Monday, January 18, 2010

Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?

A blockbuster episode 4.2 of Big Love last night, which moved the story further along than most sets of 3 or 4 episodes in the previous seasons.

The main narrative revolved around Bill's imminent future.   Nikki (congrats to  Chloë Sevigny for the well-deserved Golden Globe last night!)  and Joey (who is back) want Bill to become the next prophet at Juniper Creek.   Bill's grandfather (Lois's father) was prophet (and was likely killed by Roman), so history fuels Nikki and Joey's certainty that Bill should step up.  They're passionate about this.  Two of the best scenes last night were Bill's separate conversations with his second wife and (presumably) his only full brother.  But Bill has another idea.

He has received a powerful revelation: the only way he can make life safe for his family, safe from the pressure and witch-hunting of the current world, is to run for office.  If he wins, he'll be on the inside of the political machine, and he'll have a chance of moving it away from its increasing crackdown on Bill's way of life.

The family is stunned.   Won't Bill's running for office bring more bad attention down on them, and have precisely the opposite of the consequence he wants?   Barb needs time to think about this.   Nikki wants Bill to become the new prophet.   Margene, who's often the most sensible and practical, is the most clear and straightforward in her opposition - she sees the illogic in running for office when you're married to three women.   But she's not in favor of Bill's becoming the new prophet, either.  In one of her best lines, she says she's more interested in profits than Bill being prophet.  And, she's already made $10,000 in her new TV sales work, and stands to make more than a hundred grand in a year.

By the end of the episode, Bill comes to a conclusion: he's going to run for office.  The best way to protect his family and his way of life is not to hide, he says, but take it public, to the max and the mats of a political campaign.    They'll need to keep their family secret a little longer, but whenever it comes out, the worst charge that could be brought against Bill would be a misdemeanor - not enough to prevent him from running or serving in office.

I think Bill made the right decision.  It's consistent with his character to push back on people and forces that challenge and try to oppress him and his loved ones.  In his own way, he is a truer expression of the American dream, and its spirit that anything is possible if you follow your deepest vision, than most other people.   I think his turn to politics is one of the best developments on the series.

The other big event last night was Sarah's marriage.  As we saw last year, Bill is a loving father, who is able to surmount his misgivings and accept Sarah's relationships.   In a great last scene, Sarah and Scott get married in the communal back yard, by a Justice of the Peace, as the family looks on under the stars.

But Teeny's still missing in action.   She was on the phone in 4.1, but no one said a word about her not coming to her sister's wedding.

And beyond the family, various kinds of dangers are percolating, with Alby, J. J., and others moving in their nefarious ways.

We should be in for some great Big television in the coming weeks.

6-min podcast review of Big Love

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds

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

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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