Its polygamy all the way in this drama series from HBO. Bill Hendrickson (Bill Paxton), lives outside Salt Lake City. Every problem in Bill's life is multiplied by three: three wives, three houses and three families.
With seven kids in tow, and a business partner who's also a polygamist, life can get a little complicated from time to time. To top everything, Bill's decided it's the perfect time to open a new homeware store. Episodes include: 'Pilot', 'Viagra Blue', 'Home Invasion', 'Eclipse', 'Affair', 'Roberta's Funeral', 'Eviction', 'Easter', 'A Barbecue For Betty', 'The Baptism', 'Where There's A Will', and 'The Ceremony'.
01 - Pilot
Bill Henrickson has not been himself lately. The stress of opening the second of his "Henrickson's Home Plus" superstores has been getting to him, and he is struggling to keep up with the mounting demands from his wives and kids at home. Barb, the oldest of his wives, recently returned to substitute teaching, and she needs him to pick up some of the slack with the errands. Nicki, the second wife, wants more money to fix up her house - after all, Barb got to do hers. And Margene, the third wife, with two boys under two, is preoccupied with losing her baby weight - and with Bill's inability to get an erection with her.
Things get even more complicated when news arrives from Bill's ne'er-do-well brother Joey that their father Franklin may be meeting his end. He makes a long-avoided return to the rural Juniper Creek Compound where he was raised, only to discover his father foaming at the mouth on the living room floor. His mother, Lois, couldn't pick him up, and she refuses to take him to a hospital ("it just brings more attention to us"), leaving it up to Bill and Joey to sneak him out when she leaves for work.
Back in suburban Salt Lake City, Bill's oldest daughter Sarah unwittingly befriends the daughter of a state trooper - putting the family's secret at risk. Ben, his oldest son, wants a new gun. Teenie, the 8-year-old, calls her dad to ask him to get grub for her lizard. And Nicki's two young boys have been clammering to be picked up and played with in the pool. Through all this, Bill manages to make it to the grand opening of his second store, but his celebratory spirit comes to an abrupt end with a surprise visit from Roman, the ruthless head of the Juniper Creek compound and Nicki's father. Roman helped Bill finance his first Home Plus store, and now he wants a cut of the profits on the second. Bill refuses, and the stalemate threatens their relationship - and possibly more.
Adding to Bill's anxiety, the hospital calls with toxicology tests on his father. He's full of arsenic, and Bill suspects his mother may be to blame.
02 - Viagra Blue
Margene's lack of inhibition -in the bedroom, in the kitchen -rankles the other sister-wives, and when her 'day' spills over into Barb's, Nicki decides to confront Bill about it, only to end up getting some spillover time of her own. Margene nearly walks in on the two of them, and overhears Bill using the same sweet nothings with Nicki that she had just used with him.
Reeling in shock, Margene flees to a hiding place, before summoning the anger to confront her husband later in the day. But Bill has bigger concerns. Worried about Roman's threats, he looks into installing a security system at home, just as his father receives a hospital visit from the tyrannical compound leader. "Tell [Bill] to shape up. Tell him to get back in line... he's not allowed in the compound." Roman warns Frank, who's still recovering from arsenic poisoning.
With tensions brewing at home, the Henricksons host a bridge game with Bill's business associate, Don Embry, and his three wives. As the six women help each other prepare snacks, Don confides to Bill that he's seeing someone, and has his wives' permission to expand the family. During the card game, Don's two younger wives, Verna and Julep, play footsies with each other under the table, while Margene and Nicki's simmering jealousies erupt over a bridge hand.
While their parents are playing cards, Ben Henrickson and Jason Embry double date at a drive-in. Ben's older girlfriend Brynn, a senior at their high school, gets randy with him in the front seat, setting Jason on edge. "She's just after your manhood," Jason warns Ben later. "I think you need some serious guidance... CTR man... Choose The Right."
Sarah's new work friend, Heather, lets her know that she's a tolerant Mormon (she volunteers with a gay, lesbian and transgender teen group), and though she doesn't believe in polygamy, she still wants to be friends with Sarah. "Even if we don't approve of others actions, I think that love is still unconditional," Heather explains. Sarah confides that she doesn't approve of polygamy, either.
Since no one else will do it, it falls on Bill to take his father home from the hospital, but the two get into a row after Frank tries to shake down his son for $5,000 to protect him from Roman. Bill confronts his father for throwing him off the compound when he was 14, leaving him to fend for himself in Salt Lake City. "Just how it goes," Frank shrugs. "Boys get run off so old men get to have all the pretty girls to themselves." After a silent ride to Juniper Creek, Bill is nearly run off the road by Alby and his henchmen. Frank decides to walk the rest of the way, and Bill races back to his own three-home compound in the suburbs. Suddenly realizing the danger he's in, he stops in the driveway to say a prayer. "Heavenly Father, I'm lost. Guide me to the path of righteousness... Show me the way."
Though it's not her day, he searches out Margene and apologizes to her for his breach with Nicki, and for dismissing her feelings. Like their ancestors, he explains, they must make sacrifices to keep their faith, and their link to "family to come, souls yet unborn." He tries to reassure her of her place in the family. "You make us complete... I wasn't complete, until you."
Margene smiles at him through tearing eyes. Then she reminds him she needs a car.
As he heads towards Nicki's house, he takes an angry call from his mother, who apparently received a visit from his father -now convinced his wife tried to poison him. "You told him to watch his back around me!?" Lois asks her son. "He says he's gonna kill me!" Flummoxed, Bill tries to assure his mother that he said no such thing. "Traitor!" she yells, before hanging up.
Before he can make sense of this, Nicki calls from her bedroom. The demands never end. He pops a Viagra pill and makes his way to her.
03 - Home Invasion
With her son Wayne's birthday approaching, Nicki tries to plan an extravagant party at a hotel resort (just immediate family, 153 people) without informing the sister wives, or even Bill. When he finds out, she tries to assure him that her father offered to pay for it, which only makes him angrier -leaving Nicki in tears.
After complaining about being stranded, Margene finally gets her own car, and can barely contain her excitement, despite Bill's warning that "stewardship, not consumption, is the proper relationship to material wealth." To celebrate, she sneaks off with Ben for a joy ride around the neighborhood.
When the security company arrives to install a motion-sensitive Home Invasion System, the wives become alarmed, pressing Bill to tell them what it is they need to be protected from. "We have assets to protect now," he says. "I've been on TV for the store... who knows what nut cases could be out there... look what happened with that Elizabeth Smart girl."
Security at Henrickson's Home Plus is not so good, however. Bill's bookkeeper gets a threatening visit from a man with "hateful eyes," who scares her into cutting him a check for $22,000. "He made me put a notation on it, 'fifteen percent, second store,'" she explains, still rattled. As Bill acts clueless, another employee offers up the license plate number of the man's Humvee. Don Embry lets Bill know he's concerned -just involving an outside security company puts them at risk of exposure. "Look what happened to the Buick dealership, top of the world in sales 'till he was exposed, then sales dried up in six months." Bill assures Don it will all blow over. "Roman will fold. You'll see. It's a bluff... just have faith."
It appears Roman's been busy on several fronts. With son Alby as his P.R. aide, he grants an interview to the Los Angeles Times to defend the practice of polygamy. "The principle of plural marriage was God's sacred gift to us," he tells the reporter. "We alone have kept the principle alive. We are the one true church." When questioned about the violence and abuse committed against children and young girls, Roman claims it doesn't exist. "We crush it." With Alby's prompting, he offers the journalist a final talking point: "If the Supreme Court says yes to the privacy rights of homosexual persons, surely it's time to recognize our rights to live in peace, too.
New neighbors have moved in across from the Henricksons, and to preempt any curiosity they might have about their entwined families, Barb brings the wife a cake - and tells them about the single mother families living across the way.
Their curiosity is piqued regardless when a caravan of Juniper Creek visitors pull up a few days later - Nicki and Bill's family members arrive in prairie garb to celebrate Wayne's birthday at the house. Bill tries to calm his angry mother, who's still convinced he told his father she poisoned him. (Frank has taken to monitoring her house with a shotgun, forcing her to come and go through a small back window.) And when Roman arrives, Bill is finally pushed to the brink. He confronts Nicki about inviting him, and reveals the real reason for the security system. "Whatever's going on, why can't you reconcile?" Nicki asks, blind to her father's wrath. "Blessed be the peacemaker."
Roman's youngest wife, Rhonda, visits with Sarah up in her room. They used to play together when they were younger, and Rhonda wants to know why Sarah hasn't visited her in the past few years. "I couldn't," is all Sarah can say. Rhonda explains that she's in a "pre-marriage placement" with Roman, a way to get around the law until she's 16. But she wasn't forced, she insists. Roman is "sweet" to her, and, after all, "the greatest freedom we have is obedience."
Bill's brother Joey and his pregnant wife, Wanda, also make it to the party, grateful for the invitation. After congratulating Ben for making varsity baseball, Joey surprises him by pulling out his Super Bowl ring. "I always kinda wanted you to have it," Joey tells his nephew, handing the ring to Ben. Staring on in shock, Barb lets Joey know the gesture is unnecessary, as Ben embraces his uncle - thrilled about the gift.
After meeting Margene for the first time, Lois lets Bill know he's even more of a disappointment to her. "You've not only taken his side... you've become just like your father!... Plural marriage is a religious calling, not a license to coerce young girls." Bill is forced to mount his own P.R. defense, enlisting Margene to explain to Lois that it was her decision to join the family. She had been working at Home Plus, but wasn't very good at her job, so she took a job as the family's babysitter. But what she really wanted was to be a wife. "I wanted to be a member of the family."
Roman's own P.R. campaign appears to have backfired. An excited Adaleen interrupts Wayne's party to read the Los Angeles Times article. "Roman Grant, prophet and patriarch of Juniper Creek, home to the second largest polygamous sect in Utah, says, 'We're just like... homosexuals.'" As her voice trails off, the party guests are bewildered. Adaleen quickly changes the subject.
Wayne gets a pony ride in the back yard, Roman sings to the kids, and Nicki opens some of the expensive presents she's bought for him. Adaleen pulls her aside after to chastise her "vulgar materialism." "It's a complete slap in the face," she tells her daughter. "You have no idea how difficult my life is," Nicki responds, before storming out of her own party.
Just as all is falling apart inside, Bill's father arrives in his pick-up and parks outside the house, lying in wait for Lois. She finally emerges and confronts her husband. "I want you to admit that you did it," he tells her. "If I'd a tried to kill you, you'd be dead!" she fires back, before revealing the true reason behind her fury. "You shot Gumbo -you shot my dog!" Frank is incredulous. "That's the reason? That dog was all crippled up and wouldn't've made it through the winter."
Back in the house, Bill goes looking for Nicki, and finds her lying on her bed - next to her father, sharing a confidence and laughing. As if this scene weren't disturbing enough, Roman issues another warning to his son-in-law on his way out: "You have robbed me of the tithes and offerings due to me. And don't be trying to protect yourself, Son, 'cause there's no place to hide."
As the guests finally leave, the new neighbor, Carl, watches from across the way. The Henricksons are left to confront the stress of their day. "I don't fit in anywhere," Nicki confides.
Just as Bill tries to reassure her, the alarm system screeches into full alert, set off by the forgotten party pony. The family steps out into the backyard, blinded by their own floodlights.
04 - Eclipse
With a lunar eclipse approaching, the Henrickson clan has been haunted by omens. Bill has a foreboding dream that he's being chased by something, as the sound of drumming fingers gets closer and closer. Don thinks the dream might be a revelation, but Bill's not so sure - his spiritual revelations usually come in quiet premonitions. He decides to fast on it in the hopes that he'll get some clarity.
The next day, a state trooper arrives at the store and hands him a letter - a legal document stating that the UEB, Juniper Creek's United Effort Brotherhood, has the right to audit his books. "I work for the Prophet," the trooper tells him with a menacing smile.
More trouble is brewing back home, as Nicki's compulsive shopping habit catches up with her. Her phone's been ringing off the hook with credit card companies threatening to send collection agencies. Even more ominous is the call she picks up from her father - he wants her to come see him.
Bill and Don pay a lunchtime visit to an empty lot they've been eyeing for their next store, and Bill tries to assure his colleague that Roman will soon move on to easier prey. Don isn't so sure, and he reminds Bill of what befell some of the prophet's previous prey: a kitchen supply company that was torched, a man in business with Juniper Creek who 'fell' out of his office window. Bill brushes off Don's concerns. "You don't know that. His wife said suicide."
They take the UEB letter to Bill's lawyer, who is shocked to see that Roman has enlisted a high-end corporate law firm. Reviewing the original contract, the attorney informs Bill that the UEB does in fact have the right to audit them, as a female assistant drums her fingernails on a side table.
When Barb gets called in to substitute teach, her day's chores and errands fall to Nicki, who passes them off to Margene, citing a family emergency. While attempting to juggle everyone's chores and four small kids, Margene has a disastrous day, ultimately resulting in a humiliation for Tancy at her lunar eclipse pageant.
Nicki arrives at her father's austere office, just in time to catch a nurse drawing a syringe from his arm. "Do you have thorough and complete check-ups?" he asks his daughter, before changing the subject to the matter at hand. He received a call from a credit card company - he had co-signed for a card with a $500 limit, but the balance has reached $6,000. He offers her a check for half, and suggests there might be a way to pay off the rest; he wants to know how her husband's new store is doing. Bill doesn't talk to her about business, Nicki insists. Roman suggests pointedly that she ask him. "If Bill were to throw you out, you know you can always come back home," he tells her.
Bill gets another surprise visit at work - this time from Joey and Wanda. Dressed in a sharp suit, Joey explains he's off to make a presentation to an old folks' home - Roman enlisted him to talk about his pro football days. He gets the old people to trust him first, Wanda blurts out, then talks them into writing big checks, investing in "worthless ranches out in the desert and it makes me sick!" Some of the old folks have started suing to get their money back, deals from before Joey came aboard. "Lawsuit's put a real scare into Roman," Joey adds, before asking if he can borrow back his Superbowl ring from Benny. The old people like to see it.
After Nicki clams up at the family dinner, Bill tries to comfort her. "You're my rock," he tells her, before gently inquiring why she didn't tell him about the Roman visit. "I don't know... he just called me," she says, before confiding that her father asked about the store. Bill becomes suspicious, but Nicki assures him she let Roman know he doesn't talk to her about business. "Bill... you're my husband. I would never do anything to hurt you," she says emphatically.
Sarah's new friend Heather wants to know how her mother was able to agree to polygamy. Sarah offers two explanations, her mother's (she started to believe in the Principle, too) and her own (she loves Sarah's father too much, and was afraid of losing him). The curiosity prompts Sarah to go searching for answers of her own, including how Nicki's father ended up controlling the compound. "Roman was your great grandfather Orville's accountant," Barb explains. "After the raids in the 50s, Orville set up the UEB, and Roman manipulated the shares. I don't really understand how, but he tricked Orville and was able to vote him out... like a hostile takeover. Roman took Orville's land and most of his wives, and left your Dad's family poor as dirt."
At work, Sarah's wild co-worker, Donna, invites her to a party up at the university. Heather wants nothing to do with the "whore" Donna or her party, but Sarah thinks it might be fun to go "boy hunting," and cancels plans with the more reserved Heather. When they get to the party, Donna quickly abandons Sarah, leaving her alone with two bottles of cough syrup to get a buzz. At the end of the night, woozy and unable to convince Donna to leave, Sarah is saved by Heather, who's stopped by to offer her a ride home. "You have to promise me something," Sarah asks Heather, curled up in the grass. "You can never tell a soul about my family." Heather promises.
Ben's been having "weird dreams" lately - the kind that make him want to wash his own sheets -and he's confused about his girlfriend. On a father-son hunting trip with the Embrys, Ben asks his dad how he'll know if God's talking to him. It's a question Bill's been wrestling with himself. "It's one of the most important challenges in life, to hear, recognize the voice of the Lord," Bill tells his son. "Staying wholesome's part of it. So many addictions in this world - TV and food and gluttony -things that are offensive and numbing to the spirit. But you also have to be very careful. Sometimes you think it's the Lord speaking, but it's just your own emotions. Your own demons."
They're interrupted by Jason Embry on his walkie talkie - his dad's gone to the car, and he just saw a wolf. "Just leave it alone and it'll leave you alone. Rule of the wild," Bill tells him.
Determined to keep Bill in the dark about her finances, Nicki calls the Suze Orman show, and ends up getting chastised by the financial guru for not coming clean to her husband about her debt problem. She finally tallies up all her bills, and as the numbers approach $60,000, she goes into a panic, locking herself in the bathroom. Hours later, when Barb and Margene finally coax her out, the three have a showdown. Still hiding her debt problems, Nicki takes her frustrations out on the "boss lady." She heard Barb was offered a steady teaching job, and she tells her she cannot take it. "You can't make decisions that effect us without consulting us first, right Margie?" Nicki rants. "We're equals." Barb calls Nicki on her less-than-equal treatment of Margene, before announcing she's taking the teaching job, "for ALL of us."
As they wind up their hunting trip, Ben stops to tie his shoe, and a rabid wolf emerges from the brush, closing in on him from behind. Ben, Bill and the Embrys freeze for a moment before Bill takes action -shooting the wolf dead. Seeing his son in danger, Bill decides to confront one of his own demons. "We're going after Roman," he says to Don. "We're gonna take it to him."
05 - Affair
After watching Barb charm a city councilman at a historic preservation event, Bill begins to see his wife through new eyes. A spontaneous roadside rendezvous re-ignites their sex life, and soon the two are sneaking off for clandestine trysts in a hotel.
Nicki begins to suspect Bill is having an affair - and planning to bring in a fourth wife. She can't wait to be the one to tell Barb. "First wives think they know everything," she tells Joey's wife, Wanda, "but really they just walk around in a fog." For her part, Nicki is "so excited" for a fourth, especially as she's become "really bored with Barb and Margie."
Using a false name, Don calls the Attorney General's "polygamy czar" and tells him his mother was swindled by Roman's desert ranch scam, as Bill offers cues in the background. The man asks Don to bring his mother down to the office and file a statement. "We've been trying to get into Juniper Creek forever," the man says. "Maybe we could piggyback an investigation." Don tells him he'll work on it.
Bill's bookkeeper, Wendy, has a tip of her own; she pulls Bill aside to inform him that she saw Don with several women at an Appleby's, and after following two of them into the women's bathroom, she's certain they're polygamists. "It's against the Church and the law," she declares. Bill tries to assure her Don is "not what you are saying he is," and besides, "everyone in the Henrickson Home Plus family is treated with respect." But Wendy isn't ready to put it aside. She confronts Peg Embry in the Home Plus bathroom. "I've got my eye on you," she tells her, "you can't fire me or get me fired for doing and saying what I know is right." Peg smiles graciously. "Why would I want to go and do something like that? You're the best little junior bookkeeper we've ever had."
After a Juniper Creek manager reviews Alby's audit of the Home Plus books, Roman is disgusted with his son for delivering only a digest of numbers. "He's no genius," he says to the manager, as Alby looks on. Later, when Alby tries to apologize and fix his error, Roman dismisses him further. "It's not your fault... our talents lie elsewhere... You let Bill get the better of us."
Overhearing the exchange, Rhonda offers Alby a ride home. "I can't do numbers, either," she says, sympathetically. At this Alby finally erupts. "SHUT UP!" he screams at his father's teenaged bride-to-be. The brazen Rhonda snaps back: "Don't you ever raise your voice to me like that again."
With Barb back to teaching and Nicki's ongoing hostility, Margene's been feeling lonely. So when the new neighbor Pam strikes up a friendship, she's thrilled, going so far as to invite the woman into her house. Sick of strangers thinking she's an unwed mother, she tells Pam that she's a widow, and that her husband died in the Gulf War. Later, when Pam relays her sympathy for 'the widow' to Barb, Barb confronts Margene about her lack of discretion - they have to be extra careful now that there's a second store. And besides, she reminds her, the Gulf War was 15 years ago.
Nicki adds her two cents to the scolding: "You're the weak link Margie...You can't keep a secret like me and you are not a good liar like Barb." Barb is ultimately a little more sympathetic; she lets Margie know she understands how isolating their lives can be. But she tells her they "have to stick with it no matter how lonely it can be, because there isn't anything else that can bring these rewards."
Tortured by wet dreams and a preoccupation with sex, Ben has decided to attend Mormon seminary after school. "I don't feel pure," he explains to his girlfriend Brynn. "I think there's something inside me that shouldn't be there." Brynn assures him that thinking about sex is a good thing, and that seminary will only brainwash him into believing there's something dirty about his body. Besides, she's worried that he'll become "judgmental and arrogant" like the other Mormon boys she's dated. "Don't let them ruin you," she urges him.
When she discovers a hotel soap wrapper in her bathroom wastebasket, Nicki is beside herself. She confronts Margie about whether she and Bill had pre-marital sex, then corners Barb. "I'm not sure Bill wants you to know, actually," she tells her, "Bill is dating someone...a fourth wife." Barb seems baffled by the news - and by Nicki's certainty. But Nicki insists they confront Bill and find out "who is bringing the sin into our house."
Joey helps Bill by digging up the contact information for the attorney suing Roman for the land scam. He also congratulates his older brother - he learned from Wanda that he's planning on taking on a fourth wife. Bill is dumbstruck. He's barely interested in taking on more than one these days.
After dinner a few days later, Bill tells Nicki he has to go in to the office. She presses the redial button on her phone to reveal his last call: Sarah picks up, explaining her mother just left. Watching Barb's car head in the same direction as Bill's, Nicki starts to put the pieces together.
While Barb and Bill are at the hotel, an ominous man appears in the back porch of Barb's house, scaring Tancy half to death. Nicki heads outside to confront the intruder and discovers an angry Alby, with attendants, demanding to see Bill. When Ben comes to the door, Alby grabs him by the neck. Nicki manages to pull him away. "I'll have Papa come down on you like a ton of bricks!" Alby scoffs at his younger sister. "You? You were a nothing until you married Bill... Bill took you to get a loan from Papa. Don't you know that? You're just collateral."
Barely containing her fury, Nicki figures out a way to get even. "Take your one testicle and fly back to your cave," she tells him, adrenaline rising. "You ever show up here again and harass this family again, I swear to God I'll kill you!" With witnesses present, Alby retreats.
Later that night, Nicki gathers the family around her living room to deliver some news: she's ready to bring another soul into the family. "We've been holding off, for this reason or that. It is time now. We've let worldly concerns come before what we're here for. What our purpose is." The family exchanges glances as Bill embraces Nicki. "I'm so happy, as your husband, father to be, and member of our holy family," he tells her. Looking confused and suspicious, Margene offers her congratulations. Barb recovers quickly from her shock. "I love you Nicki," she says, smiling warmly. "I love you too, Barb. I love you very much."
06 - Roberta's Funeral
Nicki has Bill working hard at getting her pregnant again - at the height of passion she tells him to give her a boy. But when Barb tries to set the schedule around Nicki's ovulation cycle, Nicki bristles. She thinks she should get extra time with Bill when her temperature spikes, because this is how they used to do it. Barb insists it will be more efficient if they stick to a schedule. In a standoff, Nicki tells Barb she was wrong about Bill seeing a fourth. She must've had her signals crossed. "I never thought he was," Barb says, refusing to give anything away. After Barb leaves, Nicki pulls a pack of birth control pills from deep inside a drawer, and swallows one.
When Frank's first wife Roberta dies, Lois decides to confront her estranged husband at the wake. As his second wife, she's now entitled to become his first wife, and she wants the legal marriage. "Not if you were to put a gun to my head," Frank laughs, surrounded by adoring sister wives. "And knowing you as well as I do, I can see that as a very distinct possibility."
Following up on Don's call, Bill has drafted a letter to the Attorney General's office under the false name -offering details on Roman's real estate scam and the pending lawsuit. But as he's preparing to send it, he has second thoughts. He calls Roman and asks if they can meet to work out an agreement.
He puts Ben in charge of looking out for his moms while he makes the trip to Juniper Creek the next day. After Roman puts him off for a day, Bill stops by to visit his mother, who is still reeling from her showdown with Bill's father. She wanted to make her kids legitimate, she tells him, and she wanted the protection. She doesn't own a thing anymore - the Priesthood Council owns everything, even though her father was the true Prophet. "This isn't the life that was intended for me - or you or Joey," she tells him. Bill assures her he's doing fine. "I know you are. It's the rest of us I'm worried about."
Back at the Henrickson households, Ben is taking his new responsibility seriously, spying on Margene when neighbor Pam comes over to her house. Pam asks questions about the "standoffish" blonde woman who lives next door. "She's shy," Margie tells her, slightly shifty. After the woman leaves, Ben chastises Margie for her lack of discretion. "You have no idea how much of my day I spend alone," she says, breaking down. Ben suggests she take a class, where she can meet people in a more neutral setting. It's hard on him too, but he's learned to keep things separate.
Barb pays a visit to Peg Embry and shares a confession: she and Bill are having an affair, and she's come to love the excitement of sneaking around. Peg is concerned. "I just don't want to see you getting hurt. He's not going to leave his wives." It's more complicated than that, is all Barb can say.
Still waiting for his meeting with Roman, Bill joins Joey and his father as they pick out a casket for Roberta. Frank reminds Bill that his first wife got him to stop stuttering when he was younger. Laughing at his son's expense, he tells Joey that his older brother "sounded like Porky Pig" when he got up to give testimony. Then he starts in on their mother. "Always told everybody that she married beneath her... Looky now, I'm on the Priesthood Council and she's a train wreck."
At the casket store, Frank picks out the cheapest model he can find, as Bill and Joey push for something nicer. "Roberta was a simple woman," Frank responds. "She'd never've gone for a fancy coffin." He makes Bill buy the low-end model as he reprimands him. "Shoulda done something nice for her while she was alive."
Before his meeting with Roman, Bill asks Joey if he's involved in any of the lawsuits surrounding the real estate scam - Joey insists he's not. With this Bill brings a large folder full of documents to his father in-law's office. The patriarch scolds him for talking business in the midst of Roberta's funeral, then makes him listen to Rhonda recite poetry. Fed up with his games, Bill interrupts to offer his proposal: he'll give Roman a cash settlement for $50,000 in exchange for a release from any more business dealings and an end to the harassment. When Roman scoffs, Bill brings up the lawsuit and the real estate scam. Roman pleads ignorance. "The Attorney General tells me they would just love to use it for the basis of a broader investigation into fraud at UEB," Bill informs him, dropping the stuffed folder of evidence on his desk. Roman tells him to leave - but Bill fires one last warning shot: Alby is never to come near his home or businesses again.
Despite her handywoman skills, Nicki can't fix Margie's garbage disposal, and takes it upon herself to buy her a new one at Home Plus. At the checkout, she tells the cashier that she's entitled to the family discount; she just forgot the card, which is in Barb Henrickson's name. The cashier explains she needs to see the card, and when she runs Nicki's credit card, it's rejected. Wendy the bookkeeper arrives, and Nicki tells her to call Don Embry to vouch for her family status.
Despite her resistance, Bill and Joey drag Lois to Roberta's funeral. Frank gives an over-the-top eulogy, announcing that while he can't imagine a better first wife, he knows Roberta will be smiling down when he takes 'Nita - the wife after Lois - in her place. After this performance, Bill yanks his father aside and asks him how much he wants to stop humiliating and shunning his mother. Frank negotiates a settlement: $5,000 and some roof tiles. Bill agrees to pay him, but only after his father delivers the marriage certificate. Lois calls her son later with the good news. "Your father had a change of heart!" she says, not suspecting Bill was involved. She doesn't see them moving in together again, but it won't matter. "He won't be around much longer," she says. Bill's face drops as he asks his mother what she means. "Oh just that he's not getting any younger, is all."
Barb is summoned to Home Plus to vouch for Nicki, who is being held by security under suspicion of identity theft. She told Wendy she was Barb's sister, then changed her story to 'neighbor.' Nicki is irate, and takes it out on Barb as soon as they leave the store. "I do not want to have to ask your permission for everything!" she screams, before revealing what's really getting at her. She thinks that Barb doesn't want her to have another baby, and she resents that she has no public life with Bill and no control over anything. "Well I'm sorry I didn't die," Barb responds. But this only upsets Nicki further; she's the one who took care of her every day when she was sick. Barb tells her how grateful she is for all Nicki has done. With this Nicki finally softens. She tells Barb she's wanted to have a girl - in honor of her.
Bill finally returns home, and Ben watches from a distance as the wives and kids gather around his father, excited to have him back. Later, he asks his father if he thinks he should have more than one wife someday. "Plural marriage is a tremendous responsibility," Bill answers. "It can be terribly abused. It's not for every man. God calls you to it and we have to answer with fortitude." Ben tells his father that he thinks he'd be good at it. Bill agrees. "You have a big heart son. Whadya say we keep an eye on it."
07 - Eviction
Bill is mulling an expensive new ad campaign for Henrickson's Home Plus, one that will re-brand it as "Utah's family superstore," and include testimonials from employees and subliminal signals that they're entirely "homegrown." Don isn't so sure - he thinks the ad agency's budget is over the top, and they'll have to take a huge hit to absorb it. He also thinks they need to disentangle from Roman first. "How can we be the face of Utah when we're still stuck in bed with Juniper Creek?" Bill's not worried - he's convinced Roman will be begging to settle before the week is out. He greenlights the campaign.
Having failed at his previous assignment, Alby is told that the Henricksons are no longer his concern. Roman tells his son to pack a small bag and sends him on a two day trip in the Buick, assuring him he's doing "God's work."
On his mysterious journey, Alby stops at a convenient store, where he meets a handsome stranger and brings him back to his motel. As the man makes advances on him, Alby dodges them, preparing a sandwich in a Norman Bates-like trance, sharpening a large knife. When the man asks if they are going to have sex, Alby fakes a freak out, sending the stranger fleeing for the door.
When two young male Mormon missionaries pay a visit to Nicki's house, she cites scripture then asks them to leave. From this they deduce she's a polygamist, and return to reprimand her. "The polygamist lifestyle is wrong m'am...we would like to show the way back to the one true church." Nicki fills with rage. "I'm not what you think I am, but I don't need any changing anyway." After repeating her point more forcefully, they finally leave, but not before taking down her house number. "Don't think I don't how what you're doing!" she says, following them down her driveway. "You're writing my house off for all eternity!" The two men correct her. "You're in sin...We're marking you down as uncooperative, not repentant. But we'll continue to pray for you." Nicki is sure to get in the last words. "Go on and pray for yourselves!" she yells after them. "You're the ones that need to be prayed for!!"
Ben and Jason join a car full of guys from seminary who are headed to the mall. They get a bad vibe when the driver unzips his pants to show off his erection, his "pillar of truth," then decides to steer the car with it. Exchanging glances from the back seat, Ben and Jason worry that the whole exercise is gay.
Joey calls Bill with some worrisome news. He signed a piece of paper a few months back thinking it was a permit for a fish farm. But Roman just explained the paper designated him the agent for Deseret Properties. He said to tell Bill that the Attorney General's first stop could be him. "Am I gonna go to jail over this?" Joey asks his brother. Bill sinks, and tries not to let on, but Joey knows that he's messed things up. Bill assures him he'll be okay. Roman sent along one more message via Joey: His answer to Bill's proposal is coming.
Just before family dinner night, Barb gets a call. Ben was in a car accident. No one was seriously hurt - just a few scrapes and bruises - but Ben is pretty shaken up. As if this wasn't stressful enough, Sarah brings home a surprise visitor - her co-worker Heather, the daughter of the state trooper. Over dessert, Heather turns to Nicki and asks her what its like to have Roman Grant for a father. The table goes silent. As she's leaving, Heather politely thanks Barb and Bill for dinner, then pulls out a doozy: "I have some strong opinions about polygamy, and I would love to sit down and talk to you about it one day," she tells them. Sarah apologizes as soon as she leaves - she didn't know she was gonna say that last part. "Just ask first," Bill tells her.
Though he and Barb have been continuing their affair, Bill's been having some trouble keeping up his responsibilities as Nicki's impregnator. Barb gave up her night when Nicki claimed her temperature spiked, but Bill wasn't completely up to the task - stoking Nicki's insecurities.
Barb soon learns what's really eating at her sister-wife. She gets a call from Peg at the store, and after insisting her family doesn't have any secrets, Barb discovers the $60,000 secret Nicki's been keeping from her. When the store confiscated her credit card, they learned she'd surpassed her $6,700 limit. Peg did some digging and discovered someone paid off $3,000 of it recently. After doing some digging of her own, Barb finally confronts Nicki, who eventually comes clean, breaking down as Barb goes into shock. "I don't know...it's compulsive, I can't help it," Nicki says between convulsive sobs. She let her father pay off three grand of it recently, because she didn't want to go to Bill. She's terrified Bill is going to kick her out. At wits end, Barb tries to reassure her that would never happen.
Back at Juniper Creek, bulldozers are tearing down Lois, Frank and Joey's houses, as well as the gas station, with hardly any eviction notice. Lois pulls out a shotgun and shoots at the dozers, to no avail. Adding to the blame is Frank, who calls his son up in arms: "Whatever it is you've been fighting over, I hope it's worth it."
When Bill visits them all at a motel near the compound, he learns the UEB tore down the statue of his grandfather as well, then drained Joey and Wanda's fish farm tanks. When Joey confides he doesn't want Wanda to give birth in the motel, Bill gives him some cash. Wanda sends Joey off on an errand so she can have a word with Bill: if her husband cracks and falls off the wagon, she's holding him responsible.
The gravity of the events weighing on him, Bill confides to his mother about the bad business deal with Roman. But Lois isn't blaming her son anymore, not after they took a jackhammer to her father's gravestone. "It's 30 years of harassment! He's just trying to make like Henricksons never even existed. My Daddy was the one true Prophet. And Roman Grant is gonna burn in H for what he's done to us...When do we get justice?"
Still processing the events at Juniper Creek, Bill gets a call from a security man at Home Plus. He found a man rooting around his office, and he was told to check with him before calling the police. Bill asks to speak to the culprit, and Alby gets on the phone, a twisted smirk on his face. "Certain connections...made known, you know...not good," is all he says, sitting before strewn papers. He hands the phone to the security man, who asks Bill if he wants to press charges. Bill declines. "Let him go."
Bill turns to Barb and confides in her all that's been happening with Roman and the stores. His life spinning out of control, he collapses when he's alone in the bathroom. It takes him a while to find his balance and return to her.
"We can't keep doing what we're doing," Barb tells him.
"But I need you," he says.
"You have me," she responds. "And you have a family. We can't..."
"You're right," he responds. "We can't..."
08 - Easter
The Henrickson's have company. After their crock pot exploded and burned down two rooms, Bill's extended family got evicted from their motel and they had nowhere else to go. The three houses are now home to Lois, Joey and Wanda, Frank's wives and their pet. (Frank has been banished to his truck; Bill won't have him in the house for more than a shower and a meal per day).
Bill has other matters to attend to. He's planning to bury Roman under an avalanche of litigation - everything from "unjust enrichment" to physical assault against Lois during the eviction. But Bill's lawyer isn't so sure he should go through with it, especially since Roman's attorneys have indicated a willingness to negotiate. "I am not negotiating," Bill says with a new ferocity. "I'm not getting in the gutter with him...He's thrown my family to the wind like leaves. I want to bring him to his knees." Before he lets Bill sign the papers, the lawyer asks him a rhetorical question: "You're magically gonna do what the states of Utah and Arizona have been unable to accomplish for the past 50 years?".
Still terrified Bill will find out about her debt, Nicki calls her mother for help. She gets no sympathy there; Adaleen owes $90,000 herself. They needed a new room when Roman took on Rhonda, and she put it on her credit card. "We all spend like there's no tomorrow," Adaleen tells her daughter, "which we were told there wouldn't be on three occasions. But your father's revelations have been a little... off the mark lately, and we're still here. So, see, under the circumstances, it's excusable." Nicki tries to explain it's not so excusable where she is, and if Bill finds out he'll kick her out. She begs her to talk to her father. Adaleen says she'll take it "under advisement".
At Home Plus, Wendy the bookkeeper got wind of the break-in, and she lets Bill know she's alarmed. The culprit got a hold of all their quarterly reports and tried to hack in to their computers. Bill tries to reassure Wendy all will be fine, but she's not so sure. Besides, she tells him, the employees are concocting wild stories about why the police weren't called in. Bill tells her, in confidence, that involving the police would make the matter public record, and drive their insurance through the roof.
Back at home, the house is overrun by sister-wives and a small dog, and Frank is peeing in the kitchen sink (a longtime habit). When Bill finds his father making himself comfortable in the house where Lois is staying, he throws him out. "What are you being over-protective of her for?" Frank says. "She's like one of Roman's Humvees... the woman is a tank." And besides, he adds, it's supposed to be their honeymoon, "and for some reason you seem to be trying to keep us apart." He can't get his father out fast enough, however. "Pig!" Lois yells when she sees him. "Witch!" Frank fires back as he's being kicked to the curb.
In the midst of all the chaos, Bill has a fainting spell, though hardly anyone notices. Feeling sick and dizzy, he asks Margene to take him to the hospital, where the doctor rules out a heart attack or a stroke. He does see something in Bill's eyes, however, and after Margie steps outside the examining room, Bill eventually comes clean about the Viagra. When he discloses his dosage, the doctor becomes alarmed. "A man your age is not designed to perform like a horse," he says, urging Bill to drop it down. Bill tells Margene the diagnosis is just stress, and asks her to keep it all between them.
Barb has been a mess since she and Bill ended their 'affair,' and when the two get a private moment together, she breaks down in tears. She knows it was the right thing to do for the family, she tells him, but she still feels robbed, "like they've stolen you from me." As Bill tries to console her, Nicki eavesdrops through a backyard fence.
Roman sends a response to Bill's lawsuits - an avalanche of countersuits, including breach of contract, the false imprisonment of Alby at Home Plus, and assault and battery against Lois (she kicked one of Roman's goons in the testicle, they have photos of the damage). Pouring over the stack of documents, Bill's finally had enough. He calls Roman and sets up a meeting, then enlists Joey to accompany him. Filling his brother in on the extent of his business dealings, he admits he got greedy when he stopped making payments to Roman at the same time that he reorganized and erased his presence from the books. But now he's ready to negotiate a deal to get them all back home.
Joey isn't so sure he wants to go home. He tells Barb that he registered at an employment agency nearby, and he wants to get an apartment somewhere so Wanda and their baby can start over. He also confides in his sister-in-law that he's having second thoughts about polygamy. Wanda doesn't know yet; she's afraid they won't be together in the celestial kingdom. "You're a monogamist" Barb says to Joey, almost in shock. "The only way I know what to believe in is to listen to my heart," Joey explains, "and it says that Wanda is it for me." Left alone after Joey's confession, Barb begins to sob. Sarah catches her from an upstairs window.
As Sarah helps Lois into her first warm bath, she learns why her grandmother is so different from the others on the compound. After Sarah's Aunt Margaret drowned, Lois was "bone sad." Her great grandfather used to tell stories about ancient people and how they cut their hair after a tragedy, so one day Lois just cut it all off. "Nita and the sister-wives and Frank, they hated me for it - 'cause it made me different, I think. Everyone thought I was proud and ugly. Ugly and special." "Scarred," Sarah adds. "Scarred," Lois concurs.
When Frank starts teasing Joey about his football fumbles, Easter dinner turns into a bloodbath of accusations and insults, sending pregnant Wanda running from the house, and Joey following after. Hiding in their car, Wanda begs Joey to leave with her. She's terrified he's going to succumb to the pressures and temptations of life outside the compound, the same ones that got him in trouble before. He tries to assure her those days are in his past.
Joey seems more concerned about what's in store for them at Juniper Creek. Before they leave for their meeting with Roman, he pulls Bill aside to tell him he doesn't have to cut a deal with Roman just to get them back. "I can't have you all here," Bill tells his brother. "I love you, but I can't stick you in some flop house... and I'm completely at the end of my rope." As it turns out they have an eavesdropper - Frank has finally taken to using the bathroom - and he takes it upon himself to call Roman as soon as his sons leave. "He's about to cave," he says of Bill. "If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't settle with him right now... I think you can get a better deal later." Pleased with the tip, Roman tells Frank that he and his "precious wives" are welcome back any time they please.
When Bill and Joey arrive at Juniper Creek, Roman's office is closed. Realizing they've been stood up, they head to their mother's house to pick up some of her things, and end up in a fist fight with the new family living there. Still fired up, Bill insists on driving to Roman's house afterward and surprising the old patriarch in his bedroom. Several of his wives emerge from their bedrooms and attack him, knees jabbing at him below the belt. He manages to ward them off and enters Roman's bedroom. "I'll give you 15 percent on the second store off the books, nothing on future stores, and my family goes home." Tousled and feeble-looking, Roman says he'll think about it. Bill grabs Roman's prized guitar - the one found on Brigham Young's trek to the west - and holds it in the air. "Or this guitar that you hold so dear, truly is history," Bill adds before leaving.
Back home, Nicki pays a special late night visit to Barb. She doesn't want to know details, she just needs to know one thing: "is it over?" "Yes," Barb tells her. "Thank you," is all Nicki says, turning back to her house, a wave of relief pouring over her.
Bill returns a few hours later, still filled with adrenaline, and goes searching for his mother to tell her the good news. When he finds her in Sarah's bed, his excitement gives way to revulsion. She has company: his father.
09 - A Barbecue for Betty
With both their lawyers present, Roman and Bill sign off on their new agreement, and Bill returns the prized guitar. Excited about breaking ground on the third store (now his "free and clear" of Roman), Bill decides to throw a lavish lobster bash celebrating his freedom, along with the Embry's engagement - they've voted unanimously to take on a fourth wife.
On Nicki's night, Bill is back on his game in the bedroom (he likes it when she's "in control"), so she decides their post-coital afterglow is a good time to come clean about her debt. Bill's euphoria quickly gives way to rage, and he drives off into the night, Nicki following him down the street in her nightgown. Barb plays dumb when Bill breaks the news the next day, but when she quickly suggests a solution to the debt problem, he suspects she'd been keeping Nicki's secret all along, enraging him even more. "I was in a difficult position," Barb explains. "I'm married to two other people. You seem to forget that sometimes".
When Margene learns that the Embrys all voted before taking in a new wife, she becomes preoccupied with her own electoral process. Ben lets on that the decision to take her on was 2 to 1 at first. "It was just so everyone could get to know you better," he tries to assuage her. Determined to find out who voted against her, Margene interrogates Nicki, who, already on shaky ground, insists it wasn't her. "I love you Margie. Do you honestly think I could have voted against you?".
Despite Nicki's attempts to smooth things over, Bill refuses to see her, stoking her fears that he might just throw her out. She's seen it first hand at the compound, wives left at the side of the road "like a sack full of unwanted kittens," she tells Barb. Her own father left one of his wives at a Conoco station in Nevada. "You need to have more faith in Bill," Barb tells her. If he were ever to do such a thing, she would leave him. Nevertheless, Barb tries to intervene on Nicki's behalf. Lots of people have debt problems, she tells Bill. "A lot of people are dope fiends," he fires back, "but I'm not married to them!".
Nicki's not the only one who's been keeping secrets from him. Sarah's friend Heather has been over at the house again, and when her father arrives to pick her up, he's wearing his State Trooper's uniform. Sarah never mentioned what Heather's father did for a living. She also neglected to tell Bill about the father-daughter pancake breakfast where the two dads were supposed to meet.
The neighbors neglect to tell Margene that their invitation to dinner is actually a fix up. They've invited their friend Chad from church, despite Margie's protests that she's not available - "emotionally," that is. But Chad is quickly charmed by her, and Margene is eager to make a good first impression, especially since learning she's had to win people over in the past.
The weight of a sudden downpour collapses a part of Home Plus's roof - just as Roman and his wives arrive to do some shopping. Stressed and angry, Bill prepares to throw them out. "You and I are finished," he tells his father in-law. "It's too bad you feel so uncomfortable around your family," Roman replies, before handing over some of the papers Alby "borrowed," cryptically commending Bill on his work preserving historic sites.
Chad surprises Margene by showing up at her house in the downpour, bouquet of roses in hand, leaving her little choice but to let him in - despite her house full of kids. "I couldn't sleep at all last night," Chad confesses. "I felt a burning in my bosom... I believe I might've had a revelation: You're the one for me." With Nicki's son watching, Chad tries for a kiss. Margene stops him. "I have my eye on someone else," she tells him, quickly showing him the door. Crestfallen, Chad suggests she may be looking in the wrong direction.
When the day of the lobster bash arrives, Nicki decides to come clean about another secret - her father helped pay some of her credit card debt. Bill explodes, sending Nicki running. Don stops by with bad news of his own - his family won't be attending the party. Betty, the fourth wife-to-be, was blackballed. While helping her move, one of the wives discovered Betty had been a Moony, and prior to that a member of a cult, and possibly a few other groups. Fearing she was a lost soul who'd be unable to commit, the wives demanded a re-vote. After hearing that Betty is out waiting in Don's car, Margene pays her a visit and urges her to stick it out - to prove the wives wrong. "Sometimes you have to let one train leave the station for a new one to come in," Betty tells her, resigned. Besides, she thinks its best to let go of negative thoughts.
Sarah is also bothered by Betty's ouster, bothered that she couldn't tell people who she really was. She confesses to her dad that she didn't tell him about the pancake breakfast because it hurts her to see him lie about his life - to tell people that he has one wife, one family. "I hate that about this life... all of us having to hide".
Reeling from the turmoil at home, Bill arrives at work the next day to find Don asleep in his car. His wives ganged up on him, upset that he didn't research Betty more before bringing her into their lives. They'd grown attached to her. Bill suggests that Betty was simply not part of God's plan for him.
But the flash flood that damaged their roof was, apparently, part of God's plan; an insurance inspector confirms that they're covered, since a flash flood is considered "an act of God." So Don is inclined to see their next misfortune as part of the bigger picture as well: the land for the third store is now off limits; someone just filed an injunction claiming a tribe had a winter camp there once, and now their plans are up in smoke. "This isn't bad luck," Bill says, whacking a pile of folders off his desk. "This is Roman... What do I have to do to get that man out of my life?!".
He's interrupted by an alarming call from Barb: Nicki didn't come home last night, and she just called to say goodbye. Bill sets out in search of her, and when he finds her, she's in the mall, filling out an application in a fast food restaurant. The "shelter" kicked her out at 7 am, she tells him; she'd been at the mall ever since. She couldn't go back to the compound carrying the shame of a discarded woman.
Having been discarded himself once, Bill is finally ready to forgive her. "You made me feel that I had failed, that I wasn't in control," he tells her. "But I'm not in control of you, and I love you anyways. We made a covenant with each other. We can disagree, we can argue. We're human. And beneath that there's something strong - family. Nothing breaks that bond. This isn't the compound and I'm not my father - we don't kick out family members".
With this, Nicki drops a bombshell. "Your father didn't kick you off the compound..." she tells him. "Mine did." Bill can hardly believe her at first. "He was afraid of you," she continues. "Your grandfather was the Prophet. My Dad thought you were too much like him. Whatever comes your way you can handle - you don't give up. My father calls it pride".
Back at home, Nicki is greeted by Margene, who's grateful to see her. She was scared, but she still needs to know about the vote. Exasperated, Nicki finally admits she was the holdout. "I thought you needed a lot of reassurance... I was worried it would always be the Margene show," Nicki says as Margie fights off tears. "This is a hard life. I just thought you might not be ready for it." Hurt but determined to prove she can handle it, Margene thanks her, finally ready to let go. When she's gone, Nicki pulls a piece of a paper from her purse - a receipt from a hotel.
Unable to find an unlocked dumpster for the bags of rotting dead lobsters, Bill decides to take them to the only place left he can think of - the site of his third store, now one big 'historic' dump.
10 - The Baptism
Lois just returned from Mexico - she visited the place where her family hid out when her father was facing arrest - and now she needs Bill to drive her to the compound in time to help Wanda deliver her baby. On the way, Bill tries to enlist his mother's help in his latest mission: he's hoping to find a member of the Priesthood Council who will turn mole on Roman. Lois tells him he's playing with fire. Besides, with Roman bringing them all their young wives, it's unlikely anyone's allegiances are up for grabs.
Barb's sister Cindy is in town for business, and she needs to talk to her: their mother prays every night that she'll have Barb back in her life again. Barb has been hoping for a reconciliation too. She hasn't had her family in her life since she left the hospital seven years ago. "You didn't just leave that hospital," Cindy replies, "You followed Bill into polygamy. You couldn't have shocked us more if you put a towel on your head and converted to Islam." Dismissing her remark, Barb asks if their mother would be ready for her to come by with the kids. "How about we start with just the kids," Cindy demurs.
Ben gives his girlfriend Brynn a present he made in wood shop, but when she tries to give him one in return, he rejects her advances. "Do you know what it feels like to have a guy say no to that?" she asks, before breaking things off. She thinks he should find someone who wants to stay a virgin, like he does.
Since learning about the reluctant vote to include her in the family, Margie's been resentful of Nicki and Barb's attempts to make her feel more included - the latest involving preparations for Teenie's baptism. "They think Mommy's a moron," she tells her son, as she unwittingly drops a red crayon into the laundry with Bill's baptism whites. When the clothes come out smeared, she runs to the neighbor for help. Pam recommends a special goop remover, then fills her in on a little secret: the missionaries she sent to her next door neighbor's ("the braid") discovered that she's a polygamist. "They're like cockroaches" Pam says. "They try to hide, they're secretive, probably cause of the shame of it all." To get an extra set of eyes on her, Pam's mentioned Nicki to the Neighborhood Crime Watch. "They can be ruthless - kidnapping and all kinds of unspeakable things when they fight with each other." Margie nods distractedly and agrees with her. "Crime Watch on the Braid".
As Lois helps Wanda deliver her baby, Bill sends Joey to the library to dig up family trees, determined to find someone who's not related to Roman in some way. They hone in on a possible candidate: Ernest Holloway, former head of the P.E. program at the Academy - before it was shut down. According to Lois, Holloway is a little "off in the noggin," but he hasn't had one new wife in ten years, which means he's either had his fill or he's been cut off.
When Nicki learns that Barb has been meeting with her sister, she doesn't hold back. "Don't let your sister near those kids. She's judgmental and she only makes you feel bad about yourself! I can't stand her, either." Barb tries to explain that a visit between her mother and her kids would be the first step in a healing process.
Pam's goop solution was meant for walls, not washing machines, and the flammable liquid burns holes through Bill's whites and nearly ruins the machine. When Nicki discovers the foul up, she flies into a rage. Margie flees to the bathroom with her toddler, lights up a cigarette, and talks about running away - someplace where there are no neighborhood watches.
Cindy arrives early to pick up Ben, Sarah and Teenie, and without Barb home to intervene, Nicki insists on offering her a tour of the new houses. "It must be so hard to leave your kids when you travel," Nicki remarks, showing her their joined backyards. "I can't imagine not raising my own kids." As Cindy clenches her jaw, Nicki talks of how their houses have no fences, "kind of a metaphor for sisterhood... acceptance, love... but you know what I mean... you're her real sister, right?".
In the wake of Pam's condemnation of polygamy, Margie starts to question her own identity. "Did I choose this, or did it just happen to me?" she asks Sarah, who lets her in on another Nicki secret: she bet Bill that Margie wouldn't last six months.
At the compound, Bill and Joey pay a visit to Ernest Holloway's house, where Bill offers the old man a large envelope of cash to get his P.E. program back up and running. Grateful for the interest at first (it killed him when the Council voted P.E. out of the Academy), Holloway asks Bill what he wants in return. As the man's wife picks up a phone call, Bill explains he needs to know about Roman's business dealings, particularly the ones that have to do with him. Joey watches as the wife leaves the phone receiver on a shelf, and tries to silence Bill, but he continues - explaining he'd like to keep the arrangement between them. Holloway returns the envelope and changes his tone. "The man you hope to harm is the one true Prophet of our most holy Church," he says fiercely. "May our heavenly Father forgive you this trespass." By the time they arrive at Joey's house, Alby is waiting out front. "No more playing dirty, all right Bill?".
Teenie has been hiding something, and to get her to come clean, Margene offers to share a secret of her own. She takes Teenie to her garage and pulls out her hidden pack of cigarettes. As Margie lights one up, Teenie explains what she's done wrong: she wrote about why her mother should be Utah Mother of the Year for a class project, and Barb was chosen. "You're our moms too, and I don't want to hurt your feelings." As Margie tries to assure her she didn't do anything wrong, Nicki bursts in on them, a garage full of smoke. "What kind of example are you setting? You're grounded!" she yells at Margene. When she finally calms down, she tries to explain her eruptions. "I'm no cream puff like Barb. I don't like a lot of people. But I liked you. And eventually I wanted you in this family because I grew to love you".
Upset about losing Brynn, Ben drives to her house to apologize. But Brynn isn't interested in any more talk. The two quickly undress, and in an awkward, mechanical moment, Ben loses his virginity.
As Bill and the wives prepare for Teenie's baptism, Cindy stops by to return Teenie's Gameboy - then chastises Barb for baptizing her daughter in the swimming pool. "The children are innocent - you shouldn't involve them in this. What kind of example are you setting?" Nicki takes it upon herself to intervene. "Our children are strong minded, independent works of art - much like their mothers. Our children are at least three times as cared for and Barb is ten times the mother. Where are your children when you skip off every week on business?".
"God forbid something should happen to my sister," Cindy responds, "those children are my responsibility, not yours. And I will do everything in my power to ensure that they grow up to be good, strong, moral young people." Nicki fires back: "God forbid - now get out".
In the wake of the confrontation, Barb tells Bill she wants to change the will. If anything were to happen to the two of them, she doesn't want the kids to go live with her sister anymore. "I want them here - with their family".
Margene pays a visit to Pam and explains she doesn't think they can be friends anymore. She can't really be herself around her, and she's only beginning to understand who she really is. As a confused Pam tries to reassure her, Margene adds that Nicki is a good person. "She's not a cockroach. And I'd never do anything to hurt her. I'm sorry if I lead you to believe that I would." She hugs her and leaves, squinting back tears.
While preparing for Teenie's backyard baptism, Bill gets another surprise visitor - the Holloways. Ernest asks Bill if he can offer some protection, and after receiving assurances, tells him he's prepared to do what he asked. His grandfather Orville's death weighed heavy on his mind, he explains. "Orville and Roman were not alone on their final trip. Our Heavenly Father was in that truck when your grandfather died, and he saw how Roman wrestled his way to where he is now. Mighty his wrath will be come judgment day." Taken aback, Bill explains that, outside the compound, allegations such as these need substantiation. "I'm a man of faith, Bill," Ernest responds, "willing to risk blood atonement for the truth. Your heart knows if you should trust me." He pulls a journal from his car and shows it to Bill, open to a page with a photo of him sitting on his grandfather's lap. "He saw something very special in you. He was not at all shy about that".
With the family all present, Bill baptizes Teenie in the pool, welcoming her "as an adult member of our family for all eternity, with all the responsibility and privileges of family and faith." Overcome, Margene jumps in the pool and asks that she be baptized next. "When I married into this family," she tells Bill, "I guess I must've thought I was just marrying you. Now I realize I was marrying all of you," she says, turning to the others. "I was marrying sisters, my sisters, that was my choice, and I'd make that choice all over again." She knows she keeps making mistakes, but she will get better, she assures them, because she loves them and she needs them. "I never ever not want to be with this family - here or in heaven." She is ready to be submerged.
After the ceremonies, Ben excuses himself to his room and says a prayer. "Dear Heavenly Father, I have knowingly sinned against you. Please, I will follow your path wherever you want me to go, if you will tell me a prayer or a way to have back my virtue, my virginity. Please, Dear Lord, I need you with me now".
11 - Where There's a Will
In the event of her untimely death, Barb now wants her kids raised by her sister-wives, which means all three of them must revise their wills. They agree on a simple rule: if any of them were to die along with Bill, their kids will be raised by the next youngest sister wife. Barb and Margene are touched by their newfound sense of commitment to each other, but Nicki secretly books an appointment with Bill's attorney - she wants her kids to go to her parents at Juniper Creek.
Bill is being recruited by the prestigious Salt Lake Leadership League, a country club of business leaders that rejected him nearly a decade ago. The head of recruitment once saw him speak passionately about how the Mormon Church saved him, and he never forgot it. Thrilled to be courted by the group, Bill meets resistance when he tells Don and Barb about it. They're leery of the public profile it would require.
Ernest Holloway shows up at Home Plus with a ragtag pile of papers, every UEB share he's been issued since 1962. Bill offers to take them to his lawyer to see if he can buy them - and take over his seat on the Priesthood Council.
When a photographer from the Tribune arrives for the 'Mother of the Year' photo, Barb pretends she forgot about it, but quickly assembles her kids in their dining room, away from the other houses. Nicki and her kids burst in on them anyways. "This is our neighbor," Barb explains to the photographer. "Aren't we going to be in the picture, Barbara?" Nicki's son asks. "This is just for family," the photographer explains.
Nicki isn't the only one with reservations about the new will - Margene wants her kids to go to Barb before Nicki. She quietly books her own appointment with the lawyer, but his assistant brings her Nicki's revised will instead. The cat is out of the bag. "It's the culture here," Nicki says when she's confronted. "The disrespect... the loose morals. I want my children raised in an environment where God isn't under attack... taken out of the schools." Barb reminds her that they agreed the kids would stay together, and if she and Bill and Nicki were to die, all of the kids would go to the compound - which she cannot accept for "any kids, certainly not mine, and mine include yours."
Since losing his virginity, Ben has been dodging Brynn's calls. He confides to Margie that he thinks they're moving too fast. "Hold back Benny," she tells him. "You're lucky; you were taught it's something sacred." She lost her virginity to the boy who lived in the apartment next door. Upset that he's not returning her messages, Brynn confronts Ben at the school's track. By the time Nicki and Margene arrive to give Ben a ride home, the two have made up - they're making out by the side of a building. "This is why mothers shouldn't work!" Nicki exclaims, laying on the horn.
"Did you say something to him about it?" Barb asks when she hears about Ben and Brynn. "I'm not sure we share the same values on these things," Nicki says, before finally admitting what she's really concerned about: she doubts Barb's commitment to the Principle, and that's how she wants her kids raised. "The reason you're able to go off and work is because you have Margene and I as backstops," she tells her. "Women are designed to tend to the chicks in the nest, while men go out early to gather worms." "That's not the world we live in," Barb responds. "That's the world we should live in," Nicki insists. "One mother can't do it alone. It really does take a village, Barb."
Speaking of villages, Rhonda and Adaleen arrive from the compound for a weeklong stay - Rhonda is representing Juniper Creek in a Drama Competition. Sarah is beside herself; she's convinced the girl stole her iPod during her last visit. Nicki isn't thrilled either. After her mother rattles off a list of Rhonda's 'special needs,' she asks her how she puts up with her. "I love her and we're all equals," Adaleen responds, before recalling a dream in which she pushed Rhonda out of a speeding car. Nicki sees her opening: she asks her mother if she'd raise her kids in the event of her death. "Certainly not," Adaleen responds, matter of fact. "Your children go to your sister-wives."
Rhonda rehearses her lines before Sarah and Heather - she's doing a Eugene O'Neill play. "He was a Catholic," Rhonda explains. "It's about a family who's miserable because God's punishing them." Satan took a hold of her character, so now she's a drug addict. Sarah read the play in school last year, she tells her, and that's not what her teacher said it was about. Rhonda shrugs. She's already planning on going to the national competition in D.C., and then she's going take a bus to New York to become a professional actress. She'll live in a dorm with lots of other girls, so she'll be protected from sin. "What about school?" Heather asks. Rhonda hasn't been in school since she became pre-maritally placed with the Prophet, she explains, beaming as she tells a wide-eyed Heather that she'll be married to the septuagenarian on her next birthday.
Bill is still contemplating joining the Leadership League, but in the wake of the 'Mother of the Year' photo shoot, Barb has reservations. It feels like living a lie, she tells him, and it puts added pressure on her and Margie and Nicki. "What about Mother of the Year?" Bill asks her. "One night as Cinderella at the Governor's mansion, and then it's nothing," is her answer.
Roman and Alby have been working on their own clandestine photo shoot - they have pictures of Ernest Holloway exchanging documents with Bill at Home Plus. It doesn't take long for them to take action against their turncoat - surprising him with a beating, a threat to his life and a promise to "re-assign" his wives.
Now that her mother has made it clear she won't take her kids, Nicki approaches Margene. "You and I have always kind of clicked," she says. "I want you to take my kids." Racked with guilt, Margie comes clean about changing her own will. "I just feel that you're not very warm," she tells her.
Stuart, the recruitment director from the Leadership League, is pushing hard for Bill to join. He tells him he's the "quintessential embodiment of the American dream," proof that if you work hard, enormous opportunities are available "no matter where you're from or who your parents are."
Nicki also has reservations about him joining - she accuses of him of putting his own desires before the welfare of his family. If he joins, she tells him, he's going to have to hide, and hiding makes him half a man. "You're hyper-sensitive," he fires back. "Being second wife is what you're upset about. It clouds your vision. And frankly, it hurts me."
Bill's vision appears to be a little cloudy as well - he leaves his wives three wills out on his desk at Home Plus, which allows nosy Wendy to get a look at them when she drops off some papers. Bill catches her, but she makes no apologies; she quickly leaves to trace a family tree from the names she gleaned - drawing a line straight to Roman Grant.
Disturbed by what Rhonda told her, Heather tells Sarah they should do something to help her, like put in touch with Help the Child Brides. "Maybe she has an opinion," Sarah says defensively. "She's a real person." "Just because you're used to it, doesn't make it any less shocking," Heather responds. Sarah admits that it's horrible, but getting involved will put her family at risk, and she's not going to do that. She takes Heather's idea seriously, though, and goes searching for Rhonda at the University. The drama judge tells her that she was cut in the first round.
In the wake of Wendy's discovery, Bill picks up a call from Stuart from the Leadership League. His application should be arriving, though it's just a technicality. Incidentally, Stuart saw a documentary on TV about a polygamy compound. "They called it 'American Taliban.' Women as prisoners. Men as tyrants. Did you know people like that?" Bill pauses for a moment. "No," he answers, his voice getting quieter. "I didn't." "Do you still have family back there?" "Yes, I do."
No longer able to turn to his wives, Bill consults Don with the questions that are weighing on him. If he and Barb and Nicki were to die, he wants to know, would Don and Peg and the wives raise his kids in the Principle? "We'd be honored," Don says, giving him a big hug. Bill confides in him that's he's upset his wives don't see what the Leadership League could mean to them. "Sometimes you see those politicians who don't run for president to protect their pill-popping wives or their alcoholic children, and you just know there's a hole inside of them 'til their dying day, wondering just what might've been," says Bill. "True," Don responds, "but we've chosen a life that requires sacrifice. You have to decide if that sacrifice is worth it."
When a governor's aide arrives to talk to Barb about the 'Mother of the Year' award, she's surprised to learn that her cancer "sealed the deal." The First Lady wanted to shine a light on survivors this year, and she's especially lucky that hers metastasized. The aide asks if she'll be comfortable in the public eye, making speeches and appearances, attending overnight events. Barb doesn't have a response.
She does have an answer for Nicki, though. She can't promise her that she'd live the Principle if Bill died. "But I love you and I love those two little boys like they were my very own, and I would certainly raise them to respect it and value those who struggle to make it work." And it looks like there will be one more for all of them to raise: Margene is pregnant.
Under cover of darkness, Bill helps a bandaged Ernest Holloway and his wives board a bus to Tucson, where they plan to start a new life. "I'm finally getting out," Ernest says with great relief, before turning to issue Bill one last warning. "When Roman finds out you've taken my seat on his council, you watch out for yourself."
Bill calls Stuart at the Leadership League, and declines his invitation for membership.
12 - The Ceremony
Joey and Bill prepare to take over Ernest Holloway's seat at the next UEB Council meeting, and Alby and Roman are beginning to suspect something's up. Holloway has gone missing with his wives, and Bill has been spotted on the compound. "Why is he so relentless," Roman asks his son. "What have we done to deserve such calumny?" Now that the settlement agreement forbids them to evict any of his family members, Roman tells Alby to find others ways to contain Bill.
Barb has been preparing for the Mother of the Year event at the Governor's mansion, and Nicki is not happy about it. Adding to her problems, Rhonda is still staying with them, claiming she's still in the drama competition, and she wants to know why the other mothers of the house aren't in the running for an award. "Was there something lacking in you two?" she asks Nicki and Margene.
Rhonda later admits to Barb that she sometimes misses school, and when Barb asks if she'd like to stay with them and finish out the school year, the bride-to-be is ecstatic. "No promises," Barb hedges, but Rhonda is way ahead of her: "I know that you'll make sure I can stay...you really are the best Mother of the Year!"
At Juniper Creek, Wanda gets a surprise visit from Alby, who's looking for Joey and Bill. Snooping through her house, he tells her to call her husband and find out where he is. Watching Alby get a little too close to her newborn, Wanda fakes the call and tells him to have a seat - Joey will be home shortly. She mixes him some iced tea in the mean time - laced with antifreeze coolant. When Joey finally returns, Alby is slumped over the couch. "You can't just go around trying to poison everyone who's mean to us!" he yells at his wife.
Preparing her outfit for the Governor's mansion affair, Barb confides to Margene that she wishes Nicki would wear something less conspicuously 'polygamist' to the event. "Maybe you could offer to do her hair," she tells Margie, just as Nicki enters with her sewing machine, making it clear she's overheard their conversation.
Late for their surprise visit to Roman's UEB meeting, Joey decides not to tell Bill about Alby. Their nerves on edge, the two barge in on the austere board room. "Is this Ernest Holloway's seat?" Bill asks, as a table of graying men stare up at them in shock. "Ernest Holloway has been excommunicated" Roman says, before ordering them to get out. "We're here at your table," Bill announces as Joey takes his seat, "where we rightfully belong." Standing by the transcriber, Bill tells them that as board members it's their responsibility to review all business and financial transactions, so they can get up to speed. Roman won't have any part of it. "I can take this right now," Bill says standing over the transcriber's laptop, "or I can go get a cop and enforce our rights as shareholders." Roman quickly adjourns the meeting, citing a rule that changes in membership must be submitted 10 days prior to meetings. As he gets up to leave the room, he tells Joey to get out of the seat. "I'm staying, Roman," Joey replies.
Wendy the Home Plus bookkeeper has come across an article about Barb earning Mother of the Year finalist. Overwrought, one of her co-workers, Dell, stops to ask her if she's okay. "If you knew someone was an imposter...pretending to be somebody they were not, hoodwinking others..." she says, barely looking up from her coffee, "and they were about to receive an honor based on false representations, wouldn't it be your responsibility to sit them down and talk to them?...about how misguided they were?" Dell seems confused. "I suppose it is," he responds, "if I thought it was my business."
"We got the files, we got the computer - he can't retaliate," an excited Bill calls his mother after the UEB meeting. But Lois doesn't sound too thrilled. "Can I talk to Joey?" is all she can say. Alby is still passed out, but his breathing is quickening. Joey can't keep his brother in the dark any longer, and it doesn't take Bill long to figure out that Wanda poisoned their father as well. Joey continues to explain how she called Bill because she felt guilty that he wouldn't get to say goodbye to his father. As for Alby, the antifreeze will soon knock out his kidneys. Bill takes charge of the situation: get him to a hospital, don't let anyone see you, then get rid of his car.
Nicki walks in on Barb rehearsing an acceptance speech, and tells her she thinks she should pull out of the contest. "You accepting this award feels like we're not what we say we are - a family - and that hurts me." Barb finally admits that she doesn't want to pull out. She's realized that it's important for her to feel like she can be seen as a good mother. With that, Nicki delivers a final salvo: she won't be attending the big event.
Alby is discovered on a gurney in an empty room of a hospital, a tag with his name on it and two words: "drank antifreeze." Roman gets news that his truck was found near the landfill, unlocked with his keys inside, but no one saw him. Confident that his son is still alive, Roman tells his men to keep him posted when they find him.
Bill heads to the compound and orders Joey, Wanda and Lois to stick to the same story: Alby came by the house, asked about Joey, then left. He wants Joey to check up on Alby's condition at the hospital - via cell phone so that it can't be traced.
Back at Barb's house, Adaleen arrives via Hummer to take Roman's wife-to-be back to her rightful place. "Your little Roman holiday is over," she tells Rhonda, who shakes her head defiantly. "I'm still in the competition," Rhonda announces. "I don't know if you're deluded, demented or merely willfully disobedient, now get in this car!" Adaleen fires back. Rhonda makes a run for it, and her much-older sister wife quickly gives up the chase.
As he's poring over Roman's computer files, Bill gets an after-hours visit from the man himself - and his security detail. "You're not displeasing me," the prophet tells him. "You're throwing out a challenge to God. You shall relinquish that seat, or I'll bring your temple crashing down upon you."
"No you won't," Bill says, refusing to be cowed any longer. "You've had your hands on my throat and now I've got mine on yours. Everything on your computer I now have on disc. If anything happens to me or my family, one copy goes to the District Attorney, one to the Attorney General, and one to the I.R.S."
"I see," Roman says, changing his tone. "What have you done to Alby?" Bill feigns ignorance, but Roman insists he knows he's involved. "You have become a mad dog lunging and attacking without cause. Mad dogs must be eradicated."
Dressed and ready for her big night at the Governor's mansion, Barb gets a special surprise: Nicki has decided to attend the event after all, and she's shed her braid and prairie dress for the occasion. As fate would have it, Barb discovers she didn't receive the extra tickets she requested for her 'sisters.' They can't quite seem to shake the compound, either. Adaleen arrives again, and Barb learns that Rhonda has been lying about the competition. "We'll work on it," Barb tells her, but Rhonda isn't buying it. As Barb and the kids pack into the van, Bill takes a call from Joey - the police are at his house, and they're interrogating Wanda. "Just stick to the story," Bill tells him, trying to keep his composure for the big event.
At the Governor's Mansion, Barb takes her place on a stage with the two other Mother of the Year finalists as Bill and the kids watch proudly from the audience. Scanning the seated crowd, Bill's mood darkens when he spots Wendy in a back row, looking disturbed, just as the First Lady of Utah approaches the podium.
Back at Juniper Creek, a sullen Rhonda works a Be-dazzler machine on her jean jacket as Roman watches, her mood brightening only slightly when she hears him pick up the phone. "I would like to speak with someone about this evening's ceremony."
As the First Lady launches into a speech honoring the mothers, she's interrupted by an aide who summons her off the dais. Moments later, Barb is summoned off stage as well, and the aide asks her point blank if she's a practicing polygamist. Fighting off tears, Barb confesses. "Good heavens," the First Lady responds, shaking her head.
Oblivious to the drama unfolding at the Governor's mansion, Nicki and Margene share a consolation dinner at a Mexican restaurant, still dolled up in their dresses, and wonder what their lives would be like if they hadn't married Bill. "I'd be dating someone...probably in Portland," Margene imagines. Nicki doesn't have to imagine. "I probably would have been placed with a husband in the compound." There was a guy named Jerry who made overtures to her father about her. He was nice enough, and "younger," only in his 40s. "Sometimes you don't get a lot of choice there." Margie thinks fate brought Nicki to Bill. "Marge, I brought me to Bill," Nicki tells her.
As Barb is ushered past the peering audience and out a back door, the First Lady returns to the podium to make an announcement: one of the Mother of the Year candidates had to withdraw "for personal reasons." Bill grabs the aide by the arm and asks him what has happened to his wife. "That would be a matter for you to discuss with her - and your other wives." As the audience breaks into whispers, Ben, Sarah and Teenie follow their mother out, heads bowed.
Bill calls Don Embry to break the news: "We've been exposed." When Nicki gets wind of the story, she breaks into hysterics, terrified that Bill is going to be arrested - or that their houses will be burned. That doesn't happen anymore, Bill tries to assure her. Crestfallen and unable to speak, Barb retreats to her room. Nicki and Margene soon follow, but they're unable to console her. "I got what I deserved," she says to Nicki, tears streaming down. "Oh boss lady," is all Nicki can say, her own tears finally coming down.
As for Alby, word of his condition has finally made it to Roman. He pays his unconscious son a visit in the hospital.