Former airline pilot Chase GioBerti (Robert Foxworth) has uprooted his family from New York City to Northern California's Tuscany Valley just outside San Francisco. This, the second episode in the series is a bit of a flash-forward in the back-story.
We haven't seen Chase and his wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan) and two nearly grown children move in to his father's old house nor have we seen them tend to the land much yet. We haven't even seen Chase quit the airline he was working for. Nevertheless the dilapidated home of the pilot episode is now fully furnished and comfortable and the vineyard is fully operational ably tended to by Chase, his son Cole (Bill Moses) and his able foreman Gus Nunouz (Nick Ramus).
Paul Salinger (Cliff Potts) an old army buddy of Chase's shows up to visit trying to entice Chase into starting up a small airline charter service. Salinger is being followed by a small army of creditors and is scrounging to the pay them. He first tries to seduce Chase's cousin Julia Cumson (Abby Dalton) so that he can marry her for her money.
When it becomes evident that he will need to make payment sooner he tries to do a deal with Angela Channing (Jane Wyman) wherein she will invest in his airline if he is able to get Chase to leave Tuscany, and sell his land to her.
Angela is still convinced her nephew Chase is a dilettante who deserted Tuscany to become a pilot. She sees a great deal of his mother in him and she very much despised Chase's mother, her sister-in-law. Angela is also convinced her grandson Lance (Lorenzo Lamas), her beloved protégé should run Falcon Crest - all of it including Chase's land which she considers to be part of it, provided he does it exactly the way she instructs him to until her dying day.
Chase's resolve in staying on his vineyard is tested as it will continue to be in future episodes. It is more than a manifestation of mid-life crisis to him. His aunt Angela is generally the source of his difficulty but his old buddy ends up being the real problem. Chase has just his family and his loyal employees to fall back on to save his father's legacy.
What was Falcon Crest? When it was at its best it was a night-time soap retelling of the legend of Odysseus returning home to reclaim his legacy after war overseas and a long voyage back. This early episode reflects that. But like I said the viewer is asked to just assume a lot of things have happened that we have not seen depicted on screen in the pilot episode.
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