Dynasty Season 1 Episode 9 – TV Review
And not only Christmas lewks, but a Christmas catfight.
The only downside is that it doesn’t involve Fallon.
TL;DR Iris comes for Christmas and turns out to be Cristal’s blackmailer and not a good person; they catfight; Cristal also killed Sam’s father back in Venezuela; except the stinger shows he’s alive (mon dieux!); Fallon tries to help Jeff’s sister reconnect with their father, but only serves to push her away further; also Jeff is out to take down the Carringtons for revenge for his father; Grandpa Carrington rubs everyone the wrong way.
Who knew Steven inherited his daddy issues from his own dad’s daddy issues?
So blessed be, Dynasty has given us a second Christmas episode. We’ll start with Cristal, who welcomes her sister, Iris, to Carrington Manor for the holidays. Sam is overjoyed to have his mum back, but things take a turn when Cristal and Alan Dale stumble upon wads of that blackmail money from last episode in Iris’ bag. It turns out Iris did blackmail Cristal, and had in fact not even been on the run for the last five years, and was just milking Cristal for the money. Both out of jealousy, and, as revealed during a Christmas tree-toppling catfight, because Cristal killed her man and Sam’s father back in Venezuela when they robbed that money (to save Iris, but you know). Oh, dear. Iris fucks off; Sam is hurt that Cristal robbed him of a father and caused him a lifetime of believing his father had instead abandoned him; and Blake finds it tough to stomach yet another secret. Meanwhile, Grandpa Carrington drags Steven back from New York and demands Blake fire him to protect the company’s image. Blake refuses because he wants to be a better father than his own, but when Steven’s drug-addled ex pops up, things get sticky. The ex gets arrested, and Steven and Grandpa Carrington believe Blake made that happen. Meanwhile, Fallon learns that Jeff was actually visiting his imprisoned dad on Thanksgiving. In between bickering with Jeff about her proposal to lay off workers to make their company profitable, she also decides she’s going to take Monica (Jeff’s sister is turning out to be a proper supporting character, so it was time for the name upgrade) to see her jailed daddy. This doesn’t go well, and despite some later efforts from Fallon to appease Monica, Monica instead instigates her own revenge on Fallon by throwing herself at the newly-single Black Driver. Revenge runs in the family, too, as Jeff discusses his sinister schemes with his dad: Blake planted drugs on Daddy to have him arrested back in the day because Blake was banging his wife, and Daddy found out. Jeff is fucking with the Carringtons (and in Fallon’s case, also simply fucking) for revenge.
With all the revenge that’s going on in this primetime soap opera, it’s a shame that title was already taken.
It seems like Dynasty does its best work with themed holiday episodes, as this one is an impressive companion to, and improvement on, the Thanksgiving episode.
Did I mention that Christmas also gives Steven and Fallon an excuse to sing?
Why I hate this episode:
Sadly, this is no Riverdale, and they’re awful. But isn’t that what Christmas carols are all about?
I’d say my only proper issue with the episode is that Monica’s decision to be a bitch to Fallon (and that whole “I’m not a charity case” speech) falls flat because Dynasty hasn’t laid any real groundwork for their relationship. We’ve been told they’re old school friends, but every time we’ve seen Monica and Fallon together Monica has at best tolerated her, and at worst been openly critical of her. The only time they got along was last episode when they were discussing the corporate gifts. The betrayal this episode is flaccid because we haven’t seen them truly be friends.
I still haven’t got a handle on what exactly Cristal did in Venezuela. I know she stole money, but from who? Drug dealers?
Oh, and we don’t get to see Steven actually do any partying or having any wild sex. We just see the trashed hotel room. Boo.
But it’s not all bad:
But the consequences of the ex-boyfriend’s arrest do make for some juicy drama. Steven assumes Blake planted drugs in his car and called it in, so rages at Blake, subsequently revealing that he knows about that guy who died from his negligence. That’s some rough stuff.
Grandpa also assumes Blake had the ex-boyfriend arrested, but he is instead proud of Blake. It turns out, though, that Jeff made it happen so that Steven would accuse Blake of doing it. Clever girl.
Grandpa Carrington is the requisite amount of racist, classist, rich old white guy, and makes plenty of jabs at Cristal, Sam, and Iris. He’s a fun villain. And mostly harmless. I also enjoyed how he was able to make Blake squirm. Daddy issues for all.
Speaking of daddy issues, they really are for all, as it turns out the motive for Jeff’s plan is to get revenge on what Blake apparently did to his father. Although, given Monica’s fiery disdain for her dad, and that this is a soap opera, I’m betting there’s probably more to that story than Jeff has been led to believe.
Sam’s daddy issues are less salacious and more tragic. After Cristal’s big reveal about killing Sam’s father, Sam’s disappointment is not so much in the fact she did it (she was protecting his mum, you know), but that they instead led Sam to believe all his life that his father had left him. Which gave him crippling self-worth issues. Aww.
Iris is a surprise firecracker, quickly evolving from matronly big sister and mother to straight-up blackmailer and vengeful liar. The big moment, of course, is the tumble into the Christmas tree. But this is preceded by another moment for the Dynasty Slapstick Hall of Fame, as Iris smacks Cristal over the head with a big (and evidently empty) gift box grabbed from under the tree. I. Am. Living.
Sam’s answer to the poorly sung Christmas carols is to instead salsa dance, and Cristal joins him (I knew the costuming department must have put her in all fringe for a reason). This leads to jealousy and a cut-in from Iris, which sparks the fight. Get it, girls.
Alan Dale sums up the escalation of Cristal’s family drama with the episode’s best line: “Oh, I miss the old days when all you had was a dead ex-lover.” Not me, baby. Not if there are catfights to be had.
Fallon’s Christmas 80s power suit is literal perfection. And she hasn’t got that boring hairstyle I bitched about last episode, so thank you, show.
I had a genuine OMFG moment when Sam’s dead dad turned up alive to meet with Blake at the end.
Iris secretly sneaks onto Blake’s computer and finds the contact info of Parker Davis, a Carrington Atlantic lawyer. What’s that about, huh?
Oh, and a Christmas tree isn’t a fountain, and this wasn’t a big, public party, but I’ll take it.