'Big Love': Tensions run high at the start of the final season

big-love-season-premiere-2.jpg The fifth and final season of HBO's "Big Love" picks up more or less where we left it -- with the Henrickson clan officially outed as polygamists and about to suffer consequences that seem even more difficult than expected.

It wouldn't be fair to give too much away on a show that's always been most successful when delivering shocking moments, but the first three episodes back are fairly intense.

Bill ( Bill Paxton) realizes his only ally in the Senate won't do him any good, two of the wives are less than pleased with their new, public lives, Albie emerges from a visit to the desert with revenge on his mind and the remaining kids -- Tancy joins Sarah as an off-camera Henrickson -- are getting a lot of flack for who their parents are.

This produces one of the more disturbingly funny moments in the season premiere, which HBO has put online early. Nicki ( Chloë Sevigny), who will clearly never change her colors, corners a school bully and starts throwing as many slurs for red-heads that she can think of.

Hilarious, but it doesn't end well:

Season 5 of "Big Love" starts Sunday, Jan. 16, at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Photo/Video credit: HBO