Dynasty Recap: 1×08 “The Best Things In Life”

Below is a recap of what might be an episode of Dynasty or might be a forty-minute commercial for the Google Pixel. It was tough to tell at some points.

Previously on Dynasty: Anders knew everything about Cristal; Michael Kolhane slept with Kori and told Fallon she uses other people to hurt people; Steven found out that his dad was funneling donation money to Stansfield; Michael and Fallon had sweet potato pie together (not a euphemism); there was an arepa truck where Cristal sent money to her family; Blake and Cristal decided to have a kid; some sketchy dudes threatened the arepa truck lady.

We open right where we left off, with some frankly unnecessary soft-lit shots of Cristal getting it on with her old-ass husband. “I think that was the one,” he says happily, meaning the one that made the baby.

Down at breakfast, Fallon complains that the coffee at Jeff’s was better. “Perhaps you should have stayed there,” says Anders. Heh. Steven blows through, being a little unfriendly but claiming he’s just busy with foundation work. Blake makes an unusual appearance on his way to meet with the “gift strategists” who are going to help him pick out corporate holiday gifts to hand out to their clients at the tree lighting ceremony CA is sponsoring. Wow, that’ll be a truly beautiful ceremony. Fallon gives an alarmed look, then claims that she also definitely got gifts already. Sam asks if he gets presents, and Fallon says, “No, your life’s been one big Christmas morning since you arrived.” Heh. When Blake leaves, Sam calls her out on the fact that she never thinks about anyone but herself and clearly doesn’t have corporate gifts ready, so she calls him out on the fact that, well, no one cares what he thinks.

She barges into Michael’s apartment wearing something that I guess we’re supposed to believe is clothes, but are definitely orange silk pajamas with Asian-style flowers on them. She’s demanding a ride and a shopping partner, but finds Kori in Michael’s place. Kori mentions the “faux job” Fallon gave Michael at the party two episodes ago, which by the way is a joke she already made, which was semi-funny but definitely not funny enough to repeat. Fallon claims it’s fine since Kori and Michael came out stronger than ever. “Are you tripping?” asks Kori hilariously. Michael (obligatorily shirtless) comes out then to break it up. Kori leaves after suggesting he change his locks. Michael tells Fallon she needs boundaries. “But we shared pie,” she pouts. Michael says Kori is never going to be cool with her after what she did, and she needs to give them space. Fallon pouts again, but he holds firm.

Cristal is at the doctor’s, getting a blood test. It’s unclear why she needed to go to the doctor for this since, as he points out, her IUD will still be effective for two more years, except that it gives us a chance to get that piece of information. Also we get a flashback to Cristal being pregnant back in Venezuela, and trying to convince her worried sister she can raise the kid on her own.

Stansfield, Blake’s pocket cop, arrives at the Manor and declines Anders’ offer of coffee. Then he asks Blake where the money is. Blake claims that Steven didn’t know what he was doing when he moved the funds and that he’ll get the money soon, no need to worry. Stansfield says that actually Blake needs to worry. Then, with Anders still watching from the open doorway (seriously, how aren’t these people in jail? They’re constantly discussing their nefarious deeds with the door open like big old idiots), this cop tells Blake that his money is no good if he has no freedom to spend it. Dun dun dunnn.

Fallon shows off the gifts she bought to Jeff and Monica, who aren’t really sure about this. They are, like Fallon, wrapped in bright colors. Cuts back and forth between Blake’s old-fashioned gifts (watches, Scotch, and caviar) versus Fallon’s new-fangled ones (a private timeshare island and blinged-out power stations). Jeff suggests dialing it back and asks for three figures per client. “My haircut costs more than that,” Fallon says in shock. Hee! I laughed. He invites her to the tree-lighting ceremony, which Fallon ungraciously declines by saying she usually goes with Michael (or Colhane, as she typically calls him). Then she says she’s come up with a great gift for him. “Space?” asks Monica hopefully. “No,” Fallon says smugly. I laughed really hard at her delivery there—it’s just fast enough to get you in the gut. She’s decided to make friends with Kori (to fuck with him, goes unsaid).

Sam arrives in Blake’s office offering to help pick out gifts, saying he has a Ph. D. in shopping and a master’s in being memorable. Blake seems to give in when Sam points out that he has time for dealing with all this that Blake doesn’t have.

Steven and Jeff are meeting for their nefarious plot against Stansfield. He wants Jeff to hack into the Atlanta PD records to look into some suspicious cases. Jeff points out that this is illegal, but Steven points out that what Stansfield did to him is illegal too. He also says that they can’t go after Blake directly because, a) Blake would lawyer up anyway (that’s the fake reason) and b) (the real reason, which Steven spits out with barely any resistance) any consequences for Blake would blow back on all of them, including Jeff, Fallon’s business partner. Well, Steven has certainly taken quite nicely to his life of one-percenter corruption.

Cristal gets into her car after what appears to be yet more shopping and finds a cooler in the front seat, with a note addressed to Celia (her old name during the Bad Times). It’s some super bloody, gross fish heads. Yipes.

Fallon shows up to City Hall trying to butter Kori up with a ticket to the tree-lighting. Kori points out that it’s sponsored by CA but it’s actually a city event, and she works at City Hall, so… Fallon drops the ticket idea and simply begs to be friends, since she’s friends with Colhane and Kori is his girlfriend. She asserts that her thing with Michael was just “booty calls and limo sex,” which wouldn’t be the best way to endear herself to his new girlfriend even if Kori believed it was true. Which she doesn’t. “He told you it was more than that?” says Fallon, confused, because she’s apparently forgotten that she and Michael already had this exact conversation. Kori rolls her eyes and says this is why they aren’t hanging out. Can’t blame her.

Back at the Manor, Monica urges Fallon to let Kori go, and suggests getting everyone an e-reader. “I’m sorry, I just fell asleep and woke up in 2010,” Fallon says meanly. Then for some reason Monica starts scrolling through all her selfies, which leads Fallon to realize that Jeff wasn’t on the vacation in the Bahamas at all. Yeah, that plan to pretend to go to the Bahamas would’ve worked a lot better in 2010.

Sam has apparently decided to play both sides. He shows up offering to tell Fallon what gifts Blake is planning “for the right incentive,” which Fallon doesn’t fall for, luckily. Monica finally lights on something cool: the Google Pixel, which everyone wants.

Cristal is in the manor carrying around her cooler full of dead fish heads when, of course, she runs into Anders and drops it, letting them all splash bloodily around on the floor. I mean… if you’re gonna carry around a cooler full of dead fish heads that someone delivered to you as a threat, these are risks you take, ya know?

Jeff and Steven part in a dark parking lot for some reason, and then Steven gets totally abducted with a black cloth over his head. I actually didn’t expect that. Kudos, Dynasty.

The commercial break in between segments of this 44-minute commercial for the Google Pixel is… also commercials for Google Pixel.

After the break, Anders points out that the fish are a little on the nose in representing Cristal’s fishy past. He says it’s time for her to come clean, now that the gold digger has gold diggers. Finally she explains the not very exciting truth: she and her sister stole from some bad people (“exporters”) because of a medical emergency. What salacious gossip! So glad we waited eight episodes for this! She says she doesn’t know who else to turn to, and asks him to access the funds. Anders does not take kindly to this, because unlike Blake, he is immune to the power of Cristal’s long, full lashes.

Meanwhile, Steven is being carried around by the thugs who kidnapped him, and begging them that he can call his dad and get them some money. But when they take the black hood off his head, he looks up to find it’s his own dad who kidnapped him. Blake tells him to leave this alone, because next time it could be Stansfield, and who knows what he could do. Cough MURDER cough.

Michael turns up in Fallon’s hall when she arrives home in an absurd leopard-print chiffon, calling her out on the Kori thing. “I was adulting!” she protests. She can’t believe Michael’s going to take Kori to the tree lighting because it was their thing. Michael tells her to leave him alone, because he’s thinking about her too much and he’s afraid they’ll fall back into their thing. “Would that be so bad?” she purrs. He hesitates, then says yes, and leaves. Poor Michael.

Jeff has called Fallon telling her that he got an inquiry about the client gifts. That makes no sense, but the upshot is that Fallon asks him to the tree lighting. Great adulting, Fallon.

Steven and Jeff have now decided that instead of a darkened parking lot, they will meet in a semi-abandoned diner. Steven must have been watching some detective movies lately. He tells Jeff that he’s pretty sure Stansfield murdered Willy and covered it up, to keep suspicion off himself and Blake. Jeff asks if this could blow back on Steven and Blake. Steven’s plan is to get Stansfield to incriminate himself. Shouldn’t be hard since all these people like to discuss the fact that they’re corrupt criminals all the damn time.

Sam is making some call about the gifts (this has to be the most boring plotline I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some very bad ones) when Cristal, with a new bob, passes by looking worried. She asks if he’s heard from her sister, and he points out that it’s time to bring her here. Cristal says it’s a bad time, meaning that, I suppose, she just landed a hella rich husband and she doesn’t want to ruin it by rescuing her sister from a country that (as Sam points out) is in the middle of a crisis. Blake must be rubbing off on her. There are some flashbacks to the Bad Times in Venezuela.

Blake and Anders are consulting about the corporate gifts. OH MY GOD, you guys. Just give everyone some Dom and get over yourselves. Finally Anders offers his opinion, and then Blake says that she’s come far and no one handed her her fortune. Apparently Blake’s father is still alive but didn’t come to the wedding because he didn’t approve of Cristal. So I guess we can expect him to show up either at the end of this episode or during February sweeps.

The tree lighting begins. For once, Fallon has managed to match Jeff’s outfit game, with a fabulous sparkle-shouldered mini-dress. She brings him up to what she calls the perfect spot, high above the city. Jeff is totally coming onto her when she hears a noise and finds—of course, because this was clearly a Michael-and-Fallon spot—Michael and Kori going at it on another side of the same balcony. To everyone’s horror, it comes out that Fallon and Michael used to Do It up here before the tree lighting every year, but that it was Kori’s idea to come up here tonight and that Fallon supposedly didn’t bring Jeff up for that.

Fallon reacts to her upset in the most Fallon possible way: by throwing Michael and Kori’s clothes off the roof and locking them up there, naked. Ha! It’s totally absurd and the broadest of broad humor, but I don’t care; this is the kind of thing I was hoping to see on the show every week and instead we were getting repetitive jokes about faux jobs.

Fallon is stalking away from the party as Jeff pleads that she needs to move on from Michael. He lets slip that he introduced Michael to Kori and Fallon gets all mad. But Jeff admits it was to get closer to Fallon. Fallon acts genuinely shocked by this, EVEN THOUGH HE’S BEEN HITTING ON HER NON-STOP FOR WEEKS. It’s unclear to me if she’s faking it for some reason or if we’re supposed to believe she has that short a memory.

Cristal is sitting in her office asking accounting for three hundred thousand dollars that she claims is for a vendor. So we’ve moved on to embezzlement! Blake would be proud.

Blake arrives to do some baby-makin’, but Cristal protests that she’s not feeling up to it. Blake asks hopefully if she’s pregnant, and when she says no, says he’s going to bring her to his “family doctor” who brought both his kids into the world. Cristal avoids this by urging him to go to the tree lighting.

Back at the tree lighting, Sam arrives in what appears to be a red smoking jacket to give Blake the corporate gifts: Google Pixels, which he poached from Morell Corp.

This whole product placement thing is hilarious. Like it’s not just that they keep talking about the Pixel, but every time, they say “Google Pixel” instead of calling it a Pixel like normal human beings.

Anyway, Anders finds Cristal and her signature beret to tell her that he got ahold of the money for her. It’s almost sweet.

Sam finds Fallon to brag about poaching the Super Special Google Pixels from her, but Fallon is completely unfazed. Finally she gets him to open the cards in the bags that contain the Super Special Google Pixels: they say “Have a Morell Christmas.” Her contact came through for her and notified her of his attempt to poach the Super Special Google Pixels. Sam is upset, but Fallon just yells, “HO, HO, HO” and walks away. Heh.

The council people are being introduced when Kori’s name comes up. Monica tries to convince Fallon not to do whatever she was going to do, but Fallon assures her she’s ready to let Michael go. She gets up to the mic and says she heard that there was a budget crunch with the libraries, so she convinced her dad to sponsor the lighting of the libraries for the next five years. “This is going to put a serious dent in the company finances,” Blake complains as everyone claps. Sure, you can embezzle three quarters of a million dollars a year for your pocket cop, but you can’t… light… some libraries.

As she leaves, Fallon proudly tells someone there are two people on the roof and their clothes are in the bushes, then announces that she’s feeling in the holiday spirit.

I do love a Christmas-themed event as an episode centerpiece, I must say.

Stansfield arrives in Blake’s office to find Steven waiting for him in Blake’s seat. He says he’s apologizing and that he’s restored the funding to his favorite charity. Stansfield comes out and asks if he’s still on the payroll. My goodness. This guy is the dumbest. Steven goes on to thank Stansfield in great detail for killing Willy. Stansfield catches on and reveals to Steven that a guy fell on-site while working for CA after a green, unqualified inspector signed off on the site, and that his daddy paid Matthew to hide the truth “all so that you could keep living in your sanctimonious bubble.” (It’s really weird how this show keeps making fun of white people but then putting stuff that, really, only white people say into their mouths.) Steven, horrified, refuses to believe this at first, but Stansfield is quite convincing.

After Stansfield leaves, Jeff emerges from whatever hidden nook he was listening from and promises Steven they’ll find another way. “No we won’t. Just delete the recording,” says a white-faced Steven. And the fall of Steven Carrington is complete. I can’t say I enjoy this. Steven was so lovable as a total innocent babe in the woods!

The next commercial break is literally three five-second ads for Dynasty. I don’t… like, save your money? I’m already watching it.

Kori and Michael arrive back in his apartment, Kori freaking out that a security person saw her naked and they were at his special Fallon spot. He apologizes, and she says, “I’m crazy about you, Michael. But I am not crazy enough to put up with your ex or your feelings about her. I’m done.” Aww. That was a pretty good scene. And no dumb blow job puns.

Anders has driven Cristal to the drop-off spot, wearing a hat to rival any of Cristal’s. He’s packing heat as well as the cash. Wow. “I wasn’t always a majordomo,” he says. Cristal drops off the money, only to have headlights turn on her. She runs back to the car and Anders makes a close escape from being run over. Then… the car drives away and they both just sit there? It’s a pretty weird scene.

Stansfield has been called to meet with Jeff at a playground somewhere. Jeff plays the tape of Stansfield, but Stansfield isn’t worried; he knows Blake will stop this from going public. Jeff says he owns a place in the Bahamas, and will give Stansfield the house in return for his taking his freedom from “a corrupt and unremarkable white man.” “Unremarkable” is the perfect way to describe the milquetoast villain Blake. Then Jeff gives some kind of weird speech about how Stansfield was his black-man role model as a child, and that somehow makes him want to fund his early retirement. Stansfield also has to give his job to someone else who’s not corruptible, which… I think really overestimates how much power outgoing police chiefs have.

Fallon arrives at breakfast with Blake and makes a flippant remark about how the best things in life are free, such as his involuntary initiative with the libraries which was actually not free at all, and how that’s a remark made up to console those who aren’t rich. Heh. Blake lectures her for being selfish, which is probably the best joke of the day, and leaves. Then Sam tries to pass through breakfast without sitting down, and Fallon brags that he has game but can’t compete with her. “I could teach you a few things,” she says. Sam somehow resists this temptation and leaves.

Anders gets a call from a doctor where he apparently scheduled a fertility appointment for Cristal, got her medical records transferred, and gets a verbal report of what’s in them. Some doctors in Georgia need to be SUPER FIRED.

Cristal finds Anders to thank him, but Anders is cold again because he’s found out about her IUD. “I won’t lie if it affects his future,” he says. She tries to apologize, but he sends her in to talk to Blake.

Blake is pissed that she lied. Cristal points out that he violated her trust. Finally she says that she’s been pregnant, but lost the baby when she tried to stop her sister from being abused by her mean boyfriend, who was upset that Cristal was pregnant. Blake relents and says that he loves her no matter what she’s been through. But then she goes on to explain that after the miscarriage she needed a doctor and had no money, so she became indebted to these criminals. Blake is shocked that she didn’t tell him and told Anders instead, but she says she didn’t want to lose him. Blake actually says they should bring Cristal’s sister here. She protests in a way that clearly shows she hasn’t told him everything, at least about the sister, but he insists.

Steven calls Jeff from the back of a limo to confirm that Stansfield is off to the Bahamas and the evidence is destroyed. But now Steven is suddenly in the grips of a crisis of conscience; Dominic Ortega had a wife and two kids, which is a weird shorthand people use to mean that a death was sad, which… everyone’s death is sad? Anyway, as soon as they’ve hung up, Jeff goes back to downloading what appears to be the evidence that he said was destroyed.

Then Steven calls Ted Dinard and arranges a rendezvous in a few hours—and leans over to do some coke. What?! Steven is the worst hippie ever. He’s literally doing coke in the back of a limo.

Blake has called Anders into his study to ask for a background check, this time on Cristal’s sister Iris. They’re going to bring her there for Christmas.

Fallon finds Jeff in the office late that evening. He asks what she needs, and she apologizes for bringing him up to the roof and lying. “You were trying to get over Colhane… so you were using me,” he says, calling her out. “So use me.” He says that she’s busy conquering the world, and he’s got the same schedule. They could fit each other in, if you know what I’m saying. He starts groping her under her teeny tiny skirt, and they start to make out. We see just enough of this to note that Jeff is quite generous during foreplay, and then the episode ends.

Conclusion

This was overall a pretty tight episode, especially considering that about 20 minutes of screentime went to a plotline that was literally about corporate gifting. The jokes were a little more on-point than usual, especially with Fallon, and I always enjoy when people get locked on a roof naked. Blake is still terribly boring, and I am not looking forward to the inevitable Very Special Episode in which Blake Deals With His Daddy Issues that was heavily telegraphed by some of the dialogue. But Steven’s journey to the same corruption as Blake is being handled with some amount of sensitivity and realness. And finally, I really felt for Michael in this episode. Now that Steven’s gone to the dark side, he’s the most sympathetic character by far (though of course, I have a soft spot for the incorrigibly selfish and spoiled, yet vulnerable, Fallon). And Robert Christopher Riley, who plays him, is doing an excellent job of letting vulnerability show beneath the character’s typical aloofness. Too bad Fallon ran into Jeff’s waiting arms before she realized that Michael and Kori had broken up!

 

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