Blood and Oil Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Pilot

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You have to play dirty to get filthy rich.

It’s the tag line that we’ve seen attached to Blood and Oil in almost all of its promotional videos and print ads. 

After watching Blood and Oil Season 1 Episode 1, I have to wonder if the show is about playing dirty or if it’s much more about getting lucky. 

There's no going back for us.

Billy Lefever

Billy and Cody Lefever (played so perfectly and doe-eyed by Gossip Girl alum Chace Crawford and Red Band Society’s Rebecca Rittenhouse,) dream of opening a chain of laundromats. Their friends and family have already invested a great deal of money in them. 

So when Billy runs their truck off the road, and all of their equipment is completely damaged, the bright-eyed dreamers have a choice; move forward to Rock Springs, North Dakota, the oil country, or go home.

Cody, a very sweet and kindhearted young woman, thinks it best cut their losses. She’s very practical and levelheaded. Billy, however, is ever the optimist and insists on moving forward. 

Don't quit on me. Don't quit on me, please.

Billy Lefever

After a series of events which lead him to make a deal with Hap Briggs (Miami Vice vet Don Johnson,) Billy and Cody find themselves, filthy rich. 

Hap Briggs, on the surface, appears to be a great guy. He's self-made an oil empire, cares deeply for his horses and knows well enough that he needs to discipline his son, Wick, who is running the family name into the ground. 

You don't deserve to be my son.

Hap Briggs

Don Johnson plays Hap in such a likable manner that you almost forget that he’s completely corrupt. He and his wife, Carla (Revenge’s Amber Valletta), are making backdoor blackmail deals with congressmen and governors to ensure that they have access to the most oil before anyone else can even get a whiff of it. 

That’s where I saw luck coming into play. 

Cody cleverly managed to get a whiff of land that the Briggs were trying to acquire. She eavesdropped on the location of the land while serving up their realtor’s hemorrhoid cream, which was great because that realtor was a pain in the ass (ba-dum-ching!). She shares the top-secret information with her husband, and they get to work.

In a matter of a week Billy had talked his way into the Briggs family business and somehow walked away with $1.1 million. After crashing not one, but TWO cars, and somehow running faster than a truck, Billy ends up on top. Oh, and he’s going to be a daddy! 

Billy and Cody (and their unborn nugget) have clearly taken a lesson from Billy Zane's Titanic character. They’re making their own luck, which is fine, but luck always has a way of running out, and it will be interesting to watch these two innocent millionaires’ outlook turn dark when that inevitably happens. 

The less subtle villain of the series is Wick Briggs, Hap’s aforementioned son, who behaves like an arrogant and entitled child. This is a far cry from the roles we’ve seen Scott Michael Foster play previously, as he’s usually the charming and handsome fellow. 

After being cut off by Hap, Wick is determined to make fortune his own way. He clearly doesn’t understand independence because he plans to make money by stealing from his daddy. 

I'm glad he did it. You take his money and he owns you. Fine then, you son of a bitch. I'll make my own way.

Wick Briggs

Wick may be throwing a temper tantrum right now, but it’s obvious that he has some serious daddy issues which will only be heightened as he watches a father and son relationship form between Hap and Billy. It's already been established that Hap's wife is a bigger fan of Billy than she is of Wick.

Speaking of Carla, her relationship with Hap is a bit of a mystery. Right away, we know that their marriage displeases Wick, and that Carla appears to be very devoted to making money and building an empire. They do, however, seem well suited for one another and work incredibly well as a team.

We see that same teamwork dynamic in the Lefever's marriage, as well as their unwavering loyalty to take care of one another. It’s an interesting parallel to Hap and Carla because for the similarities in their relationships, we just feel that one pair is good and one is not.

I look forward to watching the mentorship between Hap and Billy/Carla and Cody. The Lefevers jumped headfirst into the big leagues with the Briggs family, and by that sheer luck and ingenuity that I mentioned earlier, managed to succeed in making money.

While I’d be disappointed to see Billy lose that optimistic sparkle in his ever-so-dreamy blue eyes, it would also be great to watch Hap harden him, and show Billy that he’s a bit naïve and has a great deal to learn about business.

The same sentiment applies to Carla and Cody. With Cody expecting a baby, I’m sure we’ll see two women both out to protect their families, but in very different ways. Cody already appears to be the tougher Lefever, and everyone knows that you don’t mess with a mama bear. 

It would be intriguing to see Cody’s evolution become a bit more wicked. I think Rebecca Rittenhouse has that in her wheelhouse and it would create some great friction between her and Billy. 

I'm also quite taken with Jules Jackman (One Tree Hill’s India de Beaufort) who seems to have a hand everywhere in Rock Springs. She’s wealthy, a landlord by day and a bartender by night. She’s got all of the town’s gossip and is having fun sexy time with Wick. 

There’s so much I want to know about Jules. How did she come to be in Rock Springs? Where did she make her fortune? Is she using Wick to get to Hap? I predict Jules being the source of some serious drama in the coming weeks.

Blood and Oil has set up a Dallas-esque story, one full of lies, sex, family feuds, and the soapiest of soapy action. Hap Briggs is no J.R. right off the bat, but I’m looking forward to seeing him develop as his own unique baron, but one just as charming and feared as the patriarch Ewing. 

Bottom line, is Blood and Oil worth a spot in your fall television schedule? Yes. There’s something for everyone in Rock Springs, and I'm quite positive that we've only seen the beginning of what Blood and Oil has to offer. 

With a pretty cast and genuinely interesting characters, this story is sure to have some twists and turns on its slick and soapy surface.

Oil Spills: 

  • Where did Billy learn how to drive? Take that guy's license away. 
  • How, exactly, did Billy get that apartment and the nursery set up so quickly? Is he an interior design ninja?
  • Why do Hap and Wick have different accents?
  • Why is Wick the only one in town who doesn't have an accent?
  • How exactly did Billy and Cody plan on opening three laundromats with two washing machines and two dryers? I’d never do my laundry there. Waiting for washers and dryers is the worst.
  • Ski mask or not, when Hap looked Wick in the eyes, he should have known it was his son. Unless he’s never seen his son before.

What were your first impressions of Blood and Oil? Will you be watching again? Who was your favorite character? Any predictions for what lies ahead?

Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to come back for Blood and Oil Season 1 Episode 2 next week!

NOTE: You can watch Blood and Oil online via TV Fanatic at any time.

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (31 Votes)
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