Certain Poor Shepherds
Big Love (LWM) | Season 5 | Episode 3

Certain Poor Shepherds

TV-MA | 59 MIN

Written by Jami O'Brien
Directed by David Petrarca

Bill sits in his Senate office making calls, only to learn there is no one around to receive them. Senator Barn advises Bill to save his energy for January. When Barn questions whether Bill celebrates Christmas, Bill assures him he does; it's only compound folk who ignore it.

Alby blames Lura when one of the dogs bites their son. Calling her unfocused and distracted, he threatens to reassign her children. He instructs another sister-wife to round up all the dogs and poison them.

Bill comes home and discovers Margene unloading cartons of Goji Blast. He asks her for her driver's license, but won't reveal why.

Nicki tries to persuade Adaleen to join her for Christmas. Her mother refuses, explaining she's too tired – she's spent the last few days getting her status in order to receive assistance for being indigent and pregnant. When she gets choked up describing her situation, Adaleen tells Nicki it's just hormones.

Barb works on her "plum" pudding in the kitchen. Because Lois isn't making sense, Barb tells Bill she's made a doctor's appointment for her. Ben avoids his parents' questions about his plans for the future. When Heather, home from college, visits with a gift of gingerbread, Ben notices the change in her appearance and invites her to join the family later that night at the ice rink.

Margene shows Pam her sales strategy for Goji Blast, explaining how Pam will be a part of her downline, and that she'll eventually have one of her own too. Pam confides they're tightening belts at home – Carl has been unemployed for five months now. When Carl pops in, he's clearly displeased to see what Pam is up to.

Cara Lynn fakes a stomach ache so she can be excused from her tutorial session early. Before she leaves, Greg Ivey presents her with a biography of Barbara McClintock, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist. "Genes don't dictate who we become," he reminds her. Cara Lynn sneaks off with Gary Embrey, which Greg notices.

At dinner, Bill and Ben make a big speech saluting womenhood and thanking all the women at the table: "You are very special and entitled to the guidance of righteous priesthood holders." Barb pipes up with a reminder that the women are also blessed with "free will, your own personal relationship with Him, and a divine ability to discern the truth…" Afterwards, Nicki scolds Barb for stirring the pot.

Margene tells Bill she lost her license and so can't give it to him, but Bill is unwilling to accept that answer. He instructs her to have it replaced immediately.

At the skating rink, Ben gets on the ice with Heather, and compliments her on her new confidence. Bill brings up Barb's remarks at dinner and she promises him that there is no hidden agenda. When couples skate is announced, Bill gets on the rink with all his wives: "Just don't let go of each other."

Alby pays a visit to Adaleen at the Big House – the County called him to confirm her address for their Women, Infants and Children program. Furious that Adaleen is still pregnant, he denounces her as unclean and orders her to leave. At the same time, Alby gets news that Lura has taken the children and gone.

The doctor informs Bill that Lois is suffering from dementia and more tests are necessary. When he updates Barb, she is surprised to hear that Bill hasn't told Lois about her condition. She reminds Bill that she's prepared to shoulder some of his burden. Grateful, Bill tells her that there are changes to come at church.

Now homeless, Adaleen retreats to Nicki's. Cara Lynn inquires about JJ and noting Nicki's warning glance, Adaleen assures her he is well. Margene approaches Nicki about getting a new driver's license – she has too many parking tickets to get a replacement -- but Nicki refuses to provide one for her. Conscious of the public scrutiny on them, Nicki tells Margie to pay her tickets before any scandal erupts.

Cara Lynn asks Ben to cover for her – she's going to find out what happened to JJ.

Bill and Barb go to the casino with conciliatory poinsettias and find the casino has been transformed into someplace smoky and sleazy. New manager Austin Buttercup tells them that the casino decided to go in another direction – and if Bill has any issues with it, or with his reduced profit share, he should take it up in arbitration.

In church, Bill announces the beginning of new traditions. Barb is crestfallen when he asks Ben to bless the sacrament.

Nervous because he only has a permit, Gary drives Cara Lynn to the compound. The two find the charred remains of JJ's clinic.

Lura and her children show up at Bill's seeking refuge. Although Nicki refuses to trust her, Bill takes her to a shelter. He asks Sister Mary Catherine to watch over them – no one has ever left a man of Alby's stature.

Aware that the kids want to see Santa, Lois piles the younger children into a car. She ends up stopping the traffic at a restaurant drive-through window, demanding to see Santa. Wayne gets a hold of her cell phone and calls Barb. Bill and Nicki rush to pick up the children and convince a local cop to keep the incident off the blotter.

Bill comes home to see that the wives have discovered his Christmas gift for them: guns. Nicki states she already has one and is not in need of another. Margene refuses to hand over her license if it's meant for a permit, but Bill won't take no for an answer.
Lura calls Alby from the shelter to apologize for leaving him at Christmas. He tries to convince her to return: "Do you want to be an outcast?" Overcome, she hangs up.

Bill brings the whole family to the Capitol to serenade Senator Barn with carols.

Sitting down for Christmas Eve dinner, Adaleen thanks everyone for including her. Nicki picks up on Cara Lynn's anxiety. Heather has joined them – her parents are in Mexico picking up a new baby. Lois remains disoriented. When Bill draws Marge close, she confesses: She never lost her license. She was withholding it because she lied about her age – they were married when she was still 16. Nicki accuses Marge of ruining Christmas, and Barb pointing out that the age of consent is 18, reels from the enormity of the news.

Cara Lynn confronts Adaleen – she's seen what's left of the clinic. Adaleen confirms Cara Lynn's fears: Her father is dead.

While the family heads out to volunteer at the shelter, Adaleen stays at home to destroy her hormone medication. Marge approaches Barb and asks her not to blame Bill – her birthdate never mattered and it still shouldn't. Barb counters that it is, in fact, important. Unsympathetic, Nicki reminds Barb that she never supported Bill's third marriage. Bill tells Margene it wasn't her fault, but avoids her, leaving Marge feeling alone.

When Nicki asks Cara Lynn to snap out of it, her daughter confronts her. Nicki denies, and then tries to explain what happened to JJ. "I grew up insisting my father was a good man," she says holding her daughter.

Bill turns to God for answers: Why is the family being tested? His prayer is interrupted by the news that Alby is trying to take Lura away. When asked to choose, Lura admits she doesn't want to return to the compound. Alby tries to grab her, but Bill decks him and reproaches him for being a coward filled with self-hate -- in full view of Alby's children.

The gang arrives home to find Barb sitting in the dark, drunk and snacking on plum pudding.

Adaleen returns to Juniper Creek and promises Alby she's pure -- and won't leave him. The family acts out their Living Nativity as cars drive by.