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Big Love Recap: Let Me Admire You

So tall, so pretty.

Last week, Bill edged away from utter asshole oblivion, forgiving Margene and Ben and coming clean about his street urchin past (if not his shady present). Or did his hubris just hit some transcendent new phase, as he gave himself over to God’s plan for his super-awesome unstoppable greatness? It’s gotta be the latter — this episode, Bill proves himself a true politician, making every easy, flawed compromise, grabbing for money, vindictively lashing out (why does he hate Marilyn Densham so much again?), and woodenly apologizing for his sexual misadventures. But others actually dominate this terrific, messy ep, which sees the past burbling up like so much swamp gas — and a semi-shocking end to this season’s most intriguing story line.

So yes, Dale hanged himself. (Hear what Ben Koldyke, the actor who plays him, has to say about this.) On the one hand, we’re relieved that Dale never had to face heartbreak and see Alby for who he really was — a “sociopath,” as Bill not inaccurately described him, warning Dale that word of their “collaborating” was getting out. Dale and Alby actually had a beautiful sort of of relationship. But of course, we’re sullen that the show’s most hopeful, valiantly struggling character has gone poof. And it hurts to know that he actually submitted himself to electroshock as a way to de-gay. (There was also something about puking while watching porn — there’s new a fetish!) But in spite of all the aversion therapy and group counseling, Dale remained stubbornly, heroically homosexual, and we suspect that doing himself in at the love pad Alby rented for them was not to spite Alby, but to show that he wanted to be with Alby right until the end. Or maybe he just didn’t want his family to find him. Either way, he was a stand-up guy, and we’ll really miss him.

(By the way, when Bill learns Dale is making lovin’ muffins with Alby and offers his support, not thunderous condemnations, how obvious is it that the show can’t bear to show Bill as he’d really be — a religious nutjob homophobe? Sure, they both have secrets. But Bill thinks his secret is awesome.)

Related: Ben Koldyke Talks Dale’s Twist on Big Love and Getting Naked in How I Met Your Mother

Surprise three: Nicki in an I Love the Eighties side ponytail, miniskirt (bare-ass legs! Though no actual bare ass) and skyscaper heels. We know some Mormons needed a change of long-johns after they saw her storm into the sealing ceremony where she found Cara Lynn, who was to be “lucky” No. 7 to a lesbian-resembling man named Toby. Nicki’s daughter is saved, but not her mother, who finds herself in a no-tell motel room with J.J., being commanded to remove her nightgown. (“Let me admire you.”) This dude is seriously perverse. Like, penguin-fucking perverse. No wonder why Nicki thinks she’s “damaged.” Between all this and seeing Marge live her dreams (“We are the women behind the woman!” Brilliant), Nicki’s unraveling in a very real way. Whatever she internalized in her youth is clearly breaking the surface, and if it means more early-era Madonna outfits, we’re all for it.

So yes, Dale hanged himself. (Hear what Ben Koldyke, the actor who plays him, has to say about this.) On the one hand, we’re relieved that Dale never had to face heartbreak and see Alby for who he really was — a “sociopath,” as Bill not inaccurately described him, warning Dale that word of their “collaborating” was getting out. Dale and Alby actually had a beautiful sort of of relationship. But of course, we’re sullen that the show’s most hopeful, valiantly struggling character has gone poof. And it hurts to know that he actually submitted himself to electroshock as a way to de-gay. (There was also something about puking while watching porn — there’s new a fetish!) But in spite of all the aversion therapy and group counseling, Dale remained stubbornly, heroically homosexual, and we suspect that doing himself in at the love pad Alby rented for them was not to spite Alby, but to show that he wanted to be with Alby right until the end. Or maybe he just didn’t want his family to find him. Either way, he was a stand-up guy, and we’ll really miss him.

Related: Ben Koldyke Talks Dale’s Twist on Big Love and Getting Naked in How I Met Your Mother

Photo: Courtesy of HBO