Monday, March 09, 2009

Thoughts on Big Love's Third Season

If I had to be completely honest, I'd have to admit that this season of Big Love has been better than anything else on tv this year and would certainly be in the running for the title of best season of any show, ever. I may be more emotionally invested in the ultimate outcome of Lost, but this run of Big Love has has been just an incredible triumph of television storytelling, seamlessly maneuvering through complex plots, tricky character development, and complicated relationships.

The truly excellent writing was prominent last night in an episode where the shit hit the fan on all fronts; Kathy Marquart's funeral and the suspicious circumstances of her death, the revelation of Nicki's betrayal's to the rest of the family, and the threat of the Hendricksons being outed as polygamists from multiple directions. But in the end, it was this season's most interesting bit of pseudo-history, a purported letter indicating that the Mormon Church never truly intended to abandon polygamy, that delivered last night's biggest emotional shot to the stomach, in a heartfelt and unexpected way. Bill had the evidence that this letter was true, the erratic, self-proclaimed polygamist prophet Hollis Green wanted that evidence and was on the verge of having Bill killed because Bill's partner Don had taken that evidence out of Bill's safe earlier in the episode. My mind was racing with complicated thoughts of conspiracies when Don came rushing in, pulling the fire alarm to save the day and send the Green's fleeing from the scene. Asking about the letter, the answer Bill got from Don wasn't about business or conspiracies, but family. Two of Don's three wives had left him earlier in the season, taking the kids with them and claiming polygamy was a cult. Don, without a doubt the sweetest polygamist patriarch on the show, wanted the historic letter to help convince his wives to come home and be a family again. It was just such a bittersweet scene, the sort of emotionally powerful moment that's reserved for the movies and it's the sort of thing Big Love has been chocked full of this season.


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