Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

End of the road for Bill Henrickson

On Sunday, I was checking out what was on the TV via my TiVo and noticed that “Apollo 13” was playing on one of the HBO channels.

Everyone watches the movie to see Tom Hanks portray astronaut Jim Lovell, but I always preferred to watch Bill Paxton give his version of the late Fred Haise.

I joked that when Margene announces in “Big Love” that she was really 16 when she and Bill Henrickson got together I hadn’t seen such a long face on Bill Paxton since the oxygen tank blew up on “Apollo 13.” We can tell ourselves that “Big Love” is just a show, but I think it will go down as one of the classics.

I got home from work on Sunday night at around midnight and set up to watch the finale of “Big Love.” Finales of an HBO series are events, and events I have to watch after work at a newspaper, but they’re definitely worth staying up for. In all honesty, I did cheat, and just before I left work I had seen a review of the finale that noted that Bill had been shot dead.

I honestly thought Alby did it, but Alby’s in jail for the killing of the state Senate security guard. Maybe it was someone from a compound who was upset with Bill. I never thought it would be Carl, the neighbor.

I was often critical of Bill Henrickson because he seemed to think that everything he did was justified religiously, and thus right. He was in full cry in the Senate, declaring that polygamy was a legitimate subject to be raised. Later, in his church and surrounded by others who believe in him and his “principle,” he imagines that he sees one of Joseph Smith’s wives giving her approval.

This is a man with a messiah complex. Those are always dangerous people.

And then there was his failure to live up to the request of his neighbor Carl, who wanted Bill to keep Margene away from his wife because her multi-level marketing talk was causing his wife to overspend. Carl had lost everything, it seemed, and while Bill was all “Hail fellow, well met” to Carl, Carl had other business on his mind.

Bill didn’t deserve to die in the street. It’s a tribute to the makers of the show that there was no miracle recovery or revival of Bill. He lay there, with his wives around him, and finally gets the blessing from Barb, admitting that she has the priesthood.

The light fades from his eyes and the camera pulls up in a crane shot. It’s a touching scene. I felt bad for Bill, both Henrickson and Paxton.

Eleven months later, there’s a new baby named Bill and it seems like life still goes on. The ghost of Bill quietly watches the wives as they move on. Outside, the Mini Cooper convertible (talk about product placement – why not a Mustang or Camaro?)  is there and life continues in that quiet corner of Utah.

So with “Big Love” over, what’s next? I was watching HBO’s promos for “Game of Thrones,” but I think I’ll pass on it. I still want to see what happens on “Entourage,” “True Blood” and, on AMC, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”


March 21, 2011 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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