July 17, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Big Love

TV Show
Current Status
In Season

”Big Love”: Margene goes courting

Well, Bill dove in headfirst with Ana. That was expected, though last week it was still unclear just how far he would go. But what was surprising in this story arc was Margene’s decision to surreptitiously befriend the Serbian waitress (maybe Nicki was right about Margene latching on to women in the service industry), tempting and, at the same time, twisting the hands of fate.

In fact, this compound-free episode provided more insight into the mind of Margene Heffman than we’ve had in a while. She may be young (her exact age, as several TV Watchers have noted, is the subject of some debate) and somewhat impressionable, but she’s also fiercely focused, incredibly confident, filled with untainted love and maybe a touch of loneliness. Bottom line: She just wants everyone to be as happy and smiley as she is. But Margene forgets one of the main no-no’s of Mormonism: lying. (Bill is equally guilty.) And while it must have felt good to finally say, ”I’m a polygamist,” and be embraced rather than judged for it, you’re still left wondering: When does having good intentions cross the line and become just plain meddling? I think we saw it at the diner, where Margene treated Barb and Nicki for lunch, pushing her own Ana agenda come hell, high water, or celestial calling.

But there was no such testimony for Bill. After conferring with his fellow polygamists and searching deep inside his soul, he decided this dalliance with Ana was purely ”lust” and not ”a sucker punch” from the Holy Spirit. At least for now, which is just as well, since Bill has much bigger issues to deal with, namely, his misguided investment in Weber Gaming. Once again, Bill’s bad decision is threatening the Henricksons’ entire existence — and now Roman’s too, since Bill implicated the UEB in the deal that he originally stole from them.

So who is this Mormon gangsta who goes by the name Hollis Greene? Is he the one Roman referred to when he called out ”perverts” whom he blamed for ”ruining it for the rest of us”? Any connection to Tom Green, who is a real-life polygamist currently serving time in Utah for child rape after ”marrying” a 13-year-old girl? And is it possible that there’s actually a place creepier than Juniper Creek? To the last question, I would give a definite yes. These guys, who come from some underground sect believed to have been hiding out in Mexico, are straight-up terrifying. In one episode, they’ve already set Bill’s boat on fire, slashed his tires, branded his investment partner, and come close to doing the same on Bill’s milky right cheek. Bill’s little revenge scheme does not interest the Greenes, and they certainly mean business.

As always, I find Bill’s behavior in this scheme to be completely irresponsible. Besides doing his due diligence by looking into other bidders who, like him, were probably lured by the idea of a polygamy-friendly seller, perhaps he should have taken a minute to sit on it rather than jumping in with stubborn willfulness more appropriate to a small child. Now he could not only drag Barb, Nicki, Margene, and the kids down with him, but he could also ruin his uncle Eddie, who dipped into his savings against his wife’s wishes, and Don Embry, who’s been uneasy with the idea all along.

But sloppiness seems to run in this family. Did anyone give a second thought to letting Nicki’s kids scream with excitement from atop the boat parked in their ”neighbor’s” driveway? And what was Nicki thinking with that half-baked attempt to get Rhonda away from the Tuttles? You can’t blame her for being passionate about her beliefs — and is she ever — but chastising Rhonda’s pseudo-publicist in public when trying to avoid being mentioned in the paper? Probably not the best idea.

Then again, someone needs to expose Rhonda for the ”damaged pathological liar” and generally destructive force that she really is. She’s already manipulated her advocate April Blessing, the Tuttles (whom she now addresses as her aunt and uncle), and now the media into sympathizing with her ”plight.” And in what was perhaps her most repugnant move yet, she’s slandered the Henricksons by falsely accusing them of child abuse. (Props to poor Heather, who was also fooled but at least attempted to apologize for her family’s involvement.) Thank God, Barb finally woke up to Rhonda’s whole MO. At the beginning of the episode, I found myself cursing Barb for her continued charity, but after Rhonda’s obnoxious ”kiss off” remark, here’s hoping she’ll never defend the little troll again. (An aside: I saw Daveigh Chase, who plays Rhonda, at a party one time and was completely thrown by how tall she was.)

So what happens now? Will Bill find a way to save his ass, and what will Roman’s role be? (After all, Nicki’s been disowned.) Will Hollis Greene come after the UEB? Will Rhonda ever face the prophet herself? What about Ben? Can a pamphlet titled ”Satan’s Thrust” persuade him to curb his sexual appetite and return to the path of the righteous? And are we done with Ana for good, or will she and her new BFF Margene press on with their seduction plan? One thing’s for sure: If Ana does stick around, she’s got a lot to learn about living with ”the principle,” not to mention the Henricksons.

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