Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Love Tuesdays: Season Two, Episode 17, "Vision Thing"

One of the things that makes Big Love such an engrossing show is that it’s not afraid to make its central character -- Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) -- kind of a selfish ass. He’s not always this way; his wives and family love him, and you can tell the show’s writers have a general affection for him. But he frequently slips into a mode where he seems to be thinking of himself, rather than the people around him, just often enough to let you know that you’re not watching the overly godly man Bill thinks of himself as (the caricature the show let him be too often in the first season). Bill is a very fallible human being, who spends just as much time screwing up his assorted affairs as he does getting things right.

Bill’s usually the central character of Big Love, in that every plotline somehow runs through him, but he’s rarely the most interesting character in a given episode. Monday’s episode, “Vision Thing,” written by Eileen Myers and directed by Igby Goes Down director Burr Steers, was the first of this season that seemed designed to be almost completely about Bill and his rigid view of both his own microcosm and the world at large. Sure, there were vital subplots dealing with the show’s teens, and another that put Chloë Sevigny’s Nicki in conflict with a bunch of Catholics, but all of these other plots were built on or centered on Bill in some way.
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Plenty more where that came from.

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