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Blood & Oil recap: Pilot

Welcome to Boom Town.

Posted on

Fred Hayes/ABC

Blood & Oil

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Don Johnson, Chace Crawford

For those of you who had high hopes that Blood & Oil was going to be in the vein of the iconic ‘80s primetime drama Dallas, you may be on a path where all your dreams come true. One drama is set in Texas and the other is in North Dakota. One revolves around the business endeavors of Ewing Oil while the other is Briggs Oil. And although J.R. can never truly be replaced, there’s one man who will certainly try to fill those very large steal-toe boots. And his name is Don Johnson.

Hap Briggs (Johnson) is the Baron of The Bakken — a huge oil play in North Dakota. Rock Springs is the epicenter for this North American boom and Briggs’ rigs line the horizon like little beacons of light announcing their billion-dollar production. North Dakota is a place for opportunity. For Billy LeFever (Chace Crawford) and his wife, Cody (Rebecca Rittenhouse), it’s a place where they can start their life over. If you’re assuming Billy is going to rake in the dough by roughnecking, think again. His family’s future is in coin-operated laundry mats.

Unfortunately for the LeFevers, totaling a truck with a load of washers and dryers before they even reach Rock Springs is not in the grand plan. Their entire investment is now at the bottom of a picturesque valley and the only option left is to hitchhike the rest of the way with all of their possessions. Thank goodness Billy and Cody are young whippersnappers and experienced zero whiplash when their truck tumbled down a grassy embankment. The weary travelers make it to their final destination just in time to take in the sights of a modern-day version of an old western town.

This place has everything: neon lights, strip joints, bars, rowdy cowboys, and one idiot who unwisely shot a white moose. The idiot’s name is Wick Briggs (Scott Michael Foster). Wick is the good-for-nothing son of Hap who does moronic things like angering the local Native Americans by killing innocent spirit animals. Needless to say, Wick spends a lot of time in jail and shooting a white moose and then bragging about it lands him in the clinker. Again.

Wick is an embarrassment to Hap. Because he has no regard for the well-being of the family business, Hap decides that the best way to educate his son is by sending him to work on a rig. Wick scoffs at his father, blaming this sudden exile on “the bitch.” Hap’s cold, hard stare was something to behold. J.R. would be proud. He challenges Wick to keep talking about his wife. Don’t mess with The Don. It’s time to get on board with the new step-mommy.  

Since every person in America looking for work has slowly made their way to North Dakota, the challenge of scoring a room at the local Super 8 is slim to none. People who are hard on their luck are instructed to take refuge at a place called Patchwork Hotel. And by “hotel” I mean a bunch of tents and travel trailers packed together in a parking lot with some whimsical twinkly lights strewn above. Billy and Cory befriend Kess and Ada, who are saving money to open a restaurant in Rock Springs. Kess also knows someone in the oilfield who can get Billy a job.

Meanwhile, Cory tries to find a place to live. It just so happens that local bar owner Jules Jackman (India de Beaufort) also has her fingers in local motel chains. A single room dump easily goes for $2,000 per month. You show Julia the money or you let her rent to the next yahoo coming over the bend. It’s your choice, but you have to choose fast. Suddenly, an old travel trailer parked at the Patchwork looks a lot more cozy and less expensive. Thank goodness Cory was able to land a job at the pharmacy to help pay for their little rust-stained dwelling.

The next day, Billy slops through the mud as Wick stands by, wondering why this guy is putting so much energy into his work. When Billy learns that Wick is Hap’s kid, he’s impressed by Wick’s willingness to learn the business from the ground up. Wick does not find his enthusiasm the least bit flattering and decides to quit, right there on the spot. What makes him commandeer a water truck as his getaway car is beyond me, but the aforementioned idiot backs straight into a few wires that results in a million dollar rig crashing to the ground. Whoopsie.

Wick blames Billy. Bill is immediately fired and storms off in the rain. Wick smiles and turns to find Hap with that cold, J.R.-inspired stare again. He saw the whole thing and berates his son for not paying attention. Hap stalks away and pulls an impressive wrestling move when Wick tries to attack him from behind. Thanks to that little stunt, Wick is officially cut off from the Briggs gravy train. No cards, no cash, no clubs.

NEXT: That’s a lot of zeros.