Blood and Oil: Season-1, Episode 1 “Pilot”
Blood and Oil is light on shocks, but it excels at building its characters and establishing a strong sense of place. The show depicts Williston, North Dakota as a land-locked shark tank that was once quiet and quaint until the oil fields attracted a sketchy, capitalist element.
On tonight’s pilot episode, Billy and Cody Lefever move to Rock Springs, ND, where there is a rush for new huge oil fields. The young couple has dreams of getting their piece of the pie, but they have a difficult start. When Cody finds out she is pregnant, she wants to return home. Carla, the wife of oil baron Hap Briggs, finds out from her political contacts that the Bakken oil field is abundant. At her new job in the pharmacy, Cody overhears that Hap buys the McCutching Ranch from where he wants to drill into the field. Billy borrows money to buy the lot that provides the only access to the Ranch. Their gamble pays off, and they make their first million selling the lot to Briggs. Hap cuts his son Wick off. As revenge, Wick wants to steal a truckload of oil from his father, but Hap catches him. So let’s break down a few highlights of tonight’s pilot episode.
High school sweethearts Billy and Cody LeFever are driving to North Dakota to start a new life for themselves. While driving to the new holy land, their truck is derailed by a tractor-trailer. Billy swerved across the road to avoid getting slammed by the truck. Their car flipped, sending washing machines into the field. Their plans to open up laundromat has just washed up on the side of the road.
Ashamed by the mishap, they couldn’t go back home and tell their family and friends they’d lost their $37,000. So they headed to Rock Springs to start over again. Packing up what they can carry the young couple takes off walking. Welcome to Rock Springs, is posted on the sign. Thirsty and tired, the young couple walks into a bar and meets the bartender/loan shark, Jules, who tell them where they could crash for the night. As Cody and Billy leave out for the campsite, Wick Briggs pulls up loud as hell announcing he’s successfully killed a white moose. His actions angered the local Native Americans, and the woman tells him he’s cursed. A scuffle ensued, gunshots went off and Sheriff Tip Harrison takes control of the situation — arresting Wick in the process for disturbing the peace.
Following his jail release, Wick has to face daddy Hap Briggs, the King of Rock Springs. Apparently, he doesn’t have the best relationship with his father, clearly because of his new step-mom, Darla. Anyway, Hap goes in hard on Wick accusing him of trashing the family name. Basically, telling him, he wasn’t going to just hand over the “keys to the kingdom” to him that he was going to have to work for it and assigns him to the rig.
Meanwhile, Billy finds a job on the rig, while Cody went to find a house but in the process lands herself a job at the pharmacy. Anyway, Billy and Wick ended up working on the same rig, but Wick threw a tantrum, walked away, making a huge mess leaving Billy taking the blame and getting fired because of his mistake. However, his dad Hap is pissed and calls Wick a “lying son of a bitch.” Rather than just take the insults from dear old daddy, Wick tried to throw a punch, that’s when Hap cut Wick completely off, “You don’t deserve to be my son,” he said. Wick’s is pissed, later in the episode begins to stew over daddy Hap cutting him off and vowed to make his own way.
At getting fired, Billy learns the parcel of land connecting the McCutching Ranch was on by Clifton Lundgren. So he takes the initiative and decides to schmooze Clifton into selling him the land. Driving over to the farm, Clifton offers him the parcel for $70,000. Billy didn’t exactly have that kind of money and started rambling that’s when Clifton upped it to $75,000, Billy takes the deal. Next, the scene cut to him wheeling and dealing hustling up the cash. Of course, Cody wasn’t exactly thrilled he borrowed so much cash because she has bigger things to deal with now — she’s pregnant.
The next day, Cody and Billy return to Clifton’s ranch, but Briggs’ people had already been to him and increased the price. Now Clifton ups the price to $100,000 if he wants to make the deal, also, giving Billy a noon deadline to come up with the remaining money. Cody hit her breaking point. She fought with Billy over this whole deal. In her eyes, it’s getting way too risky, especially with a baby involved. “Don’t quit on me,” he said. After gambling didn’t go as planned, Billy sulked at the bar. Surprisingly, Jules offers them the money, but she wants collateral so Cody offered up her diamond necklace that her grandmother gave her. Billy now have the cash! On the way to Clifton’s, Billy ended up crashing his car. Sidebar: He literally has the worst luck. Anyway, he runs to Clifton’s house, entering through the door just in time to prevent Clifton from signing the deal with Briggs’ people.
Back at the Briggs ranch, Hap has caught wind of the deal, invites Billy and Cody over to chat business. The young couple seems nervous but arrives on time. During the course of negotiations, Billy and Cody pitches a deal for a 3-year lease, asking for $1 million plus 5% interest on any oil drilled on the land. Darla said Billy was “ambitious” but Hap liking his tact. By the end of the business meeting, Billy and Cody walks out with a $1.1 million deal because Billy used Clifton’s trick (Upping the bid every time Hap or Darla counter). Following the meeting, Billy and Cody return to the campsite and give their African friends $50,000 to start their new restaurant.
All seemed well after a few days of turmoil. Hap and Darla invite Billy and Cody out for a little celebration, Billy’s charming and Hap’s extremely impressed secretly wishing his son, Wick possessed an ounce of the young man character but sadly he doesn’t. Leaving the restaurant, the couples to take a ride out to the McCutching Ranch. After pulling up, Hap realizes that someone else was there. Tonight’s episode ends with a masked Wick holding Hap at gunpoint. Billy tackled Wick, the fight breaks out in the middle of a pile of oil. The gun goes off and a spark from an overhead light lit the oil field on fire. BOOM!