Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dirty Sexy Money: The Verdict (2.5)

Wow, this was certainly a game-changer. Theories that the show had devolved into all-out soapy scandal prove entirely correct here, with a doozy of plot twists, character assassinations, ulterior motives and secret agendas revealed in a last-minute flurry of excitement at the end of the episode. The Verdict was shamelessly fun, but maintains that ugly quality that has made this season so frustrating. Few characters are likable anymore, some are plain reprehensible, and others are a question mark of the worst kind.

It's Nick I don't understand anymore. He continues his obnoxious bitterness over Jeremy from last episode, and decides to break things off with Lisa as a result. Poor Lisa. Sure, she lied, but she's not sleeping with him. And Nick is already aware that Jeremy is head over heels over a different woman. What makes this whole thing worse is that Nick is not only destroying Lisa, he's sabotaging Karen's engagement for his own needs. Sure, Simon's a Machiavellian nightmare, but for whatever reason Nick is using duplicitous means to get what he wants, and that is just too far. I hope that the show is aiming for a 'corruption of Nick George' angle with all of this, because it's pretty deluded if they're not.

Elsewhere, Nola has never been worse. She paints Jeremy as the bad guy for getting her fired, as if it's his fault that she can't control her own loins. It's so ridiculous. She got herself into this mess and only has herself to blame. Then the announcement that she's working for Patrick barely ten minutes later was a silly excuse to keep Lucy Liu around. Ugh. Then there was the reveal that Nola's been working for Simon. It was a great plot twist, highlighted by a suddenly deeply sinister performance from Blair Underwood. Finally he's embracing the big bad!

Just like Tripp, Leticia is also fine with pimping out her children. She always was a little ambiguous as a character, but this was particularly gross. Getting her son to sleep with the prosecuting attorney? Major ick. Everybody's becoming so horrible on this show. That fits the tone of a juicy night-time soap, but still.

Elements of Dirty Sexy Money work really well at this point, but it's unfortunate that the writers had to sacrifice some of the humanity on the road to making the show more salacious. Some series manage to find a happy medium (early Nip/Tuck, for example), but everybody's become so contrived and horrible that it weakens the series as a whole. It's fun, but pretty stupid. B+

Guest stars Will Shadley (Brian Darling Jr.); Laura Margolis (Daisy); Sheryl Lee (Andrea Smithson); Isabella Hofmann (Judge Fey Powell); Thomas Kopache (Dr. Little); Ron Glass (Dennis Ford); Roxana Brusso (Maria); Joel Madden (Himself)
Writers Craig Wright, Jon Harmon Feldman Director Andrew Bernstein

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