Dynasty Season 2 Episode 1 – TV Review
Step aside, Riverdale. The real drama-actually-happens-at-our-parties deal has returned.
Also, Cristal is fucking dead.
TL;DR Cristal didn’t make it out of the barn; but everyone else did; Fallon struggles with the sale of Carrington Atlantic when it threatens her relationship with Black Driver; Steven tries and fails to keep his bun in the oven with Kelly Rutherford from Sam; Blake mourns Cristal, and then fucks everyone; especially (and literally) Alexis, who is being blackmailed by Hank/Adam; Alan Dale’s daughter Kirby is here to cause trouble, and joins forces with Jeff; a substitute Cristal looms on the horizon.
And I’m not ruling out a retcon return from the dead for Nathalie Kelley’s version, either. Despite her ambivalence.
So omg, there’s so much to get to this episode. We’ll start with Fallon, who is back together with Black Driver and doing her best to seal the CA sale deal with Liam’s family. Things take a turn for the love triangular when Fallon learns that Liam’s shot-caller uncle thinks he and Fallon are still married, and they would have to pretend to be so if the sale goes ahead. At least for a little while. Black Driver says he’s fine with this, but Fallon panics when her vagina starts having naughty Liam thoughts and she looks at other options. Meanwhile, Blake has fucked off overseas for a month while he mourns Cristal, the only casualty of the barn fire. He returns boozy and donning a classic Beard of Sorrow, much to Fallon’s irritation. He’s also not too keen on her other buyer, a Russian eccentric with a pet parrot he carries around and who has beef with Blake. Meanwhile, Steven tries to console a grieving Sam while also trying to keep a lid on the rapidly expanding baby bump in Kelly Rutherford. This all comes to a head at the Carrington Atlantic centenary celebration party, and Blake has a public blow-up at his spoilt, messy children. Sam is surprisingly hopeful about a possible baby, though, as he sees it as an opportunity to do something good. And Fallon’s deal with Liam’s family seems sealed, but then Black Driver proposes to her, anyway. Thanks, drunk dad. Speaking of drunk parents, Alexis came out of the fire unscathed, but her caviar-shovelling bubble is burst when Adam/Hank (publicly being discussed as the prime suspect in Cristal’s murder, by the way. And he does admit he set the barn on fire, so I guess he and Claudia both have something to answer for) comes blackmailing. Alexis pesters Blake for some insurance money, but when things get dire, Blake catches her trying to break into his bedroom safe. So they do what any rational robber/robbee would do: have hate sex on top of a pile of money. God, I love Dynasty. Oh, and Kirby is in town, but Alan Dale is keeping her away from the family because Kirby and Fallon also have beef (like father, like daughter). So she naturally finds partnership in Jeff. And a woman claiming to be the real Cristal comes to the manor looking for a payout. Blake throws some money at her to make her go away, but the news gets out, and the episode ends as some other woman named Cristal seems to get a similar bright idea.
Gimme all those soap opera cliches, darling.
Oh, how grand it is to be back with Dynasty. The season is already off to a fabulous start, with every major character having something to contribute to the episode, and the drama at “drunken public blow-up” levels.
The only thing it’s missing is a catfight (next to a fountain, hmm?).
Why I hate this episode:
Sure, Cristal was probably the wettest blanket out of everyone. And she did continually give me Sybil from TVD Season 8 trauma flashbacks. But Cristal was so important to the first season, and therefore important to establishing the show’s identity. So to have her killed off-screen is cruel.
And to add insult to injury, she’s apparently going to be replaced by a younger model. Now that’s just gross. The only saving grace of this would be to have Nathalie Kelley burst out of a box alla Shangela (complete with a Halleloo) at a party mid-season. But I think that’s a long shot.
Black Driver is a little too submissive to Fallon. I kept waiting for him to finally crack. And I’m going to keep waiting, because we know she’s taken advantage of him before, and he wouldn’t forget that.
It was weird that Kirby mentions the reason she left Carrington Manor was due to some arson something or other, but then it’s revealed that Adam/Hank is the one who started the barn fire.
Oh, and Adam/Hank is back already, so then where’s Claudia?
But it’s not all bad:
Given that they’re both conniving, pregnancy-loving blondes, I’m kind of hoping that it will be revealed that she’s Kelly Rutherford’s sister or something. Can you imagine?
I’m gonna go a bit off script here and say, although I don’t wholly buy the love fantasy, I do appreciate that Dynasty has pivoted on Fallon and Black Driver’s relationship to make them happy and healthy. To her credit, Fallon informs Black Driver of all the Liam complications straight-up and at every step. That’s worth commending.
And his proposal to her late in the episode did elicit a queeny gasp from me. I’ll own it.
But the king of Blandly Attractive White Guys, Liam, is not going to be shown up so easily. He appears to Fallon in a threesome shower sex dream (yes, please), and she admits that her fake romancing of him in front of Uncle Moneybags is stirring something inside. I am here for this love triangle.
Fallon also sings at the party. It’s brief and not showboaty, which is kind of a surprise for Fallon. But I hope this opens the door to more. Riverdale might be at risk of looking bad with an awkward musical number, but Dynasty is prepped and ready for that kind of hamminess. Bring it on.
Steven seems to have gotten a low-key makeover, and looks much sexier than he did last season. Which fits with his slutty, slutty ways, as Kelly Rutherford’s baby doesn’t stay secret for very long.
Alexis gets the best line of the episode when Steven informs his family (not Sam, yet) that he’s gotten someone pregnant: “A woman?” I laughed out loud.
And props to Sam for taking the reveal, during Blake’s drunken tirade, so well. Sam’s grief over Cristal’s death feels the most genuine (Blake was doing a little bit too much threatening last season to really sell his emotions), so it was a sweet when he thought the baby might be an opportunity to bring some good into the world to fill the void Cristal left.
Kelly Rutherford, thankfully, though, is here for the drama, mawma. She reveals her pregnancy to Sam by showing up by surprise at the party, which elicits the expected hand-wringing from Steven when he sees her. She withholds the identity of the father from Sam, but I imagine that was simply set-up for a longer, more dramatic reveal. She’s got schemes, gurl. And I want to see them.
Alexis also has schemes, but she’s on the defence at the moment while Adam/Hank blackmails her in exchange for his silence. She smartly demands the barn insurance money from Blake, and Blake does agree that she should be entitled to it. But that isn’t going to happen quickly enough for Adam/Hank, which leads to the best visual of the episode, as Blake catches Alexis going to the safe, and they then have angry sex on his bed after he’s furiously thrown wads of cash all over it. It’s peak Dynasty.
Russian guy with a parrot on his shoulder at the party is also peak Dynasty. The show isn’t at all self-conscious about the kookiness. It is terrific.
Kirby is yet to show her cards, but I like her accent. And she looks like Bella Thorne, which is a great head start on being a convincing villain. Just don’t let Jeff bring you down.
I have a feeling Uncle Moneybags may be more than just that. There’s a throwaway remark from him about how he had a business deal in Atlanta once that didn’t end well, so I suspect Blake will have something to do with that. I also suspect he knows the Fallon/Liam marriage is a sham.
Alexis nabs not only the best line of the episode, but the trademark Dynasty slapstick moment. She returns to the manor from her hospital stay on a motorised wheelchair, the entrance of which is itself just gold. But then she finishes up by accidentally bumping the little table in the foyer that Cristal’s ashes are on, and they crash and spill to the floor. Sublime.
Blake gets a heartwarming moment when he punches out a paparazzo who is besmirching Cristal’s name to Sam. Protective daddies just love Sam. Except for one.
Oh, and Liam looks so fucking cute at the party. Black Driver may have the abs, but Liam’s got him on that perfect balance of lazy but suave facial hair.