There are certain soap opera devices that I think every soap fan knows about -- even if they don't have decades of viewing under their belt. For example, any woman who faints is usually pregnant. That headache someone mentioned? It's more than likely a brain tumor. As we witnessed firsthand a few weeks ago, any newly introduced younger person with a grudge is undoubtedly related to the person that they hate.
I'm not saying that I necessarily dislike these vestiges of the old soap telling days, but it might be time to retire them and to start trotting out a few new ones. Even Crayola introduces new crayons every so often -- even if a blue crayon by any other name is still a blue crayon. That said, there are a few little nuggets that I think AMC's head writers have been developing in their test kitchen -- and I sort of like them.
Damon and Liza seem destined for a fling, an affair, or something more meaningful. Yeah, we all saw that coming months and months ago, but I think the writers wisely abandoned the typical haters-becomes-lovers plot device. It would have been too easy for Damon and Liza to develop something while one was holding something over the other.
Instead, we now have the preposterous predicament of Damon working for Liza. Maybe it makes sense in theory. Liza wanted to keep tabs on her daughter, so hiring Damon does make sense in that regard. But I'm not even entirely sure that Damon could read a few months ago, and now he is... what exactly is he? Either way, you can see the look of concern on Damon's face as Liza seems to be in the first phase of some sort of health crisis. Both Liza and Damon have flashed those daring glances at one point or another over the past week.
My only question is this: will Damon and Liza share a kiss that is unexpected and very much in the moment, or will Damon plant a big wet one on Liza after he catches Colby and Asher in the midst of something they shouldn't be doing?
I had mixed feelings about Asher's reaction to receiving his mother's locket. I understand that Asher has residual anger over his belief that Caleb killed Sonia, but it broke my heart that he initially rejected the locket solely for that reason. I'd have liked to see a moment of ambivalence, perhaps, rather than Asher just throwing up his hands and declaring that he didn't want the locket.
I was glad that a scene or two later, we saw Asher on his bed, talking to his mom through the locket. Of course Asher was going to head over to Wildwind for a confrontation with Caleb. Well, maybe not. The confrontation wasn't nearly as explosive as I'd thought it would be. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't some fireworks.
I was a little heartbroken that there is only one photo of Sonia left in the whole world. I'm assuming there's a reason that we didn't get to see it, but that's another of those soap opera vestiges that I talked about at the top of the column. For all we know, it could be Brooke English or the late Helga Voynitzeva. Maybe it will be a long-lost Kane, and Susan Lucci will have a chance to play a dual role. Anyway, back to the locket and Sonia: what we do know is that Caleb is fingering Adam for Sonia's death. Why do I have a nagging suspicion that Asher is going to finish what Caleb set out to do a bunch of years ago and burn Chandler Mansion to the ground.
If it were not for Jack going nuts in the courtroom and ripping things to shreds, there would have been very little range of emotion in last week's shows. For whatever reason, Walt Willey has never been utilized in the right ways over the past decade. Jack has always been Erica's lap dog, and the storylines have all seemingly been tied to that. I think I'd like to see Walt Willey as a villain. He may not ever get the chance to do it on AMC -- Jack is a pretty decent, upstanding fellow -- but I think it would be fun to see.
Maybe he'll get his chance now that he and Krystal are undeniably closer than they've ever been. I always thought that Krystal would be fighting Erica (and possibly Opal) for Caleb's heart, but that no longer seems to be the case.
Especially now that Opal is fawning over the new doc in town, Griffin Castillo. Her heart went from skipping a beat to... well, skipping a beat. Okay, so Opal developed quite the fancy for Griffin, but it seemed more like the writers were using Opal's shameful flirting to instruct all of the viewers, "this is how you will react to seeing this character on-screen."
My verdict is still out regarding Griffin. He's a good-looking guy, but he's coming off a little more smarmy than I bet the show wanted him to be. I've read on the Soap Central message boards and over on our Facebook page that some fans think the character is even a bit cartoonish. I'm not sure if that's just the way that actor Jordi Vilasuso is interpreting the role or the way he's been told to play it.
I absolutely loved that Kendall experienced some chest discomfort when Zach's plane crashed. Is it soapy? Maybe a little. I, however, am convinced that when you are deeply in love with someone that you can sense things about them.
As I repeatedly mention in this column, I am not a fan or non-fan of any particular couple. I am a fan of good story for couples. Just having a story that says, "Yoohoo! These characters are in love and the best couple we've ever seen on daytime television!" doesn't win me over. What I liked about Zach and Kendall was their constantly tortured love. After all the crap that they went through, I wanted them to stay together -- if only to give me hope that that sort of thing could happen in real life.
Now that Zach is dead... all right, let's detour for a second. Zach isn't really dead. None of us believe that, so let's just put all our cards on the table. He's really hiding somewhere and waiting for the goons that were after him to find someone else to bother. It's not like he hasn't staged his own death before. There was a point that I actually thought that we'd see Zach sneaking away. It happened during Friday's episode. If you have the episode on TiVo, cue it up and go to the scene where the Coast Guard arrived and hauled Ryan and Greenlee away. As the scene was ending, the camera made this bizarre rightward pan to the rock outcropping behind them. I expected to see a head poking up or an eyeball peering through a hole like the villains did to old paintings in a Scooby Doo cartoon. I even slo-mo'ed the scene just to make sure that there wasn't something that I was missing. But I didn't see anything. Still, I don't believe that he's dead.
I am not really all that interested in seeing Kendall get together with anyone else -- especially Griffin. Maybe I will be in a few months, but that's not the way that soaps work. They need to keep actors and actresses on-screen all the time to help justify their contracts. Sometimes I think that comes at the expense of storytelling. Let's allow Kendall some mourning time and not have her jump into bed the day after she learns that a loved one has died.
As always, I am so thankful that you read this column every week. I do my best to write up an entertaining column for you, and I hope that you enjoy it. I also like to read from you, so I'd like for all of you to share some of your thoughts about the show with me by sending me email. Since this upcoming week will be a short one, I want to share some YouScoops in next weeks' column.
And this Thanksgiving, take as many photos of your loved ones as you can. You don't want to be sitting around one day and realize that you only have one photo of someone special.