Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Big Love 2 Episode 3: Sons and Mothers

Another excellent episode of Big Love on HBO last night.

As usual, there were taut tensions and dangers around every corner in Bill's dealings with Roman, but the best part of the episode featured Bill's son Ben, and his relationship with Bill's youngest wife, Margene.

Indeed, the best part of Big Love has always been the way it explores the playing out of all too human issues in the context of a sincere polygamous family.

In this case, nothing romantic or flirtatous is even happening with Margene and Ben. Margene is the furthest thing from a frustrated wife, looking for a fling. She loves every aspect of her marriage to Bill (and Nikki and Barb). And Ben's doing just fine, sexually, with a hot girlfriend.

Now, Barb knows all of this as well as we, the viewers, do. But she can't help being concerned with the physical proximity of Margene and Ben - including Margene measuring Ben's waist for a pair of pants. And, so, Barb confronts Margene...

Which is very instructive because it says that, although Barb of course knows that Margene is a sort of mother to Ben, and doesn't really think that she would have an affair with him, a part of Barb is still looking at Marg as if she was just a really attractive woman, not much older than her son, who would be irresistible to him.

Margene, in an excellent scene, indicates that she actually sees and understands her relationship with Ben better than does Barb. Margene is shocked that Barb would even think about Margene and Ben in that way, and further points out that she can provide a kind of friend/mothering to Ben that Barb might not be able to provide.

Beyond the specific issue of Ben, perhaps Margene does have a deeper understanding of the polygamous household than does Barb, because Barb's relationship with Bill and their childten, after all, began as monogamous.

Tip-top acting by Ginnifer Goodwin as Margene and Douglas Smith as Ben.

I'm looking forward to more next week.

See also reviews of other episodes: 1. Big Love Resumes ... 2. Oh Happy Days ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... 12. Polygamy and Great Performances Confirmed

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