Monday, March 8, 2010

The Televangelist: 'Big Love' Season 4 Finale

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 5:55 PM

click to enlarge "I'm Bill Henrickson.  And I believe in the principle of plural marriage."
  • "I'm Bill Henrickson. And I believe in the principle of plural marriage."

All season I've wondered what horrors and godless crimes JJ has been perpetrating against his fellow man (and by that I mean primarily his wives).  TV Guide released a spoiler before the season began that JJ and Wanda's parents are brother and sister - a revelation never made explicitly clear in the season to my knowledge.  Because of it, though, I was hunting for incest at every turn - only to be so completely reviled by the true revelation that the Middlesex-esque marital ties were nothing compared to JJ's dreams of an incestuous "Gattaca." Remember kids:  "How can there be incest when there is no intercourse?"

So besides Nicki almost carrying the baby comprised of her ex-husband/step-father's sperm and their daughter/sister's egg, and her mother carrying the child of her husband/son-in-law and his sister Wanda, what else is new around Juniper Creek these days? You mean like when Alby quietly takes a blood atonement from Lura's cheek before he ripped down the wallpaper of the Prophet's office in a grief-stricken rage over the suicide of his secret homosexual lover?

Let's get off the crazy train for a moment, even though I know you're still thinking about the rumored graveyards of monster babies.  Just reread that sentence, then purge it from your mind.  There's high drama that needs to be unraveled with the Henrickson clan.

Ever since the advent of the new title sequence, careful viewers have been looking closely to see how and if the Henrickson's would fall apart.  In the first three seasons they were metaphorically skating on thin ice, but only now have they fallen into outer darkness. Alone. Oddly, the couple who looks the most stable by the end of the season is Nicki and Bill.  And though all three wives appeared on stage beside Bill during his controversial decision to "come out" as a public polygamist (in another desperate attempt to justify and normalize his life choices) in a red-white-and-blue vision of a twisted America, each looked out with uncertainty towards the crowd and their future.  Barb told Bill clearly that she wants a different life: "I've needed you for 20 years ... I don't think I need you anymore."   Margene is one step away from her own polygamous relationship with Goren and Ana.  And Nicki?  Well, Nicki cut off her braid!  Anything is possible!

And what of Bill's journey this season? As the wives have (for the most part) spiraled away from him, where is he being projected?  The return of Don and his son reminded us about how Bill made him take the fall at Home Plus, just another casualty on the way to Bill's vision of personal redemption.  (As he admits to Barb, he feels he's gone off the tracks with her as well as Don and Ben.  "Stepping into the light is the only way I know how to redeem myself." A shaky prospect at best).  Because Bill ended last season with a crisis of faith in which he cannot seem to find support or proper justification in the LDS church nor the FLDS for the principle on which he has chosen to base his life, he has turned from church to state, and the results seem to have taken him into a cold and cruel secular world.

As I mentioned lat week, "Big Love has" been renewed for another season (of 10 episodes instead of this strange, truncated 9-episode season).  In sports terms I would call this past season a "rebuilding" year.  It wasn't great, but it setup a plethora of potential storylines to take us into the next year.  Will everyone move into the Big House?  Will none of them, or some permutation?  Is Alby losing his mind, and control of Juniper Creek?  Did JJ really burn up in those hell fires Adaleen set for him?  Per usual, "Big Love" has ended with more questions than answers.  Let's just hope next season's answers get back to basics.

Musings and Miscellanea:

  • What exactly is this deal with Barb and Tommy?  Do you guys think it will go anywhere?
  • I love how Teeny is not even in that promo picture.  Was she still at Mormon camp when it was taken?
  • Interesting that the fired Tommy and Jerry told Marilyn about the polygamy - I suppose she, as a morally bankrupt viper, was the lesser of two evils for them!
  • Does Bill still have that church?  If so, when was the last time he preached there?  I think it would have been awkward with Don attending. Does that mean the Henrickson's have been going without services for most of the season?  And what does that really say about Bill's faith?
  • I'd like to give a shout out to one of my viewing partners, Martha, who called it that Barb told the media about Bill and Ana!
  • "She just found out her father's been murder and she's infertile ... oops!" - Margie
  • So Joey is still in Mexico?  Did I miss that?
  • Why is Nicki so desperate to have a baby with Bill?  She already has two she doesn't pay attention to now!

  • "Wanda do you know me?  Do you know Joey, your husband? Are you a zebra? See, she always says yes!" - Nicki
  • "Wife business, sorry Bill, if it involved you I wouldn't be closing this door in your face." - Barb
  • "You're like a big pinata Bill; every time I whack you, more goodies come out." - Marilyn

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