Big Love: Circle the Wagons
I thought Nicki was a good manipulator, but when I saw Barb working Margie and Heather's father I realized that Barb is even better. But Barb realized two things this episode: One, that her power as first wife is over. And second, she articulated that she wants her daughter to live an L.D.S. (Latter-Day Saint/Mormon) lifestyle. She wants her daughter to have a Mormon marriage-- not a polygamist marriage.
In parallel storylines, the characters are all starting to throw around the rhetoric of faith and testimony more-- to the point where it is evident that the words have no real meaning. Bill asks Joey if he has received a testimony about Kathy, and Joey at least is honest enough to say, "I'm trying to be practical, not celestial." If Barb disagrees with Bill about the gaming, she says, as a last resort, that she doesn't have faith about this for their family. Sure, gambling is distasteful to her. However, her opposition is more to the patriarchal way in which Bill approaches business and their marriage. This is about power for her, and she loses.
The jury is still out on Margie. Does she want Weber Gaming for her children? What financial security can it provide? Is that proven? Or has Margie come into her own sense of power? I think her motives were genuine, because she was angry with Bill, but she voted with him anyway. I think also that she was very aware that her vote had some power with it. Bill insisted to Don that he was going to do what he wanted anyway, regardless of his wives' vote. We won't really know how serious he was because Margene voted his way. I think Bill is full of it, and was just posturing to Don. However, it's disturbing that they have that attitude toward their marriages. It reinforces all of Barb's problems with the patriarchal aspect of the religion.
Ultimately, I think Bill's hold on Barb is slipping. She is becoming more and more discontent with her lifestyle. We continue to see her doing homework and going back to school. She is laying things into place for her children behind Bill's back. Her education is paving the way for financial independence. Benny's sexual activity was probably a big wake-up call, but that didn't spur her into action the way Lois's seeds about Sarah did. She may come down to a choice: Bill can have Benny. Benny will be all right-- the men in that religion are. But Barb will probably insist on taking the girls with her when she leaves.
Did you notice that Barb quoted Sarah almost word for word to Nicki about Roman? "I don't think he treats you the way you deserve to be treated. You deserve more." This is not the first time Sarah has told Barb that she is settling for too little. I don't think Sarah would cry if Barb left Bill. It would be Benny who was the most broken up by it. But I think Benny has come around to the polygamist lifestyle. He likes their family life and I think he identifies with Bill too strongly to separate from him. Look at the way Ben behaved in the Greg and Margie situation: Ben acted on behalf of the patriarch.
Perhaps the reason I think Barb will leave Bill is that Bill's hold on me is also slipping. During the first season, I really thought Bill was one of the good guys. Now, I am not so sure. He is just as much of a player as his mother and his father, and although he seems like a nice guy, he is dishonest and sneaky and a bit of a tyrant, all dressed up like a nice guy in a business suit. He may not have Alby's greasy, slick-backed hair or Roman's hummer, but I am not sure there is that much difference between the three men after all. Did you see how smoothly Bill got rid of Greg? Just the way the young men on the compound are driven off to leave the younger women for the older men. Bill is running his own compound at Home Plus.
Much like Ben acting for his father, Alby smoothly sailed himself into Roman's seat, with his Sorting Hat. Was that a jeweler's lupe he was holding? That was another instance of using "revelation" and faith to get what you want. Alby and Adelade cooked up Alby's prophet role, and having Alby ask right after his revelation what he said was a brilliant touch. Alby receiving revelation that he was supposed to continue in that role even after Roman's recovery will be his downfall, I predict, even if Roman dies. And I think Roman will die. I think if Bill is forced to take more of a role at the compound, this will be the act that spurs Barb to leave.
Don't you love how Rhonda keeps popping up, sucking on her fifteen minutes? Subtleties like her showing up on a talk show, being mentioned in news reports about Roman's shooting, and also simple things like having Barb chew ice all the time humanize these characters and show some fine-tuning in both writing and direction that you don't see on every show. The suspense is crackling, and every little detail creates layers and nuance that make it impossible, despite the trainwreck that is surely coming (Nicki stealing money from the U.E.B.), to turn away.
|Yes, I think he's a good guy.||42 (12.1%)|
|No, I think he's like Roman||129 (37.1%)|
|Sometimes. I think Bill is just a little misguided.||177 (50.9%)|