The title for this week's column changed a few times. I originally used the word "lieses" to rhyme with "surprises." Then I tried a "Sex, lies, and alibis" pun with Dubai before settling on the current title. I have so many thoughts in my head this week that I hope I can get them down in a logical order, but I had fun watching this week!
The week started with a bang! The cliffhanger from Friday, Victoria sitting in Tessa's living room and inviting Tessa to have a seat, was awesome. For Victoria to own her Newmanness and hire security to plant a camera (when she held it up, I smiled), and to rip open that bear viciously (not through the hand-sewn seam Tessa put in the belly)? It was awesome. Now, that's not to say that in the real world I'd cheer for people who use those tools, but in Genoa City, in the soapy world of The Young and the Restless, it was magical. When Victoria said she wasn't worried about it, I hadn't expected this, and I was glad she had her spark back. J.T.'s spell was broken.
There were so very many lies swirling around this story. The Fearsome Foursome has been lying from the beginning about J.T.'s death and burial. Tessa lied about blackmailing then about giving away the thumb drive then about donating the money. And are we in the category of sociopath, where there was no empathy or remorse for lying about donating to charities? And making up stories about how happy they were to receive the money? There would have been some news story about this generous anonymous donor from one of the eight recipients of $30,000. I see stories like that on my local news. Anyway, Tessa felt a little bad that her relationship had imploded over both her and Mariah's lies, but... was that because her wishes were dashed? I'm not sure.
Anyway, back to the lies. Mariah lied about telling Sharon (and partners in crime) about Tessa being the blackmailer. She lied about loving Tessa and wanting it to still work, but then she wondered if that was even a lie. Victoria lied by omission about her intent to confront Tessa and about spying on her... just layer upon layer of lies. I think the harder thing would be to pull out any truths. I'm not sure even I can, and I watched it all unfold and took notes on it for the column. However, this story did get interesting when Victoria showed up. There have been moments it was uninteresting to me. It isn't anymore. The moment when Tessa sat, deflated, on her couch, holding the now-emptied bear, was also kind of awesome. She'd had $230,000, probably the most she'd ever touched in her life, and she lost it.
I really feel for Mariah in this whole thing. I really, really like the character. She seems so sweet. She wants to do the right thing. She lies badly, but it's to try to do the right thing. Tessa used her (or at least was dishonest with her). The Fearsome Foursome used her. And she gets pulled back and forth, not getting a chance to decide what's right on her own, but more being forced to pick the lesser of two evils (kind of like me on Election Day sometimes).
Tessa owns that she's damaged and at first said she doesn't deserve Mariah because she isn't good enough for her, but then she wanted nothing to do with Mariah because Mariah told her secret and lied. If someone blackmailed my mother (honestly, if my mother ever did anything blackmail-worthy, I would be stunned beyond belief), there is no chance I'd be romantic with them or that I'd want them. And I would absolutely tell my mother. I could maybe forgive in time, but I sure could never forget and would never be in a relationship with that person. They're untrustworthy. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Mariah has a lot of reasons to not be with Tessa.
Meanwhile, in other news, Rey and Mia are doing their dance of getting together and not quite getting together. Mia hasn't let go of her desire for Arturo and doesn't appear to plan to, but she wants things to work with Rey, and she wants to make sure Sharon knows her place. She put the brakes on lovemaking when she told Rey that a couple hours of pounding the mattress wouldn't solve their problems, and she could see in his eyes that he wasn't ready. I'm not sure I ever used the term "pounding the mattress" with a partner. But I hadn't sensed that she cared if Rey was invested when she was pushing for sex, so that surprised me. She just wanted the victory. Luke, who watches Y&R with me, paused the video and pointed out about Mia: "She makes a point of saying her and her husband a lot." Yes, she does. She's definitely insecure. And she has cause to be. Although she did thank Sharon for the gift card.
I am not invested in Nick and Phyllis. Nick still loves Sharon (last I noticed, he still had a picture of Sharon and Christian behind his desk, although he might have moved it). Phyllis still loves Billy even though she knows she doesn't want to and shouldn't. When Sharon found out about Phyllis moving in and left, Nick tried to follow her, but Phyllis held him back. I don't think it was because she knew it was the right thing. I think it was because she's insecure of what might happen between them if he were out of her sight.
I've seen women who were like that. If he's doing something for the kids with the ex, the new woman is sure to send text messages the whole time so he doesn't forget about her and possibly enjoy the company of his ex. Phyllis seems like that kind of insecure with Nick, as she should be. They've been down this road before, with and without each other. Her relationships fizzle out. She gets bored. She wants new and exciting and unpredictable. She had that with Billy. As capable as Nick is of having a fling with someone, he does seem drawn to the relative stability of his pairing with Sharon and the family they have together.
Confession: I loved Billy Miller's Billy. Loved him. Didn't warm up to Jason Thompson's. Didn't like him. Yet this week, it occurred to me that I actually liked Billy again. Took me long enough! But instead of just arrogance, I've begun to feel more humanity, compassion, even empathy from him. It's not that the actor is or ever was bad, it's just he isn't Billy Miller, and it took me a long time for General Hospital's Patrick Drake to become Billy (and on GH, for Billy Miller to become Jason then not-Jason). I think the writers didn't write him as they wrote Billy before, either, so there's that. But he has become Billy, and oddly, I think his self-examination after sleeping with Summer helped a ton. Thank you, Jason Thompson, for finally winning over this skeptic!
Sharon turning to Victoria for comfort after finding out about Phyllis' new living situation showed she wasn't okay. Yes, Billy was there, and she told him she was "totally fine." But she wasn't. Billy saw it. This is part of what clicked that switch in me that made me realize I like Billy again. It wasn't the first time I have liked him, just the moment that made me see it. And he healed her up without Victoria's help.
I grew a little more invested in the idea of a Jack and Kerry pairing when they talked about their family separations. I know on soaps you have to put aside your feelings about age differences because age is irrelevant. But doesn't Jack look smitten? And they have some natural rapport, although she is holding back just a little, and I'm wondering what her secrets are. She can't be as straightforward and pure scientist as she seems, can she? If she is, it might be fun to watch Jack loosen her up a bit. But if she's a bit inexperienced in love, he's probably not the life partner she's looking for (although it would be good to see him settle down for real). The thrill is in the chase and the newness. I was talking to a friend about that this week. She is in a new relationship and wished it could always be that way. I said it could -- if she kept finding new relationships! I wasn't serious, but perhaps that's part of Jack's motivation in relationships.
So, Summer Newman, maker of many, many not-so-brilliant choices, is now going to head a real estate division in Dubai. I didn't see that coming. Honestly, even though I do think there's a revenge angle, I'm not sure she's emotionally stable enough to do it, but it does allow Hunter King time to work on her primetime show and still come back to Genoa City when she's free. And maybe the night with Billy, just as it changed him, changed her and made her grow up. Not getting her way with Kyle (despite pushing it to the end) might have helped, too. When she told him about the offer, he asked her when she left because he knew it was the chance of a lifetime. He was happy for her but didn't want her.
I loved that Summer reminded Abby about Abby sleeping with her husband (sure shines a different light on Abby's reaction to Arturo and Mia hooking up, too). That animosity won't go away anytime soon, but Abby did go for what I think are good reasons. I'm seeing growth and maturity in her. I think Newmans grow up a little slower because the adults who help them grow up are experts at poor life choices themselves, and their example isn't going to lead their progeny into rapid maturity.
And speaking of Abby... I'm glad her business investment will pay off. She's tried a few times. Her contributions really aren't valued much. Maybe they were off a little, but they could have been nurtured and grown, not shut down. She didn't deserve a pat on the head and someone to say, "good girl, roll over, play dead," like she's some silly but cute puppy. If Summer is given a chance to lead, if she's mentored directly, why in the world isn't Abby? But if she can do it herself and be strong on her own, good for her. The man by her side is an asset, not a crutch. They could make a good team. I like how she and Arturo are to and with each other.
And then there was the "Like a Virgin" storyline. Kyle's reaction baffled me. Being a female person who understands and admires Lola's choice and strength in saving herself for the right person, I thought I'd seek some male input. I asked, men answered (my friends are used to me asking weird questions). And nobody would be that thrown off by a woman being a virgin. They'd be honored if she saved herself for them. They'd be gentle with her. But it wouldn't be a deal-breaker. It wouldn't lead to avoidance. I'm glad he came around and said she was worth waiting for.
Devon might have a drug problem. Uh-oh. The gradual descent has been wonderfully subtle but felt more real than so many instant addiction (and cured) storylines on soaps. I liked Ana's arrival, but Ana, Cane, and Nate were a little heavy-handed and obvious in dealing with Devon, and that was before the drug concerns. When Ana found the drugs and held up the baggie, it looked like neatly wrapped joints and some horse pills inside (also, the loudest crinkling bag I recall ever hearing), which was a bizarre combination. I might be wrong, but that's what I saw. I know people who use marijuana. They roll it as they're going to smoke; they don't keep a baggie of joints mixed in with whatever other drugs were in the bag (Tums, maybe?).
What is Devon using? He nodded out with Abby. He wore sunglasses inside more than once. He's not okay. I hate to agree with Nate, who has been bugging me in this storyline, but Devon is kind of spiraling. I hope they intervene in time. When Devon was clutching his chest after arguing with Cane, that wasn't heartbreak. It was worrisome.
I thought Cane was pressing a lot of guilt on the widower of Lily's victim. It's Devon's first holiday without his wife and the child that never got to be born. So sorry you needed to paste on a smile and eat vending machine food, but Devon's wife, the love of his life, is dead. Grief is what it is, and it doesn't follow rules, so backing up a step and saying "we missed you" instead of putting on the guilt would be good. I was glad when Cane asked Devon to talk over a beer. It showed he kind of finally got it.
Mariah to Sharon about Sharon's efforts to support Rey's marriage: You've taken the high road, and if you go any higher, you'll need an oxygen tank.
Second Place Tessa to Kyle around the whole virgin thing, showing some of the awkwardness: Romance is something you can do to me to get to the sex.
I was distracted by the moss thing growing atop Nick's coffee table. What is that?
But I liked the Underground sign over Nick's bar.
When Phyllis sat in Victoria's living room, talking about the J.T. situation, she held a stuffed tiger. I wondered if it was scripted or just her instinct to grab a toy in the family living room. It worked, though. Adult comfort object (even though it wasn't hers).
The Happy Holidays Y&R bobbleheads are... interesting.
Why does Kyle conduct his phone calls in the CEO office? I'd believe it more in Crimson Lights or outside the elevator. I can't think Phyllis wants her office to be that open.
I have to say, I wasn't a fan of Abby's mixed houndstooth suit on Friday. In general, her kind of retro style surprises me for a character who is all about social media, image, and followers, especially if she always has a stylist around. She is beautiful, so she can wear whatever she wants!
It was clear Victor's Skype sessions were filmed asynchronically (if that's a word). In the chat with Nick, Nick's image in the top corner was in the wrong color clothes.
Speaking of the Skype sessions, why did Summer Skype about the thing Phyllis hated in Phyllis' office. Of course, Mom would walk in and try to stop it!
I'm glad Phyllis, Nick, and Summer are in a good place as Summer jets off to Dubai.
I wasn't a fan of Phyllis' business suit with the missing shoulders.
Will the Rebecca Barlow situation push Phyllis and Billy back together? It will, at the very least, plant seeds in Nick's mind that could undermine that relationship, which is based on what? Video games? Not the stuff of forever (but I'm not sure Phyllis is a forever kind of gal).
I like Sharon. I know feelings for characters come and go, but I like her now. I like her generosity and kindness (for the most part). And it's so fascinating to me that so many people dislike her! I know there's history, but I kind of let a lot of that go because we have so many character transplants on soaps, and really, nobody is pure as the driven snow.
It looks like Lily is coming back. Not sure for how long, but it would be good to have her part-time and showing up when needed instead of in jail.
The previews for next week look intriguing! We've got blood on a shirt. We've got Fen's return (and it's about time Michael and Lauren had a storyline of their own!). We've got Abby and Mia in the same (ugly) dress. And then it looks like the stables are on fire (and while I dislike horses, I don't want any injured). I have no idea where these storylines will go, but I'll be watching every day! I hope you'll be watching with me.
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