'Big Love': Signed, sealed, deliverance
It was just too good to be true, wasn’t it? With the halo of sun radiating over the wedding site and Kathy (Mireille Enos) a vision in white, gushing on and on about how joyful she was now that she would be sealed to Joey and Wanda for all of eternity, and Wanda graciously relinquishing her position as first wife, it was almost certain that Kathy’s time on this earth would be cut short. (That, and the reports that there are going to be two deaths on the show before the season’s end.)
Though considering that Kathy’s been living la vida loca with Joey and Wanda for quite some time now, I was quite surprised to discover that Joey and Kathy hadn’t sealed the deal yet. Somehow, I thought living together outside the bonds of marriage would go against the Principle. But perhaps because Roman wasn’t around to do the sealing, they just never got around to it.
But more on Kathy later. This show, as discussed in this Sunday's feature, is mostly about the Henrickson quadrangle, and back at their household, there were still the matters of Sarah’s pregnancy and Nicki’s birth-control pills to deal with. Not that either of them wanted to talk about it. Which proceeded to drive first-wife Barb batty.
Poor Barb, whose beliefs about family and chastity have been completely betrayed, had been stonewalled at every turn. But like a trouper, she refused to take any of this pass without a fight. And yay to her (and a terrific Jeanne Tripplehorn) for taking it upon herself to remind Nicki and Sarah what being a family meant, and what it meant to be in this family. Throughout this series it’s become clear what a struggle this whole lifestyle has been for Barb, and my heart swelled to see her defend her choice and take this hard line of truth, no matter how unpopular it made her. She was able to have it out in the meeting she and Bill had with Ted, when it was discovered that the LDS was trying to purchase and conceal a document that offered proof that the church never intended to abandon polygamy at all. “Nothing about this life I’d been called to lead has been easy, Ted,” she raged. “And for all these years you and Cindy have damned me for my choice. And now you’re burying the truth? Damn you.” Go, Barb! Now that Cindy has discovered she has been misled by her lord and master, perhaps this will open the door to reconciliation between her and her sister.
Though it doesn’t look like Lois and Frank will have any sort of reconciliation anytime soon.
Which is why Lois begged off going to Joey and Kathy’s wedding. “Last thing anyone needs is a side show,” said Lois wryly. “Your father trying to kill me, for trying to kill him.” As an aside, who knew Lois would be so good with the kids? It was a delight to see her reciting poetry about the cremation of Sam McGee (which you’d think Wayne and Raymond would be skeeved out about, considering that they dipped into Grandma Ginger’s ashes not so long ago. But they seemed to love it), or blowing them kisses and endearingly christening them “little suckers.”
Maybe Lois can babysit for Margie. Margie, who can’t move past the fact that her life doesn’t go past the house and has become one big day care, and for whom grocery-store trips have become highlights and random crying jags have become commonplace. Luckily, we can thank Pam’s Zoloft for helping her see who she really is beyond the blond morass. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have had the gumption to drop by Nicki’s for a visit and discover that Nicki has been passing as her this whole time. I’ve quite been enjoying this whole role reversal, with Nicki living the secular life (with tight-fitting trousers, no less) and dating the D.A. as Margene Heffernan. But Margie’s realized that she can’t go on as a glorified babysitter, and that the blond hair doesn’t suit her, so she’s pushing to get her brunette life back, Nice ‘n Easy.
Except that Nicki’s not ready to give it all up quite yet. Living a faux life has its benefits, as Nicki has tasted this nectar of uncomplicatedness, and decided she wanted some more (maybe she can pour some into that nice water bottle Ray Henry so thoughtfully purchased for her). And who can blame her for wanting to escape this life when her married family made her hyperventilate and faint from their interrogations? (One of my favorite lines of the night: “Let go of the carrot. And the grater.”) Can’t decide what’s funnier: The desperate Hail Mary passes Nicki hurls when cornered (like when confronted by Margene about stealing her identity and tampering with the law: “It was Satan! Satan got a hold of me!”) or the fact that none of them ever seem to work. But not all problems can be mended by quick-dry caulk, so Nicki quit her temp job a second time. Though not before planting Ray Henry with a heart-stopper of a kiss.
And Sarah, whom I was so rooting for until this point, went from commanding my utmost sympathy to harumphs of frustration with her teenage fickleness. I can understand her not wanting to talk with her parents, but this sudden decision to not attend ASU seemed very petulant and in disregard for everyone around her. Plus, it seemed like she had fallen for one of Bill’s manipulation schemes. Rather than go on Barb’s straightforward confrontation route, he dazzled her with something that she wanted and lured her with something she wanted more: an opportunity to make things right. “In my book, there’s no mistake that can’t be undone,” he purred in the passenger seat of her new(ish) car. “You can get on the right path if you change your mind.” He’s the perfect salesman, really: Getting people to do what he wants by making it seem like they were doing what they wanted all along.
It seemed to have worked. Sarah decided she’s not going to be attending ASU after all (though I’m not sure how Bill would feel about her decision to take a semester off for soul-searching). And for a second, I thought that maybe Heather would just take the news, like she took every other thing that Sarah’s dished out to her. So my heart leapt for joy when Heather finally took a stand. And props to Tina Majorino for her amazing scene, delivering cutting truths with so much conviction: “You used me. You imposed on my feelings without even giving it a thought what this might mean for my life,” she cried. “I’ve never judged you for your loss of chastity, and I’ve never judged you for getting pregnant. In fact nobody has, and maybe that’s the problem.”
What’s great about this show is that it doesn’t let the viewer off the hook with just one simple view of a character. Like Sarah. Or … Selma. So she’s Hollis Green’s wife and Roman’s little sister? All this time I thought (s)he was an ambiguous “Twin Peaks”-esque Hollis henchman. But not only is she a woman, but she’s a jealous wife who apparently attracts pigs. So Roman cottoned onto Kathy’s underground movement, and it rankled the “prophet of Holiday Inn” (good one, Joey!) to no end. So he arranged this sealing so he could ship Kathy off to Mexico and she could bear Hollis’ children (he wasn’t planning on killing her, but that sounds pretty much like damnation to me). And how many shades of wrong was that makeshift wedding scene at the ramshackle barn, complete with feral hogs, creepy bowl cuts and bloody pitchforks? I don’t know who squealed louder: the carnivorous pig when it was jabbed, or me upon witnessing it. Poor Babe. All he wanted to do was enjoy the ceremony, and maybe enjoy some crudités afterward. And poor Kathy. To die before being sealed to Joey and Wanda for all eternity is one thing. But that she was done in by her own flowered braid? Guess in the end, you can’t get away from what binds you.
What do you think? Are you sad to see Kathy go? Will we see more of Jodean (also played by Mireille Enos)? Which image was more disturbing: Selma in a dress, or that feral pig going after her bloodied leg? Who do you think will be the next to die? And who's up for seeing the "Big Love" cast and creators on panel at this year’s PaleyFest?
Photo credit: Lacey Terrell / HBO