Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you come home for a party you didn't know your father was dying to throw? Did you have so much egg on your face from finding out why you got passed over at work that you could open an IHOP? Did you end up being the ultimate party pooper? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Finnegan clan this week.
Christmastime is here, Scoopers. So the Peanuts gang sang, and much like Charlie Brown et al, the Forresters and Logans gathered, but not to wrap a blanket around a scraggly tree and vocalize. Zende learned he was a blockhead, many struggled with their good grief, but in the end, it wasn't a tree that needed a little love that keeled over -- it was Eric! Ready to learn who's naughty and nice? Let's Scoop about it!
Most of Eric's nearest and dearest chafed at the idea of attending a party where they'd have to act like the guest of honor wasn't dying. Does this whole deathbed party thing recall parallels to Stephanie's celebration of life shindig in 2012? Ironically, Eric planned that, so maybe he's just rebooting his own concept. Ridge grumbled that Eric should be in the hospital and not whooping it up. I agree.
I realize it's not like we haven't seen this pre-expiration "no hospital, no doctors!" obstinacy. In 2009, Stephanie's mama Ann was so defiant in that regard that Pam actually sneaked Ann out of the hospital so Ann could die on the beach. But really, if anyone at Forrester, from the execs to the mail clerk, had so much as a hangnail, Eric would be bringing in specialists, no expense too small.
So, it's a little weird that someone as full of life as Eric, even in his dotage, wouldn't be doing whatever was necessary to squeeze as many more drops out of that sponge as possible. Instead, Eric's essentially given up and cast himself as a kind of martyr wanting to just die his way instead of exploring all the options. There's more about the lack of caregiving, but we'll get to that.
Meanwhile, Zende rolled up to R.J. and barked that the office R.J. was using used to be his. Did Zende hit his head in the elevator? What kind of entitled bullcrap is that? And then he once again lorded his tenure in design school over the uneducated R.J. Which would be great, except Zende didn't go to design school! Not unless it was off-screen after he specifically said he'd learned everything from online tutorials.
Zende was a graphic designer who became a photographer who suddenly wanted to design. He was all butt-hurt back then, too, when Ridge didn't want to train him, bawling that he was being passed over, that time for Thomas. Zende is a designer now, but his trajectory doesn't track. Anyway, Zende didn't believe R.J. when he swore Ridge hadn't arranged R.J.'s work with Eric.
Thankfully, Ridge arrived before the chip on Zende's shoulder got any bigger. And didn't Zende feel foolish when he found out that his adopted grandfather was dying, and that that had been the reason Eric had teamed up with R.J. Suddenly, Zende was all contrite. I'll give Z-boy credit for apologizing to R.J. later on, but the stink of his stink-eyeing R.J. is gonna linger for a while. Guess Zende won't try to steal Luna now.
Eric was flat on his back on the floor while Donna desperately searched for her Honey Bear's vitals. What, when Quinn left, did she take back the smart ring she'd given him? That was meant to monitor Eric's heart rate, and you'd think, given his age, he'd at least have been inspired to get his own if he didn't have Quinn's anymore. Eric came to and continued his "no hospital, no doctors!" routine.
Eric didn't want to end his life in treatment, and I can sympathize with that. Maybe Donna didn't override him and call Dr. Colby because of the way the doc threw up his hands about Eric's condition. But whatever that condition is -- because B&B went from exploring actual ailments to inflicting Eric with Mystery Soap Disease -- it required Eric to suck down oxygen from a tank.
Donna was not keen on Eric making continual jokes about death, and that line of coping seems a little out of character to me. Eric has to know how such jests eat away at Donna. Eric still wanted to have his wingding, but Donna rightly worried that at least some of his guests would pick up on the fact that Eric wasn't well. Query: if Eric gave up medical care, why did he have prescriptions nearby, and where did he get the oxygen tank?
Donna and Eric's conversation came around to Eric's illustrious past, and we were treated to flashbacks from some of his greatest moments, along with some original underscore from the '80s that I wish the show would use more, or least give an updated sound to fit the '20s. Eric thought back to his time with Stephanie and his relationship with Donna, and it just served to remind us how integral Eric is to this show. Int. E. Gral.
Eric wished he could see "all my children." I wanted to tell him, "A lot of people do, but it's off the air!" I kid. But this does rather seem like the time that Eric's myriad kids should make an appearance. Ridge had a similar thought, so he called Thorne. And by Thorne, I mean Winsor Harmon's Thorne! How cool but weird was it to see him interact with Thorsten Kaye's Ridge! Had they ever had a scene together before?
And it was like no time had passed, and Ingo Rademaker's Thorne had been forgotten (I still haven't forgiven him for pronouncing his own character's last name "FAR-ester"). But Thorne's radar pinged when Ridge told him that their dad's party had been moved up. Ridge said he would explain everything when Thorne arrived...you know, leaving him to imagine the very worst during his whole flight.
On another branch of the family tree, Bridget breezed in, assuming daddy's soirée was to celebrate the success of Eric's line. Nope! Bridget got cold-cocked with the truth and cried, "How is this world of make-believe healthy?" when instructed to give an Oscar-winning performance keeping Eric's death sentence a secret. For Thorne's part, he was angry that he had been kept in the dark.
And a lot of us were less than thrilled when Thorne mentioned that Kristen, Felicia, and Rick were all on safari in Africa and couldn't just make it to a party in L.A. that very day. Okay, I get that, as our characters are too fond of saying, and I do appreciate that the whereabouts of that trio were mentioned. But still...they don't have WiFi in Africa? The Forrester sisters and their half-bro couldn't Zoom or Skype in?
There's also Marcus, Donna's son, who it's easy to forget was adopted by Eric (which never made sense, because Marcus had already been adopted by Carter's parents). It's all just a reminder that there are so many abandoned characters -- important legacy characters like Thorne, Kristen, and Felicia, the original Forrester kids. Bridget, of course, and Rick.
Naturally, a canvas is only so big, and B&B only has about 18 minutes after commercials. But still. Maybe we can't bring back the Ambers and the Clarkes and Jackies and the Daves (Brooke's first on-screen boyfriend, remember?), but social media is filled with longing for a show that doesn't just center on a handful of faces. Thorne, especially, has always gotten a raw deal, and he was there on Day Friggin' One.
The fam jam got into their Dynasty finest (the original, not the reboot, thank you very much), still uncertain how they were going to spend time with Eric without one of them giving away that they knew the finality of Eric's prognosis. Ridge tried to comfort Bridget by saying that they could mourn Eric when he wasn't there to watch. I can't watch Ridge and Bridget without thinking of that skeevy attraction they had in 2003, even with different actors in the roles.
But do we really even know what Eric's prognosis is? No. And this is where B&B dropped the ball. Eric had arthritis which led to tremors which led to possible diagnoses of TIA (transient ischemic attack, a temporary blockage of blood to the brain) or cerebrovascular disease (another condition that affects blood flow to the brain). Then, Eric was told he was dying, and we were purposely not told from what.
Wouldn't a clear diagnosis add weight to the story? Because then we wouldn't be going into it distracted from so many unanswered questions. To muddy the waters even further, after Bridget's conversation with Brooke, Bridget told Thorne that there had already been a second opinion, which we never saw; even Dr. Colby didn't put in for a second opinion.
Bridget's statement was a bit of a contradiction in that Brooke had said Eric's case had been "reviewed by many." But reviewed by many...oncologists?! An oncologist is a cancer doctor! It's not to say blood not getting to the brain couldn't be caused by cancer, but where out of all the left fields in left field did that come from? Why is Eric on oxygen and coughing up blood if his brain isn't getting enough of it? Can't we just get a direct answer instead of all this loosey-goosey stuff?
One guest not in attendance was Finn, who was hard at work on some kind of research at the hospital. Enter Li, who thought Finn should have been at the party and spat that Finn needed to get his priorities in order. Um, Finn is working! And Li, you're a doctor; you should know better. Li is just a heartless bitch anymore. You'd think a woman who survived a fiery car crash last year would be a little more Zen about things.
Now, didn't Finn's study get a lot of you talking! I admit, I also am able to see the writing on the wall. If John McCook was leaving B&B after almost 37 years, it would be the top story on every legitimate soap site, especially this one. That wouldn't be kept secret for the sake of story. And Finn's work being bookended against Eric's farewell party is yet another indicator. Finn will cure Eric. You watch.
At the party, the bubbly flowed and the music wafted, but the discomfort hovered over the festivities like the legendary "June gloom" cloud cover that hangs over Los Angeles beaches every year. Bridget and Thorne acknowledged they had been gone a long time and had things they wanted to say to their pop. Zende thought Eric seemed all right, but Ridge could tell Eric was failing.
Eric must not be getting enough blood to his brain, because he actually walked up to Thomas and Hope and told them that their relationship wasn't a scandal. If they were happy, they should go for it! Now, it's true Eric has always been a mellow kind of dude with an anything-goes attitude. But for real? Nothing is gonna normalize Thope for me, not even Eric giving the stepsiblings' belated Stockholm Syndrome relationship his blessing. Just eww!
Carter also told Eric that he was like a surrogate father, which made me guffaw. Two years ago, these guys were sharing a woman: Quinn. I love these guys, but they have really bizarre ways of bonding. Eric then told R.J., Zende, and Luna that they were the future of Forrester. The grandsons I understand, but Luna? She's an intern who's only been with the company a couple of months. Oh, well. Eric's impressed with you, Zende. Now shut up.
Eric laughed off his stumbles and got things into higher gear instead of calling it a night, like Donna wanted. Obliging Eric's request for another glass of Cristal, Donna passed Brooke, Ridge, Hope, and Thomas, who were discussing the fact that Eric hadn't won the fashion challenge, as one would do at a party where the guest of honor is only someone you're trying to keep a secret from.
Donna was resolute. Eric could not know he lost to Ridge. Donna feared what such a revelation could do to him. Well, she didn't have to wait long. In a strangely boastful move, Eric brought up his victory on his own, and the crowd went silent, like he had just told a clunker at an amateur comedy night. His powers of perception returning, Eric put it together that he hadn't really won the fashion challenge.
Not only that, but Eric managed to glean from the tone in the room that everyone knew the sand was running out of his hourglass. Then Eric did something that I think none of us expected -- instead of being hurt or enraged that Ridge had lied about him winning, Eric told Ridge that it was the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for him. Then Eric slumped to the floor in view of his horrified family.
As everyone worried, Eric was super chill. He gently told everyone that his time had arrived and that he was at peace. Then his eyes closed, and bam! Friday cliffhanger! Quite the suspense bomb to drop, especially at Christmastime, especially while telling a darker story at Christmastime. But we may not get a chance to be mad at Eric for party pooping his own party, because he may be gone by Monday's pick-up!
What party favors did you come away with, Scoopers? Should legacy characters like Thorne be returned to the canvas full-time? Is it going to be hard to warm back up to Zende after he was such a d*ck? Has Li just become too heartless? And do you really think Eric is dead? Hurl your thoughts into the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback!
And Eric's lifeless body is where I leave regular columnizing for 2023. When next I Scoop for you, it will be in the form of my yearly Best & Worst column, and you know I especially call a spade a spade in those, so you're not going to want to miss it. By the time you read it, I will be in Holland, visiting with relatives I didn't know I had until last year -- but that's another soap all by itself. Gelukkige kerst!
Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!
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