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Re-watching "Oil"

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Michael Torrance, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    While the forum was away, I missed my DYNASTY obsession, so I decided to utilize my amazon prime subscription and re-watch the show's pilot (3 hour) episode, "Oil." Amazon for some bizarre reason has it split in two: a 90 minute first part and a 45 minute second part.

    But first, I will explain why I will not go in very long reviewing of the episode. Reason 1: there is the superb review of @JamesfromLondon

    And also this review of the whole season

    But as I was watching it again after quite some years, I was wondering if it would be as good as I had built it in my mind to be. In some aspects, it was a little less. In most aspects, it was so much more.

    The pilot has an amazing sense of location. When Matthew drives down the mountain in his red cherokee with Lindsay to go see Claudia, (54:09 to 54:49--yes that is 40 seconds!) we get a continuous shot of the mountains as he goes down the highway, with a version of the theme that is beautiful lyrical and melancholy, and I wish they had used it again (I certainly did not remember it). Not the only scene this happens of course. The pilot uses so many shots to create film atmosphere, from Krystle looking out from the balcony to Steven himself looking out from the study to many, many more. Quite amazing to think that this show went to become a claustrophobic studio mess a few short years later.

    There is a sense of visual unity and transition between scenes that either is in the script (brilliant if so) or the director was allowed a lot of freedom. Little details like going from the kitchen staff rolling pastries to the hairdresser rolling Krystle's hair are the kinds of things that I didn't remember (or notice) before.

    Speaking of things I did not remember: we find out so early how awful Frankie is. Jeff talks about being at her wedding and bout his step-father (and getting along with him) so we know she exists, and just doesn't care. I do wonder though if that dialogue was a mistake on the Shapiros' part--just a scene for Jeff and Steven to start talking and Steven to tell Jeff to stay away from Fallon for his own sake. Later, they wanted to strengthen the Cecil-Jeff connection and we get no other reference to Jeff's mother, to the point that I am sure hardly any viewers remembered she existed.

    Also, I always remembered Blake being harsher, but he was actually romantic in a wittier way in the pilot than the subsequent seasons' mushy mess. In the flower shop buyout mentioned in @JamesfromLondon's review, Blake does not actually just buy all the flowers in the shop. He shows up with a pitiful bouquet he gives Krystle and tells her this is all they had after some crazy rich man bought the shop out. When she asks they go somewhere cheap for dinner and suggests Chinese, he takes her on his jet to San Francisco's Chinatown. At Krystle's question of what he would do if she had asked for French, he matter-of-factly says that then "we would have to stop to refuel in New Jersey." And by the way, when they are in Chinatown and San Francisco, the show has chosen such good stock footage and trusts its audience enough, the later-ubiquitous yellow letters announcing the location are nowhere to be seen.

    Other things that surprised me: we are always focused on homosexuality and how the show was a pioneer in its depiction (it was), but the show does a lousy job with mental illness. Claudia says she understands why Lindsay is angry about her nervous breakdown. And she understands why Matthew may be angry too. Except, I don't understand how anyone can be angry about someone's mental health deteriorating. Many, many feelings can revolve around it, but anger is so bizarre and frankly, more reactionary than I remembered the show to be.

    And way before Steven and Claudia were bonding over Dickinson, Claudia was reciting another poem "Hogamous, Higamous," which she claimed she remembered from high school but which is no ordinary poem, as it has been connected to anyone from William James to Dorothy Parker (whom Claudia attributes it to) as they were looking for conceptions of gender. By the way, speaking of the Blaisdels, somehow there is not enough drama in their household. Yes, the situation with Claudia is tense (and either Belwood shows tension through her nipples, or the woman did not believe in bras) but Lindsay dropping plates is not drama. And we can't care about the couple because we have seen Matthew pine over Krystle. The family becomes interesting through Steven--first Matthew with Steven--and after the pilot Claudia and Steven.

    Some things are exactly as I remember them: funny lines abound (Cecil: "Jeff does not have the sense to be insulted. If he had any less imagination, I'd have to promote him to my board of directors"), Evans as Krystle is ethereal, Corley's Steven is tormented and mesmerizing, and Martin's Fallon is a revelation. But I had forgotten what a commanding presence Forsythe is as Blake. So I really enjoyed re-watching it, and I highly recommend it.
     
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  2. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Oh, it's very possible.
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

    Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come Soap Chat Oracle

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    Minor quibble, but I always want a slight re-editing of the latter part of the first hour of the pilot... I mean, it's perfect, but:

    After Fallon and Blake finish their exchange along the tree-lined lane, then the scene of Krystle wandering through the ball room when she's told her taxi has arrived.

    I want reverb on Blake and Krystle's exchange outside the ballroom ("What was it Blake, some kind of test?") to convey the size of the interior of the mansion as well as help mask the imperfect looping.

    Steven overhears Blake and Joseph talking at the stairwell.

    Commercial break.

    The estate guards walking the dogs passed the limo when Michael get the call from Fallon. Fallon rides up to the carriage house, hops down from her horse, wander in and find Michael where they commence smooching. Steven sees her horse from a window.

    Krystle calls Matthew from her apartment.

    Night scene in the dining room between Blake, Fallon and Steven.

    Krystle and Matthew meet on the mountain side. After their exchange, the camera watches Krystle walk away down the other side of the ridge (and we don't see Matthew follow her). Forlorn acoustic guitar. Fade to black.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Krystle's character was a perfect balance in season 1. She was not a goody-two-shoes: she had been with a married man. And she wasn't hypocritical: she knew that being with a married man was wrong. I think her recognition of her own flaws may have been why she was able to allow Blake's flaws, although that is something that perhaps could have been hinted or uttered in some scene.
     
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  5. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    I’m more of a “Dallas” person, but I watched “Oil” a couple of years ago and really appreciated it. So much better than the series that followed.

    I’d still love to see the footage with George Peppard, and would have liked to see the series with a younger type-A Blake, rather than the grandfatherly man he became.
     
  6. Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

    Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come Soap Chat Oracle

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    Seasons 1, 2 & 9 are pretty good.
     
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  7. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I still say that Matthew and (a recast with an older actress) Lindsay could have fit in with Season 02. It would have been a natural for Alexis and Matthew to team up together.
     
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  8. Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

    Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come Soap Chat Oracle

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    I also say the episode's title should have been "Mile High" as opposed to "Oil" -- but then when did they give a crap about the series' undisplayed titles?
    Natural, except that Matthew wasn't evil.
     
  9. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Not until Season 7/8.
     
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  10. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Maybe Lindsay could have died in the car accident with Claudia. That might make him snap and join forces with Alexis against Blake. That’s what happened when he came back later, it just could have happened earlier. Either way, Lindsay dies.....
     
  11. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star

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    Why would Matthew need to turn evil to team up with Alexis?

    Remember, he thinks Blake is evil incarnate so in his mind he'd be "rescuing" Krystle from Blake. He could've also acted as Alexis's conscience when she was planning something outrageously nasty. It's not exactly an uncommon soap set-up.
     
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  12. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    And how would Alexis contribute to that "team"? She wasn't in the oil business in season 2, besides she was too busy doing other stuff.

    Matthew had an axe to grind and could have crossed over to the dark side, the dark side being Cecil Colby. But of course Cecil has other plans with the Blaisdels, and the end of their season 2 story arc is even more devastating than what happened in season 1.
    Claudia moves in with the Carringtons in season 3.
     
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  13. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I think Alexis fit well with Cecil Colby. The problems with Alexis' plot were not whom she was paired it, but the pace where it all happened and the way other characters started getting less air time, story, and significance.

    Getting rid of Matthew was, in hindsight, a mistake. They brought another middle class man for Krystle to have an almost affair with anyway, only Toscanni did not have the history Matthew had. Cecil could indeed have been bankrolling Matthew's venture with some hefty cut of the profits--all to deprive it of Blake. The problem was that the Pollocks did not want to work with the pieces already on the board. The network and even Shapiro and Spelling had decided the current board needed a strong shake-up. And Toscanni worked for the stories Pollocks knew to do, the triangle, so in comes the Fallon/Toscanni/Krystle plot, and out go Fallon's desires to helm her own company, something that Cecil promised to do if she wanted in "Oil."
     
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  14. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Was she serious about that?
     
  15. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    There was nothing to indicate otherwise. Plus even later, her desire to not just be a housewife/mother was channeled to "La Mirage."
     
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  16. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    That's not the same as wanting it all. Could you imagine her reaction if Blake had said in season 1 - here, you can have La Mirage.
    She wouldn't even go near that place.
     
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  17. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Could you imagine Lindsay and Alexis having scenes together!? Lol!
     
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  18. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star

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    I dunno
    I think a lot of people tend to underestimate what a big cast shake-up it actually was between seasons 1 and 2 - I mean, they got rid of four main players (Matthew, Walt, Michael, Lindsay); that's a lot! You could argue that Walt, Michael and Lindsay had outstayed their welcome but as you said, Matthew could've easily been utilised instead of Toscanni in the Krystle/Toscanni/Fallon plot.
     
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  19. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I can very well imagine their scenes being like a witch with a little girl...
     
  20. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Yes.
     

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