Nothing is as it seems at the Grand Riveria Hotel.
Just when I thought that I had things figured out on Grand Hotel Season 1 Episode 1 another secret, another lie, would be revealed turning everything on it's head.
What kind of intrigue lies behind the doors of Miami's last family owned hotel? Read on to find out!
The Mendoza family is dysfunctional, to say the very least. Blended families are never easy, but when your kids are sabotaging eachother's weddings to get back at you, I think it may be time for family counseling.
It's easy to see how the writers want to paint the Mendoza children: Alicia and Javi good. The evil stepsisters, Yoli and Carolina, bad. Nothing is black and white on Grand Hotel though, and everything is colored in shades of grey.
Santiago may have pulled the rug out from under Alicia and Javi when Santiago revealed he was selling the hotel to Carolina's fiance, Byron's, family, but Carolina can't be faulted for that.
Matteo: So uh, first, thanks to Carolina for marrying me. You're hilarious, unbelievably beautiful, I mean my friends can't believe how hot you are. I also want to thank Gigi and Santiago. It's not always easy mixing family and business but uh you have made this deal a total breeze.
Santiago: Thank you, Byron.
Byron: Wong food development has been exploring the market for a long time, and we're just delighted to be purchasing this wonderful property. Cheers.
Alicia: Dad, you sold the hotel?
Santiago is a big boy who makes his own decisions. He made his bed getting into debt to people who are dangerous enough to plant a mole in his hotel to watch over him. Byron was just capitalizing on his mistakes.
As innocent as Alicia may seem, Alicia dropping the bombshell to Byron before the wedding was cruel.
She admitted to Javi that she had a plan to save the hotel before she caught Carolina cheating. It would have been just as easy to continue carrying out that plan.
Instead, she took the dark path.
As much Alicia ruining Carolina's wedding was about getting back at Carolina, it was even more so about getting back at Gigi.
At the moment that Gigi seemed to show her kindness with the dolphin necklace, which was part of a matching set with Alicia's mother, Alicia softened to her.
Discovering she only was kind to her to keep Alicia quiet threw gas on Alicia's hatred of her and telling Byron about El Rey was her way of throwing a match to burn that bridge down.
Despite her destroying an impending nuptial and consequently inciting a brawl, Alicia has good intentions. She can't bear to see her mother's hotel, her family's legacy, be lost forever.
Whether she can manage to save it with all the forces at play at the Riviera Grand remains to be seen, though.
Javi, like Alicia, has more lurking beneath the surface than we've seen yet.
It is easy to write off Javi as a playboy as he seduces women at the pool and lies about how he lost his leg to play out his seductions, but there is more to Javi than meets the eye.
There is a darkness to him that adds depth to what could easily be a superficial character.
We catch glimpses of it throughout the episode. When Javi is in the throws of it with the girl from the pool, and he snaps when she can't keep her hands off the site of his amputation, all the confidence that he once showed, shatters in front of our eyes.
Javi puts on a good front, embracing what makes him different, but it's just that: A front. He masks his insecurities with overconfidence, but that mask he hides behind can only stay up for so long.
It will be interesting to learn the real cause of him losing his leg, seeing as we now can rule out cancer and the price of war, and how Santiago played a part. Enough so that he isn't willing to cut him off.
One of the characters I am most interested to learn more about is Yoli. My first impression of her was severe and negative. I instantly hated her from the moment she stepped on screen. That quickly changed on the beach.
Yoli stepping up to stand up for Danny was not only an act of kindness for a stranger she owed nothing to, but it was also a sign of rebellion. Whereas Carolina needs a man to validate her, Yoli shoots down that convention.
As the sister who people always view as the ugly duckling compared to her fraternal twin she was able to build herself up through independence instead of through the affections of men fawning over her.
Something tells me that she gets her spirit from her mother.
Gigi may be a gorgeous woman, but you can tell that she doesn't bend to the wills of men. You see it in the first moment we meet her as she stands defiantly on her balcony for the men of Miami to see, despite Santiago's obvious disdain.
Carolina is Gigi's favorite, but perhaps she sees a lot of herself in Yoli and in some ways is even envious of her.
Gigi has probably always been seen as nothing more than a pretty face. As beautiful as Yoli is, standing next to Carolina, that is not what people see her for. People see her personality, and her strengths lie beyond just her looks, something Gigi may never have been lucky enough to have.
At least El Rey sees it. Here's to hoping we get more of these two together. As mad I was at El Rey for taking Carolina's bait, he is a mere mortal, and a beautiful woman throwing herself on top of him might have been too much for him to resist.
Yoli will sure be able to give El Rey a run for his money, especially now that he will be sticking around for his residency.
To say that I despise Ingrid at this point would be an understatement.
Gold diggers are my least favorite type of character on television. Not because they go after men's money, but because of the manipulation the act entails to the good people surrounding them.
If Ingrid were only going after Javi, I wouldn't have such a problem with her.
If Javi isn't smart enough to remember that he never actually slept with her, because I highly doubt he did, then he deserves what is coming to him. At least until he can get the DNA test to prove the kid isn't his.
Maybe making him sweat for nine months will scare him straight a little.
No, my anger comes from the way she is playing Jason. Jason clearly has feelings for her. He was pretty much shouting them at her with every word he said when they were together.
Ingrid: I'm, I'm pregnant.
Jason: I didn't realize that, that you were seeing somebody.
Ingrid: It's complicated. When I tell him about this.
Jason: Maybe he'll step up. Maybe realize what a good thing he has.
Ingrid: He wouldn't want to be with a pregnant housekeeper
Jason: A lot of people would. I would. If it was me, I mean.
Ingrid: Well, now you're just trying to make me feel better. But thanks, you're a good friend.
Ingrid will only use these feelings to further her plot, and that is what gets me. Save it for the men who deserve it.
Danny may be the best liar out of them all. Not only was Danny able to con his way into his job at the Riviera, but he has also managed to hide his true identity among the people he blames for his sister's disappearance.
The reveal that Danny was the missing girl's brother was not all that shocking. Those are the kind of moments you wait for in the pilot of a mystery show. However, the complete change in Danny's persona once we learned who he was, that was shocking.
Danny: It's me. Yeah. I told you I can't talk when I'm here. They set up a memorial: pictures, flowers. Almost like they gave a rat's ass about her, but I know the truth. No matter what they say, she didn't just disappear. One of these people did something to my sister, and I'm gonna find them, and when I do, whoever it was is gonna pay.
Throughout the episode, Danny comes across as a charming knight and shining armor. Between jumping into the pool to "save" Alicia and breaking up the brawl at the ill-fated wedding, he seemed like he may have been the one truly good guy on the show.
Vengenance changes a person, though, and Danny is out for blood.
-The addition of the orchestra cover of One Republic's "Secret" was a nice touch. It's the small moments like that in a pilot that make a difference.
-Is Charlotte Greyson, aka Christa B. Allen, going to become a regular on the show? I feel like she is too recognizable, at least in the prime time soap genre, to throw in for a bit scene.
-I can't get a good read on Mrs. P, but I do know that I am a fan. I love a strong female character in charge.
The first episode did it's job: It left me clamoring for more. As soon as the credits rolled I was already anxiously awaiting next week's episode, something tough for a show to do for me these days.
What did you guys think of the premiere of Grand Hotel? Which of the show's mysteries has you most intrigued? Comment below and make sure to watch Grand Hotel online at TV Fanatic if you haven't watched yet.
Meaghan Frey is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.