It’s been 10 long months since we saw Bill Henrickson and his three wives go public about their polygamist lifestyle, and that long break left us wondering what happened to the family and just how great the fallout was. In the first episode of the fifth, and final season, we saw the reactions and how everybody is handling it all.
At the end of the fourth season it appeared as if all of the wives had accepted their decision to go public, but it’s abundantly clear that things have changed and they’re now regretting it. Barb, the first wife, is having a difficult time as she not only has to deal with the loss of her job but also her crumbling marriage to Bill. Nicki is a kid in a candy store because this is what she wanted all along, and one can’t help but feel sorry for poor Margene. All of the actresses do an amazing job portraying their struggles and doubts.
Bill faces some big challenges as his employees at Home Plus feel betrayed, and some of his fellow Senators have already shown their distaste for Henrickson’s lifestyle. The children are feeling the impact as well when they are called “plig”, a derogatory form of polygamist, and get beat up.
One thing that I’m not liking is just how different Bill is now. In the first season we saw a man who was devoted to his family, devoted to his religion, and who took pride in his work. Now we see a man who is a hypocrite, is willing to risk the safety of his family just to get ahead, and feels that he is above the law at times. I also dislike how he can make decisions without consulting his wives but will be incredibly angered if they do something like that.
Barb is so upset with how everything is going that she has turned to drinking, is taking dance classes, and is wanting to do things that she has never done before. It’s almost as if she is starting to rebel and wants to break free from all of the chains that have held her down all these years. I can identify with Barb and, while I’ve never been in her situation, I know what it’s like to want to say “fuck it all.” Here is a woman who has lost her family, and by family I mean her sister and Mother, she isn’t happy in her marriage because she has a lousy husband and one of her sister wives is a complete bitch, and she really has no sense of self. She was young when she married and has lived for someone or something else rather than herself. Now she wants to experience life and I hope that she finds what she is looking for.
Nicki will never change, as much as I’d like to believe she will. Her years at Juniper Creek, having a father like Roman Grant, and her young marriage have really destroyed any basic normalcy she had. Now she’s cold, calculating, and is just a terrible person. There are times where her intentions are somewhat good, but she always goes about things the wrong way and does a ton of damage in the process. A clear example is when she scares a young boy at the childrens’ school rather than going to the Principal and doing the right thing. Her actions caused the little boy to run straight into a metal pole, knocking out his two front teeth, and it all came out during a school meeting that had press in attendance.
As for Margene, she might be having it the hardest of all. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, Margene has no parental figure to turn to. Sure she has Barb, but it’s different. Even though Margene is still young she doesn’t have a lot of options. She lacks a high school diploma, has little work experience, no friends, and has three children to take care of. In addition to all of that she has suffered through a traumatic public rejection, lost a job she loved and was proud of, and just seems to want an ordinary life, whatever that may be.
There was also the return of Alby from the desert, us finding out that Adaleen was being held in some hole in the ground by Lura, and the fact that other polygamist families aren’t too thrilled with Bill & Co. for going public.
All in all, I felt the episode was a bit rushed and tried to cram in a lot of story for a 1-hour time frame. While I’m not too thrilled with how the series is unfolding, I am curious to see how it all pans out.
Big Love airs every Sunday night at 9 PM on HBO.