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Recapping the Penultimate Episode of "Big Love"

By Melissa McKimmey | TV | March 18, 2011 |

By Melissa McKimmey | TV | March 18, 2011 |

I’m just going to say this now: Chloe Sevingy deserves an Emmy for her work this season. This episode I hated Nicki and felt sorry for her and wanted to smack her and hug her, then smack her again. In a lesser actress, this would be a shrill, bitter, one-note harpy. Yeah, Nicki’s all those things, but she’s also wounded, vulnerable, smart and strong. And a total bitch.

Margie packs up her Goji swag and Pam drops by. Margie tells her she’s going to pay her for her Goji stuff, which is sweet and so very Margie. Pam mentions that her life is in shambles, she and Carl are broke and her husband has wrecked two cars, possibly on purpose. Pam’s husband sucks.

Ben tells Rhonda he feels bad her husband just bit it. He says he’ll help her if he can. She’s like ‘Let’s get hitched!’ I have to tell you, the kid playing Ben? Really does suck. I tried to play it off like he was trying to be as stilted as his dad, but really, he’s just doesn’t express emotion enough. Evil Rhonda proposed to him and he’s like, “Huh. No thanks.” And when she presses him, he just blankly says “I don’t have a testimony.” Oh Ben, that never stopped your dad! Just make one up! What do your pants say to do? Rhonda says she’ll just tell Heather. Ben looks like he has dementia, not Lois.

Heather pops on by to visit with Ben, who starts to tell Heather when Rhonda decides to swing by to call Heather a lezbo (how 1998 of her) and mention that she and Ben did it. It’s OK though, because Ben totally likes Heather more! So what if he’s going to compare sex with Heather to Rhonda for the rest of their lives! Ben gets a little flustered and says “I could be with both of you!” Like father, like son. Heather dumps her milkshake on him (not a euphemism) and walks off. Rhonda smugs off. What a waste of valuable plot.

The police are on a manhunt for Alby. I suspect it’s not the kind of manhunt he prefers. Bill puts the houses and wives on lockdown, telling them to go out in pairs and keep their guns on them. Bill seems pretty worried about the safety of everyone. He should be, since Alby’s nuts and Bill’s done nothing but provoke him. Turns out that Adalene’s hiding Alby and they are planning on going to Mexico with Selma Greene. Awesome! I love Selma. I’d love to see a crazy-off between her and Alby. The only hitch is that Alby wants Adalene to kill Bill for him first. He says it’s because she can get closer to him than Alby can right now. Adalene agrees, but I doubt she’ll do it.

Cara Lynn and Mr. Ivey are on the phone playing Romeo and Juliet. If Romeo was a sketchy teacher of questionable morals and Juliet a manipulative sociopath in the making. Cara Lynn says Nicki won’t mess with their plans and walks right into her mom. Heh. She makes defiant eye contact and says “I love you, Greg, and nothing will change that”. Brat. Send her to her room! Cara Lynn just stalks past Nicki to her room. That girl needs a comin’ to Jesus talk.

Rather than talking to Cara Lynn, Nicki decides to ship her off to a creepy boarding school where the kids look miserable and walk exactly 3 feet apart. The teachers come to take Cara Lynn off to school and she freaks out. That’ll teach her to mouth off. She runs to Barb and Bill’s place and Nicki is forced to tell about Cara Lynn and her teacher. Barb says no one is sending Cara Lynn anywhere. Cara Lynn yells that Nicki is afraid that everyone will see what a bad mother and wife she is. Damn, kid. She brought you into this world so you could be a sneaky bitch, show some respect. Kids these days. Bill wants to know why Nicki didn’t come to him and she says “because I didn’t think this family could handle another statutory rape!” Bill’s feeling get hurt, but it’s kind of hard to tell with Bill Paxton’s acting. He’s seems to fluctuate between yelling and soft talking with no real nuance. Bill says he’s no predator and if he knew Margie’s age it wouldn’t have happened. I think Bill really does love Margie (now, at least) so I think he means he would have waited, not that he regrets marrying her.

Nicki goes into Cara Lynn’s room in the middle of the night and proceeds to verbally and emotionally abuse her. The only way Nicki knows to get what she wants is to manipulate, lie and break people down. So she tells Cara Lynn that Greg was using her, that she wasn’t his first one, that no one will love her because she doesn’t deserve love. “I know who you are. You’re a manipulator and a liar.” Yeah, I think Cara Lynn’s as much of a sociopath as her mom, but she’s only fifteen. Nickis projecting everything she feels onto Cara Lynn and it’s awful. And Nicki knows it’s not the right way, but she’s desperate and won’t ask for help or try anything else, so she just destroys this kid.

The next day Cara Lynn torches her math books in the barbecue and gets hysterical. Nicki gets hysterical too, but rather than stepping the fuck up and ignoring her pain to comfort her kid, she runs to her room and freaks out. And Bill and the other wives come to comfort her and I’m wondering why no one is with the crying teenager? Jesus, these people know Nicki, they know what she can be like, how can they not wonder what she said or did to Cara Lynn to cause this reaction?

The wives have a sit-down about the finances and they are all in a different place. Margie’s crying because she can’t imagine being without Bill, Nicki’s bitching because she thinks Barb’s going to try and take over as priesthood holder while Bill’s incarcerated, and Barb’s trying to explain that they’re going to be destitute in five months if Bill’s shipped off to jail. Well, maybe they should all get JOBS. Maybe Bill shouldn’t look Goji money in the mouth, is all I’m saying. They all tear up at the thought of Bill being gone for 20 years. Barb mentions that she’s going to a new church, the Reformed LDS and later Nicki rats her out to Bill and Bill gets all pissy about it because they believe women hold the priesthood, but they don’t believe in the principle.

Bill and the wives plan out what’s going to happen to the stores. Bill seems to think the wives can manage the stores and he’ll be able to tell them what to do from the comfort of his jail cell. I think jail’s going to be a lot different that what Bill’s got in mind. Barb looks at him like he’s a damn fool and says that the women will have other needs he can’t solve from there. Spiritual and emotional and hormonal. Bill gets all high and mighty about how marriage is about change and they sacrifice for each other. I bet Bill wants a conjugal immediately.

Margie decides she should get knocked up right away so maybe she’ll get to see Bill while he’s in the big house. Wouldn’t the kids they already have work for that? This is dumb. Especially since they just talked about not having any money soon. Of course, Bill thinks that a pregnant wife sounds great when he could be arrested any day. How incredibly selfish of them. That’s all a child needs, to be born as the son of the polygamist rapist during the trial for his dad allegedly raping his mom. Yeah, that leads to a happy ending. I already hate Bill, do you want me to hate you too, Margie?

Bill runs his Alby vendetta through the senate and cuts off all the compound money. He also manages to get some TV cameras to film him having a backhoe destroy the UEB building. Okay, this makes no sense. What is the timeline here? Disbanding the UEB or taking it over isn’t something that can be rushed, it’s a huge trust with a ton of cash. Not to mention, where are all the people? Yeah, Alby’s on the run, but did the whole compound go with him? Did he send them somewhere? Why does Bill have to make such a goddamn production out of everything? He’s got the time to grandstand instead of worrying about the rape charges pending against him? That’s why he’s such a tool.

Bill and Barb head to the compound because Frank checked Lois out of the home. Frank and Lois uses this time wisely by stripping empty compound houses of the copper wiring and they reminisce about when they were young and the compound was just being built. Lois reminds Frank of his promise to off her when she needs him to. He calls her peaches and how the hell did Frank the misogynist and crazy Lois become the sweetest, most honest couple on the this show?

Bill and Barb make flyers to find Lois and are at Lois’ place. I know Bill’s worried about his mom, but wandering the compound at night while Alby’s on the loose seems rather dim. Bill gets his bitch on when he tells Barb he doesn’t trust her and her commitment to the family. Oh really? Really Bill? You don’t trust the commitment of your loving wife who agreed to two other wives to appease your goddamn “testimony,” who has stood by you while you knocked up a fourth wife who left you, stood by you while you ran for senate, causing them to be taunted and slandered in the press, stood by you while you are up on charges of statutory rape (which you did, legally, commit) and you don’t trust BARB? Fuck you, Bill.

Barb’s not done with this argument. She brings up the sealing and Bill argues that it was for the good of his family. Barb says that it’s like he’s already written her off and if they wind up not together, it’s not because of her. It’s because he pushed until they broke. Damn skippy. Bill says that the difference between them is that he “won’t accept anything less than his family together.” It always comes down to control with this guy.

They drive to a compound convenience store and who should come out of the back but Alby and Adalene? The look on everyone’s faces is priceless. Alby runs for the back with Bill giving pursuit. Barb goes to keep Adalene there and Adalene pulls a gun. While Bill’s in the back chasing Alby, they hear gunshots. Bill runs to see if Barb is okay and she’s like “I’m fine! You let him get away?” Alby drives off in a truck.

Bill goes to the capital to actually do some work when the wives come by. Kids are in bed, so they decided to have dinner with Bill. Margie goes to the bathroom and Salty, the security guard sees someone get out of the elevator. Apparently they aren’t friendly, because he looks freaked and then we cut back to Bill’s office and hear two gunshots. Bill pulls his gun and goes down the hallway to find Alby with his gun. It’s a little forced. They engage in posturing and then Margie steps out of the bathroom. She sees Alby and the gun and ducks back in as he fires at her. Bill clips him in she shoulder and Alby loses his gun. Nicki prays for Bill to pull the trigger, but Bill just stands there with his gun on Alby.

Now, other watchers say that Bill yelled “Margie!” and she yelled back that she was fine, but I didn’t hear that part, so I’m still worried about Margie.

The episode wasn’t as tight as it should be at the end. There was too much wasted time on Bill taking down the compound and Heather and Ben and Rhonda. The final scene was rather telegraphed and far too heavy-handed, as was much of the episode. The acting, however, was for the most part, superb.

What do you think? Is Margie hurt? Are we going to get a real finale or just a regular episode with no plots tied up? Will Lois kill Frank? Will Frank kill Lois? Where the hell is Joey? Is Ben this dumb because of his father? Guess we’ll find out next week. Or not, who knows?

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