Petals on the Wind, A Lifetime Movie Extravaganza

Megan, our friend and fellow V.C. Andrews fan from …in the Attic wrote a recap of Lifetime TV’s Petals on the Wind and shared it with us.

When I reviewed Flowers in the Attic, I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to write about blood drinking. Well, this time I get to write about angry handjobs, so I think it all works out.

Yeah. That’s what I said. We’ll get there.

Petals on the Wind! I had pretty high expectations for this one, Petals is probably my second-favorite Andrews book (after My Sweet Audrina, of course) and while I wish some things had stuck closer to the source material, for a two-hour distillation of a 400+ page book, it does a pretty good job. Whole chunks of story have been eliminated (bye bye Creepy Paul!) and new ones have been written in (I guess we needed a redhead?); we jump ten years ahead and then cram everything else into one year; and the series’ two big mysteries are blown wide open, but all in all, it’s a good damn time. Usual warnings apply: There are some, but not a ton, of spoilers for the end of Petals on the Wind (the book) and for the series as a whole; there are SO MANY screencaps because there were so many to be had.

Title card from Lifetime's Petals on the Wind

Paul, We Hardly Knew Ye

We open with a sort of “Previously, on The Dollangangers” montage that reminds of the basics: terrible mom, terrible grandma, kids in attic, siblings make out, and then we take up our story ten years later at Paul’s funeral.

Dollengangers at a funeral.

Wait, what?

Photo of deceased Paul, who gets limited exposition
RIP, Paul

That’s right, Paul has been relegated to “Nice foster dad who is now dead,” and I think I’m okay with that. And it’s not entirely because I think BookPaul is a creep! No, it’s because he’s spoken of lovingly as a good man who took the kids in and made a home for them (sans, oh, taking up with his adopted daughter), and I think that’s what they needed. The time jump would also make any Paul/Cathy relationship difficult to write in, since they’d either have to start out together, which would be jarring, (Hey, remember Cathy? Well, she’s older now and she’s sleeping with her father figure. Welcome to the story!) or they’d have to figure out a way to begin a relationship amidst everything else that’s going on. That can work out in a book, but I think shoving it into a movie is a different beast.

Catching Up With Corrine

Apparently Cathy’s put all thoughts of revenge on hold for the past decade, (which is not the Cathy we know) because she tries to call Corrine after the funeral only to be hung up on, and Chris asks about the call as though it’s the first time they’ve tried to reach her. One big issue I do have with jumping ahead is that all of the simmering issues are played as though they’ve been on a shelf for ten years. Cathy can’t stop thinking about Corrine since Paul has died. Chris puts his hand on Cathy’s shoulder and they act like they haven’t touched in ten years.

Heather Graham as Corrine, on the phone, in Petals on the Wind
She’s trying to ignore someone!

Oh and Bart? She’s ON THE PHONE. Calm down. (NOTE: Dylan Bruce plays a guy named Paul on Orphan Black, so I keep having to catch myself because I’m writing Paul all the time. So many Pauls.)

Cathy and Carrie at Exposition Paul's funeral.

Carrie is afraid that they’re going to have to leave again now that another father has died (oh Carrie), but Cathy reassures her that this is their home and they’re not going anywhere. And she means it literally, because the majority of the action takes place in South Carolina, with a sprinkling of New York and barely any Virginia.

Let’s Go to the Ballet!

Since we move on to a scene of Cathy at dance class, now’s a good time for a rant. One of the real issues I have with this adaptation is its depiction of Cathy’s ballet career. For something that’s such a huge part of the books (and the promo materials for the movie), it’s barely a thing, unfortunately. It exists primarily to frame her relationship with Julian, there’s no mention of Cathy’s dreams or ambitions, really, it’s just that hobby she has and pursues professionally for a while. Her preternatural talents are never touched on; in fact she’s almost presented as a complete amateur. She doesn’t even know to put lambs wool in her toe shoes until Julian suggests it! She’s been dancing since she was a little girl! She moves to New York with Julian almost entirely to put distance between herself and Chris and while she tells her siblings that she’ll become a star and make them proud, she does not. She dances with Julian a couple times in rehearsals (and he does totally drop her), she’s in the corps, she gets Julian to sabotage Yolanda which MORE ON THAT LATER, then on the night of her debut much shit goes down, she leaves with Julian, they’re in an accident, and it’s done. Just like that. Obviously, there’s the implication that there is more dancing than we get to see, since time is moving on and we don’t focus solely on Cathy, but it’s still so underused. In Flowers, dancing is Cathy’s escape. When she dances, she’s transported from her situation; all of her romantic fantasies and real life ambitions revolve around dancing, so it’s really disappointing how little it’s focused on here. Not to mention, Cathy and Julian become extremely popular dancers. They tape performances for television! They travel across Europe! They’re held back by Julian’s issues, but they’re very successful and all of that is just wiped away.

We see Cathy in class with Madame (no Georges, more on Movie Georges in a second) and Julian strolls in to gift them all with his medallions,

Julian, in seventies finery, leans into a doorway to attract the ballerinas.
Laaaaaadies!

and it’s possibly the first time Cathy’s ever seen him? Okay, here’s an issue with that. Let’s assume that, like the book, Cathy’s been in this dance company since she was a teenager. Hell, as we find out, she canonically had a miscarriage in this adaptation, so let’s assume that happens at her audition the same as it does in the book. She’s just now learning about Madame’s son? He’s only now showing up? He’s not that much older than her. Again, it’s like nothing has been happening in the intervening ten years, other than everyone getting taller.

Carrie looks sad.
Oops, sorry, Carrie.

Julian helps Cathy fix her feet up and tells her to dance for herself, not for his mother’s approval and it’s a nice little meet-cute with a looming dark cloud.

Dr. Chris and Carrie v. Mean Girls

Meanwhile, poor Carrie is being harassed at school, where they’re watching a filmstrip on human development and everyone snickers because Carrie is a freak who doesn’t grow. I don’t know if the “Carrie is a freak” stuff really works, if only because Carrie’s just shorter than everyone else, but not absurdly so? There’s some stuff later on with her classmates bullying her over still having a doll that works, and I wonder if they shouldn’t have stayed away from the whole growth storyline and stayed with a “Carrie is emotionally stunted/has a mysterious past” angle, since those things are just as much a part of Carrie’s character and her issues with her peers. We also get to see Chris doing his medical student thing and he GASP meets a girl!

Lovely ginger Sarah, and her dad, the doctor

This is Sarah, and she is Southern, she wears pearls, she is perky, and she ultimately gets a pretty raw deal. I actually like that Chris has a girlfriend, though I know not everyone was a fan. In the book, Chris’s only non-Cathy relationship is with Yolanda, and that’s pretty much only physical and/or the excuse that Chris uses to visit Cathy when Julian becomes possessive. The book is almost entirely Cathy’s story, with some glimpses into Chris’s life and Carrie’s, but the movie tries to encompass all three of them to varying results. I think giving Chris something to do other than worry about Cathy and study (because either of those would be dull as paint to watch) is a good idea. I don’t know if the relationship going so far as an engagement works for me, though, maybe just because Sarah grew on me. Well, at this point Chris has only just met Sarah so let’s move along and get back in touch with Olivia.

Things Aren’t Great for Olivia

Olivia Farnsworth in bed

We learn that Olivia has had a stroke during the ten-year break and is being cared for by a nurse in Foxworth Hall. Corrine wants to put her into a nursing home (especially once Olivia starts raving to the nurse that Corrine poisoned her children) but Olivia refuses. Corrine is clearly relishing getting back at her mother, but she doesn’t acknowledge the children at all, even when she and her mother are alone. That Foxworth denial!

Mason Jar Dreams and New York Hopes

Julian and Cathy go on a date and drink moonshine out of Mason jars like real cool kids (I am being serious, Mason jars are cool) and Julian starts his New York pitch. He calls Cathy ambitious and that he can tell she has something to prove, and I wish that the rest of her storyline showed that, rather just Julian telling us. We learn that Movie Georges is the director of Julian’s New York company and he’s totally in love with Julian so Cathy will definitely get a spot. Wait so…NO MADAME ZOLTA?? How very dare they. I love Madame Zolta! She doesn’t take Julian’s crap! She wants Cathy and Jory to come live with her so Cathy can keep dancing! She’s great. I miss her.

Julian says that he and Cathy are the same, and I guess she’s into it, since they kiss when he drops her off. This is, of course, much to the chagrin of Chris, who saw the whole thing. Chris comes in while Cathy’s changing and gives her the “Don’t give yourself to the first guy who asks!!” speech and Cathy is reasonably pissed that he’s: A. in her room, and B. being a jerk about this. Chris tells her he was worried and Cathy apologizes for not calling, but tells Chris that she’s trying to move on. Chris knows that, but he can’t stop thinking about her and about what happened in the attic. And again, this is the first time this has come up? It seems that way. I guess I’m more bothered by this time jump than I thought I’d be.

Cathy grimaces as she drinks from a Mason jar.
Cathy isn’t feeling it.

Cathy admits that she thinks about Chris that way too, and then they hook up. Afterward, Cathy is like “So I’m going to New York with Julian because this is NOT happening again.” She says that she’s holding Chris back from the life he should have and that God already punished them once. I thought that she was going to blame Cory’s death on their previous actions, but instead Chris tries to comfort her by saying that it was only a miscarriage and that they happen, no intervention from God needed. Well there that is, then. One mystery down. How do we all feel about this scene? I’m torn. On the one hand, I think it does help to build up more of the Chris/Cathy love story, much like the alteration of the scene from the first movie and it serves as the impetus to get Cathy with Julian, replacing the Paul stuff that does it in the book, but I can’t entirely shake the notion that they also wanted to be like “LOOK IT’S SO TABOO” and threw in a sex scene for shock value. Okay, they totally threw in a sex scene for shock value. Chris tells Cathy that she’s only person he will ever truly love. And in case the whole situation wasn’t tragic enough:

Carrie crouches by the door to watch her sister and brother have the sex.
Cripes, Carrie

Tip, Chris and Cathy: CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR. This will be important later you two, trust me.

Everyone is Suspicious

Cathy heads for New York with Julian in his sweet car and they stop by the dance company, where we learn that they’re working on a new Romeo and Juliet, with Romeo played by Julian and a Juliet to be determined. There’s some heavy foreshadowing about Romeo and Juliet giving up everything! for their love! EVERYTHING. DO YOU GET IT. There’s some side eye between Cathy and Yolanda and then we head to Julian’s. Cathy is less than impressed with his artistic big city loft, just as he was less than impressed by her hug goodbye with Chris.

Cathy in Julien's dirty loft.
What a nice… dive?
Julian, looking very suspicious.
What a nice…brother.

There was seriously a dramatic zoom in on his face during this scene, words cannot do it justice. They start making out and Julian makes Cathy say that she’s his by…um…aggressive oral sex? I mean, he kisses her stomach and then everything else is camera angles (this is Lifetime after all) but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. And then we cut to Chris looking in at the maternity ward when Sarah appears and gushes about how much she just loves those adorable little babies! What a transition, movie. Sarah muses how it’s hard to believe that all those babies will grow up someday and Chris notes that not all of them will.

Sarah notices something is not quite right with the Dollengangers.
Just ignore it. He’s really cute.

Sarah pushes on from this and they make some awkward small talk. Chris, clearly in move on mode (but I think he does like Sarah too) clumsily asks her out for the following week, only to be vaguely appalled when Sarah beamingly verifies that he’s asking her out for Valentine’s Day! Get a calendar, Chris! What a Liz Lemon move. Also, it’s February? Was it February in the last scene, with Cathy in a sleeveless wrap dress in New York City? Let’s just say that it wasn’t, which, given how time moves in this movie, is probably likely.

Poor Carrie

We check in on Carrie at school, where everyone is talking about the upcoming cotillion and Carrie is upset since she doesn’t have a mother to give her hand-me-down pearl chokers and Battenburg lace gowns like the other girls. Brunette Mean Girl (there is also Redhead Mean Girl) asks Carrie what SHE’S wearing and Carrie tries to deflect the question with shushing. Oh that won’t work, sweetie. It never works. Brunette Mean Girl says that whatever Carrie’s wearing, she’ll look like a doll, and she then pulls out the porcelain doll that I guess Carrie brought with her from the attic? That’s the implication? Please correct me if I missed this, but Carrie didn’t have anything with her, right? Also…don’t bring that to class, Carrie. Carrie snatches the doll back and Redhead asks why Carrie hasn’t grown, with Brunette asking if Carrie’s momma is worried or if she’s also a freak?

Carrie deals with mean girls.
GET HER, CARRIE.

Back at home, Carrie’s sadly trying on dresses when Chris walks in on her. He apologizes and goes to leave but she asks him if he thinks she’s pretty. Of course he does, but she knows that no matter what he says, he likes Cathy best. Chris says that he loves his sisters equally and beats a hasty retreat.

Carrie, looking disgusted
Carrie isn’t buying it.
Chris, looking guilty
I definitely like Cathy best.

You Broke Your Ballerina

Back in New York, we’re at rehearsal. Julian and another ballerina are working in the center with Georges while Cathy does some barre work with another guy in the background. Julian is clearly displeased that she’s daring to speak (and laugh!) with another man, so when Georges calls Cathy in to dance with Julian he asks her if she’s screwing that guy. Cathy is shocked and doesn’t answer and then, YEP, Julian drops her. And even though he CLEARLY drops her on purpose, Georges acts like it’s Cathy’s fault and just calls for Yolanda to come in and take her place. At home, Cathy ices her knee when Julian comes in and tells her that it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been flirting. She denies it and he gets ugly, throwing a chair and telling her that she’s nobody and has nothing that he hasn’t given her, and that HE’S ROMEO. HE IS. Julian demands to know why Cathy can’t love him. Well, you’re possessive and creepy and you just DROPPED HER on PURPOSE, and you yell things like “I’M ROMEO. I AM.”

Chris and Sarah are having lunch and discussing Carrie’s upcoming cotillion. We learn that Chris doesn’t even know if Carrie has a dress. Pay attention to Carrie, you guys!! Just a bit! Come on! You’re all she has! Saying that you think maybe Henny is helping her out with that doesn’t cut it. Sarah offers to help and they have a nice moment. Chris drops Sarah off and they kiss a little and he tells her he wants to see her again. It’s all very sweet and very, very doomed.

Chris is confused by dresses.
Dresses? What?

Back to Cathy! The cast sheet for Romeo and Juliet is up and she’s in the corps, Yolanda is Juliet. That night, Julian comes in late and Cathy is packed and getting ready to leave. Why did you wait until he was home? Oh Cathy, you need to get out of there! Cathy says she has to leave and go to Chris’s med school graduation and Julian, of course, flips out and threatens to kill any man who gets between them. He hits Cathy and storms out. She goes to the graduation anyway, where she awkwardly meets Sarah, whom Chris hasn’t mentioned to her. Sarah, however, feels like she knows Cathy already since she’s all Chris ever talks about! Uh oh.

Cathy is rocking very large sunglasses, with a side of scorn.
And you are?

Chris sees Cathy’s bruise but she makes up a cover story and says, sadly, that it’s just like Sarah said; she’s “living every little girl’s dream.” Cathy goes back to New York to find a repentant Julian who blames his behavior on his drinking. Nope. You’re a bastard ALL THE TIME. Don’t listen Cathy, please. He begs her not to leave him and says that he’ll do anything for her, anything! What does she want??

Cut to: JULIAN PUTTING GLASS SHARDS IN YOLANDA’S TOE SHOES.

No. I mean it.

Glass + toe shoes = villainy
WHAT IS HAPPENING?

(How convenient that Yolanda writes her name in her shoes like she’s at summer camp!) Now. Holy shit, you guys. Glass. In her toe shoes. What? What?? I don’t understand. I don’t like this Cathy. Cathy makes many, many poor decisions. She gets dangerously single-minded, she pursues her revenge against Corrine (remember her?) at the cost of her own relationships and career and mental well-being and those of her loved ones, but she doesn’t do things like have rival dancers maimed just so that she can get a part. She’s immensely driven and talented! This is the one thing she doesn’t have to scheme about! I wanted to believe that Cathy just said “I want to be Juliet,” and Julian did the rest, but no. Look at that face.

Cathy, looking ice cold
Catherine. Seriously.

She knows exactly what’s coming, and she’s waiting for it. As great a WTF OMG moment as this admittedly is for a TV movie, I don’t like it. I’ve never read Cathy as casually cruel.

Meanwhile, Back in Foxworth Hall

Speaking of Corrine, she’s decided to renovate Foxworth Hall. Bart is less than enthusiastic at the cost, but is won over. And then we’re back to Carrie! We are all over the place. Carrie’s doll is missing and Redhead Mean Girl confides that Brunette Mean Girl planned to steal it. Carrie’s a little suspicious of the sudden kindness, but she believes her and runs off to find her doll. NO CARRIE DON’T DO IT.

A fancy doll, hanging creepily in a dark attic.
DAYAM, Y’ALL.

Naturally it was all a set up because these girls are evil, and they end up locking Carrie in the closet. Carrie understandably freaks out and then…she’s in New York. Ooookay? I guess someone let her out? She wants to know if she can move in with Cathy and Julian and go to school in New York. She’ll cook and clean and everything. Julian’s okay with it if Cathy is (whatever, you creep) and so I guess she lives with them now. I hope someone tells Chris.

AND THEN WE’RE BACK TO CORRINE. I’m getting dizzy. She’s working with the architect on Foxworth Hall and we find out that she wants the attic entirely closed off. Nothing taken out, nothing fixed, just plaster over the doors and seal it up forever. The architect is maybe a little taken aback but he’s persuaded by Corrine’s checkbook and by that HAT.

Corrine, dressed like vanilla pudding, in a styling trilby.
HAT.

Henny is teaching Sarah how to make a pie but ooops Chris can’t go to their friends’ house next week because he’s going to New York for Cathy’s debut. Sarah is starting to fray a little around the edges, especially considering that Chris hadn’t told her about the ballet at all (and also doesn’t invite her). Chris has to know that’s not on, right? I do think he’s honestly trying with Sarah at this point, so come on dude. Get with it.

New York!

Ballet! We see some of Cathy’s dancing and she and Chris have some nice exchanging of glances as he waits for her in the wings. He heads back to her dressing room only to walk in on Julian and Carrie in the world’s most inappropriate position. Carrie immediately denies that anything untoward is happening (as does Julian) but Chris isn’t hearing that. Cathy dashes in to say hi and Chris tells her what happened. Carrie denies it again and Cathy wants to know why Chris would say such a thing. Oh, like Julian is some saint? Come on, Cathy. You know it’s true. Chris is a lot of things, but he’s not a liar. Julian and Chris start fighting and Julian storms out of the dressing room and right out of the theater and Cathy goes after him. Y’ALL ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PERFORMANCE. She gets in the car and they drive off into a terrible driving green screen. She wants to know if there was something going on with Carrie, Julian wants to know if she’s in love with Chris. She neither confirms nor denies it and calls him a bastard. He wants to know why she’s still with him then, and she tells him she’s pregnant.

And then they get hit by a literal anti-subtlety truck. So long, Julian.

Time Jump 2

And then it’s ten months later! Yep. Cathy’s back in South Carolina with her baby son Jory, teaching ballet and confusing her students’ mothers for Corrine. HOW ABOUT SOME REVENGE, CATHY. Carrie meets a nice minister at her choir practice and they start dating. I’m sure everything’s gonna turn out okay, right? Right?

Carrie and Alex walking in a garden
They’re adorable!

Bonus Carrie when Minister Alex offers her a doughnut.

Carrie really does not want a doughnut.
Uh, yeah… no thanks.

Oh and Chris totally tells Sarah about Cory! and she’s glad that he told her, but doesn’t want any more secrets. Uh oh. Because nothing can go right for these poor kids, Carrie starts to feel pressure when Alex thinks that she’s perfect and pure (that’s a weird thing to say, dude) and she can’t quite say yes when he proposes to her, even though she wants to. Talking to Cathy later, Carrie admits that she did do things with Julian and that she doesn’t think that she’s good enough for Alex. Cathy tries to explain that she’s not evil for what happened, but Carrie isn’t hearing it.

Carrie crashes a charity luncheon to present a wedding invitation to Corrine. We find out that she’s written Corrine lots of letters, but they were all returned. Oh Carrie. Corrine, though visibly stunned when she realizes who Carrie is, denies having a daughter and walks away.

Corrine reacts to Carrie
Never had a daughter. Nope.

Poison Doughnuts 2, Dollengangers 0

The next morning, Cathy goes down to the kitchen where Henny tells her that Carrie got up early and baked herself a batch of doughnuts. Cathy immediately knows that something is wrong, which is compounded by the handy container of rat poison AND the trash can full of Carrie’s returned letters. She and Chris run upstairs, but they’re too late: Carrie is dead. Poor Carrie. She deserved so much better than she ever got.

Carries returned letters to her mother, a container of rat poison.
This must mean something!
Deceased Carrie, in her bed.
Oh.

I wish they’d had their final conversation so that Cathy would hear about Corrine’s betrayal, but what she learns from the letters is enough to FINALLY get her revenge fires blazing. THANK YOU. I also wish we got a hint of Carrie’s funeral (with bonus cameo by Corrine!) or at least a reaction shot from poor Alex.

Oh and small thing, do they ever explain that Corrine and Bart also live in South Carolina? Carrie’s letters are all addressed to Virginia, yet she went up there for the luncheon? There’s a quick reference to what I think is maybe a train ticket in a Chris/Cathy scene, but I’m not sure. Doesn’t matter, I guess. So Cathy is finally ready to wreak some havoc and Chris tells her not to expect any help from him, since nothing she does will bring their siblings back. Cathy says that they are all twisted together and Corrine did it and now she’s going to pay.

The Plot Thickens

Cathy goes in for a consultation with Bart, ostensibly about fixing her family trust and flirts up a storm. Sarah’s dad tells Chris that it’s time to make his intentions clear and Chris and Sarah get engaged. Uh oh. Sarah comes over to tell Cathy and to ask her to patch up whatever falling out she and Chris had. Oh, and I guess my question is answered; Sarah specifically mentions that she’s come up to Virginia. After Sarah leaves, Bart comes over and wah wah wah his wife is spending soooooo much time renovating her house and not enough time with him! I get that he wants Corrine to stop obsessing, but his whole “Oh sometimes I wish for the simple life of the simple people” thing doesn’t impress me. I don’t think it much impresses Cathy either, but she successfully seduces him. There’s only half an hour left, so I’m glad she’s working fast.

Corrine talks about the renovation some more and tries to get Bart to come to the house with her, but oh darn, he’s going to have to work late. Corrine…is not buying it.

Bart's watch and wedding ring on the bureau.
Smooth, Bart.

Bart and Cathy talk in bed and she mentions how she wishes she could come to his Christmas party and how she knows he loves his wife and not her. (I think this all works better in the book) Bart’s like well yeah, I love my wife, but I’m falling in love with you too! Oh the trials of Bart. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Cathy vomits in the morning. This can only mean one thing.
We all know what this means!

Cathy calls her doctor and she’s pregnant! We move to Sarah and Chris’s wedding prep and oh boy this is just all sliding downhill fast. That evening, Chris is sitting in the living room drinking and Cathy comes in to talk to him. She assures him that Sarah loves him and will make a great wife and they’re both near tears when Chris agrees with her, except for the small matter of Sarah not being Cathy. Cathy tells Chris that she loves him but that he should marry Sarah. Then these two GENIUSES decide that making out with the door WIDE OPEN is the best idea yet again and, well…

Chris and Cathy are interrupted as they're undressing each other.

Sarah is disturbed by seeing Cathy and Chris making out.

So that bridge is burned. We get a brief scene of Henny hugging them and telling them that God will forgive them (apparently people are talking, which… I would think SO) and Henny leaves. Chris wants Cathy to come with him to California and start a new life, but Cathy doesn’t want to live a lie. Well, you’re not gonna marry your brother just all out in the open like, so… I’m thinking you’ll kind of have to. Plus, um, there’s the little matter of she’s pregnant with Bart’s child. She assures Chris that she doesn’t love Bart, only him, but she’s got to finish this. This revenge plan that she came up with like a month ago! Remember that? Chris is like, fine. If you’re going to do this bananas thing, then I’m coming too.

Revengers Assemble!

And now it’s Olivia confrontation time! (Hey guys there’s like 15 minutes left CAN SOME REVENGE HAPPEN?) Cathy wanders into Foxworth Hall (sans leotard, switch, and box of Carrie’s hair, to my disappointment, plus the attic is sealed up so she can’t get in) and makes her way into Olivia’s room. This is after stealing Corrine’s Christmas party dress, hahahaha. Just random dress thievery.

Cathy casually steals her mother's twelve year old party dress.
Just stealin’ some dresses.

The Grandmother is less than impressed by what she sees and she calls Cory filth who should never have been born when Cathy throws his death in her face. She laughs away Cathy’s protestations that they were innocent, so Cathy threatens her with a crucifix.

Cathy threatens Olivia with a crucifix.
I meant it.

Olivia says that she’ll be devil’s spawn no matter what she does and she’ll never escape their family. Then I guess Cathy leaves because we cut to her and Chris getting ready for the party and Cathy says that they can’t let Corrine get away with what she’s done. At Foxworth Hall, Corrine brings Olivia a dress, telling her that she’s going to a nursing home the next day and Corrine is finally going to take her place as mistress of Foxworth Hall.

But first! Hey remember what I said about angry handjobs? So Bart is shaving and Corrine comes up to make nice about how she’s been neglecting him lately. Her hand wanders south and Bart is clearly enjoying the attention when! Corrine brings in the angry part, grabbing his hair (on his head! on his head!) with her other hand. She knows he’s been seeing someone else and she doesn’t care, but he’s ending it. After tonight they’re starting over and all their sins will be forgotten does he UNDERSTAND.

A wide-eyed Corrine gives cheatin' Bart an angry handy.
This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever screencapped.

And now it’s party time! Corrine, this is another disappointing dress. Where’s the red! Where’s the low low low cut back? BART WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?

Bart and Corrine, tearing it up in splashy plaid (on him) and gold sequins (on her.)
They look like a lounge act.

They make some appallingly cutesy toasts about that Christmas party so many years ago (Corrine: “I was a baby, plucked from my cradle!”) when! Suddenly! CATHY. Cathy tells everyone about who she is, how they were locked in the attic, how Corrine poisoned Cory, and when Corrine begs Olivia to help her deny it, Olivia’s like, Oh what do I know? I’m a ranting old woman, right? HA! Bart immediately believes that Cathy’s Corrine’s daughter. Corrine tries to claim that she was just trying to help the kids, poisoning them so as to have an excuse to get them out of the attic (Olivia: “No, you were trying to kill them.”) and Bart and the assorted guests are horrified. Corrine tries to remind Bart that she’s his wife and Cathy is no one but Cathy’s got an answer for that one and announces that she’s pregnant.

Bart: WHAT

Corrine: WTF

Chris: : (

Olivia: O_O

Cathy: MERRY CHRISTMAS, MOTHER.

Cathy, hellbent for leather, in a creamy sheath.

THERE SHE IS. That’s my girl. About damn time.

When we come back, Olivia is in her room, and Bart, Corrine, Cathy, and Chris are in one of the sitting rooms having at it. I guess the guests all went home to whisper in shocked tones. (Oh and Bart throws all of the servants out of the house, I’m guessing so that we can be assured that only he and Olivia die in the upcoming fire?) Corrine has the audacity to compare Bart’s having slept with Cathy to the fact that she LOCKED HER KIDS IN AN ATTIC AND POISONED THEM, KILLING ONE. Corrine’s all, Cathy’s always hated me! And then she tells Bart that he has to make Cathy get an abortion because devil’s spawn. I’m sorry WHAT. Then Bart says he needs time to think? About…whether or not your wife was justified? I…what? Corrine storms off and Bart asks Chris to speak to Cathy alone. Cathy apologizes for using Bart but says that she had to do what she did and didn’t think about the consequences. Bart agrees with her there.

Corrine goes into Olivia’s room and kicks the nurse out. She blames Olivia for everything, saying that she made her lock her children, everything she loved, in the attic. Olivia just reaffirms that the kids were abominations. Oh and Corrine? No one MADE you do anything, not past a certain point. Corrine wants to know why Olivia couldn’t love her and I thought we were going to get a Garden of Shadows (SPOILER) “because you’re not my kid!” reveal (END SPOILER) but! But! BUT

Instead. Olivia’s all “I love you. I even got you a gift. It’s in the trunk.” uh oh and Corrine goes over to look. See, Olivia got some of the workmen to go up into the attic before they sealed it off and bring down some “souvenirs.” Uh oh. Corrine opens it and starts pulling things out: a teddy bear, a ballet slipper, some paper flowers…

UH OH.

Corrine finds Cory's remains in the box.
“Oh my poor baby!”

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS OH MY GOD.

Chris comes in then and Corrine…well, Corrine’s gone bye bye. She thinks he’s his father, and starts talking about how they’ll run away to Pennsylvania! and the baby kicked! If it’s a boy they’ll name him Christopher! Chris looks to Olivia who just laughs and says, “Don’t look at me!” She’s loving this. Corrine goes to kiss Chris and he pushes her away. Corrine looks over to the trunk then and announces that they have to hide the body in the attic where no one will find him. Poor Chris realizes what she’s saying and runs over and…yeah, it’s Cory’s skeleton in there. I can’t bring myself to cap it, so here’s one of Chris looking appropriately angry.

Chris is very angry.
That is some good glare.

I will say, Olivia seems fairly dismayed when Chris goes over there, I don’t think she intended for him or Cathy to know, honestly. She was just after Corrine. Chris yells at Corrine that she didn’t even bury Cory so Corrine lights the place on fire, like one does. Talk about not dealing with one’s feelings. She sets the bed on fire and Olivia starts to scream. Chris runs downstairs with Corrine and yells to Cathy to get out; Bart runs upstairs to save Olivia. Cathy stands on the stairs stunned until Chris comes to get her, she is horrified by what’s just happened and as the kids escape, Foxworth Hall burns down.

Bart does not escape.

Cathy looks on, dismayed, as her past literally burns up.
“I feel somehow responsible for a lot of this…”

Time Jump 3

We cut to California, six years later, where Chris and Cathy, now Dollangangers again, are living as husband and wife with Jory and Bart Jr. and having a cookout with their neighbors. In a nice call back to Corrine’s Pie of Lies, Cathy’s made apple pie for everyone (or so we’re led to believe! Piegate!). One neighbor wants to know the secret of their perfection and Chris and Cathy just exchange loaded glances and laugh it off. Cathy, though, is clearly haunted with just how imperfect she knows they are.

The closing scene is of Corrine in an institution, screaming for her babies, repeating that she’s not like her mother and she’s going to get them out, she’s going to rescue her babies.

Oh man. Oh man oh man. I think that was fun. Was it an utterly faithful adaptation? Well, no, and though I do wish that Petals on the Wind could have been a MAJOR MINISERIES EVENT!! I’m glad that we got this movie (and the upcoming ones!) at all. Probably my biggest criticism is the fact that Cathy’s revenge against Corrine takes such a backseat to everything else rather than being the driving force. I feel like the major theme of the movie was “moving on from the past,” not letting it affect your future, and ultimately showing how difficult that can be (if not impossible for some of our characters). That did help integrate Chris and Carrie’s stories, since so much of their plot in the book is just sort of circling in Cathy’s orbit, and this let them do their own things. Moving on is definitely a theme of the book as well, but I think that Cathy’s obsession with Corrine and the fact that she, in the end, really sort of fails at what she set out to do and has to (hopefully) learn and change from her experiences (and that’s debatable, really) wasn’t used as well as it could have been.

Final Thoughts

I’m still torn on the whole Sarah thing. I think letting Chris have a girlfriend was a good move, it let him develop a relationship beyond Cathy, and I liked that it made being with Cathy more of a choice on his end as well, rather than just his “We’re inevitable, so I’ll just wait!” thing in the book. I think maybe the whole engagement/getting caught thing was a step too far, especially as it didn’t really seem to go anywhere except to give us a “GASP!” moment and remind us all about the importance of closing doors. This is what Panic! at the Disco warned us about! I think that removing Julian’s back story made him even more of a cliché TV movie villain, and I’ve already talked about the removal of Cathy’s dance career. I still don’t know what to think about that whole toe shoe situation. I really liked all of the stuff with Carrie, she’s such a tragic character, but I do wish we’d gotten some of the flashy ’70s wardrobe that she adopts in the book. That’s so shallow of me, but I’ve always liked thinking about Carrie coming into her own in her platform shoes. I think the Bart stuff was a little rushed, honestly, and Cathy’s whole seductress routine seemed to come of out nowhere.

As a full admission, since I give him such a hard time: I really like Movie!Christopher, just like I did in the first one. He’s supportive of Cathy but also appropriately disapproving, he does try his darndest with Carrie (although I think he drops the ball with regard to the school situation, you just let her move to New York? Without calling Cathy about it??), and I think part of the reason that the Sarah stuff ultimately irks me is because Chris seems too nice and too genuinely caring to let it go as far as he did. The fact that he’s simply honest with Cathy about his feelings instead of unleashing a lot of the “You belong with me!” and “We’re inevitable!!” language that his book counterpart uses made me believe in their relationship a little more as a love story, and I think it was useful change in a story that features a slightly less complicated view of their lives.

Do I think that this wraps up the two Great Mysteries? No, not really. I’ve said before that I don’t think that Cathy had a miscarriage at her audition in the book, and I’m sticking to that, though I willingly accept it as part of the movie series canon. Same with poor Cory in the trunk –I’ve never really settled comfortably on an answer to that one. I want to believe Corrine at least buried the poor little guy, though I’m the first to acknowledge that she’s perfectly capable of the other option as well. Again, though, it’s movie canon and that’s fine.

What did you all think?? I’m sure there are a thousand things I’ve forgotten to mention here, so I look forward to your comments and more discussion therein!


 

This post originally appeared on …in the Attic, which you should totally bookmark and visit, because it’s a treasure chest of V.C. Andrews related wonderment. Megan is an honorary P-Mag unicorn, too.

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