ENTERTAINMENT
02/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Big Love" Returns: NYT Calls It "Exquisitely Plotted"

Repulsion over polygamy is so ingrained in the American consciousness -- analogizing it to slavery, the Republican platform of 1856 called it one of the country's "twin relics of barbarism" -- that judgmentally reveling in the exotic perversions of "Big Love" feels like something on the order of a national right.

The HBO drama, which returns Sunday for its third season, has hardly come soon enough. When we last left the Henricksons, Barb had decided to shepherd the family out of the closet, boldly announcing to her Mrs. McNosy neighbor that yes, she is married to Bill with his hardware-store mini-chain dreams, but so too are the women pretending to be singletons in the houses next door: Nicki of the prairie dresses and impertinent moods, and Margene, the chipper plaything beaming with magnanimous intentions.

The current season, exquisitely plotted so far, deals in part with the repercussions of outing.

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