Monday, February 8, 2010

The Potential for Brilliance in the Difference between Near-Insanity and Insanity in Big Love 4.5

Another high octane episode of Big Love - 4.5 - with the incendiary mix of politics and family in Bill's life about as flammable as it gets.

In politics, Bill's opponent jumps on the "lost boy" issue to make Bill seem weak on crime.   Then the opponent releases Bill's mug shot, taken when he was a "lost boy" himself and had a brush with the law.  Bill eventually gives a great speech in which he admits to being a "lost boy"  - thrown out of his home, left on the streets by his father -  but that lost boys need and require society's compassion, rather than being scorned and forced into a criminal life.

It was a fine moment for Bill, and he gets the nomination - he's the Republican candidate for the state senate seat - but the deeper issues, as they always are on Big Love, are family not politics, except this time the two are profoundly intertwined.   Everyone's furious at Bill for throwing Ben out of the house last week - for "exiling" him, or potentially making Ben precisely the kind of "lost boy" under political debate.    First, let me say that I don't think Bill quite threw Ben out last week.  True, Bill said that's what he was thinking, when Ben said he should leave.  And Bill, rather than supporting Ben's leaving, should have talked him into staying - or least tried to do that - but I don't think that's exactly the same as throwing Ben out.

But Ben thinks he was thrown out, and Bill certainly could have done a lot more last night to stop Ben from leaving.   Barb at first thinks Bill did throw Ben out, and is furious.  This results in Barb telling Margene off - the first time we've ever seen Barb telling Margene that she slid her way into the family, from babysitter to wife - and in being about as angry at Bill as we've ever seen.  Bill tries to explain, but when he fails in his attempt to get Ben back to talk, Barb is left deeply upset.

These family upheavals play out literally as Bill is trying to get a victory in his political campaign, and show again the almost insanity of a polygamist running for public office - family life with more than one wife, and children who are no longer little kids, is complicated enough.  But almost insane is not the same as insane, and it is in the difference between these two states that the brilliance of Big Love and the possibility of Bill's ultimate success in both family and politics reside.

5-min podcast review of Big Love

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 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 ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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