Posted by Sarah
A two-hour event for a drama series? I think they were just making up for the fact that last week they were bumped in favor of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The reason I think so is that the first episode was a standalone. It had nothing to do with the major plot arc: a hurricane hit, Santo was left to watch Alex’s youngest, Alex’s house got broken into by looters and lots of gunpointing and table-turning ensued, and Henry went to the distillery to check on Terry only to find her with her Australian husband (she’s married? Oh.). By the end of the show, Terry and her man are no longer together, and we find out that Santo had a son who was lost at sea as they were crossing from Cuba to the States.
The SECOND episode picked up where we left off last time. Jaime’s wedding day is here, and he tells his parents that when he ships out, he wants Rebecca to live with them. Of course, they agree, and they let a little secret slip: They eloped, too, and had the big fat Cuban wedding just to please their own parents. Aw, a family tradition …
Back at the Samuels’ place, the Old Man fires the PI because he’s really botched his job. Instead of demonizing Alex, he’s let Alex demonize the Samuels, and has cost them millions of dollars in fines because of the investigation into their illegal land holdings. The PI points out that Old Man Samuels still owes him 45 grand for his work, but the Old Man dismisses him. Ellis comes in and tells her daddy that some developers are offering to buy their land, and her daddy replies with “They can kiss my cracker ass.” Then he gets all creepy, calling Ellis “Swamp trash” and talking about the bond between himself and Ellis, a bond that was “consecrated years ago.” Do we want to know? I doubt it.
Alex goes to see Pancho in the cane fields, and tells him that he’s decided to stop using the family money to chase his ethanol dreams; from now on it’ll all come out of his own pocket. As he’s leaving, the PI stops him and says that Samuels is going to come after him in some mysterious way at the wedding. Alex gets his thugs to be security at the wedding, upsetting the whole family, but justified when we hear another Old Man Samuels Gem as he plays with his cigar and swirls his drink: “Make sure he gets my very special surprise wedding gift.” If I didn’t know better, I’d swear his character was written by someone completely removed from the rest of the series — someone who writes for soaps. That’s it: He’s written by the same person who wrote the character Alistair Crane on Passions. There’s no other explanation for the lines that come out of his mouth. It’s like we’re watching a different show whenever he’s onscreen.
Dogs take down an intruder on the property, and while Alex and his thugs are interrogating him, Pancho walks in and is horrified at what Alex is involved in. He tells him that his obsession with the Samuels is destroying the family, and then Alex shooshes him out.
Santo delivers Jaime’s present from Alex: A Chevy Silverado. Plug, plug.
Rebecca’s bridesmaids are helping her get ready, but Rebecca’s in a mood. When they ask her what’s wrong, she says she messed up on the night of her bachelorette party and cheated on Jaime with her ex. Then a priest comes in, and Rebecca asks everyone else to leave.
We see people in the cane fields, pouring gasoline everywhere before lighting it on fire.
Rebecca finds Jaime and confesses to him. He storms out, gets into his truck and drives out to the fields to listen to angst metal and emo out for a while. Then he sees the flames all around him, and realizes he’s trapped. Alex notices he’s missing, and when Rebecca tells him that Jaime went to the fields, Alex rushes out there to find the fields completely engulfed in flames. While Pancho, Henry and Frank try to put them out with the help of irrigation trucks, Alex leaps through the fire and tries to find his son. Eventually he succeeds, and the two get in the truck and burst through the wall of fire, making it to safety.
Cop-voiced cop says he’ll start an arson investigation. Rebecca comes to find Jaime, and he says he’ll marry her again, which he does as soon as they walk back to the house. The fields are toast — 1/3 of them were lost to the fire.
At the family debriefing, Pancho yells at Alex for turning this thing into a war. Alex and he get into it, and midway through, Alex realizes that the reason Pancho named him CEO instead of Frank was the same reason Pancho asked 14-year-old Alex to go help him get Lucia all those years ago: Because he knew Alex would do what had to be done, and that if Alex did the dirty work, Pancho’s own, real family would be spared and protected from that part of life. Pancho goes quiet. Alex is pissed, and tells his whole family about Lucia’s death, and about Quinonez, even the part about how Alex had him killed. To Pancho he says, “I’ve got blood on my hands. So do you. I will not turn the other cheek.”
Amalia’s pissed at Pancho for having kept the real cause of their daughter’s death from her. She goes out to the porch, where Alex meets her. She tells him she thought of him as her own child from the day she brought him home from the orphanage. “They have to pay. This isn’t vengeance. I want justice. Finish this.” Alex grabs Santo’s gun, refuses the thugs’ and Frank’s offers to go with him, and takes off for Old Man Samuels’ place.
Samuels is tanked. Alex says, “There’s only one way for this to end. I had someone kill Quinonez, but no errand boys for you.” He pulls his gun out. Old Man Samuels slurs, “Don’t I get a last request?” Apparently not, because as soon as Alex is ready to pull the trigger, Old Man Samuels is shot a dozen times by someone outside. Before my brain can shout, “WHO SHOT J.R.?” the words “To Be Continued” flash on the screen.
This was an awesome episode. Writing- and character development-wise, the series really hit its stride a few weeks ago, and it shows no signs of slipping. The death of Old Man Samuels promises a permanent smoothing-out of the writing. No more clunky, out-of-place kitsch from you, mister.
Next week’s episode will be “the last new episode of the year.” And it looks like everyone thinks Alex killed the old man. I’ve got my own theories.
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