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Dynasty - Crazy Lady - Review

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“Dynasty’s” fall finale finds the Carringtons having a festive face-off with their favorite “Crazy Lady,” kook balloons Claudia.

It’s Christmastime in Atlanta and, per Fallon, “the usual stuff that ruins every holiday here” is in full effect. As servants swirl around the manor setting up decorations, the Carringtons are speaking to the authorities about Little Blake’s kidnapping, lying about Hank being the baby’s father so the FBI will pursue Claudia on their behalf. Given this situation is an echo of Adam’s abduction – and enraged to realize that Claudia probably killed “OG Cristal” – Blake is on edge, and clashes with Fallon about how to handle things. He’s even angrier when he finds out Fallon was the last person to visit Claudia before she escaped and accuses her of riling the crazy up. “You certainly have Cristal’s blood on [your hands]” is the low blow Blake eventually levels at a crestfallen Fallon. I’ve missed Blake and Fallon crossing swords like this; Grant Show and Elizabeth Gillies are fire in these type of scenes.

Anyway, Blake is the one who ends up coming up trumps when a televised appeal for information he and Alexis make leads the family to find Claudia at a seedy hotel. Their attempts to talk her down go poorly, however, and it seems like tragedy has struck when Claudia trips and the baby goes sailing off the hotel roof. Except…turns out crazy Claudia has been carrying around a doll she thought was her child. Not that she gets off scot-free. Having confessed to shooting Cristal (“and I would do it again if it would bring Matthew back!”), Blake delights in having Claudia hauled off to jail, with her screaming all the way that she’ll be back (I certainly hope so; Brianna Brown is so fun in this part). But before she’s carted off in cuffs, Alexis slips in and deviously gaslights her into keeping quiet about Alexis’ scheming with Hank, though Cristal remains suspicious (speaking of actors/characters who are fire in scenes together, Nicollette Sheridan and Ana Brenda Contreras have developed an entertainingly spiky, tart rapport as Alexis and Cristal have gotten to know/hate each other).

So if Claudia didn’t kidnap Little Blake, who did? Why, Manny the manny of course! That had actually been my guess going into the episode, but the show did a nice job with the soapy fake-outs getting to that conclusion. Kirby’s the one who figures it out in-universe, having noticed that the kidnapper had left the baby’s favorite pacifier behind, but that it was gone after Manny visited the manor to speak to the cops. Seemingly wanting to prove herself to her dad (who is also noticeably shook by the parallels between this abduction and Adam’s), she goes to Manny’s apartment to confirm her suspicions and gets it in spades when Manny pulls a big ol’ butcher knife on her. He claims that he wanted to protect Little Blake from Sam’s neglect, which Kirby sarcastically notes is commendable “in a “Hand That Rocks the Cradle” kind of way.” Saving herself and Little Blake, Kirby chalks it up as a “big win for Team Downstairs,” and even gets sincere if reluctant kudos from Fallon (which was nice, but I still think the show missed the boat not having these two go to war with each other; I really want Fallon to have an Alexis vs. Cristal-esque rivalry of her own).

In the end, Sam decides to give Little Blake a clean slate by giving him over to the senior Matthew’s parents to raise. And what of his other, off-screen foster father? Well, we hear early in the episode that Steven is on a plane home from Paraguay. But at its close, his family learn that Steven never got on the plane. He’s…dun dun dun!...missing. Bring on the recast via facial reconstruction surgery! Make that face Scott Evans’!

In non-babynapping news, Jeff is relieved that Culhane has gotten his hands on all the blackmail material Ada had on them. He only learns what the audience knows – that Culhane is now working for Ada of his own free will – when Monica inadvertently reveals that Culhane was responsible for the smoke bomb at the club. Triangulating Culhane’s phone, Jeff heads off to confront him, but it’s the absolute worst time. Delivering a shipment for Ada, Culhane gets suspicious when he realizes her contact works for Van Kirk Industries. So he smashes open one of the antiques and finds a stash of heroin. Turns out Ada was scheming to take down the Van Kirks’ entire company by framing them as drug smugglers, and Culhane was just a pawn in her game (and sidebar – just like Claudia, I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Ada. She’s such a fun vixen of a villain and Katherine LaNasa plays her with panache. She also, to be shallow, looked amazing in a leather skirt in the scene where she attempts to seduce Culhane).

Culhane and Jeff manage to flee before they’re killed by the Van Kirks’ men or arrested by the approaching authorities, but not before Jeff is shot and badly wounded. Racing to get Jeff to the hospital, they’re then involved in a brutal car crash. And so the fall season ends with Culhane calling Blake, begging for help, a lifeless Jeff splayed out on the ground. I’m excited to see what drama is mined from this cliffhanger. Whether Jeff lives or dies, I think this could really revive and rev up the feud between the Carringtons and the Colbys, and provide a reason for a rebooted Dominique Deveraux to enter the fray. And after all the hints about the Van Kirks not being a family one wants as enemies, I imagine this debacle will have them gunning for the Carringtons as well.

Did you think “Dynasty’s” fall finale was crazy fun or crazy stupid? Do you think Jeff will survive? What do you think happened to Steven? And what kind of soapy shenanigans do you hope are on deck when the show returns? Rant away about “Crazy Lady” in the comments section.

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