Big Love: The Complete Fifth Season
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Big Love: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
There are doses of both good and bad news accompanying this release of the 10 episodes comprising the fifth season of the HBO series Big Love. The bad news is that the fifth season is also the last hurrah for a show that's rarely been anything less than entertaining. But the good news is that cocreators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer and their cast and crew are bowing out with one of their strongest outings; at the very least, this season is consistently better than the somewhat haphazard one that preceded it. It's also the least amusing and most serious, as family patriarch Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn as Barb, Chloë Sevigny as Nicki, and Ginnifer Goodwin as Margene), their kids, and even their friends and business associates face their sternest trials yet. Much of that is self-inflicted by the idealistic and stubborn Bill, who, having previously won a seat in the Utah state senate, has decided not only to reveal that his is a family of polygamists (or, as they put it, observers of "the principle of plural marriage") but also to fight a very uphill battle for public acceptance of them and their kind. The consequences are many: since Bill neglected to reveal that little lifestyle tidbit before, many of those who voted for him, including employees at his Home Plus store, feel betrayed; he may be impeached as soon as he takes office; his kids are bullied; the mainstream Mormon church (a.k.a. the LDS, or Latter Day Saints) actively shuns the Henricksons; and archenemy Alby Grant (Matt Ross), Nicki's brother and heir apparent to the late, evil prophet Roman Grant, has revenge on his agenda. Meanwhile, Marge loses her gig pitching products on TV, Barb considers joining a reform sect that opposes polygamy, and Nicki, never a very appealing character in the first place ("spiteful, jealous, and mean" is her own description), becomes nastier than ever. Add to that the specter of jail time for a crime Bill didn't even know he committed, and you're looking at a tower of tribulation that's too tall not to fall.
As always, there is a lot going on here, and while each episode can theoretically stand on its own, newcomers to the series may have a tough time keeping up, at least at first. But it's worth the effort. Big Love is beautifully written, acted (others in the outstanding cast include veterans Bruce Dern, Mary Kay Place, Grace Zabriskie, and Ellen Burstyn), and realized. It will be missed. --Sam GrahamSee all Product Description
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This final season of Big Love was much better than the cartoonish and improbable episodes from Season 4. It takes a very dramatic turn towards the reality of their lives and there is no longer anything remotely humorous except dead on issues that can no longer be run away from. It's mostly about Senator Bill Hendrickson's refusal to put his religion in the closet. While he has noble intentions, the political, financial and emotional toll it takes on his family is overwhelming. This is also the season of self realization for all three wives, no longer able to do just what's best for their family but to meet their own individual spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth that can no longer be suppressed.
Like many, I sure am sorry this wonderful series has concluded. I can only hope and pray that one day, maybe we'll see Big Love, the Movie (which I'd much rather see than another Sex in the City installment). Big Love you will truly be missed!
2. Favorite Scene - There were so many it's like choosing amongst your children, but one that stands out for me is during one of Louis and Frank's bird smuggling escapades. The two of them are sleeping in the back seat of the car, their mouths hanging wide open. Jodeen gets a wonderful gleam in her eyes and proceeds to get out of the car, open the trunk and release the birds. Mareille Enos brought a quiet, enigmatic lusciousness to Kathy and Jodeen Marquart. Jodeen doesn't say more than a few words during the entirety of the series, but Ms. Enos instills her with a beautiful stillness and inner life.
3. Opening Credits Sequence - Loved the Beach Boys one for Seasons One through Three. Also loved the Engineers one for Seasons Four and Five. The Sequence used for Seasons One through Three is emblematic of what Bill and his wives believe will happen to them in the afterlife. They are connected now and in eternity. But they are skating on thin ice. By Season Four they are starting to drift apart, being pulled in different directions. Though they strive mightily to connect, it is becoming more and more difficult. Home, by the Engineers, was haunting.
4. Stellar performances by Harry Dean Stanton as Roman Grant, Bruce Dern as Frank Harlow, Melora Walters as Wanda Henrickson, Grace Zabriskie as Lois Henrickson, Mary Kay Place as Adaleen Grant and Sandy Martin as Selma Green. The leads were all great but these are the performances that stand out for me, in addition to the two mentioned above.
5. The way that the writers never condescended or judged. Though these characters were very different than most of us, they were all, even the bad guys, presented as people who were mostly doing their best, though often failing badly. Almost all of them had at least one redeeming moment. Many of them, like Alby, were doomed. Yet they persevered nonetheless. Like the Cohen Brothers and David Lynch, Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer created a beautiful presentation of the deeply weird in the seemingly ordinary.