Oh, Nicki. Last week, you were a plague on the Houses of Henrickson, but this week, you are your family's avenging angel -- and a gonzo dryer repairwomen as well. If there's a more complex character on television right now, I'd like to know where.
Barb's sister Cindy inadvertently brings out the best in Nicki when she comes around. Although Cindy's ostensibly there to maintain some sort of connection with her nieces and nephew, rubbing Barb's nose in her ongoing estrangement with her mother and making all sorts of pejorative comments about Bill and the polygamist lifestyle are bonus activities. A fed-up Nicki dispatches her with a monologue that's not unlike a spoken-word version of Dorothy throwing a bucket of water onto the Wicked Witch of the West
In doing so, Nicki manages to inspire Margene to dump Pam as a friend and commit to the family by getting baptized â right in the middle of Teeny's baptism. Margene, how could you? You spent most of the episode making noises about leaving, and half the forum already had the car started and waiting for you? Don't tell us the "FREE MARGENE!" shirts we ordered aren't going to work anymore!
And, reproductively speaking, it's a big week for the Henricksons. Ben loses his virginity and is wracked with remorse later, while Wanda finally throws her foal and is wracked with relief that this one will live.
As for Bill...he's sort of an idiot. Try to contain the surprise, I know. But when a guy asks his would-be mole on the UEB council to spy for him when the guy's left the phone off the hook so anyone can hear Bill's request, and THEN he accepts the guy's offer of help anyway...this is not going to end well.
Previously on Semi-homewed with Don & Peg: A bunch of splinter-sect polygamists decided their prospective fourth wife was too fond of non-mainstream religions; Margene finds out she didn't rock the vote; Sarah breaks with family tradition and deals with a relative without lying to them.
When the episode begins, we're getting what I like to think of as "Exhibit A" in the argument against becoming a polygamist's bride at a young age: Margene slumped on the couch in her pajamas, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken congealing on the coffee table and two naked, screaming children expressing their displeasure at the general state of affairs. Margene could care less -- she is totally into her telenovela. As awesome as it would be to discover that Margene's fluent en espanol, I don't think we're going to go there. I suspect she simply likes the sumptuous visuals and chewy acting.
The doorbell rings and Margene tentatively answers it. Lois is there, wearing an expression that suggests Margene might want to consider converting to the church of Flylady. Lois is also wearing a lovely jacket covered in what appears to be crewelwork; it is the kind of thing you wear, like a sweater knitted from alpaca hair or a silk cheongsam, when you want to convey to everyone that you are officially a world traveler. Lois tells Margene to pay the nice cabbie his $40. She apparently has better things to do, like go coo over souvenirs with Barb.
Barb is not exactly thrilled with the giant tacky green ceramic frog Lois has brought her, but she scores better than Margene, who gets a burro thrust dismissively in her general direction. Barb gamely asks, "Did you and Frank enjoy Mexico?" Mexico, eh? Let's hope one of the locals was inspired to repeat a little history and give Frank the Ramón Mercader treatment. Lois sighs happily, "It was nice to go back to the old stomping ground. You know we all hid out there for a year when my father was facing arrest." Barb looks queasy at this blithe reminder that she's an outlaw too. Then Lois complains about how Bill needs to crawl out of whatever hole he happens to be in so he can shuttle her and the detestable collection of depravity to whom she is now legally bound back to Cult HQ. It's apparently a two-hour trip.
Ah, evidently Frank found his own way home, so it's just mother and son. Lois is sitting in the passenger seat deploring exurban sprawl and Bill, as per usual, is ignoring the noises issuing forth from whatever woman happens to be in the vicinity. He finally asks, "Mom, can I take you into my confidence? I need your help." I pause the TiVo to mentally review Lois's strengths: shooting things, pitching hissies and making other people feel bad about themselves. How will she use those to help Bill?
Bill hands over a copy of the UEB council list and asks for people who may be holdovers from his grandfather's day. "I thought you and Roman settled things," Lois says uneasily. Not so much, what with Roman engineering a way to block the land sale for the third store. Lois tells him to drop it. Bill does not, so Lois takes the chance to play to two of her strengths: "I sat you down six years ago! I warned you not to get into bed with that family, but you wouldn't listen!" Ah -- a hissy fit designed to make Bill feel bad about himself! Well played, Lois. Well played.