“Big Love”’s big season finale

Season 3 of Big Love ended this week and I have only one thing to say: wow.

I have loved Big Love from the beginning, but this season was amazing. I know that some consider this show to be misogynistic, but I find it anything but. To me, the internal struggles of the female characters illustrate just how complex and powerful women are by nature, despite their circumstances.

Spoilers ahead.

This year, the Henricksons dealt with crisis after crisis, from the possibility of a fourth wife joining the family to Nicki’s revelation that she has a 14-year-old daughter.

In the finale alone, we see Bill and Barb’s daughter Sarah, who got pregnant and miscarried this year, propose to her boyfriend with the eventual blessing of her dad. Margene asserts her independence and launches what she hopes will be a lucrative career as a TV shopping host.

Alby tries to kill his mother — and Bill’s brother may have succeeded in killing Roman. But not before Roman tells Bill to claim his power from God, which Bill does by proclaiming himself the leader of his own church.

I’m not sure where that leaves Barb.

As the wife who struggles the most with the polygamist life, she experienced a crisis of faith this season. In an episode that caused outrage from the LDS church by depicting a sacred ceremony in a Mormon temple — a ceremony that only approved church members can witness — Barb attempted to reconcile with her mom and sister by participating in an endowment ritual, only to be excommunicated shortly thereafter. Now she is faced with moving even farther away from her Mormon faith. If Bill’s proclamation leads where I think — to his claiming leadership of Juniper Creek — it might be the last straw for Barb.

In any case, the performances this year were stellar. Jeanne Tripplehorn (Barb) and Chloë Sevigny (Nicki) both deserve Emmy nods. Ginnifer Goodwin beautifully captured Margene’s need to find an identity apart from the family — and I have a feeling next season will let her shine. With supporting characters like Amanda Seyfried (Sarah), Grace Zabriskie (Bill’s mom, Lois), Mary Kay Place (Nicki’s mom, Adaleen), Ellen Burstyn (Barb’s mom, Nancy) and Harry Dean Stanton (Roman), great acting is everywhere.

What did you think of Season 3 of Big Love? Are you as fascinated with the Henricksons as I am? Any predictions for Season 4?