‘The Riches’: Introducing the Eden Falls Cost of Living Index!

Don’t even get us started on the cell-phone bills.Photo: Courtesy of FX

In this show’s first season, the Irish-gypsy grifter family known as the Malloys escaped their trailer park with stolen money and lucked into the identities of the Riches, a recently dead couple with a brand-new McMansion in the gated suburban enclave of Eden Falls, Louisiana. The subsequent long con — papa Wayne Malloy (Eddie Izzard), as Doug, becoming a corporate lawyer without a degree; mama Dahlia (Minnie Driver), as Cherien, finagling the kids into a prep school, etc. — that naturally caught up with them as the first run of shows ended. Last night’s episode, the third of the bleak and chaotic new season, finally finds the family back in Eden Falls and after easy affluence — and burdened with a dead body, a stolen fake grandma, and a psycho cousin. The rewards are there for the taking, but as with gas and groceries, the prices they must pay just keep going up. And so we present our inaugural Eden Falls Cost of Living Index.

The Eden Falls Cost of Living Index
Eldest son Cael (Noel Fisher) and some buddies had previously hacked his school’s computers in order to sell off fixed grades — and were caught. Wayne confabs with the other fathers at a strip club to suss out a way to keep their sons out of jail and back in school. The solution: a “donation” of a $1 million gymnasium ($250,000 per kid). Cael, disgusted, confesses his crime and sort of disowns his dad. Bonus: For now, Wayne doesn’t have to worry about Cael’s five-figure tuition.

The reason the Malloys have returned to Eden Falls despite the tremendous risk and questionable perks? As the attorney for Hugh Panetta (Gregg Henry), a hootin’-hollerin’ real-estate developer, Doug stands to make $13 million in a $150 million development deal, called Bayou Hills, that is probably corrupt and exploitative.

But alcoholic Hugh, abandoned by his newest wife, is too heartbroken to get on with that deal anyway. To distract himself from his impotence, he buys a $340,000 Lamborghini.

Wayne and Dahlia can’t get rid of their crazy cousin Dale (Todd Stashwick), who wants a piece of that $13 million and could expose Wayne’s complicity in the murder of the Riches’ nosy old friend. Dale even stalks Dahlia in the bubble bath, strangling her briefly. Finally, Wayne gets Dale an entry-level job as a mail clerk.

Dale owes somebody, too: the grizzly Eamon Quinn, a fellow traveler far scarier and smarter than he is. Out of prison after twenty years, he insists on a 50 percent piece of Dale’s piece of Wayne’s piece. To make his intentions clear, Quinn sticks a fork through Dale’s hand.

Dahlia, a recovering heroin addict who’s been violating prison parole since stepping foot in Eden Falls, can’t stomach the guilt or paranoia — no matter how fabulously she’s always turned out as Cherien Rich, or how much she wants her kids happy and educated. On a pot-buying run/AA meeting with her best friend and neighbor Nina (Margo Martindale), she’s finally inspired to confess her parole violations to the local cops. Wayne may have just told Cael that “power and money are freedom,” but Dahlia apparently disagrees. —Justin Ravitz

‘The Riches’: Introducing the Eden Falls Cost of Living Index!