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‘Big Love’: Our Weasel Proves How Dirty He Really Is

"And then there's the wife at home, the wife at the summer cottage ..."Photo: Courtesy HBO


"I want you to celebrate my indomitable will to survive!"

In this fantastic episode, Bill Hendrickson sends each sister-wife into a wormhole of insecurity: Barb because she doesn't want to be his arm-candy at a gambling conference, Margene because she does (but only as his public wife), and Niki because she knows he doesn't want her to. After that hat trick, he plays poker with some piggish dudes who disdain his "squeaky clean" vibe — but they don't know our Weasel!

It all culminates in a freaky, subtle, resonant moment as powerful as any shoot-out: Bill outs himself to the poker pigs, introduces Barb and Margene as his wives, and adds that he has another at home with the kids. Margene gleams, because she thinks she's getting status. Barb crumbles, because the honesty she wanted feels degrading. And Bill cements his weasel status, because it's all schoolyard bragging — since Margene already told the pigs she was Bill's mistress, the business deal was safe. But when it comes to men, Bill just can't resist getting everyone to admire his big, swinging poker hand.

Meanwhile, Rhonda threatens to gay-bait poor Heather; Niki rents a chocolate fountain with her ill-gotten gains, then spills the beans about Weber Gaming to Alby; Alby plans to drug his dad into oblivion; and best of all, Samara serenades the whole gang on TV, with the most inappropriate-yet-appropriate version ever of the monogamy anthem "The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A." But we'd like to point out that she has a really good voice! —Emily Nussbaum