Big Love
A Barbecue For Betty

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
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Burning Bosoms, Batty Bettys

Previously on Cheaper By The Quarter Dozen: Bill managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by grabbing Roman's guitar; Nicki confessed her financial sins to Barb; Margene made friends.

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.

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Big Love

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