Big Love: Season One Finale (Recap)



This coming Monday, the HBO series Big Love starts it second season.  This off-beat drama with its bizarre premise really exploded into a great show with interesting characters in its first season. At first, a series about polygamy didn't interest me at all, but I gave it a chance simply because of the involvement of Jeanne Tripplehorn and Bill Paxton, and was pleasantly surprised.  If you haven't seen Season 1, I highly recommend renting the DVDs, and catching the 3 vignettes, "Big Love: The Beginning", which are 'flashbacks' that explore the pre-season 1 life of Bill Henrickson and family.

The season 1 finale, "The Ceremony", started off with Bill and Joey discussing plans for taking their new seat on the UEB with the shares from Ernest Holloway.  When they bust in on the meeting demanding their seat at the table, Roman adjourns the meeting citing rules that require prior notice of membership changes.  Bill still gets all the information on the UEB that he wanted, and uses them as leverage against Roman to leave his family alone.


Rhonda's prodding of Nicki and Margene about "Why did they pick Barb?" for BeeHive Mother of the Year seems to make Nicki even more upset.   Later, she overhears Barb and Margene talking about her look being a "…sign that says Practicing Polygamist".  Finally, Nicki confronts Barb and asks her to pull out of the competition.  Barb refuses, and the conversation that follows only makes it worse, and Nicki announces she is not going to the ceremony.  After a phone call with Bill, Nicki seems to change her mind.  She surprises the family with a makeover by Margene, and showing her support for Barb.  This is all dampened when they learn they do not have enough tickets for Nicki and Margene to attend.


Barb make an offer to Rhonda to stay with them for the school year.  Rhonda had been staying with them for some time for a competition at the university.  She never made it past the first day, but continued to pretend to go so that she could stay longer.  Nicki's mother, Rhoda's sister-wife Adaleen, comes to get her when she finds that the competition is over.  She finds Rhonda bedazzling her jacket.  She refuses to go and runs off. When she returns back to the Henrickson's, she is confronted by Adaleen and Barb, and is forced to return to the compound.  


Bill seems to be making an extra effort with Margene now that she is pregnant.  He makes breakfast for her, much to her surprise.  It was originally Nicki that wanted to have a new baby, albeit to get the extra attention. So look for the pregnancy to cause stress between the sisters, and further add to Nicki's feelings of neglect.


When Alby visits Wanda looking for Joey, she poisons him with anti-freeze when she feels that he is threatening her baby.  We learn that this isn't the first time Wanda has used this method.  It was Wanda that poisoned Bill's father with arsenic earlier in the season.  Wanda seems a little too comfortable with what she has done, and very knowledgeable about the effects of her choice of poison.  I really hope they explore her dark side a little more this season.  Joey calls his mom to help, not wanting to let Bill know.  Eventually, they have to tell Bill, and his plan involves getting rid of Alby's truck, and dropping him off at the hospital.  They do drop him off, tagged: "Delbert McCoy, Drank antifreeze". 


With Wendy discovering the Henrickson secret, and the knowledge of Barb's participation in the BeeHive ceremony, she is conflicted.  Her cryptic conversation with a coworker about 'impostors' seem to be a conversation with herself, trying to decide what to do. She eventually shows up at the ceremony, and Bill notices.  Presumably, she was there to expose Barb, but she never gets the chance.


It is Roman who exposes Barb as a polygamist to the first lady of Utah, played by Mrs Petrelli from Heroes, via phone.  Barb is disqualified, and escorted out the back by security in the middle of the ceremony.  The governor's wife announces that Barb withdrew herself from the competition, to avoid publicly explaining the real reason.  Though, her aide was not as discrete when he told Bill to discuss the matter with, "your other wives".  It was evident that those around Bill heard what was said.  The aftermath of having their secret exposed should be a big theme in season 2.  


Once home, Nicki freaks out…screaming "you could be taken, they'll burn the house down".  Once she calms down, Nicki and Margene go to console Barb, who says "I got what I deserved".  It seems that all the troubles the sister-wives had amongst themselves were gone in the face of what had happened.  But will the new family strength last?


Big Love Season 2 starts Monday, June 11th @ 9:00 on HBO with "Damage Control"