Even though the show's creators Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen credited themselves for creating a challenging season for the show's main character Bill Henrickson, they also see the need for some tweaking for their audience.
"We think the show has been the richer for having such a large ensemble," said Scheffer, "but we also feel we're at a breaking point. We've got to pare it down and refocus."
Do you agree with Scheffer's assumptions about the fourth season?
[via TV Tattle]
(S04E09) "I'm Bill Henrickson, and I believe in the principle of plural marriage. I am a polygamist." - from Bill's acceptance speech
With those very words, Bill released his family from four seasons of hiding and seclusion and finally brought his lifestyle and faith out in the open in a way very few fans could have seen coming. It was bound to go public somehow someway, but no one could have predicted it would have been on the steps of the state capitol as he accepts the keys to a state senate office.
So why did it feel so unfulfilling and empty?
(S04E08) "There is nothing about us that's the same and you know nothing about me." - Barb Henrickson
"Oh I know some...and I'm just getting started." - Marilyn Densham
The season is winding down and usually the plot endings that come to a predictable end do so just before the big shockers do. And that's what happened this week.
However, the surprise, one of many to come I'm sure, wasn't within the plot or the behavior of the characters or even the duality between good and evil of some of the supporting players in our little bigamy tragedy. It's the emotional reaction to the characters' connections and their endurance to endure that sneaks up on you and knocks your block off as you stand there all smug and self-aware that you were able to predict the ending. And it should. A show like this about much more than its plotlines and story shockers.
(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.
(S04E06) "I think I can understand how difficult this must be, keeping a secret." - Bill on discovering that Dale has been having an affair with Alby
"You can't imagine." - Dale
Some of the season's most interesting plot lines came to a screeching halt this week and by screeching, I mean literally just that. The stench of burning rubber won't come out of my couch no matter how well it's been Scotchguarded.
Of course, just because some problems have come to an end doesn't represent their means to an end. They only serve to create new and bigger ones.
(S04E04) "You wanted to play nice dolly with the nancy boy, but he's collaborating with your enemy. What a fool you've been." - Roman's ghost to Alby on discovering that Dale is working with Bill
This week's episode was full of moments that made my spine want to worm its way up my neck and straight out the back of my head like sp,e bizarre alien larvae working its way through my innards for a chance at breathing some clean air.
Sure, the tension was thick and coated the show in a gooey texture from the opening to closing credits, but this week also added an extra layer of pure visceral emotion that broke through the screen and made you feel the unspoken tension in places you didn't know had nerve endings.
(S04E03) "Dear Heavenly Father, I tested your calling and now you're testing me, but if this is what your plan is for me, you've got to help me out." - Bill
Last week, The Onion's AV Club did a supportive review of the episode but a scathing review of the characters. In fact, the reviewer flat out called Bill Henrickson "dumb."
It sounds like a gross simplification of a very complex man. After all, here's a guy who is not only guided by his faith and the directions that it points him in, but also in his undying devotion to his family, the influences of his business and even his politics.
But to be honest, dumb isn't far off. In fact, it doesn't go far enough. The whole Henrickson clan is dumber than a pile of unpolished doorknobs in a sack marked "hammers."
(S04E01) "Tonight we share a new beginning." - Bill to his wives after seeing the profits from the new casino
I always figured a show like Big Love would be complicated. It just makes sense. Sometimes having to follow one married couple on screen can wear even the most focused man into a coma, but I had no idea until I sat down and watched my first episode. Mutant onions have less layers.
(S02E2) Poor Barb.
While reeling from cancer treatment years ago, she agreed to let her husband Bill plunge the pair into polygamy, even though she really wasn't keen on the notion.
Then she was publicly humiliated when her family's polygamy became quasi-public and she was disqualified from a state Mother of the Year contest. Ashamed, she withdrew from the world in order to figure out where she fit in her own life. Although she toyed with the idea of leaving the polygamist Henrickson clan, she finally agreed to continue playing "boss wife" because she truly loves Bill, and her sister wives.
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