I'll miss Dale and Alby -- the House and Wilson of "Big Love" ... except with real passion instead of just bromantic tension.

By Gina Carbone
gina_carbone@comcast.net

Actually, an ’80s side ponytail with raccoon eye makeup is a good look for Nicki … just saying.

For a show with “Love” in the title and a V-Day premiere date, there wasn’t much love in the “Big Love” season four episode “Under One Roof.”

There was, however, enough going on. It just happened to be pretty sad.

Especially since the most loving couple on the show was ripped apart — and creepy, loveless couplings grew stronger.

(Although there were some good online-liners, like perpetually not-pregnant Nicki snapping that she should just scrounge around a restaurant for a baby.)

***

Frank (Bruce Dern) and Lois (Grace Zabriskie) turned their family “vacation” to Mexico with Ben (Douglas Smith) and poor Jodean (Mireille Enos) into a Keystone Kops episode as they got dragged away by unfriendly old faces.

Way to try to make it right with Ben after screwing up Bill’s childhood!

Anyway, don’t expect to see Ben home anytime soon.

(I’m so tired of this “dad threw me out plot.” I saw that episode. Bill did not throw Ben out. Ben was already packing to leave. He told Bill he thought it would be best for him to go away for a while. Bill just agreed. Big, big, big difference between that and being dumped by the side of the road.)

On the creepy compound side of things, terrified Cara Lynn (Cassi Thomson) was about to be given away to a repulsive old man who told her they were both “lucky” that she would be his seventh wife.

This disgusting scene was salvaged by the heroic efforts of Nicki (Chloe Sevigny, proving why she won the Golden Globe) — in full tacky 1980s regalia in protest of her mother’s sealing to JJ (Zeljko Ivanek) — who stormed into their sleazy hotel room and dragged Cara Lynn away, screaming to the creepy man and JJ (Zeljko Ivanek) that if they ever touched Cara Lynn again she would kill them.

It was good to see Nicki get to play the hero. Usually she’s the whiny pill of the story.

***

Not so good to see JJ and Adaleen (Mary Kay Place) consummate their wedding. Talk about awkward. Not the sexiest honeymoon night. And the singing just made it worse.

***

Ana (Branka Katic) accidentally revealed her pregnancy while Bill (Bill Paxton) and Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn) were dining at the restaurant where she works.

Ana initially told the whole Henrickson crew to shove it, then reconsidered just to Bill. She’d let him be involved in the child’s life, but she didn’t want the full package. Just a la carte.

Bill said OK, which ticked Barb off. She talked to Ana directly and discovered Ana is — surprise! — engaged to someone else and — surprise! — the baby Barb wants to be involved with was conceived before Bill and Ana’s 48-hour marriage.

Stung, Barb decided to retaliate by making her own big decision behind Bill’s back — she let sneaky Marilyn (Sissy Spacek) sign her way into the casino world. (Bill on Marilyn: “She’s a shark, with a price tag of a whale.”)

It was interesting to hear Bill try to defend his pre-marital indiscretion to Barb. He did the same thing with Margene before they got married. I tell you, Barb is the most patient first wife of all time. She puts up with so much, especially since Bill’s response was basically that he’s not a perfect man and he’s been “tested.”

And failed every time!

***

The “tested” thing was interesting because it paralleled Dale’s personal struggle.

In this episode Bill learned about Alby’s (Matt Ross) affair with UEB trustee Dale (Ben Koldyke).

Bill got a little help with this intel, thanks to Alby’s scorned wife Laura (Anne Dudek, always down for some solid scorn).

Laura also paid a visit to Dale’s family.

Nicki knows about Alby’s homosexual feelings, too.

The saddest event of the episode came at the end when Alby held a bouquet of roses for his beloved Dale while he tried to reach him on his cell phone.

He ended the phone conversation with “I love you,” then opened the door to their secret apartment … and there was Dale, hanging from the ceiling.

Suicide is not good for the soul, man.

I’m heartbroken! I loved their love. They were the most affectionate couple on a show with many marriages and few love matches.

Dale’s inner struggle just consumed him. He couldn’t live a double life as easily as Bill.

I wish I could just grab these people smack them around and set them straight. Dale should’ve divorced his poor wife, who deserves someone who loves her, and Alby should somehow get unsealed from evil Laura.

Then Dale and Alby should move to the West Coast or Mexico or somewhere and just drink cocktails on the beach.

Pipe dream, I know, but it’s a more attainable goal than Bill actually coming out as a polygamist and living in that giant house in the open with Barb, Nicki and Margene.

Dale, I’ll miss you.

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