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October 13, 2015

Big Love: Oh Pioneers (season finale)

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 27th 2007 11:41AM
teenie(S02E12) Things certainly didn't end up the way I thought they would in the season finale. And now I can't wait to see Season 3! I hate having to wait for so long for new seasons. I don't want to say too much before the jump, though. I'll just say that I thought I had a lot of things pegged a certain way, and one of the great things about this show is that it shows us that people in all of their wonderful complexity. None of these characters can be easily pigeon-holed.

Juniper Creek

For the entirety of the season, I have been predicting that Bill's plans included taking over the position of the prophet at Juniper Creek. So, when the U.E.B. voted for Bill to be the new Chairman of the board, I thought for certain that he had things right where he wanted them. So, I was very surprised when Bill told Joey that he didn't want the position, that he has his own life and his own path to follow. And I loved the fact that he included in that statement, "And I have three wives who would skin me alive!"

I was glad to have it confirmed that Alby and his wife were trying to kill Roman-- but I didn't suspect they were using a veterinary tranquilizer to do it. One of my favorite lines of the program was when Adaleen told Barb, "I walked over the backs of five timid women..." Adaleen was talking about the power she has as Roman's sixth wife, and how she might as well be the first wife. Heck, she might as well be Roman's ONLY wife. And I'll talk more about that line later, but it doesn't surprise me a bit that Adaleen was the one to save Roman's life (except for the fact that I thought/hoped Roman was a goner). A commenter said a few weeks ago that they weren't going to kill off Harry Dean Stanton, and that turned out to be a wise and true statement.

What I am curious about for next season is what is going to happen between Bill and Alby now that Roman is in jail. My husband and I were shouting when Nicki called Alby to brag that Roman was coming back to be re-instated-- why does she ALWAYS do that? She always tips Alby off! On one hand, it's a necessary plot device, but I think it is also consistent with their relationship. It was a great scene when Roman insisted that Nicki shave him, and said it was too bad that she wasn't born a boy. Roman hasn't quite figured out the power that the wives have, including his own.


Sarah has finally made her break with the family, even if only in the symbolic break of losing her virginity. In choosing to sleep with Scott, she has turned her back on both the values of her family and the LDS church both. It's interesting that Sarah refers to the "Church of Dad," and also fundamentalism. It is not entirely clear from the show what religion the Hendricksons practice. But I think it's strongly hinted at (through Sarah) that Bill isn't operating entirely from his fundametalist background: He is still tied to Juniper Creek, and Lois is probably right; he probably always will be. But he is also striking out on his own (a pioneer, so to speak).

Pioneer Day is indeed a big Utah holiday. It's actually held on July 24th, and marks the occasion that Brigham Young led the Mormon pioneers across the prairies from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Salt Lake Valley and declared, "This is the place." And Brigham Young, perhaps even more than Joseph Smith, is known for his practice of polygamy. So, obviously the Hendrickson brand of polygamy includes the early days of the church in its history and practice, as evidenced by Teenie's brief words about Brigham Young.

The Wives

Barb reclaimed her power from Margene in this episode, finally, and thank goodness. I really thought Barb was going to go. But I think she has decided to stay and stake her claim. Weber Gaming has become a symbol of accepting The Principle of polygamy, and beginning with leaving her mother's wedding with her family last week, Barb took a much more significant step in this episode by coming out to Pam. I had thought all of this time that the reason they hid their polygamy from the neighbors was because it was illegal and they feared going to jail, but it is clear from all of Bill's dealings with the ATF and the FBI that law enforcement is going to look the other way. The reason for their secrecy, then, was Barb's embarrassment and refusal to openly acknowledge their family.

It's very interesting that Adaleen told Barb that she was rendering herself powerless by resisting Bill at every turn and staying closeted. Nicki also recognized that because Margene was the youngest and most attractive wife that Margene couldn't also be equal in decision-making power with the other wives. Did you catch the look on Margene's face when Nicki told her that if Barb found out about Ana that she'd be out the door? Margene may have thought that this was her chance to finally take all the power as Bill's wife, but Barb surprised her and yanked out the rug in front of her, significantly, with Margene's first friend outside the family: Pam. She took Margene's "calling" from her, but at the same time, she openly acknowledged Margene's role, which effectively gives Margene a calling at the same time. She is wife and mother, she is family.

My second favorite line in the episode was when Pam asked Barb if she didn't want to have two or three more kids, so she could have a normal-sized family. It was great on so many levels: For one thing, it is the very basis of polygamy. What are Nicki and Margene if not surrogate mothers for Barb, to some extent? Margene openly threw this in Barb's face in the last episode. And Barb, by telling Pam that Margene was married to them, claimed Margene for herself, as her own surrogate, and yet didn't: She recognized Margene as her equal, her sister, her wife.

This is very interesting and compelling on so many levels: Why is it okay for Pam to use a surrogate to bear children for her husband, and yet, it's not okay for the neighbors across the street to be polygamists? The methods of insemination are different, yet at least Margene and Nicki are full wives and get to raise their children, rather than give them away like some twisted Margaret Atwood tale. However, before Barb was ready to openly acknowledge them as sister-wives, they were, to some extent, hidden away as mere surrogates for Barb. She wants to be THE wife, but the only way she can do that now is to be one among three. And her acceptance of a role on Weber Gaming seals her acceptance of The Principle. Ben embraces her, Barb stands with her other two wives, and now it is Sarah on the outside, looking in.


I was not expecting to see Ana again, and I was sure Barb was going to walk in on her embrace with Bill in the pantry. Hand in hand with Barb's acceptance of Weber Gaming (and symbolically, polygamy), does this mean she will now entertain the idea of a fourth wife, if that is what it will take to secure her own position and power? And what will happen with Weber Gaming now that Roman is in jail? Will Alby and Bill now be at war? The Greenes are still at large and dangerous, and at the same time that Bill is bringing Barb more fully into the future with her position on the board, he is also lying to her, which undermines not only her power and position, but their marriage. He lied about what the doctor said about moving Roman and also about his relationship with Ana. And that was just in this episode.

We will probably be seeing further development of these storylines in the next season, as well as Wanda's independence: She stood up to Lois, and snapped at Kathy. I wonder if she'll try to poison Kathy next, in order to get Joey's affections back to herself. It's very interesting that Lois was behind all of Wanda's other poisonings, except for Alby's, and yet Lois is the one who put her into a mental hospital.

One of the most poignant scenes in the finale was when Bill asks Roman why he sent him away. At the heart of everything Bill does, he is still a scarred and wounded little boy who lost his foothold, lost his home, and is still trying to invent and reclaim his identity. Roman says, "Look at you now, " as if who Bill has become has somehow made up for what Roman did to a young teenager, casting him out. I'm not therapist, but I think that statement was not necessarily a compliment. As long as Roman lives, Bill will never be free of Juniper Creek. However, he can't cut the strings and set himself free.

Do you think Sarah will leave the family?
Yes339 (60.9%)
No218 (39.1%)

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I agree, the little girls dancing around was a little awkward to watch. Regarding Roman's "look at you now" remark, I took it to mean that Roman knew of Bill's potential early on, and he knew Bill had to be removed from the compound, lest he attempt to reclaim his birthright. Bill was destined for power...Roman just ensured it wasn't 'Prophet' power.

Yay Barb and all...but...she's starting to creep me out...more than Nicki. I was glad to see Maregene put in her place.

Great season all around.

September 04 2007 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R. Reed

How about those Home-Plus parade dancers. Little girls with lots of sexualized inappropriate dance moves. I was reminded of Jon Bennet Ramsey.

August 30 2007 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a feeling that there is some Alby-Nikki (& possibly Roman) incest in the past that will come to light in the future episodes. I noticed in a past episode that Alby told her "We both know what a bad girl you are Nikki."

August 28 2007 at 5:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brilliant season...this is why I watch HBO.

August 27 2007 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

On another site I read that when the series resumes the time will be a great time in the future from where it left off. So, Margene's baby may be born, Sarah may have left the home, etc.

I've read on this forum or another on this show some people really don't like Scott. I actually like him and find him to be realistic. I seem to think Sarah's easiest way out is with him and hopefully via marriage.

I also read where the cast and crew of BL wasn't sure it would be renewed for another season until late into this season. Ratings have been low with it being on Monday nights....hopefully it will be on Sunday nights next year.

I love this show: the writing and the acting. And, it is about so much more than polygamy...it is about relationships.

August 27 2007 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wanda almost poisoned Kathy already. Remember when she thought about putting AJAX on top of the cake instead of powdered sugar? She probably would have if she hadn't been interrupted.

I love how Lois has been manipulating her to poison people.

August 27 2007 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blondeen munson

I agree with Symetrix that Roman feared Bill. Remember last seson that Nikki told him that his father didn't have him removed, it was her father because Roman saw many thins about Bill that were similar to hisgrandfather. The man who sold Bill his seat on the UEB aalso spoke about the bond between the two of them ..

August 27 2007 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Comment Nbr 4 sums it up perfect about this show.

Those are the words that me and my wife are always looking for when we talk about this show to others.

August 27 2007 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show because it is so fresh and new. I thought it was great the way barb reclaimed her power in a powerless marraige and how Ana came back. I think there needs to be a fourth wife that is diffrent from the othe three. I can't wait till season 3 comes out sose any one know when this begins?

August 27 2007 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


When Nikki called Alby to say that Roman was on his way back, my GF and I also yelled at the TV (my how we get engrossed in our shows!). I don't think there's going to be a 4th wife. As much as Barb is opening up and (reluctantly) accepting the polygamy lifestyle, she seems to adamant about not giving up any more time with Bill.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly where Lois' character is going to go. Obviously she's trying to get back in the Big House on somebody's coattails, but I don't know who she's going to attach herself to now that Bill's rejected the position and Alby's managed to revote himself into the position. Maybe the UEB councilmember she was cozying up to before the first vote. Personally, I can see Wanda poisoning or attempting to kill Lois somewhere next season.

The Alby-Roman-Adelaide story gets a little interesting. Obviously with Alby in the leadership role and Roman heading to jail, Adelaide is left on the outside looking in. Given that she has already sought Bill's assistance once, I can see Bill telling her to talk to the police outside of Juniper Creek about Alby's giving an animal tranquilizer to Roman as an attempted murder case.

So many threads left hanging. Will Sarah get pregnant? Will Alby have Joey killed to punish Bill? What of Hollis Greene and Co.? Is Bill putting all of his trust into Weber Gaming, with the idea that he can just let Home Plus slide? With Barb's actively outing them to the neighbors, presumably word will get around and Home Plus' business will drop off. Dammit. I don't want to wait for the new season!

August 27 2007 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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