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

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Riches: The Lying King

With Dahlia's breakdown, Didi rebelling against her father, and the growing tension between Wayne and Quinn, things are building nicely. As a season finale though, I'm left feeling disappointed. Still, "The Lying King" did offer up some good bits to the story.

To start, let me go to the end, with Quinn's closing words for the season, "I have your son." I suspected that was the motivation for his interest in Cael. But they did do a good job selling the possibility that Quinn could have other ideas. For just a moment, as he defended Wayne to Cael, I could almost believe that he was a changed man and did want to take the family in a different direction. Alas, as I saw, not so much.

Clearly, Wayne wants no part of a partnership with Quinn. I'm missing some pretty big bits to that back story, and it's something that I would really like to see in season three. Of course, even if Quinn was sincere in his desire to deal with Wayne, that ship had already sailed with what happened at the Bayou Hills construction site. Sabotage and just showing up to take over are not the friendliest of methods for saying let's be partners.

For me, the best part of the Bayou Hills construction story was the entrance of Wayne's mafia muscle. It was good to get Minkov back into the story. It's a great example of just what the Riches project has become for the Malloys. It did all start on a fluke. It was a perfect storm of coincidences that brought them into this situation to begin with. And with everything that has happened, all the close calls, they should have cut and run by now, cashing out for whatever they could from Doug's estate.

And they almost did, but then they had Bayou Hills and the promise of the big payday. It's just as much the definitive deadline as it is the $13 million. When they first took this gamble, it was all wide open. But now, if Wayne can just get to the end of the Bayou Hills project he can disappear with a big score. So now the game becomes juggling all of the balls until the very last minute. It's a tricky bit of business. He doesn't have to actually solve all of these problems. He just has to delay any negative resolutions until just after he's out.

That's what I see shaping up with Minkov. Given the choice, Wayne would surely side with Hugh and turn the tables on Minkov. And really, unless he absolutely has to in order to keep the game going, he's not going to throw Hugh under the bus. At some level, Wayne is growing to like Hugh. When Hugh stops to share a genuine moment where he thanks Doug for everything he does for him, it is just that much more pressure on Wayne. It all makes for a fascinating story.

On the other side of the tale, there is Dahlia. I found myself mesmerized by Minnie Driver this week. The breakdown of Dahlia as her past and her present just overwhelm her is great TV. It was impressive how much of her story they were able to tell by letting us watch her think about her situation. Dahlia's part of the story also served as the setting for some of the best Nina scenes I have had yet. I've liked the Nina character from the start, but watching her deal with Jim's death, and both Dahlia and Wayne, was Nina at her best. It really showed just how much alike Wayne and Dahlia are. She is so angry with Wayne, yet doing the exact same thing to Nina.

The only part of Dahlia's story, and the episode, that didn't work for me was the scene with Devereaux. I just wasn't buying his sudden kiss of Dahlia to start with, let alone with his wife and kids just inside the house. That's just not at all what I got from all of the earlier Devereaux scenes.

As to the kids, there's not a lot to take from Sam and Cael's involvement. I'm curious to see more with Sam and his new friend, but as this was the season finale, that bit felt kind of tacked on because they needed something for Sam to be doing. And Cael, he was more or less playing support to get to Quinn's big line. There was a bit more for Didi this week though. Dahlia tossing Wayne under the bus by telling Didi about Pete set a lot of things in motion. The telling line for me was Didi asking Wayne if that's who they are now. She's left searching and confused, seeing everything falling apart and takes off for some good old fashioned teen age rebellion.

And there I am. All the seeds have been planted for what should surely be a great season three. I do wish that I could get all of those answers over the next couple months as a full season two raps up, but what am I gonna do? I suppose I should take from it that six episodes of a very good show is still a check in the win column.

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