With all the martial arts and The Initiative, and the plots and schemes and shadow-y organizations and all that general Spy Girl/Hamptons Batman stuff going on, we feared this show was going to lose sight of what we think landed it an audience in the first place: good, campy, soapy fun. And what says good, campy, soapy fun like a pregnant women taking a fall off a staircase? Darlings, Scarlett O’Hara herself would have watched last night’s episode and clapped with glee.
And when you set Victoria Grayson like a cat amongst the pigeons (i.e., in any social situation where she knows she has the upper hand), the acid that comes our of her mouth is delicious and hilarious. Bitch was on FIRE last night. “I see you brought your … people.” “Take the ladies to the conservatory for petits fours and refreshments.” Like all good bitchdialogue, it’s reliant entirely upon the bitch delivering it, and Madeline Stowe knows exactly how to deliver those lines with just the right combination of social grace on the surface and boiling rage just underneath it. There’s an almost mathematical precision to her performance that keeps if fun without ever tipping over into Alexis-Carrington levels of cliche.
SO, yes: yaddayaddayadda Initiative, blahblahblah. We know that’s what drives the story and honestly, we’re not complaining at all, but we do so love a baby shower that ends with a maid mopping blood up off a marble floor or a suddenly resurfaced memory in the heroine’s head that informs both us and the audience that “Ohmigod my mother, who I thought dead all these years, but who actually escaped a mental institution, is ALIVE! And she tried to kill me when I was a baby!” That’s just good soap opera crack right there and we can’t get enough of that shit so long as everyone gets a good bitchy retort, the ladies wear fabulous dresses, and the men all have visible abs.
We’re bad recappers and we just don’t care about The Initiative and what it all means or who’s pulling the strings. Give us a fun, crackling episode like last night’s, where major shit goes down, and we’re so on board. We don’t even mind that the entire hook for this tale – Amanda Clarke’s revenge upon the Graysons for the death of her father – is slowly getting pushed to the wayside. After all, it had to be, if this was going to be anything more than a mini-series. The trick is to expand the story outward while keeping the illusion up that it’s all happening organically. So far, they’re not fucking it up. Sure, Nolan’s love interest and grief over his father doesn’t really interest us all that much, but she’s going to figure out who Emily Thorne really is, you can practically count on that, which makes that subplot worth watching.
As for what’s going to happen going forward, once again: We have NO idea. And that’s just awesome. So far, we’re not detecting a sophomore slump yet. Madeleine Stowe is firing on all cylinders and Jennifer Jason Leigh is going to make such a great addition to the story going forward. We’re already salivating over seeing these two early ’90s movie queens facing off, Hamptons style, and leaving no bit of scenery unchewed.
And finally, Jack is so pathetic that we can’t even get annoyed with him anymore and Daniel finally grew both a set of balls and at least a couple brain cells. We’ll see where this is going with Ashley, because we can’t help thinking the girl is heading for the same fate all women do when they piss off the wrong Graysons: a short, bloody fall from a great height that will leave her in the kind of coma where all her makeup stays intact and her hair gets styled every day.
It is HILARIOUS how bad Victoria Grayson is at throwing a party, isn’t it? It’s amazing she ever ascended to the top of the Hamptons social scene given how every social event she engineers winds up with a dead or bloody body getting wheeled out.
[Photo Credit: ABC]