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The Televangelist: 'Big Love' season 3, episode 4

Painful truths! Subversive acts!  No one came out unscathed from facing the difficulties of reality last night.  Already (incredibly) almost halfway through the season, Bill's political campaign has taken off like a shot, full steam ahead.  His career, publicly, is as gleaming and exciting as the Titanic - and just as doomed.

Lately I've been re-watching one of my favorite television series of all time, "Six Feet Under."  The series held to a fairly strict formulaic structure - each episode began with a death which, more often than not, acted as a metaphor for the themes of the episode, or as a catalyst for the characters' actions.  Though certain relationships and struggles played out over a few episodes, a season, or even throughout the series, each episode ended with the feeling that something had been resolved for at least a few of the protagonists.

"Big Love" does not and has never operated under these same conceits.  The trials and tribulations of the Henricksen family span entire seasons with only the smallest of resolutions, and often leave more questions unanswered, and problems larger, at the end than before.  Episodes like last night's "The Mighty and the Strong" (a title which refers to prophets within the FLDS church) continued to explore some of the more complex relationships set up in last week's "Strange Bedfellows," and then threw in a few more for good measure.  Is that good?  Is that bad?  "Big Love's" narrative strategy is closer, in my mind, to that of "The Wire" - the complications don't pay off until the end.  However, even "The Wire" gave us resolving montages to end each season - "Big Love" keeps building the dramatic tension without cease.