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Dynasty - Guilt Trip To Alaska - Review

For its third season premiere, “Dynasty” takes us on a “Guilt Trip To Alaska” as the Carrington clan grapples with the sins of the past resurfacing, literally.

But before we pop the champagne, we gotta talk about who’s attending the cocktail party this season. First off, we’ve got our third Cristal in as many seasons as Ana Brenda Contreras and her shiny hair have left the show, purportedly for personal reasons. Stepping into Cristal’s stilettos is Daniella Alonso, who has a ton of TV credits, but who I mostly know from her season two stint on “One Tree Hill.” Besides one or two winky lines (“But I just got here”), they kinda just drop Alonso into the action without much fanfare. And she’s fine in this episode, but after being lukewarm on Cristal 1.0 Nathalie Kelley, I really took a shine to Contreras’ energy, so I think it’s gonna take me some time to adjust to this switcheroo.

Additionally, Adam Huber and Michael Michele have been promoted to series regular status. Huber’s a no-brainer, as his character and his pairing have been fan favorites for a while now. And after being concerned about her casting, Michele impressed me with her guest stint last spring as Dominique Deveraux so I’m glad she’ll be around full-time to fill the scheming bitch vacuum. Speaking of, no word yet on a new Alexis. And Steven, annoyingly, remains off-screen and unmentioned.

Okay, back to the bodies. The season picks up basically where last season left off (Sam Underwood’s noticeably longer hair aside), with two corpses being pulled from the Carrington lake. Also pulled out of water was Liam (Huber), rescued off-screen after plunging unconscious into the pool. We quickly get confirmation that the deceased are Fallon’s (Elizabeth Gillies, still far and away the series’ MVP) childhood friend Trixie and Mac, the family fixer Blake (Grant Show) murdered last season because he’d been framed by Alexis for the accident that caused Cristal’s miscarriage. The Carringtons close ranks during the first round of questioning, but cracks soon start to form.

Let’s start with Trixie. Fallon, at first, is kinda ridiculously aghast that Trixie ended up in the lake after her extreme fall down the Carrington manse stairs. “What did you think happened to Trixie, huh,” Blake snorts in reply, “think she just ran off to Spain” (and by the way, Blake and Anders (Alan Dale) exchange hilarious eyebrow pops when Fallon asks if there are any more bodies in the lake). While Fallon insists she’s fine, it’s clear her guilt about her friend’s death has been reawakened when she starts seeing a ghostly vision of Trixie. Nothing she tries – paying a visit to Trixie’s mother, announcing a scholarship in her name – shakes loose the spirit, who insists that Fallon “take responsibility for what [she] did.” So she ends up telling the police about the accident. But! She spares her family any blowback by pinning the blame for the body disposal on the deceased Mac.

Speaking of, Blake and Cristal are both worried that the autopsy on him will turn up DNA evidence that incriminates them. So, considering the whole lake cock-up was his fault, Cristal storms into Adam’s (Underwood) room and demands he do whatever he has to to rectify the situation. So Adam sneaks into the morgue (and sidebar – the ease with which he accomplishes this kinda bugged me. Yes, he’s a doctor, but he worked for the Atlantix, he wouldn’t have privileges at this hospital. Anyway...) and switches around toe tags so Mac’s corpse will be cremated pre-exam. But! Something goes wrong because, at the end of the episode, the cops interrupt Blake mid-coitus with Cristal to arrest him for Mac’s murder.

Moving on to the live body, Liam spends most of the episode chilling in a coma, with Fallon flittering in and out of his hospital room to update her unconscious fiancĂ© on her soapy conundrums. He does have other visitors, though. First, there’s Adam – who, you may remember, conked Liam in the head and thus caused his near-deadly dip –, who sneaks in to shoot Liam up with something, but gets caught by Fallon before he can do so. And while it’s not a surprise to the audience given her appearance in the previouslies, Fallon is caught off-guard when Liam’s ex Ashley (Taylor Black) shows up, on orders from Liam’s shrew of a mother, to check on him.

Liam does finally open his eyes in the episode’s final scene. But! He’s got amnesia. And while he doesn’t recognize Fallon, he does remember Ashley, who is all too happy to slide to his side. I’m good with the first part – amnesia is a super soapy trope, and a story obstacle that makes sense for Liam and Fallon given where they are in their relationship. But I find plotlines where someone manipulates a person with memory loss, which I’m guessing Ashley is gearing up to do, kinda cringey. So, for me, it’s a mixed bag.

Lastly, while all this drama is going on, Dominique continues to be a wild card. While Monica (Wakeema Hollis) is concerned with nudging along the police investigation into Jeff’s “death” (and sidebar – while he is wholly absent from this episode, and despite this storyline, Sam Adegoke is still in the opening credits), Dominique has her own agenda – fame and fortune, a place in Atlanta society, and control of the Carrington dynasty. Her opening salvo is an appearance at a Carrington charity event (which, hey, isn’t being held at the mansion for once!). She manages to get in front of a microphone and uses Jeff’s “disappearance” and the scandals plaguing her brother’s branch of the family tree to boost herself and belittle Blake. Cristal isn’t amused by Dom’s antics, though, and warns her to back off. Undeterred, Dominique wraps up this week by tasking a minion with digging up dirt on the Flores family.

And that’s all I’ve got on this week’s “Dynasty.” Did you enjoy the soapy turbulence that was “Guilt Trip To Alaska?” Which storyline are you digging the most so far? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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