Why is Blood & Oil reducing Billy and Cody’s story to a cheap ratings grab?

Well, I tried, you guys. I really did. I wanted to like Blood & Oil — and, for the most part, I was able to overlook its shortcomings until tonight. But the latest development between Billy and Cody LeFever brought me to my breaking point.

I am having an existential crisis of the first-season-show variety. Did I just blow nine hours of my life on a show that was not worthy of such an investment? Should ABC just cut their losses now and let the fledgling show go? Or can it be saved?

More: 8 Reasons ABC’s Blood & Oil shouldn’t be canceled

If the latter is going to happen, they’re going to have to do some major damage control where Billy and Cody are concerned.

In full disclosure, I don’t mind the show’s melodramatic slant — if a western and a soap opera got hitched and had a little modern baby, it would be Blood & Oil… and I’m down with that. I welcome this last dose of escapism on Sunday evenings before the weekly grind begins again.

What I do mind is that the show has now tipped the scales entirely in the direction of melodrama, particularly when it comes to the relationships.

Was I surprised when it came out that Jules was having an affair with Hap behind her boyfriend/his son Wick’s back? Not really, because Hap and Wick were both set up as slightly seedy characters from the show’s start.

More: Blood & Oil: Why Wick’s girlfriend totally got what she deserved

It’s the way the show has recently zeroed in on any relationship of apparent substance in the name of cheap ratings grabs that has my guard up.

First, it was Billy and Cody’s Nigerian friends, Ada and Kess. They were such a loving, beautiful couple — the first people to help Billy and Cody adapt to this slick new oil town. So not only did it irk me when they had Ada share a kiss with the couple’s food truck partner, Finn, but I also found it unbelievable.

Still, I gave B&O the benefit of the doubt when they divulged more information about the couple’s story. Kess had gambling problems in Nigeria too, and it was the reason Ada had agreed to move here. These things can put a strain on a marriage.

However, and this is a big however, there are couples who don’t buckle under pressure. There are couples who take their vows very seriously. I’m not naive. I obviously know people do stray and make mistakes. But I also know some people don’t, and those kinds of couples are no longer represented.

Because tonight, we saw Billy and Cody crumble when Billy kissed his new geologist partner, Emma. Some may argue that she kissed him, and she did. C’mon, though. He definitely kissed her back.

Blood & Oil Chace Crawford
Image: ABC

It’s the first season, and our ride-or-die husband and wife heroes are already bailing?

Sigh. I feel like this was what B&O thought would get a ratings spike for a faltering show — a show they were certain would be their fall lineup’s biggest hit. And while it has all the necessary ingredients, it simply hasn’t panned out as predicted.

I’ve watched the show all season, and I’ve even defended against those who’ve said it has crossed the threshold from dramatic to campy. Tonight’s development, however, made me question how ABC could possibly sustain the show.

For me, one of the biggest draws of the series (outside of Don Johnson) was the relationship between Billy and Cody. Perhaps because of Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse’s undeniable chemistry. Or perhaps because I thought they reminded me of me and my husband on some level.

More: Blood & Oil: Why Don Johnson rules the show

I think much of the magic in the show stemmed from their willingness to do anything for each other and to stick it out even when things got tough. That was kind of their song and dance from the very first episode. It’s frustrating that it was already such an uphill battle rooting for them since they’d been plagued by problems from the onset, and for all of our optimism they just ended up another pedantic trope of young love gone awry.

People are cynical, yes, but we want more of a happy ending than seeing our heroes’ seemingly unbreakable bond fracture before the close of the first season.

Were you as annoyed by Billy and Emma’s kiss as I was?