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‘Big Love’ Finale: Return of the Bavarian Waitress!

Yes, waitress? I'd like a Margene-and-Ana sandwich.Photo: Courtesy of HBO


For the Big Love finale, the so-clever writers shuffle the character deck like crazy, stuffing practically the whole Juniper Creek ensemble into Bill's suburban home: Joey, Wanda, Kathy, and Homebirth Baby seek refuge first, and soon after, a drugged-up Roman lands on the sofa — like Skylab, as Bill says, only easier to smother with a pillow. Adalene gives sister-wife advice to Barb, and even Lois pops up to taunt Wanda, describing her homicidal impulses with a moral logic that makes perfect sense in this house of theological rationalizations: "That's your conscience trying to talk to you!"

It's all tied in to the usual Juniper Creek power plays, and by the end, Roman is in shackles, Sarah is de-virginified, and Alby is off somewhere chortling and scheming for season three.

For us, the best part of this episode was the return of Ana, the slinky Euro server Bill briefly auditioned for Wife #4 (Niki calls her "That Bavarian Waitress"). Now she's in on everything: That “Phil” is actually Bill and that Margene is married to him, and the larder, where she macks on Bill. A few minutes later, Barb and Bill are making out on the lawn. It all feels like a terribly misguided game of fundamentalist spin-the-bottle — except for those problematic investment strategies and the sinking feeling that our heroine Barb is just a dupe who will make token rebellions but always, endlessly, forever acquiesce, no matter how many lies Bill grinds in her face and how far her children drift away. If there were one more episode this season, we’d say make it a crossover with HBO’s new sex therapy show, Tell Me You Love Me.

Most frightening Sandy, Utah, cultural moment: tiny cowboy-hatted girls bumping and grinding to "Stupid Cupid." —Emily Nussbaum