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"Mr. Cover Up": Concealments, Lies, and Fabrications on Last Night's "Big Love"

Can I just say how effing much I love Big Love? This series gets more complex and compelling with every subsequent episode and last night's installment ("Rock and a Hard Place") was no exception, delivering a taut series of overlapping storylines that had me at the very edge of my seat.

Wanted surprises? How about Alby stalking Sarah and confronting her while she was making out with her new 28-year-old beau Scott? Or how he proceeded to make slightly animal-esque noises while stroking her hair? Yes, Alby's always been creepy (remember how he tried to strangle Ben last season?), but last night's episode made me sit up and gasp. Just please don't have Alby do something too crazy like kill Sarah. I couldn't live without an Amanda Seyfried-laden Big Love.

Speaking of which, I was ever so pleased to see Sarah attempting to bond with her prickly best friend Heather (Veronica Mars' Tina Majorino) at the restaurant. Loved the bit where Heather dropped the bun on the floor and then casually picked it up, blew on it, and then proceeded to make a customer's sandwich with it. (Classic.) Sarah's openness and willingness to change were perfectly set against Heather's attempts to be understanding in her own close-minded way. These two have one of the very best and complicated TV friendships going right now and I hope that we see more of their support/friction over the course of the season.

But last night's episode really dealt with cover-ups and there was really nary a character who wasn't trying to cover something up, from the minute (Ben drinks at parties with his girlfriend) to the major (Nicki knew Roman was the one who outed them). It's episodes like these where both the characters and the plots are propelled forward and scenes like the one where Nicki confronts her mother Adeleen at the children's shelter remind me of how gritty and emotionally powerful this series can be. After concealing her knowledge of Roman's involvement in Barb's outing (which put Nicki and her kids at risk), Nicki finally confronts Adeleen about it, right in front of Barb, drawing a line in the sand and showing her sister wives who's side she's really on... even if Adeleen disowns Nicki completely and tells her that she is dead to them.

I've never felt as bad for Nicki as I did in this installment. Torn between her devotion to her father and her love for her family, Nicki is further put in a compromising and no-win situation by runaway Rhonda, who blackmails her into keeping her at the Henrickson homes in exchange for her silence that Nicki knew it was "Old Roman" who had revealed them as polygamists. If only Nicki had spoken up, I know that Barb and Margene would have been fine (after all, it was proof that Nicki had taken their side rather than Roman's), but instead she couldn't bear to tell Barb or Bill what had happened. All while concealing Rhonda from the Juniper Creek police, who spit in her carrot and raisin salad!

Bill's cover-up of Wanda's poisoning of Alby proves that no good deed goes unpunished, as he quickly finds himself dragged into the legal proceedings unless Wanda steps forward and admits that she was the true poisoner. No such luck, though I could not believe that Lois would try to use Wanda to murder the D.A. in the courthouse by planting a suggestion that he was to blame for Joey's incarceration and persecution... and mentioning the gun in her glove compartment. Loved that Wanda shoved the gun at Bill and told him it was Lois' idea.

Fortunately, the tape containing Bill's admission of a cover up (he refers to himself as "Mr. Cover Up") goes missing (it's the same tape Roman discussed cheese on) and the prosecution do not have enough evidence to proceed with Joey's trial. Woohoo! But where did the tape go? I could not believe my eyes when I saw that Adeleen had stolen the tape from Roman. The phone call between her and Bill was filled with the unspoken between them, with Bill pleading for his freedom and Adeleen steadfastly saying that there was no tape. And then, sobbing her eyes out, Adeleen destroyed the tape and the Grants' proof of any wrongdoing from Bill. If that's not a mother's love, I don't know what is; it also went to show that Adeleen is just as trapped as Nicki. In her own way, she does love Nicki but she can't--especially now--express that love publicly. But she'll do what she needs to do in order to protect her daughter.

All in all, "Rock and a Hard Place" was simply a fantastic episode from start to finish that made me anxious for the next installment to roll around already. Sure, it's only Tuesday, but I am already counting down the days for my next fix of Big Love, not least of all to discover just where Rhonda went to at the very end (loved the brightly lit arrow pointing) and if she's returned to the Juniper Creek compound, or run away for good. Regardless, there's bound to be a major plot twist or two before this is over...

Next time on Big Love ("Vision Thing"), Bill may have just found a fourth wife in an attractive waitress, Nicki frets over Wayne's enrollment at a Catholic school after finding him playing with rosary beads, and Bill turns to his uncle for a loan when he can't raise enough cash immediately for the Weber Gaming deal.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Big Love has some of the best characters on television! This is one of the only shows that can make me hate a character and then, moments later, love them (or at least feel sorry for them). Nicki, Adeleen, Rhonda, all of these women have done truly manipulative, hateful things...and yet I still feel sympathy towards them!

I loved the scene where Adeleen destroyed the tape of Bill. You are absolutely right in saying that she is just as trapped as Nicki (and Rhonda) when it comes to Roman's wrath of terror. She does love her daughter but can't tell her. How sad is that!

I also loved the scene between Margene and Ben's girlfriend when Margene admits that she smokes and drinks from time to time. She is such a fun character and Ginnifer Goodwin always portrays her perfectly. She is a joy to watch.

And creepy Alby...please stay away from Sarah! She's the one Henrickson with enough sense to leave this life behind and start new. So leave her, and her hair, alone!

Can't wait for next week. Bill can't seriously be thinking of adding a fourth wife, can he? With all of the craziness he's already involved in? Guess we'll have to wait and see...
TxGowan said…
I, too, really enjoy this show.

Funnily, I keep waiting for the "Who Shot Roman?" storyline to start. I mean, there are at least six suspects, maybe more. Maybe that'll be the cliffhanger at season end.

A nit, though. Was it implied that Ben drank? He said they don't do that and seemed adamant, but then when Margene asked if that was true, I thought the girlfriend meant he was so uptight about it that it must be true.

Poor Margene. She thought if she wasn't the town slut and was doing something admirable for someone else that the neighbor lady would look more favorably on her. Too bad the opposite seems to be true.

I could go on and on but don't want to blog on your blog. How is it that I don't know anybody else watching this show?
Jace Lacob said…
Gowan,

Your guess is as good as mine. I work in TV and only know a handful of people who watch this superlative series. There has to be more of us out there!
TxGowan said…
Oh, one more thing I forgot.

Did it seem odd to anyone else that last week they left out the actual Straight Edge rally and Ben getting into trouble?

It seemed like he called his friend begging to let him come and the next thing you see is Margene and Ben walking in her front door.

What happened to show don't tell?

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