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Big Love: "The Mighty And Strong"


Big Love

"The Mighty And Strong"

Season 4 , Episode 4

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"Why does it have to be crazy?"

Ah, Alby. Softened by love, he's almost human. Just a man breaking into another man's house to present him with grape jelly, cook him turkey tetrazzini, and tell him he loves him. That moment when Alby fell into Dale's embrace, nuzzling him on the neck was just so sweet. Odd, but sweet. It's almost enough to make you forget that, considering Dale is the federally appointed trustee of Juniper Creek not to mention married with a family, Dale and Alby's relationship isn't going to turn out well. And as sweet and open and trusting Alby is around Dale, it's hard to forget that just a day earlier, Alby was a ruthless, cruel tyrant who treated his own mother like livestock, handing her over to JJ because she's "the property of the priesthood" now.  In a way, Alby's crazy love for Dale is the least crazy thing about him.

But Alby wasn't the only person finding the sanity in the insanity in tonight's episode. There was Adaleen's betrothal to JJ, her former son-in-law—an idea that Nicki rightfully and repeatedly pronounced "demented." Of course it's demented—and disgusting, incestuous, and just plain icky for a woman to marry the ex-husband of her daughter. No one should be both grandmother and step-mother to the same child. To quote the audience of Maury, that ain't right. Still, JJ and Adaleen together isn't entirely wrong. Ignoring their tangled family ties, they seem like a pretty good match. They're both conniving and cutthroat, and Adaleen apparently has a thing for helping creepy men who look like shrunken ventriloquist's dummies. Maybe that's why Adaleen seemed to resign herself to the match—or maybe it's because she's already plotting something with JJ in order to get out of it. 

Next stop on the crazy train, of course, is poor Margene and Ben. Their attraction, which used to be rather quirky and light, something usually played for laughs, is now an intense, muddy thing. In this episode, Margene and Ben are all watery eyes and longing; all meaningful glances and crushing guilt. It's all so deliciously tragic. Obviously, it's crazy for Margene and Ben to fall for one another. According to the Principle, she's his mother. If they got together, he would be both step-father and brother to her three kids. He's only 18. But when Margene broke down on her pseudo-HSN show, saying "My husband abandoned me... I'm just a single mom with three kids trying to sell shiny things," her feelings for Ben made complete sense. She was essentially telling the truth in that moment—Bill has abandoned her in favor of pursuing his idiotic political dream. He doesn't support her, or listen, or care for her on a day-to-day basis. But Ben does. Naturally she'd fall for him.  And in this episode Ben was as upstanding as Bill is manipulative. When Ben told Margene, "I've had to grow up. Why not you?" before retrieving the cocoa from the top shelf for her, who wouldn't root for them to be together? To quote Alby: Why does it have to be crazy?

Which brings me to Bill who is in currently in the throes of full-blown megalomania in pursuit of his asinine State Senate goal: selfishly expecting his entire family to drop everything and help him; having Nicki spy for him at his opponent's campaign headquarters; having Don take the fall for him for both the polygamy accusations and the Home Plus audit; and then running Ben off of the Henrickson compound. Bill might profess that he doesn't want to be prophet of Juniper Creek, but he's doing an awfully good Roman Grant impression. 

Stray Observations:

--Bill, the one-time lost boy, turning his own son into a lost boy. Isn't it ironic?

--Speaking of megalomaniac Bill, how exactly would Don pre-emptively taking the fall help in any way? There would still be a scandal—Bill Henrickson hires polygamists and has no idea what's going on at his business—and lots of suspicion. Poor, stupidly loyal Don.

--Another crazy/not-so-crazy plot was Sarah holding on to Layla's baby as a kind of replacement for the baby she miscarried. In the end, though, Sarah did the right thing and gave the baby to tribal services. In the meantime, Barb got to see what a loving, supportive, equal husband-wife relationship looks like.

--"Ben isn't righteous." Uh-oh. Looks like the new Teeny is a little sassy. She's also a tattletale.

--"I wanna splurge for my honeys. Find a Holiday Inn Express." Oh, Frank. It's the "Express" that makes it classy.

--"The days of hiding and shame are over." Tell that to Lois' can of Aqua Net, Bill.

--Is there a sadder sight then Margie crying inside an elephant costume?