Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you go in for some father-son face-changing? Did you think a wake was a good time for matchmaking? Were you so important to core families that you died off-screen? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Spectra clan this week!
Let's face it, Scoopers. There's a new trend in the Forrester fashion world, and it's not BeLieF-treated pinafores. The B&B of the past decade or so has, more often than not, dropped details like they were hot -- it's just that 2019 seems to be The Year of Important Things Happening Off-Screen! And we're not even out of March yet! Is this the way we're going to roll, starting with B&B's 32nd birthday? Let's Scoop about it!
OH MY DARLIN', OH MY DARLIN', OH MY DARLIN' CAROLINE
I refused to believe it when someone told me this twist was coming, but it turned out to be true: Caroline Spencer is dead. Again. Well, the young'uns among us may not recall the original Caroline succumbing to leukemia in 1990. But at least we saw that Caroline grapple with her illness and die soapily in Ridge's arms. Here in 2019, B&B killed Caroline's namesake off-screen and is telling us to feel sad about it.
All right, so Millennial Caroline's portrayer, Linsey Godfrey, is going great guns on Days of our Lives right now (congrats on the Emmy nom!), so I can almost understand killing off the character. But Caroline was a big enough part of the canvas that she deserved an exit we could see -- and a proper acknowledgement of the character she had become.
Anyone remember the last time we saw her? That's right -- the sainted blonde was a crazed brunette with blood in her eyes and gloves on her hands that she wore to cover up trying to strangle Bill. And the whole reason for that was because Thomas had left her upon finding out she had gone along with Bill's lie that she was dying of a rare autoimmune disease, all designed to pull Thomas away from Sally.
nuThomas (and we'll get to the recast in a bit) declared Caroline had been his best friend. How did we go from Thomas feeling betrayed enough to dump her to being her BFF? To say nothing of the fact that he reunited with Caroline off-screen, which we found out when Sally returned from NYC alone. Ah, maybe that's where it started. So much about this tale is comprised of stuff we've been told after the fact.
Bill actually showed some real remorse (maybe he's changing, after all), even suggesting that the domino effect he'd put into motion by casting Caroline as dying had ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Caroline had died of a sudden blood clot. Of course, the real poetic justice would have been her dying from a rare autoimmune disease. Or, better yet, something linked to Caroline's actual story.
Again, the last time we saw Caroline, she tried and failed to kill Bill, then slunk off. How about she felt so guilty about it once her rage subsided that she committed suicide? Yes, that's extreme, but it makes more sense than a random blood clot. We could even have found out that Caroline had shot Bill, which would have let Taylor off the hook, but no, we don't seem to think stories out that fully anymore.
There were a few mentions of how volatile Caroline could be during all the fond remembrances. But it took Maya (who went to the service, yet not the wake) to comment that she and Caroline had had "issues." I guess you could call dissing Maya for being poor, casting her in a steamy web series to make Rick jealous, and going along with Bill's plot to have Maya arrested "issues."
Yet Ridge, Thomas, and others practically cast Caroline as an angel. I always said B&B had the perfect rationale for Caroline's behavior change -- the fall she took over Bill's balcony. That injury could even have caused this apparently fatal blood clot. This stuff isn't, ahem, brain surgery; it doesn't take much soap smarts to tie these story threads together, and it's unfortunate B&B didn't do that.
YOU'VE GOT TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT
At least Ridge remembered Caroline was his ex-wife and acknowledged that he was able to draw again because of her. Man, it made me miss those steamy CaRidge beginnings. Yet Caroline's other husband, Rick, didn't get to chime in because he went on a trip to Paris last year and stayed there, which brings me to my other point. Too many important things are starting to happen on this show off-screen.
Rick is a perfect example. He and Maya went off together, and she came home alone, crying that Rick was divorcing her. That was three months ago, and we still don't know why that marriage ended. As Jeff Foxworthy used to say, "This is information you need!" Did it have something to do with Rick having a biological daughter with Nicole? Something to do with Maya being transgender? It's not that hard to fill in that blank.
The lack of reason really watered down Maya's solo return, and she hasn't had boo to do since. A similar phenomenon happened with Thorne, who basically disappeared after Will's custody fight, only to have one family dinner with Katie, decide she was still in love with Bill, and ditch her on Valentine's Day. If Ingo was going to leave, couldn't we have given Thratie a proper collapse and him a proper exit?
All right, you argue, those two events were insignificant enough that they could indeed have developed and/or happened off-screen. But Caroline's death? Is this how we're going to tell stories on B&B now? Just mention that stuff happened and deal with the repercussions of something we never saw? It's on par with watching Hope grapple with "losing" Beth without the benefit of witnessing her delivery on Catalina.
And yeah, we didn't see Reese snatch Beth while Hope was unconscious, but that was different. That actually worked because we followed Hope through the delivery and watched her pass out. Finding out about the baby switch afterwards just ramped up the stakes. Caroline's death falls flat because we hadn't even seen her for a year, and we didn't get to experience the loss along with her family.
Finally, deciding that Caroline dying off-screen wasn't enough, B&B had Caroline's memorial off-screen as well, making Bill and Liam's apparently wonderful eulogies hearsay. And Caroline's mothers, Karen and Dani, breezed in and out of town without a single appearance! Come on, that's just wrong. This whole arc reeks of laziness and was obviously drawn up just to bring Thomas back to town with Douglas. Stone cold.
THE ROLE OF THOMAS FORRESTER IS NOW BEING PLAYED BY...
I still miss the departed Bern Bennett's announcements when recasts made their first appearances (he was still doing them into his 80s and 90s!), but at least we got an announcement heralding Matthew Atkinson's arrival, even if it was "being played by" instead of "now being played by." You know, I gotta hand it to Atkinson. Tackling your first scene as a grieving father is one helluva trial by fire.
I remember how resistant I was when Adam Gregory took over Thomas from Drew Tyler Bell; I never warmed up to him. Now, Pierson Fodé I warmed up to right away, but that had as much to do with his knee-weakening face as it did the acting chops it turned out he had. I was really dubious about a fourth adult Thomas, but so far, I think Atkinson is going to cut it in the B&B world.
Imagine the challenge as an actor -- you have to come on sad and crying about a character you know little about and a complicated family history you know even less about. (Hey, Matt, if you need a tutorial, we profile all B&B characters, including yours, here.) Atkinson rose to that challenge. While his Thomas doesn't have Fodé's swagger, Atkinson does bring an earnestness not seen since Drew Tyler Bell's version.
Atkinson's debut skill is almost enough to make you forget that his Thomas never had a scene with Caroline. Almost. They probably should have killed Caroline off before Fodé moved on to primetime and Linsey Godfrey moved on to DAYS. Then, Thomas could have come back later with a new face, free from all that storyline baggage. Instead, we have to believe Atkinson's Thomas had a relationship with Caroline.
We also, even as veteran soap watchers, have to struggle to imagine this Thomas having had a relationship with Sally. Ms. Spectra must have found a great capacity for forgiveness in that yoga she did with Wyatt a while back, because first, she welcomed Wyatt's ex Flo with open arms while she was instantly jealous of Caroline. Then, Sally was impressed by Bill leading the Spencer family through this latest crisis.
Of course, I realize it's a time for mourning, not pettiness. But Sally walked up to Thomas and apologized to him for what went wrong between them! What the actual hell? Okay, the first time Thomas dumped Sally, he thought Caroline was dying, but then, he brought Sally to New York, only to dump her for Caroline again. Thomas is the only one who should be issuing mea culpas here!
"None of that matters anymore," Sally told Wyatt when he said he'd understand if she had a problem with Thomas. That seemed to be the same attitude Thomas held when Bill offered aid to him and Douglas. I don't know, Scoopers; last time Thomas saw Bill, he was angry enough to be considered a suspect in Bill's shooting. I don't know how one goes from that to "thanks, I'll give you a call if I need anything."
I also have a hard time, as I indicated before, believing that Thomas could be so pro-Caroline. "She was my best friend," Thomas cried. Even after she lied to me that she was dying, I thought. I have forgiven my own best friends many infractions over the years, and they me, but faking a fatal illness to keep me around would not be something I'd give them a pass on. Would you?
Then, for all that, Thomas sat down with his parents and told them he and Caroline hadn't actually been a couple! Ridge asked what I would have -- didn't Thomas move back to the Big Apple to be with her? Yes, came Thomas' response, but it didn't work out. They were great co-parents, though. Wonder what Sally will say when she gets that bit of news! Thomas only nearly destroyed her over that reunion!
TURN THE BEAT AROUND...LOVE TO HEAR (RE)PERCUSSION
So, Thomas is back, and the drama is high, and the performances are A-game, but the foundation of this storyline house might as well be built directly atop the San Andreas Fault for how shaky it is. Caroline's dead, and a bunch of unanswered questions and implications were buried with her, off-screen. (Including whether or not Karen's pre-coming out fiancé, Connor Davis, was Caroline's father. Now we'll never know.)
Another plot getting an unexpected jolt from Caroline biting the dust is this nonsensical matchmaking Wyatt, Sally, Donna, and Justin are doing in regard to Bill and Katie. That Donna is spearheading this charge is all the more baffling. If I recall correctly, she was the first Logan sister to encounter Bill with his tongue hanging out, and how many times did she let Katie cry on her shoulder over Bill's cheating?
Sally couldn't see how Bill and Katie had ever worked, which was the most on point thing anybody in this group said. Au contraire, said Liam of all people, Katie being the yin to Bill's yang was the glue that held them together. Yeah, maybe if Bill had been able to keep his yang in his pants. "We'd all like to see Bill and Katie back together," Donna purred. Girl, get your own storyline before you go the way of Thorne.
I once again remind you, gentle readers, that Bill only chose to stay with Katie over shacking up with Steffy because Katie had a heart attack. Bill not being able to stop staring at Brooke's boobs tanked the first Batie marriage, and their second rushed rematch smashed like the broken glass Katie drank whiskey out of because she was sure Bill was porking Brooke again! This is the basis for a third go-round?
Speaking of #DrunkKatie, why was she glibly sipping wine at her arranged lunch with Bill last week? And why did Bill say nothing about it? He was only ready to take Will away from Katie if she didn't stop having three-ways with Ernest and Julio. "You're making me remember the man I fell in love with," Katie gushed to Bill. She must still be three sheets to the wind if she can't remember how badly he treated her.
Moving on, Thomas wasn't the only one who came home with a new face. Little Douglas Forrester, in the form of young Henry Joseph Samri, is cuter than cute and not a bad little actor. And that's quite a compliment coming from me, because I find most child actors either can't act or are just too precious. Yes, Douglas is SORASed; I know. Probably meaning Steffy will bring Kelly and Phoebeth back as preteens!
What struck me as odd, though, is that everyone seemed to have a relationship with Douglas. Did you ever see anyone besides Ridge, Caroline, and Thomas interact with the kid when he was an infant? Yet Taylor nuzzled with her grandson, "Aunt Steffy" was all about her nephew, and even Pam couldn't get enough of him. As if Pam and Quinn getting along at the wake wasn't enough of an alternate universe.
I'm beginning to think it isn't specifically Phoebe who fills the baby void in the grieving Hope's life but that any child will do. Steffy and the girls weren't gone five minutes before Hope was channeling her mother love into Douglas, which Taylor noticed. Though I have to admit -- and this is from someone who's too cynical to be swayed by cutesy kiddie clichés -- Hope and Douglas were adorable together!
I don't know if I could have seen it with Kim Matula's Hope, but there's something so earthy about Annika Noelle's incarnation that motherhood really does seem natural. There also seems to be a palpable joy in Hope with that maternal void being filled. Taylor felt the same way when she reported the sight to Ridge. But then Taylor ruined it by slipping back into some really crass, obviously pre-therapy behavior.
It started when Taylor pulled Steffy aside during Caroline's wake and started bleating on again about how Steffy should take Hope's advice and reclaim Liam for herself. At the freaking wake! Steffy got out of there as fast as her L'eggs could carry her, but at another point, Taylor popped off about the people in attendance being decent enough to show Thomas support. She was actually mad Brooke wasn't there!
Did I hear that right? The woman who wanted to have Brooke arrested for molesting the adult Thomas was now pissed Brooke was out of town on business and not available to comfort her son. Damn. Those psychedelic berries Taylor ate eight years ago, which Thomas brought back from that deserted island, must still have Taylor high as a kite. Because she went from making little sense to no sense.
Bad enough Taylor is somehow okay with Thomas moving in with Ridge and Brooke! Having seen Hope's tenderness with Douglas in the kitchen, Taylor told Ridge that Hope was consoling herself as much as she was Thomas' son. Ridge didn't immediately hear the wheels turning in Taylor's head, but I did because they are in serious need of WD-40.
Douglas needed a mother. Hope needed a child. Taylor had the perfect solution -- Hope should leave Liam for Thomas! "Hope and Thomas were in love at one time!" Taylor insisted. No, they weren't! During Thomas' creepier days, he decided he had the hots for his stepsister and worked with Steffy to keep Hope and Liam from seeing each other in Cabo San Lucas. Then Thomas kissed Hope as a publicity stunt!
So, I'll say to Taylor what Taylor once said to Sheila: "Maybe you dropped out of therapy a little early." Ridge couldn't believe Taylor had picked this time and place to suggest Caroline's death was a conduit for Liam to go back to Steffy. Taylor wanted Ridge to advocate for it! Amazingly, Ridge, who normally would have already done just that, told Taylor, "You gotta stop talking like that; you really do."
Ridge also proved his devotion to Brooke when Taylor sank into her usual sob story about how she hadn't been the same since Ridge left her. It's hard to believe there was a time I was Team Taylor; the once strong woman is pathetic now. Decades later, Taylor still isn't over Ridge, which she demonstrated by planting a big, sloppy wet one on his stubbled lips!
I thought she was stabilizing, but Tay-Tay is still cray-cray. The mother of her grandson is dead, but Taylor's trying to use it to cause the bereaved Hope even more pain, and it's all apparently enough of an aphrodisiac that Taylor wanted to make out with the married Ridge right then and there. Thankfully for Brooke, Ridge set Taylor straight and made a hasty exit. And thankfully for Brooke, she heard him do just that!
Yep, in true soap style, Brooke came home just as Taylor was ready to relive the '90s as Ridge's "Doc." (Hell, the Taylor of the '90s would have the Taylor of today committed to an asylum.) Brooke expressed her condolences about Caroline and understood that Taylor might be feeling vulnerable. But kissing Brooke's hubby in Brooke's living room? That ish ain't gonna fly, bish! Brooke was ready to rumble!
Yes, I agree, Brooke blowing a gasket over Taylor kissing Ridge is hypocritical, given how many times Brooke macked on him while he was married to Taylor. "We have been down this road before," Brooke remarked, aghast, "and we're not gonna do it again!" That's how I feel, too! Ridge is married to Brooke; let's just leave it at that. Find a new man, Taylor! Maybe Leo's still available, since Steffy didn't want him!
Are you feeling nuThomas, Scoopers? Is he just what the show needs to shake things up, or is he just making things more complicated? Would the third time be the charm for Bill and Katie, or do their loved ones need to stop matchmaking for them? Does Taylor have a point about Hope and Thomas getting together? And is too much on B&B happening off-screen? Make your comments visible in the Comments section below or on the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could wind up in a future column! Like these!
"When Liam told Wyatt that Hope wanted him to be with Steffy and Wyatt told Liam to think it over and decide if that's what he wanted, I thought Wyatt was just encouraging Liam to think about it NOW, while he has an out, instead of passing up the opportunity and blowing everybody's life up later on. Wyatt knows that Liam 'loves them both the same,' so it was a reasonable thing to say. I am glad that Liam seemed to take a stand and intends to stay with Hope, although ideally I'd like to see both Hope and Steffy give him the air." -- "DaffySez"
"Taylor looks so foolish trying to push her daughter to be with a man that clearly doesn't want to be with her! Where is Taylor's dignity? Why would Taylor want [Steffy] to settle for being second choice?... I think [Taylor] is trying to live vicariously thru [Steffy]...why else would she keep harping on [Steffy] fighting to be with Liam when it's clear that, if Liam wanted to be with [Steffy] and 'those precious girls', he would be? Taylor's still living in the past and she needs to move on!" -- "thomascd"
Well, it looks like we're onto a new chapter of B&B -- that is, if our fictional residents of L.A. aren't all swallowed up by an earthquake off-screen -- so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. And remember: no matter color, creed, religion, gender identity, orientation, or nationality, we're all beautiful.
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