Wow … Amanda Woodward is back and it already feels like “Melrose Place” has been elevated to another level. This was certainly the reboot’s sharpest, sexiest and bitchiest episode, which I obviously mean as a compliment. Bravo, Heather Locklear, you still know how to rock a mini-skirt and infuse any scene with crackling energy.
Amanda revealed herself as the “W” in PR firm WPK, which is of course Ella’s employer. Amanda, who had been living in New York, swept through the L.A. office with swift firings (casualties included Ella’s boss Caleb) and some sassy talk. “This L.A. branch is drowning in red like a steer in a slaughter house. Now when I hired you to give this place a makeover, I didn’t mean smear it with lipstick and turn it into a five-dollar hooker. This office is pathetic,” Amanda announced with her jaw-dropping entrance.
Amanda had plenty of zingers — after Ella came into her office gushing about how Amanda’s profile in Vanity Fair had inspired her career in PR — the boss cut her off quickly: “Shockingly, I didn’t call you in for your life’s story, but your absentee father and pill-popping mother make for a very juicy tale.” She then told Ella to force Riley to sell the press on a fake bio to make the Anton V Real People jeans ads more interesting. Ella protested at first but Amanda put her in her place: “If you have a problem there’s a long list of eager assistants willing to take your place.”
A worthy adversary
I loved the Ella-Amanda sparks already and think they’ll only get better in time as Ella feels strong enough to stand up to Amanda more. Back in the “Melrose” 1.0 years, Amanda taking down Allison was like watching a cheetah pounce on a helpless wounded bird. At least in Ella, she has — or will have — a worthy sparring partner.
Squeaky-clean Riley couldn’t go along with the “gang violence, rough streets of Boston” spiel she was supposed to spurt to help Ella save her job, and as a result Ella got in hot water with Amanda (cue exchange of the week: Ella (to herself): “Amanda is going to skin me alive”/Amanda (sneaking up): “Not satisfying enough”). Jonah, aka Mr. Killer Miller Mojitos, was standing by Riley, in his dorky/cute bowtie, giving her lots of support, even though it meant they were out $10,000 for the ad work.
Caleb warned Ella not to trust Amanda. He also revealed, rather intriguingly, that Amanda had been digging around about Ella for months. And later we learned that Amanda hired a rival agent to try to hire Ella at the Anton V party — sure, Ella was up for some girl-on-girl PDA at her own event, but she was loyal to Amanda. Only to a point, it seems — Amanda told her to call Riley’s school and get her fired, but Ella wasn’t willing to go that far. But, Riley did get fired — so we can only imagine that Amanda did the deed herself. Watch your backs, Melrose Place residents.
Also making a return were Auggie’s abs. After Auggie revealed to David that he thought David was being framed for Sydney’s murder, David posted bail and Auggie was back home. You had to love Ella’s awkward hello by the pool: “Auggie, you’re … free.” Even former BFF Riley wouldn’t stick up for him. Crazy Violet was crazily happy to see him even though he left the country minutes after their first intimate encounter. He said their blossoming relationship was too “intense” (translation: back off, crazy-eyed stalker!) and they should just “stick with the friend vibe.” But later when he was considering drowning his sorrows in a cheap bottle of tequila, Violet ripped off her shirt and attacked him without even bothering to kick off her slutty shoe-boots. (Again, the cheetah pouncing on harmless prey image comes to mind.)
David thought that his dad was the culprit trying to frame him for Sydney’s murder. “If anyone’s capable of murder, he is,“ David mused about the anti-father-of-the-year. So he snooped around Dr. Mancini’s house and car until he found the bloody necklace Sydney had been wearing the night of her murder. Multi-tasking during the same trip, he also let Dr. M’s wife Vanessa know that her husband had been unfaithful with Sydney.
A new mystery
David didn’t do anything (yet) with the necklace, because he was busy stirring up romance with Lauren — finally. He broke into her apartment (awww, what a romantic jewel thief!) and decked the place out with autumn leaves because she was homesick for Cincinnati. What a cutie. They got hot and heavy for a few minutes but then she didn’t want to seal the deal. David seemed fine to take things slower, although I have to question his Skyline Chili idea for a first date — it reminded me of Jack’s line on “30 Rock” about “a guaranteed disaster, like a burrito before sex!”
But enough about first-date no-nos, back to Amanda’s first-episode jolt. In addition to her Ella fixation, she has a few more secrets to reveal. The episode ended with her back in her abandoned Melrose Place apartment, going straight to a safe in the closet. In there, she found only a note from Sydney saying: “You’ll never find it.”
With that, Amanda not only brings quotable lines and eye-raising hemlines to the new “Melrose,” but also a new mystery that’s already got me hooked.