Big Love Finale Review: A Major Letdown

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Well, that was a letdown.

"When Men and Mountains Meet," had some shocking scenes, but overall I felt disappointed with how the show ended. This was the final episode, after all, and I felt that the writers held out in some areas, while rushing to complete other storylines. Case in point:

It was left for us to believe that Lois is killed by Frank.

Big Love Finale Photo

Throughout the years, Frank and Lois had been each other's worst nightmare, but as the series dwindled down, they became closer than ever. Lois made Frank promise to end her life when things got really bad, but I was shocked to actually see him go through with it. I felt that the writers needed to prove that Lois and Frank really loved each other so very much after all, but really it just made these characters past interactions seem fake.

I knew that Carl would play a role larger than the minor cameos we had been given, but it wasn't until the final scene with Bill meeting him in the street that I knew what was going down. The writers added a layer here primarily for shock value because we all knew it was Alby that we expected to be holding that gun.

Speaking of Alby, besides the quick mention of him and Adaleen, we never got to see any closure to his story.

How much time will Alby spend behind bars? What will happen to Juniper Creek? Who became the new prophet in his absence? It was odd that the writers would leave his storyline filled with so many holes and unanswered questions.

Barbara's mission to become a priesthood holder almost tore the entire family apart. It took finally getting the chance to have the power she so desperately wanted for her to realize that it wasn't worth a dime without her family being there.

Out of all that happened on the finale, having Bill request Barb give him a dying blessing was by far the most memorable scene.

He knew how important it was for her to be taken seriously, especially by him, and this action caused quite the reaction as we found out eleven months later that Barb took over Bill's church. In an odd way, Barb finally got the freedom in her religion for which she yearned.

Margene figured out that her life's purpose wasn't just to be Bill's third wife. She mentioned to him that as time passes she would want to go on missions to help the poor and unfortunate. At first, we watched Bill struggle with this idea, but eventually he was willing to accept her life's choice. He even told Nikki to be supportive.

Margene was by far my favorite character, but I wasn't happy to learn that after eleven months after Bill died she cut off all her hair and left her children to go help others. A part of me believed that if Bill were alive, he wouldn't want the mother of his children to be gone for such long periods of time.

Elsewhere, Nikki didn't get any closure. She remained same old Nikki throughout. Maybe the writers were trying to show that she was the glue that held this crazy family together.

Cara Lynn was completely absent in the final minutes, only leaving us to guess where she could be. The meeting that Bill had with Cara Lynn was super strange and felt like he was trying to show her that he was okay wither her relationship with her teacher.

We all knew something had to happen before Bill got rushed off to jail and dethroned from the senate, but I wasn't expecting him to open up a can of worms about making polygamy legal. It was strange to watch him be so proud of what he created by imagining himself speaking to his forefathers. The writers never let us know what he was writing on his patio, nor if anything ever happened with the amendment. 

As great as it was to see Sarah and her beau, whatever happened to Joey and Wanda? What about Tinny? All season long these people remained MIA, but I was certain that they would have made a cameo for the finale. Oh well. I guess the writers didn't deem them worthy enough for the send off.

It was sad to say goodbye to such a beloved show, but I am happy that it ended with the sister-wives together and the original song revamped and sung by a woman. God only knows what we'll be without you, Big Love.

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (112 Votes)
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I thought the finale was very moving and thought provoking. But, I could just as easily have seen the scene where the three wives are driving off in Barb's new convertible as the ending. Unlike many other women I know, I didn't turn off to the show just because Bill seemed to be a man who had his cake and ate it three. The writers and actors took situations that were truly bizarre to a contemporary American audience and made me empathize with them, while sometimes laughing out loud. (For example, who remembers the scene a few seasons ago where Barb confesses to a friend that she is "having an affair" with Bill and her friend tells her "he'll never leave his wives for you.")
How much different are the lives of these three wives (and their daughters) to women who grow up in oppressive cultures where their worth is linked to their pre-marital virginity, their ability to bear children, their selfless contributions to the family unit, and their ability to repress abuses they have endured and keep up external appearances, and their submission to repressive religious roles?
For that matter, I (reluctantly) empathized with Bill's struggle to reject his legacy instincts and love his wives and children even when they had "transgressed" against the "priciple."
The torture that Nicki felt at being torn between cultural/religious legacy, literally personified by her father and brother, and her need for their approval, juxtaposed with the more "modern" version being advanced by Bill and her sister wives was palpable.
Similarly, the number of contradictions Barb had to endure in order to continue to love and be a source of strength for her family was very moving. It was a lesson to see that she could be all that she wanted to be, but not all at the same time.
Marjine, for all her whimsical energy was the perfect personification of the caged bird that knows there's music out there and will eventually find it.
It was not ironic to me at all that these women used their family situation to grow (less so in Nicki's case) and ultimately (we are left to presume) thrive without Bill. So much more oxygen that way.

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It would have been better if Bill's "4th wife" - Home-Plus partner Dom Embry - pulled the trigger. This poor sap was just another road-kill under the wheels of the family station wagon Bill was so attached to and pissed about losing. Bill Hendrickson thrived on controlling the weak. Even better - Bill goes to jail for the statuatory rape, which he knew he was doing (didn't Margene once work at Home-Plus?), and Don winds up taking Margene to South America where they start their own health juice scam and send pictures of themselves to Bill who now showers in the same cellblock as Alby!!!!!!!!!!!

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The show jumped the shark when Bill ran for State Senate. After that the objective seemed to be to see how many untenable situations Bill and the Wives could get into. Other than seeing Marjean develop into a deep, compassionate character, I was very disappointed with this season. Nikki remained Nikki (or did she? - Yeah, she did.) , Barb's tangent was not credible and the Lois and Frank, Alby, Cara Lynn, Ben/Rhonda/Heather etc. storylines were all almost unnecessary throw ins when each could and should have been more central and better developed. Of yeah, HomePlus failed too?!? Then they insult us by having Carl - a tangential character through the entire series - kill Bill? Lazy writing, plain and simple. So sad for such a great show.

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Corolyn was at the end. She was standing behind Nikki. They showed her for about 5-10 seconds.

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I think the writers took the easy wayout. I was shocked they killed off Bill. Too many loose ends left open. I think the Margene ending was bad. She leaves her kids to go off and help the poor and deprived. Ugh!! I think they should have killed off Nikki. She never changed throughout the whole show. Selfish and mean. Just like her father and brother. I was disappointed.

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I think there was a lot of closure on big storylines. The only thing that would have made it better with Lois and Frank would have been Lois and Frank on the beach again. So glad nothing happened to the wives - I liked them all and was worried all that gun purchasing would backfire on one of them. Of course Nicki, being the one who stuck to her guns on the principle was seen 11 months later the same flawed but convicted gal she always was and reminding Marge to return to her family, the only thing you can count on. The family that gave Marge roots and then wings (and free childcare for life). Too bad they didn't do a 2 hour finale - that might have made the stories sew up better because who didn't want to see Alby and Adeline one more time? It had seemed like Ben was grappling with being able to love Heather but still take care of Rhonda - that could have been interesting to see how it played out. The Cara Lynn/Bill discussion was odd But was that Cara Lynn singing God Only Knows? Cool if it was! I liked how Bill had a vision in church that included a woman's approval - were his eyes being more opened (right before they were closed for good?). It did leave open the continued question Big Love seemed to bring up - can people in such a whacked out and muddled religion have relevant faith, relevant visions? Crazy, excellent TV!

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I got it! Heather embraces polygamy, but only where she gets to marry both Ben, Sarah and Scott, Sarah's husband. Ben doesn't get any sister wives but a brother husband in Scott. It's all about Heather and her bi-horny-ness. That's why she came back. Barb officiates the weddings. After a while, Ben and Scott get it on too - after all, Ben is "In the Navy!" (queue Village People song).

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I only stayed with this season because I wanted to see it out - an emotional investment waiting for a payoff. Sort of like Barb, hoping things would get better but too afraid to step away when it became obvious they weren't. Like her, it was bittersweet to say the least but at least I knew it was going to end, one way or another. Bill never redeemed himself; I'm sure he felt like he died a martyr in the end ("I felt a grace descend upon me"). He didn't reveal this to his wives, but to his son and business partner. Misogynistic to the end. Barb finally had the guts to reveal her feelings about their marriage ("I followed you into polygamy!" "You're just going to walk away?") and Bill still wouldn't acknowledge what a sham it had become - they lived as mainline Mormons for years until he forced polygamy down her throat at her weakest moment, when she was recovering from cancer. Yet the writers only touch on this point at the very, very end of the series, when it should have taken center stage in the tension between the two of them this last season. She only gets this priesthood due to his death, not through his blessing/confirmation. *shakes head* Bittersweet indeed. The writers tried to have their cake and eat it too, pandering to viewers who supported Bill's bullheaded, sexist "ideals" and those who wanted to see him get his comeuppance! It came off weak either way. And what's up with the whole Ben/Heather/Rhonda thing? Was Heather that hard up for some Henrickson oochie-coochie? Jeez. First she "finally" walks away, only to be married to him 11 months later? Wasn't he supposed to have joined the Navy? Finally, I wished some one for once would have bitch slapped Nikki and told her to shut the F()C|< up!

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Finally this soap opera ends. What a waste of time. Too bad they didn't do more to really expose this "religion" for what it is: a system of control concoted by a horny con man with its main purpose providing many young women to service a few old men. The portrayal was much too kind for me. Do some research on this "religion." It's neck and neck with Scientologly for the Bull Goose Looney award. Just "Google Mormons baptize dead Jews" for some fun. The last time I cheered so loudly watching something on a screen was when Robert DeNiro turned the Russian Roulette gun on his Viet Cong captors in The Deer Hunter. Bill truly got what he deserved, the meddling, deluded fool.It took him no more than a split second to begin abusing the authority of his political power. What a loser.

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great finale, some things left us hanging but that always good to leave things in the open, for the fans to decide. the last scene when all three wives are hugging and bill was in the background was the best way to end the series, knowing hes always watching over them. very sad, but great ending

Big Love Season 5 Episode 10 Quotes

I was so unformed when I came into this marriage Bill.

Margene

No need to hide behind a lawyer. Not for this.

Bill
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