Saturday’s slice of Flowers in the attic: the origin contains many twists, screaming fits and a dramatic death scene that is pure art.
Let’s start with Olivia’s deal with Alicia, which is really just a tryout for what she does to her grandchildren years later. Alicia – who is carrying Malcolm’s child – agrees to be sequestered in the east wing for the duration of her pregnancy. Olivia, meanwhile, pretends to be pregnant and plans to raise Alicia’s child as her own once he is born. But after a while, Alicia isn’t content to just watch Olivia bond with her son Christopher while she’s locked up.
Worse still, Malcolm still sneaks into Alicia’s room late at night. To combat her unwanted attention, Olivia convinces Alicia to cut her hair. Remember, he likes pretty things, so an ugly haircut is basically Malcolm repellent. But Olivia goes further and leaves the freshly cut locks on Malcolm’s desk. He is not happy with the “gift” and threatens to commit Olivia to a psychiatric ward. She retaliates by threatening to tell everyone what he did to her father and stepmother, and her response is to stab her in the gut with scissors. She’s fine, though, because he only touched the padding on her fake belly.
One day, Alicia confronts Olivia about her imprisonment and they argue. She falls down the stairs while running from both Olivia and Malcolm, and tries to tell the doctor what happened to her during her exam. But between her weird hair and her hysterical state, Olivia is able to convince the doctor that she is mentally unfit and has her sedated. Nella is disgusted by this and urges Alicia to play the Foxworths’ game until she can find a way out. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Malcolm is the father of Nella’s daughter, Celia.
Alicia goes into labor and it’s quite a production. While giving birth, Olivia also pretends to be in labor and screams at the top of her voice to drown out Alicia’s cries. Alicia gives birth to a daughter, whom Malcolm names Corrine after her mother. The Foxworths have a new child and Alicia leaves with her son Christopher.
Jumping forward, it’s Corrine’s 16th birthday and Malcolm is an overly caring father who gives her another doll because he wants her to remain his granddaughter forever. He doesn’t care about his sons Mal and Joel, who also hate him for favoring Corrine, among other things. Mal is engaged and wants to access his trust fund sooner so he can give his fiancée the life she deserves. But Malcolm is quick to shut that up because, you know, he’s awful.
Malcolm is obsessed with Corrine and forbids her from attending a dance after he catches her riding on the back of a boy’s motorbike. Privately, Olivia criticizes him for being too harsh and Malcolm accuses his wife of being jealous of their daughter’s beauty. But as Olivia points out to her, she wants Corrine to have experience with boys, so she doesn’t say yes to the first man who proposes like she did with Malcolm. Sick burn.
Olivia helps Corrine sneak into the dance, but it backfires when she later reveals she’s pregnant. Olivia helps the scared teenager get an abortion, unaware that Malcolm has followed them. He confronts Olivia about it over breakfast—making sure to call her a whore—and forbids Corrine from leaving the house.
Joel hung out with Celia’s stepson, Harry, who hints that Celia is related to Malcolm. When Joel tells Corrine and Mal, they aren’t surprised given the rampant rumors and strong family resemblance. Mal then tries to blackmail Malcolm with this to access his inheritance, threatening to tell Olivia that he is Celia’s father. But Malcolm is not phased and even breaks the news to Olivia himself. If Mal wants that money, he’ll have to crawl over Malcolm’s dead body.
Now that Olivia knows, she’s trying to make amends with Nella and Celia. As she apologizes, Celia warns her that men like Malcolm never stop. Malcolm proves this to be true by lingering outside Corrine’s room, watching her change clothes. Olivia, catching him in the act, decides to put an end to it.
Malcolm is then poisoned at dinner (and somehow lives on, ugh) and all signs point to Olivia being the culprit. But it was actually Corrine, who only wanted to make him sick enough so she could sneak out of the house and attend a party.
Olivia’s plan is much more discreet. Too discreet, some would say, since she hid the poisonous plant in her husband’s cigarettes, which Mal stole after catching her father kissing her fiancé on their wedding day. (To be fair, she only did it to make sure Mal got her inheritance.) Upset, he jumps into his car and drives off with Corrine. Mal soon realizes that the cigarettes are poisoned, but it’s too late. He passes out and crashes into a tree – dead at the scene while Corrine is unharmed.
Spot the dramatic scene that deserves its own section in the Louvre: Olivia moaning as she hugs Mal’s lifeless body, Mal’s fiancé rushing to the stage then sobbing (while wearing her wedding dress) in Joel’s arms after having realized his love is dead, and Malcolm hugging his distraught daughter Corrine like he wasn’t a total freak. This is followed by Mal’s funeral, which features Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and mourners standing in the rain under giant black umbrellas for added effect. This is movie theater.
In the aftermath of Mal’s tragic accident, Joel falls into Harry’s arms, Corrine destroys his collection of dolls, and Malcolm berates Olivia for essentially killing their son with his poison cigarettes. A discouraged Olivia gives up control of the house and agrees to do whatever Malcolm says – even destroying the poisoned garden with fire. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, Alicia shows up on their doorstep unannounced. Maybe she needs to borrow some sugar?
So how do we feel about this week’s episode of Flowers in the attic: the origin? Drop a comment below.