If anyone else was feeling this was a rather whirlwind episode, recall that this portends to be a whirlwind season. With only a handful of episodes left to go, we still have a Pandora's Box of problems to solve. In the middle of the episode, Barb says to Sarah, "I feel like we're all being pulled in such different directions," and goes on to list the endeavors the other wives, and Bill, are all undertaking. And they are indeed legion. I have faith that these independent arcs will intersect at some point later in the season, but for now they make for confusing, yet engrossing, storytelling.
The title of this episode was the apt "Strange Bedfellows," and there were quite a few to contend with. As such, I've devised a "Stranger Scale" using the strangest, wackiest member of the "Big Love" cast to compare: Lois, of course. One Lois will be equal to illegal parrot collections. Five Loises will be equal to attempting to suffocate and bury your ex-husband in your barn, failing, and then trying to seduce him. Clear? Let's start.
Bill and Washington
Bill as a non-polygamist in the situation would render zero Loises from me, but the polygamy angle promises to make this unholy marriage (or is it holy and ordained by Heavenly Father?) more interesting. As Bill tells us, "Joseph Smith ran for President!" Only to be reminded, "Yeah, and one year later he was killed by an angry mob."
True to form, Bill immediately made an ass of himself in the District by presenting himself as an arrogant misogynist to a small-time Washington power-player (Sissy Spacek) in his attempts to get an endorsement from a retiring Utah politician. Bill's tenacity eventually won him a ticket to an important shoulder-rubbing fundraiser, but it was Nicki (who joined him on the journey, Cara Lynn in tow) who ends up secretly getting Bill what he wants. This is Nicki at her best, gate crashing more stealthily than the Salahis, then slyly confronting Bill's female adversary in the ladies' wash room with sincerity (though not without exaggerations - anyone catch the Rhonda reference?), and winning her over to Bill's side. It's clear that Bill will remain on his path to Washington, and that he won't get a step further without his wives pitching in.
Dale and Alby
Last season we saw Nicki engage in an illicit and brief flirtation with a state agent, and this season her brother has (as typical) taken things to a whole new level. I give four Loises to this Romeo-and-Romeo paring because let's face it, Dale is a handsome guy. So why can't he do better than a waxen-faced nut job from a polygamist compound? I'm just sayin'. These bedfellows are bound to blow up by the end of the season. Also, anyone care to weigh in on whether Alby's camera-picture of himself and a sleeping Dale was out of love (as it seemed) or part of a scheme? Without a doubt though, no good can come of it for either of them, which is actually a little sad. No one on "Big Love" has had this kind of sweet passion in awhile.
Barb and the Casino (or "Barb Maims a Meth Addict")
Barb, initially the most reluctant wife in regards to the casino, is now running the place. Despite her attempts at kindness and openness, she manages to annoy one particularly quiet-seeming Native American employee into screaming "fuck you, white bitch!" to her during a seminar on workplace ethics. Things are made ever the worse when she runs into and wounds a reservation-dweller named Layla, who scampers off like a hurt animal, further illustrating the gulf between the Henricksen's world and that of the Blackfoot people.
I can't say for sure, but this may be the only modern-day Native American plot line I've ever seen on TV. Still, there are major flaws. Why didn't Billy tell Barb that Layla was a meth-head instead of just giving her the stink eye and saying cryptically, "you don't know how things are done"? She doesn't, and she never will with helpful clues like that. What gives this arc an extra Lois rating is Sarah's quick friend-adoption of said reservation meth-head Layla. Will Layla (and her baby?) end up taking serious advantage of Sarah, or will she realize that Sarah's husband is actually the guy who sells meth on "Breaking Bad"?
Margene and Ben
I saved the best for last! Look at these two. Don't they wish they were in Juniper Creek where this might not be so taboo? Margene kissing Ben might have had private, emotional consequences, but Margene's very public life exposed them almost instantly to the worst of possible viewers - Barb. I feel this is going to be a polarizing relationship among fans, so sound off in the comments whether you think these two pursue their affections. Oh it's wrong, undoubtedly. But that's what the allure of having strange bedfellows is all about! Barb might have let it go had blabbermouth/bad child Teeny not also borne witness. As the promos for this season first warned, hold on tight! Five Loises to this pair, and a bonus Wanda thrown in.
Musings and Miscellanea:
Hopefully he has enough sense not to repeat the TSPLOST debacle.
@ Mark from Atlanta "Call me crazy, but I really don't think the U.S. Navy…
"wringing his hands in indecision, paralyzed by over-analysis." __________________________________________________ Call me crazy, but I really…
"After four years of malaise, Reagan helped turn around the U.S. economy." _____________________________________________________________ Reagan: Through…
@ Mark from Atlanta "That has historically been the case that women and children, because…
Get ready for more car- oriented, cul de sacs, strip malls and low density development.