Dynasty Season 2 Episode 1 Review: 23 Skiddoo

Dynasty Season 2 tries to find its footing without Cristal, in a slower episode weighed down by Blake and supersized exposition

This episode of Dynasty contains spoilers.

Dynasty Season 2 Episode 1 Review

Dynasty makes no bones about it: Cristal Flores Carrington is dead. And just to make extra sure, Alexis is on hand to bust open her urn.

The Cristal Flores fakeout was a bit transparent, but the worst part is that it reminds the viewer of a much better play that the show didn’t make. How amazing would it have been if all the drama around Nathalie Kelley leaving the show and revealing that secret had just been a rouse? That kind of meta gossip-mongering would have been an ace move from Dynasty, and it would have meant keeping Cristal in play, one of the best characters on the show. Without her, the show lacks the zippy pace and crackling dialogue that it worked so hard to achieve by mid-season 1.

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It seems Dynasty is trying to fill the Cristal-sized hole in our hearts with four different women. Alexis is here to stay, swanning around the hospital and the Carrington estate on Blake’s dime, in some cases quite literally. Mrs. Daniels is more prominent, as is her baby bump, which she insinuates has been proven to be Steven’s, but in such a way that I still don’t really believe her. She’s definitely up to something and it won’t be good for the Carringtons. Anders’s daughter Kirbie, a wannabe Bella Thorne, is in town and shows no signs of leaving, much to his chagrin. With her history of arson and the bad blood with Fallon, it sounds like we can count on some cat fights and repartee like Cristal and Alexis had, or like Cristal and Fallon in the early days of season 1.

All three women make for better villains (or at least shady intrigue) than Cristal, who was really one of our two heroines, so while that gives the writers the story mileage they need, their inclusion doesn’t make up for Cristal’s loss. Then there’s Cristal Jennings, a total mystery and our best candidate for supplying the warmth and humor that we lost with Cristal.

The worst thing about losing the Cristal character is that for some reason we still have to keep Blake. This episode does its level best to make him interesting, but it only warrants a Fallon nose wrinkle at best, not even a full-on eye roll. His meltdown speech was pretty wooden and while it showed he’s still a jerk, it wasn’t even the fun kind of spilling the tea. The closest he comes is tearing through the party while quipping at everyone – I’d love to see more of sassy Blake. He and Alexis making out on a bed of money seems like it happened purely because the image seems cool for a final montage, not because it’s all that shocking or interesting. After all, we have to be invested in these people to care.

Speaking of that final montage, seeing Blake literally throw money at a problem after figuratively doing it all episode was fun, especially as the Talking Heads started playing. We might start caring more about Blake, though, if we had more time to marinate on his sudden turn for the philanthropic, inspired by his late wife. Hopefully he and Anders will have time to unspool that a bit, especially if the changes last longer than an episode. “Once in a Lifetime” also provided nice punctuation to Fallon’s love and business quandary with the perfectly timed line, “this is not my beautiful wife.”

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On the business side of things, Fallon was trying to put through the sale of Carrington Atlantic so it can be over and done with, and the shares divvied up among the growing clan. Liam and his rich family stepped up to the plate at the end of last season to rescue her, but it’s hard for her to feel relieved since his family still thinks they’re married, and she’s chosen Culhane.

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Culhane gets to show off his romantic side (and his ripped torso) while Fallon shows off an uncharacteristic level of honesty. Hurray for personal growth! But maybe all this love stuff is going to her head, because she has somehow done none of her homework on Liam’s uncle or the other potential buyer, the Russian oligarch and Blake’s longtime rival. Give us back hyper-competent Fallon!

Rounding out the Carringtons, Steven is an immature jerk and doesn’t tell Sammy Jo about the baby on the way. He correctly guesses that his dad will know how to “solve” a problem like that, but Blake gets pretty holier than thou about it for a guy who kept the Colby family’s Carrington lineage a secret. I’m still hoping for more discussion of the awful age and power dynamic in Steven’s relationship with the older woman that started while he was a teenager, especially since he still calls her Mrs. Daniels.

Hank is still kicking around and blackmailing Alexis. No sign of Claudia for now, which is just as well since it leaves room for the Russian with a talking bird on his shoulder, in what I can only assume is an homage to Allison Janney and/or Tonya Harding’s mother. That 1920s party yields plenty of other gems, including a great velvet bow tie on sam, Jeff’s cream on cream blazer with paisley embroidery, and Liam doing Leo DiAprio’s champagne gif.

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Fallon wears fierce, oversized sunglasses to hide for the paparazzi, some pink, fluffy Clueless-inspired jammies, and of course looks amazing for the flapper party where she sings a roaring 20s version of “Bizarre Love Triangle” in a nice wink toward her current predicament.

Even though Jeff Colby is only in this episode in glimpses, he still wins best dressed. His blink and you’ll miss it red bomber jacket and hat with red underside were both amazing – the best look of the episode and it was onscreen for all of 30 seconds. Alexis did alright for once with a diva’s entrance in red, hat, glasses, motorized chair. Blake’s sad Joaquin Phoenix beard is definitely the worst look, intentionally so, although I was hoping for some silver fox action.

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Who are Uncle Max’s enemies? How long can Fallon stay true to Culhane, and is Liam doing this on purpose? Is Cristal Jennings the granddaughter of the woman whose identity Cristal stole, or somehow our Cristal’s kid? Will Blake Carrington ever be interesting? I guess we’ll have to stick around and see!

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3 out of 5