Next ticket out – but where to?
Episode 8: Next Ticket Out
I am sorry that this post is getting up so late in the day. I wish I could say it was because I was trying to sort out an international evangelical extortionist ring or devoting myself to my newly found lover/husband in between creepy fertility injections. Sadly, nothing of the sort. Though it did take me most of the morning to get my head around the many different plot lines that are brewing to collide next week during the season finale: Marilyn’s vendetta against the casino and the Henricksons more personally; Nicki’s infertility woes and whatever it was Adaleen discovered that got her knocked out by JJ; Sarah’s move to Portland and the rise of creepy Teensie and her tap-dancing mania; the potential affects/retaliation for the disarmament of Hollis Green; Alby’s slow slide into permanent insanity; Bill’s difficulty keeping the UEB Trust in line; the consequences of Roman’s murder and Joey’s exposure; Wanda’s devolution into silent suffering; Margene’s second marriage to hunky Goran; Ana’s baby; and of course, Bill’s melomanical run for public office and the potential self-exposure that is supposed to follow.
How is any one season finale going to wrap that up?! I am thrilled to hear that HBO has agreed to a fifth season, and my own personal prediction is that we are going to see Bill elected at the end of next week and the big question mark for season 6 will be whether or not they walk in the light of revelation and exposure and if so, what consequences it has for the family.
Saving my predictions for the moment, let’s talk about last night. After having saved his son from the Green’s clutches and offered his grand gesture of self-sacrifice, he is right back to his power-hungry, ego-driven masculine control. He fires Barb for hiring Marilyn. After all the hair-brained decisions Bill has made, there was pretty much no logic to this decision except the explanation he gave himself: “you defied me.” And there, in a nutshell, is pretty much how Bill sees himself: the lord of the manner, the master of the brood, who is constantly fixing problems created by his slightly irrational and unruly wives. This vision is only reinforced when we realize that he actually feels threatened by Marge’s paper marriage. I was pretty pleased that this marriage is actually posing some sort of threat, since the question of plural marriage with multiple men is something the show has never taken on directly. Hearing Bill so baldly denounce the idea of a woman having more than one husband for basically sexist and patriarchal reasons – a man has to know a woman is his – helped clarify even more soundly just how this system works against the women caught in it. In other words, Barb’s whole rant about Utah women having a predilection for pharmacy enhanced perfection, which seemed a bit random when it first happened, was the perfect parallel to Bill’s boorish behavior, reinforcing the cost to women of being “Utah’s most precious natural resource.”
As did Barb’s whole turn against Bill this episode, which is definitely something I hope to see revisited next week and into whatever happens next season. In fact, the way the wives are each changing – the theme of the season – is the best part of the season for me and I hope the show wises up to preciousness of the wives as a natural resource for the show. Nicki’s story continues to intrigue me, though her metamorphosis into a potentially monogamous short-skirt wearing “normal woman” has seemed a bit rushed. On the one hand, I like that her revelation of her love for Bill came fast and furiously. On the other hand, I would have liked to be inside that change, especially since her self-exploration is the culmination of the relationship between the compound and the suburban versions of polygamy developed over all four seasons. But Barb’s righteous anger and her brewing unwillingness to cave to Bill’s appetites (in Marilyn’s prescient words) are also things we’ve seen brewing for several seasons. The threat of infidelity was raised with Nicki last season and again with Marg this season, but I have to hope that Barb and Tommy’s tender, tension-filled hug might be the start of Barb testing the hypocrisy of her husband. Just as Margene’s dangerous game of putting Goran and Bill up to the thetherball test is a sign of just how far she’s come. Of all the wives, Margene might be the one learning the most about her own appetites and desires. Even though I hate to see her give up her ill-thought-out safety plan, reading Bill’s adolescent jealousy and protectionism when she invited Goran over for family time made her the most grown-up person in that backyard playground. For a family that talks so much about the value of self-sacrifice and putting the family first, Margie actually seems to grasp what might be involved in that process and is trying to do the right thing. And for all its ridiculous over-the-top antics, that tetherball scene was one of the most amazing incarnations of Bill the Caveman – sweaty face screwed up in childish sexual protection.
I don’t see how the season finale will do it, but I can’t wait to see them take these many threads and weave them into some kind of temporary finale, all, I hope without losing the momentum of probing the dark underbelly of the world our characters inhabit.
I’d love to hear predictions for the finale. Will Bill win? Will Marilyn expose the family before Bill gets his day in the light of truth? Will Nicki get her wish and not have to share her husband? Will Teensie self-destruct and drag the family down with her in a sparkle filled haze?
Onward to the faster culmination ever, and let’s hope a ticket into something totally unexpected.
Posted by Kathryn.