Big Love: "The Greater Good"
B+

Big Love: "The Greater Good"

B+

Big Love

"The Greater Good"

Season 4, Episode 2

"Another day, another revelation. This time my father's running for office."

Amen, Sarah.

One of the major conundrums swirling at the center of Big Love that the show invites us to ponder from time to time is this: Why would one woman, let alone three, marry someone as dumb as Bill Henrickson?  True, he's a pretty good provider. He's definitely devoted to his family, that is when he's not trying to expand it. He's maddeningly good at convincing himself that his passing whims are revelations from God, which I guess is an attractive quality if you're in to that whole "Honey, I got another testimony!" thing. But if tonight's episode proved anything once and for all it's that Bill is a moron. 

Obviously, though, I guess the writers of Big Love are okay with us thinking that Bill is a complete moron because Bill, the polygamist, is going to run for state senate in Utah in order to try and change the general public's view of polygamy. Sure. The only way we can accept that storyline as plausible is if we accept that Bill is a moron. And in case you doubted Bill's idiocy, after grappling with the idea of running for office the whole episode, and almost deciding against it, there is the scene at the end of the episode where Bill outlines his brilliant plan: Hide their polygamous lifestyle for the six-week long campaign, and then when Bill wins, he'll tell Utah, "Guess what? I'm a polygamist. And I'm gonna be in office for the next 4 years!" Great plan, Bill! Even if the Henricksons could keep their lifestyle a secret in the heat of a campaign (which they couldn't) and even if Bill wins (which seems like a big if considering he's just entering the race six weeks before the election), does Bill really think that the people who elected him would be a happy and supportive bunch when they find out they've been lied to? Yes, Bill really does think that. Again, because Bill is a moron.

Still, this whole election thing should be pretty fun to watch. Not as fun to watch as Lois and Frank's fictional sitcom spin-off, but fun nonetheless.

Elsewhere, in the non-moronic parts of the episode, there was a pair of family events (Sarah's wedding, Roman's funeral) and two pairs of mother/daughter pairs battling over the beliefs surrounding those events. Sarah struggled to get Barb to understand that she didn't want to be married (or even sealed) to Scott by her father, because she didn't believe in her father's religious convictions. Sarah could have stolen Nicki's line to Adaleen about Roman, "I don't believe Papa was a true prophet," although it probably wouldn't have done Sarah any good, either. When Adaleen heard that Nicki isn't going to Roman's funeral, she didn't accept Nicki's I'm-struggling-with-my-faith excuse, and implored, well, shouted at Nicki to mourn Roman as her father, not as the prophet. In the end, after Sarah felt guilty that Barb caught her running off to City Hall (oopsies!), Sarah got married by a judge in the Henrickson backyard in front of the whole family (except Teenie, of course, who is still at athletic camp? Maybe?), and Nicki attended Roman's funeral/midnight tailgate with her family. The message in both of these cases was clear: Family outweighs faith. 

Marriages, however, are a different story. Throughout the episode Nicki's love for Bill—what was left of it, anyway, after her relationship with Ray The DA—was waning. First Bill invited JJ over for dinner, a move that Nicki (rightly) saw as Bill trying to control her relationship with JJ and therefore her parenting of Cara Lynne. Then Bill repeatedly refused Nicki's suggestion to step up to his destiny and become prophet of Juniper Creek. In those scenes, you could see Nicki go from enraged to utterly crushed—and here we are offered another reason to add to the list of reasons why any of these women would have married this man. Nicki describes when she first fell for Bill on the compound, how there was a light around him, how he was the grandson of the prophet and she was the daughter of a prophet and clearly they were meant to be together. But if Bill rejects Nicki's vision of him in favor of his own state senate vision, how long before Nicki rejects their marriage?

Barb married Bill (the moron) for love, and she doesn't want him to run for state senate out of fear for their family, and because she doesn't want to lie so directly to the LDS, her former church. Margene also married Bill (the moron) for love, amongst other reasons like a yearning for a stable family, and she doesn't want him to run for state senate because it could jeopardize her very lucrative HSN bracelet business. Nicki married Bill (the moron) for many reasons—to get off the compound, to escape her father's rule—but also for a love spurred by her faith in their shared destiny: true prophet and wife of the true prophet of Juniper Creek. Nicki doesn't want Bill to run for state senate because she'd rather him confirm that their marriage was meant to be by becoming prophet. But, you know, Bill wants to out himself as a polygamist on the most public stage possible, so that's what he's gonna do. Great plan, Bill!

Stray Observations:

--Speaking of outing, Dale runs a "Pray away the gay" support group? Of course he does. Then he kisses Alby in the parking lot. After offering to "help" Alby get over the gayness. I love the Alby/Dale storyline.       

--JJ has no fingernails! JJ has no fingernails!! Yuck. That is such a great, creepy detail.

--Speaking of which, with all of Nicki's eye-rolling and JJ's wife's wig and the discussion of "sensitivity to cruciform vegetables" that dinner scene was one of the funniest of the night.

--"Congratulations. Your total is $4.68." It was good to see Heather back.

--Between Margie's successful business, her unwillingness to share all of her earnings, and her "Hey. I wasn't done." in bed with Bill, she's more independent every day. I can't wait to see Bill get good and threatened.  

--"Is that wine? I gotta go." Ben, you're in a band now. Lighten up.

--Fun fact: having only 3 kids makes you seem like you aren't a family man in Utah. 

--"I love vanilla. It tastes so fake." Nothing like a pre-wedding shake at Sonic to quell/then exacerbate your guilt, right, Sarah?

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