Dynasty Recap: 1×03 “Guilt is for Insecure People”

Previously on Dynasty: Fallon thought she deserved to run her dad’s company, but he offered the COO position to his new fiancee, Cristal. So Fallon teamed up with this guy Jeff to form a company called Carrington Windbriar. Cristal’s nephew Sammy Joe declared her the “black sheep” of the family, and Cranky Butler had dirt on her but we don’t know what it is. Finally, Cristal’s married ex-lover died at Windbriar and Steven got arrested for it.

Out in what appears to be the fanciest servants’ quarters ever (Ryan lived in the “pool house”; shall we call this the “carriage house,” given Michael’s occupation?), Fallon and Michael are role-playing to “Like a Virgin,” with Fallon dressed as Madonna. They casually exposit that there’s a big eighties-themed charity gala coming up, so we can expect some fab outfits, which is all we’re really tuning in for, right? Fallon literally stops while straddling Michael to check her texts, even though Michael protests that “There was definitely no texting in the eighties.” She says she’s just checking because of her concern about her incarcerated brother, but when it turns out to be Jeff instead, she like hops right off of Michael.

More than ever I’m rooting for Michael to be secretly plotting the takedown of this entire family, because otherwise it’s just depressing to watch him put up with this nonsense!

Back to the scene: Fallon excuses checking Jeff’s texts by saying it’s for business and there’s nothing going on. She also tosses off one of those lines she’s fond of, which turn gender stereotypes on their head in a way too wedded to those stereotypes to be particularly revolutionary: “Why do men always have to ruin everything by talking about their feelings?” Which Michael actually wasn’t doing, anyway. She leaves, saying they’re about to sign their first client with Carrington Windbriar.

Steven has apparently made bail and is running a gauntlet of press with his father as escort. When they’re barely even out of earshot Blake exposits that Steven donated millions of dollars to a radical “ecoterrorist” group and that’s why he’s being blamed for Matthew’s death. Then Blake asks him if he did it, which is like a pretty big leap to make to ask your own son without a LOT of evidence, don’t you think? They launch into a fight within seconds, which ends when Blake scolds Steven for donating to the “tree-hugging snowflakes” and somewhat precipitously withdraws all his help (aka, lawyer money).

Back at the estate, Cranky Butler talks to Cristal in bad Spanish and calls her Cecilia. Cristal, who’s enjoying a solitary breakfast at the giant dining table, has recovered from her early fear and pops food into her mouth as she says that she just changed her name so her family couldn’t find her. Speaking of whom, Sammy Joe sails into the kitchen in a robe that Cranky Butler crankily points out usually is worn by a female guest. Sammy Joe pouts and pulls his lapels apart, which is pretty funny. Cristal asks the butler, who I guess I should start referring to as Anders, if the gala is a bad idea with everything else going on. But Fallon sails in at just the moment to shoot her down, again. She says that it would be a shame for charity to suffer just because Cristal is stressed out. And then lectures Cristal on the fact that the Carrington name is all of theirs, and that she “can’t just wash away the name at your convenience like you do your heavy foundation.” Heh.

Blake brings Steven back in, and he and Fallon share a sweet hug while Blake rules in favor of Fallon: it would look bad to cancel the gala. Steven unfortunately can’t go because he’s, you know, being charged with murder and that would look weird.

Sammy Joe’s sitting out in the sun by the pool when Steven sits by him and asks for a favor. He wants to prove where he was when Matthew dies. Sammy Joe doesn’t look super psyched about admitting to their liaison on the morning Matthew dies, because—he claims—he has been in trouble with the law before and it’ll only hurt Steven. Steven says, “Thanks for being so honest,” which Sammy Joe is PATENTLY not being. Just as Steven walks away, in fact, he gets a call which sends him into a panic. He finds Cristal and, breaking into half-Spanish, begs his tía to help his mom who was robbed. Cristal promises him the money and he says that if anything happens to her, it’ll be Cristal’s fault—still unclear why, and at this point I’m honestly not sure why the secrecy. It’s not increasing the suspense to not know Cristal’s secret; the suspense, such as it is, mostly lies in whether Cristal can keep it from her husband.

Fallon shows up to a large warehouse to see the surprise Jeff promised her. It has a treadmill desk and a fully-stocked champagne bar. She’s so charmed by how well he knows her that she almost makes out with him, but then leans back and says they need to keep their professional boundaries. Then Jeff pulls literally the most obnoxious maneuver in the world, laughing and saying, “Oh, you thought…?” Uh, yeah, she did, Jeff. Because you are super duper hitting on her. Ugh.

I’m really torn on Jeff because on the one hand, he’s kind of the worst, but on the other hand, his outfits are amazing.

Anyway, Fallon’s called away by news that “the Kwan brothers” are backing the two of them. She poached them from her dad. Also, she’s been served.

Apparently Blake has issued a cease and desist against Fallon using her own name for her new company, because he trademarked it back when Fallon’s mom (now that’s an unknown relative I’m dying to meet; if I had to guess, I’d place that Very Special Episode around episode 15 of this season) wanted to start a line of lip plumpers. Fallon can’t believe he’d try to prevent her from using her own name. “I gave it to you,” he says. GROSS. If you want to be able to claim it’s your name, maybe DON’T PARTICIPATE IN THE STUPID PATRIARCHAL TRADITION WHEREBY YOU STAMP YOUR OFFSPRING WITH YOUR NAME.

It’s basic copyright law, for one thing—if you let enough people use it, the copyright is meaningless. Also, it’s sexist.

Anyway, Fallon knows what he’s up to: he’s trying to spook her investors by tying her up in litigation. But she’s not afraid of him. Blake calls her “little girl,” and somehow walks out alive, which… he’s lucky he’s not my dad, is all I’m saying.

After the credits, Cristal shows up to a food truck and uses a special code word to get invited into the back. She says she needs to get money to someone, and agrees to a 30% commission—but her card is rejected. She is forced to put her fabulous sunglasses back on and leave, thwarted. Back at home, Anders (formerly known as Cranky Butler) greets her with fake deference before admitting that he closed her checking account. She agreed to it in the prenup. I lose a LOT of respect for Cristal when it becomes clear she forgot to read the damn thing. On the other hand, she gets a shiny black credit card going straight to Blake’s account. Yay?

Blake arrives and congratulates Cristal on her Very Fancy Card. He says he’s sorry that she can’t have the financial independence she wants, but he values total transparency, and… he wins. (Well, he doesn’t say that last part, but it’s pretty clear.) He grabs her shoulders, tells her never to have secrets from him because that’s what destroyed his last marriage (unspoken is the obvious truth that he means the wife’s secrets; his secrets are just things he has the right to keep private), tells her to buy anything she wants, and refuses to listen to anything she has to say. Good lord, Cristal, just get divorced.

Fallon and Jeff are having lunch somewhere and Fallon is frustrated that the Kwan brothers have gotten spooked by the not-yet-a-lawsuit. She pronounces “red tape” RED-tape. That’s weird. It’s clearly red-TAPE. Anyway, Jeff orders them some dirty martinis and Fallon realizes they need to play dirty. Jeff suggests using Michael, and Fallon demurs that Michael just has a little crush on her. Jeff apparently buys it, and agrees instead to go to the Carrington gala to woo the Kwan brothers.

Cristal is trying on quite a decollete dress which looks suspiciously like the kind of shitty sparkly stuff that Michael Kors used to overcharge for in the nineties when Sammy Joe busts in asking about his Mami. This guy has less stealth than Seth Cohen. Cristal, no joke, sends the maid who was helping her off to taste test some caviar (poor people are so dumb they’ll forget everything they hear as long as you shove some expensive salty fish eggs into their mouths immediately after; hadn’t you heard?). She explains that she couldn’t take care of Sammy Joe’s mom because Anders is watching her and she doesn’t want Blake to figure out that she’s been lying, so she has to lie more. She says she’ll figure it out and she always does, then stares at herself in the mirror, which—in case you haven’t seen TV before—means she’s Reexamining Herself.

Then we get a little flashback of a distressed-looking Cristal pulling some money out of a safe. The video is super blue-toned, Chino style. (Sorry for all the OC references but I can’t help it! This show is SO the OC of the new decade! We even finally got our out-of-the-closet Seth!)

Fallon and Michael are hanging out post-coitally in his bed and Fallon is once again spewing her daddy issues all over Michael. Michael tries to be comforting, but Fallon says all she needs is intel. He suggests she ask Jeff for help instead. I hardly dare to say it but I think he’s learning?

Next up, Cristal has to pick which crazy diamond necklace gets auctioned off for charity. She finds this mildly uncomfortable. “Make a choice, Mrs. Carrington,” says Anders.

Outside, Steven asks Michael if he saw him recently, i.e. if Michael witnessed Steven coming back in from his tryst with Sammy Joe the morning of Matthew’s death. “If you say you saw me, I’m happy to back you up,” says the almost unbelievably loyal Michael. But Steven, unlike Fallon, doesn’t want Michael to lie for him. Pressed briefly for details, Steven admits that it’s complicated with Sammy Joe, and they briefly chat about Michael’s dalliance with Fallon, which apparently has been going for four years. Oh, Michael. You poor deludenoid. Anyway, Michael relents and offers Steven the front-seat intel Fallon couldn’t get out of him. INTERESTING. I approve of this move on Michael’s part. (And no, I’m not one of those horrible people who develops a hatred for every flawed female character. I love Fallon. I just don’t want to see poor Michael get trampled!)

Steven storms into Blake’s office, armed with the intel Matthew has apparently given him. He says that all their maneuvers haven’t been about protecting anyone but Blake—he knows that Blake has Matthew’s phone and it should’ve been in evidence. Steven thinks he got it from Stansfield and it must have something incriminating against Blake on it. Blake acts like he’s not bothered, but he offers his lawyers to get Steven off the hook, which if you’ll recall he’d pettily withdrawn earlier this episode. Then he yells that he’s protecting Steven. SIGH. Steven says that this pattern of giving and withdrawing is why he doesn’t answer Blake’s calls. Blake smashes some more stuff, as one does.

Fallon is trying on a hilarious ruched shiny satin dress with one be-feathered sleeve for the gala, but declares that the sleeves aren’t puffy enough. Steven looks on, wondering how this gala is benefiting Fallon. She says everyone who’s anyone is going to be there and she’s going to prove she’s part of this family. Steven holds out about four seconds before spilling EVERYTHING to Fallon about how Blake took Matthew’s phone out of evidence. Fallon thinks if she can find the phone she can win against her dad—and save Steven, of course. I’m so sure she cares.

Eighties gala time. Cristal has a slinky sequined dress with elbow gloves; Fallon has a puffy neon blue dress and chandelier earrings. Apparently no one told Fallon that she doesn’t get to model the jewelry this year, but Cristal quickly sets her straight. “I think you might have misunderstood when they said this necklace was for charity,” Fallon says. Heh. “If only diamonds could buy you class,” says Cristal, very originally. Blake arrives to slime all over Cristal. He declares her the most beautiful woman in the room, then says, “Oh Fallon, good, you’re here.” BURN.

Once alone with Blake, Cristal pretends to be all coy and nervous about the necklace. Meanwhile, Jeff (wearing a fetching plaid suit) approaches Fallon to tell her she looks “gnarly.” They start dancing wihtout much talking about it. He asks for dirt on Blake and she says she has a plan. But just then, Michael arrives—and Fallon pretends to have ripped her skirt in order to send Michael for a seamstress. Should we just rechristen Michael “Poor Michael”? He pauses long enough to see that Fallon’s gone right back to Jeff. I say again: Poor Michael.

Steven’s sitting outside the gala, a little closer than you would think appropriate for an accused murderer perhaps, when Sammy Joe finds him and brings him (his hands clasped over Steven’s eyes, just as Jeff did to Fallon when he was showing her her virtual office) to a satellite party venue that he’s put together for Steven: some random garden on the Carrington estate, decorated in a festive if not quite Carrington-level over-the-top manner. Steven, charmingly gullible as ever, declares Sammy Joe “nice” and touches his face. Oh, Steven.

Inside, Cristal is modeling the ridiculously expensive diamond necklace at auction which quickly goes up to a million dollars when Jeff gets involved, then between Blake and Jeff goes up to ten million. Blake lets Jeff have it for ten, but finds him after and claims to have baited him into paying way over value. “You can’t overpay charity, Blake,” Jeff says. Blake could not care less about charity, and asks what Jeff wants with a necklace. “I’m gonna give it to your daughter,” Jeff says with an absolutely UNHOLY grin. He lectures Blake that Fallon came to him, and they get into a pretty lame shoving match that manages to overturn what appears to be a Carrington Atlantic-branded ice sculpture.

Sammy Joe and Steven are sitting drinking champagne out of the bottle in the garden, while Steven whines that he’s going to jail and his dad lied to him. Sammy Joe tells him that Blake was really worried about Steven and that maybe the problem is that Steven doesn’t trust Blake. Uh, I’m pretty sure the problem is the thing Steven said.

Michael’s in his carriage house all sad and alone when Fallon arrives demanding Matthew’s phone. Michael’s like, well I don’t have it and that seamstress thing was a lie. Go Michael! He says that her advantage over her father is her. She pretends not to care, but he gives her a sweet little pep talk about how she’s unstoppable, “and that’s what I love about you, Fallon.” They start kissing, and Michael rips her dress the rest of the way.

Cristal has also left the party, in order to finger the giant necklace while she indulges in what is apparently her new favorite pastime: staring at herself in the mirror and remembering the Bad Times In Mexico. There is something about a plan where she picks up Sammy Joe at school and meets someone named Iris at the truck stop. Only when she’s supposed to meet Iris, Iris isn’t there and neither is Sammy Joe so Cristal totally just gets in the truck (which presumably is going to take her to America). Cristal shares certain things with Fallon, apparently.

When Cristal reemerges, Anders flat-out just tells her she looks guilty, what with how she’s been caressing that necklace all night. “Guilt is for insecure people,” Cristal says. But, maybe also for guilty people. She tells him that solving one problem by creating another gets you nowhere, and passes the necklace over to Jeff. “Ten million bucks never felt so light,” Jeff humblebrags to Anders. He asks where Fallon is, and Anders, trying not to look too smug, says that he does know her general location.

Cut to Jeff witnessing Fallon and Michael in quite the eighties-themed embrace out in the carriage house.

Back in the main building, Blake witnesses a masked burglar going through stuff in his front hall, as one does, and he and Steven (who arrives halfway through the ensuing scuffle and leaps to his dad’s defense) fight the burglar off.

A still-sparkly Cristal nurses Blake on the couch and coos that she’s worried about him. Blake jokes that it’s nice of Steven to save him for a chance. Blake… is a dick. But Cristal lectures him that he can’t give up on his family. Then Blake says, “Nothing major was taken,” which Cristal takes as her cue to become ABSOLUTELY FRANTIC about her engagement ring. On first watching this, I was like, “Girl, at least wait a few minutes or he’ll definitely realize you orchestrated this.” But I was wrong—Cristal’s not in cahoots with the thief, she’s literally just being weird.

Fallon, having finished with Michael, calls Jeff—but he has two girls in the back of his limo with him. She tells Jeff’s voicemail she convinced the Kwan brothers of something or other. Are we supposed to care about this? We’ve literally never seen the Kwan brothers.

Blake comes into the Beige Room (I’m not sure of its name, but they like color names in this family) and listens to Steven plunking away on the piano for a bit. He reminisces that Steven’s mother got him into the piano, and then brags that his idea of making Steven take boxing lessons came in handy. Shut up, Blake. Steven tells Blake he’s sorry for not trusting him about Matthew’s phone, which—whether Steven intended to manipulate him or not—immediately melts Blake into confessing that uh, yeah, he does kind of have Matthew’s phone. “I bent the truth and the law,” he says. He says it was out of jealousy. Steven manages to work himself into a mild shock, which is about the strongest negative reaction he seems capable of. Blake insists there was no exculpatory evidence on the phone, because—say it with me, kids—all he wants is to protect Steven.

Blake finishes up this bucket of bullshit by saying he admires Steven for caring about other people. He asks Steven to stay and run the Carrington Foundation. Steven looks pleased by this, because he has learned nothing.

Sammy Joe finds Cristal in a velvet dressing gown and Cristal tells him she can’t lie anymore. “There’s no need to go and do something stupid like tell a man the truth,” Sammy Joe quips, saying he got the money. He admits he set up tonight’s little robbery. Cristal is shocked (which means that her little freakout about the ring before wasn’t even a lie, just really weird awkward writing). Sammy Joe’s like, no big thing! Also, he wants her to know that her past will come back to bite her in the ass, like she hadn’t figured that out already.

Second floor of the Carrington estate: Fallon and Blake, wearing equally hilarious pajama outfits, run into each other in the hallway. Fallon gives Blake a glass of whiskey she apparently poured for him and says she’s glad he’s OK. He calls her again to say that he was in the middle of a golf game when he found out she was arriving—and it was one of the greatest days of his life. Apparently he wanted a certain first name for her, but Fallon was chosen by her mother as meaning “descended from a ruler.” But he knew that Fallon would have his last name. He says it’s her “birthright” and he would never take it from her. I mean, OK. It’s her ACTUAL BIRTH NAME. You CAN’T take it from her. God, I hate the patriarchy. Fallon thanks him, which is a lot more graciousness than I would’ve shown under the circumstances. But then she says she doesn’t want the Carrington name, and all she needs to take over the world is Carrington blood. I mean, OK, but then what is she going to name her new company? I’m just SAYING.

Blake gets back to his room to find Anders taking inventory. He has identified some missing things, including some watches. And—Blake realizes—Matthew’s phone. He says that whatever’s on that phone could ruin the Carrington name. GASP!

***

 

I don’t want to start repeating myself too much. This episode was fun; Steven continues to be absolutely charming, partly because of his total inability to see how evil everyone else around him is, and Fallon continues to be charming in the exact opposite way, where she is so innocent that she thinks everyone is as evil as she is. Cristal’s Secret Past continues to be boring and veers towards stereotyping if we’re going to be absolutely honest, but Cristal herself continues to show more and more layers of flinty strength and even dishonesty that make her a more and more interesting character. I enjoyed the episode, but did I love it? I have to admit, not yet. It may take a few more episodes to truly care about these characters. For now, I’ll watch simply in order to marvel at Fallon’s outfits.

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One Comment

  1. […] Previously on Dynasty: Cristal became COO of Carrington Atlantic, so Fallon decided to be CEO of Carrington Windbriar, backed by Jeff. Blake brought Matthew by the house to mess with Cristal, but then Matthew died, and Cristal was all sad. Steven got arrested for Matthew’s death. Cristal didn’t want to tell Blake that she had a bad past in Mexico, so Sammy Joe just orchestrated a robbery to get money for Cristal’s sister back in Mexico. But he didn’t realize Blake had Matthew’s stolen phone, which went missing in the robbery, and the stuff on that phone could “ruin the Carrington name.” […]

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