Previously on Dynasty: Cristal apologized for being a big adulterer, Blake may have killed Cristal’s husband, Cristal’s name was originally Celia Machado; someone maybe switched out the pregnant Claudia’s pills and she gave Blake a big naked soapy hug; Jeff and Fallon kind of made out.
Over at the Manor, Sam is doing some kind of Charlie Chaplin routine with the pots while a giant army of servants cooks Thanksgiving dinner. Anders walks in and blames him for putting the staff behind schedule, but Sam says he’s making a Venezuelan dish his mom made for the holidays. OK, so apparently he and Cristla aren’t from Mexico, they’re from Venezuela… oops. (To be fair, all the show has given us up to this point is that they speak Spanish and they apparently lived behind a blue-toned Instagram filter until they moved here, so how was I to know which country they were stereotyping?)
Steven has been summoned out to the lawn to throw a football with his suddenly very congenial father in preparation for the staff versus family pigskin toss. Um, a GAME AGAINST THE SERVANTS?! That might be the most awkward, inappropriate thing the Carringtons have ever done. And apparently Fallon can’t participate because she tore her ACL. It probably doesn’t help your ACL to be constantly contracted to fit into crazy high heels. Not that I’m blaming the victim… mostly because Fallon is not the victim of anything but a victim complex. Anyway, Steven brings up the bloated grant he discovered in the last episode, and suggests sending the missing money to other worthy orgnaizations. Blake tells him the kids need every cent of that money so not to touch it. Uh… I hope Steven’s not the accountant, if that nonsensical reversal worked on him.
Having successfully convinced his own son that he’s not clearly an embezzler, Blake tries to get in bed with Crystal for a little first-Thanksgiving-as-a-married-couple(-or-as-a-couple-at-all) quicky. But her alarm for Claudia’s meds goes off. Blake is worried that Carrington manor is going to be turned into a loony bin. Maybe stop running over crazy people then?
Fallon bids goodbye to Monica and Jeff, who are going on a brother-sister trip to the Bahamas. I never noticed before how absurdly pretty Monica is. Seriously, this girl’s face is like a Sephora ad. Anyway, Fallon isn’t going: she declares that she’s going to get back in Daddy’s good graces by attending family Thanksgiving. Yeah, because family Thanksgivings are how fights end. Once Fallon drives off in her little red car, it turns out this whole thing was a ruse to get Fallon to go with them (for reasons that remain unclear, at least to me). But an annoyed Monica is going to go anyway even though Fallon declined.
Claudia and Cristal are discussing the fact that there were wrong pills in her bottles. Claudia acts very surprised, even though she clearly is behind this. “I didn’t mean to take a bath with your husband,” Claudia says next, which… is never a sentence you want to have to say. Cristal says she’s going to call Claudia’s nurse, and Claudia pretends to be all confused while saying that she thinks maybe the nurse was stealing from them, but she can’t quite remember, because of the brain injury at all. Seriously, I’m starting to not even think there is a brain injury. This whole thing REEKS of just the kind of Evil Plan you expect to blow up in a midseason finale.
Outside, the Carrington and servant teams have gathered in actual custom-made uniforms (red for the servants, cream for the 1%). Cause if you’re gonna make your staff work on Thanksgiving, you might as well make them do it in humiliating little outfits. Fallon tries to make nice with Michael by giving him a playbook she “pinched” from her dad’s study, but Michael’s not having any of it. And he can’t talk to her after the game either—he has his own traditions. “I’m only here because I have to. For some reason your father thinks we actually enjoy this,” he says. YUP.
Fallon saunters onto the field, to Steven’s delight and Blake’s astonishment. He says she has to apologize before she can play—to Cristal, who trots over as soon as he calls her name. “I’m sorry for having ever seen your sex tape,” Fallon says. “…And for leaking it.” Cristal is in the middle of graciously accepting when Fallon catches sight of some old friends and starts inappropriately Frenching and wrapped-leg-hugging them all, ignoring the end of Cristal’s sentence. Cristal makes some comparatively gentle remark about it, and Fallon says, “And yet not one sex tape.” This is the last straw; Blake tells her that if she can’t respect this family, she can spend Thanksgiving with another one. Uh, how come Fallon has to respect the family when Anders is such an ass to Cristal all the time? She has to take off her jersey and give it to Sam, who knows nothing about American football.
As Fallon stomps away, the game starts. Oh man, this just got even worse. There are CHEERLEADERS and a BAND here to cheer on this terrible, pathetic football game that is literally an enactment of class warfare. It’s so embarrassing.
After the credits, some people play some football, and that’s all the sports recapping you’re going to get from me. In the foyer, Steven finds Fallon carrying out her winter coat, since she’s going to be moving out for awhile. He asks her to stay, because, by the way, Dad has been using Foundation money to pay off Stansfield. So I guess he wasn’t convinced earlier—he’s actually a pretty good liar. And I love how these people keep discussing their crimes and Evil Plots in the middle of what looks like a very echoy marble-tiled foyer.
Steven is freaking out that their dad paid off Stansfield to get him out of trouble over Willy (this is the seventh episode, I’ve recapped each one in detail, and I had already forgotten all about Willy, but as a reminder he was Matthew’s sad friend who killed himself). Anyway, Fallon tells him, mixing metaphors more promiscuously than she’s mixed it up with the football players outside, “It’s a Pandora’s box with a can of worms in it. Let sleeping dogs lie.” She tells him she can’t help him; she has other plans.
Speaking of the “other plans,” Jeff has to come up with a quick lie when Fallon calls and asks to come to the Bahamas after all. He claims he’s on the plane, wheels up any second (he’s in fact driving around alone), and says they should do it at New Years’ instead. Fallon hangs up, disappointed.
More football. I’m like 99% sure the cheerleaders’ pompoms are greenscreened in. It’s super weird. Oh, and the staff wins, and a sweaty Michael grins. Blake thanks the staff for their dedication, and tells them to take the rest of the weekend off. Uh, I would freaking HOPE so.
Blake and Cristal walk off with their arms around each other, and Cristal encourages him to make nice with Fallon because it’s Thanksgiving. Blake says that “kind people like you find it hard to stand up for themselves,” and that’s why she needs Blake. Then they catch a shy-looking Claudia’s eye, and the gullible Cristal reports that Claudia’s nurse may have been stealing from them. Blake snorts, “How much could they have to steal,” like he’s never heard of people who are so poor they’d need to steal from people who can employ a full-time nurse. Anyway, Cristal thinks the nurse was trying to control Claudia.
Inside, Sam is making food for his aunt, which Anders openly scorns. Apparently he threw the first one away. Have I said “Anders is the worst” yet in this recap? Anders is the EFFING WORST, you guys. Anyway, Anders spots Claudia trying to open a door and tells her it only leads to the wine cellar. Claudia says in an exaggeratedly confused voice that she thought it led upstairs, so Anders suggests that Sam escort her up now that he’s done making his “…ham pockets.” Anders is the worst AND a racist.
Fallon has decided to show up to a soup kitchen in Louboutins and a feathered, furred, befurbelowed coat even Cruella de Vil would think was a little over the top, so she can harass Michael some more. She asks him if he thinks she’s too stuck-up to “sling mashed potatoes at a homeless shelter.” He says it’s a church; she says, same thing. Poor Michael, rightfully embarrassed, tries to get her to leave. But before he can get rid of her, his parents show up. When they hear her first name, they immediately reveal they’ve heard of her. But they think she “works with” Michael. Fallon agrees cautiously, and then the mom brags that Michael is the first vice president in their family. Fallon, for once not saying the worst possible thing, doesn’t contradict this, but just says that’s “something.”
Cristal finds Sam in the hall and is ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED to report that when she called the nurse, it turns out the nurse wasn’t fired for stealing—but for calling Claudia out on taking benzos instead of her meds. Claudia listens from some balcony nearby as Cristal remarks, “You take in a stray, you’re going to get fleas.” Ouch. Also, I’m surprised Anders hasn’t already spoken this line about Sam.
Steven and Blake are hanging out at the lake so that Blake can shoot innocent birds out of the sky. When Steven seems squeamish, Blake says it’s just a gun: “not good, not evil, just a tool.” Well, it’s a tool for killing living things, so I guess it all depends on whether you think killing is as morally neutral as hammering. Like many white men, Blake seems to honestly believe he can just declare something apolitical and have it be so.
THEN he says he admires Steven’s ideals but he wishes they didn’t make them butt heads all the time. Translation: “I admire your ideals, but I wish they were the same as mine.” Then Steven says that (speaking of people with no ideals) he knows Blake’s been funneling donations to Stansfield, and he’s going to stop it. Blake has the nerve to declare that their wealth allows them to do a lot of good, therefore to do the maximum good, they need to protect the maximum wealth by financing police corruption. Steven doesn’t buy this, but Blake just says, “I’ve been in the game longer than you, Son.” Unspoken: “…so I’ve been corrupted by it more deeply than you.” Steven starts to look convinced by the end of this conversation. Seriously, if my beloved Steven breaks bad, I’m quitting this show.
Over at the soup kitchen, Fallon has donned an apron and started serving with his parents. She spins some story about how she tried to poach Michael away to her new company because he’s such a talented executive. Michael almost looks charmed by how much Fallon has committed to his lie. Then his parents ask if she’s the “mystery girl” coming to dinner tonight, but Fallon says, barely holding on to her sucking-up smile, that it’s Michael’s girlfriend Kori and that they’ll love her. Then she and Michael meet eyes and her smile becomes a sour grimace.
Sam’s helping Cristal search for Claudia, and he finds her in the wine cellar. She says she’s looking for aspirin and got lost. A likely story. “Of course they have a gun room,” Sam says, rolling his eyes when he spots it off the hall… and then realizes that one of the drawers is open. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize it quickly enough to avoid being beaned in the head with the gun Claudia stole. She stands over him, brandishing her fun new toy.
De-aproned, Michael and Fallon meet over at the water dispenser, where Fallon watches a little girl take a bunch of straws. Michael thanks her for lying for him, and says that they mortgaged the house so that he could be someone and they’d be ashamed if they knew that they did all that for him to drove a rich white guy around all day. She says she understands why she never met the parents, and he says softly that he’s glad she did. Then he urges her to go home and be with her family, since you only get one (false, but whatever).
Anders dismisses some staff who are setting up the Thanksgiving feast, even though Blake said they could all have time off. Claudia shows up and says, “We need wine.” Which is weird and rude, because a butler forgetting wine at Thanksgiving dinner would be like putting on a suit and forgetting the pants. Or writing an email and not hitting Send. Like technically you’ve done the thing, but it definitely doesn’t count. So clearly, Anders already has a wine—red, in a decanter. It’s a 76 Lafitte, which, all I know about that is that it’s a good thing it’s not the 74. She drops it “by accident” and Anders goes to get another from the cellar.
As soon as he’s down in the cellar, Claudia slams him in and locks the door. He says primly, “Miss Blaisdel, the door handle seems to have fallen off in here. Would you open it up for me, please?” He’s still yelling for “Miss Blaisdel” as she leaves the cellar.
Upstairs, Claudia is putting the finishing touches on a pretty dumb Thanksgiving outfit, consisting of a gold lame jumpsuit that may have last been seen in the Spice Girls “Say You’ll Be There” video. She and Blake talk about Claudia, and Blake thinks they can make it one more day, which is the show’s way of saying that they definitely will not make it one more day.
At the church, Fallon gives a donation as a “rich bitch tax,” then finds Straw Girl building a catapult. She says she wants to be an architect, but Fallon corrects her that this is the work of engineers. The little girl asks if she’s an engineer, but Fallon says no. “Because you’re a girl?” says the little kid. Ha! Fallon says no, because she didn’t want to work for someone else. “There are plenty of girl engineers,” she says. True story—there’s a girl engineer writing this recap right now.
Cristal finds Claudia hanging out in the dining room waiting for dinner, wearing what I think is her makeover outfit from last week. When Cristal asks about Sam, Claudia acts innocent at first, saying that she thought Cristal was with Sam, talking about her pills. Then she breaks and says in a chilly voice that Cristal is smart. “Who else could’ve done it?” Cristal finally figures out that Claudia’s not sick. Claudia says she doesn’t need the pills—excpet the benzos. “They keep me just… [tongue click] … numb enough to tolerate you people.” Hee. Cristal tries to get up, but then Claudia whips out her little not-good-not-evil-just-a-tool gun and uses it to keep Cristal at the table.
Meanwhile, down in the cellar, Sam wakes up and yells for help. He and Anders figure out that they’re next door to each other and both locked in—by Claudia. Anders tries to get Sam to grab a pistol and shoot the lock off. Sam protests taht the only stereotype he fulfills is picking locks with credit cards, not shooting guns at locks. (Why don’t they have their phones on them??) Anders sends his license plate under the door, and Sam makes fun of his old hair.
Steven arrives at Thanksgiving dinner, asking for Sam. Aww, true love. Blake arrives and then demands his seat back from Cristal which is some bullshit on his part. Let’s just say, I know men who like to sit at the head of the table but I don’t know anyone who would literally kick their wife out of the head seat, and then when she fought back, claim that it’s not about sexism, it’s about tradition. (Of course, conveniently, a lot of traditions involve men getting the best stuff, but who’s counting?) Anyway, this goes on for WAY too long because Blake is a total ass, and finally Claudia does what, let’s face it, we all want to do and pulls a gun on Blake. I bet that’ll make him agree to a less important seat.
Anyway, Claudia goes on a rant about how her husband is dead, her friend Willy is dead, and her baby’s daddy is dead. The only thing she’s grateful for this Thanksgiving is that she’s been allowed into this house with the people who ruined her life.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Anders is complaining about how slow Sam is. But Sam says if he keeps talking Sam’s going to reveal to everyone that Anders’ middle name is Winifred. Now that I know Anders’ middle name is Winifred, can I make him shut up?
Fallon busts in on the dinner and gets very offended by the alarmed screams for her to keep away. When she finally enters the dining room and figures out what’s going on, she says, “Why does the crazy lady have a gun?” They explain that Claudia’s not that kind of crazy. Fallon is far from scared, and she helps everyone figure out that Claudia’s been faking a long time. Apparently the night of the car accident, Claudia figured out Matthew was cheating—and being sick was a great way to keep him around. “There’s a thin line between true love and truly psycho,” Fallon says, in one of those punny but slightly nonsensical quips she’s so fond of.
Speaking of puns, Blake asks Fallon to shut up because Claudia has a loaded gun. “And I have a loaded question,” Fallon says. Her question actually isn’t really loaded, it’s more… accusatory—I think to be loaded, the question has to have more than one meaning. The question is why Claudia kept faking. Everyone settles on the fact that it keeps people from suspecting her in Matthew’s death. Blake adds that only an engineer could kill Matthew, and Fallon says, “Girls can be engineers too, Dad.” Excellent point! Girls can be engineers and psycho killers! And they can sit at the head of the table if they damn well please! Anyway, it turns out Claudia’s an engineer and she totally killed Matthew. Also she had a plan to seduce Blake and then kill him, just like Cristal did to her, except (as no one bothers to point out) Cristal didn’t actually kill Matthew.
Fallon says confidently that the gun is hers and it doesn’t work, but Claudia shoots the turkey to prove her wrong. Downstairs, Sam is motivated by the sound of gunshots to finally finish breaking himself and Anders out of there.
Back upstairs, Fallon continues her journey of self-flagellation by admitting that a) the gun does apparently work and b) her family is very screwed up. She points out that Matthew chose Cristal, but Claudia didn’t have a choice. As Claudia tears up and says she didn’t mean to kill Matthew, Fallon points out that she’s going to be in BIG trouble if she kills someone else. Claudia’s not sure she can trust them, and they prove this by tackling her and removing her gun, as soon as the sound of Anders shooting through the second basement lock provides a distraction.
Cut to Claudia getting dragged off to a “sanitarium.” Oh, I guess Blake is so rich he’s also acquired a time machine that can port Claudia back to Victorian times. Steven yells at Blake that “her fate isn’t up to us” and he shouldn’t make a deal for Claudia in the living room. Especially since she didn’t kill Willy. Blake says to stop with the good and evil, and Steven insists that’s what this is. But Blake doesn’t care. He just goes into his study. Meanwhile, Anders is rudely listening to this whole thing.
Fallon and Cristal run into each other in the dining room, where they’re apparently still planning to have Thanksgiving dinner. Cristal says she never needed an apology, then goes over to Blake and urges him to make up with Fallon as well. He says he “might have said a few things this morning that were a little harsh.” “Like father, like daughter,” Fallon agrees. He says that her place in the family is unconditional, they say they miss each other, etc.
Steven is off on his own, calling Jeff. He says he wants to right a wrong, and Jeff resists until he finds out Steven’s going after the cop who interrogated him. He agrees to call Steven when he’s back “from the Bahamas.” After he hangs up it turns out he’s at a prison, visiting his father Cecil. It strikes me as kind of lazy and stereotypical, but then, another part of me is like, well, mass incarceration is a thing and it affects black men primarily, it’s good that they’re acknowledging it?
Michael arrives at the Manor to bring Fallon some of his mom’s famous sweet potato pie. They commiserate over not having normal relationships with their parents, and Fallon says it’s her fault that she didn’t know about Michael’s issues. he says it’s not on her, and apologizes for using her family in his lie. Then they agree to share the sweet potato pie, and sit on the steps to do so. It’s kind of cute, although I have to admit that (my love for Fallon notwithstanding) I’m kind of rooting for Michael to find a nice girl like Kori.
Upstairs at the Fallington manor: Blake says that facing death made him want more family. As in, he wants to impregnate Cristal. She asks if it’s the right time, and he says it’s the right time since “it’s all over.” In translation, it’s the right time because everyone just died.
Over at the arepa truck we’ve seen Cristal visit, a man comes and tries to bully the arepa truck lady into giving him more information. She refuses, and pulls a gun on him, but he gives her a message that “we” (i.e. him and his cronies) are waiting for her. She calls to tell Cristal not to come back for arepas. Unfortunately instead of picking up, Cristal is busy making babies with Blake, so we get one of those ominous shots where the unanswered phone rings in the foreground and the oblivious characters keep on their, uh, merry way in the background.
See, kids? It never pays to sleep with sexists.