Margene_biglove_idol.jpgLast week’s “Big Love” episode, “Dating Game,” had Bill considering a fourth wife(!). More fascinating than this married man–already with three beautiful wives–courting yet another and seeking out his polygamist friends’ support about wining and dining Ana (the potential wife) sans wedding ring–was watching his third wife Marjene’s reaction.
Marjene–suspicious of Bill’s unexplained disappearances–follows him one evening and guesses his secret. She can’t help herself from doing a little sleuthing about Ana afterwards at the diner where she works.
And soon Marjene falls head over heels in love with Ana. Much more so than Bill. And the episode became a showcase for this character.

Last season Marjene seemed little more than a giddy young girl who somehow managed to get marry into a polygamist family without quite knowing why–and certainly not with much faith in Mormonism–her big scene came when she was baptized in the family backyard pool.
This season, Marjene has come into her own, far quicker to share her opinions about faith, child-rearing, the behavior of her sister-wives and husband, in addition to showing intense curiosity about this way of life she has joined. (Earlier in the season she even convinces Nikki to take her to Juniper Creek so she can see how the “real” polygamists live.)
But in the last episode Marjene stole the show. As Marjene befriends Ana in her effort to get to know a potential new sisterwife, soon she can’t hide her joy about this attractive, sweet, and most of all, fun woman who is–yes, currently dating her husband. Marjene shows all the signs of new platonic love: a perpetual giddiness she can’t quite contain, the desire to see Ana constantly, hope that the important people in her life–her sister-wives–will love Ana just as much as she does. (She even manages a lunch at the diner to introduce them all, which turns out rather disastrous.)

Marjene also shows a rather blind faith in Ana, trusting her with her deepest secret–that she is a polygamist (to which Ana responds with nonjudgment and curiosity), and in perhaps my favorite moment of the episode, confesses simply that while people talk about finding a soulmate, she is over the moon to know that so far she’s found three!
Despite her exuberance, it’s pretty clear that Marjene needs a true kindred spirit in the family, and she has been awakened to this possibility in the idea of a fourth wife.
Sadly, when Marjene confesses her friendship and joy about Ana, Bill hesitates, wondering: Could the Holy Spirit be moving through Marjene? But he then quickly and unfortunately dismisses this possibility. (I LOVE that idea and all the irony of it–that the Holy Spirit would move through Marjene about a fourth wife and not Bill).
When Bill breaks up with Ana (realizing that it is lust, and not the Holy Spirit that is motivating him), it is Marjene who is the most devestated of all. She is left truly brokenhearted. And I am eager to see how this effects her character as the season goes forward. (Clearly, I am a little enamored of Marjene myself.)
So what will happen in tonight’s episode?
For more things Marjene, check out her blog on HBO.

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