Dynasty: Season 2, Episode 22

The Cliff (5 May 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Fannon and Jeff reconcile after Fallon hears Jeff at his father's grave site. Blake turns down Farouk Ahmed's business offer realizing he was just trying to bail his brother Rashid out of ... See full summary »



(teleplay) (as Edward De Blasio) , (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Cliff (05 May 1982)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Carrington (credit only)
Lloyd Bochner ...
Lee Bergere ...
Hank Brandt ...
Christine Belford ...
Susan Farragut
Betty Harford ...


Fannon and Jeff reconcile after Fallon hears Jeff at his father's grave site. Blake turns down Farouk Ahmed's business offer realizing he was just trying to bail his brother Rashid out of trouble. Alexis is building a reception tent for her wedding on the Carrington estate which angers Blake. Her wedding plans are threatened when Cecil Colby has a heart attack when they are in bed together. Claudia is getting deeper and deeper into a confused mental state and seems to be planning something. Farouk tells Nick Toscanni that Blake was in country during Nick's brothers arrest for drug smuggling and Blake refused to give a bribe for his release before he hanged himself. Nick now blames Blake and he tracks Blake down at a retreat where they fight. Later Nick leaves Blake in the mountains where he fell off his horse down a cliff. While this is happening, Fallon's baby is kidnapped. Written by Robert Zarrillo

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Release Date:

5 May 1982 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Jeff Colby: I want you to know that Fallon and I are going to take a stab at making our marriage work.
[Nick nods]
Jeff Colby: So take this as a warning: stay out of our lives.
Dr. Nick Toscanni: Is that it?
Jeff Colby: No, that's not all of it. The last time I took a swing at you, you said 'one punch per customer'. Well, if I catch you near my wife again, I'm only gonna need one.
Dr. Nick Toscanni: [both exchange frosty smiles] Come off it, pal. You don't have a wife... you got yourself a Carrington. And about your baby, does it belong to you, or is it like everything...
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The Cliff or The Cliff-hanger ?!

I went to Wikipedia to know more about the "cliffhanger", not in mountain climbing, but in drama. You read there that "The idea of ending a tale at a point where the audience is left in suspense as to its conclusion, which is then given at another time, has been a staple part of storytelling for almost as long as the idea of stories.", and "it is considered to have originated with Thomas Hardy's serial novel (A Pair of Blue Eyes in 1873). At the time newspapers published novels in a serial format with one chapter appearing every month.", in that novel "Hardy chose to leave one of his protagonists literally hanging off a cliff.. this became the archetypal and literal cliff-hanger."

In the world of television series I don't know exactly who was the first one used the cliffhanger to end a season thrillingly, but I do know its effect. During the 1980s I used to watch Falcon Crest. It was so distinguished in that subject with explosive cliffhangers at the end of every season (explosion, earthquake, plane crash, murder..). I learned later that that sort of stunts was invented after the great success of "Who shot J.R.?"; the episode that closed Dallas's second season in 1979, which became the highest rated single episode of a television series at its time, and the main reason to using the "cliffhanger" often in all the TV series ever since.

Sure the soap operas of the 1980s presented the best cliffhangers, in terms of being hot, shocking and wild (remember the one of the second season of The Colbys ?!), setting the measures for next shows to hit similar "shocking surprises". While Dynasty's first season's cliffhanger was kind of pale (Claudia and her daughter had a car accident, Blake was being tried for murder, and his first – yet unknown – wife showed up at the trail as a witness), in the second season's finale the writers fixed things up and made a sharper cliffhanger.

This round the child of Fallon was kidnapped (by whom? The always envious nurse? The mysteries gravedigger? Or the newly crazy Claudia?), Cecil Colby was having a heart attack, and Blake Carrington – after falling off his horse – was left literally hanging over a cliff; applying to the classic definition of the term, resembling Thomas Hardy's protagonist in his old serial novel. However, there were some problems.

Cecil Colby's death wouldn't imperil much; in fact it would benefit much. Knowing that he was the cryptic evil businessman who competed with Blake violently; then by his departure Black would be free, Alexis lost a powerful ally against Blake, and – of all things – she wouldn't inherit his money due to not finishing their marriage. As you see, for the viewers of such an event, that was delightful rather than thrilling! Although the scene in which Alexis and Cecil was making love was kind of bold back then, it turned into totally laughable at its end; when Alexis was slapping Cecil's face madly while his heart attack ! Why Dr. Nick Toscanni returned to the status of "The Vengeance is Mine!" since he already worked it out with Blake in a previous episode? Frankly the appearance of Farouk Ahmed, his fight with Blake, then bluffing Nick for achieving "the smile at Blake's agony" all smelled with "forced". And finally, the cliff, which Blake was hanging over, seemed not that dangerous at all, especially in the shot in which Dr. Nick was leaving the scene in cold blood.

After 20 years, and with good deal of studying scriptwriting, I discovered 2 things about the cliffhanger. Firstly, it was a game the writers used to play for causing a mass interest which would attract more ads; meaning more money, hence the production company would produce another season. So, it was a way from the show's people to maintain their jobs. Secondly, with many cliffhangers, in every episode and season finale, something gets lost, something named character development. Because playing with the characters' fates continually and excessively like that, left little, or no, place for a natural growth or even proper conclusion. Therefore this breathless marathon of catastrophes served not character development inasmuch as character manipulation !

Nevertheless I, along with many many other viewers, loved such a technique (one of my hobbies as a kid was writing down the cliffhanger of every Falcon Crest episode!). It provided a huge portion of suspense in our lives. Maybe we were young and naive, world was less thrilling, or the 1980s was a perfect time for that mania? Well, for all of the above then. However I see that every time has its own young and naive viewers, whom their world is less thrilling. That's one of the reasons why these soap operas will find a viewer / lover.. at all times.

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