I can't believe it, y'all. It's time for 2009's final Wife Watch!, the only blog post that ranks the most powerful wives on this week's episode of Big Love. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that Nicki was standing on top of her house and Ana was serving food and serving attitude? Has it really been a month since the Great Polygamy Roadtrip?
But all disbelief aside, it's time to say goodbye to another season of the greatest drama currently on television. Yes, you guys. That's exactly what it is, and the finale proved why.
Before I rank the wives, let me tip my Roman Grant Cowboy Hat to Bill for finally starting his own church. It's a move I've been anticipating since season one, as the Henricksons are not quite Juniper Creek and not quite LDS, and with Barb excommunicated, Nicki fleeing her first husband, and the rest of the family wobbling in one way or another, this was the perfect time for Bill to sanctify his family's private beliefs. Their new church seemed to instill new confidence, which was just what everyone needed.
Between this and his play to get his brother-in-law out of town, Cap'n Henrickson may have shaken two of the biggest monkeys that were camping on his back. That means we can all start season four with a fresh slate, looking forward to new challenges instead of reiterations of the old ones.
Bill's third great move in this episode was his decision to loosen the reins on Sarah and Margene. It's an appealing evolution in his character that also creates room for plotlines that aren't about secrecy. I mean, imagine what Sarah might do now that she's free to love Scott in the open.
Or think of the possibilities for businesswoman Margene! She took some serious steps in this episode---selling her car, steeling against Bill's disapproval of her business plan---and they resulted in a potentially successful career that will be hers and hers alone. Or at least, it won't belong to Bill or Nicki or Barb, and that's the independence she's been fighting for all season.
Speaking of going it alone, I was shocked when Adaleen suddenly became a widow. All of those brilliant machinations on Roman's behalf, and she still didn't anticipate that Joey would murder him in a grieving rage. Even worse, since the D.A. was going to arrest Roman the next day, her plans were destined to collapse. She fought hard, but she just couldn't keep her world together, and with Roman out of the way, I'd look for Alby's wife Laura to give Adaleen six kinds of hell next season. Juniper Creek may need a Wife Watch! of its very own.
Barb gets bonus points in this episode for using her authority to help bring Nicki and Nicki's previously abandoned daughter into the Henrickson fold. I can't declare her First Wife, though, because she hit her seasonal apex last week, what with the controversial endowment ceremony and all.
That means we're going out like we came in, with Nicki as First Wife. But that's only right. In the last ten episodes, Nicki has endured more hardship than the heroine of a Russian novel. Simply by not going mental, she's a strong contender for the top spot.
But of course my girl has done more than survive. For one, though she's at odds with many people at Juniper Creek, she's the only character other than Laura who seems assured a powerful spot in Alby's new regime. When she agreed with him that their parents should die, she earned his trust, and that trust will come with influence.
On the flip side, Nicki also moved back into the Henrickson's homes and hearts, and while she did it, she took a bold action as Cara Lynn's mother, finally getting her away from the compound life. So while she was part of one of the episode's most devilish plotlines, she was also the engine of its most redemptive.
Because she's so prominent in so many places, Nicki is this week's First Wife. Heck, she's the First Wife of this entire season.
Follow Mark Blankenship on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CritCondition