Oh my heck, does Bill Hendrickson have his hands full. He's got a chain of home-improvement stores poised to go public, and if that weren't headache enough, there's also trouble on the home fronts -- all four of them.
First wife Barb is not exactly going along with the unquestioning-obedience business and Bill spends all episode coaxing her into signing over her paycheck. This is so he can alleviate some of the financial woes that compulsive shopper and wife number two Nicki has incurred. And wife number three, Margene, is clearly in over her head with regards to keeping house and raising kids. (Which is only to be expected: she appears to be barely older than Bill and Barb's oldest daughter, Sarah.) Meanwhile, back at the fundamentalist compound from whence Bill escaped, his dad appears to be the victim of poisoning, Bill's salty momma complicates the situation by throwing assorted fits over the state of modern medicine (she distrusts it) and Bill's lifestyle, and Bill's father-in-law -- well, one of them, anyway -- is making noises about wanting a bigger slice of his business's profits. Those fourteen-year-old brides don't come cheap, you know.
All in all, a promising start to the series. Plus it features Tina Majorino in a role that's a spiritual sister to Deb in Napoleon Dynamite, so there's always that going for it.
The premiere of a new show is always so exciting! It's like the first day of school in a new place -- anything could happen, and you're just going to have to hope for the best. And just as any student spends the first day at their new school making the kind of anthropological field studies that would do Margaret Mead proud, so too do I check out the credits of a show to see what kind of clues we'll have.
So these are the credits: the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" begins playing, and we first see Bill Paxton. He appears to be standing in front of a darkened mountain range and a beam of light illuminates him. He turns his face to it, then to the camera, then back to the now-illuminated landscape. It's in the high desert, there's a frozen pond, and now Jeanne Tripplehorn is skating out. Tragically, the producers missed the chance to outfit her in classic Italian team ice-dancing costumes. She skates out to Bill, they meet and twirl around, and then the camera pulls back from Bill's face to reveal that he's now holding Chloe Sevigny. Incidentally, this is the point where the Beach Boys begin singing, "I may not always love you." Bill dips an enraptured-looking Chloe, pulls her up for a spin, and then the camera pulls back so we see that Ginnifer Goodwin is now spinning toward Bill to "you need never to doubt it." She melts into him, and we see Jeanne and Chloe skate on over again. Then there's a lot of linking of hands as the Beach Boys sing, "God only knows what I'd be without you," because polygyny affects everyone, see? We get a circle-type shot of Bill's face, then Jeanne's, then Bill's, then Chloe's, then Bill's, then Ginnifer's.
The camera pulls back so we can see that a big crack is snaking across the ice toward the merry-go-round of skaters. Everyone looks alarmed and skates backward into their own orbit. Then Bill's apparently entangled in someone's laundry line, as he's surrounded by gauzy sheets and the three women move in and out of focus, none of them sharing the same clearing he's in. Then he finds Jeanne, Chloe, and Ginnifer in quick succession, right as The Beach Boys are asserting that God only knows what he'd be without them. Then we see a white candle fill the screen. The camera pulls back so we see that it's on a table. Bill's at the head of the table: Jeanne is to his immediate left, Chloe is to his immediate right and Ginnifer is next to her. The camera pulls back more and we see that this little dinner group is actually on its own tiny, barren planet, surrounded by tons of other little satellites.