'Big Love' - 'Blood Atonement' Recap
by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 22nd 2010 1:45AM
(S04E07) "My cope container is full. Do you hear me? It is ... FULL." - Barb to Margie and Nicolette after hearing ... well, everything
Believe me, honey, I know the feeling. My cope container is one of those extra large "Big Gulps" from 7-11 that can only be held in a car cup holder the exact circumference as an elephant's foot. And this week, even that wouldn't hold it.
It's natural for a show with 2,000 plus running plot lines to feel more overwhelming than an IRS audit, but it's starting to get a little less believable. That goes for both for the plots' plausibility and the surprise that none of the main characters has suffered the kind of complete nervous breakdown that can create the kind of police scanner activity that attracts the local "eyewitness" news crew.
This week, we were treated to everything from a long-running secret plot line with Bill heading across the border to rescue his son and parents from the clutches of a psychopathic's polygamist compound, a run-in with local crazies protesting the family casino (perhaps, as discussed in the latest podcast, another 'Biggest Loser'-esque product placement plug for 'The Crazies'?) and the usual psycho-family drama that comes with having a house with three wives. In other words, it's a Thursday plus two Fridays.
If the writers' goal was to make the viewer feel just as overwhelmed and snowed-over as everyone in the Henrickson clan, then call the press, cue the aircraft carrier and roll out the "Mission Accomplished" banner. The mix felt like a giant pile of wet laundry just dropped right on top of me, leaving me gasping for air and struggling to crawl out of it.
It starts with Bill driving to some unknown locale as he lies to Barb about what he's doing and where he's headed, only leaving us to discover he's trying to get to Mexico to rescue his parents and son. Right from the get-go, it doesn't waste time with the how or the what and just throws you right in the middle of the where. The mock trial held by Hollis Green and his "Pat-ish" wife added just the right element of creepy, but the big payoff in the end where Bill's mom slices Hollis' arm off at the shoulder giving them a full-proof opportunity to escape felt way over the top. Don't get me wrong. It was nice to see these characters find redemption and growth from Bill's mom to his Dad, who admits that Roman made him kick Bill out and made him a victim of his own cowardice. I also love a good dismemberment in my entertainment. but Ash slicing off his own hand with a chainsaw in 'Evil Dead II' felt more believable than a frail old woman cutting a man's arm off with a rusty machete in one chop.
Cut to Barb who is still reeling over the fact that Bill has fathered another baby for the Henrickson brood with a fallen wife, Ana, and keeps trying to insist on getting the entire family involved in the baby's life. Ana, of course, needs help but not all of the drama that comes with being a Henrickson. Barb simply being Barb keeps sticking her foot in the door, only to discover that the right thing to do isn't always the easiest thing to do. It was a moment of deep understanding for me. Time and time again, I've watched the crazy people of this family make one dumb decision after another, but it's not driven by stupidity or even the need to create conflict. They do it because they think it's right and it's hard to fault them for that, no matter how many times my eyes scream at the screen to just walk away from what's sure to be a firestorm.
That being said, Margie definitely earns this week's "Dumbest Mother of the Year" mug for agreeing to marry Ana's boyfriend so they can both stay in the country and be close to Bill's baby. She's already in hot water with the family for one minor indiscretion, so why would she think that agreeing to marry someone outside of her marriage would make that boo-boo go away?
The biggest roadblock was the revelation that the lobbyist Maralyn may be in cahoots with the religious crowd that has been causing problems for the casino and may have even planted an explosive device, which seems to give Barb some kind of brain collapse since Bill is off chasing banditos in Mexico without her knowledge. After an episode that featured more needless drama than a 'Star Trek' movie, it made for a nice teaser for what may be a calmer episode. That being said, they are dealing with a D.C. lobbyist. Better stock up on the Maalox (that was not a product placement ...yet).
- Nicolette's mother possibly being pregnant was six kinds of creepy. Sure it was fun watching Nicolette's slowing unwind as everyone around her talks about babies while she's as barren as a puddle on the moon, but lines where she orders her to "pee" and her mother proclaiming that she has "the uterus of a woman half her age" made for some real gut-churning humor.
- The second fertility doctor wants to give Nicolette hormones? Isn't that like giving Michael Scott a copy of "Milton Berle's Private Joke File"?
- The saddest part about this episode? We never found out what kind of pie Cara made. For God's sake! Was it a key lime? Was it a coconut cream? Was it a meringue? It's going to have me turning in my sleep for weeks.