‘Filthy Rich’ Season 1 Episode 1 Recap and Review 2020
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Fox’s Filthy Rich season one episode one opens with Margaret Monreaux (Kim Cattrall) calmly exiting a burning mansion. The soapy drama with a Dallas/Dynasty vibe wants to establish early that Margaret’s not one to be messed with. She watches the mansion burn and says, “Rot in hell.”
We turn the clock back four months to find Margaret praying in front of well-lit mirror. (The lighting on Kim Cattrall makes her look ageless.) Her hubby, Eugene (Gerald McRaney), places a gorgeous ring on her finger before delivering a sweet kiss.
Next, we’re transported to a taping of The Word on Margaret and Eugene’s Christian television network headquartered in New Orleans. Reverend Paul Luke Thomas (Aaron Lazar) is performing “Higher Love” to a very enthusiastic audience. Backstage, Margaret and Eugene’s son, Eric (Corey Cott), prepares to hit the stage with his family but first he takes part in a prayer along with his sister, Rose (Aubrey Dollar). Eugene compliments his wife for their 25 years of success, while she credits the Lord and her hubby with their fame and fortune.
Margaret’s not happy the Reverend is stealing their spotlight and decides the best way to upstage him is to don angel wings. As Reverend Thomas welcomes Margaret on stage to celebrate the 25th anniversary, she descends from the rafters to thunderous applause. Joining her family, she’s saccharine sweet as she thanks those gathered for their support.
Next, the action briefly moves to Sin Wagon Studios in Las Vegas. Ginger Sweet (Melia Kreiling) owns the adult sex company and employs dozens of women to pleasure men online.
Back on the set, the Monreaux family sit around a table enjoying fried chicken while Margaret delivers a spiel meant to part their adoring flock from their money. She admits many people think her family is out of touch or even stupid, and their sponsors don’t believe they need Margaret’s audience’s business. She reveals that in four months her family’s opening an online store that will carry everything, including groceries.
Eric makes the cringe-worthy announcement that some online retailers offer porn. Margaret interrupts when it appears he’s going to continue describing products, assuring the audience 20% of their purchases go back to “our faith.” The new online market is called Sunny Club and Margaret leads the audience in a cheer for her new Christian retailer.
During the after-party to celebrate the launch, Eric apologizes for his improv’ed speech. Reverend Thomas intervenes and takes Eric’s side. After they walk away, Margaret says, “I rue the day that Eric married that man’s sister.”
They also discuss their daughter’s desire to feature her clothing line on Sunny Club. Margaret’s against giving their children things just because they ask for it. Eugene is much more supportive.
Eugene takes Margaret onto the dance floor only to quickly explain he’s got to leave. He’s hopping on the jet to Washington but will be back soon. They can celebrate alone then.
One final kiss and he takes off.
Apparently, the jet isn’t the only thing he’s planning on climbing aboard. Eugene’s a card-carrying member of the mile-high club and has nearly naked women with him on the plane. After declaring himself “one rich son of a bitch,” he loosens his belt and drops his trousers. The plane suddenly lurches and he peeks out a window. He spots an engine on fire and is able to get off a quick prayer asking for mercy before it goes down.
The funeral is a packed affair and a voice-over of a reporter explains his body hasn’t been recovered from the Louisiana marsh. The nation’s mourning Eugene’s loss and Margaret pulls herself off-air for months to recover.
Margaret’s hounded by reporters once the news breaks that women accompanied Eugene on his final trip. Franklin Lee (Steve Harris), a close friend and the family’s lawyer, has kept Eugene’s will from Margaret and she blames him for not telling her about Eugene’s infidelities. Margaret believes she and Eugene were equally guilty of lying to their audience. “We were one. To our audience, we were one. His lie is my lie,” she says.
Margaret’s justifiably upset she kept the “lid screwed on her honey jar” while Eugene was just a big old cheater. After she accuses Franklin of knowing about Eugene’s infidelity, he turns around and claims there’s no way she also wasn’t aware of Eugene’s philandering ways.
Margaret admits she knew about one-night stands but didn’t know there was an illegitimate child. Franklin has to correct her – there was more than one child. Eugene fathered three that he’s aware of and all three are included in his will. Ginger, the porn website operator, is one. The other two are boxer Antonio Rivera (Benjamin Levy Aguilar) from Queens and pot dealer Jason Conley (Mark L. Young) from Edgewater, Colorado.
Margaret has to break the news to her son and daughter that they have three stepsiblings from three different women. Franklin explains Eugene left instructions 5% of his shares in the company would be divided equally among his five children. Margaret gets the remaining shares.
Franklin reveals Eugene would go back and forth with different versions of his will, depending on how much he’d been drinking. At the time of his death, the will including his three other kids was in place.
Eric blames his mom for not stopping Eugene and she screams, “I never knew about the kids!” She does confess he told her about a whore in Vegas which resulted in them sleeping in separate beds for six months.
Margaret warns Franklin to make sure Reverend Thomas doesn’t learn about this. That also means Eric can’t tell his wife, Becky, the Reverend’s sister. If anyone finds out, their reputation will be shot.
And speaking of the illegitimate kids, they’re riding the elevator together on their way up to a meeting they’ve been summoned to attend. Antonio has his young boy, Jesus, with him and Ginger introduces herself as their sister. Franklin meets them as they exit the elevator, requesting their IDs and the letters they received informing them of the situation.
Margaret greets the threesome as they enter a conference room. Eric introduces himself as the Senior VP of Operations and then immediately insults his stepbrothers and sister. “There’s no way I’m giving a single piece of my family company to a hooker, a hoodlum, and a drug dealer,” says Eric.
Rose is weirdly flirty with Jason as Ginger clarifies she’s not a hooker. Eric inadvertently outs himself as a subscriber to her website’s premium package while claiming he was just doing his research.
Margaret explains they’re ready to make an offer. Franklin interjects to explain it’s only good if they sign Non-Disclosure Agreements and take DNA tests. Each of the sibs will receive $1 million if they sign.
Ginger reveals she knew all along Eugene was her father. She’s kept their secret since she was a child and knows full well the company’s worth $2.2 billion. Ginger, who’s taken the lead during the negotiations, explains she needs to talk things over with her brothers before they go any further.
Margaret’s fine with them taking their time but reminds them they all lose if this secret gets out.
After the meeting, Rose suggests they have some sort of relationship with Ginger, Jason, and Antonio. Reverend Thomas busts in as they’re talking and it’s immediately clear Eric couldn’t keep his mouth shut and told Becky (Olivia Macklin) everything.
An investigative journalist attempts to speak with Ginger, but he’s hurried away by a security guard. Ginger takes his card before he leaves.
Antonio’s fine with the $1 million but Ginger reminds him he has strength and power now. She also reminds him Eugene knew about him but did nothing to help him as he struggled to care for his young son.
Margaret finally makes it back on air after her month-long sabbatical. The audience gives her a warm welcome as she acknowledges it’s been a month since she lost her husband and best friend. She claims she’s back because of Eugene and because of her flock’s faith in their mission. Margaret believes people of faith are under constant attack and they each need to stay strong and close to their families. “Always together makes a family forever,” she says without a hint of irony. “And family is the most valuable thing in the world.”
Franklin and Margaret discuss the siblings who have now turned down the $1 million offer. Margaret thinks giving Ginger a seat at the table might actually sway her from wanting more to do with the family and its business.
However, Ginger is one smart cookie and although she accepts Margaret’s invitation to a luncheon, she does so dressed as if she’s Scarlett O’Hara attending a ball. Margaret hopes she feels stupid for being so outlandish, but Ginger claims she doesn’t.
Seated at a table together during the luncheon, Ginger explains a friend sent her the outfit overnight. (The “friend” is actually an employee and the outfit is a costume she uses on the porn site.) Rose loves it and Ginger, in turn, compliments Rose’s attire. Rose explains she made it and it’s part of her clothing line which isn’t getting any attention.
Margaret addresses the gathering of businesswomen of the future, asking their forgiveness for not being able to deliver a speech because of Eugene’s recent death. She then introduces Ginger as the owner of a successful company and welcomes her to the podium to speak.
Ginger pauses for a moment at the table but then joins Margaret at the mic. Margaret instructs her to tell the women what she does for a living and Ginger glances out at the audience. The front row is filled with young girls all looking at her expectantly. Ginger doesn’t speak and Margaret assures the group she has stage fright, asking for the next speaker to come to the podium instead.
Margaret and Ginger leave the ballroom and Margaret dismisses her, saying she has no place in civil society. The offer is upped to $2 million.
Later, Margaret tells Eric he’s not ready to take his father’s place in the company. They need to take things slow, but Eric strongly disagrees. Margaret explains he lacks polish and Eric, now totally upset, reminds her dad wanted him to take over. He takes off, angry and disappointed.
Franklin arrives and reveals rumors are flying about Ginger, Antonio, and Jason. He thinks they need to keep the threesome out of sight for a while. Margaret understands but then surprises Franklin by announcing they need to replace Eugene – for the sake of the family.
Franklin holds a press conference and announces the new CEO of Monreaux Unlimited is Margaret. Eric and his wife watch the press conference in dismay as Margaret begins to speak.
Jason, Antonio, and Ginger meet to discuss the $2 million settlement. Antonio and Jason seem to want to take it, but Ginger still thinks they deserve more. Their meeting’s interrupted by someone arriving with the news Margaret has invited them to stay at the family’s hunting camp.
Eric confronts his mom at the hunting camp, pissed she usurped his role and stepped in as CEO. Margaret delivers a slap to his face when Eric tells her she’s lost her mind. He leaves just as his three stepsiblings arrive.
Rose and Margaret welcome them to the mansion/hunting camp, with Rose showing Jason around and Margaret instructing the threesome to pick any room upstairs. Margaret apologizes for the surprise attack she launched on Ginger and asks if they can start over. Ginger knows she’s being played.
Rose and Jason are hitting it off when he leans in for a kiss. She’s shocked and can only repeat, “Oh, oh, oh” as she walks off. (Ummm…yuck…stepsiblings!)
Over dinner, Margaret reveals she’s decided to give each of them 1% of the company if they sign NDAs. That’s a $6 million offer and Antonio is immediately on board. Jason also says he’ll take it and then no one will ever ever see him again. (He stares straight at Rose as he says this.)
Ginger believes they each (including Rose and Eric) deserve 5% or $30 million, and then furthers her argument by bringing up just how biblical the number five actually is. She turns to Rose and asks, “What do you think, Rose? Is $30 million enough to ghost this joint and start your own fashion house?”
Rose agrees it is.
Later, Rose calls Ginger a goddess as they drink wine and relax. Ginger believes they’re a lot alike in that they both take care of their mothers before they worry about themselves.
After Ginger heads to her room, Franklin arrives to reveal secrets about Eugene. Apparently, Eugene kept up with what was going on in her life and knew all about her porn business. He didn’t like it but also saw himself in her. He wrote her a letter recently after telling Franklin he wasn’t getting any younger.
When Franklin leaves, Ginger reads the letter. In it, Eugene confesses he thought of her each day and is proud of who she is. He always loved her and regrets not being the father she deserved.
Eric, Becky, and Father Thomas take the stage and it’s Eric handling lead vocals as an episode of The Word is taped. Following the song, Eric confesses his heart is heavy and full of grief. Becky and Father Thomas urge him to speak the truth as Margaret watches from the control booth. Margaret cuts off the broadcast as Eric is on the verge of revealing Eugene had three illegitimate children.
The studio audience looks confused as Margaret rushes onto the stage. She reminds Reverend Thomas she found him preaching inside a double-wide. She created him and refuses to allow him to scare her. Father Thomas is backing Eric as CEO and threatens that if she fires him, she’ll lose all her customers.
Ginger gets a call from her mom and provides her with an update on what’s going on. Rachel, Ginger’s sister and employee she put in charge, gets on the phone to fill her in on the business but Ginger’s not being attentive so she hands the phone back to her mom. Ginger’s unaware of this and says, “Don’t tell mom but I’m starting to like these people.” She explains Eugene wrote her a letter but doesn’t say what was in it. Suddenly something dawns on her and she stares at the letter as she ends the call.
When Margaret returns home, Ginger confronts her and reveals she knows Eugene was left-handed and this letter was written by a right-handed person. Ginger’s genuinely hurt to learn Eugene didn’t love her. Margaret can’t offer an excuse for why she wrote the letter. Ginger no longer wants the money or anything to do with Margaret’s “disgusting” family.
Ginger snaps at Margaret and reveals her mom was with Eugene for a year, something Margaret wasn’t aware of.
Ginger’s packing when Antonio barges in and tells her he and Jason are taking the deal. He also warns her not to mess this up for them.
After he leaves, Ginger calls up Luke Taylor – the investigative reporter.
Margaret prays in her bedroom and admits she’s struggling to understand what to do. Antonio’s child interrupts her prayers and Antonio chases him down. He thanks Margaret for everything she’s done to change his boy’s life. He also confesses Ginger has spoken with the press.
The following day, Ginger arrives to speak at a press conference. Luke tries to tell her his boss made a different deal but he’s too late. She enters the back of the room to find Margaret and her family already on the stage. Ginger’s standing next to Antonio and Jason when Margaret reveals to the world Eugene fathered three illegitimate children. Rose, Eric, Becky, and Reverend Thomas believed she was going to announce Eric as CEO and are shocked she just revealed their family secret.
A low murmur fills the conference room as Margaret credits Father Thomas for getting them through this ordeal. She also credits God with guiding her, and then officially – and publicly – welcomes Antonio, Jason, and Ginger into the family.
Jason quickly exits the room, but Ginger and Antonio join the family on stage. Margaret believes she’s just gotten the upper hand on the situation until two women enter the room. Ginger’s mom and sister have arrived to lend their support.
The episode ends with the revelation Eugene isn’t dead. He comes to believing he’s in Hell only to learn he’s in Louisiana.
Filthy Rich Episode 1 Review:
Kim Cattrall’s a scenery-chewing force to be reckoned with in episode one of Fox’s new primetime soap. The series crackles when she’s on the screen, but the sparks go out when she’s absent. Thankfully, this is a Cattrall-driven series so that downtime isn’t often or lengthy.
The dysfunctional family soap comes from writer/director Tate Taylor (Ma, The Help) and has its genuinely icky moments, but at least with episode one the setup for tasty drama is there. The first episode ends with lines firmly drawn and establishes two fierce women ready to battle over control of a religious business empire. If future episodes keep the focus on Margaret and Ginger, Filthy Rich could be a fun diversion during this highly stressful time.