Dynasty Recap: 1×05 “Company Slut”

Previously on Dynasty: Cristal got the COO job Fallon wanted; Fallon decided to start a new company with Jeff; Fallon told an obnoxious dude named Robbie Reed that Michael was her boyfriend but told Monica that was just a lie to get rid of Robbie, and Michael overheard her; Michael slept with Kori Rucks, the city councilwoman who had refused a contract to Fallon; Steven tried to help Sam only to learn that he orchestrated a robbery; Cristal and Blake offered to pay for Cristal’s dead, married ex-boyfriend’s funeral and his sad wife Claudia accepted; Cristal and Matthew’s sex tape was a huge hit on the internet and Claudia saw it.

So Cristal wakes up in a great mood and cheerfully throws open her curtains to welcome in the morning. She proceeds to shower and douse herself in perfume (ugh, you just know she’s one of those women you walk by on the street and almost suffocate from the heavy cloud of overly floral perfume). She then proceeds to try on every outfit and pair of shoes she owns, which… I have so had mornings like that, but why in the world is she trying on both heavy pink suede clogs and sparkly gold stilettos? Is she going to some kind of… like… brunch/cocktail combo party? Maybe a Kardashian bridal shower, or a tea party at a Wet Seal?

Nope, as it turns out, she’s going to work—as revealed when Anders arrives with yet another bribe from Blake in the form of a gold watch for her first day—and since she’s not paid to go to the club, the sparkly stilettos are still a mystery. Luckily, in the end, she settles on a fairly reasonable suit and shell in millennial pink. The whole time, a modern cover of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is playing. I like the cheeky meta-ness of using updated covers of 80s songs as the soundtrack.

Fallon and Cristal descend on opposite sides of the grand staircase, Fallon in what appears to be the most expensive flight attendant uniform ever—bright royal blue and a red tie. Fallon makes a crack about Cristal going to church and getting down on her knees. Cristal comes back with a retort that she’s the COO of Carrington Atlantic and Fallon doesn’t even have an office yet. Fallon remarks that Cristal’s video is still blowing up on Youtube, and Cristal says, “We both know most of those hits were from you.” Hee! Then Fallon, who can apparently get a lot of mileage out of her material, says she’s sure that Cristal can handle all the attention as deftly as she handled Matthew’s rock-hard—

EXCUSE me,” Cristal interrupts, and explains that she and Blake agreed it’s best to put out a statement and move on. Fallon follows Cristal out, still going on about the sex video, and Cristal makes another crack about Fallon’s lack of customers, and then to make matters worse, Fallon has to watch while Cristal jumps into the car Michael drives, since Michael is driving her to work today. Michael gives Fallon a chilly look as he gets into the car.

Back in the house, Sam runs into Steven on his way to work at the Carrington Foundation. Sam remarks that it’s a “classic American story”—boy gets off for murder and works at a charity to rehabilitate his image. Funny way to start off a conversation that’s going to consist of you apologizing, Sam. Speaking of which, he begs Steven to forgive him and says after apologizing so many times he doesn’t know what else to do. “Nothing—that’s your specialty around here, isn’t it?” Steven says. I like that Steven has finally stopped being such a pushover. It’s obnoxious that Sam thinks that apologizing for arranging a robbery of your host’s house is somehow all they can expect of him in terms of amends. Anyway, Steven says it was a mistake for Blake and Cristal to forgive Sam, and leaves. Anders emerges from wherever he’s been lurking and eavesdropping. Ugh, I’m already dreading whatever plot the omnipresent and irritating Anders has worked up this time.

Fallon arrives at the office-in-progress to find that Jeff has submitted her to Atlanta Digest’s upcoming “top women in business” issue. I mean, that’s exciting, but it’s only a local paper… shouldn’t she be trying for a national one? Anyway, she’s thrilled until she realizes that Cristal’s on the list too. Many more slut-shaming jokes follow, none of them particularly memorable. The upshot: Fallon’s convinced she’s going to beat out Cristal for woman of the year, which is going to be announced at a luncheon tomorrow.

Cristal’s morning isn’t quite as fun as Fallon’s; Blake welcomes her to the company at what appears to be some kind of C-level board meeting. After an awkward pause, a woman sitting next to her says congratulations and that it’s “well-deserved,” clearly an ironic choice of words. Another woman, across the table, rolls her eyes visibly. Blake mentions the thing about the top women in business article, and Cristal just says that the biggest honor is her position here, and she looks forward to working closely with all of them. Oops! Bad choice of words! Luckily, everyone else there has more professionalism than Fallon, so no one takes the obvious opening. Instead, Blake asks the woman who rolled her eyes to prepare a press release, and she agrees tightly.

After the meeting, Cristal and Blake are discussing Cristal’s desire to prove herself at work when Claudia shows up, looking red-eyed and furious. While Cristal waits, looking terrified, Claudia says she’s here to collect Matthew’s “death benefit,” and that Willie’s family will probably be there soon too. Blake starts to make noises about how Willie’s confession must have provided closure to Claudia, but Claudia doesn’t buy it for a second; she knows Willie didn’t kill Matthew and that the common denominator is Blake. Then she finally turns her attention to Cristal, who tearfully says she’s sorry and wishes Claudia nothing but the best. Claudia just says that she’s the “company slut” and, as Blake and Cristal hurry back upstairs, yells from the lobby that she’s nothing more than a well-paid whore.

Well, Claudia’s accusation lacked the clever word-play of most of Fallon’s quips, but I guess she just wanted to get right to the point, eh?

Anders finds Sam by the pool getting a massage from a shirtless blonde named Gustav. He asks Anders if he can help him. “It’s may I help you,” says Anders. Shut up Anders. Sam asks what he wants, calling him Albert, and Anders says, “It’s Ahhhhnders,” like, ugh, this guy is just the worst. Then he asks if Sam and Steven are not “having relations” anymore. Apparently the housekeeper reported that for the first few days of Sam’s stay, Sam’s sheets were unmussed, but Steven’s were “… quite mussed,” he says after a killing pause. Anders remarks that since Sam, you know, robbed the house and no longer has Steven’s protection, maybe he should stop just lounging around here. Yeah, why is he here? Has no one realized that they own the house and could just kick him out?

Also, leave alone that this is a very inappropriate line of questioning from anyone, aren’t butlers supposed to be discreet and act like their hosts’ sex lives are totally private? Isn’t Anders kind of the worst butler ever?

Cristal and Kylie, the woman who rolled her eyes, are having a meeting to prep for the luncheon. Cristal wants to practice answers to any questions that might come up, but Kylie can’t restrain herself and just says Cristal needn’t worry about it so much—the only person who’ll have to answer questions is the person who actually gets woman of the year, and maybe this year…

Cristal gets a little annoyed and says that there’s been a lot of whispering, so why doesn’t Kylie take a free pass to tell her how she really feels? Kylie barely hesitates before launching in: with all the conversations happening around women in the workplace, and people like Mike Pence refusing to mentor women, it just makes it harder for everyone when someone like Cristal actually does sleep her way to the top. Cristal says that she got offered the job long before any ring (and we know the engagement was only like four months, but come on! No way she got offered the job before she and Blake started “having relations,” as Anders would put it). Kylie says at least if Fallon got the job, it would only reflect badly on Blake for nepotism, not an entire gender. Cristal, who parried Fallon’s insults so nicely, is too taken aback to retort that Blake giving the job to someone he’s sleeping with would also reflect badly on Blake. But of course, as we all know, it’s easier and lower-consequence to blame the woman.

Steven’s in his shiny new corner office wrapping up a meeting with someone applying for a grant when his next meeting shows up: a tall handsome lad named Ted Dinard (as Steven exclaims helpfully when he sees him). They have this awkward “Oh I didn’t know you’d be here” conversation that makes it sound like neither of them is capable of checking their own calendar invites or social media feeds, but whatever; the point is, they clearly Did It at some point in th edistant past, and Steven can barely even stand to be in the room long enough to hear the guy’s proposal. He kicks Ted out, claiming his assistant double-booked him for another meeting, and promises to review his proposal later.

Back at Carrington Atlantic, Deirdre (the woman who politely congratulated Cristal at the earlier meeting) catches up with Blake and bluntly tells him that Cristal is “green,” and that she’s not ready for the COO. The supposedly ruthless Blake has apparently cultivated an office where people really feel free to speak truth to power! Deirdre also tells him that a big company based in a conservative area in Texas has concerns about his judgment and are threatening to pull their over $100 million in business over it. Ever so generously, Deirdre says, “If it helps, I’d be willing to step in as interim COO,” until what she calls Cristal’s “…personal life” (again, with the killing pauses!) settles down. Like, oh, thank you so much, Deirdre! What a hero you are! Blake, for some reason, actually looks almost convinced by this.

Cristal and Fallon are over at the Atlanta Digest shooting their cover photos and pre-interviews for the Woman of the Year. After Fallon’s photo shoot, Cristal says the stilettos are a little much, and that this isn’t Vogue. Uh… then why were you trying on what looked like a pair of clubbing stilettos from Forever 21 earlier today, Cristal? Fallon responds with a slightly too convincing argument as to why Cristal’s not going to make the cover (the Woman of the Year gets the cover photo), so Cristal comes up with her own evil plan: she convinces the magazine editor, Diana, that it would sell more magazines to have everyone pose on the cover. Even worse, a cranky Fallon gets moved to the back of the group shot because of her high stilettos, then gets moved to the edge to balance out her bright colors with someone else’s bright color, while the millennial-pink-clad Cristal gets to sit right in the front and center.

Ted Dinard (Anders says his full name on introducing him, so I guess we are really supposed to know it) visits Steven at home while Steven tries to review grants. Anders leaves them alone after a rude remark about thinking he would never see Ted Dinard again. Seriously, WORST BUTLER EVER. If you can’t even greet guests with a modicum of politeness, literally what is your job, even? To be a dick? Because Blake has himself for that. Anyway, it turns out Ted Dinard, at least, did know that Steven was at Carrington Foundation. He tells Steven he’s two years sober and that he thinks about him all the time, blah blah blah. But apparently the reason they broke up was that Blake paid Ted Dinard off. Poor Steven. Ted Dinard touches Steven’s arm and tells him what hotel he’s staying at in case, you know, he wants to “talk.” By which I think he means “have relations.” Steven is clearly tempted. Even Sam, who’s listening from the hall and can’t even see Steven, can tell, from the look on his face. In fact, the actor who’s playing Ted Dinard is kind of awkward and mannered and not as charming as Steven obviously thinks he is, whereas Sam is very charming and amusing and charismatic to watch on screen. But Steven just has this intense combination of looking extremely upset and extremely turned on whenever Ted Dinard is in the room, so I can see why Sam feels threatened.

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Family dinner at the Carrington’s: Cristal has completely changed her outfit, and is wearing a pink satin top with fabulous geometric earrings and a glamorous updo. Just a normal night with the fam, ya know. They’re all drinking what appears to be Hawaiian Punch out of crystal glasses. She’s blathering about how much she loves the “strong woman in business” who runs the magazine, and Fallon, resenting that Cristal is happy for one second, brings up Claudia stopping by the company that morning. Blake says it’s none of her concern, and Fallon says smugly, “Oh, I didn’t say I was concerned, Daddy.” Heh. Then she flounces off, saying she has to do work. Moving on, Blake asks about Steven’s day, but Steven barely even hears the question. He says he has a lot on his mind, and Sam brats, “Like the St. James Hotel?” Steven just gives up and leaves to go review proposals, so Sam himself flounces off to leave the lovebirds along—grabbing his crystal glass of Hawaiian punch and the rest of the bottle off the side table.

Left alone, Crystal tells Blake she does feel bad about lying to Claudia. Blake promises her he’s asked for extra security—but then says maybe Cristal should step back. Jeez, if anything makes Blake look really bad, it’s offering people the second-most-important position in his company and then losing faith in her after half a day because of the advice of a fellow employee who didn’t get the job and openly wants it. Like, if you aren’t sure she’ll do a good job, maybe don’t hire her and hire someone who’s actually qualified. Anyway, Cristal gets all mad that he’s worried about appearances and flounces off, leaving Blake alone at the table.

Now comes the best scene of the episode: Michael stands up for himself and takes Fallon DOWN. He’s having a pleasant evening all to himself making a smoothie, when Fallon busts in and scolds him because—get this—she’s been texting him “nonstop for the last twenty minutes.” Twenty minutes! Even if they were boyfriend and girlfriend that’s a pretty tight schedule she’s got him on. “I’m off the clock,” he says coldly. She says she needs the keys to the car, and then waits impatiently for him to apologize for sleeping with the enemy. She claims Kori screwed her out of a huge contract, but just to review, the contract wasn’t hers and Kori was the one who decided where to award it, so she didn’t screw Fallon out of anything in any possible sense of the word. Anyway, Michael says if she wants an apology for that she’ll be waiting a long time, and that she owes him apologies for many, many things, like the game she played at the club telling the Ivy League douche that he was her boyfriend. Fallon indignantly says that she only said that to get him off her back, and poor Michael drily says, “I know, I heard you telling Monica that.” She starts to feel bad, and he asks if she’s surprised the chauffeur has feelings. Well, she pays him to keep it professional—but he’s off the clock now. As he keeps slicing this apple and chucking the slices into his blender, Fallon quickly gets over her four-second interlude of out-of-character guilt and storms away, pissed for God knows what reason.

So apparently Fallon wanted the car so that she could stalk Diana, the editor, who’s enjoying a martini alone at a bar when Fallon storms in to ruin her night. Fallon, ignoring all hints that Diana would like to be left alone, breezily sits down with her and remarks that she wasn’t a fan of the group photo. “There’s always next year,” Diana says a little condescendingly. Fallon oh-so-casually remarks that it’s not in fact Diana’s magazine—it’s owned by someone named Uncle Bob, who was just asking Fallon her opinion of the magazine. Translation: Fallon knows the owner of the magazine and is prepared to share her opinion. Fallon says she knows the magazine is doing its best despite the whole “death to print media” trend. “We have an online presence, too,” smiles Diana, beginning to look a little defeated under her glassy smile. Fallon brushes this off, saying brands aren’t that important, and that the freshest idea for this woman of the year shoot apparently came from someone else—i.e., Cristal. “But there’s always next year,” Fallon says. “If you’re still around.” Then she walks off, looking very proud of herself, while Diana makes the dismayed expression of a woman who just realized she’s going to have to put a huge brat on the cover of her magazine.

That night, Sam sits alone watching Aladdin in the Carringtons’ fancy, leather-chair-filled home theater. He’s got a Lorelai-and-Rory-sized spread of junk food in front of him, presumably to comfort himself over the fact that Steven is hot for Ted Dinard. And, oh goodie, here’s Anders. He compares Sam to Aladdin, you know, the thief in the cave of wonders, and says that he may be “out of wishes” unless something changes. Sam is like, “You mean vacuuming?” Anders sits next to him for a fatherly lecture: he sees his younger self in Sam, someone who grew up with nothing so he thinks he deserves an advantage. Sam argues that there’s nothing wrong with his taking what the Carringtons are offering. Anders responds, “No, but there is something wrong with never earning anything for yourself.” NEVER EARNING ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF. On a show about two women who expect to be handed a COO position by their father and husband, respectively. On a show where even the butler is inherited (it comes up later that he originally worked for Blake’s father). It is just TOO priceless.

But somehow, in combination with a Les Miz-style story about how the elder Carrington caught Anders stealing his wallet and gave him the chance to earn the money instead, it seems to almost work on Sam.

Cristal and Blake arrive to the Woman of the Year luncheon late, like, way to show respect for the honor you’re clearly not going to get? Blake coos that Cristal’s already a winner in his book, like that’s going to help when he just took away her job. While Cristal’s checking in with the PR team, Jeff offers Blake a drink with an apology for the last time they saw each other. “You want to make amends? Stop taking things that belong to me,” says Blake. You know, like the female human being who he raised, which is apparently a thing that belongs to him, I guess?

Fallon and Cristal take seats next to each other on the stage while waiting fo rthe winner to be announced. This gives Fallon a chance to try out a new style of insult on Cristal, saying that she sounds like a Girl Scout and isn’t going to get a merit badge. Well, the sex video cracks were getting old, but this one barely even qualified as an insult. I miss Blair Waldorf, peeps. She was just so deliciously mean. When she was up against you for a prize, you knew you were in for digs that might actually hurt.

Up at the podium, Diana announces the winner. I almost expected the twist to be that Fallon didn’t win, but she does, and she makes a very amusing, overdone surrpised face. This is followed by a hilariously tone-deaf speech about how she made all her opportunities for herself. Cristal openly rolls her eyes up on stage, and when Fallon starts bragging about how she’s also building Morell from the ground up all by herself, Jeff’s face gets very grim, very fast. Wow. Even for Fallon that was brazen. Meanwhile, Diana promises Cristal that her “accolades are coming.” They both look at Fallon and Diana remarks, “She’s quite the little bitch isn’t she?” Wow.

Just as Fallon is posing for yet more photographs, Pepper—her friend Uncle Bob’s daughter—arrives and congratulates Fallon. They smirk over having known Fallon would get the award, since Fallon used her connection with Pepper to force it. Pepper also says she’s glad it didn’t go to that “cyber-slut stepmother of yours,” and Fallon says that if she had seen the whole video and not just the half that was leaked she’d know that “cyber-slut is underselling it.”

Cristal overhears this and realizes that if Fallon saw the rest of the video she must be the one who leaked it. Fallon retorts that she’s doing Cristal a favor by making it look like her troubles as COO are due to the tape and not her incompetence. So Cristal just shakes up a bottle of champagne and drenches Fallon with it. I bet every single person at the party found that at least a little bit satisfying.

Back at Morell Corp’s office-in-progress, Fallon is complaining about Cristal to an unsympathetic Jeff. “Attempt to do bodily harm by drowning in Dom,” he cracks. “Might be hard to find a jury of sympathetic peers.” Fallon asks what’s been bugging him since he was quiet the whole way here, and he says, “Oh, so you noticed I was there.” Hee! He tells her that this company is both of them and that he thought they were working together to build ideas. Fallon’s response is CLASSIC: “That’s why I went out and got us that magazine cover to help with our expansion plans.” Jeff gives this a massive eyeroll and reminds her that he submitted her name for the award. So angry he can barely get the words out, he says he’s going to rethink if he really wants to be a part of Morell corp.

At a board meeting, Cristal struggles to get everyone’s attention and then finally stands up to make an announcement, putting her incredibly inappropriate work outfit (the white cape and extremely low-cut, like I-hope-you’re-wearing-boob-tape-with-that low, white top she wore to the luncheon). She announces that she’s going to promote someone and, without saying their name, she smiles at Deirdre, who gets all excited. But, twist! She’s promoting Kylie. When she sits down she murmurs something to Deirdre about women not breaking through the glass ceiling if they stab each other in the back. Uh, yeah, Cristal, it’s all Deirdre’s fault. Not the selfish white dudes who only promote women they’re sleeping with or women descended from them.

After the meeting Cristal finds Blake in her chair. He asks why she promoted someone she hated. Cristal says that it’s because Deirdre backstabbed her and that Kylie “front-stabbed” her. Blake, amused, points out that that’s not a thing. Cristal presses her point, saying that Deirdre “went to you, my boss, and talked smack about me behind my back.” Seriously, she says this. Then she tells Blake that “you doubted me, and I need you to double-down on me.” Then she kicks him out of her office and refuses a kiss from her completely oblivious husband on her way out. He says that he never doubted her and she earned the job, she didn’t get it from sleeping with him.

Then he actually evinces a modicum of self-awareness, which is by far the most shocking thing that happens in this episode. He confesses that he still doubts himself because his father handed him the job and he didn’t earn it. Of course, this moment of honesty is completely reversed in about five seconds as Cristal reassures him that he shouldn’t doubt himself after years of running a successful business. Naturally, that’s pretty much all it takes to resign Blake to keeping his unearned privileges. Then he praises her for punishing Deirdre, since Deirdre is a liar and he hates liars! This sends Cristal on a guilt trip about Claudia. Blake tells her to forgive herself (people like Blake always think forgiving yourself is the answer to things, which is a remarkably self-centered way to approach reckoning with your own flaws), but Cristal says it’s not her own forgiveness she needs.

Steven arrives at Ted Dinard’s hotel room and finds this dude in a barely-closed hotel bathrobe. Even though Ted Dinard says it’s not a good time, which everyone who’s ever watched TV knows that he has someone very scandalous in the room with him, Steven completely ignores him and starts talking about forgiveness. Then someone calls from behind Ted Dinard, “Is that room service?” Up comes Sammy Joe himself, in a matching bathrobe. After a shocked moment where honestly neither Sam nor Ted Dinard look even close to guilty enough, Steven nods tightly and leaves.

Poor Steven! His whole life SUCKS!

Back at the estate, Fallon arrives home in her champagne-soaked dress to a sardonic Blake, who remarks on her soiling of the family reputation. Misinterpreting his meaning, Fallon protests that she leaked the sex tape but didn’t star in it—which Blake didn’t actually know. Fallon realizes too late that Cristal didn’t tell him what she realized at the luncheon. Blake, evincing a very rare show of actual visible emotion, tells her, “Cristal may be a joke to you, but to me she’s my wife, whom I love.” Fallon protests that she isn’t right for him, but Blake doesn’t fall for it. He reminds her that this affected him too, says she’s heartless like her mother (yeah, because Blake is just a big softy who cares about his family…. riiight)—and then kicks her out of the house.

Sam finds Steven having a snack and a fancy drink in the kitchen. Steven snarks with uncharacteristic meanness, “You come out like a rat whenever you smell food.” But Sam apologizes, saying that he only went to Ted Dinard because he heard he was hiring and Sam needed a purpose, and that Ted Dinard offered him a job and to spend the night, and he was afraid to turn it down. Then he concludes his apology with this headscratcher: “I wasn’t trying to hurt you. The sad thing is, I wasn’t thinking of you at all.” Like, yes, I think not thinking about his feelings was already what you’re apologizing for? Then Steven apologizes for calling Sam myopic, but Sam adorably says, “I don’t even know what that means.” Anyway, Steven says maybe he’s selfish because no one has cared about him, and that Steven is going to forgive him instead of seeing him around and being filled with hate.

In Blake’s study, Blake and Anders play chess as Anders casually reveals that he got rid of Ted Dinard by sending Sam his way so their problem “resolved itself” (he uses Ted Dinard’s full name again; I really hope this dude’s going to be a regular because otherwise everyone is wasting a lot of lung capacity repeating his full name all the time). When Anders makes a good move, Blake muses that he can’t see several moves ahead like his father. Then he asks if Cristal’s in bed, but Anders says with surprise that she’s visiting Claudia. Blake dashes out to go get her.

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Fallon, wearing a giant cozy-looking sweater and leggings, arrives at Michael’s and asks to talk. She apologizes for using him and then says… very romantically… “I’ve been thinking… and maybe I’m ready to call you my boyfriend after all.” Somehow Michael resists this heartfelt speech; he says he’s heard her apologies before and pushes her off his lap. “The only reason you’re even here tonight is that you don’t have any other place to sleep,” he says. Fallon’s face falls as she realizes he’s onto her. He says that her father called him and asked him to help her with her bags if she needed it. “But we both know you can help yourself.” A wise pronouncement on Fallon’s character in soo many ways.

Cristal arrives at Claudia’s house and begs for a minute of her time. She says what she did, by having a relationship with Matthew and lying after he died, was wrong. Claudia is not having it, and they go back and forth with Cristal mostly doing a good job of taking responsibility for what she’s done and Claudia (rightfully) too hurt to care. “It’s a little late for respect, don’t you think?” she says.

Meanwhile, Blake drives anxiously and way too fast down the street, which doesn’t really make sense, but I assumed it meant that Blake was going to arrive just in time to prevent Claudia from murdering Cristal. I was wrong—the show went me one better. Claudia picks up a cement block and tries to throw it at Cristal, but Blake arrives just in time to run her over.

Conclusion

Understated this show is not. Already there appears to be a third murder investigation in the works (and let me remind you this is episode five), and I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t at all surprised that someone died (or maybe died) after that cliched shot of Blake driving way too fast down a dark road.

Let’s move on from Blake, though, because as always he remains by far the least interesting and least charismatic character in a show that supposedly revolves around his influence.

I will admit that when Ted Dinard showed up I thought Steven was going to get a chance to have a little drama of his own beyond just being screwed over by Sam and his dad. But by the end it turned out the Ted Dinard plot, like every other plotline that involves Steven, ended with Steven being screwed over. This time by both Sam and his dad at the same time. To be fair, Steven seems to be at his best when he’s looking sad, pained and generous all at the same time, so I guess, it’s good to play to your strengths.

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Which is advice generally followed in this episode: it’s always fun when someone gets doused with champagne, and personally I also find it fun to watch Fallon continue nearly undaunted with her devious maneuvers even after Michael calls her out multiple times. She screws over Michael, Diana, and Cristal and her only response is to dangle girlfriend-and-boyfriend-ness in front of Michael in order to get a place to sleep. As with real humans, growth for Fallon is slow, or maybe impossible.

With all this, did I like it? It’s hard to say. The outfits are fun, the champagne-spraying is definitely fun, but there’s something awfully hollow and almost desperate about the fun we’re having with this show. Maybe part of it is just an accident of time. Gossip Girl started before the crash of ’08. This show has to entice audiences into the same aspirational consumerist excess that Gossip Girl did, while exhibiting much more self-awareness, and completely ignoring any anti-capitalist implications of its own satire (this is the CW, after all). That is a pretty weird balancing act, if not just an oxy-moron.

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