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Dynasty - Thicker Than Money/Deception, Jealousy, and Lies - Review

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The last two episodes of “Dynasty’s” second season – “Thicker Than Money” and “Deception, Jealousy, and Lies” – throw a lot of soapy spaghetti against the wall, some of which sticks better than others.

Picking up with Blake as “Thicker Than Money” begins, he’s just spent the night in custody, but that’s the least of his problems. With federal charges leveled against him and his assets frozen, Jeff and Culhane are making a play to oust him from the Atlantix organization. And Cristal, in an uncharacteristic flip, is furious that Blake intends to pin the blame on her father. His back against the wall, Blake appeals to Fallon for help, asking her to be the surrogate for his shares until he can get the charges dropped. Fallon is reluctant, given she’s hours away from pitching an author whose new adventure series (“It’s basically ‘The Hunger Games’ meets #MeToo meets AOC”) could put Femperial on the map as a multi-media empire, but she eventually acquiesces. And with a fun, soapy boardroom smackdown of Jeff and Culhane, Fallon is able to get the league to name her interim CEO of the Atlantix. Unfortunately, she – with an assist from a meddling Adam – misses her pitch meeting, and takes her frustration out on the returned Kirby (who, we learn, spent her three-episode absence on a business trip in New York), spurring Kirbs boringly into the arms of Culhane. And even with that victory, Blake’s case is made worse in the public eye when Cristal creates a scene outside the federal building and he angrily, but accidentally, slams her leg in a car door.

But the show’s various couples are able to grind all this coal into diamonds. Liam offers to help Fallon with Femperial and gives Kirby an impassioned pitch that gets her back on-side. With some light corporate espionage, Femperial is able to snag their big fish of an author after all, and Fallon gives Kirby an attagirl that’s as “close to an apology as [she’s] ever gonna get.” Both ladies celebrate their success by sexing up their men for the first time. And while it seemed like Cristal and her Carmen Sandiego outfit were getting ready to betray Blake and flee to Mexico, it turns out it was all a ruse, the surprise of which was kinda ruined given how inconsistent Cristal was behaving given her feelings about her family for most of the season. Their machinations – including the pretend schism of their relationship – were designed to frame Culhane, making it out that he was still acting as an agent of Ada Stone. Adam was also involved, soapily donning a wig, red lipstick, and an outfit of Fallon’s so he could use her ID card to sneak into the Atlantix offices and plant incriminating evidence.

While all of this was going on, Blake also had to deal with the wild card that is Dominique Deveraux. When Dominique saunters into the Carrington manse and demands an audience with her half-brother, we learn that Blake paid her off for years to keep it zipped about that familial fact. The checks stopped coming two months ago and Dominique is there to collect (...why she thinks Blake would still pay her, given the secret isn’t a secret anymore, I dunno). Instead of saying that, Blake basically threatens to ruin her in her children’s eyes, but does offer to resume the payments if she gets Jeff off his back. I’m delighted to say that the sibling dynamic between Grant Show and Michael Michele is really fun so far.

Last but not least in “Thicker Than Money” (well, kinda least), another Sam/Anders subplot. At first, it seems like it’s going to be as boring as the last two, with Sam using his divorce settlement from Steven to buy boats and puppies while Anders chides him to open a savings account (and sidebar – we gotta talk about Steven. The question I keep having is, who signed off on the divorce and the settlement if, we’re to presume, Steven’s where Adam left him, in a drug fugue in a Parisian mental hospital? Because if he had been in contact with anyone, he would have warned them about Adam. We do see James Mackay in the season finale, but only in an unnecessary flashback to Steven’s ayahuasca trip with Adam. It’s just a real bummer how the show misused this character all year, and I hope he’s back on the canvas in a real way in season three). Anyway, it takes a somewhat interesting turn when, while out partying at a hotel bar, Sam sees an employee named Diego being sexually manhandled by his manager and he impulsively buys the hotel so he can street the guy. It could be a fun status quo for Sam next year, and there’s a flirty vibe between him and Diego as they strategize. Anders doesn’t think it’s a good idea, though, and he and Sam get into a bitter fight about it. So it’s bad timing when the episode ends with Anders having a heart attack on the street.

Anders does live to see “Deception, Jealousy, and Lies.” And, to Sam and Kirby’s dismay, he’s already raring to get out of his hospital bed and back to work for the Carringtons. But after some tough love from Kirby and her tie dye jacket, he instead offers to help Sam manage his hotel (Diego, weirdly given the set-up in the previous episode, is gone). Again, could be an interesting shakeup for Anders, though I can’t imagine it’ll be permanent. And it might not even happen at all given that some of his past work for the Carringtons, um, shows up on shore in the final minutes. But we’ll get to that.

First, let’s wrap up the season for the Colbys. Having worked out in the previous episode that Adam poisoned the paint in his office, and having learned in this episode from his doctor that the poison has left him with irreparable nervous system damage that will eventually affect his cognitive abilities, Jeff declares to Dominique, Monica, and Monica’s neon pink shrug that he’s “changing tactics” against the Carringtons. He first fires the hell out of Adam, provoking him into a physical scuffle that’s brief but kinda fun. Then, he’s surprised in the parking lot by an unseen figure and, when Dominique goes looking for Jeff the next day, she finds signs of a struggle next to his car. But of course, this is all a setup, to fake his death (and, unbeknownst to his family, deal with his declining health alone) and frame Adam for his murder. Unfortunately for Jeff, he was blind to what a snake Dominique is, as we see she removed the damning evidence against Adam from the “crime scene.” Her participation in Jeff’s scheme was all her taking Blake up on his offer for more money in exchange for getting Jeff out of his way. Now, this sure seems like the end of Sam Adegoke’s stint on the show, certainly as a regular, but I guess we’ll find out next season.

Back to the Carringtons. Fallon’s bubble of bliss over her relationship with Liam (which later results in a marriage proposal by Fallon, a boss move) is quickly popped by protests against Femperial because of Fallon’s associations with Blake, who’s still getting blasted on social media for slamming that car door on Cristal’s leg. Fallon tries to smooth over the scandal sans Cristal (who feels guilty about having to refuse to help her soon-to-be stepdaughter, but she and Blake are still waiting for the FBI to pounce on Culhane before they resume a public relationship), but it backfires badly. So she announces her intention to sell the Atlantix shares back to Blake so she can save Femperial. But Blake then tries to talk her into working with him again, but “as a true team, equal partners.”

Taken in by Blake’s big talk, Fallon seems to seriously be considering this offer. But when she stumbles across a reverend at the manor waiting to marry Blake and Cristal in secret, she puts a few of the pieces together and is disgusted to realize what they’re up to. After swinging by Culhane’s to confirm her theory, she stomps back into the manor to confront “Sid and Nancy.” And that’s when a whole bunch of soap bombs all go off at once. First, Blake takes glee in revealing that, while Fallon instructed Culhane to burn the bag of Ada money Cristal returned, they planted a second bag in his apartment that will corroborate the frame-up (and indeed, we see the FBI arresting Culhane). Undeterred, Fallon insists she’ll help Culhane out of this jam and that, once she does, she’ll be selling all of Blake’s Atlantix shares to him. Then, in an out-of-nowhere development, we learn that Fallon sold Kirby Femperial for one dollar to keep the stink of scandal off of it, but then Kirby announces to a stunned Fallon that she’s reneging on their deal to sell it back to her, as revenge for telling Culhane to dump her. And then, Anders tenders his resignation.

And that’s all before the divers in the lake (whom Adam hired to find the ring Fallon dropped while proposing to Liam) announce they’ve found not one, but two dead bodies. The first, of course, is the guy Blake erroneously killed for causing Cristal’s miscarriage earlier in the season. The second is Fallon’s childhood friend Trixie, which we know because Fallon had conveniently slash contrivedly confessed to Liam earlier in the episode that she felt responsible for Trixie’s accidental death at the manor. And speaking of Liam, he’s not bearing witness to all this drama because, after threatening to get Adam’s medical license revoked again for helping Liam’s mother with her cancer scam, he ended up bashed over the head and locked up. He manages to free himself, but woozy from the head wound, Liam ends the season facedown in the pool. Given the secret we learned about him – that he fathered a child in high school, whose mother could complicate Fallon’s life next season – I’m sure he’s fine. But basically, everyone else seems super screwed.

That’s the last pour from the champagne bottle that was season two of “Dynasty!” Please come share all your thoughts on “Thicker Than Money,” “Deception, Jealousy, and Lies,” the season as a whole, and where’d you like to see things go next season in the comments section.

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