Big Love Finale: The Final Episode Explained!

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Maybe you’ve been following the polygamy-based “Big Love” relationships for all five seasons, and maybe you haven’t.  But you cannot deny the impact this HBO show had on the traditional American view of marriage.  The family patriarch is Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), who is married to Nicki (Chloe Sevigny), Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), and Margie (Ginnifer Goodwin).  If that triple marriage isn’t complicated enough for Bill, he has an affair, owns a casino and faces extortion charges.  And we’re not even at the finale yet.

Warning: Spoiler Alert Below!

The Shocking Twist: Bill Henrickson is shot and killed by a crazed neighbor.  And what becomes of the family? The closeness of his three wives makes them decide to stay together after his death.  Bill’s legacy lives on in that he created a family that survives.

“Big Love” creators Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer wanted to end the season not denouncing the fallibility of a polygamist marriage, but by upholding the importance of family.

“For us, the show has been about staking out a marriage. And we’ve thrown everything at this family, and certainly a person’s independence and personhood is one of the most fundamental rights and fundamental values in life. I think that there’s been this shift in American culture, where there’s this idea where you can’t have that unless you separate or divorce or go off on your own,” Scheffer explains.

Olsen and Scheffer have been together for over 20 years. They wrote this controversial show as a way to expand the definition of an acceptable marriage in the US.

“But there is something about staying and forging your personality in that cauldron of relationship that to us has great value. And it’s something that’s been lost of the easy come-and-go of American culture and American reality television,” he said in the post-mortem interview on NPR regarding the sanctity of marriage.

Have you been an avid “Big Love” viewer? What do you think of this dramatic super-ending?

Photos by Tauben via Flickr and Shan22303 via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. shelley

    March 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I Watched the last episode last night and was so sad that it had to end. I have watched the show from the beginning and love it. I can not believe they would stop this show. There was so many episode that they could have made…now we wonder what happens to everyone. I hope that lots of people have the same feeling and they realize that the show should still go on,,,,, When watching the show I was always amazed at how fast it went….I did’nt want it to end and I couldnt wait till next week to see what was happening, A Big Love fan

  2. Cassandra

    April 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I watched the last episode and I did not find it believable. To say that Barb is now the priesthood holder would never stand with the rest of the men in Bill’s church. Also, there were too many loose ends with various characters. It seemed like the writers could not finish things off or just did not know how to wrap this series up in a nice neat package(maybe they didn’t want to?). I also think that the creators, as they stated, were trying to get us to be okay with all types of marriages because they themselves are in a situation that many people do not look upon as normal. So, get people to look at ploygamy with a kind eye, and maybe homosexuality will look more normal?

    my final opinion: the first few seasons were good, they “jumped the shark” once Bill came out as a polygamist, and the final season had too many open questions for me. And I still think polygamy is ridiculous and abnormal.

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