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20 March 2011 @ 11:49 pm
My Thoughts on the Big Love finale  

Much like the last two seasons, the end to Big Love was a major cop out. I suspect the writers were going for a bittersweet ending. Bill reconciles with Barb and finds acceptances and appreciation with his own kind, if not the broader society, only to die. Yet his presence lives on in the hearts and minds of his family and community who continue to serve his vision.

The problem with this conceit is that Bill’s vision and his character were deeply flawed, and for me to find any closure or satisfaction with the story, this happily ever afterlife ending should have come with a dose of irony or bleakness at everyone’s lack of courage at remaining within the boundaries permitted by Bill. To me Bill was not a martyr or underdog hero, he was just as much of an asshole as Roman and Alby, a man blinded by his ego and faith. To romanticize his death and life, cuts any complexity from his character. I mean he died on Easter of all dates! Subtle?

Sure with Bill gone, his wives find more space to indulge their personal whims, but ultimately this is done in service to the principle and in tribute to patriarchy. All season each wife flirted with emancipation, but ultimately retreated. Having Bill die, took away their choice to choose him ever again. Now if the purpose was to show everyone happier without Bill, they should have lost the hacky ending where all everyone can do 11 months later is still talk about Bill. If this was meant to be a commentary on how narrow their lives remained, it should not have been shot with a sentimental hazy lens.

This ending celebrated Bill when it needed to damn him, even just a little bit. If there was ever a character who needed an ounce of comeuppance, it was Bill Henrickson, but not once in five years was he truly shamed or experienced a moment of self doubt or failed. And those around him – his wives, his children, Don (and the writers) stood behind him, even in death.

And I really did not like Lois’s ending either. For four seasons, she hated Frank and constantly tried to kill him. He was only ever shown to be abusive. This new gentleness and understanding came out of nowhere and undid everything we ever knew about these two characters. Also by stealing Lois’s memory and wit with the Alzheimer’s plot, she lost the ability to be the one character who could have stood up to her son, as she had in the past.

And having Heather end up with Ben? Could we have had just one character not pulled into the Henrickson’s orbit? Well, I guess Carl was not pulled in. Go Carl.

I did like the scene with the wives riding in the car and the moments of joy and terror that flooded their faces at the promise of liberty and freedom. Their interactions were always the heart of the show. I’m glad they got this one moment together. Hopefully without Bill, they can truly become sisters and draw strength from each other that is not undermined by sharing a husband. I would watch that show!
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
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elliotsmelliot: BTVS Wesleyelliotsmelliot on March 22nd, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Maybe I was too harsh when I called their developments "personal whims". It's just the epilogue was all about "tell" not "show" and I was unimpressed with the exposition about what the wives had gone onto do. That was just as lame as the offscreen death. You're right about Nikki being touched in the last scene, that is something.

I'm watching Boys Don't Cry tonight with my students as part of our Women's History month film fest. I look forward to seeing Chloe so soon again!

Like Lost, with Big Love, I ended up thinking the show was about one thing, and then have it turn out to be something else altogether. But the BL finale was not as cheesy. To punish Bill, I hope upon death he was whisked away to spend eternity in Christian Shephard's church.

I am going to go a post with my five favourite finales. I liked Buffy's a lot, and it was the first episode I ever caught a glimpse of. But I actually prefer Angel's finale, which I think was its best episode.

Oh! I know where Jodene went to. I saw a preview last night for the new AMC show she will star in about a child's murder.
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elliotsmelliotelliotsmelliot on March 23rd, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
Boy don't Cry was so harrowing. I felt so exposed watching it with my students. But we had a great discussion afterwards. Chloe was so young!

At least SFU showed what happened, rather than told. But it would not make my top five finales. Too much of what happened inthe 50 minutes before was repetition.