'Filthy Rich' Episode 1 Review: Feisty yet religious storyline gives FOX's new drama a promising start
Spoilers for 'Filthy Rich' Episode 1 'Pilot'
The premiere of FOX's 'Filthy Rich' introduced the Monreaux family, where power, wealth and religion collide. Eugene Monreaux (Gerald McRaney) and his wife Margaret Monreaux (Kim Cattrall) have a marriage where not only expensive gifts are exchanged, but the family also have an image to uphold. Eugene the CEO of Monreaux Unlimited, runs a Christian family network with his wife, kids, Rose Monreaux (Aubrey Dollar) and Eric Monreaux (Corey Cott), and his extended family - Eric's wife Becky Monreaux (Olivia Macklin) and her brother, Reverend Paul Luke Thomas (Aaron Lazar). Even though he was part of a community where civility and faith are honored and highly respected, Eugene seems to have preferred the more shady sides of things - half-naked girls, a private plan, alcohol, unfaithfulness - all because he's "one rich son of a b***h." His words, not ours.
While the episode begins with the family celebrating 25 years of the network praising the Lord, it soon dives into the death of Eugene and what follows right after. Of course, family business and its delegation come to mind quickly, but what Margaret wasn't ready for was the illegitimate children Eugene had that were now written into the patriarch's will.
We have to say that for a predictable storyline and a bit of déjà vu because we're 'Dynasty' fans, the episode made a strong premiere. The Monreaux family from New Orleans, Louisiana was not set to welcome three new members, Ginger Sweet from Las Vegas, Antonio Rivera from Queens, New York and Jason Conley from Edgewater, Colorado. While Margaret was aware of some of Eugene's shortcomings - a one night stand here and there - she didn't envision three more kids that are now threatening the reputation of the Monreaux's well-protected Christian empire.
The conniving nature that we think that the series will uphold, in fact, doesn't seem to be the fact that Eugene was a player, rather it stems from the hostility between the Monreaux family's most immediate members and the background stories of the three new members. Eugene wanted 5% of his wealth going to each of his five children and the majority of his shares going to his wife, but Margaret and her kids (especially Eric) decide that that simply won't do. Flying Ginger, Antonio and Jason to New Orleans, Margaret offers each of Eugene's three kids, $1 million as long as they sign an NDA and release their DNA to prove that Eugene was their father. While all three kids give their DNA, they decide to think over the offer with Ginger's strong attitude at the helm. Knowing she and her half brothers are worth more than Margaret's quick dismissal, Ginger doesn't want to settle down for anything less than 5% - that's $30 million for each of her siblings.
Interestingly enough, trouble seems to be brewing between Eric and Margaret. Eric, who was prepared to take the position of CEO that his father held when he was alive, was blindsided when Franklin Lee (Steve Harris), the family's council calls for a news conference where Margaret stated that she will now be CEO. Being persuaded by his brother-in-law, Reverend Paul - who as Franklin says is only the "talent" of the show - and his pregnant wife Becky, Eric strays away from his mother who he thinks took his job right from under his nose. Of course, with her husband now gone and her being the face of the network, Margaret wouldn't dare give away her only pedestal to even her son - her nature, not her pride allowing her to do so.
As animosity brews in the Monreaux household, audiences are shown glimpses of Eugene's three other children's backgrounds. Ginger runs an adult company where viewers subscribe to see women in costumes online and takes care of her mother along with her sister Rachel (Aqueela Zoll), Antonio is an athlete that is raising a baby boy as a single father and Jason, a pothead seems to have a family member unconscious in the hospital. But Eric disrespectfully calls them- a "hooker, hoodlum and a drug dealer."
While Ginger pushes for more money from Margaret, her brothers seem to be in more desperate situations and are leaning on taking the 1% of the company that Margaret put forward, knowing that the $6 million they would receive would change their lives. Ginger who was blindsided after finding out that a letter from her father professing his love, was written by Margaret to woo her, decides to speak to Luke Taylor (Cranston Johnson), a reporter snooping around the families ashes. After Antonio, a sweet, and very grateful young man tells Margaret what Ginger is up to, the now matriarch decides to reveal that her late husband had three illegitimate children in a press conference. "Did you really think you'd have the upper hand with the press, in my town?" Margaret asked Ginger. Little did she know that Ginger's bombshell was not the revelation, but the fact that her mother and her sister were now in the same room as Margaret.
A soap opera would need a soap opera introduction, and 'Filthy Rich' did not fail to engage the curiosity of its audience by introducing a family that seems to have all the makings of being the reason behind a binge-worthy show. With enough wealth that allows her the audacity to fly her husband's secret kids in coach, Cattrall's Mrs Monreaux is an absolute thrill to watch. From her fiery confidence to her calculated miseries, it makes us wonder how eerily calm she is through it all. While she wasn't the only one to gain off her husband's death, she definitely had the most to gain.
Also, it should be noted, that (if that wasn't a dream or a flashback) Eugene is alive, in Louisiana.
Episode 2 airs Monday, September 28, 2020, from 9-10 pm ET.