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September 5, 2015

Big Love: Good Guys and Bad Guys

by Jen Creer, posted Jul 24th 2007 2:04AM
Frank(S02E07) Sorry about my absence last week. I was actually in Utah, visiting family who do not have HBO. Things were complicated and I also did not really have an Internet connection before this afternoon, so I couldn't do a review. I have seen last week's episode "The Dating Game," though. I liked Ana, and I thought her friendship with Margene was very sweet. I admired Bill, though, for realizing that maybe it was just lust on his part and ending the relationship. I also admire him for not sleeping with Ana, though can making out with her without two of his wives knowing he is seeing someone really be part of an eternal principle? Just curious about this protocol.

I admit that before the current episode, I haven't been very interested in the Weber Gaming subplot. I was more interested in the idea of Bill opening a third store. And by more, I mean "not very." But tonight, I sat up and took notice. All of the subtle hints dropped about the polygamist on the run from the FBI and all of the threads started to come together: The Greenes versus the Grants, Roman's exposure of Barb, road blocks. That would have been very surreal, sitting there in your station wagon, knowing that you are guilty of what the police are looking for.

Beginning with this season's opening episode, Barb's hold on The Principle has been tenuous at best. Her prayer was very moving -- she herself doesn't have a testimony of a larger principle. She has a deep, abiding love for her husband and what he believes in. Margene clearly doesn't have a testimony either -- she was teaching Ana to "fake pray" in the last episode. Margene is the one who has sneaked cigarettes in the garage. Nikki is the only one there who truly has the same beliefs that Bill does. Even the kids don't believe in it. How long can this family stay together? Or, if it does stay together, will it be for love rather than faith?

What Roman said at the close of the UEB meeting about involvement with the Greenes probably won't stop Bill from trying to play out his Weber Gaming deal, even though it could end up costing him his life, or at the very least, he could completely be expelled from the compound. Bill seems to need the fellowship of other men, but he also can't seem to break free of the compound's hold on him. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that he is a true believer. If he weren't, I don't think he would be a polygamist. The fact that he ended things with Ana out of lust shows us this. Right? Or do you think there is something else that keeps dragging him back there?

However, he truly does think he can separate business from the personal and the religious, and he is playing a foolish game because everyone else thinks it's very personal. Everyone else is playing for keeps.

It is very interesting that all of the wives are separated and isolated from their mothers. Will this bring them closer together? They are all so cut off from society and also cut off from their own families that who else do they have? That is what Nikki seems to be afraid of. But with every episode, Bill seems to grow stronger in his love for the wives, and even though Barb has the hardest time with the whole concept of The Principle, her ties to Joey and her great respect for Bill mean that she can't completely separate herself from it.

Bonnie Bedelia did a fantastic job in this episode as Margene's loopy mother. She was just pitch perfect, latching onto Nikki, "You didn't get enough love, did you?" Boy, did she nail Nikki or what? It's interesting also that she thought she could come on to Bill. Hey, he must be doing it for the sex, right? It's not an unreasonable conclusion to come to. It was interesting what she told Margene about power and who has it: I wonder if she is right about that. I don't think so -- particularly because even if Margene did have the power Ginger was talking about it, she wouldn't wield it. That automatically gives more power to Nikki.

I think the show is heading for a Holy War, and all of them are going to be sorely tested. It's always great to see Bruce Dern, and he is like the kindling for the fire. He ignited something in this episode. In some ways, though, Barb has already had her baptism by fire: She endured the humiliation of exposure and stayed with the family. I think that decision, that commitment, rather than weakening her devotion to the family probably cemented it and will bind her to them during the days to come. What do you think? Do you think she will stay? And if she leaves, will the rest of the family crumble? I think it's interesting that this show has done such an effective job in making me root for it to stay together.

Do you think Barb is committed enough to the family to stay?
No, what they are doing bothers her too much.29 (15.0%)
Yes. She doesn't like polygamy, but she is in it now.164 (85.0%)

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Dr. J

I think the title of this episode sums up the main point. Bill calls himself a good guy, and we want to think of him as good, but he is increasingly showing that the distinction between him and Roman or the Greenes is not so clear. Don can see that Bill is motivated by revenge against Roman, and that reaping financial rewards from gambling that is considered immoral by their religion is itself morally wrong. Bill is refusing to see this in himself. He also beat up Alby in this episode. How does he justify this as morally okay?

It also seems to be acceptable to him to make out with a woman he's not married to as an experiment to see if it's just lust, and he lied to Margene when he got home that night after dinner at Ana's. She knew the truth and played along with it, but how is this different from a married man having an affair and hiding it from his wife (wives)?

Bill is deceiving himself about his goodness, and this is bound to come back to haunt him.

Thanks for the info about the Kingstons.

July 26 2007 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, the Greens are obviously the Kingstons who are deeply involved in the gaming industry, incest and work the wives and children in their industries. Several leaders have been brought up on welfare fraud (the children and women were living in a coal yard) or non support of children..the guy claimed he have them a sack of potatoes once in awhile. Incest, sexual abuse and physical abuse. All the time, the organization and its 7 Kingston brothers control $150 million to $1.5 billion.

July 25 2007 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think the roadblocks were intended to snare polygamists, I believe those were Juniper Creek police looking for any sign of the Greenes following the attack on Roman's first wife. Note that Roman exited his SUV to shake hands with the policeman manning the roadblocks. I agree with pinto3, much of this episode felt contrived to me, as if the writers needed a bridge episode. Nor was I terribly impressed by Marge's mother, her character seemed shallow and cliche.

July 25 2007 at 7:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm afraid that we may see a manipulative side of Margie emerge pretty soon. I hope I'm wrong, but I wonder about what kind of fruit the seeds her mother planted will bear. This show is typically not gratuitous in its handling of sex between this man and his three wives, so I have to believe the hot scene between Bill and Margie just after Bill kissed Barb in the backyard serves a greater purpose. I thinks it's the juxtaposition of the mature (some might say "routine") relationship Bill has with Barb, and maybe Nikki, and the younger (more "exciting") relationship he has with Margie. It would not be a great leap for her to understand that she should protect (and possibly exploit) that position from the current (and any new) wives, based on her mother's comments. Her very pensive look following her mother's comments makes me afraid that we'll shortly lose the naive and all-family supporting Margie to a Margie who knows she has power, beyond the simple assurtion of her position as a member of the marriage, to use against her sister-wives. I hope not, because Margie's open-faced love of each member of the marriage is so sweet and welcome in comparision to Nikki and Barb.

I think Albie wants Sarah as a wife. I don't think there's any other explanation for his behavior or for Bill's reaction to it.

July 24 2007 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. Bill really is playing with fire with the whole Weber Gaming thing. He saved his ass (literally) by playing the Roman Grant card, but he's going to wind up caught in the crossfire between the two.

I also agree with K, that Margene is really starting to come into her own and find her place. She's stood up to both Nicki and Barb and was pushing to bring Ana in as a 4th wife. She may not practice all aspects and tenets of the Principle, but she's not running from them either.

I also agree that Barb's faith/commitment has probably been strengthened over the past few episodes, with Wanda and Joey and actually confronting Roman at the compound.

I wonder if the arrest of the fugitive polygamist (forgot his name) will have any deeper implications for Bill and/or Juniper Creek (meaning will they become more of a target for such government action, particularly as the Weber Gaming purchase plays out), or does it simply serve as a painful reminder that they really are not welcome in society? Can't wait for next week!

July 24 2007 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was a great episdoe, each week it seems like we are building up to something and from the look of the previews we might just findout what that something is next week!
I really like the scenes with Barb at the compound. I think that her trip to the compound is really going to make her think about her family situation. I also really enjoyed the arguing between Nikki and Margene-has anyone else noticed that Bill will get onto Nikki, but he only ever tells margene to "shape up"? I think that Margene's mother helped her realized that she might have more power than she thought...before the season started there was lots of talk about Margene using power to get what she wants.
I thought that Scott was pretty creepy, but I kindof change my opinion when he went to talk to Bill. I was very glad that Bill beat up Albie. I wish I knew why he was following Sarah.

pinto3-here is a link for the music


July 24 2007 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought that it was a very broken up episode, lots of loose ends, and new things that were not very satisfactory.

As if they were trying too hard to keep it interesting, I felt confused by Wanda, and Frank both being back and Barb's episode at juniper creek, mixed in with Margene's dopey mother. The music was as strong as ever. wish i knew the credits, anybody know?

July 24 2007 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was by far the best episode of Big Love to date.

July 24 2007 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, I think Margene has used her growing sense of self assurance and the "power" that comes with that, very effectively this season. She is no longer acting as a whipping boy for Nicky. Her statement "You should have respected ME" was not only emphatic, but, was correct. In a past episode, she was angry with Barb and said, basically "To hell with you, boss lady" showing a clear sense of her growing sense of self and her ability not feel threatened, with a need to constantly cow-tow to Barb and Nicky.

July 24 2007 at 4:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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