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Big Love Recap: The Greater Good AND Giveaway Winners!

Big_love_season4_episode2_nicki_bill_1 Well, it's a day that ends in "y," which means Bill Henrickson must have a New! Awesome! Fantastic! Idea that Totally Won't Take His Family to the Brink of Ruin! I swear, if I was married to him, I would have brain damage a long time ago due to repeatedly smacking myself in the head.

We open on the hearing about Juniper Creek's assets. Alby's hookup, Dale, is being grilled by a state senate hopeful who is laying the anti-polygamy rhetoric on very thick. He thinks that they should just forget all this asset nonsense, bulldoze the compound, and put all them sumbitches in jail. He continues his tirade, screeching about how they're taking over, infiltrating the suburbs and everything. First of all: really? Second of all: people in the suburbs have been practicing some form of polygamy since before the suburbs became the picture-perfect enclave of middle class whitedom (read: infidelity, which I know isn't really the same thing here, but you know what I mean). Third of all: here we have another heavy nod to the plight of African-Americans to forge their way in post-slavery society. This is interesting. And I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Back at Juniper Creek, Alby slithers into the room where Adaleen is watching over Roman's casket. It's time for Roman to be transported to the viewing, and time for Alby to insinuate that he'll be making his move to be prophet. "I am so happy," says Adaleen, gazing at Roman and pausing at an interesting time mid-sentence, "that he's waiting for me in heaven." And not in the bedroom, right Adaleen? As the pallbearers come to take Roman, Adaleen looks at Alby and calmly asks, "Are you still going to try to kill me?" Gawd, Mom, why do you have to be in my business all the time? I'm an adult! I'll be a prophet and kill who I want to kill!

Nicki and Cara Lynn are watching news coverage of Roman's funeral festivities. The story is that he died in Mexico and the reporter compares his journey to his final resting place to that of Abraham Lincoln's. Hint hint: another nod to post-slavery African-Americans. Bill comes home and finds a package of files from the investigation into the Grants. Everything has a big, red "CLOSED" stamp on that. So...that's good? He looks up when he hears Nicki on the phone with JJ, arguing with him about Cara Lynn's vaccination records. Margene passes through and informs Bill that someone dropped the files off for him and that lunch is ready. 

Bill is obviously very distracted while saying the blessing for lunch and harshes everyone's potato salad buzz by announcing that the state senate hopeful is coming after them...or, well, not them specifically yet, but all polygamists. Barb asks Bill who is running against the hopeful and Bill announces, "I think I might have to do it myself." Why, sure! What could possibly go wrong? Margene slowly says, "You can't run; we'd be exposed." But Bill protests that he received a revelation from Heavenly Father to serve. Hey, Bill, maybe Heavenly Father was sniffing glue. Ever think of that? Nicki thinks it's a good idea, but she, of course, has to one-up everyone in the Bad Idea department and says that Bill should be the next prophet of Juniper Creek. Her idea is not met with enthusiasm and Margene points out that they're all a little busy with the three huge business endeavors they already have going. Bill is pissed that they're not all immediately on board and huffs off, saying that they have to defend their fundamental beliefs and that he wasn't looking for an argument. Margene smartly picks up that he wasn't looking for differences in opinion, either.

Sarah goes home to Scott, who is working on some cabinetry. They have the My Family Is Screwed Up Conversation # 4,000,356,902, which segues nicely into Scott's desire to have sex. Sarah reminds him that they were going to wait until they were married and Scott finally does the math and realizes that the sooner they get married, they sooner they can get busy. So...how about this afternoon at the JP? Sarah says yes.

Barb, Nicki, and Margene meet to discuss household and business matters. The conversation inevitably turns to Bill's lunchtime political bomb and Barb warns Nicki that she doesn't want to hear the word "prophet." Margene, however, does want to discuss profits, hands both of them what looks like a $20 bill, and points out that exposure would ruin her business. Nicki grunts and rolls her eyes and Margene snaps that Nicki must have forgotten about that nice microwave she purchased for her. Barb is surprised/annoyed at this and says that she doesn't think that they can accept the money (as Nicki slyly slips the money into her purse). Nicki ignores Barb's earlier request and restates her "life-long" belief that Bill should be prophet. Barb points out that she's never spoken of this belief before and Nicki sneers that their family isn't the most hospitable environment for sharing dreams. Bill being prophet is, in fact, their destiny. "Destiny?" snarks Margene. Nicki snaps back that it's something that she wouldn't know about, having grown up in a trailer. Damn. 

Big_love_season4_episode2_dale_bill_1 Bill is meeting with Dale about his political aspirations and about how he wants to move Juniper Creek forward into a community. Alby gets off of the elevator and spots the two of them, making eye contact with Dale. He awkwardly spins around and leaves.

Later, Bill and Margene are having sex and discussing Bill's cockamamie ideas, which turns Bill off. He rolls over to go to sleep but Margene points out that she wasn't done.

The next day, Barb looks only partially surprised to discover Nicki rooting through the trash. Nicki produces a bank statement (or something) revealing how much Margene is making with her jewelry business. After Barb picks her jaw up, she explains to Nicki that the reason Bill thinks he can run without being exposed is that Ray Henry, the attorney that was investigating the Grants, closed the case and gave the files to Bill, and is leaving town. "It's really over, Nicki," she says, referring to both the investigation and Nicki's relationship with Ray.

Nicki, who shares Bill's penchant for great ideas, goes to Ray's house to thank him for closing the file. Ray isn't exactly pleased to see her, as he credits her for ruining his life. He fell for her and as a result he blew the case of the century, which wasn't really a good career move. "You messed up my life, too!" protests Nicki. "Everything was fine until you came along!" Yeah, totally, Nicki. Ray isn't trying to hear any of Nicki's nonsense and shuts the door in her face.

Big_love_season4_episode2_heather_1 Sarah pulls through the drive-thru at Deb's to talk to Heather. She offers a sincere apology for abusing her friendship and tells her that she's getting married. "Congratulations," says Heather, flatly. "Your total is $4.68." Sarah pays sadly and starts to pull away but quickly reverses and tells Heather that she wants her to witness her marriage because she can't imagine going forward in life without her. Aww! Heather agrees and they hug as the people behind Sarah quietly lose their shit.

At the casino, Jerry's son, Tommy, goes to Barb to complain to her about the fact that she's not Bill and she's sending around paper memos. Barb explains that she thinks it would be better to not have everything stored electronically, which doesn't sound shady at all. "Don't you have any pills to take?" asks Tommy. Oh, what's that, Tommy? You mean the pills that prevent me from kicking your ass? Yeah, I guess I do need to take those. He announces that he's going to stroll the perimeter to see if there are any new bodies lying around and Barb's like, "That was ONE time! Get over it!" Also, call me sick, but I sense sexual tension between those two and I predict that the blackjack table might see some hate-sex action at some point soon. Just saying.

Big_love_season4_episode2_nicki_bill_1 Bill asks Nicki for her advice on a drill bit and whether or not she picked up Raymond's bike. "I'll take a casserole," she answers. Huh? Bill demands to know what's up and suspects her of seeing "him" again. Nicki doesn't realize that he means JJ and her relief over not being caught with her hand in Ray's cookie jar again is quickly replaced with fury when Bill tells her that invited JJ to dinner.

Barb gently enters Sarah's room and hand Sarah her wedding dress, which is indeed gorgeous. They have a very understanding conversation about the wedding plans and Sarah tentatively tells Barb that she and Scott have decided not to be sealed in Bill's church and not to be sealed at all. Barb understands, but reminds Sarah that without being sealed, this is all there is.

Bill and Barb meet with Barb's sister and her husband to discuss Bill's chances at running and winning for state senate. They, frankly, feel that they have zero shot. Barb asks Cindy how many people know about her excommunication and it's just a few...for now. They also point out that the small size of their claim-able family will raise eyebrows amongst the Mormon voters. I don't see why, though. Barb had cancer and couldn't have more children. What's the big deal?

At dinner, Nicki glares at JJ over the table and he gives his creepy wife an iron pill for her chemotherapy. She chokes and gasps weirdly, which makes Barb cringe. JJ makes a point of not trying the cole slaw that Nicki made and as he grabs an ear of corn, Margene notices that he's missing some fingernails. Weird, though that can happen any number of ways, especially for someone living out in the country and doing related tasks. JJ gives Cara Lynn a framed picture of Roman, "just because I miss you." Uh...thanks? It turns out that the Henricksons aren't planning to attend Roman's memorial service. Nicki and JJ glare at each other some more and everyone leaves, except JJ's wife, so that they can talk about whatever the hell it is that they need to talk about. Nicki calls JJ a pale imitation of a man and JJ's creepy wife snarls at Nicki for her personal attacks. JJ calmly tells Nicki that Bill, if he has any intention of taking over at Juniper Creek, better keep his hands off Kansas, which is where they're headed.

Sarah and Scott have Heather and Ben over for dinner to try to convince Ben to be their other witness. Ben is against it and Heather admits to having some reservations. Sarah explains that she doesn't feel that she has a choice because she does not believe in what her parents do. When she pours a glass of wine, Ben freaks out a little bit and goes to leave. Scott stops him and begs Ben to be there for his sister.

In her room, Cara Lynn is furiously ripping the sheets off of her bed and rotating the mattress. Looks like somebody ate their Wheaties. Nicki tries to calm her down but Cara Lynn shrieks that no one follows the rules here. They all talk back to Bill, for example. Plus, she's really pissed that Nicki didn't tell her when the funeral was. Nicki explains that she's struggling with her beliefs. Cara Lynn says that she's struggling, too.

Nicki goes downstairs to the kitchen and furiously cleans the dinner dishes. Frantic housework as a response to stress seems to be a genetic characteristic of the Grant women. Bill comes over and Nicki tells him that he NEEDS to become prophet, that she's known it since she was little, citing the fact that Bill's grandfather was prophet and her father was prophet. "If you're not the prophet, then I don't know who we are or what we're doing." Man. I remember my first existential crisis.

Joey and Wanda arrive home. Joey looks...different. Crazier. Wanda reminds him that whoever told people that Roman died in Mexico knew that it was a lie. Joey stares at her and says that there's work to be done. "It's all about to unfold." Uh oh.

Big_love_season4_episode2_adaleen_evie1 Adaleen and Nicki's sister, Evie, arrive at Nicki's house to scold her for not attending the funeral. "Why are you shaming me this way?" asks Adaleen. Nicki explains that she doesn't believe that Roman was a true prophet. "Then come to mourn your father," demands Adaleen. Nicki still refuses and Adaleen asks, "Are you trying to kill me?" Gah. She sure asks her children that a lot. Nicki rants that Roman put her in the Joy Book and married her to JJ. She was a commodity. Evie's like, "Yeah? So? We all were." Adaleen tells Nicki that she will die a bitter, selfish orphan with a heart of stone. Evie shrugs and tells Nicki that Adaleen's right on this one.

Bill and Margene are driving and he asks her how much she made this month. "It's not about the money," dodges Margene. "It's brought me back to life, you know?" "I know. How much?" says Bill. Hee. He explains that she needs to put her earnings into the common pot. Margene hesitantly explains that it's more complicated than that...because her projected gross for this year is $134,000. WHOA.

Dale is leading an ex-gay support group but gets distracted when Alby walks in. Afterward, Alby follows him outside. "Are you stalking me or do you want help?" snarls Dale. "Yes," replies Alby. "I want help." Dale explains that they suffered a fall together. Alby grabs Dale and kisses him. Dale protests but eventually gives in. They kiss, passionately, for a few seconds before Dale finally pushes him away, horrified, and takes off.

Bill and Barb are meeting with an LDS bishop (?) to find out what they have to do to be allowed back into the church. They lie and say that they've ended all other relationships. The bishop agrees to let them start attending again and says that he'll want to meet with them on a regular basis. I guess it will be awhile before they're full LDS again. As they leave, Barb moans that she doesn't which is worse, groveling or lying. Plus, the campaign is one thing but to live like this for four more years were Bill to win sounds like torture. She adds that she knows that they used to talk about public service but that was three marriages ago. Oh, wives and their details. Bill protests that this will be how they'll protect what they believe. Always with the silver linings, that one.

Joey shows up at Bill's church, acting weird. He tells Bill that he also thinks that Bill should be the prophet of Juniper Creek and hands him a file about their grandfather. "Why build a church when there's already one waiting for you?" Joey asks, adding that, "everything's falling into place." He seems totally insane. I am creeped out.

Big_love_season4_episode2_wanda_jj_1 At the compound, Wanda is beating a rug when JJ shows up. They're siblings, by the way. I can't remember if we found that out last season or not. He slithers around her and is even creepier than Alby. He hisses that he was outside the big house the night that they left, that he saw Joey leave in a hurry, that Roman disappeared that night, that he wondered if they helped Roman to escape. He gets extremely close to Wanda and whispers into her ear, "Don't forget that I have something of yours that's very precious." Ew! What the fuck? Wanda screams at him to shut up and get out.

Barb gets home just in time to bump into Sarah and Heather leaving for the JP. "I see you decided not to wear the dress," she says to Sarah, sadly. She seems resigned to Sarah doing what she wants but begs her not to cheat herself, that this isn't a real marriage because it isn't celestial. It's nothing. Sarah tells her that it's not about that. That this is about her and Scott and she wants to begin her life with him. "By turning your back on your life?" asks Barb. "This is my life and I have to find my own way." Barb, crushed, says that she has to go to work, turns, and leaves.

Margene goes to Nicki to talk to her some more about Bill being in office and asks her if she really always wanted him to be prophet. "On some level, yes," says Nicki. Margene stares at Nicki and suddenly asks, "Do you still have feelings for Bill?" Nicki guffaws at the question but Margene presses, "Nicki...are you in love with him?" Nicki pauses until finally answering, "I don't know."

Sarah, Scott, Heather, and Ben are sitting in the car on the way to the JP. Sarah is upset and stalls, rethinking her decision to go forward without her family there with her.

Big_love_season4_episode2_bill_don_1 Don stops into Bill's office with a straw hat that he had made up for him. Don is so sweet. I want him to be on the show more, HBO. Don asks Bill if he's having doubts and Bill asks, "What does it mean when you're on a path that you know is certain and no one wants to follow?" Well, in your case, Bill, it probably means that everyone is familiar with your "certain paths" and has come to the conclusion that you're a fucking idiot. Don asks him if he's feeling peace about his path and Bill admits that he isn't. Hmm. Well, maybe that's a good thing. Don felt peace about everything up until now so maybe his inner turmoil is a sign that this is the right thing to do. Or maybe Bill's doing of that thar fancy thinkin' and realizing that this could fuck things up entirely! 

Later, Bill is looking over the file that Joey gave him when Sarah shows up. She tells him that she was going to get married today and explains that she found the conviction to get married outside of the church from Bill, who moved them into polygamy despite their protests. Bill's like, "Yeah, but when you do something like that you can lose people forever," not realizing that his blind march forward has done precisely that to Sarah, hence her desire to begin her life as far away from them, spiritually, as she can. Realizing that she hasn't gotten through to him, she says, "I'm going to go get married. I guess I have to hope that I have your blessing." She turns to leave but Bill stops her. Look everybody! Bill has a clue! 

The residents of Juniper Creek gather to bury Roman. They sing out beautifully as they lower him into the ground and we see that Nicki and Cara Lynn are there, after all.

Big_love_season4_episode2_sarah_1 The Henrickson spouses meet and Bill tells him that he's changed his mind about running for office: We're definitely running, he tells them, much to their dismay. But they're going to run in a different way. Once they win, they're going to tell the truth about who they are. No more hiding, no more lying. That was Roman's way. Besides, polygamy is only a misdemeanor and he can't get removed from office for that. The only thing is that between now and the general election (six weeks) they can't be exposed. Oh, I'm sure that will go just fine, Bill. "A whole new life is ours to claim," he says. Moving on to the next order of business, he leads the wives outside where they are met by Scott, Heather, Ben, and Sarah, who is wearing Barb's dress. Barb gasps as Bill tells her, "Our daughter's getting married." The JP marries them as their parents and siblings look on. Nicki sobs...probably because a funeral and a wedding in the same day are two missed opportunities for carrot raisin salad.


So, I totally dropped the ball on the Big Love Giveaway. I was supposed to announce winners last Thursday and I forgot entirely. But! We have winners now. They are (drumroll):

Miss W


Suzy Q


Congratulations, winners! You'll each be receiving a vinyl copy of A Juniper Creek Christmas, autographed by Harry Dean Stanton, aka Roman Grant! Email me at kdiddy AT mamapop.com to claim your prize!

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I love the term, "hate sex."
Good on ya, kdiddy!


Woot winners!!

Great recap as usual. Bill is making me insane. I'm just not feeling it this season so far. Is it just me or is this season lacking something?

Rebecca (Bearca)

I totally agree with your comments re: Barb and Tommy. I can see tension there coming a mile away! Which is good. Because Barb really needs some kind of temptation storyline to make her seem more human. And the excommunication thing last season didn't really accomplish that for me.


I am late to this party but happy to join. Thanks for the recap - it's very helpful to a latecomer.


I loved this episode, and I love Margene's new hair being totally indicative of her new ass-kicking, sistas-doin-for-themselves personality. Awesome.

Speaking of hair, I think they've got Joey wearing a weird man wig.


I thought Nikki was crying because she wished she had married/someone to marry for love. Because the kids looked so happy.

Suzy Q

I won! I won! I won!

And yet, I still cannot read this recap yet, because I am lame and have not watched my DVR yet. But, I won!


Yays for Suzy! I was happy to see your name up there.

Happy as in green with envy.


Sooo looking forward to my Juniper Creek Christmas! Thank you so much.

Sorry to be late- I just watched Big Love this morning (yay for On Demand!). Great recap! I love the idea of Barb & Tommy having hate sex at the casino. Almost as much as I hate the idea of Bill running for office. Gah. Why does he always put his family through this crap?

Also, I know that this is a show about Mormons, and that Ben is just being a good Mormon boy, but his self-righteous attitude this season is really bugging me.

Finally, I just want to second Jana's comment. I know that she can be evil, but I still feel badly for Nikki. For some reason, I've liked her ever since her affair. It was the first time she ever seemed happy. And look at her family and her incredibly creepy first husband. No wonder she's so crazy.

Suzy Q

Okay, I am several days late and more than several dollars short, having not remembered to get cash back at the grocery store. But enough about me.

Awesome recap, as usual, kdiddy! Some thoughts:

I love Adaleen.

JJ is super-freaking-shitpants-crazy and I DO NOT want to know what precious thing of Wanda's he has. (Oh yes, I do.) His wife squicks me out, too.

I loved it when Ray told Nikki to stuff her feelings.

Dale and Alby make me laugh for all of their repression/mortification and lack of self-control.

I SO wish I had the stress reaction of cleaning when things get tough. I'd have the sparkliest house around. As it is, not so much.

Barb's dress seemed way big for Sarah on the hangar but magically, it fit perfectly. Oh, TV Land.

PS: Rhonda, you look gorgeous in green.

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