I can't begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to the Big Love finale. As the last season progressed I began to suspect that wives, Margie and Barbara, were about to leave the polygamist marriage. How would Barbara reconcile the fact that she and her husband had grown in different directions and now were attached to different values. Obviously Barbara and Bill still loved each other but their marriage was no longer a good fit for either of them. I knew that it would take an enormous amount of personal strength and emotional turmoil to face the music and do what was right for both of them. As for Margie, well she clearly got married for the wrong reasons. She spent much of the last two seasons talking about how she got married to get out of her current living situation with her mother. She wanted to be "saved." And she was but she married too young and now she was finally beginning to understand that she needed to step away from the restrictions of this particular group in order to define herself based on her own passions and personality rather than Bill's. Ironically, Nikki, the only one of the three women who grew up with the assumption that she would be in a plural marriage, would end up being a marriage built for two and in some ways that would be perfect because despite all her craziness she seemed to have more respect for Bill's ideas about religion, relationships and marriage than any of the rest of them. Again, the decision to leave wouldn't be, couldn't be black and white. It would be complicated with lots of pluses and minuses, excitement and heartbreak. And I figured that was perfect. Perfect that we would have such an emotionally complex and layered finale to what has been an emotionally complex and layered show.
Or what if Bill actually got twenty years in jail? Would the women continue to allow him to set the rules from jail and if not how would they be able to sooth their conscience knowing that the man they'd abandoned or demoralized went to jail because of a marriage that they all were a part of? That would have been a fascinating issue to explore during the finale (they might have been forced to make the finale 2 hours long but I doubt fans would have complained).
It honestly didn't occur to me that they'd take the easy way out. Clearly if Bill died then Barbara would no longer have to worry about reconciling her new ideals and values with the conflicting ideals of her marriage. Bill could give her his approval without ever having to live with the consequences. Margie wouldn't have to worry about deciding between a path that works for her and her loyalty and love for the husband she once needed. If Bill dies everybody can say they stuck by their man until death and deferred to his authority until he was no longer available to offer it. Yes, it was a twist to have Bill die at the hands of such an unlikely enemy but the while the actions and motivations of the murderer were surprising the results of that action were mundane.
I may be the only one who feels this way. I've read other reviews of the finale and they're all pretty positive, applauding the way it all wrapped up perfectly. In fact you could say they're applauding the perfection that I found so grating.
But that's finales for you. They are rarely as satisfying as you'd like them to be and very rarely live up to the overall show the viewers had grown to love. With the Lost season finale there were those who loved, loved, loved it and others who hated, hated, hated it. In this case I may be the lone dissenter in which case they did a bang up job in pleasing the vast majority of their audience. I'll try not to complain...too much.