Big Love
Damage Control

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Post-dinner at the Henricksons' homes plus, Nicky is accepting Barb's compliments regarding the meal, oh-so-graciously adding, "Margie helped." Ben's out in the living room playing "Copacabana" on the piano in full military-school uniform, an act which in itself borders on Dadaism. Sarah's sitting next to his piano bench, and Teeny's sitting by herself, singing "Hound Dog" under her breath while Margene paces the floor with one of her babies. This is what it's all about, right? Family time together, as a group? Then why does it seem so much like they're under siege? Also, I think they're short a baby. Barb watches it all thoughtfully. But Bill is trying to keep the mood light, doing a little Mormon home schooling of Nicki's kids. He shows them a picture of Tikal in Mexico, saying it was "built during the times of the Book of Mormon." He shows them Lake Atitlan, "Likely source of the waters of Mormon." Here, I'm afraid that I must confess to my almost total ignorance of the Mormon faith, having been raised in a much more sensible and scientifically-based religious tradition in which I ate bread that was supposed to be part of a dead guy. Bill suddenly gets the idea of driving to the Holy Lands next summer. Off the kids' skeptical reaction -- and let me say that driving to the Holy Lands was certainly never floated as an option during my Catholic childhood -- Bill insists that he and "your Mother Barbara" did just that nine years ago. You know, back when the words "mother" and "Barbara" didn't require each other as modifiers. He goes on about the trip and what it's like down there: "The people weave their clothes and they eat exotic tropical food." He's desperately trying to engage Barb in this conversation, and I'm thinking that maybe a run for the border isn't the idea he wants to be putting in her head right now.

But she abruptly changes the subject: "They don't want me to teach any more." Sarah glances over in surprise. Nicki's all, "Good riddance to them," but Bill doesn't believe they actually said that. Barb admits that nobody did, per se, but she says she's sure the teacher knows about them. And she thinks the neighbors know too. I'm not sure why Sarah isn't speaking up here -- she was there when Julie didn't tell Barb, "No pliggy teachers!" For some reason, Ben picks this moment to come up to Barb for a talk about college, and since he's thinking about the Naval Academy, he'll need a Congressional recommendation. I would think that he's just trying to distract Barb from the current crisis, but then brings it back around to that by asking if Barb thinks it'll be a problem now. He couldn't bring this up during dinner? Maybe Ben needs to loosen his necktie a bit already. Barb punts so she can get back to what the adults are talking about, which is Margene's question as to why it matters if everyone does know. "The stores, Margie," Nicki reminds her, sotto voce. Barb says, "It could have been anyone," and they all rattle off suspects: Wendy. The neighbors. "Your sister," Nicki suggests. "Yes, or your father," Barb points out. "Or anyone," Bill says, so he wants to start working through the list, and that's why he wants to start with Pam and Carl, with whom he already made dinner plans for tomorrow night. Barb looks around him incredulously at her sister-wives: "Did he just say he set up dinner with the neighbors?" Bill says it's what they need to do. "Did he just say this is what we need to do now?" Barb asks Nicki and Margene. "Barb, you're acting nutty," Nicki says, as though Bill's high-handed attitude isn't completely infuriating. Barb storms out of the room, Margene asking what it means if the neighbors were indeed the culprits. "It means we have to change our lives in ways you don't want to think about," Nicki drones at her as Margene answers the ringing phone. Bill pursues Barb, who's getting more pissed off about this by the second. Bill says this affects everyone in the family, not just Barb. "The life we've chosen leads to eternity," he lectures. "But yes, there are consequences." Barb says it's a long way to eternity from Sandy, Utah. Margene interrupts to say it's Joey on the phone, but Barb's not done; she says she still has a say in what goes on. Bill tells her otherwise: "We are going to dinner at the Martins', and that's final," he orders, then turns away from Barb and takes the phone from Margene. So much for what he said earlier about Barb having a choice.

"They have witnesses," we hear Joey's panicked voice say to Bill over the phone as Barb awkwardly storms past Nicki to get up the stairs. Back at Joey's place, he's sitting at the kitchen table with Wanda and Lois, the latter of whom snatches the phone away to yell at Bill that she can't go to jail. Better yet, she's blaming him for the whole situation. "You pushed Joey onto the UEB!" she accuses. Bill angrily reminds her that she thought that was a great idea at the time, and Lois says Bill's plan ended up sending an already wobbly Wanda over the edge. "I wasn't in possession of the information that she poisoned people," Bill protests. "Somebody decided to keep that from me." Rather than concede the point -- because conceding points is not how Lois rolls -- Lois haughtily hands the phone back to Joey, dropping it into the bowl of potatoes in the process. I like to think that bit of business was an accidental thing that happened during shooting, and they kept it because how perfect is that? Bill tells Joey to give Roman an ultimatum: either Roman drops the charges or they bring in the County Sheriff. He figures that as scary as Roman thinks his Juniper Creek "puppet police" are, he won't want to pursue this with real cops and potentially land in trouble his own self. "All I'm saying is that I am not going to go to jail!" Lois repeats, and Bill hangs up on her. Lot of that going around this episode. Finished with his phone call, Bill returns to the living room and finds it completely empty. The expression on his face indicates that he seems to think this is a bad thing.

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Big Love

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