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Big Love Recap: Under One Roof

Big_love_bill I'll be honest. I had a really hard time tearing myself away from coverage of the Olympics to watch Big Love. I mean, how could the shenanigans of the Henricksons compare to the drama of mens' moguls or womens' speedskating? Well, after last night's episode, I'll never doubt Bill and Co. again.

Bill and Barb are out to dinner with the State GOP Chairman. They're discussing campaign billboards and whatnot and Bill's plans to advertise outside of his district. The Chairman's wife turns to Barb and comments that they must be exhausted. Barb, already perfectly poised as a politician's wife, says that she had hoped for a break after the nomination, but Bill has the stamina of a teenager. "Lucky you," says the Chairman's wife. Boom-chicka-bow-wow! Barb glances over and notices a familiar face among the wait staff. You know when you're out to dinner and you see someone who strongly resembles someone that you and your three spouses were married to for two days? And it actually turns out to be them? Awkward! Indeed, it is Ana. And either she had too many beers before her waitressing shift started or she's six months pregnant. Barb excuses herself and marches up to Ana who greets her with, "Oh, crap." Bill catches on a joins Barb. They ask Ana why she didn't tell them about the baby. Ana explains that she didn't want to be a burden. Also: she thinks the Henricksons are insane.

Nicki is at home, making breakfast, and is on the phone with Adaleen, who is busy decorating her "marital bedroom" with Cara Lynn. Nicki reminds her that she asked that she not discuss that whole bedroom that her mom will be sharing with her ex-husband thing with her. Adaleen is actually kind of excited about the remarriage and made matching outfits for her and Cara Lynn, because Cara Lynn had started to dress like a whore, you see, and they're like sisters, braiding hair and making origami fortune tellers yay! Nicki, exasperated, reminds Adaleen of the family dynamics: Nicki is Cara Lynn's mother, Adaleen is her grandmother, but will soon be her stepmother, and hold on, I need to throw these pancakes I'm making in the garbage because I've lost my appetite.

Big_love_bill Bill is meeting with Jerry and Tommy to discuss some advertisements for the casino that he's decided to run in Idaho. Jerry and Tommy are very concerned about this and remind Bill that if the casino fails, they're back into poverty. Jerry tells him that they're meeting with Marilyn tomorrow. He knows that Bill doesn't like her, but they want to hear her out. Bill boggles in disbelief that anyone would even consider the notion that his ideas are not so great.

Barb calls an emergency wives' meeting and tells Nicki and Margene about Ana. She explains that Bill is not interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with her anymore because he feels that Heavenly Father has closed that door. Nicki's not even sure that the baby is Bill's since conceiving in a 48-hour period is really hitting a bullseye. Barb declares that they are going to support Ana any way that they can and make room for her baby in their lives. Nicki is pissed that no one believes that she is trying to get pregnant and that her spouses have apparently resorted to scrounging for babies in restaurants. Margene is upset that Barb still isn't really talking to her. Some people really hold grudges when you make out with their teenage sons.

Lois, Frank, Jodean, and Ben are hanging out in Mexico in what looks like a border town and eating shrimp cocktails. This seems like a terrible idea to me and I began bracing myself for what I thought was an inevitable puke fest. Lois and Ben are having a fantastic time hanging out together and sing an improvised tune about jumbo shrimp while Frank and Jodean look on, confused.

Big_love_margene Margene is at a podium speaking to a group of women about independence and autonomy. She talks about her feelings as a working mother and notes that men who own businesses and have families are not accused of trying to have it all. "I'm not a feminist or anything," she prefaces, and then goes to say how she doesn't think that trying to carve out some independence (financial, personal, professional) is a bad thing and that women should support each other in their endeavors. Um, Margene? You're a feminist, sweetie. It's okay. Really.

Alby is in a very nice, empty apartment that appears to be his, judging by the way he's marveling at the space with giddy optimism. He leaves a voicemail for Dale inviting him to come check the place out.

Meanwhile, Dale is meeting with Bill, who is questioning him about whether he's had any inappropriate contact with Alby. Dale's like, "Errr...ahhh...hmm," and Bill explains that there some concerns because the pace of the audit and inventory of the UEB trust has slowed. "Have you and Alby had any secret meetings of any kind?" I'm guessing that, when Bill asked "of any kind," he wasn't considering the humping kind. Dale finally admits that they've spoken once or twice. Bill has a mild freak out and informs Dale that Alby put rattlesnakes in Bill's bed, stalked his daughter, and poisoned his father. He's a bit of a sociopath, really. Dale looks mildly surprised, like, "I knew he was a little weird, but geez."

Ana is at work and turns around to see Barb, Margene, and Nicki sitting at a table, glaring at her. She gasps and Barb informs her that they're there to offer their support. Nicki adds that they want to make sure that everything is on the up and up. Ana responds that her baby only needs one mother and Margene squeals that having a back up mother is really pretty awesome. Really, if I were Ana, the only person that I would trust in that scenario is Nicki. Barb and Margene are way too...Stepford Polygamists or something. "Give us your baby, Ana. And be married to us. Forever. And ever. And ever." Barb gets a call from Bill who tells her to check her 5 o'clock. She spins around and Bill waves to her from a table in the corner. Barb informs him that Ana doesn't want them. Kids these days. Used to be that a lady would swoon when her ex-husband and his three wives ambushed her at work. Ana goes to Bill's table and asks why they're so complicated. Frustrated, she storms off.

Barb and Sarah are working on something at the casino when Marilyn an her assistant, Katie, stop in. They're there getting ready to give their pitch to the tribe. Marilyn has a gift for Barb as an apology for being so brusque when they met at the convention. It's hot chocolate, which Barb loves. Marilyn explains that she knows how hard it is to be a candidate's wife. Ooh, Marilyn is an excellent lobbyist. So smooth. With Barb almost completely wrapped around her little finger, Marilyn cheerily says that maybe Barb can give her tips on where all the bodies are buried. Barb turns a little pale and has to stop herself from shouting, "Cripes, it only happened ONCE that the frozen corpse of my sister wife's father turned up outside and he was buried on the compound after that and the body's since disappeared but I SWEAR that was not our doing." Marilyn is curious why Barb's name isn't on the pitch list, since she's technically a partner in the casino, but answers her own question: "It's a boys' club." Ooh, she knows exactly what buttons to push. Masterful. I kind of want to be a slimy lobbyist now. Barb resolves to be at the meeting.

Margene visits Bill at his office at Home Plus. He's in the middle of a phone call with a real estate agent about a 9,000 square foot space for his new campaign headquarters. That's...huge. Really. For a state senate campaign? Margene tells Bill that she wants him to postpone their big coming out. Bill is irritated because he thinks Margene is more concerned about her business than any effects that it will have on her family. He's also upset that she doesn't seem more torn about the whole thing. Oh, shut up, Bill.

Alby and Dale are having dinner at the apartment and Alby notes that Dale doesn't really seem happy about having their own private space. Dale tells him that someone is on to them, that the advisors are talking and are concerned that the audit is dragging. He tells Alby that he met with Bill, who said several not-very-encouraging things about Alby. Alby insists that Bill is an agitator and a liar. Dale asks him outright, "Did you try to kill your father?" which Alby denies (and I'm pretty sure that's the truth, technically) and "Have you been performing sealings?" Alby explains that sealings are important to them and that Dale should not judge him by the lies of others. "I am not the devil," says Alby. "I know you're not," says Dale. They leave the apartment and we see that Lura has been spying on them from her car. Uh oh. She's crying, thinking back to that George Michael poster that she hid in her room. Fool me once...

Bill and Nicki are watching a war movie. He asks Nicki to work on Margene and her cold feet about coming out. Nicki agrees and asks him to stay a little while longer. She tells him that sometimes she gets so angry at things she can't change, like the way they grew up. "Put that to bed," says Bill. She says that she wishes she could do that as easy as he can. "I think I'm damaged," she says. You THINK?

Bill goes over to Barb's for the night. She wants to talk to him about the gigantic new headquarters and the change in direction for the casino. She's also mighty pissed about not being on the pitch list. And besides, she likes Marilyn. Bill warns her that she's too connected and could ruin them.

Marilyn, Barb, and Sarah are having root beer floats at the ice cream bar at the casino, which was Barb's brilliant idea. "Behind every great man is an exhausted woman," chuckles Marilyn. Barb grins at her, like, "Holy shit, you're right!" They exchange stories about their upbringings as teeny tiny Republicans. Barb's parents took her to a convention when she was four. She saw the ocean for the first time and cried for three days. They pause to let the poignancy wash over them before Marilyn's assistant pulls her away. Marilyn mutters to her that there is nothing there to threaten anyone.

Big_love_wanda_parents Wanda calls Nicki, freaking out because her family is arriving. Nicki tells her to get Cara Lynn and keep her away from that circus. "I have a terrible foreboding," says Wanda, who apparently has mentally shifted into some kind of Shakespearean tragedy.

Ana shows up at Home Plus and tells him that she's changed her mind. She needs help because she needs to quit waitressing. She wants to work out visitation. Bill is hoping for more, but Ana explains that she can't have the other wives bothering her or trying to bond with her or the baby. She wants it to be normal, just her and Bill, and asks who her lawyer should talk to. Bill says to trust him, that he can take care of this. I know that Bill doesn't have any ill intentions for Ana or the baby, but neither he nor his wives are inspiring much confidence in their non-creepiness.

Dale is meeting with a bishop about his continued struggle with his homosexuality and lists the horrific processes that he's gone through in the hopes of turning straight, including electroshock therapy. The bishop asserts that Dale is having trouble because of the great cultural confusion that presently surrounds homosexuality. He angrily answers Dale's desperate pleas for help by informing him that if he loves his church, and Heaven, and his family, then he must stop this behavior. This whole scene is so upsetting. I was nearly shaking by the end. It is so not okay to control people that way. I don't give a shit how keen you think your religion is.

Lois, Frank, Jodean, and Ben are driving...somewhere in Mexico. Lois offers to let Ben live with them. They can add a room onto their house and get him a car. "What about living down here. Could we do that?" asks Ben. Lois thinks that's a viable idea. Bill calls Lois and asks where they are, since he's at her place and they're nowhere to be found. Lois lies and tells him they're camping in the Grand Tetons on an innocent, well-earned vacation. Bill orders them to bring Ben home right now and tells her that she needs to quit feeling guilty for Bill's banishment because he never held it against her. "How could you? There was nothing I could do about it?" she snaps back, and hangs up the phone. Frank, acting unusually nice and tender, asks her if she wants to stop. Lois refuses because they need to get to their meeting with their bird hook up. Bill stews outside of Lois' house when Lura approaches him and informs him that the trustee (Dale) is a homosexual and should be removed. Bill wants to know why she didn't ask Alby to remove him. "My husband can't do it. You do it. Please," she says, before hurrying off.

At the wives' meeting, Margene is the matter of business. Barb and Nicki want to make sure that they're still a priority for her and want to know why she isn't on board with the whole public polygamists thing. Margene can't believe that they don't have fears. Barb admits that she does and lists them and they're really frightening things like losing the casino and Home Plus and how it will affect their children's lives. "There. Those are my fears," says Barb, cheerily, like she hasn't just noticed that she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. Nicki hisses that she saw Margene's speeches on her laptop and they hurt her feelings. Margene admits that she joined Toastmasters and Nicki shouts that her speeches are just fairy tales about being an independent career woman. "We are the women behind the woman," says Nicki and Margene tries to point out that she discretely hinted at their support in her speech. She explains that she went right from being a little girl to being Bill's wife. Nicki shrieks that she never even had the little girl part and storms out. Ouch.

Lois, Frank, Jodean, and Ben show up at a market and meet with their bird hook up. Jodean translates that there's a problem, that the birds will be their tomorrow...maybe. The hook up babbles that Ben is very pretty and tall and wants to know if he can touch his hair. Frank puts a stop to this nonsense and tells him that the birds will be there tomorrow at noon or else. "And we're not taking one ratty clitoris!" adds Lois. Jodean spots one of Very Truly Yours Hollis Green's minions nearby, watching and listening.

Dale jogs away from his house and around the corner gets into Bill's car. "Lura came to speak with me. She's behind all of this," says Bill, before asking, "Are you and Alby having a homosexual affair?" I'll say this for him, Bill is direct as fuck. No, "Say, Dale, remember when I asked you if you were having ANY secret meetings of ANY kind with Alby? Let's agree on our definition of 'any kind.'" Dale nods and begins to cry. Bill explains that there's no spinning this and Dale will have to resign and that he'll do everything that he can to keep it contained. "I think I can understand how difficult this must be," says Bill. "You can't imagine," replies Dale. He's right. Even if Bill were to experience some public ridicule for being a polygamist, he's still straight and won't be completely condemned by everyone that he loves and society.

Bill goes home to Barb. "How was your day?" she asks. "Less than pleasant," he says. He tells Barb that he spoke with Ana and she wants to normalize things after the election. Barb asks for clarification and he says that Ana is willing to let him be a father. Barb notes that this doesn't feel right, that it's their baby and how do they know that this isn't a shakedown. "You are not raising a baby with another woman that I'm not a mother to," declares Barb. Bill tries to do the math and Barb sighs, "Oh, you know what I mean." By the way, she tells him, his rebranding of the casino totally backfired.

Marilyn hands out some flyers that were distributed in Idaho about the casino. The Evangelicals there are trying to get gambling outlawed. Tommy is pissed that the Henricksons being Mormon didn't solve any problems that they might have encountered with the Religious Right. Bill dismisses the whole thing so Marilyn pulls him outside and asks him why he's being such a douchebag and warns him to stop disparaging her in front of potential clients. Barb comes out and tries to get them to settle down, but Bill calls Marilyn a moneychanger in the temple and tells her to quit being all buddy-buddy with Barb. Marilyn informs him that she happens to like Barb and heaven only knows what she's doing with a horse's ass like Bill. Barb points out that Bill is being extremely shortsighted about their safety net.

Nicki is on the phone with Alby and tells him that Bill told her everything and that Lura has told others. "Don't judge me," he says, adding that Dale sees the good in him. Lura is eavesdropping outside of Alby's office. "I love you no matter what," says Nicki. In this moment, I genuinely like both of them. When they shed all of their devious defense mechanisms, they're both decent people. Lura steps in and tells Alby it's time to leave. He tells Nicki that he has to go to La Esperanza. Nicki freaks and asks if he's sealing JJ and Adaeleen there. "How could they do it there?" she shrieks.

Wanda and Cara Lynn are cheerfully playing Candy Land when JJ shows up with his and Wanda's CREEPY as hell parents. They sit on either side of Wanda and speak in frightening monotones. Wanda's dad strokes her cheek and whispers, "Baby doll..." DO NOT WANT.

Lois, Frank, Jodean, and Ben show up for their birds. Their hook up still wants to mess around with them and Frank angrily throws the guy's bananas on the ground. Seeing this, everyone in the market clears out. Frank keeps ranting at the hook up but Lois hisses, "Something's not right. We need to leave." Look who it is! Very Truly Yours Hollis Green! And Selma! The Greens gather up Lois, Frank, Jodean, and Ben at gunpoint.

Barb goes to Ana's apartment. Ana tries to get her to come back later because, erm, her fiance is there. Barb wants to know if the fiance put Ana up to the lawyer stuff but Ana insists that he loves her and wants the best for her and the baby. "You can't ask me to give up a child conceived of our marriage," states Barb. Ana informs her that the baby was conceived before she and Bill were married. Barb feels stupid.

Big_love_adaleen_nicki Adaleen is in a poofy white wedding dress and surrounded by sister wives at La Esperanza, a seedy motel that I think we've seen before. Nicki pulls up and is wearing a mini skirt and makeup and a ponytail on the side of her head. Apparently, Nicki Googled, "slutty looks circa 1985" before making the trek out there. Adaleen asks someone to get a sheet to cover her up but Nicki insists this is who she's always been inside. I'm not sure I'm buying all that. She points to the motel and says that this is where her soul died when Adaleen and Roman married her to a man that was twice her age. JJ's wife, the one who has cancer, yells at Nicki for trying to be the center of attention. Nicki asks where Cara Lynn is and Adaleen says, "Your father arranged it before he passed." Oh, no. Nicki starts bursting into various rooms at the motel, where young girls are in various stages of being sealed to Juniper Creek men is pristine white suits. Big_love_toby_cara_lynn Meanwhile, Cara Lynn cowers on a bed in one of the rooms as an older man named Toby kneels beside her and informs her in a sickeningly sweet and condescending voice that she'll be his seventh. Nicki finds Wanda sitting with her parents in one of the rooms. Wanda is...in her happy place or something and Wanda's parents jump up to pull the same creepy greeting on Nicki, with her dad stroking Nicki's cheek and calling her, "Baby doll..." She finally finds Cara Lynn, who runs to Nicki begging for help. Nicki grabs her and warns Toby and the other assorted freak shows that if they ever come near Cara Lynn again, she'll kill them. Considering the circumstances, Nicki showed enormous restraint. I would have locked everyone inside and burned that bitch down.

At the casino, Barb is signing an agreement in place of Bill and welcomes Marilyn aboard. Barb = sucker.

Lura goes to Dale's house and rings the doorbell. One of his sons answers and his mom appears behind him. "May I help you?" she asks Lura. "Yes. Yes you may," she answers, entering the house.

JJ and Adaleen go to their marital bedroom and JJ instructs her to remove her nightgown. "Just let me admire you. I want this to be special for you," he says, and starts to sing in this low, ugly lullaby. This scene on top of the motel scene make me want to shower really, really bad.

Bill is at home, making contribution calls, when Barb walks in and tells him that she saw Ana, who is engaged, and found out when the baby was conceived. "What exactly does our religion say about a baby conceived out of wedlock?" Bill admits that he's imperfect and apologizes. Barb reminds him that this happened with Margene, too, and all of it, the wives, the babies, the casino, the state senate, is all supposedly for a higher good, but she thinks that he's just trying to fix something broken in him. Bill tells Barb to get Margene and Nicki.

The Henricksons drive to a gigantic house with a for sale sign outside. "This is what the campaign is about," he says. Here, they'll be themselves, together, under one roof. "This is all I've ever wanted," he tells them.

Alby is walking to the apartment with a vase of flowers and is leaving a voicemail for Dale. "I need to see you," he says, and adds, hesitantly, "I love you." He enters the apartment and drops the vase, shattering it. Dale is hanging by his neck from the rafters. Alby collapses, kissing Dale's cold foot before crumpling in tears on the ground.

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Last night’s show was just a perfect example of how these characters are so multidimensional and layered. Like peeling an onion. I felt so bad for Albe and Dale. Me thinks Albe is going to go turbo-sociopath after all this stuff. Dale saw the good in Albe – I’m afraid the good might have died right with Dale in that room. We'll see.


I'm kicking myself for reading this before watching the episode. I love these recaps.


GREAT recap. That episode was intense. Poor Dale. Poor, naieve Ben getting stuck in Mexico with the Greenes. Crazy, creepy JJ. Not sure how I feel about the Ana storyline ... I was kind of tired of her. Nicki cracked me up in her side ponytail. So much to process!

cindy w

I just caught up on this episode tonight, and man alive, this show just reminded me of how intense it can be. So much of it was really & truly upsetting - Dale, the part with Cara Lynn at the motel - and so much of it was so, so good. Like someone actually calling Bill a douchebag to his face, which I've been screaming at my TV for the past 3 seasons.


This episode left me shaking. Freaking insane. I lost it when Nikki rescued Cara Lynn -- she's a messed up, aggravating-as-fuck character, but in that moment she was amazing.

And I never thought the show could make me feel sorry for Alby, but they even managed that. Poor, poor Dale.

And YES, cindy w -- hearing Bill get called a douchebag was so very, very satisfying. His whole coming-out plan is insane, and I have no idea why he thinks it's going to end well.


Loved this episode. When we met Wanda's parents, her nuttiness made sense. I think she was abused as a kid.

The scene with Dale and his bishop made me want to hurl my tv across the room. It reeked of Prop 8 (CA) involvement and financial backing too... freaking ignorance.

Prediction: Bill wins the election, comes out of the closet, is recalled and all of them are prosecuted for polygamy (which is still against the law, unless I'm ignorant).

Suzy Q

Great recap of a difficult episode.

Dale with the bishop? Good lord, what that man went through trying not to be gay. And his religion just brushes him off as unacceptable.

Were those Wanda's parents or JJ's? Either way, CREEPY and WEIRD.

Why do they get sealed at that cheezy motel? Because there are rooms for everyone? Most of those women Nikki burst in on didn't look too happy to be there. Polygamist men seem to be major perverts.

I LOVED when Nikki went on the rampage to find her daughter. Let us not forget, however, that she forgot/denied her existence for 14 years, apparently without too much of a problem.

And, yes, I agree that it's about time Bill was called a douchebag to his face. He's so clueless sometimes. And that malarkey about how he was being "tested" and failed which led him to premarital sex? I call bullshit.


This is the most that I've ever liked Alby. Unfortunately I think that Rhonda is probably right- any good he had in him is probably gone with Dale. Maybe Lura will fall out of Alby's favor now. I was pretty sure when she showed up at Dale's house that he wouldn't make it to the end of the episode. So very sad.

I know that Nikki is completely nuts, and that she's done many, many terrible things, but I've been sort of rooting for her since last season. I *loved* it when she got Cara Lynn out of that motel. Go Nikki.


So, much like Crazy Wanda, I too, have a deep foreboding that if things don't work out well (and, like, when do they ever in Henrickson-land?) that Barb is just gonna SNAP by the end of this season. Is it just me, or has that woman suffered enough yet?


Yeah, Wanda regularly soils herself but still uses the word "foreboding"? SURE. Oh, Big Love, you are so wonderful!! Great recap, as well!

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