Episode Title: The Deluge
Season 06, Episode 21
Episode 121 of 344
Written by Joyce Keener
Directed by Bill Duke
Original Airdate: Thursday, February 28th, 1985
The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Joshua asks to open Reverend Kathryn's show, but then takes up the whole thirty minutes. Reverend Kathryn is starting to become disgusted with Josh's ego. Abby tells Joshua to come up with sermons, and if she thinks he can sustain the show, she'll fire Kathryn. Joshua replies he doesn't need Abby to check his sermons or he'll go elsewhere. Joshua also announces that Cathy will sing on his show, even though she doesn't want to. Karen questions people about the evening Val gave birth, and tells Gary she thinks the twins are alive. Abby overhears. Galveston dies. The mystery woman comes in, and she is Greg's mother Ruth. She tells Greg that she married Galveston and she wants him to take over the company. An old friend comes to see Greg and tells him that Empire Valley is the cover for an international communications center, and that they will monitor and influence all government communications in every country in the world. Greg's still resistant.
Here we are with The Deluge, an ep that served as the first of a whole glorious disk for My Beloved Grammy and I, a disk that spanned from here through For Better, For Worse. I note this not only because I like my readers to have sense of how many eps and which particular eps we watch in a given visit, but also because this whole five-eps-per-disk style that we’ve had going since we started season four seems to consistently work very well, with the five eps always seeming to function as their own mini-seasons within the greater season. In fact, I should say right now that My Beloved Grammy doesn’t really pay much attention to precisely which season we are in or how many eps a season has; I think she herself tends to think of these disks as little mini-seasons, and they work surprisingly well in that regard. For instance, while I’ll go ahead and spoil my thoughts and say right away that I thought The Deluge was a perfectly good episode, the way every episode of season six has been good, it’s also a bit on the slower side and functions more for seed planting and less for any actual growth or payoff, if that makes sense.
When we last left off with the concluding moments of The Emperor’s Clothes, we could tell the search for Val’s babies was returning to the forefront, as Karen was beginning to ask questions about the delivery and do a bit of sleuthing, and we ended on her asking Mack, “What if Val’s babies didn’t die?” That sets the stage nicely for where we pick up this ep, which opens on Mack and Karen in the kitchen, continuing their discussion of Val’s babies. In typically brilliant KL style, in which there are always a ton of storylines going on at once, we also have Eric enter the scene to inform Karen that a strange gentleman came by Knots Landing Motors (remember that business?) to inquire about purchasing it. I guess he’s been watching the last three seasons and has noticed that what was once a very active setting that we saw in nearly all the eps has receded into the background and basically been forgotten as Karen has become heavily involved in Lotus Point adventures, so why the heck not ask about selling it? Now, if I’m remembering correctly, this early scene with Eric and the mention of the interested buyer is all we get for this story this week, but it’ll continue on for another ep or two and serve as a nice little side story (more on that later).
Karen schedules an appointment with Val’s lady doctor to get some answers about Val’s babies and the delivery, but we don’t see her quite yet. Once again, it’s seeds being planted; we shall see Karen talk to the lady doctor at a later date (I believe the very next ep), but not quite yet; this week we just see her making some calls. Also, despite talking over her concerns with Mack, Karen mostly keeps it hush hush throughout this ep, only bringing up her concerns to Mack and, later, Gary, although of course Abs hears her talking to Gary and is reminded that this is turning into a legit problem; if she can’t find a way to get Val’s babies back and safely returned to Val, Karen is probably going to uncover the truth of what happened and realize that Abs is kinda sorta partially to blame.
Oh yeah, and while we are on the subject of the lovely Fairgates, I must bring up a much more important plot development that's mentioned here, and that is Sexy Michael wearing a sexy outfit and heading out of the house saying how he’s going to practice. Now, I’m not entirely sure what practice he’s going to, but I think it’s basketball. I bring this up because this is 1985 and I’m sure team showers and all the boys gallivanting around totally naked and playing grab-ass in the locker room would still be common practice as part of high school sports culture, and you can bet your ass that if I had been alive in this era, I would absolutely have joined these sports purely for the post-game locker room shenanigans. In my notes I jotted, “Michael’s on his way to practice; this means that his team mates probably get to see him naked in the showers!” This is obviously much more important than stolen babies and elaborate Tidal Basin murders and conspiracies to cover up water poisoning, wouldn’t you agree? Somewhere off on the side, in a storyline we don’t get to physically see playing out, Sexy Michael is being all athletic and sexy and sweaty and getting a real work out with another group of young, able-bodied, red-blooded American boys, and then afterwards all these boys get to retire to the happiest place in the entire world, the men's locker room, to disrobe and shower together in their full nudity just as God made them. This means that Sexy Michael’s team mates get to see Michael naked; can you understand the sheer importance of what I am describing?! Can you imagine having the divine pleasure of playing basketball or whatever with Sexy Michael and then getting to see him naked every single day for however long the sports season lasts? How could one focus on doing anything else in their life when something this huge is going on? The mind reels!
But enough about Sexy Michael and how fucking smoking hot he must look when he’s totally naked and wet (if only this had been an HBO show and we could have seen full frontal from Michael week after week), let’s focus on some of the less important plot developments going on throughout The Deluge. While Karen is occupied with uncovering the truth about Val’s babies, we’ve also got Gary and Ben having a bit of a shouting match about Val and the babies and all that stuff. To the best of my remembrance, this is the first fight or argument between Gary and Ben, and it aptly demonstrates what a true gentleman Ben is and why he is so rapidly rising in my estimation in terms of his character and his legacy for the show. See, I can’t quite remember how the shouting match starts, but it boils down to Gary kinda blaming Ben for all these recent problems with Val, saying how he knocked her up and then ran out on his responsibility, effectively abandoning her. This is painful to watch (in a good way), because you just know how hard it must be for Ben to hold his tongue during something like this. For all intents and purposes, Ben has been a standup guy with Val and has been nothing if not patient and understanding with her. We the audience know that Gary is the true father of Val’s babies, as does Abs and a few other characters (Mack, if I recall correctly), and Ben could easily just retort with, “You’re the one who knocked her up, asshole,” effectively blowing Gary’s mind, but he keeps it in, holds in the truth because he knows this is what Val wants. So basically Ben has to let Gary take a big piss in his face and he says nothing, all out of respect for Val; now that’s a good guy.
Interestingly, I would say that Mr. Joshua Rush is actually getting the majority of the material this week, as we get quite a lot of developments as far as he’s concerned. For instance, we are seeing his continued rise to power and his quick morph from nice, shy, quiet preacher’s son to egotistical religious extremist jackass. In this ep, the delightful Reverend Kathryn (and I’m not being facetious in any way; I actually really like this small side character and think he embodies all the best aspects of a decent and honorable religious person, since a few of those people actually do exist) is nice enough to give Joshua permission to go on before him and do a little sermon on the show at Pacific World Whatever. The only problem is that there’s a thirty minute time slot and Joshua, well, steals the entire thirty minutes. He gives a great big sermon that’s actually pretty good about how too many people try to find the easy way out, and the general theme of his sermon is “Easy doesn’t do it.” I actually agree with the sentiment, but it’s douchy of him and he completely steals the entire show from Reverend Kathryn, the man who has been working at Pacific World Whatever for something like twenty or thirty years. Now, the TV.com description that I copy and pasted above says, “Reverend Kathryn is starting to become disgusted with Joshua’s ego,” but I’m really not sure if that’s entirely true. We get some shots of Kathryn during this sermon, and he looks concerned, and I think he’s sorta mad that Joshua steals the half hour away from him, but I’m not sure if “Disgusted” is quite the right word, and even after the show is over, he’s not mean to Joshua, but rather gentle. He’s like, “That was a good sermon, but you did sorta steal the whole show away from me.”
Later, Abs and Joshua have a little one-on-one and we can definitely see that Abs has started to create a monster. By boosting Joshua’s ego so consistently and always telling him how special and amazing he is, she has allowed him to become somewhat out of control, and now he’s not wanting to listen to anybody. For instance, she offers to fire Reverend Kathryn (which truly hurts me; I don’t want to see this nice man treated so badly), and Joshua is very cavalier and says something about how he can handle these things himself; he doesn’t need the help from Abs. I should take this moment to say that things are playing out quite a bit differently than I remembered. I don’t know if this gets into SPOILER TERRITORY, but whatever; in my mind, I sorta had a very even division where I thought of “season six Joshua” as nice and sweet and “season seven Joshua” as nasty and wicked, but it’s certainly not such a clear divide; you don’t start season seven and suddenly the dude is pure evil. Rather, we have spent the season seeing this change take over him, and I again remind the reader how fucking much I relish the length of this season. By having thirty episodes in the season instead of, say, fifteen, the way a show would probably do it nowadays, it really gives us the proper space to let storylines unfold organically. So even though Joshua arrived at the start of the season looking fresh-faced and innocent and now he’s starting to turn into a monster, it doesn’t feel inorganic; it feels like it’s a natural progression of the character and really remarkably natural, not rushed at all.
This parlays nicely into Joshua’s controlling and domineering relationship with Cathy. In this ep, he tells Abs that he’d like to have Cathy sing on his show (hymns, of course, no Journey or Rick Springfield covers allowed on a religious program), although he doesn’t precisely ask; rather he sorta announces it. When he shares this with Cathy, she says she doesn’t want to sing at Pacific World Whatever, that she’s perfectly happy singing at Isadora’s and doesn’t want to change that. This is just another manifestation of Joshua’s need to control her; in our last ep, we saw him keep her busy with a picnic as a way of keeping her away from practice with her band, and now we see him trying to move her away from the band and the world of Isadora’s in order to sing on a show that he can monitor and control. It’s scary stuff, and personally I would really like to see Cathy be a little more aggressive in her refusal, but she’s still being sorta timid. I guess when you’re in love with someone, it’s harder to stand up to them directly (I’ve only been in love twice), so that’s probably the issue Cathy is having at this moment. If it was me, of course, I’d tell Joshua exactly where he can put his religious program, and then I’d leave him and start sleeping with some barely legal Asian, but that’s me, and me and Cathy are different people.
Perhaps the most notable thing about this ep is the introduction of a new character played by a gigantic movie star and icon, and that’s done very organically as part of Sumner’s storyline. If you’ll recall, we saw Paul Galveston suffer a stroke in the closing moments of Fly Away Home (“Call him yourself, Cookie”), and then we spent Rough Edges and The Emperor’s Clothes with Galveston in a coma (which is helpful for pinching the pennies, as we just see the vague outline of a body lying in a bed throughout these eps and the producers didn’t have to pay Howard Duff for a guest star performance). Also, in The Emperor’s Clothes, we witnessed the arrival of some mysterious new woman in town, a woman wearing big hats and dark clothes that worked very well for hiding her face and, again, saving the producers from having to pay those big guest star bucks. Later, we saw this mysterious lady getting married to the incapacitated Galveston as he lay dying in his hospital bed. Who is this lady and why is she here and what does she want? We start to get answers to all those questions this week.
See, early in The Deluge, we see Galveston’s little heart monitor beepy line thing start to beep and make squiggly lines and then the lines turn straight and, since I have watched a lot of ER, I am able to infer that he is dead. Of course, I don’t have to infer too long, because later on, one of Galveston’s little lackeys (My Beloved Grammy and I just refer to him as “Mack-lookalike” because, well, he looks a whole hell of a lot like Mack) tells Sumner that Galveston died. Of course, Sumner is hardly crying over it, as we have seen that he has a, shall we say, fractured relationship with his biological father. Later, Gary heads up to Galveston’s ranch to try and find the guy (he doesn’t know he’s dead yet) and is instead greeted by this mysterious woman, still draped in shadows. However, she quickly emerges out of the shadows and introduces herself as Ruth Galveston, and we see that she is, GASP, Special Guest Star Ava Gardner!
Now, I’m gonna take a moment to reveal some things about myself. I talk a real big game when it comes to movies, and I’m always sucking my own dick for being a pretentious film douche who goes to see old movies in the cinema and Bob Loblaw, but there are still tons of holes in my film douche research, and Ava Gardner here is a big one. I confess that I know the name, I know she’s a big deal, I know she was like this huge movie star, but I’ve never seen a single Ava Gardner movie and I’m not entirely sure why she’s a big deal. Make no mistake; I know that she is a big deal, and I know that the KL folks managing to get her for a handful of eps must have been quite a thing back in 1985, but I just don’t personally really know why she’s a big deal. This reflects badly on me, not her, and certainly when she showed up onscreen, My Beloved Grammy was like, “Wow, Ava Gardner, she must have been a big get for the show.” My Beloved Grammy was born in 1935, so Ava Gardner would have been a movie star during all of her formative years, but embarrassingly I had to look at her Wikipedia page to figure out what her big, important movies were.
However, right away I think she fits in well with the proceedings and brings a nice level of sophistication and class to the show. Let’s not forget that the ‘80s nighttime soaps would often attract the talent of these real old-school ladies who had been working in Hollywood for decades (Barbara Bel Geddes over on Dallas and Jane Wyman on Falcon Crest as just two examples that spring immediately to mind), so this seems to be molded in the same style, although I certainly find Gardner much more appealing than Bel Geddes (haven’t seen Falcon Crest yet so can’t comment on Jane Wyman, although one day I’ll watch that whole series and, probably, just wind up concluding that KL is much better). I think Ava brings a real Old Hollywood feeling to the scene; she has that classic, sexy, throaty cocktails-and-cigarettes voice going on and it works very well. Plus, and I have no way of knowing how she actually felt while she was filming this, but I don’t get the sense that she thinks this is beneath her. She seems to be game to be a part of proceedings, and she also interacts well with William Devane as Sumner.
Speaking of which, the two are reunited when Sumner visits a funeral home to take one last look at the body of his biological father. He’s all alone in the funeral home, and then Ruth approaches from behind and is like, “Hello, Gregory,” and we learn that she is, in fact, Sumner’s mother, the one who was married to the pilot guy but was screwing Galveston on the side and all that good stuff. Sumner and Ruth spend the rest of the ep together, talking and catching up. It’s a rather fascinating dynamic, but then Sumner is a rather fascinating character, and I particularly love the way we are slowly revealing the different aspects of his life and backstory. All this drama with the truth of Galveston as his father and his mother suddenly showing up in town to marry the man on his deathbed could seem terribly trashy or sensationalistic, but in typical KL style, it still manages to feel bizarrely grounded, and I still am not quite sure how they manage to do it, but I must say it has to be these great actors and the styles they bring to proceedings. I wish I could elaborate better, but I guess it’s that combination of Old Hollywood class that Ava provides combined with Devane’s wonderfully sarcastic and snarky way of delivering most of his lines. The basic gist of their talks is that Ruth wants Greg to recognize his birthright, to seize full control of the Empire Valley project, that this is what Galveston would have wanted, that Greg deserves this, Bob Loblaw. Greg is not swayed, reminding Ruth that, for him, Galveston was just this asshole dude that his mom was shagging on the side, desecrating the memory of the man he thought was his father, the heroic pilot guy. At this moment, Greg is not interested in his birthright; he’d rather continue to do things his own way, do the senate thing, try to use his powers in that capacity, and so on and so forth.
However, things start to change in the concluding five minutes of the ep when Greg is visited by this hilariously Cheesy British Guy named John Coblenz. First, let’s give a real fast shout out to the actor playing Coblenz, Madison Mason. It’s always fun when I’m just watching KL and a character shows up and I’m like “Cool, whatever,” and then I later look up that actor’s resume and see how much stuff they’re really in. In this case, Madison Mason is still working to this day, with one of his most recent credits including an episode of Girl Meets World (I didn’t say he was working on good stuff; I just said he was working). Looking through his IMDb, there’s not a ton that jumps out at me, but there’s just a ton of, you know, stuff. The guy just keeps busy. Let’s think what things do pop out at me. Well, he was in a memorable X Files ep (the season six ep called Triangle which is shot like a Brian De Palma film with tons of long cuts and crazy split screen action) as well as my fourth-favorite Omen movie, Omen IV: The Awakening. Anyway, the guy’s not a huge movie star, but he’s a working character actor who keeps busy to this day, so good on him.
This character is hilarious, though. I love whenever British people are randomly introduced into anything just to be vaguely evil, and this guy’s perfect. Thank God, however, that I’m watching this with My Beloved Grammy, because she was very helpful after the conclusion of the ep with making me understand the exact gist of this scene. Basically, Greg’s hanging out in his hotel room that he lives in, and he explains that the Empire Valley project is much more than it appears at first glance. At first, you’d think it’s just a simple planned community, but really Galveston’s plan and dream for it was to use to it as a cover to, like, basically keep an eye on what everyone in the world is doing. Really, it’s some sort of epic conspiracy in which they can all keep checking up on people and, like, listening to their phonecalls and fucking with their credit ratings and, well, basically it’s The Patriot Act, except about twenty years before that was a real thing.
The ending of this episode almost made me pee my pants, and it was one of those endings that I’d forgotten about, but as soon as it popped up in front of me, I remembered it vividly and started laughing. The guy gives this great big speech to Greg about how he needs to involved in this project because it’s a big fat deal and then he says, “Everybody is depending on you,” and then there’s a small pause and he repeats, “Everybody,” and then there’s another small pause and, in a tight close-up of Greg’s ponderous face, we get an obvious bit of A.D.R. in which they loop in a third, “Everybody.” So that’s three “Everybodys” in a row, and the fact that the third one is so obviously re-looped, oh God I just love it so. Make no mistake, I’m not laughing at the show; I love the show deeply, down to my very core, but I’m just laughing in a loving way at this obvious bit of dubbing and the over-dramatic way that this cheesy British guy who wandered off the set of a Roger Moore Bond film is saying, “Everybody” not once, not twice, but thrice. It only gets better when he says it two more times at the start of our very next episode! In any case, the third “Everybody” also serves for our “Executive Producers” credit to pop up on the screen and for The Deluge to come to its conclusion.
Okay, so what did I think of that ep? Well, it was good, but I’m gonna say it was probably my least favorite of the season so far, aside from maybe the premiere ep, Buying Time. Now, before you all gasp and think I’m insulting the ep, let me clarify that season six of KL is so unbelievably brilliant that saying an ep is the “worst” ep is really more like saying it’s the “least good.” They’re all good at this point; we haven’t seen a bad ep in the season. The only reason I’m putting this one kinda low is cuz it’s just not as exciting as the last batch we’ve seen, but that’s also okay. This one is clearly planting seeds with Ruth Galveston, with Cheesy British Guy, with the continuing developments involving Val’s babies, all that stuff, it’s just not quite as immediately awe-inspiring as the other eps this season have been, you know? However, it still has tons of great qualities, including the assured direction of one Bill “Cooke” Duke (in his penultimate episode! Can you believe that after this, we only have one more Duke episode left to watch? How shall I go on?!) and the fine guest acting of Ava Gardner, not to mention those fabulous character moments between Joshua and Abs and, of course, the shouting match between Gary and Ben. So yeah, still good, still solid, still a show on the top of its game, but just a little less visceral and thrilling than our past few eps have been, you know?