarymen

    I am pretty sure this show is on crack this season.

    I mean, I’m enjoying it – it is just SO whacked out every week!

    Totally cheered on the Barb/Tommy kiss *especially* bc Tommy was sporting some serious Hot Hair. I have a feeling that hug was “It” as in – for Barb, hugging Tommy and sitting in sweat lodge w/ him are probably = taking on her own second husband.

    I did like her standing up to Bill and eye rolling and exasperation. Anytime Barb shows any spunk I cheer her on. Plus “Utah Lady Helpers” is my new fave phrase (and would make a great band name!)

    Can I say how much I HATE this Teeny? The actress is terrible! Is she the daughter of an exec or something? She can’t act at all and the character has become so very annoying. I actually dislike her MORE than Marilyn, if you can believe it.

    Things I hope they resolve next week:
    What is JJ doing w/ Wanda and the “fertility doctor”?

    Why doesn’t he have fingernails?

    What happened to poor Don?

    Can Barb and Tommy have a steamy hug IN the sweat lodge?

    Can I love Nicki any more?

    How soon bf the 3-Armed Greenes come back to seek revenge on Ma Henrickson?

    • So, it’s settled! Nu-Teeny is BANISHED! A shirtless sweaty hot-haired Tommy shall replace her at all family outings from here on in. Something tells me that the rest of the Henricksons won’t mind that much. Did you see the look Bill gave Nu-Teeny when she performed that ridiculous tap dance during the television interview? Pure murder in his eyes.

      I am still not quite clear as to why they got rid of Old Teeny? The random replacement of child stars has not sat well with me since back in the 90’s when they sent that little girl from Family Matters up to her room during one episode, and she didn’t come out until about 20 years later . . . as a drug addicted porn star on Celebrity Rehab.

      And while we are on the subject of replacements, can we please throw Marilyn in the trash and bring back Don?

      Is it possible that J.J.’s fingernails are hiding under his wife’s really bad toupee?

      Good call on Hollis seeking revenge against the Henricksons for his “farewell to arm.” Somehow, I’m thinking that the fire shown in the promos is his doing . . .

      Oh, and do you think that Bill Henrickson’s campaign jingle is available yet as a ringtone? Because that would be AWESOME!

      Thanks for your comments this season! You always seem to clue me in on fun things that I miss while watching the show.

      See you next week for the big finale!

  2. Amazon Annie

    From the very beginning of this show, I was pissed off at how anti-woman it was. I would keep repeating under my breath “get some backbone girl….get yourself a boyfriend…that’ll teach “the man of the house” I guess living through the days of “Women’s Liberation” made me less than accepting of situations that put women in the back seat while the men did the driving. It does my heart good to see the women getting some gumption! This is America…women play sports in college, become doctors and CEO’s and they even vote! It’s about time that we can see the Hendrickson women having some thoughts of their own and letting Bill deal with his new more liberated wives. You rule Nikki! Tell Bill you won’t share! (although why you want him…I’ll never know!)

    • Thanks for your insightful comments Amazon Annie, and for the “You Rule Nikki!” comment. I know you weren’t always a fan of Second Wife, so it makes me smile to see that you’ve come to embrace her. 🙂

      One of the things I have always enjoyed about Big Love as a series, is that I truly believe that, at its core (wackadoo compound storylines aside), it is a show about relationships. In the earlier seasons, polygamy was a concept so foreign to most people, that I think, in order to gain an audience, the writers had to sort of “normalize” it to make the show accessible. There was less focus on the polygamy itself and the religious beliefs surrounding it, and more focus on the individual relationships between the characters, i.e. Bill’s dynamic with each of his three very different wives, and the wives shifting alliances with one another. In a lot of ways, Big Love was very similar to many other character-driven family dramas on television.

      Now that the show is in its fourth season, it has an established fanbase. The fans, for better or worse, have come to accept the concept of polygamy, at least in theory. This has allowed the writers to really delve into the more extremist, sexist, and archaic aspects of the religion, not just on the crazy compound, but in Bill’s more mainstream house as well.

      Aside from being weird and, at times, unintentionally hilarious, Big Love raises important issues about females’ role in modern day society. It prompts discussion, and, for that, I think it should be applauded.

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