Say this for Dirty Sexy Money: It’s topical. This week, we had an election (and a ton of people running around wearing the "I Voted" stickers — not exactly Obama v. McCain, but a nice touch), a mention of energy alternatives, a corporate takeover scheme and a guy who’s lost his job and whose house was foreclosed on. There was also legal malfeasance, spousal betrayal, celebrity worship, and a runaway kid caught between fighting parents. So it wasn’t exactly ripped from the headlines, but it wasn’t too far off.
Special quiet time with the spoilers ahead…
Patrick, Carmelita and Tripp: It’s the day before the election, and Patrick, who’s thrilled to be reunited with Carmelita, tells Tripp that win or lose, he intends to go public with their relationship on election night. It’s not clear to me why a character who is supposed to be the attorney general of New York state is so patently stupid (speaking of being ripped from the headlines), but it strikes me as completely implausible that a guy who just used his dead wife for a prop to gain votes wouldn’t be a little bit more sensitive to at least the appearance that going public with his girlfriend would create. I get that the Darlings are all id (and after living in Washington for 11 years, I certainly understand that about politicians), but it just doesn’t pass the smell test for me. Anyway, Pat tells Tripp that he lives for his heart, not his head, and that’s how he intends to govern when he gets to Washington (Psssst: Senators don’t govern. They legislate. They cut deals. There’s no executive decision-making involved. Civics 101.)
Their meeting/impending screaming festival is interrupted by Chase Alexander, Ellen’s brother, who’s ranting that he knows Patrick was involved in Ellen’s death and is threatening to go to the press and the police about it. Nick meets with the guy, whose suspicions about what really happened are mighty close to reality, and reports back to Tripp, who wants him to buy Chase off. Excuse me: bring him into the family. They find out that husband-and-father-of-three Chase has lost his job and his house is in foreclosure, which means that the financial payment (replacing the money he used to get from Ellen), the college funds for his daughters and his job with Darling Avionics will come in handy. Fine, you’ve bought my silence, Chase tells Nick, adding sarcastically that he must really be proud of how much he sounds like Tripp these days.
Tripp goes to see Carmelita to keep her from the election night party, and tells her the truth about what happened to Ellen. Carmelita, who again I have to say is the only person in this entire cast of characters with any integrity whatsoever, leaves Patrick, saying she couldn’t be with someone who has been part of such a huge lie.
Karen and Simon: Karen drops in on Simon in the middle of a meeting about his alternative fuel project, and he coldly puts the screws to her because it’s been a week since he proposed and she’s given him no answer. "If you aren’t prepared to give me an answer when I ask you a direct question, we’re through," he tells her. And then really abruptly tells her to shove off. Once again, I find it hard to believe that someone as savvy as Karen (and she is, regardless of how flighty and self-involved she seems) can’t see through this transparent manipulation. He’s practically being a Mean Girl, for heaven’s sake. Shocked, Karen asks Nick to talk to Simon. Simon tells Nick that his real plan is to make Karen crawl back to him; then he’ll marry her, take over her Darling Enterprises stock, add it to the shares he’s accumulated, and take over Tripp’s company. Nick sagely wonders why Simon would tell him, of all people, this information. Nick goes back to Karen and tells her what Simon told him, sending her into one of her "you just want me to keep pining for you" tailspins.
And, predictably, she goes back to Simon and says she’ll marry him, if the offer still stands. Oh, Karen.
Brian, Andrea and Brian Jr.: Brian and Andrea are once again fighting over Brian Jr., who stowed away in Brian’s plane when he left Brazil because he wanted to spend his school vacation in New York. He’s also consulted Nick to help him — a wise choice; Nick, after having put up with his father for years, is sypathetic to his nephew. The kid wants to be with both parents. When they continue to fight over him, he runs away — and Brian spends what time he has in this episode making over-the-top comments blaming Andrea for the kid’s disappearance. In the end, Brian Jr. is safe — he took the subway to Coney Island to get away from his parents’ arguing, and got a little lost on his way home after dark. Brian and Andrea, finally recognizing that they have a real problem on their hands (a precocious kid who can cope with the subway system is a dangerous thing), acknowledge that they need to work together to find a solution to this.
Question: What happened to Brian’s wife and daughters? I realize that in the event of a divorce he wouldn’t see the wife any more, but wouldn’t it seem logical that the reformed family guy would still see his kids?
Nick and Lisa: Marital tension can be decidedly not pretty, and we see more than a glimpse of it when Nick and Lisa go to see the marriage counselor. Nick’s phone is ringing off the hook, and Lisa complains that his devotion to the Darlings leaves him with no time for her. Which, to be fair, is pretty much correct, though Nick assures her that after the Senate campaign ends and after Letitia’s murder trial, things will get easier. Added to this, Lisa’s also feeling a bit at loose ends. She wants to do something with her life, and wants something for herself — an art gallery of her own. The problem is that she doesn’t have the kind of clients or name that would get her primo space. But she runs into Jeremy at the polling place after having voted, and wanting to help he agrees to be her partner in the venture.
She realizes Nick will be, shall we say, unhappy with such an idea, and brings it up to him over lunch — their therapist-recommended "special time together." Predictably, he vetoes the suggestion — vehemently, pointing out that despite her protests about being able to draw boundaries with Jeremy, she clearly can’t, and that if what she wants is something of her own, on her own, she shouldn’t be partnering with Jeremy to get it. Of course she gets sucked into the devil’s bargain and ends up partnering with Jeremy, on the condition that Nick will never know about it. Yeah, that’s a terrific idea. Nothing like being a hypocrite. In their next counseling session, it’s Lisa’s phone that’s ringing (it’s Jeremy calling), and Nick clearly suspects that even though she told him she got the gallery on her own, something’s up.
Jeremy and Nora: Jeremy and Nora continue to see one another on the sly, and when Nick refuses to see about getting Letitia sprung from her house arrest to attend Patrick’s election night party, Jeremy steps in and uses some, ah, persuasive methods to court Nora’s permission. When Patrick’s originally planned party falls apart, it ends up at the Darling manse, but Letitia tells Nick about her "furlough," arranged by Jeremy. Again, his antenna goes up and he tries to talk to an evasive Jeremy about it. He ends up borrowing Jeremy’s cell phone, and using it later dials a number that turns out to be Nora. Seeing Jeremy on the caller ID, she answers, "Hey, Sweet Cheeks," tipping Nick off to the fact that something funny’s going on. This’ll be a fun blow-up when it comes.
Big finish: Patrick confronts Tripp at the party for telling Carmelita the truth about Ellen’s death. "When are you going to learn to stay the hell out of my life?" he yells, accusing Tripp of driving her away. I have to wonder how a patriarch intends to build a dynasty — political or otherwise — and children intend to benefit from that dynasty if they don’t know how to control themselves in public settings. I’d bet the proverbial farm that Joseph P. Kennedy’s kids didn’t talk to him that way, at least when other people were around, and I’d wager that Warren Buffet’s children don’t cop an attitude either. Or Trump’s. In the midst of this confrontation, Tripp keels over and falls to the floor.
It’s a heart attack. And a really unsophisticated plot device, even though I get that they’re going for something broad here. Tripp, who will recover fine, is resting at Lenox Hill Hospital under his family’s watch when the election results come in: Patrick has won. "Now I understand how Tripp Darling lives, works, operates — fully," Patrick tells Nick. "Victories have costs. Maybe I should take a little less Patrick down to Washington and a little more Tripp."
Which is just what the world needs.
What did you think? How quickly will Lisa get caught in the web of her own scheme? Do you think Karen will catch on about Simon, or will she go through with the marriage? How do you think Nick will expose Jeremy and Nora?