Tag Archives: polygamy

The Ick Factor – A Recap of Big Love’s Season Finale “End of Days”

I had mixed feelings about tonight’s Big Love season finale.  On one hand, it was certainly eventful.  There were a lot of twists and turns during this episode that I didn’t see coming.  Plus, a lot of questions that had been left unanswered throughout the series were finally resolved, although not necessarily for the better (cough, Tommy and Barb, cough). 

On the other hand, watching “End of Days” was a highly unpleasant experience for me.  A lot of the scenes and plot points were just plain uncomfortable to watch.  When you’ve come to know and care about characters during the course of four seasons, as I have with the Big Love cast, there are some situations you just don’t want to see them in.  The episode’s game-changer ending will definitely send the show in an entirely new direction next season.  I am just not entirely sure that I like where it is going . . .

So, let’s take a look at where we are going, and where we have been, shall we?

Ding. Dong, J.J.’s Dead!

“I’m MELTING!  I’m MELTING!”

One of the questions that was resolved during the season finale was what the heck J.J. was doing to get everybody pregnant.  In fact, the J.J. storyline was entirely resolved, because awesome Adaleen set his house on fire, burning that crazy mother-f’er and his wife to a crisp in the process.  So, the prospect of J.J. returning to Juniper Creek is highly unlikely.  Unless, of course, he comes back from the dead all burned and disfigured a la Freddy Krueger, which I wouldn’t put past him.  (They both have that “terrorizing children” thing in common, after all . . .)

“I will haunt your dreams, and force you to carry my creepily deformed babies to term.”

When news breaks that the polygamist compound in Kansas is rife with inbred babies, all signs point to J.J.’s involvement, seeing as he runs things down there.  Wanda comes out of her catatonic state long enough to admit that J.J. has inseminated Adaleen with Wanda’s egg (and his own sperm) in order to impregnate her.  Wanda just so happens to be J.J.’s biological sister  . . .

J.J. then tricks the infertile Nikki into coming to his “doctor” son’s office, in order to impregnate her with an egg belonging to Cara Lynn, Nikki’s own daughter with J.J.  I don’t even want to KNOW how he got that egg!

Fortunately, Bill finds Nikki just in time, and rescues her from the clutches of the evil creepy J.J.  Then Adaleen ties J.J. and his wife up, douses their home with gasoline, and watches it go KABOOM!  Who knew drippy weak-willed Adaleen Grant would turn out to be such a . . .

“Come to think of it, Mary Kay Place could totally pass for an older version of Drew Barrymore.  Don’t you think?”

At the conclusion of the episode, Nikki cuts her compound-style braid, and agrees to carry Margene’s non-incestually deformed baby to term for the Henricksons.  Ummm, yay . . . I guess?

Margene, Goran, and Anna sitting in a tree . . .

“Come and knock on our door.  We’ll be waiting for YOU!  When the kisses are HERS, and HERS, and HIS, Three’s Company Too!”

Margene’s storyline this evening would have fit really well into a swinging 70’s era sitcom.  For the past few episodes, Margene has been waffling back and forth between her marriage to Barb, Nikki, and Bill, which will result in the inevitable loss of her jewlery business, and her greencard marriage to Goran.  When she talks to Anna about it, Margene confesses that she feels guilty about marrying Goran, because she is attracted to him.  This attraction makes her feel like a Big Ho-Bag, seeing as Goran is actually in a (committed?) relationship with Anna.   

Huh?  Where did this “love interest” come from?  There was no evidence of Margene’s “attraction” to Goran throughout the entire season.  The guy seductively grabs her knee once, and all the sudden she’s in love with him?  Wasn’t it only a few episodes ago that she was talking about her romantic feelings for Ben?  It just plain didn’t make sense to me . . .

Weirder still was Anna’s response to Margene’s confession.  She was totally cool with it.  Anna told Margene that she already knew that Goran and Margene had feelings for one another.  So, why couldn’t the three of them just be happy together?  Is this the same Anna who, just last week, lectured Bill about his hypocritical one man-for-many women ways?  Truthfully, I always sensed a bit of a lesbian subtext between Margene and Anna.  However, both characters’ actions during this episode seemed inconsistent and unrealistic to me. 

“Just imagine all the hijinks we can get into now!  Wait until we tell Mr. Roper!”

At the conclusion of this storyline, Goran is seen happily hugging Anna and Margene, while fondling both of their asses.  Somewhere up in heaven, Jack Tripper is raising his fist in triumph  . . .

“Goran, I salute you!”

Barb and Tommy are Splitsville . . . But what about Barb and Bill?

“I’m going to miss you, and your sexy sweat lodge too!”

I had high hopes for Barb and Tommy at the opening of this episode.  She adorably mothered him, by trying to get him to eat a healthy and well-balanced meal, after a stressful day.  He confided in her about his family troubles (apparently, Tommy has some bad seed drug dealers in his family).  Together, they worried about how Tommy’s screwed up family history may adversely affect the casino.  Barb then vowed to help Tommy, promising him that he wouldn’t have to go through this alone.  They shared plenty of longing looks, and another sexy hug . . .

Then Bill had to go and screw everything up!

Well, in Bill’s defense, Barb made quite a mess of things herself, by offering the results of Anna’s paternity test, which showed that Bill was the father of her illegitimate child, to a local news network.  Barb did this in hopes that doing so would keep Bill from winning the Senate seat that has been slowly tearing their family apart.  Then, ostensibly, Bill ratted out and fired Tom and Jerry from the casino, to save face.  However, I thought the move had “revenge against Barb” written all over it. 

“Wow, this just occurred to me . . . probably because I never remembered the Jerry-character’s name.  Why the heck did the writers choose names like these for a pair of characters that would constantly be discussed in the series together, and in this exact order?  Seriously!”

Barb apparently thought Bill made a dick move too.  And when she FINALLY stuck up for herself, and told Bill, “I don’t think I need you anymore,” I cheered for her. 

“You go girl!”

But will she have the guts to leave him now that he is a State Senator?  Only time will tell . . .

Don, Don, Don, Don DONNNNNNN!

Yeah, this wasn’t a big part of the show at all.  I was just happy to see my favorite sidekick, Don, back on Big Love for the finale, even if it was just to kiss Bill’s ass again.  Despite the fact that Big Boss Man ruined Don’s life and turned his kid into a juvenile delinquent (who throws rocks through people’s windows) Don still showed up to watch Bill make his State Senate acceptance speech, and actually seemed HAPPY when Bill won . . .

Build for Bill (more like Demolish for Bill)

Meet Bill Henrickson, the family values Senator from Utah, and his family (Not pictured: illegitamate child, fourth wife, and illegal alien second husband)

Perhaps the most cringeworthy moment of the entire episode came at its conclusion, when Bill won the State Senate seat, and came out as a polygamist. As a bunch of his former supporters stormed out in anger, Bill made matters worse, by calling each of his wives up to the podium with him, singlehandedly destroying their lives along with his own.  Although the foursome held hands together at the conclusion of the speech, in a show of solidarity, each wife looked like she would rather be pulled apart by two horses running in opposite directions, than be there with Bill.

And that was it for this season.  So, what did you think of the finale?  Are you excited for a Season 5 that  revolves around Bill as a polygamist Senator?  Are you hoping that Barb leaves Bill’s ass for Tom (and Jerry)?  Are you hoping Margene leaves Bill’s ass for Anna and Goran?  Were you as happy to see Don as I was?  Were you as happy to see Marilyn and J.J. GO as I was?

 

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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 . . .

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Oh no, Mr. Bill (Henrickson)!: A Recap of Big Love’s “Blood Atonement”

OHHHH NOOO!  Things aren’t going so well for the Henrickson clan!  But, hey, at least they have all their limbs in tact, which is more than I can say for SOME people on this show. . .

When I think back on this week’s installment of “Big Love,” the first word that comes to mind is “bizarro.”  In fact, if there was a camera on me while I was watching “Blood Atonement,” I probably would have looked a lot like this . . .

Yeah, I’m a monkey.  Got a problem with that?

But if I HAD to pick a theme for this episode, it would probably be “family”  — more specifically, the lengths a person will go to

save it . . .

seek vengeance on its behalf . . .

or prevent it from running her mildly successful jewelry business into the ground, by outing her as a polygamist.

So, without further adieu, let’s check in with our favorite family to find out who got married, who got knocked up,  who almost got blown up, who has an “unhappy uterus,” and who is no longer capable of clapping . . .

Oh Baby!

Apparently, Nikki will not be having one of these any time soon . . . but someone else will.

For some time now, our favorite second wife, Nikki Grant, has been receiving pressure from her sister wives to conceive.  At first, Nikki was hell bent against it, even going as far as to sneak birth control pills behind Bill’s back.  Now, however, Nikki is suddenly desperate to conceive.  Unfortunately, Heavenly Father has other ideas.   

Nikki’s doctor informs her that, having reached the ripe old age of 30ish, she has suddenly developed  . . .

 . . . an unhappy uterus (thus proving you can find ANYTHING in Google Images).

Speaking of uteruses (uteri?), you know who has the most cheerful uterus in the world?  Nikki’s Mommy, Adaleen, of course!  Given that she has a 30ish daughter, I’m guessing Adaleen is probably somewhere in her 50’s, just a wee bit past prime child-birthing age.  And yet, lo and behold, she is pregnant.  It’s a MIRACLE! 

Or is it?  J.J. was acting very strangely when discussing Adaleen’s pregnancy with his sister.  Plus, I didn’t trust that baby-faced “family doctor” to whom J.J. sent Adaleen (Nikki visited him later for help with her own infertility woes) as far as I could throw him.  

It may be too soon to tell what the heck is going on here.  However, my guess is that J.J. paid off that squirmy doc to inseminate Adaleen, in some strange and complicated ploy to either screw with Nikki or somehow become Prophet.  That being said, I am more than a bit worried for Nikki right now.  With J.J. watching her every move, an  “Unhappy Uterus” is  the least of her problems . . .

Holy Nuptials!

In other pregnancy news, erstwhile fourth wife Anna still has a bun in the oven, and Barb is still trying to get her holier-than-thou mitts on it.  “The Crazy Lady wants me to drink the Kool Aid again,” explains Anna in Russian to her vaguely attractive, but kind of dirty- looking fiancé, when Barb barges into the couple’s home for what feels like the 20,000th time this season, and begs Anna to reconsider her decision.

Anna explains that her fiancé, who is studying to become a doctor (yeah because this guy has PROFESSIONAL written all over him . . . PROFESSIONAL HITMAN), is in danger of being deported.  Therefore, the two of them must leave the country ASAP.  Seeing the writing on the wall for her jewelry business, should Bill win the Senatorial election and out the entire family as polygamists, Margene comes up with a thoughtful, if not entirely altruistic, solution. 

SHE will marry Anna’s fiancé!  This way, he and Anna will get to stay in the country!  Anna’s fiancé can become the doctor he always dreamed of being!  (Ha ha)  Bill and Barb can get to screw up yet another child!  And, most importantly, Margene can continue selling cheap bracelets on the Home Shopping Network!  EVERYBODY WINS !

Except, I’m not sure Barb would agree.  Then again, she has her own crap to deal with — or, as they say in the casino world . . .

Oh Craps!

Remember last week, when I warned Barb to beware of evil little women bearing sweet gifts?

She didn’t listen.  Back at the casino, Barb and Tommy (I hate to say it, but these two are actually really hot together and they haven’t even kissed yet) have their hands full with a right-wing extremist group that is loudly boycotting the casino.  Unfortunately, now that they actually need her, their high- priced media whore publicist, Marilyn, is no where to be found.  Things really get out of hand when the casino receives a bomb threat and has to be evacuated.

In an effort to reach some sort of compromise, Barb contacts the head of the extremist group, while the latter is on business in Scotland.  However, the Right Wing Nut Job denies playing any role in the bomb fiasco, and refuses to help.  When Barb learns that Marilyn is also in Scotland, she puts two and two together, and figures out that Marilyn is in cohoots with the Right Wing Nut Job. 

Her and Tommy have been set up!  Marilyn is EVIL!  I’m SHOCKED!  (NOT!)

Aye Chihuahua!

“We’re not in Utah anymore, Tito.”

While Barb is busy mucking things up at the casino, Bill and Joey are traveling down to Mexico to rescue Ma and Pa Looney Tunes and Bill’s oldest son, Ben, from that dastardly polygamist, Hollis Green and his wife, who reminds me of someone, but I can’t quite place her . . .

Oh yeah, that’s the one!

Anyway, Ma, Pa, Ben, and Pa’s other wife, Jodeen, are holed up in Green’s Mexican compound awaiting “trial,” while Bill and Brother Joey try to come up with a plan.  Joey, still peeved at the Greens for their role in his almost-wife Cathy’s death, literally wants to go in with guns blazing.  (He found Pa’s stash in the trunk of his car.  Apparently, Ma and Pa Looney Tunes were not ONLY smuggling birds across state lines, but weapons too)  Bill, however, has other ideas . . .

Leaving a very angry Joey behind, Bill sneaks onto the compound and almost manages to escape with his brood, when Hollis and his wife catch them.  Hollis deems the escape the ultimate betrayal, and wishes to execute Ma, Pa, Ben, and Jodeen ASAP.  In an odd moment of self-sacrifice, the typically self-absorbed Bill offers to give his own life for that of his family.  Just when it looks as though Hollis is about to . .  .

 . . . his arm falls off .  . . no really, it does.  Ma Henrickson may be a bad parent; she may be really lousy at bird smuggling, but, apparently, she has a unique talent for swordplay.  The now One-Armed Hollis crumples to the floor, and Pat Mrs. Green truly appears anguished over her husband’s agony.

Bill explains to Mrs. Green that her husband should be able to live, and may even be able to salvage his arm, but only if she gets him to a doctor ASAP.  That means setting the Henricksons free.  Fortunately, Mrs. Green chooses her husband, because I REALLY couldn’t take another Mexico-based episode of this show . . .

So, what did you think?  Were you  getting as sick of Mexico as I was?  Will Hollis be able to reattach his arm?  And what the heck is the deal with Preggers Adaleen?

 

 

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Would someone please retrieve my jaw from the floor? – A Big Love Recap

You may recall, that a few weeks ago I wrote a recap for Big Love during which I complained that the season had gotten off to a slow, dare I say it, boring start.  Well, boy has it picked up steam! 

I considered doing a full recap for the episode.  However, I feared that if I did that, dear reader, you would only skim it, instead of reading the whole thing.  (Do I know you, or do I know you?) 

Then, if you only skimmed, I have no doubt that you would miss the jaw-dropping awesomeness of it all.  Therefore, this little “recaplet” will focus only on the top three WTF-iest moments of this latest Big Love installment.

3. Nikki’s Mom is Marrying Her Creepy Fingernail-less Ex-Husband!

          Prophet Roman’s body is barely cold, and the eligible bachelors are already lining up outside his son Albie’s door to get a shot at marrying his bodaciously pilgrim-esque fourteen wives.  I smell a reality dating show! 

 (Farmer Wants a Crapload of Wives – coming soon to ABC)

            One of the contenders is the ever sexy fingernail-less wonder J.J., who just so happens to be Nikki’s ex-wife, and the father of her child.  But J.J. doesn’t just want any wife, he wants the First Wife, NIKKI’S MOM.  Albie consents, and Nikki’s mom responds by crying hysterically screaming like a banshee.  Wouldn’t you?

2.   Bill is the biggest D-Bag Ever!

       Bill’s asinine decision to run for State Senate has not only ruined the lives of everyone in his family, it has pretty much doomed everyone he knows to an eternally crappy existence.  When Bill’s opponent starts digging into his business affairs at Home Plus, Bill’s minion, Don, is understandably miffed.  Don gets even angrier when Bill informs him that all spare wives will have to be taken off of the Home Plus payroll (and hence cannot receive health insurance), in order to prevent the employees’ polygamist lifestyles from being exposed.

Despite all this, Saint Don actually apologizes to Bill for being unsupportive of his decision to run for Senator.  Ever the perfect sidekick, Don tells Bill that he will do whatever it takes to help his idol win the primary.  And Bill has the perfect idea in mind. 

The morning before he announces his candidacy, D-bag Bill actually has the audacity to ask Don to “take the bullet for him,” by admitting to his own polygamist lifestyle and resigning from the company.  Bill reasons that this will lead the dogs off Bill’s own multi-wived scent.  Don actually complies with this request, instead of punching Bill in his smarmy hypocritical face, like I would have done. 

(“Do I still get to ride in the Batmobile?”)

1. Margene and Ben – OMFG!

        In last week’s episode-ending shocker, Margene kissed her “sister son,” the 17-year old Ben, on the lips after he, unlike the rest of the Henrickson family, showed up to support his “mom” during her primetime television debut on the Home Shopping Network.  The producers caught wind of this spicy smooch, and introduced Ben on television as Margene’s husband.  When confronted by Barb about this little TV snafu, Margene admitted to giving Ben a peck on the lips “by mistake.” 

At the Home Shopping Network, Margene admits to the world (or at least the world of stay-at-home mom’s who watch the Home Shopping Network), that Ben is not really her husband.  But she goes one step farther, breaking down into tears, and, in a cringe-inducing monologue, admits that her husband abandoned her and her mother died due to drugs. 

F.Y.I. Margene, your viewers at home just want to buy bracelets.  If they wanted personal stories, they could watch Oprah at 4pm . . .

 . . . or this guy.

 Later, during a highly charged late night encounter in the kitchen, Margene admits to an insistent Ben that the kiss “meant something” to her.  Then, Ben’s little sister, Tattletale Teeny, who found Ben’s love note to Margene at the end of last season, reveals to Barb and Bill that Ben and Margene are “in love.”  When confronted by Bill, Ben maturely takes the bullet for Margene, claiming that he kissed her, and that the encounter was nothing but a dumb crush on his part.  Bill apologizes to Margene for her trouble, and inadvertently makes her feel like crap.

 Then, just moments before Bill is to make his important candidacy announcement, he finds Margene crying outside in her furry Republican Elephant suit.  (Wow, Bill, is that really how you like your loving?  Who knew polygamists were so kinky?)

  In a touchingly heartfelt scene, Margene admits to Bill that she kissed Ben.  Furthermore, at the time that she did it, she harbored romantic feelings for Bill’s young son.

    Later that evening, Bill comes into Ben’s room and finds him packing.  Ben explains that, under the circumstances, he thought it would be better if he “left home for awhile.”  Bill, continuing his episode-long D-Bag trend, agrees, tossing his minor-aged son out in the cold over a little kiss.  Talk about a “family values” candidate . . .

      And there you have it . . . quite a wild ride for an hour-long show.  If this keeps up, I may just have to invest in a spare jaw . . .

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Weekend at Roman’s – A Recap of Big Love, Season 4, Episode 1 “Free at Last”

            Greetings “Big Lovers!”  It’s that time again.  After the obligatory year-long hiatus that has become trademark for HBO Series, our favorite polygamist family are back to grace our television screens with their Heavenly Father-loving presence.  So, without further adieu, gather up all your wives, broil up some crab legs, and let’s get on with the show, shall we?

            Big Love’s premiere episode began with a brand new opener and corresponding theme song.  The show’s producers have decided to ditch The Beach Boys’, sappily sweet and jubilantly jolly, “God Only Knows,” for the sad emo sounds of Animal Kingdom’s “Bright Lights.”  Really?  An ultra hip indie rock song as an opener for a television show about uptight polygamists in Utah?  Call me a fuddy duddy, but I am just not that comfortable with my Henricksons having cooler taste in music than I do.

            In addition to the new song, the old opening sequence has also been unceremoniously dumped.  No longer will we be treated to images of the Henrickson family holding hands as they enjoy ice skating through a sea of white, or chowing down on a bountiful outdoor meal under a sun-filled sky.  Instead, each of the four main characters are now shown amidst a sea of black, falling.  Not just falling, but falling “dramatically.” It was almost as if the entire cast of Big Love had taken an acting class together, in which they were given directions such as “fall sad,”  “fall happy,” “fall contemplative,” “fall constipated,” and we are watching their responses.

                  Remember back when The Sopranos was still on the air, and before each season began, the producers would release a promo poster featuring the entire cast?  (Man, do I miss that show!)  Remember how television pundits across the nation would use up pages and pages of magazine space analyzing the poster and its implications for the upcoming season?  Well, I could only guess that the producers of Big Love were going for the same effect here.  But for me, the new somber-toned opener was a tad esoteric, more than a bit depressing, and just plain over-ambitious.

            Overall, the series’ excessive ambition was a problem that plagued the entire episode, which seemed to be heading a million directions at once, making it difficult for the viewer to become particularly invested in any one story.  Nevertheless, there were some intriguing stories presented here, which definitely deserve their due.  Here are some of the new plotlines that jump started Season 4:

Plot 1: Weekend at Roman’s

            Although this will undoubtedly make me sound morbid as heck, this was by far my favorite plotline of the night.  When we last saw The Prophet of Juniper Creek (played with “dirty old man” goodness by Harry Dean Stanton), he had just been smothered under the weight of a pillow held by Bill’s brother, Joey and was, presumably, dead.

            Now, Roman is missing.  And yet, for a dead guy, he seems surprisingly adept at investing.  Apparently the aforementioned corpse has recently come into large sums of money – said money having been purportedly deposited into a new bank account opened in Roman’s name by his daughter and Bill’s scheming adulterer of a second wife, Nikki Grant (Chloe Sevigny).  As a result, the FBI are literally invading upon the lives of our characters in search of the errant Roman, raiding the compound and harassing Nikki, who, of course, denies all accusations against her. 

            When a hysterical Adaleen Grant (Mary Kay Place) calls Nikki about a power outage on the compound, her daughter reluctantly purchases a generator and heads to her estranged mother’s doorstep.  Nikki drops off the generator and turns to leave when her mother implores her to remain for a BLT sandwich. (This seemed to be an odd lunch choice for a bunch of religious extremists, so my Spidey Sense was immediately tingling by this point.)  Nevertheless, when Adaleen requested that Nikki go down to the cellar to “bring home the bacon,” Nikki obediently complied.

            I instantly expected Momma Grant to lock Nikki in the cellar, but she surprised me and didn’t.  What happened next was far more interesting.  When Nikki reaches the end of the dark creepy compound basement and moves the slabs of meat out of the way, she finds herself face-to-face with a Roman Grantsicle.  Yep, it appears Roman Grant has been reduced from the living leader of the Juniper Creek LDS community to a very realistic Madame Tussaud wax figure of Harry Dead Stanton, complete with icicles hanging from its nose.  And if that’s not dead, I don’t know what is.

            When Nikki informs her brother Alby (Matt Ross) about their father’s death and subsequent baconey burial, he can barely restrain his unadulterated glee at the news.  “No, you be sad!  It’s very, very sad,” Nikki scolds self-righteously.

            And yet, Nikki is not gone for two seconds before Alby and his Lady MacBeth-esque wife, Laura (Anne Dudek) begin their “Daddy is Dead Celebration Party!”  Laura, ever the rebel, goes as far as to remove two cans of Coors Light from their otherwise empty fridge!  (Apparently, when stocking up on the LDS-verboten alcohol, the Grants neglected to purchase any real food.  Perhaps Abaleen should send over some of her famous BLT sandwiches?)

                 Empty fridge aside, it is Laura who triumphantly utters the very words that make up the episode’s title, “Free at Last.”  Alby, whose fur-free baby face does mustache-twirling villany like no other, is slightly more restrained than his wife.  Instead of jumping for joy, Nikki’s bad seed brother calmly sits back in his chair, clasps his hands together and says tonelessly, “My destiny is filled.  God will surely punish those who block my path to Glory.”

            Later that evening, Alby and Laura are seen driving together in a car that bears some very precious cargo.  “Did you see that?  He just gave me a mean look, because I’m going to be the prophet now,” explains Alby childishly, as he stares intently at our favorite frozen LDS leader in the backseat.

            Our well-traveled human ice sculpture pops up again later, somewhat thawed out, on the grounds where the Henrickson’s new casino is set to open in just a few days.  There he sits, soaking up some sun, while lying a comfy beach chair, in what must be a send up to that classic 80’s dead-guy flick “Weekend at Bernie’s.”  And pardon me for saying that, just like the titular Bernie Lomax, Roman Grant seems to be having way more fun dead than he ever did alive.

            Fortunately, as always, Bill (played by the still sexy Bill Paxton) is there to save the day.  With Nikki in toe, he carts the Roaming Roman away in his car, presumably toward a proper burial.  En route, he and Nikki, who we learn have not screwed since he found out she was cheating on him with the DA investigating her father last season, share a moment.  Bill provides comfort, delicately taking his second wife’s hand, when the heretofore stoic Nikki finally breaks down and cries over the death of her not-so-paternal daddy.

Plot 2: Mother and Child

            On the homefront, the Henrickson clan is adjusting to yet another new addition to their already insanely large family: namely, Nikki’s 14-year old daughter, Cara Lynn.  Fearing that her former husband J.J. will enter her daughter into the Joy Book, making her eligible for marriage at the compound, Nikki takes Cara Lynn into her home, and hides her from authorities.  Cara Lynn, who desires the opportunity to attend public school, agrees.  We learn from Nikki, that Cara Lynn has done exceedingly well on her placement exams, and will start public school a grade ahead of other girls her age.  (Gee, the Juniper Creek educational system must be awesome.  When can I enroll?)

            When J.J. storms into the Henrickson’s backyard and demands the return of his daughter, Bill, ever the peacekeeper, brokers a compromise.  He proposes Cara Lynn be returned to J.J on weekends, provided that she be allowed to attend school and stay with the Henricksons during the week.  J.J. reluctantly agrees, and actually seems like a pretty good dad in his initial interaction with his daughter.  He denies designs on placing Cara Lynn in the Joy Book, and even offers to re-enroll her in school at the compound, if that is what she wants.  Cara Lynn promises J.J. that she has every intention of returning to him once the school year ends.  She even agrees to go with him to Kansas when he moves there the following summer.

Plot 3: Itchy and Scratchy Henrickson

            In my least favorite plot point of the night, Ma and Pa Henrickson (played by, Grace Zabriski and Bruce Dern, respectively) continued their three season trend of finding new and increasingly less inventive ways to try and kill one another.  Frank, for his part, hired goons with nooses to accost Lois when he picked her up in his car.  Lois, in return, put a gun to Frank’s head.  Later, after a tedious tussle in Lois’s new home, the couple came to a temporary truce, agreeing to become business partners in Lois’s new hare-brained (or should I say “bird-brained”) profit-making scheme, which involves buying parrots for $30 and selling them for $700.  Here’s hoping that these two play nice for at least a few more episodes.

Plot 4: I Want Crab Legs!

            In the season opener, we find that the often-underestimated Margene (played by the adorable Ginnifer Goodwin) has become overwhelmed with juggling her new jewelry making career and the public relations aspects associated with opening the Blackfoot Magic Casino.  As we learned last year, Margene exhibited quite a bit of natural talent when it came to schmoozing the Blackfoot people.  I love that the once-juvenile and needy Margene is finally coming into her own as a capable and intelligent woman this season. 

              Margene encourages Barb (Jean Tripplehorn) to take over her responsibilities regarding the Casino, claiming that doing so will help the First Wife regain the confidence she lost after being excommunicated from her church.  And yet, Barb, typically the universal caretaker, and quintessential Super Mom, finds herself to be lacking in the social skills and personable warmth necessary to handle the Henrickson’s newest business partners.  She butts heads with them in many ways, most notably regarding the food choice for the casino’s opening night.  Barb demands that they serve crab legs, apparently a main stay on every Mormon family dinner table, while the Blackfoot tribe prefers salmon. 

                 When Bill is way-layed on the casino’s opening night, and the Casino’s would-be headliner Kenny Rogers can’t make it there in time to perform, Margene encourages Barb to make the opening night speech.  Barb initially looks incredibly nervous and awkward, standing in front of the gaming crowd.  However, she ultimately does an admirable job welcoming her new customers to the casino.  She ends her short speech, by introducing her son Ben’s band to the crowd, as it performs a slightly pitchy karaoke-esque cover of Rogers’ once chart-topping The Gambler.

                 Judging by the impressive amount of green stashed in the metal box exhibited to the family at the end of the night by the security staff, Barb’s awkward introduction did little to diminish the new casino’s giant profit margin.  All in all, the casino’s opening night appeared to be a successful one.

Plot 1 (Reprise): Dead Guys Don’t Always Wear Black

             Unfortunately, when it comes to the Henricksons, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.  Despite, the Casino’s opening night success, angry Blackfoot Tribe representatives confront Bill at the end of the evening.  Holding Roman’s iconic white hat aloft like the talisman of evil it clearly is, the tribe representatives demand answers.  It appears that “Dead Roman” is having some trouble keeping himself buried.

                I have to say, this part rang just a bit untrue for me.  Are we really supposed to believe that the Blackfoots would instantly identify that hat as belonging to Roman Grant.  Sure, he was wearing it in his Wanted Poster, but doesn’t everyone in Utah own at least one white cowboy hat?  Come on now . . .  

              That aside, the re-emergence of the white hat was an intriguing end to an uneven episode.  Here’s hoping it symbolizes the promise of better episodes to come.

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