It took three-fourths of the season, but Big Love finally hits its stride as a series with this episode. In the most awesome storyline of the night: Sarah tells her dad that she doesn't like doing anything with him in public because she hates watching him and Barb lie about the way they really live. Since she did tell Bill this, it's questionable as to whether it really stuck, but kudos to her for not swallowing up her feelings.
Margene also grapples with the increasingly messy division between truth and falsehoods as Pam and Carl â who think she's a war widow â fix her up with a sweet young man. Said sweet young man is instantly smitten, and sees things in Margie that her so-called husband and two co-wives don't. Although Margene puts him off for now, the accidental date, plus news that Nicki kept voting against her in the "should Margene join the family?" tallies, plus a conversation with Betty -- would-be wife of Don -- in which rejection is shrugged off as opportunity clearly have Margene thinking about whether she wants to stay in this life.
Nicki would love to stay, but there's the issue of Bill's searing fury over her credit card bills. He explodes once when she 'fesses up to the debt, then goes absolutely thermonuclear when she adds later that Roman's been helping her out. Ditching the kids, Nicki spends a night away from home, then pulls the poor-me-I'll-get-a-job number on Bill the next day after piteously telling him "the shelter kicks you out at 7 a.m." What she really means is "I partook of the hotel's continental breakfast, and learned absolutely nothing about the merits of honesty in spousal relations."
Meanwhile, Barb gets the most pitiable moment the episode once again: as she pleads with Bill to make nice with Nicki, she adds, "I'm not just your wife. I'm married to two other people. You forget that sometimes." And this entire episode, we see that everyone else does too.
We open with a very cool, completely silent scene: Bill and Roman are seated across from each other at a long, oval conference table. You can tell it's a lawyer's office because it's got that money feel: the wood is a rich, polished red; the chairs look buttery plush; the men to the left of Roman and right of Bill have the look of people who only brave the elements if they feel it, not because the wife told them to mow the lawn. Roman and Bill are signing paperwork. The thick documents slide across the table between the lawyers, who then pass them perpendicularly to their clients. The guitar is resting at the head of the table, exactly halfway between Bill and Roman, very evidently placed as a fifth entity during this legal transaction. After Bill's reviewed the papers, he slides the guitar across to Roman with a slight, smug smile. The snap of the latches is the first sound we really hear, and as Roman begins to play a tuning chord, the camera swings to Bill's face. He looks quietly triumphant. Do we really need ONE MORE CLUE that Bill is on the way to becoming Roman 2.0? When Roman raises his head to give Bill an inscrutable look, he seems to be thinking the same thing, too.
Bill streaks home. We then see him telling Barb, "We shook hands, we went our separate ways, and that is all she wrote!" He's had his arms wrapped around her this whole time, but now he dances her in a circle. Barb's positively radiant with gleeful relief. Bill exults, "A huge weight is gone!" He breaks the news that he's invited Don and his ladies over to the house for a barbecue-cum-engagement party for Betty. Bill excitedly adds, "I've ordered lobsters." Wow, he's bringing out the fatted calf -- or the buttery crustacean -- for this event. Frankly, I don't blame him. What better way to celebrate a business win and a big social milestone for people you care about than with a feast to remember?
Bill then heads over to see the other wives, so how much of a load has he really ditched? Per usual, music is blaring in Margene's house. Bill walks through, mugging for a delighted Lester, and just keeps on going. It's jog-through parenting! Then he heads to Nicki's. She summons the boys with a lilting "There's Daddy!" and the boys pelt over. Bill does the "guess which hand the quarter's in?" for the kids, handing over a tenner to Raymond. Nicki deftly says, "Give Mommy the ten and I'll get you some pennies." She's not putting that money in his college fund, is she? Bill does not tell Nicki exactly why his business is looking up, but he does say, "When I was living on the streets, I used to dream of having one thing of my own -- just one thing to be proud of, that was mine. I have three beautiful wives, seven perfect children, and I'm about to add a third store to this family, free and clear! Our third store, free and clear." He seizes Nicki, who seems as turned on by retail expansion as he.