Big Love 5:08 "The Noose Tightens" (Open Spoilers)

She’s almost as old and waaaayyyy more mature than Margie was when she and Bill got married, the teacher is substantially younger than Bill was, and he’s not married to two other woman already, unlike some jailbait fuckers we could mention. I’ve never wanted to slap Marge so much as when she got all pissy about them comparing their relationship to hers, what with it being totally different for reasons she’ll think of eventually.

Pretty good episode despite more flaws in the writing. The comparison of Goji to the Henricksen family was kind of interesting and I wish they had made that comparison sooner and let Margene struggle with it longer before she rejected it. It’s kind of like dropping Chekov’s gun onstage and having it fire into the floor immediately because the safety is off. I guess that’s better than firing the gun nowhere near the stage, as they did with Barb’s testimony and some of the affair between Cara Lynn and Mr. Ivey. Nicki is the show’s best character and I did think they might actually kill her, so the tension was real there. The problem is that in hindsight, it wasn’t so much that I was afraid for her; it’s that I thought the writers would do something dumb like kill her off in the third to last episode.

I wish they’d pushed things a little further with Don, too: Alby tried to kill him and at least I would have liked to have him told Bill at long last that he’s out and done with the company, if not selling to Alby. The idea that he’d sell to Alby a couple of weeks after Alby tried to have him murdered - even at a rich price - is absurd. I suppose Don doesn’t know for sure that Alby is behind that.

I find it extremely odd that apparently the DA isn’t adding bigamy and adultery to the list of charges. :dubious: They might never be charged on their own, but I though it was SOP to use them as “add-on” charges when a polygamist was charged with statutory rape. Also can they even arrest Bill without the Senate’s permission (not that I imagine it’d be hard to get) since the Legislature is sill in session? And regarding Nikki’s comment about Dale hanging himself rather than spend eternity in the Outer Darkness with Alby; wouldn’t both of them end up there anyway under Mormon (mainsteam & fundie) doctrine?

Based on a cursory internet search I think “spiritual marriage” (one of the charges against Bill) means polygamy.

I’m not any kind of lawyer, but the case against Bill seems dubious to me. I understand it’s a politically and religiously motivated prosecution, but Margene isn’t going to testify against him or cooperate with the prosecution. She says she didn’t tell Bill her age they’d been together for however many years it’s been and they’re not going to find any evidence against that. Maybe the prosecutors just hope a jury will hate Bill enough to convict him regardless of what the evidence says, but like I said, it seems like a bad case.

I’m no lawyer either, but my understanding is that you can be forced to testify (or else be in contempt of court) against someone unless you’re married to that person, so the only people in that family who have legal standing to refuse to take the stand in this case are Nikki and Bill. Granted, you can be a thoroughly difficult and unresponsive witness and answer “I don’t recall” to every single question, so compelling someone’s testimony is generally not worth it.

Still, I don’t see why they’d even need her testimony. They have her birth certificate, her kids’ birth certificates, and a calculator. Everyone involved claims those kids are Bill’s, and they can always have paternity testing done to confirm that. If she delivered a full-term pregnancy before she was 18 years and 9 months, and the resulting child is demonstrably Bill’s…what more do you need to convict him of statutory rape? Her lying about her age is something the defense will have to bring up, and how on earth are they going to prove that? There’s nothing written down, no living witnesses outside the family. There’s nothing but the say-so of the people with the most reason to lie about it, so I just don’t see that making any sort of favorable impression on a jury.

I think the Goji juice plotline is just in there to show us some irony. 'Cause I thought it was high-larious when Bill and Barb gave Margene all the literature about how to ID a cult. Hello? Pot, I’d like to introduce you to kettle. You’re both black.

I think someone else will kill Alby, and while they appear to be setting up Barb to leave, I think it will actually be Margene who leaves. Barb will be unable to relinquish her iron-fisted pathological need to control and won’t be able to bring herself to leave Bill with Nikki. That would be “losing.” I can’t see them all going back to the compound – unless Barb leaves the family.

That’s what I was saying. I’m sure she can’t claim spousal privilege, but she’s not going to cooperate with them at all and she’s going to say that she deceived Bill. I don’t know what Utah law says about that kind of situation, and it’s possible that legally, that wouldn’t help him. But if everybody is testifying that no one knew she was underage, including the ‘victim,’ it can’t help the prosecution.

They don’t have to prove it.

They do if they want it to be taken seriously. Otherwise, the jury’s just going to sit there thinking “Yeah, sure she lied, and also there was a mysterious one-armed man. Do I look like I fell off the turnip truck yesterday?” I mean, the truth sounds reasonable to us, because we a) have a lot of background about how fucked-up Margie’s home life was and b) saw the big reveal so we know that’s how it really went down. But if you were on the jury and had no background on this family beyond Bill being a senator who his his polygamy until after the election and seeing Margie’s speeches about how she was “practically a child” when she got married to him…how reasonable does it really sound that a girl as pretty as Margene would want a guy nearly 3 times her age who already has 2 wives and a potload of kids soooo much that she lied, and enlisted her mother to help her lie? Would you honestly believe that?

CCL, yes, I would believe that. I know a lot of pretty young women who will go right after a Daddy figure instead of someone closer in age with a similar background.

Zilla Parable:

Many moons ago, I was working with this married guy who was about my age. We were friends and he was an incorrigible flirt, but I had no interest in him whatsoever. There was another guy who was also inappropriate-flirty in the workplace. Both of these dudes were constantly on the make, always targeting young, naive women to be their next conquests. Neither dude was particularly attractive. (ETA: btw, both guys were eventually fired for sexual harrassment.)

There was one girl who worked there that everyone talked shit about, because the rumor was that she was fucking both of these guys. I had a dining room set to sell and she wanted to buy it, so she came over to my house one day to pick it up and pay me for it. She brought the first dude with her (he had a pickup truck) and he helped her move the furniture and probably took it over to her place for her. While he was working on loading up the table and chairs, she and I were talking in my house and she said something about the rumor mill speculating that she was fucking either Guy A or Guy B.

I gave her a dead cold stare, pretending like I didn’t know anything about any of the gossip, and I said to her, “You know. You are a smart, beautiful young woman. You could probably be with any guy you wanted to be with. I don’t understand all these rumors because I cannot imagine why the hell an intelligent little hottie like you would want to have anything do with with these tired, wrinkled, gray, balding old dudes. Seriously. As if you couldn’t do so much better than either one of these predatory losers.”

She just stared at me and said nothing. :smiley:

I seriously think it was the daddy figure thing. Very young women have often not figured out their own identities yet, so having a guiding hand is irresistible. Especially if you have horribly low self-esteem, no positive male role models in your life, and have experienced nothing but abusive or dysfunctional relationships with men. Seeing as how Margene is coming from that space exactly, I would find it entirely reasonable that her fucked up mom would advocate Margene going after a Sugar Daddy to take care of her. Bill obviously wasn’t an addict or abuser, so from the viewpoint of the trailer park, he probably looked like a damn fine catch. Look at where Margene lives now. Seems like a really smart tactical move on her part, polygamy or no.

One thing I found totally interesting was law enforcement citing the Elizabeth Smart case when talking to Bill and Barb, it gave me some food for thought.

The big difference , of course, is Elizabeth didn’t give any consent but from a legal - not practical — standpoint that makes no difference and I don’t think it would have made much difference if she had been convinced to leave willingly with her captors. The other big difference is that Margene got a house, a car, and a nice lifestyle instead of living as a street person but that arguement doesn’t hold much legal weight either.

Probably the best case the Hendriksons have is Margene’s very public ( for a while ) career and the relative freedom she had, it makes it hard to make a case for coercion.

But I see the law enforcement strategy of “deprogramming” Margene and the Goji subplot is playing into that strategy as are Bill and Barb with their ironicly timed presentation of the cult literature…listening to them verbally listing points that sink their own ship, as it were, was hysterical …“is the leader always right?”.

And I love seeing Margene’s tough side and I really loved how she wasn’t going to let the moment she witnessed between Cara Lynn and Mr. Ivey go, no matter how easy it would’ve been for her and I think the tenacious effort she put into getting to the bottom of what she witnessed reflects her conflicts about her own choices.

My favorite line – from Nicki was the comment about Barb having a roving eye whenever she got lonely in her marriage.

And I think the ending was ambiguous about what happened to Alby but a glimpse at the 2 line description of next week’s episode seems to indicate that he’s still around.

So, anyone know how many more episodes?

Yeah, you would believe it knowing her background. The jury doesn’t know her background, and there’s no credible witness to explain her background. There’s Bill, who is on trial and thus has motive to lie (and has a public history of deceit, what with the whole campaign/reveal thing). There’s the wives, whose husband is on trial and will probably lose the family business and their primary means of support if he is convicted, and thus have motive to lie (and were in on the whole campaign/reveal thing). Also, one of them was a “person of interest” as Bill’s procurer. The only other witness to this version of events is Margie’s mom, who is dead. It really is a one-armed man defense.

Which story, in a vacuum, sounds more plausible? That they all knew she was underage and it was never an issue until they came into the public eye, as supported by the fact that her DMV records to this day show her original birthdate (that’s why she couldn’t get a new driver’s license, precipitating the big reveal at Christmas), and are now lying like hell to save their own asses? Or that she was so overcome with desire for Bill that she and her mother conspired to trick him into marrying her, and even after years of marriage and three children she never, ever told him the truth until after his election and the three of them never, ever saw her DL or birth certificate and neither she nor her mother ever, ever slipped up on the math and gave the wrong age or DOB for something?

Besides, is alleged ignorance of someone’s age typically considered a valid defense in statutory rape cases? Credibility of the “she lied” defense may be a moot point.

This is something I found interesting

The Safety Net Program is real and is called… Safety Net.
The real one is a joint effort between Utah and Arizona, probably because the “real” Juniper Creek is strategically comprised of 2 cities that are on different sides of the Utah - Arizona state line.

This is interesting background

I seems like Nicki is learning the hard way the realities of polygamy rescue…these women have lived such isolated lives it is hard for them to walk away and most of them go back.

I haven’t seen Lura in a few episodes and I miss her…I don’t think she will come crawling back but I have always been intrigued by the very wide variety of murderous skills she has accumulated throughout her life and I hope they come into play as we near the end.

It’s nowhere near that ridiculous. With two episodes left I don’t think this is going to get that far because a trial would take months. But they don’t have to prove she lied (if that were even possible). The defense’s job is to create reasonable doubt for the jury and I can’t think of a better way than having Margene say she lied about her age. It’d be nice if they had notarized evidence or something, but they don’t. I don’t know how old her children are but they can’t say she never had sex with Bill. Barb isn’t being charged and Nicki could say she was against the marriage in the first place.

My understanding is that it varies from state to state. I have no idea [del]what Utah law says[/del] what the writes would decide to make up an hope nobody noticed.

They usually are high school dropouts with no employable skills and several kids and often were already on welfare and other programs on the compound but now their lives are even worse. At least on the compounds they had housing and a support system, however dysfunctional- they didn’t have to live in the slums with gangs and hookers and the like. Bringing somebody like the compound wife on this episode up to speed on norms, mores (e.g. some people who grew up on the compound had no idea that nigger was not a word you said to a black person!), and ultimately the ability to be self supporting takes years and a lot of money. The hardest thing to grasp is that most also truly believe that they are living according to God’s teachings and that they may be risking eternal damnation by leaving; even some who’ve turned against Warren Jeffs believe that he personally is corrupt, but the Principle is still a divine revelation.

Carolyn Jessop is one of the success stories in that she escaped from the compound and lived a middle class life (after much struggle and due to lots of help) and even found a boyfriend willing to take on a woman with massive baggage (including 8 kids, one of them with very serious special needs), and I’m guessing she made a lot of money from her book. Some of her kids made the adjustment, particularly her oldest son, but her oldest daughter, after living 3 years in the outside world and even adjusting somewhat, still went back to join her father and her umpteen stepmothers and 50+ siblings as soon as the turned 18.

BTW, what was that church Barb went to? It can’t be an LDS chapel because she addresed the woman as “Bishop”.

I think it’s associated with the lesbian professor and LDS critic (played by Judith Ivey) she went to see a couple of episodes back.

Thank you, Sampiro; I had wanted to find out about the church Barb went to but kept forgetting to post to ask about it! Perhaps it was the shock at hearing her call a woman “Bishop,” although as others have pointed out, the LDS Bishop post is definitely not a ministerial/priesthood one. Such a complicated religion!

I’m still digesting everything that happened in this weeks episode. There were places that rousted me from my current jaded state towards Big Love - the scenes with Margie and Nicki, most of Barb’s scenes - but not enough to really impress me. I have no idea how this will end, and unfortunately I almost don’t care any more. :frowning:

The next and final two episodes are entitled Exorcism and Where Men and Mountains Meet. The latter could refer to anything but I’m wondering what the exorcism refers to; it could be literal or figurative.

There are a lot of demons or people the family could be exorcising, that’s for sure. As for men and mountains:

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street.”

-William Blake

This could definitely work into a “Bill becomes the Prophet of Juniper Creek” scenario.