'Lipstick Jungle': Instant karma

Brookeshields_lipstickjungle_240Lipstick Jungle is all about power plays this week, both in and out of the office. Some succeed, some fail, and some are just pathetic, but they all add up to a compelling, steamy hour of good nighttime soap.

Nico gets the successful power play this week, going devious when she butts heads with new boss Griffin and feels like she's being undercut by office rival (and generally skeevy dude) Mike. When Griffin demands she write a letter of apology to a wronged special interest group in the next issue of Bonfire, Nico resists but skeevy dude Mike undercuts her in front of him, causing Griffin to insist she follow his demands. Nico uses the opportunity to mess with Mike's head, telling him she has insider knowledge that Griffin is bringing in a whole new staff and they're all on their way out, so she's going to use her editorial to basically quit her job. She even goes so far as to show him the letter (which she never plans to send) and he deviously sends it to Griffin anyway behind her back. In the end, Mike takes another job, a "lateral move," and Griffin wasn't angry at all about the letter and actually used it to create buzz for the magazine. So Nico got rid of her enemy and made a potential ally in her new boss in one fell swoop. Now that's scheming! In her personal life things are a bit rockier as she has trouble adjusting to dating young Kirby so soon after her husband's death. She tries to keep him to herself in her apartment, but he shows some resistance to being hidden. When they do go out, Nico runs into an old friend and is completely awkward. She finally tells Kirby that she's just scared with him because he doesn't fit into her plan, and then he says something cute and she's totally back on board with the relationship. I suppose when you're that attractive, anything you say is cute enough to get out of a relationship problem. Ah, to be young and beautiful.

Wendy is dealing with her power play from last week when she forged insurance papers so her friend Noah could star in one last movie before he dies. She starts out strong, watching great dailies from her "Untitled John Lennon Project" and marveling at how perfect Noah is for the role. She even gets positive attention from new boss Griffin with her synergy strategies in the big corporate meeting. This attention quickly turns negative, however, when Noah succumbs to his brain tumor in the middle of filming and they realize the insurance papers are a fake and, therefore, the insurance company won't cover the movie's losses. Griffin jumps to the obvious conclusion that Noah forged the papers and tells Wendy of his plan to go after Noah's family to recoup the money the studio lost on the picture. Wendy has an attack of conscience and wants to tell Griffin everything, but Nico tells her to spin the story with the press in order to protect herself. In the end she can't resist taking the high road and confesses to Griffin she was the forger in question, and has the gall to seem shocked when he fires her on the spot. As he pointed out, Wendy, what you did was insurance fraud on a multimillion dollar project and is prosecutable in a court of law. You're lucky fired was all you got. Wendy tries to get old friend Hector to talk some sense into Griffin but he just tells her he stands by the decision (via his assistant, no less). Ouch. What will Wendy do next?

Victory isn't so much making power plays this week as being the unwitting victim in other people's machinations. She and Rodrigo are on the fast track in their relationship, going on romantic dates and the like. Rodrigo reveals that he has a 10-year-old daughter which throws Victory for a loop at first, but she quickly gets on board. They hit a snag, though, when Joe learns of their relationship and starts embarrassingly parading a Russian glamazon designer around Victory in a pathetic attempt to make her jealous. Rodrigo notices the tension between them and has a talk with her, saying that she needs some time to get over Joe before they can seriously date and asks for a pause in the relationship. Another snag is Dahlia's quest to make Victory Ford a brand revolving around Victory Ford the person, and dating a contractor just doesn't fit the image she wants to create. She even goes so far as to set Victory up with a rich and powerful guy without her knowledge and arrange for the press to take their picture together. Victory very forcefully and awesomely puts Dahlia in her place in regards to her personal life, and I am really loving Victory this season! She's so much better without Joe. Joe's scheme to make her jealous finally gets Victory to realize she's truly over him, and she goes right to Rodrigo to take the relationship off pause and directly into fast forward. They share a very, very sexy scene right there in her store, with Victory pausing to make sure she covers the security cameras. Hee. That would be much more embarrassing than someone's head in a bucket, that's for sure.

All in all, a very strong episode and one that has a lot of interesting implications for the future. It struck just the right balance between romance and office politics, with a liberal dose of sexy in there for us soap heads. For the first time on this show, I am looking forward to see what happens next week. See you then!

What did you guys think? Was Griffin right to fire Wendy? What will she do now? Will Kirby and Nico get stronger or fall apart? And what do you think of Rodrigo and Victory?

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