The 4th Season Finale of “Big Love” aired this past Sunday, and surprisingly enough… Bill Henricksen actually won the election for State Senator. And the question this entire season, aside from if he would win or not, was if Bill and family would be strong enough to actually out their polygamist lifestyle publicly. And what made this Finale so great was that up until the very last minute, we didn’t know and there were twists and turns where it could have gone either way.Excellent writing and pacing on this finale, even if there weren’t any of the dynamic acting performances seen throughout this near flawless season.
Where to start? As far as issues that have been flirted with throughout the season that finally revealed themselves this week, Nicki’s ex-husband J.J. (played so creep-ily by Emmy winning Zeljko Ivanek) has always been very mysterious and the viewers knew there was something very sinister about him, but didn’t really know why. That was exposed this week, and in a big way. As Bill was just days away from winning the election, the media was exposing a heinous polygamy sect that inbreeds by swapping eggs from young fertile girls and giving them to older women to carry (without the older women’s knowledge apparently). This was the case with Nicki’s mother Adaleen and Nicki’s daughter Cara Lynn, seems that Adaleen was carrying Cara Lynn’s baby. This was all exposed on the news, which put the fear in Barb’s heart about going public with their polygamist lifestyle. Though Bill seemed more eager than ever to show that that minority of polygamists in Kansas don’t represent polygamy on the whole.
The episode continued with issues that could have potentially taken Bill’s election down. For instance Ana’s pregancy with Bill. She and her fiancee Goran promised to keep tight lipped about the pregnancy, but they were upset that Margene wanted to divorce Goran and they assumed Bill was behind this, bullying Margene into making the decision. After some soul-searching, and a few harsh words from Nicki, Margene talked it out with Ana and decided she couldn’t stay married. Not only for Bill, but because she admitted to being attracted to Goran and she said she didn’t want to repeat past mistakes. Even after all of this, Bill got the news from a reporter that the media knew about Ana’s pregnancy with him. He went to who he thought was the whistle blower in this instance, Marilyn Densham. She actually admitted to leaking the story, and she promised Bill that she would have the story killed before it aired, which she did. However, after the Henricksen’s watched the news to make sure Densham kept good on her word, Barb admitted that she was the one who leaked the story to the press. That she didn’t want Bill to win because she wasn’t ready to be outed.
On top of that, Barb and Jerry had a talk at the Casino. A worker who was a drug dealer was arrested at the Casino, but when Barb didn’t have the authority to have her put away she talked with Jerry. He confessed that not only was the drug dealer his neice, but that half of his family were deep in the drug trafficking business. Barb was a bit infuriated at first knowing that Jerry and his father Tommy lied to the DEA on more than one occasion. However having grown to really admire Jerry, she promised she and Bill would do anything in their power to help them. When Barb told Bill, he looked at them as just a liability to his campaign and had both of them removed and publicly denounced. This led Tommy and Jerry to expose Bill to Densham, who basically did nothing but come into the Henricksen home and try to shame his religion and lifestyle.
As even further incentive for Bill NOT to go ahead with the campaign, he got a unexpected visit from his old friend and old partner Don who he basically forced to out himself at the beginning of the campaign. Don’s teenaged son threw a brick in the Henricksen’s window and the reasoning was because his life had drastically changed after they were public polygamists. He and Don spoke for a short while, and Don obviously still held some resentment for Bill but assured him that his family still believed in his campaign.
With all of that, Bill actually still won even though he thought his chances were very slim on the day. And while Margene and Nicki were definitley on board (Marge being a little hesistant but was eager to support her husband), it sounded like Barb actually wanted a divorce from Bill. After a talk together, Barb uttered the words “I don’t need you anymore”. Than the next thing we saw was Bill giving his speech, calling his wives up to the stage and than calling Barb up as his “first wife”, she took her time taking the stage (and she wasn’t sitting by the other wives). So Bill did make good on his promise, he told Barb the night before that he saw that the campaign was turning him into a horrible person. With what happened to Don, Benny, Jerry and Tommy by his own hands. He said the only way he could justify all of that wrong-doing was to make good on his initial goal, to be public and shed a light on the families that practice Polygamy. He succeeded in his goal, but it seems like the season ender left a big cliff hanger as to where him and Barb stand and what that will ultimatley do to the family.
This was a very interesting season. At the beginning, with the political race as just an idea it seemed that maybe the show had “jumped the shark”, but it really added a whole new level to the already very intriguing series. Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Grace Zabriske gave the same outstanding yet subtle performances as usual. And the writing this season was very well thought out and executed. Sissy Spacek’s guest star run is sure to get her at least an Emmy nomination, and hopefully her big name will bring more attention to this very underrated show at Emmy time. Another genius acting turn this season came from the aforementioned Zeljko Ivanek, who has already won an Emmy for the show “Damages”. His turn this season was at times charming but most times very creepy and haunting, without even knowing what he was up to. And while we’re hoping, Ben Koldyke should be mentioned come award time. His last episode on the show was phenomenal and I would hate for him to be ignored.
Unfortunatley, we’ll have to wait a whole year for some new episodes, which is good because it will give the creators that much more time to come up with some interesting and surprising plot lines.
(Side note: Amanda Seyfried will not be returning next season. YES!!!!)
Tags: Amanda Seyfried, Big Love, Bill Paxton, HBO