"Big" Review: Big Love Season 3, Ep. 1. (Spoilers!)

It's ben almost eighteen months, but it's finally time: Welcome back to Big Love, y'all.

You may remember that Margene liked Ana, too, and she was stoked about Bill taking a fourth wife who could be her ally against Uno and Dos. But Barb? Barb was not having it. She didn't want a fourth.

At least until her cancer returned. After a quick family scene, we start the season with Barb in the hospital, getting a regular post-cancer screening that appears to go poorly. And as it did with Nicki, the disease softens Barb's resolve against new wives. Suddenly, she decides that Ana must join the family (albeit on her terms.)

Various shenanigans ensue, and by the final scene, Ana, who has resisted thoughts of polygamy, appears on the doorstep, tentatively ready for sister wives.

For me, that moment captures why this episode is so queasily fascinating. Because even though no one physically drags Ana to Casa Henrickson, she still gets badgered into joining up. For the entire episode, people use borderline-abusive tactics to break her down, like when she tells Margene she can't see Bill anymore. Margene's response? "No. I can't accept that. Do you know how much you mean to him?... You are meant to be in this family."

That's creepy. She might smile and wear pastel sweaters, but Margene won't be denied. She talks about "freedom" and "destiny" and "choices," but she's pushing Ana toward a single, narrow result. Join the family, she says, or you will never be happy.

Their confrontation is like the entire episode in miniature. Almost every character is out to control someone, but they're selling control as free will.

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