Monday, March 8, 2010

'Big Love' Goes Out With a Big Fat Mess

*Warning, spoilers ahead from the season finale of Big Love.*

They were standing there. The four of them. In front of a gathering of supporters and the media at an election night acceptance speech. Their clothing reflecting the colors of the American flag, each wife in a single color, Bill in a combination of all three. But around them, shadows, disallusionment and disappointment . . . oh, and some salivating reporters who know a mega-juicy story when they see one.

The season finale of Big Love concluded with Bill winning his state senate race but losing his soul in order to get there. At the very least, he's lost the confidence and quite possibly the affections of his first wife Barb who begged and pleaded with him to refrain from outing the Henrickson family as polygamists if he won. She feared for their family, fears confirmed by poor Don Embry's son hurling a brick through the Henricksons' front window and cursing Bill for bringing scorn, mockery and humiliation down upon the Embry family by forcing Don to be the fall man at the beginning of Bill's campaign and pretend to be the only polygamist working at Home Plus. The Embry family living "in the light" and being open about their polygamy is a nightmare. Just look at Don's face and tell me he's happy to be living out in the open. Barb feared for her own family's well being while Bill was only concerned about transforming himself into some kind of transcendental leader who'll be forever remembered for moving polygamy into the American mainstream and to heck with the rest of his shortsighted family members. (See the video below.)

So desperate was Barb to grab hold of any rocks on the side of the cliff that she could, lest she and her family fall off it as Bill pushes them, that she was willing to embarass Bill by informing a local TV station on the eve of election day that Bill had fathered an out-of-wedlock child with Ana. She even handed over the results of a paternity test. She'd rather be the wife of a lying cheat (which she already is because Ana's baby was conceived before Ana and Bill were married for about 48 hours) than the first wife of a polygamist, pitied by the likes of Marilyn Densham who thought she was a pathetic sap for allowing her husband's sexual and political appetite run roughshod over her.

But the vain, deluded Bill plodded forward, regardless of the hideous news that was breaking about members of a Kansas polygamist compound being indicted and charged with widespread incest, incest that he knew had ties to Nicki's first husband J.J. who ran the Kansas compound, ties that Bill knew could taint anyone who was publicly known as practicing polygamy.

Even after his wife Nicki was attacked and nearly forcibly inseminated by J.J., after Bill learned that his first wife called the TV station about his baby mama, after Bill's third wife didn't want to go public and had repeatedly asked him to, at the very least, delay publically announcing their polygamist practices, Bill went ahead and did it anyway. And there they stood, hand in hand, everyone looking miserable, Barb in particular.

With only nine episodes in this season, I felt as though we'd been forced to drink wine that hadn't had time to age properly and that hadn't been given time to breathe. The finale felt so rushed because they literally had run out of time to tell the story the writers wanted to tell. I think they could've done fine by using fewer major events and by just simplifying things.

An example of rushing through stories without giving them enough time or decent treatment is the dispensing of the Flutes. After two seasons of Bill courting the Flutes in order to build the casino, Bill summarily ditched them off screen on election day (how did he have time to do all he did on election day?) when they had a member of their family who was dealing drugs at the casino.

Bill has a brother who admitted to committing murder, parents who've tried to kill one another and have illegally transported guns and birds from Mexico, a mother who sliced off someone's arm, a sister-in-law who's tried multiple times to kill people, a mother-in-law who just burned alive two people in a building (Bill doesn't know about that yet), a wife who committed fraud when she stole someone else's identity in order to work at the D.A.'s office and obstruct her father's prosecution for compelling underaged girls to marry older men, and another wife who's in a sham marriage in order to keep the fiance of Bill's baby mama in the country. And the FLUTES are the ones who are the problems who need to be fired? Never mind the fact that Bill perpetrated fraud on the voters by parading Barb and their three kids around like they were his only family members. How long until the recall vote?

Based on the last few episodes, we knew the finale was going to be overstuffed with way too much story, no matter how much I wanted everything to slow down and stop being so over-the-top. Putting those criticisms aside, I found hope in Barb's response to Bill's lunacy. I hope that next season, she'll emerge stronger and wiser and not The Good Wife-polygamist style. And hopefully there'll be more episodes so the writers can slow down.

Your thoughts on the Big Love finale? What do you think will happen to the Henricksons now that their big secret is out?


Anonymous said...

I immediately became embarrassed that I've watched this show from the beginning. What a stupefying act of FAIL. You left out my favorite - the stolen egg ring that emerged (and closed out) in the moronic finale. SHARK JUMP!!!!

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