Reviews of select episodes —
reflecting the respective author's opinion, but not necessarily the editorial staff's.
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# 001 <1.01> In His Father's House
What a great series première! The first episode laid the groundwork for the key storyline dominating the whole year in an environment you could only fall in love with: lush vineyards, a beautiful Victorian Mansion, a masterpiece of splendid architecture with very dark and gothic, somewhat frightening and mysterious interiors, and a charming, sturdy and rustic limestone manor, the Gioberti House. Although EARL HAMNER's original intention was to make "Falcon Crest" an episodic show, LORIMAR insisted on a serialized mode of storytelling, and the mystery about Jason Gioberti's death becomes the major component of that season before the show gets fully serialized in season 2.
I think the première foreshadows how much emphasis season 1, in general, put on legal issues — beginning with the activation of a codicil to the very complex last will and testament of Jasper Gioberti, something hardly anyone but a lawyer could have come up with. When I got to know BOB McCULLOUGH, the executive story consultant and head writer of season 1, I learnt he has a law degree, indeed. Working in jurisprudence myself, it was like a "kindred spirits" experience for me... and my love for the complexity of legal matters was probably one aspect why I have always been so much attracted to the series.
THOMAS J. PUCHER
# 012 <1.12> Family Reunion
With 25.2 million viewers during its original CBS broadcast, the episode with the biggest audience ever.
The first on-screen reunion between two women who have hated each other for decades: Jacqueline Perrault comes to the Tuscany Valley to visit her family and, inevitably, meets her former sister-in-law, Angela.
One of the striking things in this episode is the humor at the beginning when the Giobertis clean up their home and Maggie looks at herself in the mirror — this shows that the people living in the limestone manor are very down to earth.
We also learn more about the Giobertis' past: Finally, more questions about Angela's relationship to her brother, Jason, are answered when Jacqueline confronts her. Angela also fears again that Emma might tell the truth about how Jason really died, something she has to prevent.
Another tidbit are Vickie's teenage dreams she intends to turn into reality by going to France with her grandmother.
The highlight in this episode is the dinner party at the Gioberti House, which climaxes in a powerfully eloquent confrontation between Angela and Jacqueline.
This episode illustrates how much Angela hates anybody, who wants to deprive her of Falcon Crest, and stands out in the first season — in particular because of LANA TURNER's appearance.
Senior Editor and Art Director
# 016 <1.16> The Good, the Bad, and the Profane
EARL always loved familial drama. He once told me the cliffhanger of this episode is one of his favorites because he so much enjoyed how Melissa shocked Lance with the news about her pregnancy during their wedding reception.
Familial drama is one of the key elements in this episode, indeed. I personally also like the moment when desperate Cole enters St. Martin just the moment when Melissa and Lance are about to exchange their wedding vows. Young BILLY MOSES played brilliantly how Cole was becoming an emotional wreck during the ceremony; no words are needed here, the expression on his face speaks for itself. Also, from my understanding, the cliffhanger is a brilliant moment in the show's history because it makes it very clear how ambitious, scheming and ruthless Melissa is — what a wonderful combination of beauty, greed for money and thirst for revenge, portrayed by the stunningly beautiful and most versatile ANA-ALICIA.
THOMAS J. PUCHER
# 018 <1.18> Ultimate Answers
The finale shows the season has come full circle. The mystery of Jason Gioberti's death is resolved with an incredibly emotional and convincing portrayal of Emma Channing by Margaret Ladd, who managed to get the audience to love her somewhat naïve, but very likeable character. But this episode is not only the revelation of the truth. It is also a new start for many characters: for Emma because she finally got all the secrecy about her uncle's death from her chest; for Angela and Chase because they will be equal partners as co-owners of Falcon Crest now — as a settlement in anticipation of a possible ownership dispute following the codicil to Jasper's will.
This episode puts emphasis on the legal matters again, giving a great amount of screen time to the coroner's inquest, and draws a conclusion to the mystery that had begun in the series première. This is beautifully handled not only in the way the story is told, but also in the technique of visualization: the use of flashbacks from "In His Father's House", additional footage depicting the events from that time and even imaginary flashbacks.
This episode is also a great preparation for season 2, laying the groundwork for the arrival of Richard Channing, the character that is referred to in dialog for the first time. The way he is introduced in the characters' conversation, however, foreshadows that he will be a very powerful, dark and dangerous person. What an interesting way to introduce a new major character even before the hiatus!
THOMAS J. PUCHER