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Big Love: Take Me As I Am

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 20th 2007 2:12AM
Big Love(S02E11) This was another great episode in a solid season of Big Love. Again, every line, every nuance is so charged, it is hard to unravel it all. But let's give it a whirl, shall we? Margene has come a long way, baby. The clearest indication of the changes in Margene came when she said to Nicki (paraphrasing), "If she [Barb} just hates us all so much and she wants to leave, just let her."

When Barb left at the beginning of the season, Margene was crying on the phone to Barb that she didn't know if she could stay married to Nicki and Bill without Barb. Margene has come into her own now, and it's clear that she has not only embraced polygamy, but that she is starting to make up her own rules.

This is a little scary, because even though I was laughing when Nicki was talking to Bill, she has a point: The Principle has been around for 3000 years. It's not a good idea to start throwing away all of the rules right now. As much as Bill and Margene seem to want to.

Speaking of Margene, anybody could have guessed that Pam would want Margene to be a surrogate mother for her too. How is Margene going to explain it when she keeps the baby?

Bill and Nicki are really the only ones who seem to know the rules, though, having both grown up on the compound. It is also interesting that they are the most deceptive of the bunch, and that they try to play both sides and end up not being able to win. Nicki did tell Bill that Alby had come to her party and now knows about Weber Gaming-- but she didn't tell Bill about her plans to get Bill to return Weber Gaming to Alby. However, Alby still thinks she sold him out, and he will exact his revenge on her now, as part of Bill's family, when I am not sure that is entirely the choice she would have made [to stay at her house, rather than returning to the compound-- but she got waylaid by the wedding reception.]

Bill has really screwed up now, and while I don't know that anybody in his family is going to die as a result of Alby's quest for blood atonement, by playing the Greene's and the Grants against each other, when all three are such a dishonest bunch, now that the two scariest components, the Greenes and Alby, are working together, Bill is in some real danger.

It's pretty clear that Bill does want control of the compound. He is dangling the U.E.B. seat in front of Alby, but has no intention of giving it up (the role of exposition played tonight by Ben). However, when he first begins talking to Alby at the beginning of the episode, the language Bill is using makes it sound like he and Alby are both the heads of separate compounds. And to some extent that is true. And I don't know how he can be the head of the U.E.B. if he is not living at Juniper Creek. But Barb has made it clear how she feels about the compound from the very beginning of the show, in episode one: She will not move herself or the kids there.

Despite that fact, this episode actually made me doubt whether or not Barb will leave after all. She told her mother that she isn't just in her marriage for Bill anymore-- that it is also for her. It is clear that she wants the kids out, but not so clear that she wants out herself. However, this episode could be a conceit: I think the show needs to sustain that tension of will she stay or will she go now. And rattlesnakes in her bed might just be a tipping point. [Nice homage to The Godfather, by the way.] Also, it's bad enough to deal with Nicki grabbing for power, but now she has to deal with Margene as well.

I didn't entirely buy that Barb could suddenly get to the point of talking to her mother enough in one episode to end up at her wedding reception. But I will overlook it because it moved several things along. I loved the bit of dialog in which Sarah asked Ben if he remembered a trip they took when they were little-- pre-polygamy. It was clear from his face that he did remember, but he said, "No." That was such a fine bit of writing, because it showed the two disparate places that the kids have come to: Ben tweaks Barb by throwing twin girlfriends in her face, and Sarah has the best lines of the whole episode when she sweetly tells Bill that she will never ever listen to anything he tells her about relationships or life. I felt bad that Bill was crying-- and it was just so perfect that he put a fine face on it and told her to wave to Barb.

We also found out that Bill wants a polygamist life for Sarah only if she has a testimony for it-- so hopefully he won't force her into it. Not that I think she would let that happen.

As for Sarah and Scott: I don't know whether she will use him to leverage her way out of the family or not. I loved Nicki basically instructing Sarah to be a tease. Sarah is playing with fire now. I don't know whether she will hold onto her chastity as a way to reject all sexuality and polygamy too, or, like Ben, whether she will use sexuality to rebel against her parents. But her willingness to share Scott is setting her up for living The Principle, and sure, that is what has been modeled for her.

I am not even going to get into all of the complications of Barb's mother getting unsealed to their father (um, no, can't see that happening) and re-sealed to Norm. The theological aspects are just mind-boggling. If you want me to discuss it, leave a comment and I'll reply there. But that is just too much to address in one review. I can see why Cindy was so upset though: Basically, Barb's mother just became a polygamist, too.

I understood what Barb's mother meant when she raged, "Your eternal salvation is my responsibility!" That is a very big and serious deal. And I don't think that all Mormon families would cut off contact that way, but at least she was very honest about it: You can have this family, or you can have that. The choice is yours. But you cannot have both. And yes, it is going to hurt like hell. But if you think it's painful not to see me now? Think about living those consequences for eternity. She was absolutely right: This is Barb's big test. Barb has been hurting at not being able to see her mother for the entire series too. It is her constant sorrow, her biggest source of grief. And I am not at all sure that I know which way she will choose.

What do you think of Margene's new rise to power?
like it170 (63.9%)
don't like it96 (36.1%)

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Lorraine

Alby walking in Niki's without knocking. Snakes in Barb's bed. What happened to the alarm system Bill had installed? Just wondering

August 27 2007 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gregg

Gag...just when you think you've seen all the possible loathsome characters, along comes Barb's mom. We already knew about her sister Cindy. No, I don't "love" this side of the family. The best line of the night was at the wedding when Bill told his niece to shut up.

I don't think that "Bill has really screwed up now." His calculations are based upon his knowledge of both the Juniper Creek compound and the Greenes. He knows he can't totally predict the future, and he does live life on the edge. The climax is approaching, and we'll see what happens.

Another interesting episode and a fine season.

August 24 2007 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

Is it just me or is Bill being portrayed as a mini Roman? While Barbs waffling is irritating I really wanted her to smack Margene for the baby factory comment. She knew what she was signing up for just as Niki did so she needs to drop the 'tude.

August 24 2007 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jamie

Would someone please explain the sealed, un-sealed thing to me? I am hating all the fighting this season...well know I love it - but at the end of each episode Bill is still in charge and the wives back down. I would not mind if Barb did leave, or at least stuck to her guns. And why is Margene not even showing? Not so believable that the Greenes would actually talk with Alby either - strange?

August 24 2007 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vito

questions: where was horace green videophoning from? who will get burned in the three way between alby/bill/horace green?

as for sarah being willing to share, she will let the other girls "satisfy" whats his names carnal urges. i am guessing she will wind up with heather anyway

August 22 2007 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chet

Wow, i did not notice that Bill took the jacket home. I did notice an interesting song being played at the reception..."I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Comments on this???

August 22 2007 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iamhoff

I forgot about the schedule change, and saw this on Monday night. That being said, what an episode! I predicted it, that the Greene's weren't completely out of the picture. I did not think that they would take up with Alby to go after Bill...just that they would do it on their own hook. I don't think the snakes came from the Greene's, rather I think Alby arranged it. Everyone was out at the wedding, so I don't think Nikki had anything to do with that. She was the last to leave (Barb was already at the wedding, and Bill and Margene took off for dinner), so she could have not set the alarm (intentionally or otherwise), but I don't remember them having an alarm on the houses.

I agree that, as much as Barb is trying to get her kids away from the polygamist lifestyle, she seems to be outwardly more committed to Bill and the family. Not sure how the snakes will affect that, but that seems to be a result of the battle with Alby more than anything. And Joey's disappearance and Lois' hysterical reaction, I'm not sure how that's going to play. Alby's tweaking of Lois' nose, though, was the first thing that I've ever liked about Alby.

So much going on. Nikki playing internet bingo when talking to Alby, Margene totally asserting herself, Sarah playing with fire regarding Scott and sex, it's going to be interesting to see what cliffhanger's we're left with at the end of the season.

August 21 2007 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrew

great episode. does anyone know the name of the music and artist that was played at the end of the episode??

August 21 2007 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frances

Like blondeen munson, I'd like more information on getting sealed and unsealed.

Right now I'm not happy with any of the wives. They are acting in selfish, short-sighted ways that do not strengthen their marriage or relationships within their family. Just a few episodes ago, when Margene pointed out to Barb that Weber gaming was good for the future of the family and the Barb was too focused on the past I was cheering her. But her petulant behavior the last two episodes has just turned me against her. Why would Bill want to have her as a public face when she is so unstable?

August 20 2007 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blondeen munson

how does a lds member become unsealed as nancy did last night. which family will the children of the first seal be united with in eternity?

August 20 2007 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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