"Dirty Sexy Money" Recap #1.02 "The Lions"
The lions roar as Nick makes an extravagant accusation; Juliet indulges in sponsored independence while a hilarious double takes her place at a family photo-shoot; and Brian the man of cloth reveals his heart is not entirely made of ice. For an episode initially rumored to be utter mess and all over the place requiring production shutdown and extensive reshooting, "The Lions" came out to be an exquisite hour of television. Kudos to Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh for their outstanding performance.
The episode opens with Jesca Hoops' fun track "Money" contrasting the morning chores of one Tripp Darling and Nick George. Of course I had to freeze-frame the scene and take a peek into Mr. Darling's journal in which the patriarch observes this is the day to reckon with, his wife is absent and the cook still can't get that broccoli right.
Tripp is taken aback to hear his wife Tish had gone to the cemetery. What I really loved about Donald Sutherland's performance is that throughout the episode it made me constantly change my mind over whether the patriarch knew about his wife's affair with Nick's father Dutch or not. Even the painful ending of the episode does not entirely shed much light on that.
Meanwhile, Tish informs her daughter Karen she doesn't want her to cheapen the upcoming family photo shoot with the inclusion of her 4th husband Freddy. I loved the disapproval in her voice when she said "4th." Originally, the character was envisioned as a boozy socialite with a vodka in her hand who doesn't give a damn about her children. Following the change, Tish was given stronger moral integrity and that vodka glass is gone.
The photo shoot is of course the platform for some of this episode's funniest and most memorable moments. The stunt was designed to coincide with Patrick's announcement of candidacy for the State Senate. A reluctant Patrick initially tells his father he doesn't share his dream, but surprisingly his transgender lover Carmelita persuades him to go for it.
Parents already know about Paddy's taste for transsexuals, which I was positively surprised by. I wouldn't want the writers to cheapen the transgender storyline with some kind of a shocking reveal. It is much more compelling to watch how the family deals with that affair while not being sure which members know about it and which don't. Does his wife know?
And that is exactly what I love about "Dirty Sexy Money." The subtlety. Allegedly that is exactly the quality lacking in the original version of the pilot and this episode (in addition to boozy Latitia, Jeremy was originally supposed to be drunk or high at the photo shoot, etc.), but someone in the creative team was clever enough to correct that course at the last minute.
In a cliched soap the disappearance of the journal could have been drawn out for several episodes, Lisa would have listened in on Nick's phone call with Karen who once again told him how much she loved him, etc. But that is no longer so, and I am very happy about these changes - they will make "Dirty Sexy Money" a much less campy and much more realistic and relatable drama.
Back to the plot, the twins did not have much of a storyline, but it's always great to see "Anna" from "The O.C." so I am still enjoying her Juliet. Now, the fake Juliet at the photo shoot - that almost had me rolling on the floor. Pure genius. As well as the rest of the scene including Tripp's attempt to speak to the "unnamed youth" in his "mother tongue."
What ensued was one of the emotionally most profound scenes of the series thus far, with a hurt Tripp trying to come to terms with the idea Nick could be so mistaken to believe his could have arranged his father's murder.
As for Jill Clayburgh - bravo. Her Tish was in love with two men and I was in awe seeing the actress' depiction of that love as well as her relief she felt when she suddenly believed her husband didn't know about he affair after all.
What makes the storyline even more amazing is the fact that Tripp also loved Dutch. He was the sane man by his side who kept him on the ground and the conflict of his love for Dutch and the pain caused by his affair with Tish is truly fascinating.
Brian, whom we love watching being nasty (how clever for writers to have him kick the cab with the driver's response "Sorry, Father!") showed there's more to him than meets the eye. And what about the actor playing his little son Brian Jr.? The confused looks on his face when grandpa Tripp tried talking Swedish to him were priceless.
And then there was that final scene the Internet is buzzing about. And for a good reason. Donald Sutherland has once again shown what a remarkable actor he is - I could almost feel the pain that disfigured his face as he realized Tish's birthday was indeed the code to Dutch's briefcase. I also loved the introduction of Blair Underwood's character (who doesn't appear before the 5th episode) via a photo.
Going back to subtlety, the quality this show suddenly possesses following a number of re-shoots, we still have no idea if Tripp knew about the affair. Was he visibly hurt by the opening of the briefcase because he hadn't known and he only lied to Nick that he did, or did he suspect, or did he have no idea at all? Those are the questions great writers and actors produce.
THE BEST LINES:
Nick: "Tell me none of the Darlings called."
Secretary: "No, just the lion wrangler."
Tripp (about Brian Jr.): "Who is this unnamed youth?"
Jeremy: "You're not my sister!"
Fake Juliet: "Duh!"
Tripp (about Brian Jr.): "Was he in the train with his parents when it crashed?"
Jeremy: "This isn't independence. Dad's paying for it."
Juliet: "What's your problem!?"
Nick: "Brian, this nice lonely lady is going to get you some cake!"
Maria: "Mr. George?"
Nick (caught in the act of stealing): "Hey! Maria! Ola!"
Brian: "Don't do that again!"
Brian: "That 'only son' thing, stupid!"
Natalie (seductively): "I just took a shower, I'm hot and I'm very, very... very wet."
Tish: "I wish Dutch was here because I miss days when there was someone in this family who knew the difference between power and love!"
Tripp: "In this family?"
Who killed Dutch George?
What happened to Tripp's brother Kenneth Darling?