Yeah, we’re doing a Dynasty recap series.
My first exposure to the majesty of Dynasty either happened one of two ways:
Yes, there’s a spin-off. We’ll get to that later.
Clearly, watching Dynasty is a 10/10, would do again. Doing it in a Tamiflu haze? That’s a solid 3/10.
Either way, as someone who enjoys all things campy and over-the-top, I was hooked on this 1980s night time soap and was determined to watch the entire show–which I did several times thanks to my family being early adopters of the DVR.
At the time, my peers were devouring episodes of The O.C. and I was catching up on a show that was, at the time, over 20 years old.
Why? I don’t really know.
Maybe it was fueled by my strong teenage desire to be different for the sake of being different? Or, it was my aforementioned love for anything ridiculously campy. Fun fact: SoapNet later showed re-runs of The O.C.
Sometimes, you’ll see a movie, show, or hear a song and it just hits at the right time for you. For whatever reason, Dynasty bitch-slapped me at just the right time. And I’m glad it did.
Now, as an adult and a year after Dynasty hit the big 4-0, it’s time for a re-watch and time to get back to my personal blog.
Here’s what you came here for.
Before we get started, let’s set some ground rules for this shoulder padded adventure. Yes, there are rules because I like bullet points and order.
- The Dynasty reboot on the CW does not exist in this space. The CW has mastered the art of the crappy television drama and I appreciate it but don’t mess with perfection, okay?
- Each episode is rated on a scale of 1-5 shoulder pads. Half should pads included.
- The re-watch starts at season 2.
- Each episode has a fashion MVB (Most Valuable Bitch). There are no sports references here.
Why season 2? Because that’s when what I am now calling “Dynasty Proper” begins. See, before Joan Collins joined the cast as Alexis, one of the greatest fictional characters ever and the baddest bitch ever, Dynasty was just a show about a rich oil guy and his lame family. However, adding this character completely changed the entire dynamic of the show.
Besides, TV shows really don’t hit their strides into the middle of seasons 2 or 3. By that point, we know what we’re getting and the vibe has been established.
Before Alexis entered (pun intended), Dynasty was pretty much an oil field drama with a fancy house. B-O-R-I-N-G.
My husband asked me, “you’re really going to do a Dynasty re-cap blog and starting at season 2?”
Me: “Hell yes. No Joan Collins, no Emily.”
Similar to Parks and Recreation, it’s easy to watch this show without watching season 1. Dynasty didn’t become Dynasty until season 2. Just like Parks didn’t become the beloved show until Rob Lowe and Adam Scott joined the cast in season 2. I’m officially claiming this as The Dynasty Effect.
Prior to Season 2, Dynasty was obviously a Dallas rip-off minus the giant ass cowboy hats. But, to catch everyone up to speed, I’ve taken the Wikipedia page for Dynasty season 1, and put it into a text summarizer bot because it’s funny.
Dynasty’s Blake Carrington marries Krystle Jennings. Fallon, Blake’s daughter, dislikes Krystle. Denver-Carrington distracts Blake from Krystle. Her lone ally is her stepson, Steven. Political differences and Steven’s refusal to lead Denver Carrington strain his relationship with his father, Blake. Fallon could follow Blake, who her dad underestimates. She has an affair with their chauffeur, Michael Culhane. Dynasty critiques Steven’s father’s capitalist ways. Blake’s hatred towards Steven’s homosexuality divides them.
Krystle’s ex-lover is Matthew Blaisdel. He works for Blake at Denver Carrington. Matthew quits and starts his own company. Blake pushes Krystle toward Matthew, creating business and romantic rivals. Blake gets upset when Steven helps Matthew. Steven is gay, but he’s smitten with psychiatric patient Claudia. Claudia is married to Matthew. Steven and Claudia have an affair. She is in the psych ward.
Blake’s daughter Fallon marries Cecil Colby’s nephew, Jeff. Ted Blake pushes Steven and Ted Dinard apart, killing Ted. Blake killed Ted, says Steven. “The Testimony” Fallon says, “That’s my mother!”
Good, bot. Thank you.
“Enter Alexis” obviously starts with Alexis (Joan Collins) entering a courtroom. This might be the best example of the fictional troupe of “mysterious character finally revealed”. It’s a fictional troupe for sure, but works in a show like Dynasty. Actually, the majority of this episode takes place in a courtroom. If you didn’t know what this show would later become, you’d swear it was a courtroom drama.
As our bot told us, Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) is on trial for killing Ted and Alexis is the surprise witness to end all surprise witnesses. Not only is Alexis there to shake things up and add some humor and pizazz to this oil drama, but to let us all know that Blake, while being pretty damn dullsville, can be violent.
Where has Alexis been? Well, in a rare move even for today, she was, as it’s said in the show, exiled to Acapulco, Mexico for the past sixteen years after an “enforced divorce” from Blake.
Like that’s such a bad thing? Okay, I’m a bitch…
Apparently, it was hunky dory fun times until Blake started taking extended business trips. I think we all know where this goes. Alexis starts getting it on with Roger Grimes, the estate manager. Because of course he is. We all have estate managers, right?
Blake catches them and shit hits the fan. While on the stand, Alexis reveals that Blake beat Roger with a candlestick and almost killed him. We find out later in the episode Blake crippled him with the candlestick.
Blake did it in the bedroom with a candlestick!
So Blake pays off Roger, Alexis, and Joseph (who is the ultimate nosey butler) to cover it up. He pretty much tells Alexis he will beat her up if she doesn’t sign a document that forces her to stay away from their kids, Fallon and Stephen.
Spoiler alert: there are more Carrington kiddos!
This is a total dick move and one that could only exist in an 1980s nighttime soap. Keeping kids away from their mother and vice versa is no doubt a recipe for trauma. You’re telling me Blake didn’t have a side chick during his business trips?
Blake tells his lawyer she’s lying. Homegirl is not lying. He refuses to let his lawyer cross-examine her. Lawyer gets hella mad and tells him he might not be able to defend him. Blake says “don’t and can’t are not in my vocabulary.” *Insert eye roll.*
Krystle (Linda Evans), Blake’s new wifey, leaves the courtroom upset because she realizes Blake has a dark side. But, hey, he’s rich! During a court recess, Alexis, Stephen, Fallon, and Jeff Colby, Fallon’s husband, have an awkward stare down.
Fallon: You’re even more beautiful and more ugly than that grand English lady I vaguely remember, and whom I’ve tried very hard to forget existed these past sixteen years.
Alexis: I’m glad to see that your father had your teeth fixed; if not your tongue.
Now is a good time to mention that Jeff Colby, played by John James, from what I can remember, is the most decent person in this whole entire fictional universe. I’m weirdly attracted to him.
Jeff sees Krystle and sends her home. She says she doesn’t feel well.
Dynasty AND Rob Lowe together? I can’t…
Court is back. Lawyer yells some more about Alexis lying. Court is over. Jeff wants to go out with Fallon later that night. She wants to stay at home with her dear ol’ Dad and is pissed Jeff took Krystle home. Lame.
Meanwhile, Stephen is obviously pissed his dad killed his boyfriend. He and Fallon argue about Alexis. Fallon tells Stephen that Blake paid their mother $250,000 per year to stay away from them.
Stephen, who is played by one of the most wooden actors of all time, is not amused and wants to know how she knows this. Fallon tells him Jeff heard it from his Uncle Cecil Colby. Don’t worry, we’ll learn more about Uncle Cecil in the next few episodes.
Fallon points out that Alexis could have come to see them if she really wanted to. Stephen, who seemingly hadn’t thought about this before, stares blankly into the courtroom carpet.
Blake and Alexis meet outside the courtroom. You find out Alexis met Blake when she was 17. Wow… They talk about “the lie”, which is something else completely different we haven’t seen yet. Now, I have watched this show before and from what I remember, the stuff with Roger comes back later.
Meanwhile, you find out that Claudia and her daughter were in a car wreck. She’s in the hospital with a strategically placed bandage on her head and a perfect French manicure.
Claudia gets a bigger arch and becomes more important to the story. There’s lots of Claudia drama to come.
For the next few episodes, her story is not my fav. The Blaisdel family storyline was originally meant to serve as a Downtown Abbey-like contrast between the rich family and those who work for them. However, no one liked this angle. Matthew and Lindsay, the daughter, “vanished” and Claudia stayed on.
Claudia suffers from mental illness, which is a large part of her story. Dynasty was known for tackling issues that weren’t featured in storylines on TV at the time like homosexuality, mental illness, and sexual assault. I am a textbook millennial and seeing these real life issues in pop culture is normal for me.
When I was watching this and subsequent episodes, I didn’t realize that there were no Euphoria plot lines on prime time television in 1981.
Meanwhile, Stephen and Alexis drink wine in the middle of the day. She tells him he was always “her son” and Fallon was always a Daddy’s girl. She also tells him she supports him and that he shouldn’t be ashamed of being gay. Make her the grand marshal of the Denver Pride Parade!
Fallon goes back home and confronts Krystle for leaving the courtroom. She accuses her of believing Alexis. Fallon believes that Krystle walking out of the courtroom lets everyone know she thinks her husband is guilty.
Time for an awkward family dinner with what seems to be prime rib with Blake, Fallon, and Jeff. I’d rather eat sushi from Arby’s. Fallon gets her way after all and stays home with her dear ol’ dad.
Krystle is sulking upstairs. Blake goes to see her. He asks her if she left because of what Alexis had said. She says no and asks Blake if she was lying. He says she’s only lying in part and claims he never threatened her. Joseph told Blake that Krystle was asking about Alexis. Blake and Joseph are awfully close… just sayin’.
Krystle is smart enough to know by this point her much older husband has a dark side. Krystle says exiling her from their children was cruel, which it was. Blake tells her Alexis only wanted the money, and that’s why she never came back.
In the next scene, Alexis and Stephen are drinking at his apartment. He asks her if the money is what kept her away. She says no and reveals that if she ever came back to Denver, Blake was going to have Roger Grimes tell the police Alexis attacked him, not Blake. This was a part of the payoff agreement. Alexis reveals Roger Grimes had recently died, so she felt it was safe to come back to Denver.
Alexis gives Stephen a painting. Yes, Alexis is an artist and professional hot lady. When she left, she told Lil Stevie she was leaving because she had to go find a rainbow. And then he didn’t see his mommy for over 20 years. No wonder these kids are screwed up.
She tells Stephen that Blake gave her a piece of property on the Carrington estate, that she turned into an art studio/apartment bungalow. I think we know where this is going…
Cut back to Blake and Krystle. Krystle isn’t hungry and is going to bed. Lame. Blake “apologizes” for all the things he’s done in anger and promises he will be better. Yeah, right.
“Enter Alexis” Random Thoughts and Observations
- Is it just me or is Acapulco used as a mythical wonderland that only exists in fictional worlds? Have you ever met anyone who’s been there? If so, let me know!
- Come on, guys, it would be very difficult to cripple someone with a candlestick, even a big one and go full Clue-style on a bitch.
- Married adults should not live with their parents, even in a mansion.
- “Ted” is the most generic boyfriend’s name ever.
- I would totally drink with Alexis and Stephen.
- Throwing money at problems, at least most of the time, is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg. Unless you’re buying yet another robot vacuum to conquer the dog hair and dust to save yourself some time to write a blog about Dynasty.
Fashion MVB: Alexis, obviously
Shoulder Pad Rating: 4/5