You can't kill a Stenbeck. Paul proved that this week. Despite a bullet to the chest, falling off a cliff, and a probable infection, he's still got enough strength to outwit some deer hunters, berate and threaten Meg, and have some wild hallucinations about the people he's done wrong.
We should have learned from Paul's father James, who has "died" more than once, that Stenbecks don't stay dead. So call me a skeptic, but I don't think Meg needs to worry about Paul's lifeless body lying in the snow. I'm certain he won't be taking the dirt nap anytime soon.
As for Paul's twisted murder hallucination, in which he was killed repeatedly, if nothing else, it gave the audience some satisfaction. Who hasn't wanted to pump him full of lead the last few months for his Machiavellian manipulations? I'm not sure whether Paul is a misanthrope or a misogynist, only time will tell. But, I've finally let go of any hope that he can return to flawed-hero status. I get it now. Paul Ryan, (or should I say Stenbeck?,) is a full-on villain. Hmmm, maybe you can kill a Stenbeck, or at least what was left of his character. The Paul Ryan we knew is dead.
--Say what you will about Barbara (and yes, I've said plenty) but when she's right, she's right. Will and Gwen are in no place to have a baby. Finishing high school should be first on their agenda, Barbara ranted, with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop. I should probably be worried when Bar Bar is the voice of reason, but I'm with her on this one. Although, she needs to work on how to better communicate her advice to her son, if she expects him to listen.
--It's obviously a seller's market for real estate in Oakdale. First, Henry couldn't find a place to live. Now, Nick is homeless, as well. Mike needs to put his construction muscles to work, someplace other than Katie's sofa, and build some affordable apartment complexes in this town. He could make a killing. And then the good folks of Oakdale would have some real estate choices, other than the Lakeview and Katie's cottage.
--Why were Jen and Dusty invited to Lily and Holden's wedding? It made no sense, and here's why: Last time I checked, Holden didn't much like Dusty. And if the invitation was for plot purposes to stage an awkward moment with Meg/Jen/Dusty, well, we were cheated. It could have been a juicy confrontation or a chance to show a twinge of remaining feelings between Meg and Dusty. But, there was none of that. In fact, there was only a brief second of acknowledgment that Meg was even there, before she headed for the door. Talk about a wasted moment.
--Oh no you didn't, Hal. Leave poor Burt alone. Trying to bust him for outdated permits, so that Will won't take a job at the garage is out of line. Doesn't Hal know Burt's Garage is sacred? It's been the backdrop for some great Oakdale love stories. It practically replaced the Snyder barn for several years. If Hal goes through with this plan, I'll be printing up the "Free Burt" t-shirts soon.
--Mike Kasnoff, get ready to be kicked in the teeth. It's never a good sign when a character rattles on about how he can trust another character. When Mike was talking about his trustworthy cousin, Nick, this week, I couldn't help but chuckle. Mike shouldn't leave Nick and Katie alone too often. I'm just saying.
--Two Scoops reader Barbara wrote to ask my opinion on Dusty's scenes from a couple weeks ago, when he confronted Meg about her lies. Well, Barbara, in two words: Grayson rocked. He's one of the show's best actors, and he brought out the big guns during that scene. His rage and hurt showed in every part of his body, from his clenched jaw to furrowed brow. His indignation and the way he put Meg in her place almost made me forget that Dusty was cheating on her with Jen in that hotel room. Almost.
--So, Henry is living large at the Lakeview. Is it too much to ask that he try to get a decent job or do something remotely responsible with his newfound fortune? I like my Henry fun-loving, but if he's ever going to be a love interest for someone, he's got to at least have a residence and a job. Or at least a good blackmail prospect.
--Barbara needs a leading man. She's one of Oakdale's hottest ladies. Where is Dr. Daniels when you need him? Or Craig, for that matter? Oh, I know, how about Cass Winthrop? I know he had a wife on "Another World," but this is a soap opera. Lila who?
--For me, the jury is still out on Maddie and Casey. He's growing on me, but I'm still not sure he's the one for the incomparable Maddie. As twisted as this sounds, (ducking for cover) she has major chemistry with Mike. I know, she's not even legal, and I would never suggest an illegal hookup. It's just too bad Mike didn't have a younger cousin who could have come to town for the teen scene, so Maddie and Mike could get some more screen time together.
--It looks like Gwen is growing out her hair. Jennifer Landon is so gorgeous I'm sure she'll look amazing with her hair any length, however, I hope Gwen doesn't lose her punk-rock edge if her punk hair goes away. It made her character different from all the other teen heroines in daytime.
--I can't take Dusty seriously in this relationship with Jennifer. I'm sorry. I practically got whiplash from all his bed-hopping the last few months, from Meg to Jen to Meg and back to Jen again. It's hard to buy a couple, when one half of the duo was confessing his love for another woman just a couple weeks ago. And as adorable as he is babysitting JD and enjoying domesticity, I hope he gets back in the boardroom or behind the bar soon. I like Dusty a little smarmy.
--This show historically takes turns giving characters a walk on the wacky side. They did it to Barbara and Hal. Now, it seems Emily is the latest victim. Seriously, who takes a gun to their own wedding? From the upcoming previews, it seems Henry is going to find out her little secret. So, someone had better get the pistol-packing bride some Valium. When Henry Coleman knows your darkest secrets, no good can come of it.
--Sometimes it's the little moments that really make a show brilliant: Lily fussing over Lucinda's wig, adorable Faith and Natalie painting themselves with Lily's makeup, Jack and Carly discussing their finances, or lack thereof. Good family drama showcases the small moments, too. Well done.
--Yawn. Nick and Carly's spar session fell flat. Sorry. It lacks the sizzle she had squaring off against Craig. Now, those two could play verbal badminton. It looks like Nick and Carly will get more scenes this week. Maybe I'll find it more gripping this time around. Perhaps Mike could give him some pointers for "fighting" with Carly. As I recall, he was quite good at it.
--Holden and Lily's wedding-vow renewal was sweet and surprisingly low key. I guess I was expecting and hoping for a bigger celebration, considering everything these two have endured the past couple years. On second thought, the big, formal weddings in Oakdale rarely go well. (Rest in peace, Rose D'Angelo.)
--Luke, that ungrateful little punk, should be thankful he's alive instead of sneaking around trying to pickle his new kidney. I'm not sure what I want to see more: Lucinda smacking some sense into him or Lily realizing she almost married creepy Keith to give the kid a kidney he obviously doesn't deserve.
Best Lines of the Week:
(Carly tells Jack that she's considering taking a job working for former mental patient Barbara.)
Carly: "What is this?"
Jack: "It's paper, so you can write your children a note explaining why you were kidnapped or held hostage."
(Carly gets caught up in the romance at Lily and Holden's wedding.)
Carly: "We should renew our vows."
Jack: "I already married you twice."
(Lucinda acknowledges that she shouldn't be drinking champagne due to her medical treatment, but she rationalizes her choice anyway.)
Lucinda: "How often do Lily and Holden get married?" (Looks at Luke.) "Don't answer that."
(From Two Scoops reader Lisa.)
"I have to disagree about your choice of the best line for 2005. I believe that it was when Gwen found out that Carly was her sister and said, 'You drugged me. You pushed me down some stairs. I should have known you were family.' Just my opinion that the writers were on that day."
Lisa, you're right. I think this ties with Lucinda's hemlock quote. (Shameless plug here: To see my Best Of/Worst Of 2005 column for this hilarious line, please visit the Two Scoops archive.)
(From Two Scoops reader Jean.)
"Does the Lakeview ever change bedding? I still recognize the blue comforter set in Jennifer's room from when Katie and Simon lived there. Time for some redecorating!"
Jean, I pointed this out last year, hoping Miss Munson would buy some new sheets. I guess she used the extra cash for drugs instead. But Lisa did call Mike this week, asking him to renovate the Lakeview. Maybe she'll provide new bedding for her tenants.
(From Two Scoops reader Karen.)
"THANK you, I thought I was the only one noticing the Meg/Holden chemistry. It's as compelling as it is nauseating, isn't it?"
Yes, Karen. Consider me compelled and nauseated enough for both of us at this sibling sexual chemistry. Is it wrong to hope Marie Wilson leaves town as Meg and comes back as Molly?
(From Two Scoops reader Lisa.)
"Jennifer, you're year-end review was right on target! I agree with all your picks. Also, regarding last week, I too wondered how Henry got Olga out of her coat. Just one of those little things they think we won't notice. Love your column and look forward to more in 2006."
Thanks, Lisa! I never underestimate Henry's ability to get a woman naked, but accomplishing that while she's handcuffed to a wine cellar is beyond miraculous.
(From Two Scoops reader Cate.)
"I may be suffering from soap opera paranoia (i.e. I've been watching so long that I read meaning into things when they don't exist), but it made me uneasy when Carly met Nick, and she hated him instantly (meaning someday they'll wind up together.) And he said to her, "Your car jack's broken." Please tell me he's not going to break up Carly and Jack. Especially as Jack is cuter than ever with that new 'do."
Cate, the "car jack" comment did seem like clever foreshadowing of potential marital trouble for the Snyders. But I'm not worried. If Carly and Jack can survive Mike, abs-of steel, Kasnoff, then Nick, long-haired-leather-clad, Kasnoff has no chance.
That's all for now Scoopers! See ya next time.