Yes, Sunday was Oscar night, but your Big Love columnist is on the case! Thanks to the joys of owning two TiVos, I can cover both without missing a beat. Glad that I did, because while it might have been the movies' big night, on Big Love, the night belonged to Barb Henrickson.
Throughout "Till Death Do Us Part," Barb shows compassion to all around her -- including those who don't deserve it. But even this tower of strength might waiver as she's drawn into a police investigation that could tear her family apart.
From Alby to Goji
In honor of the Oscars, I'm writing this week's recap in lists of five. First, before we get to the greatness that is Barb, let's cover the other highlights of this week's episode.
- Alby buys the lease to the main Home Plus location -- yikes! And he raises the rent 25 percent. Bill's attempts to get the UEB board to rescind the purchase fail pretty spectacularly. Don is ready to sell the business while the selling is good, but Bill will have none of it.
- Heather has a change of heart about Ben and breaks things off with her missionary boyfriend. Good thing Ben has just broken things off with Rhonda, except as friends. Meanwhile, Alby and Rhonda's hubby Verlan get closer -- and a little kinky. (Verlan seems more like a willing participant in the affair than he seemed last week.)
- Is the Goji Blast business for real? The business has put a major dent in Pam and Carl's marriage, and Bill believes the whole thing is a big scam. But although Margene remains steadfast, she goes to Goji Blast HQ to question company founder Michael Saint. He not only convinces her that the company is on the up-and-up, he dazzles her with his charisma and sexy smile.
- With the law about to come down on Bill for marrying the underage Margene, Cara Lynn and Mr. Ivy's story isn't likely to have a happy ending. Right now, however, they have everyone fooled. Nicki even thinks that Mr. Ivy has a crush on her. On second thought, make that nearly everyone -- Margene is starting to get suspicious. Who better to suspect an age-inappropriate relationship?
The Greatness That Is Barb
Last week I took a look at five Big Love couples. This week, let's count the ways Barb is awesome:
- When Nicki makes a fuss about having her own "special day" for her legal marriage to Bill, he tries to downplay it in deference to Barb's feelings. But it's Barb who gives Nicki the credit card to buy a new dress.
- When Nicki also asks for a reception, Barb is at first cautious about pulling something together in only two days. But when Bill expresses his doubts, it's Barb who says they should do it. Bill -- once again amazed by his first wife's big heart -- kisses her and ends up making love to her (secretly, in the basement).
- When Bill recommends that he and the sister-wives hold a resealing ceremony to reaffirm their bond, Barb can't go through with it. She's still finding her way spiritually, so she can't be resealed in a church she doesn't feel welcome in. Yet she offers to officiate at Nicki and Bill's marriage ceremony (with an Internet license) -- and she does a beautiful job.
- When Frank ends up in the hospital, an agitated Lois strikes out at Barb. (She blames Barb for telling Frank's other wives about the venereal disease that he spread.) But Barb returns to sit by Lois's side. When Lois questions why Barb came back, she says, "You think I scare that easily?" And good thing -- Lois tries to kill Frank in his hospital bed with a mouthful of pills. It's Barb who stops her.
- When Nicki, Margene, and Bill privately hold the resealing in the midst of the wedding reception, a sad Barb witnesses it outside the door. She says nothing -- and silently slips away. Unfortunately, a bigger surprise awaits her when she goes downstairs: Police want to question her about a case of statutory rape.
The First Wife Also Rises
Though this episode carried forward several key threads -- especially Alby's attempt to tighten the noose around Bill's neck -- this was really Barb's show. Hats off to Jeanne Tripplehorn for her outstanding work as Bill's first wife. Beneath the dowdy hairstyle and demure skirt-and-blouse ensembles beats the heart of a rebel -- a stubborn, strong, passionate and vibrant rebel. Let's just hope she doesn't scare easily under the pressure of a police interrogation.
And speaking of strong and vibrant women -- Anne Hathaway can host the Oscars any time, if you ask me.
(Image courtesy of HBO)