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My Five Wives, Season 1, Episode 8,



Love Is All We Need

As the kids head off for school, Rhonda skypes with Brady’s mother, Stella, a breast cancer survivor. Rhonda is terrified. Stella doesn’t have much to say except to tell Rhonda her family needs her.

Brady drives his pickup to the tattoo shop for a consultation. He shows the artist the drawing his daughter made and explains how it symbolizes his five wives and the 24 children. ‘Cause he’s a polygamist, dontcha know? The artist seems to take this in stride. I’m wondering what Brady is going to do if Nonie gets pregnant. And what if someone else gets pregnant? This could turn out to be an ongoing mural.

The artist thinks the tattoo as originally designed is too busy and he suggests something different: instead of vines, a tree. The tree symbolizes Brady. Brady loves it. I hope his daughter won’t be too disappointed.

At home, Rosemary sits on a swing with Robyn. In her talking head, Robyn rehashes the Anniversary Insult. Still, when we cut back to the ladies on the swing, Robyn insists, “I know he cares.†She adds that they are bad at communication and that she was out of touch with “where he was at with us.†Is she blaming herself for this? She better not be blaming herself for this.

Robyn says she’s “happy in her ignorance.†Rosemary adds “we’ve all chosen that route before.†I suppose choosing to look the other way is one way of coping.

Rosemary says she feels really close to Robyn. Does she think Brady understands his wives’ feelings? She’d like to think so. Now there’s a fine example of willed ignorance. Rosemary is hopeful that Brady will show Robyn how special she is. Robyn doesn’t think the ring situation was about Paulie. Rosemary seems to agree, but based on last week’s episode, I’m guessing deep inside she’s blaming Paulie.

Robyn tells us it’s not about the ring; it’s about something deeper. Your husband has four other wives, so yeah, I’d say there’s a deep issue there. Still she’s waiting for Brady to want to give her a ring. She doesn’t want him to do it just because she made a fuss. Rosemary adds helpfully, “you don’t want to be a check mark.â€

That evening, it’s Rosemary’s night. She wants to talk to Brady about their own 20th anniversary. She tells him “not to worry about getting her a ring, but to take the time to fix things with Robyn first. Brady, despite being married to five women for decades, proves that he is absolutely clueless about women, relationships, anger, jealousy---let’s face it he’s clueless about everything. He answers. “It won’t take me long.†D’oh!!

Rosemary patiently explains that it might take Robyn a while to warm up to Brady. Brady says “I get it.†I’m not so sure he does; but even so he tries to gives us the “short version.â€----- Robyn didn’t feel like Brady cherished her as much as another wife. So he’s going to take back the ring and get her something special. He tells Rosemary: “You guys have to be expert forgivers to be married to me.†At last, something he does “get.â€

In her house, Rhonda tells her toddler not to run with a fork, then gets on the phone to make an ultrasound appointment. Rhonda explains how exhausting the testing process is. The toddler starts crying and I can’t imagine the stress of dealing with a possible cancer diagnosis and a two-year-old at the same time.

At Robyn’s house, the kids are making Valentines for each other. Robyn explains that in a family with so many kids, there’s lots to give. Some of the kids explain why they like Valentine’s Day.

In a voiceover, Paulie is sad. How can I tell, you ask? Yes, I know, “sad†seems to be Paulie’s go-to expression, but in this particular case she tells us she’s sad. Her oldest son, the earnest one, is leaving for Africa soon.

Rhonda heads to the clinic for her ultrasound. She’s frustrated. She wants to know what she’s up against. She says she is going to trust that everything happens for a reason. She takes a deep breath before she goes in.

At home, it’s Rhonda’s night. She won’t have the ultrasound results for a couple of days. Seriously, this waiting is agony. She’s also been told that, even if the results come back okay, she should go to a general surgeon and have a biopsy just to make sure. Rhonda says she’s torn. Brady finally makes some sense and says it can’t hurt to get a second opinion. Brady tells her how strong she is. I’m guessing she’s had a lot of practice being strong in her life.

Now Josh the Earnest is packing for his trip. He tells us he’s wanted to go to Africa since he was a kid. I’m glad he’s getting the opportunity. Paulie comes in to torture herself by watching Josh pack. He’s going to be gone for 12 days. That’s not so bad. I thought he was going for a few months.

Brady tells us he’s glad that Josh will experience the world. Paulie tells Josh to pack warm clothes and a toothbrush. Brady reminds him to take basketball shoes and Paulie re-reminds him to take warm clothes.

At dinner, Brady tells everyone about his tattoo consultation. He describes the artist’s idea for the tattoo. And I cannot comprehend how he thinks he should be talking about this when he’s got one wife who could possibly have cancer, another who had a sobbing fit because of the way he treated her, another who wants to have a baby, another who feels unwanted, and another who can’t open a window by herself. Oh, and also 24 KIDS!!!! Are there not more pressing issues than body art?

Nonie though, wants to discuss body art. She apprehensive about the new design. Rosemary is, too. Brady shows them the “rough draft†in a photo. Rosemary hates it, which is pretty much an assurance that Brady will get it.

The kids like it though. And the smart-aleck kid, who is quickly becoming my favorite, says “I think it’s going to give you super powers.†Way to give the topic the respect it deserves, kid.

Now it’s Robyn’s night. Brady tells her that he is taking the ring thing seriously and his brain is “actively working†to get her something nice that she can cherish. He’s going to take his time to figure it out. Robyn says she likes surprises. I don’t. And there’s nothing that Brady can do at this point to make this better as far as I’m concerned.

As far as Robyn’s concerned, the real issues in the marriage involve a lack of communication. She says “we wanted to be sweet and supportive,†but I think she means “she†wanted to be sweet and supportive. Having women “keep sweet†is a major tenet of their former religion. Finally she says “Enough is enough.†Hallelujah!!! Oh, you don’t mean you’re going to tell Brady where to stick it, Robyn? You say you’re going to work harder? Not what I had in mind, but okay.

After the commercial Brady is back at the tattoo shop. This tattoo thing seems to be monopolizing his “thinking-about-how-to-make-Robyn-feel-special†time. I’m tired of hearing about the tattoos and how the wives feel about it. But Brady spins it as representing his love for his family. Seems more like it represents his love for himself.

The artist asks Brady what I think is a polygamist’s favorite question: what’s it like having five wives? Brady does the humble brag: “I get that all the time…. I don’t cope……I don’t know that I do keep them happy.†You DON’T keep them happy. We can all attest to that. He ends with “they’re amazing, I’m blessed†because he knows they’re going to see this at some point and……wow!! That is a huge tattoo! I bet the wives are going to have some strong opinions.

It’s Valentine’s Day and Brady stops at the florist to “spend way too much money on flowers.†All I can say is he better get every single wife an identical bouquet. He does not agree. He wants them to be “similar but different,†adding “it’s a lot of work to do Valentine’s Day.†Well, you wanted five wives, buddy.

Brady does put identical messages on each card: “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.†Then he adds each wife’s name. He points out to the nice lady—who hasn’t batted an eye, by the way—that he’s a polygamist. See? He’s not just a jerk with five girlfriends.

He brings each wife their flowers. He seems exhausted by the whole process. In an attempt to make sure Robyn knows her bouquet is just as special—no more, no less—as the other wives’ bouquets, Brady adds an emphatic,  “How about THAT for flowers?!!â€

On his way to Rosemary’s, Brady grumbles that he “just should have had them delivered.†Yep. Then the ladies could all enjoy their flowers without you actually having to be there. Win/win.

I don’t know if it’s the editing, but I think Brady saved Paulie for last. I’m not sure how Robyn’s going to handle that.

Now it’s time for the tattoo reveal. Nonie cries before she even sees it. Brady rolls up his sleeve. The crowd family gives a collective gasp. Nonie is shocked and not sure what she thinks. Brady explains once again the branches and leaves concept. Robyn loves it. Rosemary thinks it’s “tasteful†and gushes over Brady’s nice arms. Paulie tries to convince herself she likes it because it has meaning for Brady.

Brady badgers Rhonda: “You don’t like it, do you?†For god’s sake, Brady!!!! The woman is waiting to hear if she has cancer. Your tattoo is irrelevant. Rhonda is diplomatic. “I’m glad you’re happy with it.†But she tells us she is always going to make him wear a shirt when he’s with her.

Next the kids do a Valentine exchange. Very nice tradition, but it must take forever. Somebody gets popcorn, somebody else gets sardines. I bet they’re from that smart alecky kid.

Brady explains that they are all together because they love each other and are committed. Nonie says it’s a daily choice they make to want to be together. Brady says they all have to fall in love with each other over and over and over. Rosemary and Robyn smile at that.

Brady adds that six people in a marriage create a complex dynamic, but it’s a beautiful thing. All the wives look contemplative—none look happy.

Just when I think it’s over, Nonie gathers some kids in the car and tells us she’s going grocery shopping and to get a pregnancy test to see if “we’re in luck.†Even though Rhonda is the only wife who knows she’s trying to get pregnant, Nonie says she’s not going to tell Rhonda the result because she got too much going on with her possible cancer. That’s what she said the last time too and she couldn’t wait to spill everything to Rhonda. Let’s see what happens this time.

Back at the house, Josh the Earnest says goodbye. Brady is happy for him. Paulie tells him to be careful and tells him to call when he gets there. Paulie tells him to be careful again. Then she tells us that she would never keep her son from fulfilling a dream.

Later Rhonda finally has her test results. She says through tears that her ultrasound results are good. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, including me. I’m so happy for her. She’s still going to see a surgeon for a biopsy, which is good. Brady hugs her and tells her he loves her.

Nonie tells us how her life has been blessed by Rhonda. Who wouldn’t want to bask in what Rhonda has to offer? Robyn talks about her unique and special sister wives and she’s grateful for Brady.

Brady says sometimes we need a reminder of what’s important in life. “Sometimes we get distracted by work and school.†“And tattoos,†I add, but Brady doesn’t. He says “what’s important is those sweet women I’m married to.†There it is again, “sweet.†For some reason, that irks me.

I’m also uncomfortable with the fact that Rhonda’s cancer drama was played out on camera. Were they stringing us along with all the waiting because they needed a good storyline for TV?  Did they prolong the whole process in pursuit of high drama? I hope not. Rhonda is an adult and she can do what she wants, but the whole thing bothers me.

Next week is the Q&A. I hope we find out if Nonie’s pregnant.

If you'd like to discuss this episode, go to the forums: http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=21415


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