Re-watching "That Holiday Spirit"

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Michael Yule Torrance, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Michael Yule Torrance

    Michael Yule Torrance Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Well, the holidays are here (not really, not for another 22 days, but the Christian world in the US has been undermining the very holiday they claim to want to protect, putting Christmas decorations since the day after Halloween, so you catch my drift) and I decided to revisit the Dynasty holiday episode, “That Holiday Spirit.” The episode is the 100th episode by some counts outside the US (counting the three-hour pilot as three episodes) and for US subsequent reruns, but for Dynasty itself and for first-run count, “The Will” was the 100th episode; the production, to honor the event, presented to cast members a silver plated trinket box, which in fact can be yours for the low-low price of $950.

    https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/d...episode-silver-plated-table-box/id-f_3892472/

    I am not affiliated in any way with this, but to give you the spirit of the original, I thought some tie-in merchandising was appropriate. The episode starts with stock footage of London--granted, not the most easily recognizable images, and at night because I guess that is when Alexis, Dex, and Amanda arrive. I have been going back and forth between the US and Europe since I was 17, and there are rarely any transatlantic flights arriving in Europe in the evening, but this is Dynasty, and maybe they took the private jet, and timetables are for the plebs anyway. Despite a double-decker bus showing up on screen, the producers think the country bumpkin viewership in America may not figure it out, so the familiar “London, England” yellow fonts of Dynasty announcing locations come on the screen. Then as they all walk into the fake Chelsea Suite, Alexis announces to Dex and Amanda that this is her "favorite hotel suite in the whole world." So, please, @Snarky's Ghost and the rest, erase from your memory her season 2 studio speech about hotels always boring her, “except for the du Cap in Antibbes.” After Alexis sends Amanda for a nap, like one does to all toddlers, claiming she has many arrangements for the wedding to make, she proceeds to send Dex for one too, but he demands to know why she suddenly wants to marry him. Terrible plan by the way to send someone for a nap because then Amanda and Dex are jet lagged and up all night, and where does that leave you, Alexis? Never mind. Citing Blake’s obsessive behavior toward Amanda as the reason she siphoned them all out of Denver, Alexis also announces that she has finally realized she is in love with him, and as they kiss the familiar leitmotif is enhanced with jingle bells. It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

    Back at Cheney hospital footage in Denver, Blake and Krystle are watching Allegre racing on the screen (because back when we only had 3 networks and PBS, such races often pre-emptied other network programming in the 80s). They find out that Allegre will be put up for sale by the Delta Rho Corporation, and Krystle asks why on earth somebody would sell such a wonderful horse. When Blake emphasizes “we did,” she exasperatingly tells him that “yes, but we needed the money back then.” Like, why do other people need money? Can’t they just ask Mrs. Gunnerson to bake more bread? Blake (showing great restraint for not slapping her if you ask me) explains that maybe they need a quick cash flow. But, fear not: I assume that he plans to use Dominique’s money, which she gave him to save Denver Carrington, in order to buy Allegre back. Plus, the two have been fighting, and Blake wanted to buy her “something special anyway for having our baby.” Blake also announces that “besides, it’s Christmas time” but as they hug the music department correctly omits any holiday jingles, because horses and babies may have mixed back in the manger, but for Dynasty it not very au courant.

    Over at the new set of Delta Rho, Rock Hudson appears as Daniel Reece, who is informed that Blake wants to buy Allegre back for his wife. Reece’s reaction: “For his wife? Must be a great marriage. Or a damn shaky one.” I actually appreciate Dynasty’s ironic tone there. Later at the hospital, Daniel sees Krystle as she is waving goodbye to Kristina, and he recognizes her as someone he knew.

    Then we have a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a background of skyscrapers, and this could look like Indianapolis to some, so again Dynasty announces, “New York City.” Jeff, and Nicole Simpson, whom I have managed to completely forget, are discussing, and Jeff, having peeked at scripts for the spin-off, surmises that Fallon must have amnesia because she said she was married to De Vilbis. “And it’s Christmas. If she can, I know she’ll try and reach us.” Thus we find out that Fallon was very much a “screw you with Thanksgiving” kind of mother. In the end, Jeff agrees to help Nicole with her map of treasure because it might lead to Fallon. Idiots both. With a map of the Delta Rho caves, they could have found Nazi Treasure and the real deep reason of Fallon’s disappearance: the resurfacing memory of shooting Roger Grimes brought her those headaches, the Adam imagined rape, and the UFO hallucination.

    Back in stock footage London, Blake calls Amanda and tells her he wants her to have a blood test when she returns to Denver (Dynasty again being prescient as it usually was, for nowadays “ancestry.com” and “23 and me” do offer DNA tests as Christmas gifts to give family, with a holiday discount). Alexis eavesdrops, and she is so upset to hear Amanda declare she would love to turn out to be Blake’s daughter, that her hair looks like she was electrocuted. The shock is still obvious the next morning, when she is wearing so much blush, she looks like a poinsettia together with her red dress. Alexis tries to guilt-trip Amanda to come with her and Dex on a cruise after the wedding, to make up for the lost time that was lost because of Alexis’ dumping Amanda at Rosalind’s doorstep. But Amanda, who is so gullible she acts like the sister of Emma Samms’ Colbys Fallon, but certainly not of Dynasty’s Pamela Sue Martin’s, buys it.

    Daniel Reece sees Krystle a second time when Blake and Krystle come to the auction at Delta Rho, and he verifies who she is. Krystle does not even look at him, much less recognize him, which is actually believable because the Carringtons are much more self-absorbed than other people. What is really amazing, is that when inside the hospital, Krystle was wearing a fur coat, but outside at the ranch she has no need for it. When Daniel pulls Allegre out of the auction and invites Blake to sell it to him, Blake is justifiably suspicious. Daniel says they are both men of equal status, and asks him whether he has ever been guilty of a “Quixotic” moment in his life, though he pronounces the “x” in the harshest /ɛks/ way possible, and it almost killed the holiday spirit there and then for me. Blake leaves having not decided whether he will take up Daniel’s offer or not. I don’t remember how I felt the first time I saw this in 1984, but watching the scene now, Rock Hudson was a terrible choice to come and intrude into Blake and Krystle’s relationship. Yes, Blake was much older than Krystle, but in that scene between the two of them, John Forsyth looks like a believable counterpart to Evans. Krystle, who after all was with Mark and Matthew before--men her age--so it’s not like she has a pattern of hunting DILFs, would have been better paired with someone like Christopher Cazenove (not Ben’s role, though even that would have been delicious). And that is not because of what Rock Hudson looked like from HIV, but simply because he was too old to intrude in the triangle believably. On another note, why would Iris also have been going out with a man so much older than her? If Alexis found out, it would have confirmed her gold-digging suspicions for the Grant sisters.

    Speaking of sleeping with your fiancée’s daughter, back in the studio hotel, Dex and Amanda are discussing—he states he won’t let their one-night stand in the way of the relationship with Alexis, who means everything to him. When Amanda asks if he cares for her, he admits he does. Then cancel the wedding, Amanda whines. When he refuses, she slaps him like a typical teenager. Now, the dynamics here are as powerful as I remember—this was one of my favorites, if not the favorite—Marchetta contribution. The problem is that Alexis has not been established as someone who deeply cares for Dex-- or for that matter, Amanda. She was last seen throwing Dex out a few episodes ago at the end of season four, and as for Amanda she was fine with her motherly instincts kicking in once or twice a year for eighteen years. So, while I understand why theoretically this is a whopper of a triangle, on screen Dex is the only one I see suffering, pulled by his attraction to both women—not that he doesn’t deserve the suffering for sleeping with mother and daughter, nonetheless. For the other two, it comes across as Alexis merely wanting Dex now that she smells danger (but uncharacteristically for Alexis, she chooses to ignore her instincts), and for Amanda as having her first infatuation and probably first shag.

    And then we have the wedding in a cathedral, with unknowns as guests and the female extras being told “you better come wearing a hat or don’t bother showing up.” The cathedral and the guests do not look like they needed that many phone calls by Alexis to happen, but the gown and the hair do. And with the last close up on Alexis, who looks like quite the dignified bride in silver, we then cut off to Claudia and Steven in bed, and she is very upset as we can tell by her pronounced nipples. Steven and Claudia are so well-coiffed in bed in the middle of the night, that we know something is wrong with the couple, or else they would not be afraid of their spouse seeing them with a few stray hairs and setting up retouch alarms though the night. So Claudia admits that she slept with another man while he was away. Steven asks “who?” and I assume he fears the worst—Luke Fuller. After all, Claudia has a history on cheating on her husbands with gay men. But the answer is called Dean Caldwell, or at least that is his undercover name while scouting Earth for traces of Cylon infiltration. Steven has an intense “aren’t I man enough for you” shouting reaction and leaves Claudia crying. If this is the Christmas episode, couldn’t she have then raided her closet and started decimating her Cadbury collection, to the sound of “I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus?”

    The next day at Delta Rho, Krystle gets her Christmas present: Allegre. The horse is actually wearing green and red attire, so we are finally back in the spirit. In the following scene, Daniel Reece has ten (count them—I did) newspapers in front of him, many foreign, while his Soprano-like assistant Charles brings him some more back issues of the Chronicle. He is apparently buying newspapers (7 in Florida, he says to impress us) which begs the question: what happened to all of them when Sammy Jo inherited them? I would have loved to have seen her spin on them. Instead, while we hear of board meetings in London and some big corporation, all the entities we ended up seeing “that little slut” inherit is the manure-infested stables. At the end of the scene, when it is obvious Reece is cancelling jet-setting plans to stay in Denver and Charles wonders if he lost his mind, Rock Hudson flashes some weird Love-Boat type smile, complete with similar type soundtrack music.

    We are back in stock footage London, the tower Bridge that is in Amanda’s title card reveals, and Amanda serves tea and informs her former mother/current aunt Rosalind that Alexis is away and has possibly taken her passport (she would look but her hair takes so many hours to shape, it leaves her exhausted). Then she employs Rosalind to reveal to her who her father is. When the newlyweds come back, Amanda confronts Alexis: she knows Blake is her father, and she plans to go back to him tonight, airline schedules be damned. Give me the passport from the safety deposit box I never bothered to check with the hotel for, now!

    Back at the hospital, there is a crummy looking Christmas tree as Blake and Krystle visit Kristina for Christmas—perhaps a desperate plea for donations to the visiting Carringtons. The next visit happening is at Denver Carrington, where Dominique informs both us and Blake that Brady is at Tokyo, aka the bible cutting room floor, and she wants Blake to finally acknowledge her as his half-sister, hoping that this will give her something to do. Blake has “tracked down” his father (family is very important, Blake speechified a few episodes ago when they got back Danny) and Tom has denied it. Speaking of Danny, Claudia is reading “One Minute Bedtime Stories” to him, a sacred book passed down from one cheating mother to another, from Alexis to Fallon and now to Claudia, as they seek valuable time at night to see their lovers. Danny is picking his nose, which is actually an improvement over that child actor’s whole career on the show, while Steven walks in, in pants that showcase how freakishly tall Coleman is. He tells Claudia he would like to spend some time with his son, so take a hint. We’ll call you if he needs to be carried to a rooftop, thank you very much.

    In the study, Amanda is wearing red, like Krystle before (it’s Christmas, get it?) and waiting to tell Blake the news of her parentage. Blake tells her he knew from the first moment he saw her—and I believe him. After all, isn’t that what happened with Adam also? Oh wait, no. Well, but with his half-sister…Nope. I think it only works with British accents. Emma Samms, you can come in now.

    And it’s Christmas evening. All the Carringtons and their servants--who after all have no reason to want to spend tonight with their relatives—are listening to a choir singing “Deck the halls.” All the women wear something glittery, Danny is dressed like an elf in red shorts and cape, and Little Blake looks as if he was in one of these freaky swap personalities incidents and now Andrew Laird is in his body, complete with shrunken corporate clothes. And after the singing, Santa comes down the stairs! Finally! Danny gets a baseball mitt too big for him, and Little Blake a truck so heavy, he is bound to use it to crash another heir’s skull open. Yep, Santa is never wrong about kids. This is just the 1%’s equivalent of coal: horrible gifts. Krystle’s gift is of course the most thoughtful, a portrait of Fallon in the red dress from the title card (how did the painter recreate the dress so accurately? There was no YouTube then!) John Forsythe shows real sentiment as he talks about it, reminding us how the Blake-Fallon relationship was one of the true pillars of the show’s emotional core. Jeff cries too, in that weird, onion peeling way John James does. In the glow of the moment, Steven tries to apologize for telling Claudia Danny is his son, not hers, but she refuses the apology, replying that he said what he really felt, and after all that was the truth. So, Steven is supposed to forgive her infidelity, but his words are unforgivable. Claudia would of course have never been so absolute, and it is an instance where the show’s desire to have her in a relationship with Adam (the two even standing side by side now, symbolically) showcases what plot over character means.

    Blake proposes a toast to a new addition to the Carrington family. Just as Dominique’s jaw is about to drop, Blake adds, “to my daughter.” Adam is beaming when he hears it, while Jeff and Steven are surprised. It’s funny, but someone on that show kept trying to establish an Adam and Amanda bond, but it is only seen in a few scenes. Dominique feels the warm reception of Amanda is quite a slap for her, and storms out, leaving Claudia and Adam determined to find out “together” what it is Dominique wants from Blake. And then Alexis walks in, wearing an excess of red and requesting a Christmas kiss from Amanda who was just kissing Daddy (and imagining Daddy Dex spanking her). Then Alexis demands Amanda come home with her, but Amanda refuses, and Alexis turns to her new husband saying “you speak to her, Dex.” This is another interestingly written scene—Alexis seems to know Dex has power over Amanda, and when it suits her, she is fine with him exercising it, just as she sensed the attraction between Dex and Amanda and put the wedding in overdrive. When Dex says that “both of us want you to come home,” it seems to have the desired effect on his step-daughter.

    The next morning Krystle is wondering if having an open door for Amanda means one for her mother as well. Blake seems resigned to the fact Alexis will always barge in when she feels like it, and he is delusional stating that he “let Amanda go or Alexis would still be here this morning,” ignoring the Dex Greek tragedy preview that played in front of him. As if that weren’t enough golden couple marital drama, Daniel Reece has sent a gift to Krystle, a photo of herself and him from some old company picnic. Krystle thinks Blake is inquiring about the picture of them together, but instead he is asking about the expensive frame. But the pièce de résistance is in fact the picture: it is like Danny and little Blake have pasted the heads over the bodies, as an intended joke, and I wish the Dynasty “art” department had left things well enough alone, and the show just had Krystle or Blake describe what they saw. Then we lapse into a classic out of the blue fight these two have, instead of the real ones they never have (over his indulgence of Alexis just demonstrated, for instance). Blake suggests she return the picture, Krystle gets defensive and asks him what he thought she was going to do with it, and then Blake says he was simply offering what he thought she ought to do. Krystle gets extra irritated in a hurry, stating she does not need him telling her what to do. Blake insists: “I am not telling you what to do” but she replies “it certainly sounds like that to me,” grabs the picture and storms out, giving us the obligatory Krystle storming out on Blake moment that happens 2-3 times per season up to season 6 when she is locked up in the attic and Blake gets some peace and quiet. So off Krystle goes to the same Delta Rho she did not need a fur coat for before, but she sure is wearing one now. Daniel has a goofy smile and wishes her “Good Morning Krystie. It is very good to see you.” And Krystle heatedly retorts: “how dare you come back to my life after what you did.” Cue in the Dynasty suspense music. Krystie???!!!

    And so, as Dynasty said, "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us with ratings, every one!"
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    "Our tree sucks, Blake."
    "Yeeessssssssssss……."
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  3. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Could you do these for all episodes plz? :D
     
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  4. Michael Yule Torrance

    Michael Yule Torrance Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Some of my friends already think that is what I do all day. ;)
     
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  5. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    So then... fullfill their expectations.... and ours. :danc:
     
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