Haven't posted on "Big Love" in a while, but last night's episode (which I didn't get to until tonight) was so good -- and so delivered one of the things I've been hoping for from this show -- that I'll offer up some spoiler-y thoughts just as soon as I change out of this bathing suit...
I had largely given up on writing about "Big Love" because there were only so many ways for me to say "I love the Henricksons and wish I'd never see the Juniper Creek gang again." And then they went and gave us this lovely episode that featured Juniper Creek only in passing (with Nikki calling Wanda for advice on her flirty boss) and simply focused on the sprawling Henrickson clan and its many iterations. God, I hope the showrunners were paying attention to how strong this hour was -- and why it was -- and that maybe they'll ease back on the compound for a while down the road.
In addition to the lack of Roman, Lois and company, what made "Come, Ye Saints" work was that it was a classic family road trip story -- but a "Big Love" family road trip story. Everyone gets on everyone else's nerves, but because there are so many grown-ups and so many kids -- and because most of the adults (and some of the kids) are keeping secrets from each other -- the conflicts are blown up and never-ending. The wives finally find out about Bill's Viagra habit. Ben wrestles with having a hot sister-mom who's much closer to his own age than to his father's. Nikki cops to taking birth control. Sarah tries to keep her pregnancy a secret. And Bill's usual mask of self-denial briefly takes on some cracks, as the strains of the trip help him almost -- almost! -- see what a burden this lifestyle is on all his wives and children.
And yet there's that beautiful, sad moment at the end -- so well-played not only by Amanda Seyfried and Jeanne Tripplehorn, from whom I've come to expect excellence, but from the more uneven and opaque Bill Paxton -- when the family finds out about Sarah's pregnancy and the miscarriage, and suddenly the huge family becomes not a burden but a blessing. Four parents and seven siblings means a lot of shoulders to cry on, after all.
There are episodes of "Big Love" that I largely suffer through to get to the good stuff. This one (not just the family scenes, but moments like Charles Robinson's cameo as the angry preacher) was all good stuff, from start to finish.
What did everybody else think?