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Recapping "Big Love": S5/E5 “The Special Relationship”

By Melissa McKimmey | TV | February 16, 2011 |

By Melissa McKimmey | TV | February 16, 2011 |

This season I’m pretty split on the quality. I think the writing is sharper and some of the themes are very thoughtful and interesting, but it’s like they can’t figure out how to put it all together. The show seems to be both standing behind Barb and campaigning for Bill as the everyman hero and I’m not sure the world can allow both.

As for our illustrious senate-elect, he’s still making deals. Senator Barn tells Bill they need to get back to the status quo and he’ll get the polygamy bill nixed and the Safety Net bill fast-tracked if Bill will stop doing publicity. I guess everyone has to find a way to deal with Bill, but was it so much to ask that he be impeached and run out of town on a rail? Bill’s all for the deal and then has the nerve to tell Don that the senators are afraid of Bill and the light he shines on their back room deals. Jesus, is he for real? This has to be some kind of in-joke, because there is no way that Bill could think that threatening to veto the AG’s budget was anything other than a bullying tactic. Apparently blackmail and bribes are the new civilized debate. Who knew? Even Don looks skeptical. He’s going to take his kids ice fishing. Aw. Don’s hair looks kind of odd, like it’s fake. It’s kind of poofy. I’m not a fan. Then Bill sends Margie out to do publicity instead, and admits that it’s his way of getting around the deal. Yeah, he’s the good guy here. Nicki gets bitchy about Margie being the public one, but Margie claims to be a positive face on polygamy. Seriously, you’re not going to get a lot of recruits if you feature Nicki in your ads.

Cara Lynn overhears the wives talking about how she has to be damaged from her compound days and she goes to her math teachers house to talk to him. And the moron lets her in. Oh. I’m sure this won’t go badly at all. Ew, you know what just occurred to me? Cara Lynn Is the same age as Margie was when Bill married her. That puts it into a horrible perspective.

Lois hates living with the Henricksons and wants to go back to the compound and Frank. The devil you know and all. Lois calls Frank to pick her up and Bill tells him about the dementia. Frank’s apparently not one for taking care of the woman he gave a horrible disease to and leaves without a word to her. Oh Lois, you’re better off. I bet it does suck to live with Nicki, though. She’d always be giving you that judging look she has.

Speaking of Nicki, she’s all about saving women from the compound and helping them get a new start. It is one of the few times I’ve actually liked her lately. She’s using her bossiness and organizational skills to help other people and it’s nice to see her with a sense of purpose. Now if she’d just stop being such a bitch.

Ably and Verlan have a miscreant-to-miscreant talk. Turns out that Verlan (that’s such a dumb name) has a manslaughter charge in Nevada. Way to pick ‘em, Rhonda. Alby decides Verlan’s going to be a Alby-ite and hires him to eliminate Don. Why wonderful Don, you ask? Because Don is Bill’s BFF and Alby wants to watch Bill suffer. God, Bill ruins everything! Don and the kids go ice fishing and Verlan attacks Don while the kids are at the truck. He tried to hit him with a tire iron and misses, then hits him on the side of the head and leaves him for dead in the water. Don almost dies but Gary saves him. Bill comes to see him at the hospital and says “The heavenly father isn’t done with you yet!” and Don gets a panicky look because he knows Bill’s going to make him do something stupid/immoral/illegal. He just doesn’t know what yet. I think Don’s getting tired of being Bill’s fall guy. I hope he has an epiphany.

Barb freaks out about Bill wanting to divorce her and marry Nicki. As one would. Nicki thinks it’s a great idea and you can see her glee as she realizes what a power-grab it would be. It becomes obvious why Barb loves Margie when Margie’s comment on the whole thing is that of course Barb and Bill have a special relationship and she’s not jealous, like Nicki. No one thinks Nicki has pure motives in this. Even Ben thinks it’s a bad idea.

Nicki tries to get Barb in trouble by making her tell Bill about her idea of holding the priesthood herself, hoping that it’ll sway Bill to her side. Bill gets pretty upset about it and I can see why. He’s been raised to see everything one way only and Barb wants to challenge the most fundamental belief he has. Bill Paxton nailed it in his scenes with Barb, because it’s clear that he wants to do something to give her the responsibility that she wants and he wants her to be happy, but he can’t give her this. It’s actually a very poignant way of showing how sometimes even the strongest couples face conflicts where neither side can give something up. Even though he does show screw it up when he asks Barb if maybe she feels less fulfilled because her child-rearing duties are nearly finished. One minute I think Bill’s a decent guy who might get it, then he says something stupid. You’d think I’d stop getting my hopes up.

Barb and Bill walk together and come to the bench where he proposed. The love between Bill and Barb is very clear and I found myself pulling for them to work it out. And I hate Bill! It’s clear though, that even though Barb loves Bill, she has a calling that she has to follow. When Bill tells her that he’ll find another way instead of the divorce, Barb says no, they should get divorced. Is she practicing being a priesthood holder for her family by looking out for what they need or is she saying that it’s over for good? I’m hoping for both.

Five episodes left and nothing’s been resolved. I’m starting to think that we’re getting a cliffhanger ending. And it’ll be all Bill’s fault.

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