Ruffles have Ridges

For the Week of March 20, 2023
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Liam's chips got burned when he learned that Hope would again be working with Thomas, whom Steffy belatedly remembered Hope found tasty. But while Bill unsuccessfully tried to open Sheila's bag of snacks, he did let Ridge out of another one! Get into the March and the madness with Two Scoops' Mike!

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did attending one therapy session with your mom in tow convince everyone you were sane? Did you push your bro on his uber crush, only to remember too late that said crush thought your bro was smokin'? Did you do-si-do with an unexpected partner? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Finnegan clan this week!

Happy March Madness, Scoopers! Yep, it's that time of year where the affected week only gets three episodes and y'all spend the other two beefing about basketball. But swish swish, bish! It wasn't Thomas coming back to Forrester that was the slam dunk. Nor was it perpetually shirtless Finn actually having a scar where he was shot. It was finding out that Sheila was being monitored by Bill...and Ridge! Let's Scoop about it!

IT'S BAKED IN

Liam was having a convo with brother Wyatt, at home in the middle of a workday. Love seeing the bros commiserating and on the same side, but does anyone work at Spencer anymore? Liam was relieved that Hope had agreed not to let Thomas back onto the Hope for the Future team, and he felt that Thomas should never be allowed anywhere near Hope again.

That may sound extreme, but I really can't blame Liam here. Thomas has been almost nonstop trouble for Hope in these four years that Matthew Atkinson has inhabited the role. Ever cheeky, Wyatt piped up that the way things were going, perhaps Bill and Thomas could be best friends. Oh, snap! Hell, Bill has been so defanged the last while, Thomas could probably give Bill pointers!

As Liam celebrated the continued banishment of Thomas, Hope was celebrating Thomas' unbanishment over at Forrester. It turned out that, despite promising Liam she would put a big stop sign in front of Thomas, Hope realized that green-lighting Thomas would be the only way to green-light her line, plus she felt it would be good for Douglas to see his parents working together amiably.

But has Thomas' constant bad influence finally rubbed off on the boy? Upon finding out that Hope would again be working with Thomas, Douglas picked that moment to announce that he was ready to come home and live with Hope. Now, wait a minute! I smell something rotten, and it's not Douglas' uneaten Fruit Rollups that were left in his lunchbox too long.

Doesn't it smack of just a little too convenient that Douglas suddenly decided to move home? I think the kid is doing a little manipulation of his own now, and he didn't even need a bad CGI ghost to pull it off. Indeed, when Douglas and Thomas got a little solo father-son time, Douglas expressed his wish that his mom and dad could be together "all the time," like a "real family."

Thomas reminded Douglas that Hope was married to Liam, but how long do you think it's going to be before Douglas wears Thomas down? After all, Thomas was the one who repeatedly worked to get Douglas on Team Thope, and I don't for a second believe Thomas' protestations. Thomas promised Douglas that he would never behave badly again, because of, you know, one therapy session.

I actually am rather amazed that the show put Thomas in therapy for us to see, as it's been long overdue, but the guy just started -- and how deep or truthful could Thomas possibly get with his mother sitting in? "World-renowned shrink" or not, Taylor had no business being there. And for Thomas to truly get better, he needs years' worth of counseling, although a few months' worth would be acceptable in soap time.

I wonder if this Dr. Howard would give Thomas and Douglas group rates? Steffy told Taylor that Douglas had spent too much time trying to solve the problems of the adults around him. Astute, but the real tell was when Steffy said that Douglas had decided to move home because "his work [was] done" when Thomas and Hope fired their business relationship back up. I'm tellin' ya, Douglas is the one to watch out for this time.

One last question: how can Steffy bring Thomas back on without discussing it with Ridge first? Steffy and Ridge are co-CEOs, and amazingly have been since 2017. That "who gets the CEO chair?" thing had gotten old. Steffy pooh-poohed Ridge's approval, but it'll be interesting to see how Ridge reacts to his relationship-ruining son being back on the payroll. Where is Ridge, anyway? Hmm...

DON'T GET SALTY WITH ME

Steffy was jazzed to have Thomas back on board, but she had a feeling Liam wouldn't feel the same way. Not that it took a former wife to figure that one out. Hope hesitated coming through the cabin's front door and led with Douglas' decision to return as a way of softening her upcoming blow. Because what Hope had to say next gave Liam a worse concussion than the many he's given himself.

Liam couldn't believe that Hope had given Thomas yet another free pass. It was déjà vu to him, and I can't say it wasn't for me, either. "How many times does it take?" Liam yelped. More than getting to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop, apparently. Really, shouldn't Hope know better? Liam reminded Hope how Thomas had kissed her at last fall's HFTF preview and how Thomas couldn't control himself around her.

And Liam brought receipts! Hope's animated husband addressed Thomas letting Hope think that Beth was dead and Thomas being ready to fling Liam off a building so Thomas could kidnap Hope. Then there was the MANNEQUIN! And that's only the stuff Liam is aware of. Only Thomas knows about how he drugged Liam's drink to get Liam to sleep with Steffy and how he terrorized his own kid to make him needy for Hope.

Hope should also have factored Thomas pretending he was dead after he fell into a vat into her decision, but ya know, bygones. Hope believed Thomas had changed, and Liam was beside himself. In fact, I'm giving Scott Clifton mega kudos here for layering fear into Liam's anger; Liam could barely suppress seemingly involuntary shaking. And given that we've gotten this "Thomas is back in Hope's orbit" schtick many, many times before, Clifton's performance is especially noteworthy.

Hope became unusually resolute as she justified her decision to the worried Liam. She loved him and their family, but she also loved her line. She'd heard all of Liam's concerns, but she wasn't going to lose her career over the whole thing with Thomas. Hope declared that she could take care of herself. The first time Thomas pulled anything, he'd be gone!

Yeah. Shall we start taking bets now as to how long it takes for Thomas to pop off and for Hope to wave it away? There may be a somewhat new, definitely disturbing M.O. for this. Steffy relayed how the off-screen Paris had finked about Hope finding Thomas hot. Steffy had forgotten about that! And now she wondered if she should have pushed Thomas on Hope, after all.

What if Hope had feelings for Thomas on some level, and that's why Hope was always inclined to forgive him? Good one, Steffy, for realizing that too late. You know, just have Thomas work from home with the mannequin and Dropbox his designs to Hope. Hope gets her line, Thomas gets his fix, Liam can relax, and we don't have to watch another go-round of the only story B&B seems to think Thomas is suited for.

CRUNCH TIME

Finn and Steffy somehow got a morning free and used their time to either boff or post-boff in their living room. Don't they have a bed? They better Scotch Guard that couch before the kids come home. Anyway, the buzzkill wasn't the Finnegans realizing they had to get to work -- it was Steffy bringing up Liam's potential reaction to Thomas' return...and Sheila's ongoing freedom.

How much it sucked that Sheila was on the loose and that Bill had sanctioned it with his blackmail! NowSteffy and Finn are worried about Sheila? What happened to Steffy's determination all those weeks ago that she would find a way to get Sheila out of their lives? What happened to Taylor's determination to turn herself in and therefore neutralize Bill's threat?

There's been too much of characters not putting their money where their mouths are. Last year, it was Brooke swearing she'd find out how she got drunk on non-alcoholic bubbly, but she never took any sort of action. Can't you just see Stephanie, wherever Gangsta Grannies spend their afterlives, railing at Steffy to get off her butt and actually do something about Sheila? Can double bitch slaps be delivered from the other side?

As Sinn did their best hand-wringing, Bill seemed to be taking steps of his own with Sheila, but it was odd. Remember how Sheila had complained to Deacon that Bill had kept trying to get her to talk about emotions and such? We finally were witness to that, though seeing Bill-as-therapist was rather Bizarro World to me. If anything, Bill's attempts to channel Sheila's old shrink James Warwick were super overkill.

Seriously! Bill said some variation of "You can tell me anything" to Sheila three, maybe four times in the same scene. Bill was clearly on a fishing expedition, and he was so obvious about it that I'm surprised Sheila didn't stop him mid-conversation and demand to know why he was trying to pick her brain. But Bill persisted, reminding Sheila (and us) about how he dumped Ridge out of a helicopter and blew up Spectra.

"I could have killed my own son -- sound familiar?" Bill related. Loved the flashbacks, though when Bill demolished the Spectra building, he didn't know Liam and Sally were inside until after he flicked the switch. But Ridge...Bill had wanted to kill Ridge. Part of Bill still wanted to! And Bill knew that Sheila had to be haunted by the deaths that she had caused.

We got some Sheila flashbacks, too! For viewers that picked up the show after 2002, the guy going over the balcony was Sheila's then-therapist, Jay Garvin, and the fellow Sheila sicced the bees on was Lance, who had info on Sheila and also a serious allergy to bee stings. Lance I could understand, but why would Sheila be haunted by Jay Garvin's death? Even in the flashback, you could see it was an accident.

Bill seemed to be getting through to Sheila, and she was just about to tell him...something, when suddenly, the lights flickered in the mansion. Sheila bolted up like it made her suspicious, and Bill chalked the glitch up to the size of the estate. Why would Sheila smell a rat? She's lived in Southern California long enough to know that brownouts are not uncommon there.

Sheila was weirded out enough that she wanted to get out and take Bill to dinner, but Bill begged off over a business meeting he had to take. After watching Bill leave, Sheila called Deacon and reported that Bill was off in a way that she couldn't place. What if Bill had figured out that Sheila was also giving her nine toes to Deacon? Once again, the affair arc took away from the why-is-Bill-acting-so-weird arc. And why is he?

We seemed to shift to a different show as shiny black shoes walked past hard linoleum and blinking lights, and the same figure used a keycard to get into some clandestine place. Someone else wearing an FBI jacket tapped away at a computer. Then, a different person, a man sporting a mini-bun, stood up, turned around, and asked the first figure, "How're you holding up, partner?"

The mini-bun belonged to Ridge! And the question was being directed at Bill! The Dollah found the query ludicrous. He was "so ready to put Sheila Carter behind bars for life!" WOW! Now that's a March Madness cliffhanger. They aren't as common as May or November Sweeps, but they're still a thing. My fave was in 1995...when it appeared that Sheila had drowned Lauren in a hot tub! Ah, memories.

WHAT'S YOUR FLAVOR, TELL ME WHAT'S YOUR FLAVOR

Well, now we know where Ridge has been! Well, sort of. If I remember correctly, we last saw him at Christmas, when Pam and Charlie floated some mistletoe over Ridge and Brooke to prompt them to kiss. Ridge has not been seen for all of 2023, until now. We may not ever find out what happened to Thorsten Kaye's hand, but we do know what's happened to his hair -- it's grown! I like the tied-back look on him!

It seems clear from the episode-ending hint we got that Bill is working to get Sheila put away and that Ridge is somehow helping him. And that I'm all for -- Bill and Ridge have traditionally been more likely to punch each other than aid each other. It reminds me of the time they pulled together in 2011 when Brooke and Thomas were lost at sea, not that I really want to remember anything else about Berry Island.

Ridge's sudden appearance and dovetailing into Bill's story with Sheila got my attention, but it's also whipped up a slew of questions that I hope we'll get answers to as we go forward. The biggest one: how can Bill be working to have Sheila arrested when he already had her arrested, just to bribe a judge and spring her? Was that all part of a plan to gain Sheila's trust? What about blackmailing Steffy and Taylor?

And wouldn't putting Sheila behind bars for shooting Steffy be a no-brainer? Yes, Sheila shot Finn, as well, but that was unintentional, whereas Sheila popped a cap in Steffy very much on purpose. I had wondered in my previous column why Katie hadn't set up cameras in Bill's living room like she did when she wanted to catch Bill and Brooke together...I guess Bill was inspired, because his place was wired!

That must also be what caused the power drain, but what exactly is Bill hoping to catch Sheila doing on video? Were she to go near Finn or Hayes, which she hasn't even thought of doing, strangely enough, that wouldn't be on these cameras. And how does Ridge work into this? Has he seriously been teaming with Bill and the FBI for over two months while being...well, just where is he supposed to be?

The way Bill tried so hard to get Sheila to confess to something -- anything -- it seems like he wanted to extract a confession out of her for some past crime. But in the examples of Jay Garvin and Lance, there were no witnesses to either death. Plus, I don't think it's illegal to step out on your man, the only misdeed Sheila is guilty of at the moment.

If Bill and Ridge really want to hang something on Sheila, there's only one phone call they need to make -- to one Lauren Fenmore in Genoa City, Wisconsin. Talk about crime! Sheila first came back with her own face in 2017, and, according to Lauren's 40th anniversary episode on Y&R awhile back, Lauren still thinks Sheila is dead! Is that based on Lauren having shot Sheila-with-Phyllis'-face in 2007?

I can't imagine why Eric wouldn't have called Lauren to tell her that Sheila was alive and unwell in Los Angeles. And even if he didn't, wouldn't Sheila's arrest for shooting Finn and Steffy have made national news? To say nothing of Sheila's apparent death by bear mauling? Lauren is the missing piece to all this, and her insertion into this new Bill/Ridge/FBI twist is high, high on my soapy wish list.

One thing that's not? Ridge getting back into his Brooke-Taylor-Brooke-Taylor harness. I seriously don't need to see any more of that. Especially because Ridge's reunion with either lady will instantly mess up Braylor's refreshing, though overly sugary, friendship. Ridge's scruffy, ponytailed self makes me weak in the knees, but I hope Taylor and Brooke aren't going to have the same reaction.

Aside from how exactly it is that Ridge is helping Bill in his crusade against Sheila, and how that develops, future story for the Dressmaker obviously will have to do with the homecoming of Dressmaker Junior, better known as R.J., who has been recast and rebooted. Hopefully R.J. will get some kind of nickname, because "R.J." is clunky to say and write. But surely Junior is going to upset Senior's apple cart in some way.

Finally, Ridge probably won't stay silent about Thomas being reinstated at Forrester, particularly without Ridge having been consulted about it. Well, as long as Ridge shakes up his drab blue and gray suits with some fashionable color, I'm good. The mini-bun is a start!

What about you, Scoopers? How do you think Ridge figures into the trap Bill is trying to set for Sheila? What would you like to see happen with Ridge now that he's back? Do you think Thomas deserves his second chance, or has he once again pulled the wool over everyone's eyes? And is Douglas following in his father's devious footsteps? Serve up your summations in the Comments section below or the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could end up in a future column! Like these!

"Bill vanilla? Always thought he'd be first in line at the orgy." -- Sharon

"...All these disgusting scenes with Deacon & Bill [lusting] over psycho criminal 60-year-old ... Sheila make me nauseated...Why is it the writers always have to have triangle relationships on this show...This storyline of these two good looking successful guys wanting Sheila is the worst I've seen since [I started watching] this show ten years ago..." -- "WAGreenEyes"

"I agree about the supposed desirability of Ms. Carter...but please. Her age doesn't make her undesirable. Leave that bit out. One thing the show is doing is being inclusive with regard to age." -- Eva

Word 'em up, y'all! I'm 53, and I like to think I'm not out to pasture yet. Down with ageism! And it's the over-50s who are making the show interesting right now, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold! See you in two weeks, my Scoopnesses!

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