"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Riches: The Slums of Bayou Hills

Use any cliché you want: this is the episode where the chickens come home to roost, the shit hits the fan, the bill comes due, the Malloys have to pay the piper, etc. etc. What I do know at the end of this episode is that Wayne is starting to get in over his head, and even he knows that his conning skills are only going to get him so far. He's been able to dig himself and his family out of the messes they've created to this point, but this one is a doozy. Not only is he going up against a guy that's probably an even bigger con artist than he is, but also this guy doesn't have any semblance of a conscience. Talk about a deadly combination.

You know, looking at Felix Minkov, you wonder how Hugh could have ever entered a deal with the guy in the first place. He just looks like he's up to no good. But I know what Hugh sees: dollar signs. So it doesn't matter if the guy he's golfing with looks like he just came off a Russian fishing barge; all he's hearing is the song of $150 million. Little does he know that Felix wants to not only screw Hugh out of the deal, but do so by sending him to prison, as well. And he's going to want Wayne's help. Check that, he forces Wayne to help him, because a con man knows another con man when he sees him, and could sell out Wayne in a heartbeat.

But there are more layers of deceit in this Bayou Hills deal. Felix's lawyer, Barry Stone, could sell Wayne out, since he went to college with Doug Rich. But the patented Malloy Dirt Search(tm) took care of that quickly. Also, Felix not only wants to cut out Hugh, but he also has Hugh believing that they'll be able to build Bayou Hills and somehow sidestep the federal government's low income housing requirement. See, they're counting on the rich tenants objecting to living near poor folks who were displaced by Katrina. Peachy guys, aren't they?

Wayne has to be the most naive con man on the planet, because he not only promised Aubrey that he wouldn't sell out the Katrina victims, but he had no idea that Felix would "make" him, so to speak. Anyone who's been watching the show since day one knows that Aubrey's been suspicious of "Doug" for quite a while, but didn't call him on it until now, when she realized he was going to sell out. Since Aubrey's been his law lifeline all this time, Wayne knows he can't lose her. He must have freaked out inside when "You're not really a lawyer, are you?" appeared on his BlackBerry screen after Aubrey transmitted all that law info during the investors' meeting.

Before I get to Dahlia, lets talk a little about DiDi and Cael. We know Cael wants out; he even camped on the lawn because he didn't want to stay in some "rich asshole's" house any longer. But DiDi likes this world, despite the bitchiness of her classmates. She truly was embarrassed that her classmates saw her and Cael play street musicians at the mall. The scene where the two of them sat at the mall, discussing about their diverging interests in Eden Falls, was short but sets up a nice storyline that I hope is explored later in the season.

Now, Dahlia. I'm amazed that she was genuinely surprised that the parole officer cuffed her and yelled at her. The man's seen far too many people skip out on their parole to trust anyone, even someone who's saying that she's tired of running. I'm also surprised at her shock that she couldn't find a job because of her criminal record. It's probably a function of the fact that Dahlia's never had to honestly look for a job before. So, now she has to live even more of a double life; stay in a crummy apartment and gut fish to stay out of jail, work at Panco and live in the Riches' house in order to help Wayne score the big deal. When is she going to crack from the pressure?

Other interesting stuff:

Dale's still trying to weasel himself into this deal, which is hard to do from the mailroom. The look on Hugh's face when he saw Dale in a suit in his conference room was priceless.

Eamon Quinn is still lurking. And now he has an education to back up his villany, courtesy of the Univeristy of Phoenix. Did the school pay for that product placement? I can see the slogan now: "Teaching con men in prison since 1996." Who knew they even let maximum security prisoners use the internet?

Still, Quinn's speech to Ginny about the value of education made him even more creepy. Wayne always felt he was better than the rest of the Travelers because he had a bit of education. Now, he's going to meet his match in Eamon.

Things are getting serious at Eden Falls. Like the last episode -- and, admittedly, the entire second season so far -- the show's going in a direction that's obliterating pretty much any of the lightness we saw in the first season. I can't imagine that the remaining three episodes of this shortened season are going to get any lighter. That's too bad; I really liked the more whimsical elements that this show displayed last year. Oh, well. Time to buckle up, as things look like they're just going to get darker from here.

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