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Overthinking the First Promo for Big Love Season 5

If the first promo clip for Big Love’s final season is any indication, we’ve got some epic TV to look forward to beginning January 16th. Although the 37-second video gives away exactly zero plot points, the sense of the Henrickson family’s imminent collapse — and eternal damnation — is pervasive, from the panicked dialog to the shadowy lighting. So, because we were going to waste all day thinking about what it all might mean anyway, we’ve decided to share our overthinking with you. After the jump, watch the promo, follow along with our predictions about what it all means, and add your own hypotheses in the comments.

1. This whole desert/”the end of days is near” business worries me. Are we really leading up to some Last Temptation of Bill situation? The problem here is the same as it always has been for Big Love: no one likes Bill, and he’s completely unbelievable as a savior.

2. Looks like Nicki is back to her fundy wardrobe, after last season’s foray into outdated teen fashion. Could she be backsliding?

3. “It’s all connected, don’t you get it?” Nicki asks, looking more than a bit shaken. Hard to tell whether she means a compound-related conspiracy or, like, life, the universe, and everything.

4. In one split-second shot, Bill stares at Lois, who is apparently behind bars. Is this an illusion of cinematography, created to convey a “we’re so isolated from each other”-type tension? Or is she actually in prison?

5. “Spare my family these unending punishments!” Whether Bill Henrickson is talking to God or some off-camera tormentor, it’s clear Bill Paxton is gunning for an Emmy in the show’s final season.

6. Margene says, “I’m sinking, Bill.” Did she cheat? She was certainly in danger of leaving the fold at the end of last season — and we kind of hope she does it.

7. “I don’t care about the church or the state,” Bill says. Not only is this kind of a worrisome statement from a polygamous Mormon state senator, it also makes us think this season is heading in a political-thriller direction. Considering that Big Love is always at its best when it focuses on the wives, we’re not sure that’s a good thing.

8. “We’re all unholy,” Barb intones, surrounded by her sister-wives. Unless the clip comes from fairly far into the season, it may mean she hasn’t flown the coop, as it looked like she was about to last year.

9. We end with shots of everyone looking shocked — especially Margene, who’s hand-clapped-over-mouth move is pure B horror movie. Does someone get murdered?

10. Not only is Amanda Seyfried, who left the show at the end of Season 4, absent from the promo, but Douglas Smith (Ben) isn’t there, either. Is he gone, too?

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