Monday, August 20, 2007

Big Love Mondays: Season Two, Episode 23, "Take Me As I Am"

After the end of the penultimate episode of Big Love’s second season, “Take Me As I Am,” I thought the episode’s final shots, showing a knot of rattlesnakes lying beneath the covers of a perfectly made bed, was a little over-the-top as a symbol. But as I thought about it more, I realized the snakes are the perfect representation of every part of the Henrickson family’s life. On the surface, everything is pristine and perfect. As long as Bill (Bill Paxton) and his wives keep those smiles on their faces, they’ll get through anything and emerge on the other side the perfect, polygamist family. But that placid surface has been shown to have its wriggling bumps this season, and when you pull back the covers, you find something poisonous and potentially lethal. Some of these snakes are external, the sort that you can avoid, rebuff or wait out (from the threats to the family from Alby Grant (Matt Ross) to the family’s outing at the end of season one). But some of the snakes are internal, not so easily repaired, from Barb’s (Jeanne Tripplehorn) fears about how she’s harmed her family to Margie’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) fears of being marginalized as the third wife (tonight she even implies that she is little more than a baby machine to Barb). The actual, physical snakes are easily dealt with. But the idea that the marriage bed is poisoned, that the very security of your home is threatened, is more deep-rooted and far less easy to shake. In putting the snakes in the bed, Big Love found its own way of aping that famous shot from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet where the camera pans down into the roots of those perfectly manicured lawns to see the writhing, natural pandemonium at suburbia’s heart.
Read the rest here.

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