This Dynasty review contains spoilers.
Dynasty: Episode 11
This episode was all about sisters: what makes one, how far will you go for one, and when the rubber meets the road, can you ever really lose one?
Luckily for us, the sisterhood – both biological and metaphorical – is alive and well on Dynasty. Cristal found a way to have it all, saving both Fallon and her sister, with her abusive brother-in-law dying and (most of) the cash recovered. And miracle of miracles, Fallon backs all of Cristal’s plays, no questions asked. I’d like to think it’s out of growing loyalty to Cristal as well as having more empathy for Iris Machado after witnessing Alejandro abusing her firsthand.
Fallon should name her memoir Gold Plated Bitch after a line from her kidnappers. Subtitle: They might have stolen my hair but they can never steal my hustle. Still, Dynasty does best when Fallon and Cristal take the occasional bitchy swipes at each other, while still grudgingly respecting one another and having each other’s backs. It’s a tough needle to thread, but it preserves the fun of the snarky quips without any of the ingrained misogyny or stale characterization of trapping women in the amber that is “girl-on-girl” hate.
The episode was packed to the gills with pop culture references, adding crime (and crime entertainment) allusions to the usual. An aghast Sam: “You’re not taking the Versaces? Gianni died for your sins!” (The Assassination of Gianni Versace), Fallon calling Alejandro, “The Demon Barber of Caracas” (Sweeney Todd), and Fallon calling Iris “a real Squeaky Fromme-type” (the still-loyal member of the Manson Family who tried to kill Gerald Ford). Of course, the entire episode was a take on All the Money in the World, even name-dropping Getty. Bonus points for timeliness, though I’m concerned that Blake thinks the lesson of the Getty story is that Paul lived.
The Dynasty writers finally understand and have delivered the driest, shadiest joy of all: the father-son bond of Anders and Sammy Jo. It’s a little weird how Sammy Jo called it out like that, but I’ll take it. Hugging just because? Choosing tequila over scotch and not saying something racist while doing it? Anders is growing! Sammy Jo is growing up too, and clearly has been listening to his adopted papa, because he’s moving out of the mansion…and in with Steven. Not exactly independence, but also not under his tia’s skirts. This will also keep the geographic focal points to a reasonable number for such a frothy show since the two will be together, and Cristal and Fallon will have plenty of reason to stop by.
Jeff Colby might actually find himself in hot water, which would be a nice reason to turn up the speed on that long-simmering plot. Fallon’s brush with…a mullet (?) has her reclaiming her independence, financial and romantic. We’ll see if her new leaf lasts longer than an episode. But even if she doesn’t, Jeff’s relationship to the Carringtons has changed. He came through and now Blake owes him one, and might owe him more if Jeff helps secure re-election for Blake’s favorite senator. But now everyone knows that the new Chief of Police is Jeff’s cousin, who I was pleasantly surprised to see is a woman. Jeff may have pulled a fast one, but Colhane has his number, and he put Colby on notice.
The dynamic between Jeff and Colhane got a nice spotlight as well, picking back up on not only their oft-mentioned romantic rivalry over Fallon, but also their class issues from the pilot. Jeff ordering Colhane to pick up his phone felt like a reprisal of Jeff accidentally (or not?) ordering drinks from Michael while pawing at Fallon. There’s worthwhile points (and this being Dynasty, a high degree of pettiness) on both sides here, making it one of the more interesting conflicts on the show. I hope the show plays with this more, although they’ll need the black writing staff to back it up.
My only complaint about the last few episodes is that since Thanksgiving, Steven’s storyline has been thin, and with it, his addiction has necessarily been put on hold. Sure, it makes sense not to shoehorn such a complicated issue in as a C- or D-plot, but doesn’t it seem a bit odd that he has apparently stopped using cold turkey, with no support of any kind, and is seeing no adverse effects as a result? The guy isn’t even in therapy and yet during a traumatic time for his family he’s more stable than he’s ever been. A mention of a support group or a glimpse of him struggling would be enough to hold us over and keep things consistent until there’s more room in the script for his recovery.
As far as wardrobe is concerned, big furry coats are apparently abductee chic, with Fallon wearing a big red one over black lingerie for the entire episode, and Fallon sporting a leopard number that I’m pretty sure I could buy at H&M. The Colby cousins are the real winners, between the Police Chief’s cape-like count when she arrived at the Carrington mansion and Jeff’s snake-collar shirt.
At some point Blake Carrington is going to have to answer for the fact that he is a complete jerk to everyone he cares about. He tells Cristal, who was repeatedly held at gunpoint, that she doesn’t understand what kind of danger they were in. He kept Sammy Jo in the dark even though Sam chose the Carrington-Flores family over his own parents, the Machados, in the previous episode. Blake regularly lies and manipulates his family, and now that Cristal’s past is all out in the open, he won’t have her lies as a get-out-of-jail-free card anymore.
Of course it can’t all be champagne and ransom payments on Dynasty. After Blake reminds Cristal that he’s an asshole, he spills a secret. It turns out there was a good reason for Anders being oddly expert at hostage situations, and it’s the fact that Blake and Alexis’s son, Adam, was taken from them at 6 months old. It’s always good to have a new iron in the fire where secrets are concerned, and this one has the added benefit that when it inevitably comes out, it will piss off Fallon and Steven equally, and it could seriously damage their trust funds, calling them on their “independence” bluffs. Somewhere in the world there’s an adult Carrington kid running around, and it’s only a matter of time before he turns up.