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TV Review: Big Love – “The Writing on the Wall” – Part 2

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Season 2, Episode 2: Aired on June 18, 2007.

Part 2 (Pt 1)

Juniper Creek. Margie looks around curiously and watches as a family runs down into a cellar-type thing for no apparent reason. She is intrigued, to say the least. Nicki hands her a long skirt to put on, so that she won’t stick out so much.

They arrive and call for Wanda. She comes running out with Joey crawling on the floor behind her. Nicki jumps to the not-far-fetched conclusion that Wanda has done something to him, but Wanda insists that it must be food poisoning. However, when Margie goes to investigate, she determines that he is drunk. Wanda argues, not wanting to believe that he’s fallen off the wagon, but eventually has a little freak-out along the lines of “I can’t do this again!” Margene drags Joey to the bathroom by herself, while Wanda begs Nicki to get them to the bus station. Nicki agrees and goes to tell Margie the plan, just as the state police pull up. Wanda and Nicki have a fit.

Bill and Don, still figuring out what to do and discussing Owens. Bill calls Margie to ask her to help Barb with dinner, so she clues him in to the fact that she and Nicki are at the compound and the police are there. While Nicki and Wanda try to shove Joey out the back door, Margie stays cool as a cucumber and completely handles the situation. She tells Nicki to explain everything to Bill and tells Wanda to come help her with the police. Bill just tells Nicki to keep Wanda under control. Thanks for the help, Bill!

Juniper Creek. Roman is listening to Adaleen and sister wife Emmylou Harris sing for their album, Keep Sweet. Some randoms come running in to warn Roman that the state police are on the compound. Alby asks, “Is this the end of days, Papa?”

Lois is talking to her pet chicken (there’s something I never thought I’d write) when Bill calls her, demanding to know if she ratted out Joey. He also tells her that the police are at Joey’s.

Wanda is now talking to a couple of officers, holding the baby to make herself look more sympathetic. She tells them that she’s already told all this to the JCPD and that someone must have a vendetta against her. She goes on to tell them that this is not the first
poisoning that has occurred and tells them that Lois can tell them all about it.  Margie has been nodding her head behind Wanda up until this point. She looks like she’s going to be sick. Her phone rings and she tells Bill that the cops are headed to Lois’ right about now. He gives her some unheard instructions (presumably to head off the police and go handle Lois) and Margie channels Barb when she answers back quickly and calmly, “On it!”

Sister Wife Central. Ben is introducing Brynn to his little brothers and Teeny as he shows her their impressive backyard. They end up at Nicki’s, where Barb is hanging up a “Happy Anniversary” banner. Barb looks shocked to see them and Ben cutely pulls Brynn closer to him, like he’s afraid Barb’s going to scream or something. He introduces them and both are super polite to each other. Brynn asks about the anniversary and how many years Barb’s been married.

Barb: Six. Sixteen! Nineteen! It’s nineteen.

Heh.  Ben tells her that Brynn knows. Barb visibly eases up and inquires about her studies and then asks if she cooks. When Brynn answers in the affirmative, Barb smiles.

Sarah is eating a whole box of donuts with Scott, the group leader from last week. He’s talking about his fraternal twin brother, who became a bishop at age 27. Hold the phone! This guy is older than 27? Okay, I no longer like him. Even if he thought she was in college, which apparently is what she told him at first, that’s still quite an age gap, if we’re assuming he’s at least 29 or 30. Sarah has to come clean about her age and tells him she’s only 18, which obviously upsets him. Then she says that a ten year age difference isn’t that bad, which means he’s 28.

Um, when you’re in your 20s or 30s, a ten year age gap isn’t that bad. When you’re 18, it’s pretty bad. He tells her that she should be honest with people that she starts relationships with and that they still could’ve been friends. Then he looks at her all lovingly and … ew.

Juniper Creek. The cops are leaving Lois’ and when she walks back inside, we see that Margie is indeed there. Lois thinks Wanda fingered her, but Margie insists it wasn’t intentional. Lois asks, “What is happening to this family?” Margie just picks up wedding photos of the first two wives and tells Lois that it’s Nicki’s anniversary. Lois remarks that Nicki went after Bill like a spider, which is interesting, because I was always under the impression that Roman sort of shoved her off on Bill after he paid for all of Barb’s treatment. Margie’s face says she agrees with me.

Lois goes on to say that she doesn’t understand how the three of them can like each other so much, seeing as she and her sister wives don’t get along at all. Then, she says that she tried in the marriage. That she had so much to give. Margie smiles at her, understanding completely, but Lois goes stone cold.

Sister Wife Central. Barb is leaving for her class, but is sidetracked by a black-eyed and neck-brace-wearing Wendy. Wendy tells her that she was not responsible for the exposure, but that Bill won’t believe her. She does not approve of plural marriage, but she could never do that to Barb. She goes on to explain about the Hummer and the accident and asks Barb to tell Bill to stop having people follow her. Barb insists that Bill would not do that, but says she will talk to him. At one point, Raymond pokes his head out and Barb identifies him as “our son.” I’m not sure if she’s just being open because she knows Wendy already knows or if she’s assuming Wendy doesn’t know exactly how many children she has, which would be silly. Barb decides to go back inside instead of going to class.


Bill and Don are at Owens’ office and are not doing well. Owens keeps going on and on about First Lady Johnson and how she wanted to ban billboards. They try to tell him that the billboard needs to be taken down immediately, but Owens keeps giving them the run-around. Bill’s had enough and yells at him about respecting the First Lady and fixing their sign.

Sister Wife Central. Rhonda calls Barb and tells her that she misses her and that she is sorry for the things she said to her. In case anyone is wondering, she said she hated her when Barb wouldn’t let her stay at the house with her and made her go back to Juniper Creek with Adaleen. Anyway, she says she’s sorry about what happened at the Governor’s Mansion and that she hopes she feels better. Then she just hangs up. Barb is rightfully creeped out by the creepy girl.

Don and Bill watch as people paint over the graffiti. Bill goes on and on and on about how he just wants to be normal and whine, whine, whine. Don shuts him up when he says he has sixteen mouths to feed. Wow. I had no idea. We’ve never seen any Embry children besides Beaver. No wonder he’s always sleeping over with Ben. Bill finally tells Don that he is aware that he is affected by this and that he takes responsibility for his family, as well as his own. Don tells Bill he’ll stick with him until the end, but that end needs to be later rather than sooner.

Sister Wife Central. Barb walks into the kitchen and sees that Bill is home, helping with dinner. I guess Brynn went home. She watches as he engages in a cute lesson with Wayne and Raymond about telling time. Speaking of, where the hell are Margie’s boys? They were outside before, but was Teeny watching them while Barb cooked? I feel as though she’s too young for that.

Bill tells her that Nicki and Margene are at the compound and then tells her about Joey falling off the wagon. “Oh, Bill,” Barb sighs, as she puts her hands over her mouth and basically looks ten times more upset than Bill has during this entire fiasco. Bill then gives her a watch as an anniversary gift. It’s waterproof, which I think is a reference to all the swimming she did last week. He acknowledges all the sacrifices that she’s made and is sorry that she missed her class. “I didn’t mind,” she admits. That’s because she’s awesome.

Nicki and Margene arrive home. Nicki is concerned for Joey and Wanda because they only have each other and no other spouses to lean on. “How are they going to make it through this crisis with only each other?” This really shows how narrow Nicki’s worldview is. I mean, normal married people handle crises all the time, you know? But she just can’t even fathom that kind of world outside Juniper Creek. Margie just smiles at her.

The four spouses have a nice dinner, with Margie telling them funny stories of the compound and some teasing about the forgotten anniversary. Nicki tells Bill, “Thank God I was (at the compound). Thank God. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been.” Um, you mean with all the screaming and freaking out and running away you did? Yeah, thank God. Shut up, Nicki. And what does Margie do after this pronouncement? Just smiles sweetly, picks up her dishes and lets Nicki have her night.

Once they’re alone, Nicki tells Bill that she saw the billboard and he tells her not to tell Barb and Margie. Later, Barb walks outside to apologize to Nicki about forgetting. They say they love each other, but Nicki admits that she didn’t marry love. She married for the Principle. Barb says she didn’t and that she loves their family more and more. “That frightens me,” Nicki tells her. She doesn’t understand how a marriage can survive on love alone. She argues that without the sanctity of marriage, it’s just random couplings that have no purpose.

Nicki: I mean, how will we survive the bad times on just love?

And she really doesn’t get it. This is another great scene that shows how differently Nicki sees the world, as opposed to the other three people in the marriage. And it all goes back to her upbringing. I think that of the four them, she’s the only one who really believes in the Principle and who is in this marriage for the right reasons.

Barb doesn’t even try to argue with her. She just wishes her a happy anniversary and tells her about Wendy Hummer. “You can’t do that, Nicki.” Nicki says she knows.

Barb: You would do anything for this family.
Nicki: You would, too.

Nicki kisses Barb on the forehead and goes inside, where Bill gives her an electric drill for her anniversary. She is ecstatic. I liked that scene. It didn’t really make me more sympathetic to Nicki, but it made me understand where she’s coming from a little better. Also, with all this talk of the Principle, I’ve decided to do some research so that I know what the hell I’m talking about.

Juniper Creek. The police show up outside Joey’s again and when he goes to answer, he just turns himself in. He lets himself get handcuffed and led away, while “Oh, Happy Day” leads us into the end credits. Oh, Joey.

That was a great episode, minus the boring Bill parts. I’d be happy if the show just focused on the wives, like how West Wing was supposed to just focus on the staff and not the President.

Next Week: Ben and Margene! Woo! About time!

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About Cordy

  • maley

    I love your Big Love recaps. Funny, insightful and just plain fantastic.

    Keep them coming!

  • Miss Cordy

    Thank you very much!!