Exclusive

Big Love Post Mortem: Your Burning Series Finale Questions Answered!

Warning: Head to the nearest exit if you have yet to watch Sunday’s wholly satisfying Big Love finale. Everyone else, head onward and downward for an exclusive post mortem with series creators Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer, during which the duo tackle everything from that shocking climactic twist (crikey!), the Heather/Ben scene that ended up on the cutting room floor, and who did and didn’t commit suicide in the episode.

TVLINE | Why’d you kill Bill?
Olsen:
The decision came from a desire to look at all of of our characters and try and find the most positive spin on their journey. And when we looked at the character of Bill we thought, “What could be the most important testament to the life that that character has lived on the planet Earth?” And it’s not that he had two hardware stores. And it’s not that he had a casino. It’s that he created a family that endured. And we thought the best way of establishing that was seeing that the family continues after he’s gone… He forged a family, as Barb says to Sarah in our little epilogue.

TVLINE | How would the season have ended if this was a season finale and not a series finale? Would it have been basically the same episode with just a different final 10 minutes?
Scheffer:
That’s an interesting question.
Olsen: I don’t think we would’ve gone to the mat quite as much as we did.
Scheffer: I imagine we would’ve [focused on] Bill and Barb’s power struggle. We never wanted her to actually divorce Bill. But she might’ve struggled with separation before ultimately coming back. We always knew the family would stay together in the end.
Olsen: Throughout the year in the writers room all of us were continually commenting on what an incredible gift it has been to know that we were writing [towards an ending]. To know where we were going story-wise. And one of the things that all of us said in that room is that if there’s anything left to be [written] about these characters, do it now and leave it on the floor because this is the last opportunity. So, as a consequence, we went deeper into Nikki’s story with her daughter to much more painful depths than we probably would have had this not been the last season.

TVLINE | Bill’s death aside, I felt after watching the finale that the show could’ve easily gone on another one or two seasons. Do you feel the same way?
Olsen:
No. Look, could we have created situations for these characters that would’ve been fun to follow? Absolutely. But I think on the most fundamental level that everything we had to say with this material was said this season.
Scheffer: There was nothing more that we wanted to say.

TVLINE | One of my favorite scenes from the finale was the three wives driving down the highway in Barb’s new car. It sort of hit me in that moment that this has really been a love story about these women. Would you agree?
Olsen: Yes. There are other elements to it, but [that dynamic] is the heart and soul of the material. We discovered that very early on. Our fingers discovered it writing for those women around the table during their wives meetings.
Scheffer: The show has always been a feminist show, which I think people didn’t always understand. And some people were put off by the fact that these women were quote-unquote under the thumb of a patriarchal jerk. But it’s always been a show about the bonds between women, about the way that women subvert power when they’re in [oppressive] situations.
Olsen: I’m glad you loved that scene, Michael. That scene is just fantastic. You kind of also [realize] that this is the last time these women are going to be together because you know it’s the finale, so it adds a little extra oomph to it.

TVLINE | Looking back on the entire run, were you making any particular statement about polygamy?
Scheffer:
I think we were making a statement about marriage. We were careful not to make a statement about polygamy. At the beginning we tried to be non-judgmental about whether this particular kind of marital arrangement had merit or not. As the show went on and we started to explore the abuses on the compound, certainly we were making a statement about that kind of polygamy. But in terms if this sunny suburban life that Bill had with his three wives, we always saw the women as choosing the relationship. We always acknowledged that it was a patriarchal structure and that in that sense the women struggled for equality in a way that was perhaps different than how a man and a woman in a monogamous relationship might struggle. But we always saw it as a larger metaphor on marriage in general.
Olsen: I don’t think we came into this or came out of it with an agenda or statement that Will and I are really comfortable making about polygamy – either an endorsement of it or an indictment of it. Although I hope the indictment of its abuses are patently obvious over the course of the show. But I do think one of the things that has come out this season a little bit more than others is that the show has had some comments to make about misogyny. And even though we’re looking at it in the context of polygamy, I hope the echoes of some of the things that we’re decrying through the relationships that we explore transcend that brittle architecture of polygamy as a larger statement. There remains a certain misogyny afoot in the world, and we had a few comments about that.

TVLINE | Did Frank commit suicide too?
Olsen:
He did not. We tried to clarify that when we saw the footage we had. In one of the close-up shots there had been two needles on that bureau, and we tried to erase one of them to indicate that there was only one injection. We toyed around with [adding] a line for Frank where at the very end of the scene he said, “Good-bye Peaches,” but it felt really ham-fisted. So we’re sorry if there was any ambiguity there. It was just Lois [who died].

TVLINE | Talk to me about the epiphany and vision that Bill had while giving the sermon.
Olsen:
It was two things. The first thing was him realizing he was really talking about the eternal nature of marriage and family. That reality became manifest for him in that moment, and that it went back beyond Lois and his wives to the generations which had come before him. But the second part of it is that the final vision inside the church rests and falls on the character of Emma Smith. And [viewers] will know her, hopefully, because of the recognizable Mamie Eisenhower hairdo she’s wearing, which was also written into the script in episode 4 where Bill had his vision after Margene knocked him over. And within that vision he and his mother Lois were at this odd 1950s-esque cocktail party where this same woman, Emma Smith, appeared to him. And the poetry of that is that in that episode, Bill realized that his mother was the ultimate victim of this patriarchal and polygamist lifestyle on the compound. She had been disempowered and had contracted a venereal disease that led to her dementia. In the same episode where Bill is struggling with his version of his abuses — his knowledge that he married Margene when she was 16 — he sees Emma Smith in that dream sequence and she is the personification in Mormon culture of all the abuses of polygamy on a personal level because her husband Joseph Smith was the philanderer who broke her heart. And in that first sequence in the fourth episode, Emma is invested in lying. She can’t say the whole truth to Bill. So she says, “There were no 16-year-olds in my household. There were no nannys, there were no chambermaids that my husband bedded… ” That was Bill’s soul wrestling with the abuses of what happened with his mother and what happens in polygamy. Now fast-forward to the finale where Bill has had his moment of grace, and at the back of this entire room is the character of Emma Smith, who looks at him and nods and affirms what he is now feeling and now learning that there is more to life than patriarchy and that Bill has made the internal adjustment to absorb Barb’s growth. So that’s what Emma Smith represented. Bill had a profound and deep change.

TVLINE | Let’s discuss Heather for a moment. I thought it was firmly established that she was a lesbian, so her romance with Ben took me off guard.
Olsen:
The only one who said she was a lesbian was our little sociopath Rhonda in the second season. Other then that, she was a gawky Napoleon Dynamite kid struggling with what it is to be a girl in this world. I never understood how [the lesbian label] took root. It was Rhonda’s attempt to blackmail her, and poor Heather was so terrified she didn’t know how to handle it.

TVLINE | Didn’t she have a mad crush on Sarah?
Olsen:
She… I don’t know. If you go all the way back to the pilot when we first introduced that teen world, Heather is the character who’s largely demeaned by all the cool girls. And she doesn’t care because she’s righteous and all that stuff. And Sarah is nice to her. In that very first scene in the pilot, Sarah tells the other guys to lay off. I always thought she was just a dorky girl and Sarah was someone who was decent to her.

TVLINE | I thought it was an interesting choice on your part to not show Bill’s actual arrest or brief incarceration.
Olsen:
As many of our critics have rightfully told us, the series is about more than just plot points. And Bill getting arrested is a plot point. Had we gone through the arrest and the days in jail, I felt like it would’ve given us the wrong footing for the finale, which [delved into] so many deeper, emotional things.

TVLINE | Anything you ended up cutting out of the episode?
Olsen:
Just one thing. There was one last Heather/Ben/Rhonda scene where Ben made one more [overture] to Heather by way of apology and Rhonda’s basic attitude is, “You know what? You two putzes, you sort this out. I’m getting on a bus and going to Branson. I’m going to sing with the Osmonds.” [Laughs] We didn’t cut it for timing. It was a momentum thing. By the time that would’ve come up we were dealing with so many other deeper things that it felt like a frivolous scene. It didn’t fit the episode.

TVLINE | Had the show not ended, what would’ve happened to Cara Lynn and her teacher. Would they have endured?
Olsen: I was going to say yes but Will is shaking his head no. I don’t know what would’ve happened. I do know this: It would’ve required a significant amount of time passing.

TVLINE | How did Bill Paxton react to learning you were killing off his character?
Olsen:
Initially he wasn’t terribly focused on it. He was like, “OK, this is great.” And then he went through a phase where he wasn’t so crazy about it. He felt really bad that his character had to die. He spent six years in the skin of that character. It wasn’t a vanity thing, it had to do with the kind of love and custodianship he felt toward his character.

TVLINE | And what about Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin?
Olsen:
They loved it. Just after Bill had read the pages we took Ginny, Chloe and Jeanne up to Will’s office and handed them the last 10 pages and we left the room so we weren’t breathing down they’re necks as they read it. And then we came back in 10 minutes and they were ecstatic. They were incredibly pleased on a storytelling level. They didn’t see it coming. Jeanne said it best, “It’s the only way it could’ve ended.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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164 Comments
  1. Lea says:

    I really enjoyed the Big Love series and am sad to see it end. I’m not thrilled Bill was killed off in the end but I didn’t want to see Bill sitting in prison. Chloe Sevingy and Bill Paxton should be nominated for Emmy’s. The ending was
    bittersweet. I wanted it to end happily ever after but it ended more realistically. Well done by the cast and crew! I will definitely miss the Hendrickson family.

  2. Mary says:

    I did not know that I would be watching the series finale….So I was totally taken by surprise and felt terribly sad when Bill was killed. Before having watched the Big Love series I had a preconceived negative feeling about polygamists. After watching all of the seasons and finally the finale I really came away with the impression that Bill was such a loving, considerate and honest man. He was devoted to his family – his mother, wives and children and moreover he was caring to the oppressed women within the mother church.
    This program was originl and delved into material that had not been addresssed before and was refreshing as it was intellictually stimulating.

  3. Kevin says:

    Thought the ending was OK last night. Thought a little less so this morning.

    When they showed Bill’s vision at church I thought they were going to take this in the “I must be the prophet” direction and that perhaps could’ve been a great way to go. Bill becoming the thing he railed against Roman and Albie for claiming they were. Whether he would’ve been right or delusional about the claim, THAT would’ve made for an interesting note to leave the show on. His crazy ass building a new compound (maybe right there in the suburbs) and believing his vision was true while others questioned his sanity would’ve allowed a debate to live on beyond the show. IMO.

  4. MiDNiGHT says:

    unaware that this episode was the finale, Bill’s death however foreshadowed, came at a bug surprise to me. Once he died I realized the show was over and that I’d no longer have “Big Love” on the list of shows I enjoy watching, it was a depressing thought. I disagree with the writers that there was nowhere else to go, in fact the opposite sense occurred to me that there were too many unanswered questions and battles left unfinished. The writers were pretty amazing throughout the show as well as the imagery. Being a resident of Utah and seeing their houses reminded me of growing up here.

    Anyway, thanks for creating this post to answer some questions I had.

    RIP Big Love and “Bill Hendrickson”. always the martyr..

  5. tlcmuse says:

    Speaking of editing mistakes, “Other then that”

    Should be “Other than that.” Need a better editor.

  6. Bonz says:

    Fantastic ending. I thought the writers would wimp out, but they hit a grand slam.

    I watched for one season only then came back for the last three eps. I left because of my frustration with the selfish Bill and the wives for putting up with his crap. Yes, he loved his wives and his families, but it was Bill’s way first.

    His presence stifled his wives. Yet his “out-of-left-field” death was sad and I realized I cared about him, not to the extent that I did the three wives, but I did care.

    His death freed those wives to be themselves. Barb can follow her religious convictions and yet not struggle with polygamy (it wasn’t her first choice), Nikki realized that the sister wives loved her IN SPITE of her many faults and Margene was freed to do what she should have done in her late teens (not marry a middle-aged man), explore the world/her options and see what she wanted out of life.

    I didn’t care about Joey and Wanda and most of the rest. Not truly. It was all about the wives.

    Frank finally manned up and did something for Lois, not to her. He should have used that other needle too, and the writers here copped out in the interview by saying they only meant one death. It seemed like one (her) but was ambiguous enough that I still thought Frank would go after she was safely gone. Two needles to me meant two people.

    Anyhow – fantastic finale. It was great to see Bill get his comeuppance and great to see his wives free to love each other and to move on to a less repressive life – minus Bill.

  7. biglover says:

    interesting read but one issue I simply cannot overlook is the fact that the storyline spanned over 5 seasons SHOULD have been 6 seasons.

    I do not think they were being completely honest when mentioning that everything they wanted to say was said. Maybe the content was there but I cannot believe for one moment they are satisfied with the way in which it was said. This show should have gone on for another season – with reworked season 4 and 5 storylines obviously, especially the horribly crammed season 4.

  8. Lori says:

    I LOVED the show. There is just one MINOR addition I’d have maybe suggested for the set in the last scene. As the camera is pulling away from dining room, with the Wives hugging next to the dining room table, what if there had been an unassuming plate of corn dogs on the table (like is in the opening credits)?! A BRILLIANT show and ending …even without the corndogs!

  9. Lori says:

    BRILLIANT show…. just one teensy weensy addition I’d make to the final scene.

    When the camera is pulling away from the three wives hugging, past the rumpled dining room table, I’d have LOVED to have seen an unassuming plate of corn dogs! Just like in the opening credits. A fabulous show and superb ending, with or without corndogs!

    • Lori says:

      OOPS! My first corndog comment hadn’t shown up (even though I refreshed a few times) so I re-wrote it. Hopefully they’ll catch this and take one of them off the site!

  10. Chelsie says:

    Thanks for such a good interview. I loved Big Love & reading about why they chose to write certain scenes in & not include others was very interesting. Sad to see Big Love has come to an end. But what a great ending it was!

  11. steve says:

    I kept wondering what was going to happen to poor Don. He was the most loyal trusting character in the show and it seemed,especially when it got political, as if all of the main characters were lying about something or other but trusting old Don was the one who had to fall on his sword.

  12. don says:

    I would have preferred a different ending without Bill having to die

  13. NanB says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Big Live series and feel the finale brought closure to this amazing story! I was so thankful that Bill finally came around and asked Barb to bless him; was relieved that Margene was able to go out and explore the world and that a more human side of Nikki was finally revealed.

    I will certainly miss this hour of television each week but sincerely thank the writers for providing finality to the large majority of characters/storylines (unlike The Sopranos which just left everything up in the air!!). An intriguing story…well told.

  14. Casey says:

    I just loved this series and will miss it very much. The music thru out the seasons has been one of my favorite things and I really liked that they chose that particular song at the very end. Does anybody know who was singing it? I was thinking that she might be the actress who played Rhonda. Also, when JJ artificially impregnated Niki’s mother, the embryo was always referred to as ‘a monster’. Was it ever disclosed who the biological donors were that a ‘monster’ was being created?

  15. Deb says:

    1. As a lobbyist/policy wonk…I was left hanging on whether Bill ended up withdrawing the amendment at the last minute so they could vote on the bill affecting certification of the compounds — as in did he actually pass something for the better good? Certainly the symbolic showdown was significant. Just wondering.

    2. The other little thing here is, yeah, what did happen to that other big house Bill bought?

    3. I’m a non-traditional, non-religious, leftist feminist but I’m shocked by those who say Bill was some big tyrant. He was a product of his upbringing and he made incredible strides in his opening to a semblance, at least, of equality in marriage by having to negotiate with a wife of what was it 14-16 years that was monogamous in upbringing when he had his epiphany of being a priest holder and well (conveniently…hard to dismiss that knee jerk reaction even if I support everyone’s right to whatever family they create) decided he needed more wives. Between the writing and Paxton’s acting abilities (I’ve always been a big fan), Bill was pushed to his absolute limits and for the most part, triumphed. The other moral to the story, as Bill time and again alluded to, is that when you push people into the shadows, they tend to act from a dark place – like Roman, Alby, Rhonda, Bill in his youth (on the run), Nikki -she could never shake the crap put in her head til the end. Bill and his wives brought light to those dark places – accomplishing more than most do in a full lifetime.

    4. NO ONE’s mentioned the MLK reference. “I have a dream…I may not reach the promiseland with you…” His speech on the Senate floor, anyone? “It may not happen in my lifetime” – foreshadowing his death and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. Oh well, I suppose BL had a somewhat more conservative base than most shows, so bringing up MLK might be considered negative in some circles (of who still buy into all of J. Edgar’s propaganda which has long been disproved).

    I live in Austin, TX, and am still upset over the horrific way our state handled the FDLS ranch in El Dorado–still no charges brought upon the woman who pranked called in as a young abused girl which cost our state millions at the expense of what? A couple of convictions (which they could have gotten many other, LEGAL ways) and now 100s of traumatized women and children are receiving no assistance from the state that screwed with their heads? Horrific.

    Hard to say if BL had a positive impact on dampening this kind of cultural assassination (v. truly helping those in need/asking for it)…but I think it did so something to lesson the demonization factor a bit, such that it might make it a hair harder now to illegally raid people in their homes before you actually know what the deal is (oh, add Koresh/Waco in here too–we Texans don’t like ‘em dif’rnt!).

    Well done, all. Whether we like it or not, TV impacts our culture. Thanks for using your powers for good, and providing riveting entertainment in the process.

  16. Chris says:

    I really enjoyed the series. I’m canceling cable now but this show has been really entertaining and thought provoking. Great characters all the way through. I did feel that it lost its way a little last season but I thought this season was terrific and the ending felt right.

  17. q6 says:

    I did like the finale and found it to be extremly emotional and fitting. I felt like Big Love started out as a series about religious and spiritual beliefs and about living this life in regard to the eternal life. Through the run of the show this shifted and became more humanitarian and more about this world than the next. In this regard i would have wished for an ending that would have depicted mormon afterlife with every important character the show has seen in it’s eternal place. Especily with the way the intro of the first 3 Seasons was made it would have been an even better and more fullfilling finale to this very unique show.

  18. Liz says:

    So Bill gets killed by the pesky neighbor!? I did not like that, if he was going to die they should have let Albie do it, then sent him to prison. I love this show and I wish we had more seasons. It was so sad that Bill had to die, I would have preferred to see him become a prophet and have a following of people. Oh well, this show will be missed! I wanted at least 10 more minutes of the show!

  19. Don Sharpe says:

    When I read last year that the final season would have ‘less sex’ I thought “Boo!”, but the development of the family was phenomenal. The closing of the stores, Bill being upset at the loss of the old station wagon, and Nikki’s emerging self awareness that she ‘doesn’t have a single drop of the milk of human kindness’ were brilliant.
    I’ll miss the series, it was an excellent portrayal of the important values that make families strong in the face of adversity, no matter how many wives are involved. Bill was a ROCK!

  20. Missrobyn says:

    I will miss this family terribly! I still wish , though, that we could have a glimpse into what happened with Rhonda, Wanda, the Greens, whether Ben eventually follows his father into polygamy, etc. I’d like to see what, if any, reforms took place at Juniper Creek. I’d like to see a spinoff or at least a “wrap-up” special!

    Thanks to all the writers and actors for making such a fine, fine series!!

  21. Linda says:

    WHY did the show have to end? Why not continue for a few more seasons?

  22. Ginny says:

    I loved this show – it was my favorite. I just wish we had one more season…I know the writers feel it was over – I wasn’t ready to give it up!!

    I also would have liked to see a two-hour finale. I think that would have been much more satisfying!

  23. nicole john says:

    I am going to miss Big Love. We were so mad that it took so long for season 5 to come out and now its over. I am sorry, I miss my big love.

    So here is an idea, why dont you do another 4 seasons and fill in the blanks between seasons. It appears a lot of time went by between seasons and I sure would love some more big love!

  24. Debra says:

    I really enjoyed the show, sad that it is gone for good.
    The ending was perfect. It was also nice to read different opinions on this series. The only thing that truly annoyed me were the comments about spelling and grammer…at least the comments were not in “Texteze”

  25. sandy says:

    I enjoyed the series and was pleased with the finale. Bill had served his purpose in this life, and it was time for others to take up where he left off. Barb had received the call to priesthood, but no one else could see until Bill asked for her blessing. Carl’s killing of Bill made sense because Bill had been struggling with other enemies and did not expect Carl’s reaction to his making good on his promise. There was an episode where Bill emphasized his good name was paramount to him, so it was fitting that his grandson was named after him to carry on his good name. Excellent! I will miss the series.

  26. C. Esau says:

    Well Done!

  27. Kathy says:

    I’m sorry but I hated the ending. For me, Bill was the main character. To have killed him like that just spoils everything good that was the show. It was unique, nothing like it on television. I was a loyal viewer despite the season with politics that had no connection to what I loved about the show in the first place. Those wives loved and adored that man, so did his kids. In the end, by killing him you are saying that the show was about the women being imprisoned by their husband. That they are free without him. I just didn’t see it that way. He should have become prophet of Juniper Creek, that is what I saw the show ending with. Not killing off the main character. I hope there will be an alternate ending on the dvd. Otherwise I will not purchase it, or watch the show again. What would be the point.

  28. RadiationPuppy says:

    What I learned from this series:

    – If you live a life of faith and committment to your family and beliefs, you’ll get rewarded by losing all your wordly posessions, ostracization from society, and ultimaltely your death. Then your wife will go on a cruise.

    – Utah is a VERY, VERY dangerous place to live.

    Seriously, though, I’m a little mixed about the finale (namely the ending). The things I liked are the things I liked about the series as a whole: the acting, the character development, the dialogue, the suspense, etc. That and the fact that I watched it on my DVR this morning before work, and I’m still engrossed in the ending today. Specifally, I LOVE the scene of the wives driving in the new car, the scene of Barb & Nikki on the bunk bed, and the Natalie Maines cover of “God Only Knows” at the end.

    While I understand what the writers were trying to say (the family will ultimately survive despite Bill’s martyrdom), it seemed too forced, tacked on. One of the things I loved about this show was that it felt real. Even through the election and despite some of Nikki’s more far-fetched antics (the gun in DC is the best example), it mostly felt real. The shooting felt like, “Whelp, show’s over. Time to make Bill a martyr to see the family without him for less than two minutes.” In that two minutes, we see one of the wives jetting out on a second trip around the world. The old adage: the family that lets their sister-wives take care of their children while they go around the world for months at a time, stays together. Right? I call shenanigans.

    That being said, however, I see the writer’s point. And I think Big Love was definitely one of the best written, most innovative, and well-acted (Chloe Sevigny, Cassi Thomson, and definitely Grace Zabriskie deserve Emmy consideration) television series in the last few years. I’ll miss it; HBO what do you have next for me (… and why DON’T I think it’ll be “Game of Thrones”)?

  29. Tammara says:

    Was Margene’s short haircut in reflection of Lois cutting her hair short to mourn her daughter’s death? Margene maybe cut hers to mourn Bill?

  30. Big Love lover says:

    I’m really going to miss this show. Much like the writers indicated, it was more about marriage than anything else. I do wish they would have kept the storylines more focused on the 4 of them. There were too many side stories at times.

    All in all though, excellent writing, excellent acting, especially Jeanne Tripplehorn. What a talent – her big brown eyes were so expressive as Barb!

  31. J.J. says:

    Technically, the end was perfect. Carl had been brewing for many reasons for the entire series, and the timing of his climax was believable. Killings had already taken place in the series, so it wasn’t overly dramatic. Bill had intimate moments with everyone since he thought he’d be going to prison, so goodbyes didn’t seem fabricated. Dying a martyr on Easter Sunday worked given the entire timing of this season, a winter one they were way overdue for anyway. Women (Dixie Chicks) signing “God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You” was fitting. It all worked.

    BUT… “easy way out” for viewers who never got comfortable with polygamy? The wives are now “free”, without having to CHOOSE to be. Bill isn’t in their way, without having to BEND to their needs. The impact on the younger children is completely ignored (maybe they just don’t know he died, since they clearly didn’t hear the gunshots in the street, either). No surprise there – they (and their relationships with sister-mothers and their father) were rarely mentioned throughout the series. Ironic for a show ABOUT family – family which shouldn’t have to lose the husband for the wife(ves) to find herself.

    All that said, I didn’t realize how much I’d come to like Bill until he was dead. I always thought he was an even bigger victim of the compound than Nikki. Just couldn’t stop the idealistic pipe-dreaming, no matter the cost to the woman (then women) he loved. Drove me nuts, but the intentions were pure. Polygamy wasn’t his obsession, his rights to his religion (which included polygamy) were.

    Overall, I think the show subtly made a case for both sides. Yes, we wanted them all to be free and happy. However, the wives chosen by Bill were evidence of typical flaws in the “system”: The balanced one was not initially a fundamentalist, another was a born/raised fundamentalist who knew/wanted no different, the third a young (oops, TOO young!) impressionable and desperate girl they influenced into converting, and the 4th (Anna), a lonely tired vulnerable fish out of cultural water who ended up leaving as she got more comfortable in the USA. He made choices clearly with his penis at times. He was condescending. He sinned plenty. He was very proud. None of this shows a great situation, even if the end result was ultimately sweet. I think the writers were more insightful than they let on.

  32. natasha says:

    I did not see the ending as some big shocker – I was expecting him to die and after they captured Alby the previous episode, I actually expected it to be the crazy neighbor who kept popping out of the woodwork. Besides the point though – I did find it weird that in order for the women to flourish, Bill had to die. I understand that the writers wanted this series to be about the bonds of family and marriage but ultimately it seems that to grow and be their true selves, the women and cannot have a man in their lives. And as an earlier poster commented – how the heck are they going to date?

  33. Shani California says:

    Let me first say that I have watched every single episode of big love and I LOVE THE SHOW!!! So sad to see it go. Only other show I have been so invested in like this was the Sopranos. The last episode was beautiful. One last thing.. Nicki’s legal wedding ceremony to bill just about made me want to toss my 50 in plasma out the door (like I said, I’m invested, don’t judge) Sometimes I wanted Barb to do a little neck rolling ans finger shaking to put Nicki in her place lol

  34. I hadn’t realized that it was going to be the last episode, but after suffering through 5 seasons (ok the first 2 were excellent) I’m just glad its finally over!

  35. Indigo says:

    As someone who watched the show from Season one to the end, I will say this and for the last time. Whenever writers have to ‘clarify’ there is a problem. The finale would of been perfect IF at the end, you saw Bill come in from the kitchen and say, “Margene, ready to go?” Bill (if as the writers say knew and had a transformation) – the Barb would of taken over for him as he was recovering — So we are lead to believe that these wives live together forever and allow Margie to go off for months at a time and take care of her kids? Barb is now mini Bill? Bill becomes the prophet of change? well on that last questions, yes, he did didn’t he?

    And enough with Barb.. please, the one thing I wanted to do was smack her – she ended up more egotistical then Bill ever was – so drop the pretentious feminist nonsense – and I say that as a woman.

    Of all that changed it was Nicki –

    Killing Bill was lazy pure and simple. It faded to white instead of black. Why could they not follow the Six Feet Under finale.. the greatest finale ever.

  36. Debbie says:

    I thought it was a great show, did not expect that Bill would be shoot at the end but I guess that was the only way to end the show !
    I will miss the show…

    Cheers to all the great actors and actress in Big Love !

  37. Austin says:

    I have been so touched, investing 5 years following this wonderful show, these exquisite lives and the finest of acting. A very fitting finale, if only I wasnt so disappointed it couldn’t carry on for 5 more seasons.

  38. PM King says:

    I was surprised at how stricken I was with Bill dying. I’m still a bit tubed to be honest. But Bill possessed a great faith and lived a good life. The celestial kingdom isn’t a bad place to wait for your wives, it certainly beats them waiting for him to be released from the prison he was likely headed to. He knows that they’re happy and forty years is just a blip. Still….Killing Bill was a hell of a thing!

  39. Charlie says:

    I love Big Love and all the characters, I wished there could be one more season, showing how the sister wives are maintaining without Bill. I loved Barb & Margene characters they were strong outgoing women to me. They loved Bill but they also was struggling trying to make thier own footprints in life as regular women. Nikki on the other hand was to needy & jealous to me but I still adored her character. The show was awesome I love the ideal of faith first then family. Much love to all the characters Bill Paxton is an great actor!

  40. zip says:

    I regret Joey and Wanda disappeared, but I missed JoDean’s story even more. They were so tragic. Of course it was obvious Frank’s other wives left him after hearing about Lois’ disease. However I’d have loved to see/hear more about JoDean Marquart, i.m.o. she was as important for the series as a whole as Rhonda or Adalene..

  41. Mimi says:

    Puleeze, guys, give us a break. Ever since the huge, poetic ending of “Six feet under” writers slide down that road of “same people, years later” hoping we’ve got a tear left to shed. When working, if working, could you brilliant writers come up with an new, original epilogue to a show ?

  42. Terrie DeHaan says:

    I enjoyed last nights finale. I didn’t want Bill to pass, but in the scene at the church where he viewed Mrs. Smith, that foreshadowed who was about to become the priest holder. And that my friends could only be given to dear Barbara. The long-suffering wife who went into this life having to give up everything that she cherished and valued her entire life; her faith and her family.
    I will miss Big Love greatly, but I am excited and happy for the actors to go forth and create new characters and new situations to entertain us once again.
    I applaud all of you for your handwork and determination in not letting Big Love ever becoming stale and boring. I love all of you for giving us these characters and situations that I never thought about; until I began watching this show. God Bless all of you!
    Terrie DeHaan

  43. Juan says:

    Great show, the finale brought me to tears.

    The death of Bill Henrickson IMO has somewhat to do with what Nietzsche called the death of God, it was “the last man” who killed God, the pitiful poor spirited man who is getting compasioned and reveals before God with anger and revenge.

    And yes, did Alby killed the Capitol’s concierge?

  44. George says:

    The ending was fine; it established a certian discourse which the writers wished to express. The finale had a certain type of resolution which was quite acceptable. Aside from the incredulity of the lives of the characters one must remember that one of the aims of the series was to to deliver entertainment through a visual narrative. Given this last point critics of the ending and the series need to bear in mind that a television series will contain episodes where a liberal departure from life’s norms does occur and that characters do not have to always portray real life models. The scripting was tight and succinct for this excellent piece of fiction.

  45. arggie says:

    A great story. One of the best of television history. Bill, a righteous man, in pursuit of a holy vision of life on this earth in preparation for eternity.

  46. no cable queen says:

    Yes. I had unswered questions, too: the big house they were all supposed to live in, the kids, what is Sarah doing here for the “eleven month later” scene- was she at the church for the baby- a blessing?, where were all the kids, is it appropriate for Margene to run off and leave the kids? After reading all the comments and returning my Netflix DVD…
    When I saw the baby in the final house scene, it crossed my mind that it could have been Margene and Bill’s- they had been “trying.”
    All the comments of Bill being a martyr- totally right. His tone of voice through the whole series communicated the How dare anyone challenge me or my truth.
    I think everyone was wrapped up well-enough except Joey and Wanda.
    Carl killing Bill is a comment on how the greatest dangers are never what we expect. I can interpret this mortal danger as the division amoung people calling themselves Mormons. It was a Mormon that killed Bill, not an “outsider” that he worked so hard to defen himself against. However, like another poster said: it was more about Carl being unhappy than about Bill’s mission.
    I don’t watch much else, but have gotten involved in Madmen. (Another series where you hate to love the protagonist).
    Thank you, HBO for an often far-fetched and crazy, but thought-provoking ride.

  47. tifers says:

    still a little confused why in the epilogue, why the day was so special? what ceremony were they talking about?

  48. boni says:

    I loved loved loved this show!!! I am not pleased with the ending I mean what the crap? Why would Bill die and how can this marriage between 3 women survive without a man? Not being sexist at all but he was the common denominator the reason the women were married to each other to begin with. Margene is too young to to be widowed and content she is going to off and find a man which will surely start the destruction of their marriage. Nikki is too devious to string out a marriage to two other women and Barb may be content with her being thefirst wife and all but who will she have to lean on because at times the other two can act like children. This is crazy!!! Bill should not have died. There should have been something at the end to kee p you guessing not a permanent end to Bill . He strived so hard for his family. I wanted to see his vision and have everyone else see it. I love have the sister wives have each developed into their own but come on really??? I doubt without Bill they would hold on to each other. Its not in the nature of women. Ughhh now I have to make up my own ending and try to burn out the last 10 minutes of the last episode. I feel like I just lost my family ughhhhhhhh brillant but stupid writers

  49. The first few seasons of this show I was interested as it seemed the main distructive forces aimed at the Hendrickson family were coming from his wife Nikollete (spelling) or from the compound. However then as the seasons passed it became clear that what was ruining that family was not outside the family but Bill himself, which is maybe why he had to die in the finale to liberate his wives from his oppression and their petty power struggles. If anything I feel the show demonstrated that polygamy in any form doesn’t work. The three wives were nearly constantly bickering, mainly because of the hate-mom geeing comments of Nikki and her penchant for blame and selfishness. Why Bill decided to keep a sociopath in the family and eventually legally marry her is perposteeous. Any wise and true leader would have eliminated this lying troublemaker. There was never harmony amongst the wives while bill was alive, or if there was it was momentary, as they were always maneuvering amongst each other and worrying about Bill’s agenda. Which brings me to my next point, Bill’s actions were maybe naive actions aimed at legalizing polygamy – but they were badly planned and taken at the expense of his family not for them. The casino and then the politics added more stress and pain to his family’s lives than staying hidden ever did. In addition it was clear he was a patriarchal tyrant as well as a tyrant in general and maybe a liar himself. He mistreated his own business partner at Home Plus – dictating to him rather than having an open discussion, and the same happened with his wives. Lying to his constituency to win the election was simply wrong. He seemed so naive of how wrong that was, naive at how people would react to his polygamist life (and that they would never legalize it) just as he was naive about Margene’s age and Nikki’s cruelty and Barb’s unhappiness at her sacrifice of her monogamy. I didn’t like to see Bill killed from left field by the neighbor who was never really part of the plot– and over lawn sodding?! – because his death seemed to be a confession by the writers that Bill was out of line and had to go for everyone to be happy. A confession that I had just watched season after season of a protagonist who was actually an antagonist. They say it’s to show that the family endured even after he was gone: but really what it showed was that before he died Big Lovd was Big Bickering and afterward, finally some love and some peace too.

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