Dynasty Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Queen of Cups

Dynasty picks up the pace with a fun episode but still leaves us wondering about the long game.

This Dynasty review contains spoilers.

Dynasty Season 2 Episode 5 Review

It’s always good to start with You Make My Dreams Come True, a reminder that Dynasty’s soundtrack rarely falters, even if other creative choices aren’t as strong. The episode itself was a good one – intrigue, zaniness, and a good party – but I still have concerns about the larger season-long arcs.

With a couple of lines of dialogue, the eeriness of swapping one young, kind Latinx Cristal with another went from a knowing wink toward a commonplace practice on soaps to hand waving away the creepiness (and racism-infused misogyny!) of simply indulging in it. Why is Cristal perched on Blake like they’re married? This is aggressive. Also aggressive? Blake buying Cristal’s clinic and shutting it down. And the two of them kissing at the end. WTF.

Dynasty has always walked a fine line and is most successful when it leans into the camp sensibility – hard. But part of Dynasty’s brand of deliberate camp is a sly awareness of how ridiculous it all is. It’s smart self-parody, but full of love for that which it mocks. And if you don’t believe me, check out Susan Sontag’s famed essay Notes on Camp. After all, it’s the inspiration for this year’s Met Gala, which practically makes it required reading. So help me, if Elizabeth Gillies isn’t there to recreate her famous red dress strut video

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On the subject of racism intertwined with sexism, Monica returned, seemingly only to cement her position as black best friend. Her purposes this episode were to forgive Fallon, offer to get Fallon shots, get Fallon coffee, and be threatened off-screen in order to keep Jeff in line. What a disappointing use of one of the (dwindling) number of original characters, particularly of the few women and only remaining original woman of color on the show.

I’m glad Culhane is telling Jeff everything – the “everyone keeps secrets for paper-thin reasons” trope is pretty exhausting. It gets less and less reasonable with every episode, and the audience’s patience wears thin. If Culhane can’t come clean to Fallon, at least he can be straight with Jeff, which gives the added bonus of another character for Jeff to play off of. Bros who get played together, stay together, right?

Jeff is all about the low-key emotional growth lately, and I love that he made the emotionally mature choice of encouraging Culhane and Fallon to talk to each other like grown adults. Can we get this man a suitable love interest? Kirbie is a child.

As a device, Tarot cards work for Dynasty – it’s almost a shock they didn’t come up sooner. Everything we saw in this episode came true, with the usual caveat that it wasn’t necessarily how they interpreted it. We’re living in a very witchy time, which also happens to be #PeakAstrology, so audiences are more inclined to read this device straight than as camp, but frankly it works either way. It’s a fun way to reveal a bunch of clues and, via clueless, self-centered Alexis, put incorrect interpretations out there, leaving the writers plenty of room to pivot, surprise us, walk things back, or even toss a couple of things out altogether.

Through the final reading, we learned that Hank is back with an impatient Claudia and baby Matthew. Maybe Claudia will be an annual Thanksgiving guest? Some powerful man is going to ask Alexis to marry her and he will die. Since Alexis aggressively misinterpreted all the other cards, I’m guessing she’s wrong on this one, too, and Blake isn’t the man in question. Perhaps Anders? Some other guy?

Having Kirbie as Sam and Steven’s surrogate is a mistake worthy of a whole parade of gifs. But it’s a fun, messy mistake that feels right for this show. Kirbie will finally have something to do. But it doesn’t resolve the fact that Dynasty is moving forward with this couple and ignoring that it mostly wrote off one half of it, a problem that seems only temporary if you’re only watching the show and think Steven is coming back at Christmas.

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I try to ignore most fan theories and announcements and just watch the actual show, but this week actor James Mackay wasn’t in the credits. This comes one episode after his character chose to go find himself, saying he’d be back for Christmas. An odd move, but something an actor might do if they had a health or family issue, a new child, etc. A quick look at McKay’s Instagram (and the rest of the internet) shows that he’s no longer a series regular, apparently not by choice, but will appear in a limited number of episodes. Again I say, Dynasty, girl, what are you doing?

A few odds and ends

This episode has a helpful reminder that the Carrington-Anders crew still think Hank is Blake’s son, Adam.

Blake’s Rembrandt is a forgery, courtesy of his lawyer, who is in cahoots with Alexis even though he repped Blake in the divorce. Whew. Sometimes this show knows exactly who she wants to be.

Fallon looks like leopard print barbie of my childhood and I’m not even sure I can be mad at that.

Keep up with all our Dynasty news and reviews here.

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3 out of 5