Nothing is what it seems — and honesty doesn’t necessarily
make you happy. That was the message I took away from tonight’s Dirty Sexy
— and I’m pretty sure I got it right because they beat me over the head
with it like Oliver Stone. But it was fun and there were ballet dancers, so
it’s pretty hard to complain.

Spoilers ahead…

Tripp comes to see Brian in church, and the not-son is
bitter and prickly as usual. Then Tripp says something interesting — and poignant
("poignant" is a word I’m probably going to over-use here, but it
fits) that he’s spent most of his life trying to find himself in Brian, but he
couldn’t. But nonetheless, he’s looking forward to having a relationship with
Brian. Then Brian meets with his superior at church, who tells him that while
he has a great "independent spirit," that spirit — and the affair,
out-of-wedlock child, and bribery charge — is going to be his downfall. He’s
suspended from the church for six months.

Which, understandably, sends Brian into a bit of a tailspin,
and he brings his troubled soul to Letitia. He doesn’t know if he ever really
had faith, he says. "You can’t deny you have a way of articulating the
questions people have about God and faith," she responds. He protests: "I
get weepy at Christmas; the crucifixion kind of gets to me — but that’s not the
same as having faith."

Did I mention that while they’re having this conversation,
she’s essentially washing his feet?
Holy biblical metaphors, Batman.

In the end, Brian seeks advice from Tripp — first in a
conversation about his faith and purpose in life, and finally asking Tripp to
let him join the family business. That’ll definitely have an interesting effect
on Darling Enterprises.

Speaking of kids working for the old man — hoo boy, Karen! Just
when you think you have her figured out, she throws you for a brand-new loop. Karen’s
playing naughty naughty footsie footsie with Simon Elder — and it’s all on the
QT. In the spirit of full disclosure, Simon tells Nick that he’s seeing Karen. And
asks for the profit/loss statements for Darling Enterprises for the last five
years. Nick seems far more conflicted about the Karen development than the
profit/loss statement request. When he tells Tripp about Simon wanting the
documents, Tripp surprises him by saying fine, he’ll have the accountants put
something together and have Karen bring it by Nick’s office. There’s your first

Next, Karen skips the family tradition — an at-home performance
of "The Nutcracker" at Simon’s request — he wants to introduce her to
someone very special over dinner. It turns out to be Simon’s ex-wife, who tells
a — yes — poignant story about how they first met, and squeezes a choked-up
Karen’s hand, giving her blessing to the relationship. Karen, shaken, shows up
at the Nutcracker night not wanting to talk with Nick about her evening, which
later prompts him to tell Simon to leave her alone. Geez, Nick — jealous/not
jealous, interested/not interested — pick a side already.

Ah, but it’s not over. Instead of the customary Tripp/Nick
conversation at the end of the episode, it’s Tripp and Karen. Tripp asks her if
she’s in over her head with Simon. "You promise me you’re not getting emotionally
involved," he says. "Because we agreed that that was absolutely not
part of the plan." Holy moly. It was like the scene in Gladiator when
Marcus Aurelius laments to his daughter that she’s not a man, because what a Caesar
she’d make.
Except Tripp seems to be giving Karen on-the-job training for Caesardom. Brilliant.
It’s a beautifully played scene between Tripp and Karen — conveying how close
this father and daughter are, and how like their natures are. But Karen retains
a fantastic vulnerability. Let us bow our heads and thank the heavens for
Natalie Zea.

Other highlights:

  • Loved Lisa and Jeremy in the gallery — and was thrilled to
    see her put a stop to it when he kissed her, which I worried would go off the
    deep end. I’ve loved this whole little storyline — their budding friendship,
    her inability to say no to his insane plot, her insistence on lecturing him to
    tell the truth. We all like a little bad boy, and because he’s a little bit
    removed from her, it’s safe for her to indulge. Lisa’s comments to Jeremy about
    the way she and her daughter miss Nick were touching and sad — and made her
    frustration about his choosing the Darling madness and not being there for them
    more palpable. And Lisa’s coat was great.
  • Delighted to see Nick and Lisa pull it back from the brink
    at the end. Sure, she lost her job after her doobie evening at the gallery with
    Jeremy. But Nick actually looked a little relieved that now she seems to really
    understand what it’s like to have a relationship with this family. And just once
    in my life, I want to come home and deliver the blow that I’m unemployed, only
    to hear, "It’s OK — we’ve got plenty of money. Want to have another
    kid?" Keep on playing the lottery, honey — someday we’ll hit those numbers.

What did you think? Will Brian be able to handle the world of
big business? Do you think Juliet’s
fling with her man-candy will last? Do you think Ellen had something to do with
Carmelita’s disappearance?