Big Love: Vision Thing
(S02E05) The Wild Thyme Cafe & Bakery.
That's where this installment of Big Love started. With Bill Henrickson's right-hand man and confidant telling him not to keep his frustrations about his personal life all bottled up inside.
Then, as if on cue, a waitress named Ana, in a frilly pink and black uniform descended upon Bill's table and offered a sympathetic ear to listen to his troubles. And she also offered him a sweet piece of pie.
Maybe it was the pie. Maybe it was her uniform. Or her accent. Or maybe, perhaps, Bill was just feeling a bit randy and wanted a distraction. But it was clear that, despite all of the current troubles with which the Henrickson family is coping with its three wives, Bill is in the market for a fourth wife.
As with much of what Bill has been doing this season, he seems to be acting on emotion, not necessarily rational thought, like his pal Don Embry said when he declined to invest in the gaming company. Instead of attending to the emotional wounds of his wives, he's out hunting for a fresh, new wife. Bill's ignoring Nicki, who is clearly devastated by being shunned by her family. Bill also seems to have forgotten that his relationship with Barb is on shaky ground, given that she left him for a brief period of time not so long ago. And then there's Margie, who's pregnant, young and naive and, despite her baptism into the Mormon faith last season, seems to be wavering about that decision.
But Bill's never sticks around nearly long enough to actually see any of his wives' problems. It's easier, I suppose, for him to simply plow ahead and pretend as though those messy, complicated needs don't exist. The blinders that Bill wears also permit him to say such incongruous things such as complaining that, when his and Nicki's son Wayne was missing, he couldn't canvass his own neighborhood and refer to Wayne as his son. And when Nicki is having a crisis of faith -- in her own, bigoted, anti-Catholic fashion -- about whether Wayne should remain in summer parochial school at a Catholic Church, all Bill cared about was the fact that, because the school was so far away from their town that he could actually introduce himself as Wayne's dad in public. In a poignant moment, Barb also chimed in in favor of Wayne remaining in the parochial school by saying to Nicki, "All I want is some place where you and Bill can be public together."
Throw in the fact that Margie had to tell her neighbor that she's an unmarried mom who's pregnant again because she's serving as a surrogate for someone else's baby, and the writers have been doing a fabulous job of helping viewers see the enormous difficulties families such as this endure in trying to continue their masquerade. They can't tell the truth. The children of wives other than the first wife can't talk about who their dad is. Everyone lives in the shadows. And that's why it seems stunning from an outsider's perspective that, on the one hand, Bill complains about not being able to be public about being Wayne's dad, while on the other hand, he's trolling for wife number four.
This deftly written episode also offered a stark comparison to Bill's actions in his brother Joey, who's usually portrayed as weak. In a series of clandestine conversations with Barb, he told her he objected to the notion of taking on a second wife, even though his mother Lois (who had Wanda committed) was pushing a woman on him. "I think any man who lives The Principle is selfish," Joey told Barb in explaining why he wouldn't marry again.
Watching Margie, with her car full of kids, happen upon Bill flirting with Ana in the cafe, was heartbreaking. (One can only imagine how Barb looked and felt when she learned of Bill's courting of Nicki.) But in the final scene, Margie seemed happy, sitting at that same counter at the Wild Thyme Cafe & Bakery while Ana served her a piece of pie. Was it the prospect of no longer being the lowest ranking wife that brought a smile to Margie's lips?
|She was psyched about the prospect of no longer being at the bottom of the sister-wife totem pole.||173 (66.0%)|
|She was craving pie.||43 (16.4%)|