A while back doostyn and I were talking about tv (quelle surprise!) as we noted that the Melrose Place apartment complex would be a perfect place from which to run a polygamous compound. Each sister-wife could have her own apartment and there would be that lovely pool to share, and besides, the residents of the ‘place sleep around so much that they might as well be in Juniper Creek.
It was a joke, but the season finale of Big Love was chock full of Melrosian plots.
JJ is extremely creepy, even for JJ. He’s keeping Adaleen in a drugged stupor after pumping her full of Wanda’s eggs so he can make “pure” (read: incest) Walker babies. Creeeeeeeeeeepy. But it makes even more sense that his creeeeeeeepy family referred to Adaleen last week as a “vessel” as opposed to a “mother.”
The best JJ part is when he’s telling one of the compound kids a story and it goes like this: “And after the end of days we’ll have our pick of all the beautiful homes. We’ll buy ’em for pennies on the dollar, drag out the dead bodies, and we get the house!”
Marilyn, the Amanda Woodward of Big Love, turns on the waterworks to manipulate Bill for reasons I can’t quite understand but am yet sure are AWESOME. For most of the episode Bill (and the viewers) think Marilyn leaked Bill’s knocked up “mistress” Ana, but it turns out it was Barb! (!!!!!) But that doesn’t stop Marilyn from taking advantage and passing the move off as her own glorious omnipotence. Oh Bill. When are you going to understand that literally every woman you know is smarter than you?
Nicki flips her shit and suggests they change the Bill-sharing arrangement before spilling that she loves Bill more than Margene and Barb and doesn’t want to share him. It’s shocking and amazing. It seems in the first season Nicki was the one least invested in Bill as a person (though closest to understanding the “principle) but now she’s the only one who seems to really want to be married to him, since Margene has confessed to Ana that she’s attracted to that creeper Goran (how gross was it when he slid his hand up her thigh in the citizenship interview last week? Eeeeeeeew) and Ana is basically all “I love him, and I love you, and it’s nice when we’re allllll together.” I just want to take Margene out for a decaf tea and tell her she deserves a man of her own.
Nicki is on fiyah this episode. When Ana comes to confront Bill about the Margene/Goran divorce and it comes out that Margene is lying to everyone Nicki bitches: “Myyyyyy what a tangled web, Margene.” So bitchy! And she’s all: “I never said I hated the baby! Just that the baby was a big mistake! And heavenly father got rid of Ana because he realized that particular spirit baby wasn’t meant for us.” I’m sure that will make the kid feel a lot better. “It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s just that you’re a huuuuuuuuuuge mistake.” And then when she’s trying to figure Wanda out she’s like, “Do you know me? Is your name Wanda? Are you a zebra?” It’s awesome, except that poor, traumatized Wanda nods yes to everything. Poor, poor Wanda.
In other egg news, Margene offers her egg to Nicki for IVF but she’s totally disgusted and calls Margene a tramp, which is… pretty mean. I bet by the end of the episode she was looking at Margene’s egg as not the worst fertility suggestion she had all day. I love these women all so much, and it makes me sad that they can’t get along, even though that’s pretty much Bill and his gross patriarchal religion’s fault. But I guess I can’t see them being friends and hanging out if they weren’t all married to the same dude. That awkward convo draws to a close when Don’s son throws a brick through the window because he’s pissed that “our lives are effing ruined!” I love these swears. (Later Barb is all “I don’t want to hear your gee dee testimony.”)
Bill says he’s sorry, but I don’t believe him. Bill basically wants to do whatever he wants, and wants everyone to love him while he does it, which is just… not always possible. I love Don, he’s so sweet to Bill even though Bill effing ruined his life by making him take the fall for cooking the Home Plus books. Maybe Margene should marry Don. She’s not a lesbian, and we all know she has an enormous sex drive, so it would be an upgrade for him, but it looks like she’s leaving one polygamous household for a younger, hotter version (so like a dude, Marge).
So the tensest plot of the episode is when Betty Draper’s brother (and JJ’s son) calls to tell Nicki she’s pregnant, but it’s just so he can lure her to the compound. Wanda finds her voice in the nick of time to tell Bill that JJ has tricked Nicki. The whole implantation scene is horrifying. Nicki’s voice gets all slurry from the drugs Betty Draper’s brother has injected in her. JJ is all “I borrowed something from our daughter to help reunite our loving family.” Oh. my. God. He wants to shoot her up with Cara Lynn’s eggs. That’s just… so disgusting, I can’t even handle it. Albie won’t help Bill find Nicki at first because he’s not dealing well with the death of his beloved, Dale.
Adaleen saves the day, bashing JJ’s creepy wife over the head and escaping from her hospital bed and then confronting JJ about putting Wanda’s eggs in her. She stabs him with medical scissors, unshackles Nicki and they book just as Bill shows up. It’s fucking fantastic, and really well acted, but tell me that plot isn’t straight out of Melrose? Especially when Adaleen ties JJ and his creepy wife up and lights the building on fire.
Bill and Nicki make me cry a little when she cries in his arms that she just wanted to give him another baby and be a good wife because “that’s the way it is.” And he says, “That’s not the way it is with us.” Oh Bill. Just when I get fed up with you, you do something that reminds me that, given your upbringing, you’re a really good person, even if you still have some effed up beliefs.
Marilyn learns from the Flutes that Bill is a polygamist, they’re pissed because he turns them in for drug trafficking. (Sidebar: the first time the Henrickson’s referred to “the Flutes” I thought they were using a racist slang term for Native Americans not having noticed it’s their last name. Nice overreaction, self.) Marilyn tells Bill what we’re all thinking– his religion is a cover for fooling around.
Barb and Bill have a very emotional scene where she asks him why they’re coming out, because she’s always given her consent, but she doesn’t understand. Bill tells her it’s important that they show that polygamists aren’t perverts and con men. At her urging he tells her that stepping into the light is the way to redeem himself for all the horrible things he’s done this four seasons. And Barb breaks. my. heart. saying: “I want a different life, I think. I’ve needed you for twenty years. I don’t think I need you anymore.”
Nicki cuts her hair, severing her connection to the compound and the Walkers as Barb looks on, conflicted. She might not need Bill, but I think she genuinely loves him and her sister wives, but it’s still devastating when Bill wins the election, and announces he’s a polygamist introducing his wives. First Nicki, then Margene, and finally, Barb, “My first wife, my first love, Barbara Henrickson.” Barb hesitates, and then joins him onstage. The camera pulls back showing the four onstage, holding hands. The family is together, and gorgeous, but no one looks happy. Oh, Bill.