Coma mosquitos! More incest! Passionate affairs! All That Glitters, the third entry in Lifetime’s twisty adaptation of VC Andrews’ Landry books, feels like the ultimate culmination of everything the series has presented up to this point. The love quadrangle sharpens its edges, and builds to an explosive eruption; the twin sister dynamic bubbles to an equally surprising denouement; family secrets threaten to rear their ugly head at every gathering. If you were on board for Ruby, and Pearl in the Mist hooked you with its bitchy claws, All That Glitters pays off the gradual build of the series in a spectacular display of fireworks.
In the aftermath of Pearl in the Mist, Paul (Sam Duke) whisks away Ruby (Raechelle Banno) and her daughter, Pearl, to the grand halls of Cypress Woods. In the comfort of their new home, Paul makes Ruby an offer too appealing to resist: become his wife. He will love Pearl as his own child, and they will never consummate the marriage. No one will ever know they are half-siblings. The thick walls of the mansion, Paul’s insurmountable wealth, and even his hand in marriage isn’t enough to keep Ruby happy. Ruby’s vindictive sister Giselle (Karina Banno) stops by unexpectedly with news that her former lover Beau (Ty Wood) has returned to New Orleans, sending Ruby’s seemingly perfect existence into freefall.
Ruby and Paul have a complicated relationship—though married, Ruby won’t even let him kiss her on the cheek, for fear of sin. His father begs Ruby to keep up the facade, and the dark secret properly under wraps. Paul’s mother is also less than impressed, thinking Ruby has cast a dark spell over her son. Sam Duke and Raechelle Bano play a convincing couple: Duke’s Paul is loving and near-obsessed with Ruby, while Bano’s Ruby is going through the motions out of convenience, despite having a certain level of affection for Paul.
The chemistry between Beau and Ruby is still there, even though she is married. The contrast between her simmering relationship with Beau to Ruby’s distant love of Paul is organic to what we’ve seen before. The evolution of the giant love quadrangle is All That Glitters at its most jaw-dropping, soap-opera best. Giselle is again a harsh opposite to Ruby’s humble bayou sensibilities. Both Raechelle and Karina nail these two characters, practically living in their skin by now. Karina delivers lines like “my handbag costs more than you make in a month” with calculated ease, proving through sharp line delivery that embodying Giselle is like second nature. A stunning twist that I won’t spoil here gives Raechelle a whole other level to her performance, one that she completely nails.
Out of the first three films in the series, All That Glitters has to be the best so far: jaw-dropping zingers abound, and a final act (and ending) that all but wraps up the story in a tidy, adorable bow. It’s full of more twists and turns than both Ruby and Pearl in the Mist, likely by design, that fulfills the exact qualities any curious viewer would desire. This is the one that will be easiest to spoil—the craziest moments deliver pure VC Andrews-style shock and adrenaline. All That Glitters airs Saturday, March 27th, on Lifetime.