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Help Me, Rhonda: Dating Games and Lying Dames on "Big Love"

Am I alone in thinking that runaway Rhonda is perhaps the single most evil character on television right now?

This week's episode of Big Love ("Dating Game") reaffirmed my belief that Rhonda (The Ring's Daveigh Chase)--now living out with the Tuttles after escaping the Juniper Creek compound and her betrothal to Old Roman--is in fact some sort of demon seed. That would explain why this girl can't help herself but intentionally injure everyone around her, including poor Barb and Sarah. I could not believe that she would stoop so low as to imply that the Henricksons were involved in the sexual abuse of their children. That said, my jaw hit the floor when she hugged Barb, only to whisper, "Kiss off" to her former savior.

I'm not sure what Rhonda hopes to get out of having her story told--other than celebrity, perhaps--but I cannot believe that Nicki would try to kidnap her from the Tuttles and, with her involvement, made the situation a hell of a lot more dangerous for the Henricksons. That said, trying to claim that Bill owned a TV station and they'd make her famous by telling her story on the air? Hilarious.

Sarah learned the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished; same too with Heather (Tina Majorino), who I hope will be sticking around now that her policeman father has forbidden her to see Sarah anymore. At least Heather knows the truth about Rhonda, but she seems unable to do anything about it, even with her parents ready to adopt the little liar.

Meanwhile, I felt so bad for both Margene and Ana, the waitress that Bill had taken his ring off for. It was clear that Margene had fallen in love with Ana and would have jumped at the opportunity to welcome her to the fold as a sister-wife. Sure, she loves Barb and Nicki, but she's always the odd one out and I think she finally found someone she truly connected with and who didn't judge the fact that she is a polygamist. As for Bill, I'm still not entirely sure why he couldn't go ahead with Ana, despite his claims that it wasn't the work of the holy spirit. Ana was remarkably, magnificently even-keeled, not even blinking when her favorite pair of shoes broke. I'll miss this Serbian pixie who would have made a fantastic sister-wife. (Man, did I ever think before Big Love started that I would seriously be discussing the benefits of polygamy for a character?)

I'm having a Twin Peaks experience. Seriously. Did anyone else think that maybe Old Roman wasn't SO bad after all after witnessing the sheer horror that is Hollis Greene? (Hell, even mannish Selma freaked me out more than a little bit.) The factory where his cult seems to be living was a terrifying pit of despair, filled with urchin-like children, wild dogs, and tricycles, apparently. And his flunkies seem to have come out of whatever casting service David Lynch frequents. I cannot believe that Hollis is actually branding people--yes, literally, like cattle--and wish that Bill had done a little more research before purchasing Weber Gaming. He thought he was poaching it from Roman, but it turns out Old Roman was doing some stealing himself.

I love the fact that, in Hollis, the writers have concocted a new villain that makes Roman seem positively beatific and Juniper Creek seem a shiny, happy place by comparison. Will Bill have to team up with Roman in order to jointly wage a war against violent fundamentalist Hollis (who wants Bill to "disgorge" Weber Gaming)? Or has Bill already made his own bed by claiming that he purchased the company on behalf of Roman?

Whatever the answer I am very, very scared for the Henricksons. It's bad enough to have Roman Grant and Juniper Creek as your enemies but it's another thing altogether to have someone as twisted and evil as Hollis gunning for you. Burning down the Henrickson's new boat was only the opening salvo; this war is going to get bloody and I'd be surprised if everyone makes it out of this season alive. (Though I hope that's not the case.)

Next on Big Love ("Good Guys and Bad Guys"), Margene's mother--who seems unaware her daughter is a polygamist--visits the Henricksons and catches Bill in a liplock with Barb, Bill plays Roman and Hollis against one another, Barb picks up Wanda from the hospital, and Frank comes home, possibly none too pleased that it was his daughter-in-law who poisoned him.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); America's Got Talent (NBC; 8-9:30 pm); Gilmore Girls (CW); Just for Laughs/Just for Laughs (ABC); On the Lot (FOX)

9 pm: Big Brother 8 (CBS); The Singing Bee (NBC; 9:30-10 pm); Beauty and the Geek (CW); Shaq's Big Challenge (FOX); House (FOX)

10 pm: Pirate Master (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Primetime (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Eureka on Sci Fi.

Season Two of Eureka continues tonight with "Try, Try Again," with an episode focusing on Fargo, who inadvertently triggers a Global prototype for a personal force field. This being Eureka, things go from bad to worse, putting Fargo's life in jeopardy and forcing Carter to turn to Stark for help.

10 pm: Pirate Master.

The pirate-themed reality/adventure series moves to Tuesday nights. On tonight's episode ("Spirits in the Material World"), the ousted pirates return to the Picton-Castle to compete for the treasure already won by their still-in-the-game competitors. Good god, I thought we finally saw the last of Joe Don...

10 pm: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List on Bravo.

On this week's installment, Kathy and Co. travel across the pond to England, where she is promoting the UK run of her reality TV series. So an episode of a reality series where the star of said series talks about her series? How meta can you get?


Anonymous said…
Rhonda is SO evil!

I love watching her.

Hollis and that whole setup - totally Lynchian.

re: Pirate Master - I never thought I'd say this but by the time Joe Don sailed away, I was actually sorry to see him go. I think part of it is that this show is so damn boring that at least he added something interesting.
Just when I think "Big Love" can't get any better they do something brilliant like having Margene fall for Ana...or make Rhonda that much more manipulative...or introduce someone as creepy as Hollis! For a straight drama this show can, at times, match the tension of a show like "Lost" and I love it!

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