Bill Paxton Bill Paxton

Spoiler alert! The Henricksons just can't catch a break. During the final season of polygamist drama Big Love, the biggest problem the family should be facing is the fallout of bringing their secret life into the open. But that would be far too easy. TV Guide Magazine has learned that Bill's mother, Lois (played to perfection by Grace Zabriskie), is going to add a little drama to an already stressful situation when a case of dormant herpes (you read that right) causes her to show signs that would normally be attributed to Alzheimer's or senility.

"The wonderful thing about her situation is that she's in and out," says Zabriskie about Lois' condition. When Zabriskie learned of her character's ailment, she immediately went online to research it. "I was like, 'How can this be?' But it is not uncommon that someone gets herpes, and they don't know they had it, and the virus is hiding in their brain for 40 years."  

If anything, she thinks the storyline will spark conversation. "It's a real thing, and I will be very surprised if no dialogue comes up about it," she says. "It should."

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!