Dynasty Season 1 Episode 2 – TV Review
It was just pilot jitters! Thank God.
Let’s. Get. Trashy.
TL;DR Dynasty dives head first into campy primetime soap territory and is so much better for it; the investigation into Nick Wechsler’s death sees the finger pointing at multiple suspects, with surprising results; Fallon and Jeff become more entwined, while Blake seethes from the sidelines; Steven is hot and cold with Sam; Cristal brings some welcome groundedness to her grief; but nothing can dampen this triumphant second outing for what could be the new Gossip Girl.
The talent’s all here. Just don’t waste it, CW.
So it’s time for a good old fashioned primtime soap murder accusation-slinging, as the authorities get involved in Nick’s untimely demise. His wife (we now know this is the case. Cristal was merely a mistress), Claudia, starts things off by saying Blake did it. Blake, in turn, taps his police chief buddy in Jeff’s direction. Mostly to mess with Fallon, who forges ahead with their business partnership, but also has to leverage Jeff’s tech wizardry to delete the email of the Cristal/Nick photo she sent to Blake (which would make Fallon look bad in the murder investigation if it came to light). Cristal stays out of the crosshairs of the police, but she isn’t fooling Nick’s colleague, who she has to end up publicly frying and lying about her love for Nick to save herself and Blake. And to close out the episode, with such wild allegations all over the place, the FBI suddenly appear and arrest Steven. A surprise arrest: this show could be amazing. Meanwhile, Steven asks Sam to cool it on the hanky panky. You know, because of the kind-of incest. But later on he rescinds that. Meanwhile, Cristal’s past secret seems to involve something benevolent she did for Sam (that obviously wasn’t squeaky clean). This is further hinted at when Alan Dale teases Cristal with an alias of hers he has discovered. Meanwhile, Jeff’s sister, and Fallon’s school friend, warns Jeff that Cristal is dangerous. And Black Driver continues to be jealous of Jeff.
We can’t have more than one black person inside Carrington Manor at any one time. It’s in the by-laws.
I can’t tell you how relieved I am that the dreariness and, yes, boredom of the pilot have completely lifted.
Even in the interspersed “serious” moments with Cristal and her mourning of Nick, Dynasty remembers to immediately pick things back up with some inappropriate sexiness or Fallon fashion statement.
And to keep up the Gossip Girl comparisons, Dynasty is now two-for-two with arbitrary big party events. And the teaser for next week shows that there is yet another party.
This could be love.
Why I hate this episode:
I know it’s only the second episode, but Dynasty is yet to position itself with a protagonist like Gossip Girl did. Fallon opened last week, and as the dismissed daughter of the evil billionaire patriarch, she was in the best position to be our hero. But interestingly, it looks like Fallon is going to be our lovable villain, and Cristal, the evil stepmother and boss-banging social climber, is going to be our sympathetic main character. It’s not an unwelcome turn (we’ll get to how well Fallon works as a villain in a minute), but I just want Dynasty to make a decision: whose story is this?
It certainly isn’t Steven’s, who is largely relegated to scenes with Sam and their unnecessarily wishy washy relationship. And Steven’s superfluousness robs his arrest at the end of the episode of any power. I mean, we know the first person arrested, and in only the second episode, isn’t going to be the real murderer. But the fact that Steven is a third tier character means that we can’t even pretend to believe he could be.
I know Claudia has brain damage, but for someone who’s willing to make murder accusations in public, she’s pretty dumb to be bought off by Blake’s “I was going to give Nick this half a million dollars anyway now it’s yours stop saying I killed him please” schtick.
Oh, and Jeff isn’t anywhere near cool or kooky enough to be Fallon’s love interest. Neither is Black Driver, whose only character trait so far is “doesn’t like Jeff.” We need more suitors. Now.
But it’s not all bad:
I’m not saying no to more blasè blowjobs from Fallon to Black Driver, though. Hey, he did it for her last week. She’s an egalitarian.
Fallon is the leader of the pack, here. And I realised something about her this episode: she speaks solely in insults. Everything she says is an overwritten, cunty comeback, sometimes pre-emptively. And I love it. Dynasty needs to be as loud and brash as possible as fast as possible. This isn’t 2007. We haven’t got time to wade through twenty-two episodes for it to find its voice. Go nuts, show. And let Fallon lead the way.
In addition to her vicious, vicious words, Fallon also pops visually, having several costume changes throughout the episode. Top points to her evil funeral hat, her red dress at the wake (there’s a reason for that), and to truly cement herself as a Blair Waldorf-esque diva, she comes out in a Norma Desmond realness turban getup for the breakfast table. She is gargantuan.
Fallon, naturally, picks up the episode’s best lines. She comes in at second place with this whip-fast quip after my own heart: “I don’t have trust issues: I just know better.” As someone who is always right, I’m with you, baby.
The best line of the episode is a joke that’s a little crude, but with the aforementioned blasè blowjobs, it’s a style that’s working for her:
Steven: “Is there a cactus where your heart should be?”
Fallon: “What’s up your ass this morning?”
Sam enters the room.
Fallon: “Hmm, never mind.”
That’s dirty, bitch. Keep it up.
Cristal may be the Glinda to Fallon’s Wicked Witch of the West, but she’s not without her own soap melodrama moments. She steals an epic one that eclipses the catfight from last episode. Fallon has just finished royally sniping at Cristal at Nick’s funeral, so Cristal nonchalantly shoves Fallon straight into an open grave. It’s an uncharacteristically slapstick moment for a modern soap, but damn, it works. I had predicted someone getting pushed into a fountain, not a fucking grave. I love it.
And this moment is followed up with Fallon changing into her red dress for the wake, and cheerily referencing getting dirty from the fall as the reason why she’s decided to make things all about herself. Just to really shit on Cristal some more.
My complaints over Nick Wechsler already being gone because he was killed off in the pilot are somewhat alleviated, as we see him in brief flashbacks. So fingers crossed we’ll get one in the future of him without his shirt on.
We get clarification on Nick calling for Cristal in his death throes and Colleague yelling to get Nick’s wife: Colleague knew about Nick and Cristal, and was protecting the secrecy of the affair, so he instead yelled for them to get Claudia. Fine.
What unsavoury things did Cristal do to help Sam back in the day? Given how quickly (and gratefully) Dynasty is devolving into soap garbage, I hope it involves yet more murder. Or stolen jewels.
Oh, and when Steven gets his surprise arrest, we get a textbook soap opera group shot. Yes, Dynasty. Fulfill your destiny.