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October 25, 2014

Big Love: The Happiest Girl

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 14th 2007 9:39AM
Alby and Nicki(S02E10) I'm going to go out on a limb here and argue that Bill has essentially not changed since the beginning of the show. Oh, sure, he is still acting and behaving-- but I don't think there is anything inherently different about the way he is behaving. He is still ambitious, still thinks he is right, and he is a salesman: He thinks he can talk his way into or out of any situation. However, I bet that was cold comfort at the end of tonight's episode, considering who he ended up in bed with...

The disturbing thing about the marital relationship as it has developed is that Margie and Barb (who make strange bedfellows, indeed) are the ones who have both changed. As Barb tries to hold onto any control of her former life, Margie is plunging forward, embracing every aspect of new ventures, possible fourth wives, a new baby, everything. In fact, you could argue that Margie represents the future, Nicki the present, and Barb the past. And the past and the future are incompatible.

Barb is always the first to cut Bill off sexually, which the other wives never go along with. So, anything that might have worked for her as solo wife is no longer useful. And after so many years of polygamy, you would think that she would know better. In fact, Barb and Bill both continue to do the same things over and over again and hope for different outcomes every time, regardless of the fact that Bill bungles situations, with narrow escapes, and Barb loses more and more of the husband and marriage she once had. Perhaps it is being back in school, or perhaps it really was being exposed at the Mother of the Year event, but Barb's foundation has cracked beyond repair. I say this because Bill cannot fix what he refuses to see. But he is incredibly self-centered, and he has never had to be anything other than that.

I don't know what consequences Nicki will face for having stolen that money. Alby obviously knows it was her, and the fact that he hasn't harmed her or ex-communicated her or had her arrested means that he wants something from her. Or, more to the point, from Bill. But Alby and Nicki are birds of a feather, and I think he cares for her. I don't think he will harm her. He is vying for position, having brought Roman home now to kill him kindly with morphine and "other pain killers and sedatives." Adaleen handed over the compound to Alby lock, stock, and barrel, and he isn't going to give it up now.

Frank and Bill are definitely cut from the same cloth. However, Frank is not as smart as Bill (don't get me wrong-- I don't think Bill is very smart, either), and Frank doesn't have Bill's luck. (And that is why I don't think Frank will successfully get Kathy away from poor, hapless Joey). Bill's life is composed of about 90% luck, I think, and 10% having wives who are smarter than he is.

I thought it was hilarious that Bill's answer to his poker buddies who are creeped out by the fact that he is squeaky clean was to introduce the guys to two of his wives. It's too bad that he traded in his marriage to one of them with that action. Barb was incredibly humiliated, as she should have been. Bill was proudly standing there with his arms around the two women like they were notches in his belt. And his tacit implication by asking Margene if she were ready to come upstairs was that the three of them were going to end up in the same room-- or perhaps the same bed. For prim and proper Barb, that was a cold shock. I think she didn't realize, when Bill introduced Margie as the secretary, that Bill was really ready and willing to sell out each of his wives for his own business purposes. She didn't realize it because he hadn't yet done it to her.

(The episode's funniest line was when Nicki told Barb that Margene couldn't possibly be the public wife because she didn't have that uppity thing that Barb did that served them so well in public, and boy, that's the truth).

Again: I don't think Bill has changed. Perhaps, though, he has become less cautious and more open even in his most intimate relationships about who he is. He had sex last season with Nicki in Margene's bed, and was at war with Roman over business, but he was able to excuse away his behavior in the bedroom, and mostly hide his dealings with Roman. As he has felt that he could bring his life into the light with Weber Gaming, what has happened is that his wives have started to get to know him better, and they don't like what they see. Bill is baffled because he honestly hasn't changed, and nobody has gotten uppity with him before this-- he has always had pretty unquestioned power about his business dealings, and his downfall is going to come from trying to marry (forgive me) his two worlds.

Polygamy could ONLY work for Barb if nobody knew. Now that people are finding out, it isn't working anymore.

Finally, I hadn't before considered the fact that Heather could be a lesbian. Rhonda is more perceptive than I am. Rhonda may be a dirty rat, but boy, she can sing like nobody's business. That must be what you get when you sell your soul to the devil.

Do you think Bill has changed?
yes59 (30.7%)
no133 (69.3%)

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Gina

Wow Jen, that was such a great analysis of the characters' development. I hadn't put that much though into most of the things you pointed in the article, but it made me realize they are, in fact, as you say.

The part about Margie representing the future, Nicki the present, and Barb the past and how past and future are not compatible I found particularly eye-opening.

Will be coming back for more. Thanks!

August 30 2007 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zandra

I don't think Margene is jockeying against Barb & Nicki as much as she is jockeying for postion WITH Bill. She just wants respect, as a legitimate "wife."

August 17 2007 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
biggestlovefan

Well I see Sarah as the "superego" and Ben as the "Id" at this point. Sarah is the superconscience of Barb and Ben is going the other way and doing things Barb hates (having sex, thinking of living the principle).

I really hate the fact that Margene is becoming manipulative. I used to see her as an unbridled spirit who was always happy. Now, she is jockeying against Nikki and Barb for postition. It seems against her original role...

August 17 2007 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordy

b, the Hollis Greene storyline was a bit flash-in-the-pan, but, he was also bidding for Weber Gaming. He is the head of another polygamist sect--a radical one.

Eventually, Bill pitted Hollis against Roman and Hollis' camp ended up on the run from the ATF, and Roman got shot. Roman never knew what hit him, since Bill kept him in the dark. This all happenned over the course of 3 or 4 episodes.

Hollis is probably the creppiest character on Big Love--with his 'noon O'clock' manner of speaking--Roman seemed normal in contrast.

August 16 2007 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gregg

Jen, you missed the fact that Bill scored a big victory at the end of this episode. He achieved his goal of outing his plural marriage in front of his seedy business clients, thus enhancing the prospects of Weber Gaming.

Barb said it all when, in bed with Margene, she said she felt "ambushed." So what if Bill had to spend one night alone? He probably needed a good night's rest.

Regarding Rhonda's potential lesbianism, that was foreshadowed several episodes ago.

August 15 2007 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
b

I am obsessed with big love- it's actually so sad, but anyways...
Could anyone re-cap that whole hollis greene thing, I couldnt catch on to what exactly he was trying to do and how they knew him

August 15 2007 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
madill

And Heather, I wondered if she was a lesbian. It's hard to tell if her reserved nervousness is simply the naivete of a sheltered upbringing or if it's because she has feelings for Sarah that she can't either figure out or simply can't express.

Very good point. I'm not so certain Heather is truly lesbian but I do think she's confused on her feelings towards Sarah. She's jealous of Sarah's boyfriend (?name) but that doesn't translate to being "in love" with Sarah. But, the idea planted by Rhonda is enough to make her doubt herself and her feelings.

Good point about Alby wanting Sarah for a wife. Right now Bill is ready to sell his soul so why not his daughter? Something truly huge will need to happen to get Sarah and Barb to leave. It's like in a divorce: you want out but at least you know the status quo, if you divorce that's going into a land you don't know. But, when Barb leaves not only will Bill have Roman, Alby and Frank as nemesis but Barb will be one too.

The women that torched the boat are the same that shot Roman.

Roman's not going to die. He's Bill's nemesis and now he's Alby's too. Besides, Harry Dean Stanton is a way too big of a "star" to kill off in the second season. Watching him fight back against Bill and Alby is going to be GREAT!

Bill hasn't changed so much as we are seeing more character development. Nicki has stayed fairly much the same in dimension but Barb has truly changed and Margene has blossomed and grown. It made my head hurt seeing how Bill treated Barb in choosing his sex toy, Margene, to go to Vegas...and, how HAPPY they were there until they were caught. Barb, hoping to cash in on the few remaining chips she had drove to Vegas in desperation. If it isn't Alby wanting Sarah it will be interesting to seee what it is that will push Barb to move out.

August 14 2007 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sugar Magnolia

Jen, your review is fabulous and you make some great observations, as do the commenters above. This makes me soooooooooooooo happy because I am *the only one I know* who watches Big Love.

I agree with Iamhoff that we probably haven't heard the last of the Greenes. And Sallylou, I'm with you---Rhonda creeps me out in general, but the lyrics to that song, given the story line, were bizarre---bizarre, but a brilliant touch on the part of the writers!

August 14 2007 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iamhoff

I was surprised that Lois served the divorce papers, because I keep expecting her to kill Frank outright.

August 14 2007 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iamhoff

I don't know if you can say that Bill has changed, so much as he is letting the dominating, calculating side of his persona out more. You kind of have to have that personality to be the head of a polygamist family, I would think.

I do think that Bill's world is starting to fall apart, in so many ways. As much as she probably doesn't like the idea from a moralistic perspective, I can see Barb getting fed up to the point of pursuing a divorce (since she is the legally married one). Ben seems to be on his way to becoming another Alby to Bill's Roman, but Sarah would likely go with her mother (remember Barb's comment to Heather's dad about wanting Sarah to have a "normal" LDS marriage?). There hasn't been much discussion about Home Plus, and whether business has fallen off because of the Mother of the Year and graffiti'd billboard issues, but one full-blown revealing controversy (foreshadow Frank and/or Alby) and Home Plus could be sunk.

As much as it seemed hinted at, I can't see Alby making a direct play for Weber Gaming. With Bill on the UEB board, the most Alby could "officially" request would be 10% (standard tithing). Alby would have to do something sneaky, and I can see a threat of something (exposure, threat to Lois or Joey or Nikki, whatever) where the ransom would be control of Weber Gaming. Because she has been banished from the compound, I'm not sure Alby could "reassign" Nikki to another husband, though.

As to threats, if the timeline (as shown) holds from the ep where Roman got shot, he got shot after ATF said that they'd chased Hollis Greene and Co. into Arizona. But the women who shot him seemed to be part of the Greenes, and could've been the same ones who torched Bill's boat. As such, there is still a potential threat from the Greenes, who know where Bill lives and could still have "agents" for lack of a better term in Utah.

Rhonda creeps me out, and somehow I think she's going to find a way to cause trouble for more than just Sarah. And Heather, I wondered if she was a lesbian. It's hard to tell if her reserved nervousness is simply the naivete of a sheltered upbringing or if it's because she has feelings for Sarah that she can't either figure out or simply can't express.

I was surprised that Lois actually served Frank with divorce papers. Since it was a legal marriage, the courts can ultimately dissolve it. Getting spousal support or "her half" of the community property I would think would be much more difficult. All Frank has to do is stay on the compound and then the Juniper Creek PD is the legal authority.

It just keeps getting better and better!

August 14 2007 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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