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Big Love Recap: Blood Atonement

Big_love_margene_barb_ring Late last night, after taking in the latest Big Love episode, I thought back to my more innocent days. Namely, my more innocent days of last week, when I naively thought that seeing Nicki pull up to a seedy motel/creepy marriage factory in a mini skirt and side ponytail and then seeing her proceed to kick ass and take names was one of the craziest things that I had seen happen on this show. Oh, what a fool I was.

Bill is on the phone with Barb, supposedly on his way to a meeting with a lumber company. She's at home, holding things down with both the campaign and the casino, including getting Bill's endorsement ad approved by Paley. She wants him home, but he has to go to this meeting in person, especially since he made Don quit and normally he would be doing this kind of bitch-work. Barb is puzzled when she hears someone walk by with a loud boombox, but Bill tells her he's just in line at the car rental place. Of course, he and Joey are actually driving to Mexico. Joey is fidgety, but Bill tells him he's not going to worry until he needs to. Erm, well, your teenage son, mother, father, and...newest mother are locked up by creepy cult members in Mexico. I would worry. But I guess I tend to be neurotic.

Nicki is at the doctor's office and the news is not good. She's infertile and can't really understand why since she's had two kids already and all of the women in her family are very fertile. The doctor tells her that sometimes these things are just mysterious and they still don't know much more than they did in the days of dropsy and unhappy uterus. I had a fish who died of dropsy.

Margene goes to Barb's to find out about the paternity test for Ana's baby (I must have missed when they said they were doing this). And the results are in: the baby is Bill's. Margene takes this completely inappropriate segue to discuss her premarital indiscretions with Bill. It was different, see, because Margene was NOT going to be the other woman and she didn't really know what she was doing, anyway. Amazingly, Barb isn't really comforted by this "explanation."

Barb goes to Ana's to try to convince her again to let them be in the baby's life. Ana turns to her boyfriend, Goran, and says in Serbian, "The cult lady wants me to drink the Kool Aid again." "Kool Aid?" says Goran, apparently not entirely familiar with our country's tendency toward Jonestown jokes. "Oh, no, thank you," Barb graciously declines. Ana informs Barb that she and Goran are returning to Serbia because he can't get residency here. Barb protests and Ana, fed up, shouts, "You people can't be reasoned with!" Barb counters that Ana can't just waltz away with someone's baby and that the laws here can prevent Ana from leaving the country, which basically reinforces Ana's suspicions that she should run far, far away. Barb really needs to play some poker in that casino of hers so that she can learn the fine art of bluffing.

Big_love_bill Jodean is waiting at a chaotic police station in Mexico. Bill and Joey arrive and Bill goes right to see the chief (?) and the U.S. Consulate. Bill wants the police to check all of Very Truly Yours Hollis Greene's houses in Mexico but the chief informs him that he hasn't given them any leads to send them there. The Consulate reminds Bill that this is a big center for the raging drug war and that bodies are found decapitated all the time. (This is frighteningly true. In fact, 5 bodies were found next to a SCHOOL in Mexico City just last week.) Bill threatens the chief that he has connections in Salt Lake and Washington, D.C., which upsets the chief but gets them to send some agents out.

Big_love_joey_jodean Outside, Jodean confesses to Joey that they were smuggling birds and guns, and opens the trunk to reveal an arsenal of weapons. Joey is barely able to hide his boner and tells Jodean that it's Hollis' turn to pay for his sins and for what he did to Kathy. Jodean is like, "Right. I forgot you were a total wack job."

Hollis is telling Selma how happy he is that she is home and she swears that she'll never return to that shameful jail with its female mongrels and vicious guards. I would never use the word mongrel to describe anyone, but I just want to let Selma know that her gender identity is...puzzling. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just...that context...where gender roles seem so strict.

Anyway, there's a trial to be had. Lois, Frank, and Ben are dragged out to Hollis' makeshift court and informed that they will be tried, sentenced, and punished. Lois declares this whole thing to be "froot loops," but Hollis informs her that she will wipe that smile off of her face. Lois obliges.

Nicki is at Adaleen and JJ's house. Adaleen apologizes, in a seemingly sincere manner, for making her panic at La Esperanza about Cara Lynn, kind of brushing off the whole, "your young daughter was about to married to a 70-year-old guy" thing. She also apologizes for sealing Nicki at such a young age. Nicki, taken aback, thanks her. Now, onto the good news. "I'm pregnant!" gushes Adaleen. Nicki warns her that she's in no mood for jokes, but Adaleen insists that it's the real thing, a miracle, and that it proves that Heavenly Father meant for her and JJ to be together. "You'll have a new brother or sister. So will Cara Lynn. And she'll have an aunt or uncle to boot!" squees Adaleen, apparently not noticing how completely fucked up that is. Nicki wants to know how she know that she's pregnant and she says that JJ told her. And he's a totally reliable source, you know. Besides, she can feel it and she's glowing. Nicki is still not volunteering to host the baby shower, so Adaleen says that they'll just add it to the growing pile of things that they can't discuss.

Margene goes to Ana's to try and smooth things over but Ana is convinced that Barb wants to punish her. Goran asks about Bill's political ambitions while rolling a joint and something something glass houses. I kind of missed this part. But basically, if the Henrickson's try to force Ana and Goran to stay, then they'll expose them as polygamists.

At the police station in Mexico, Bill is phoning in an interview with a talk radio host who is asking about Bill taking over the UEB trusteeship and how Dale's death is being investigated. Bill kind of mumbles about it being standard procedure and gazes at a woman who appears to have been in a beauty pageant and who is being dragged in by police. I don't get it. But he gets called in by the chief and the Consulate. Their agents went to Hollis' house and were blocked from entering. Bill thinks that this proves that they have Ben, Lois, and Frank and that they should force their way in, but the Consulate explains that the Greenes have a huge stockpile of arms and they don't want a bloodbath. Bill presses that this is his son they're talking about but the Consulate and the chief aren't trying to budge. He storms out and informs Joey that they've got to go in on their own. "Good!" cheers Joey, which should be a huge red flag to Bill that this is a bad idea. Jodean warns them that it's a suicide mission but if they're intent on going then she's not going to be left behind. Jodean is hardcore and I half-expect her to roll up to the Greene compound in fatigues and face paint.

Lois, Frank, Ben, and their bird contact are being held in an ostrich pen and Lois is trying to work out a legal strategy. "Lois! It's not a real trial! Aren't you wasting your time with Roberts' rule of order?" asks Frank, exasperated and nursing his back. Ben points out that no matter what brilliant argument they make, Hollis is going to kill them anyway. Really, Lois. You're sharing a jail cell with flightless birds. The whole thing is dripping in symbolism. Lois insists that she's not going down without a fight.

Margene walks into her office at the shopping channel and is surprised to find Barb there. Barb tells her that she went to see Ana and she wants to apologize to Margene because she's been taking her hurt feelings about Bill's wandering wang out on her. Margene hugs Barb and says that she's missed her. Barb tells her that she wants them to be close again and that she hopes the new house is a step toward that. But there's something important missing in the house's plans: Margene's home office. Margene tries to nicely point out to Barb that hers isn't a home business anymore and she doesn't want to work from home. Barb darkly points out that businesses come and go, but family stays. Like, your marital choices will be all you have left when it eats your professional dreams alive. Tootles!

Barb makes her way past a protest outside of the casino and grumbles to Tommy that evangelicalism has lost its civility. They've been trying to get in touch with Marilyn but she's been out of the office. Tommy has faced protests before but never this organized. Barb asks him why he came back to this business and he tells her simply to help his father. They're tender conversation is interrupted by one of the security guards. A bomb has been found and the FBI is on their way. They have to evacuate.

Big_love_frank At the "trial," Lois testifies that they had no premeditated plan to rip the Greene's off of their birds. Frank interrupts to announce that his back still hurts and wants someone to run to the pharmacia to get him some pain meds. Selma snickers and he snaps, "It's not funny, Selma!" The bird connection that Lois was working with interrupts to protest his capture and Hollis informs him that he is in contempt. Selma takes him behind a shed and executes him. Shit. Someone passes Hollis a news article of Bill's new position as UEB trustee.

At the casino, the bomb scare is over for now but the FBI concludes that it was planted by someone who clearly wanted to send a message. Um, dur. Perhaps that message might be, "I am strongly interested in blowing you up." Of course, maybe this is just typical Welcome Wagon behavior in the casino business. Barb calls Bill to tell him about this latest, pleasant development. He is in the car with Joey and Jodean and they're coming upon some kind of shady traffic stop. He hangs up with Barb much to her dismay and immediately gets another call. "Good evening. Hollis Greene speaking." Hollis brings Bill up to speed on just how fucked that segment of Bill's family is. Bill growls at Joey and Jodean for their smuggling schemes and how Ben is right back into the cesspool that he tried to escape from. The traffic stop looks more like an organized carjacking/robbery/murder thing and one of the criminals approaches Bill's car but lets him pass when Bill gives him the Crazy Eye.

Big_love_margene_barb_ring Margene goes to Ana's again and finds that she and Goran are preparing to leave immediately. Ana doesn't trust Barb and doesn't want trouble. Margene has an idea! She and Goran will get married! It's just a paper marriage, see. Then Goran can stay, and Ana can stay, and her business will be protected, and that might give the Henrickson's a safety net if the polygamy thing comes to light too soon.

Bill calls Barb from his motel and apologizes for hanging up with her during that whole bomb scare thing. She asks if he's spoken to Benny and Bill stammers that Ben's good and will be back from Wyoming soon. He promises that when he gets back everything is going to be different, that he's not the person that Barb thinks he's becoming.

Nicki goes to Adaleen's and orders her to take a pregnancy test. It's positive and Adaleen guesses that Nicki is having trouble getting pregnant. She urges Nicki to see JJ's son, Roquet, who is a doctor now and is responsible for Adaleen's prenatal care. "I haven't had this much energy and vitality in ages! I just love life!" squeals Adaleen. Vitameatavegamin!

Bill meets Joey outside of the motel and learns that Jodean is gone. Joey shows Bill the guns that they have and Bill flaps that this isn't an OK Corral shoot-out. Well, yeah, Bill it is. If one party is heavily armed and ready to fight, then the other party sort of has to follow suit and things just naturally get kind of gangster at that point. Joey reminds Bill that this is Hollis Greene and that Bill just can't go in there waving money around. Bill is fed up and says that Joey, Lois, and Frank are crabs in a barrel and he's one of them now.

JJ is packing up his truck (time to go to Kansas?) when Wanda stomps up and asks about Adaleen's pregnancy. "What have you done?" she screeches. JJ condescends that her eccentric little mind is playing tricks on her. "You promised!" she cries. "You say a word, Joey goes down for murder," he snarls. Wanda makes this weird gagging face at him before running away.

At the Greene's, Jodean has situated herself amongst the wives. Sneaky! Lois and Ben are making a last ditch effort at breaking out of the pen before giving up. She apologizes to Ben for dragging him into this, but he reminds her that he wanted to come along. Jodean shows up and calls Bill to let him know where they are and how they're doing. She warns Bill that Joey wants to kill Hollis and puts the phone up to the fence so that Ben can talk. Hollis appears behind her and grabs the phone just in time to hear Bill explain that he's just a couple hours away. Hollis hangs up and orders his minions to round the prisoners up so that their trial can resume immediately.

Nicki walks in on Ana taking pictures of Margene and Goran decorating a Christmas tree and foolishly decides to ask what's going. They're establishing a relationship, of course! For their marriage! Yay! Nicki scowls at Margene and guesses that this is about protecting her business but Margene snaps back that the duty of filling the big new house with babies will fall on her since Nicki is still dodging the sperm bullet. Nicki informs her that, in fact, her uterus is unhappy, but swears that she will have a child.

Big_love_barb_tommy Barb and Tommy are on a video conference with the Evangelical guy, who is on some junket in Scotland, questioning him about the bomb and accusing him of inciting extremists. He denies any incitement but acknowledges that the activists are simply protesting cultural cancer. He signs off because he has to make tee time. Barb and Tommy look at each other and realize that they're in this alone.

Nicki is at Roquet's "office," a dusty trailer somewhere on the compound it looks like. She asks if he can help her and he says that he'll try and they must get her on a course of hormones immediately. Uh oh. Something tells me that Wanda is horrifyingly familiar with this type of medicine.

Bill and Joey are surveying the compound when Bill grabs Joey's gun and tells him that he has to stay behind in case something happens to him. They argue and Joey says that Bill doesn't have the guts to use the gun. Bill shoots near Joey's foot before speeding off in the car.

Margene goes to Barb's and starts babbling about how she has something to tell her and it's not a BIG deal but she might think it is at first an blah blah blah, "I got married to Goran!" she exclaims, showing her the wedding ring. "Oh...my stars," sighs Barb. Nicki bustles in with Cara Lynn and a pie and says, "Look what Cara Lynn made!" Barb replies by showing Nicki the ring. Nicki's face falls and she says, "We'll come back." Barb realizes that Nicki knew about Margene's plan and Nicki insists that Margene threatened her with bodily harm. Barb gets up to leave and Nicki cries, "Don't leave us here with Mrs. Petrovic!" Barb spins and says that her cope container is full.

Big_love_lois_frank_jodean Back at the trial, Hollis declares everyone guilty and that it's execution time. Ben objects and asks if they can file an appeal. Hollis says that they must be submitted within the hour. Then they'll get back to executing. See, their fantasy world is pretty reasonable. In the meantime, the Greenes are having a HUGE welcome back party for Selma that looks...well...it looks pretty bitching, actually. In the ostrich pen, Lois begins to lose hope that Bill is coming and apologizes to Jodean for treating her like a doormat, tells Ben that she loved him, and goes to sit next to Frank. He tells Lois that Roman told him that Bill had to go, that he was going to take away everything of Frank's and reassign all of his wives. It made Lois into the bitter woman that she is. Lois looks irritated at first but realizes that she is, in fact, a bitter woman. "Well, we probably would've hit the skids, anyway." Bill busts in and everyone cheers and runs out, except for Frank, who can't make the trip to the car with his back. "Leave him," says Lois. "...Until we can send someone back," she adds. Bill looks at Frank and says, "No one gets left behind." He and Ben carry Frank out. Meanwhile, Joey is busy sneaking on to the compound, as well, and steals a gun from some guards. He marches toward the crowd screaming Hollis' name. Bill runs up to him but he orders Bill to stand back. Bill protests that this isn't Heavenly Father's plan, that Heavenly Father will punish Hollis just as he punished Roman. "Heavenly Father didn't punish Roman. I did," says Joey. Hollis appears and says, "It would appear we have a situation." Bill says that he's the one that got Selma arrested and offers himself over to Hollis if he'll let the others go. Hollis asks him if he is willing to forfeit all that he possesses. Bill looks at Ben and says that he is. Frank's face swells with pride. Hollis puts his hand on Bill's shoulder and says, "Then you shall," and starts to make some proclamation. However, Lois has grabbed a machete that just happened to be laying nearby and hisses, "How dare you lay a hand on my boy!" And then...


Big_love_joey_bill Lois gathers all of the kung fu force in the universe and hacks away and blood spatters on her face and Very Truly Yours Hollis Greene's Very Truly Arm clatters on the ground, with Hollis quickly following. Selma cries and Bill tells her that if they take him to the hospital, he might live, but if they continue holding them, Hollis will bleed to death. Selma thinks for a second and finally cries out that they need to get Hollis to a hospital.

At the casino, Barb receives a fax from Paley approving the endorsement ad, which shows a country code from Scotland. She also gets confirmation from Marilyn's assistant that Marilyn is also in Scotland. Realizing that Marilyn, Paley, and Reed (the religious right) guy are all in bed together, Tommy sighs, "We're being hustled." Barb gets a call from Bill, who for all of his horrible ideas did warn Barb and Tommy to stay away from Marilyn. For now, though, Bill's present location and company is the bigger concern. He and Ben arrive home the next morning, much to the relief of Barb, Margene, and Nicki.

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I always knew Lois was hard, but I didn't know she was straight original gangster. DAYUM!

Speaking of the crazy, in all this really insane action, who, may I ask, is watching all the children?

cindy w

"I had a fish that died of dropsy" - awesome.

I actually shrieked when Lois went all "Kill Bill" on Very Truly Yours Hollis Greene. I did NOT see that coming at all. I was also trying to remember if Lois & Hollis were siblings (because this family tree is like ridiculously confusing), which would make the whole arm-chopping all the more f'ed up, but they aren't. I had to google it: Selma is Roman's little sister. Which is also beyond bizarre. But I can't believe I remembered that there were a set of siblings somewhere in there.

Also: I love Jodean. And I used to love Joey. But man alive, he is blindingly stupid.


One thing caught my eye that has been nagging at me - the cake at Selma's party said "Mommy" and the boy whose head she was patting. IF Selma is Mommy to that boy and maybe other children, who is Daddy? I thought Hollis and Selma were brother/sister or could they also be husband/wife? Anyone?


"Very Truly Yours Hollis Greene's Very Truly Arm" made me laff. Very Truly Much.

Suzy Q

Holy fucking shit! Great recap! Lois and The Machete? Did not see that coming. Why Bill stood around with his finger up his ass after that happened instead of hauling his family away made me scream at my TV. Run, Forrest, run!

When did Marilyn go bad? Bill liked her at first and was then all "Stay away from Marilyn!" but that was never really explained. Maybe I just didn't catch it.

I'm liking Jodean more and more every episode. I like to see a woman grow a spine.

Why was Wanda crying about Adaleen's pregnancy? Aside from the fact that she cries about everything, I mean.

That clinic/office? With JJ's son? Ick and more ick. I thought he was going to take Nikki into another room for his very own "special" pregnancy ritual, IYKWIM.

PS: It pains me that you don't know Robert's Rules of Order, kdiddy. Mostly, it just makes me feel old.


@Leslie - Selma and Hollis are married. When Kathy was abducted and almost married Hollis, Selma referred to him as "our husband" and was crying to Roman about how she didn't want Hollis to take another wife.


" I had a fish that died of dropsy."
Nearly as brilliant a line as during the credits of "Holy Grail":
"A moose once bit my sister."

I have the worst girl crush on you oh my holy hell.


Fabulous recap- it's good to see someone else might be thinking that Big Love is going down the crazy trail too fast. I was a huge fan of the initial seasons, but everything's a melodramatic creep-fest at this point. Nikki's mother pregnant with Nicki's daughter's half sister/aunt... and somehow magically, because come on. If Nicki's uterus is unhappy, Adaleen's is pushing daisies. I'm afraid to see where this is going.


Excellent recap. The machete scene was awesome.

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