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Burning questions
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The week of February 26, 2007
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With so many stories hitting a fever pitch, it's time to discuss some burning questions that have been discussed on the message boards this past week.

With so many stories hitting a fever pitch, I thought it would be fun to break from the traditional column and discuss some burning questions that I've seen discussed on the message boards this week. Feel free to take any of these topics and discuss them openly on the boards in a thread. I'll be sure to visit and defend any of my comments.

Nora's house burned down, but she hasn't been seen on camera all week. Where is she?

I feel deja-vu here, let me tell ya. A year ago when I found out that Hillary B. Smith extended her contract for a year, I was exhilarated at knowing she would have a chance to act in a storyline showing her recovery process. Unfortunately, Dena Higley chose to have her character of Nora recuperate off-screen. Then, a few months ago, Smith rocked the industry by signing a new four-year contract (unheard of these days for some of our vets) that would keep her in Llanview with the promise of a blockbuster storyline involving the torching of her house and her living with Asa in the Buchanan mansion. I was ecstatic at such a story for the under-worked and under-appreciated character and actress, so imagine my shock this week when I found that Nora was absent from the screen in the aftermath of her house being burned to the ground by the arsonist.

Seeing Matthew devastated by the realization that his pictures with Jen were destroyed was heartbreaking. Watching his father explain to him that pictures can be collected from other family and friends made for a touching scene, but where was Nora in all of this? Why wasn't Nora consoling Matthew just as much? Why weren't there scenes between her and Bo discussing the crime or the memories that her house holds? Presumably, all of this happened off-screen, once again, and Higley better be careful in how Nora's story is scripted or she will face the wrath of viewers who have been patient for too long.

Hillary B. Smith was ready to walk away from the show she called home for 14 years when her contract extension expired, but she stayed based on the promise of a great story. If that story is told haphazardly with Nora doing all of the interacting with her family and friends off-screen, she is doing an inservice to the viewers and slapping a talented actress directly across the face.

Are Todd and Evangeline destined to become romantically involved?

I should tread lightly here, because the great debate over Todd and Evangeline or Todd and Blair as the "favorite couple" is one of the most heatly discussed threads on the SOC message board.

I have always felt that Todd and Evangeline are at their best as friends. Todd is a character who trusts few people (Viki is probably his closest confidante and most trusted family member), and Evangeline is someone he respects and admires. The two of them understand each other's motivations, and they confide their innermost thoughts with one another without the fear of being criticized or rejected. It's a relationship that Todd hasn't had before with another female in a non-romantic manner. All of Todd's previous relationships with women (Rebecca, Blair, Téa) all revolved around romantic feelings, and Todd's insecurities preclude him from truly being happy with someone like this. So for Todd to find a female friend who unconditionally accepts him for his flaws and supports him no matter what is huge for this character. And for that reason, I hate to see that friendship tainted by romantic overtures that may not result in anything long-lasting

With that said, I was surprised by my reaction to their kiss in the elevator this week. I didn't expect it to be as emotional or as tender as it was. Whether it was intended or not, there is no doubt that it made Todd stop and re-evaluate his feelings for his "friend." Already, I see that look in Todd's face---he is on a mission now to woo Evangeline and make her realize that the two of them could be a force to bargain with. She, on the other hand, is completely devastated by Cris's reaction (I am surprised she thought it would be anything different), yet I can tell that she realizes the kiss was more than just sign of comfort in Todd's time of need. I found myself in the subsequent scenes following the kiss to be rooting for these two. I discovered that I loved the banter these two share, and I like the way they complement one another. Moreover, I found that I am willing to go along for the ride (for now) and see what the future holds for these two romantically.

I do stay committed to my assertion that I want Todd and Evangeline remain in each other's universe for a long time, so I don't want a foiled romance to interfere with a possible long-lasting friendship. With all of the misery and despair in Todd's life, he needs some of the sunshine that Evangeline brings with her.

Who deserves custody of baby Tommy: Todd or Michael/Marcie?

This is such a tricky situation, and it's not one that can easily be answered. Can anyone doubt that the love Marcie and Michael share for this child shouldn't be discounted when it comes to deciding the fate of Tommy's custody? Marcie's connection to this child has been steadfast from the beginning, and I can't imagine the heartbreak she will feel when she faces the revelation that the child belongs to Margaret and Todd (not to mention that her husband found out about the paternity and kept it from her). These two have a solid relationship and provide a caring, nurturing environment for this baby that is free from the manipulation, deceit, and ugliness that often infests the Manning household. This child has found a home that provides him with security, love, and warmth. I don't know how the law handles unique situations like this, but it sure cannot be cut-and-dry.

Todd, on the other hand, is the biological father who unquestionably has every right to retain custody of the child he never met. How could anyone question the love that he has for his children, Jack and Starr? Call Todd any name in the book that you can think of (and many of them may be right on the money), but nobody can call Todd a poor father. He expresses his love freely to his children and never makes them feel unwanted. Although his relationship with their mother may be dysfunctional, the love that he demonstrates to his children as their father is strong. And the love that Todd shares for his flesh and blood came pouring out in a visible manner when Rex presented Todd with "proof" that his and Margaret's son was dead. Of course, we know this death certificate is a fake, but Todd was convinced it was real. Consequently, he combusted at the thought of another child of his being dead (he just learned that Blair lost their baby when she fell off of the roof recently). Sobbing in Evangeline's arms, Todd is a man who will move Heaven and Earth for his family, so why shouldn't he get custody of Tommy?

I'm torn, quite frankly. Todd is the child's father. He has every right to raise the child. On the other hand, what is right for the baby now that he has lived in a nurturing environment for so many months? Maybe I'm biased by the fact that Michael and Marcie are such good people and such great parents that it clouds my ability to view this custody situation in a clear manner. All I know for sure is that once the baby's paternity is revealed, the real fireworks will begin!

Who killed Spencer Truman?

I don't know about anyone else, but it almost doesn't matter who rid us of Spencer Truman. It's refreshing to tune in and not have to watch every story seemingly revolve around this guy. Spencer had the makings of a classic villain with multi-layers; unfortunately, the writers forced us to turn on the character when they forced him down our throats every single day for over a year. I hope they have learned their lesson when it comes to introducing Miles, a man whose motives I still don't entirely know or trust. But already, I'm reluctant to become excited about a new potential villain when the last one bit the dust so recently. Unless Miles is carefully interwoven into the canvas at a slower pace, he will be destined to the same fate that struck Dr. Truman.

But I digress from answering the big question: just who did put us out of misery and end the bad doctor's life? Rumors swirl that Dorian will be arrested for the crime which prompts former love-of-her-life David Vickers to return to Llanview to fess up that he is the culprit. I, however, don't think this scenario is plausible enough for me to buy it. First of all, Dorian was in the middle of having dinner with Lindsay as the two of them plotted about how to break up Clint and Viki and Bo and Paige. Dorian's mindset was not on Spencer nor was she angry or focused on how Spencer may have been connected to Blair's condition. Whoever entered Blair's room appeared to be going there with the purpose and the intent of doing bodily harm to Spencer, and Dorian just was not at that point mentally (besides the fact that I don't buy she rushed from the Palace Hotel to the hospital so quickly). Second of all, if David were guilty of the crime, am I supposed to believe that nobody in that hospital recognized him or made mention of his presence to anyone else? I don't buy for a second that David was able to navigate his way through that hospital undetected by anyone he knows in town. Furthermore, if David returned to Llanview for the sole purpose of killing Spencer, that means his act was a deliberate, pre-meditated one, and that makes him a stone-cold killer. In turn, everything we know and love about the character is erased. As much as we realize David is a swindler and a trickster (and possibly even a long-lost Buchanan), he is not a killer. If he does return to confess to save Dorian, I'll only believe that he is doing so to save her life, not because he really committed the crime.

My guess is still that the culprit has to be Paige Miller, Spencer's ex-wife. Paige is slowly being phased out of the picture anyway. Her relationship to Bo is less prominent, and Lindsay's increasing involvement in Bo's life is going to serve as a rekindled fight between Lindsay and Nora over Bo's affections. Logically, removing Paige from the picture is an easily dilemma to fix by simply realizing that she is Spencer's killer.

Are Cole and Starr siblings?

First, let me just say that I absolutely LOVE these two young actors together! I'm usually not a big fan of the young love stories because I see enough of this melodrama play out during my day-to-day job within a high school, but this story is filled with so many complex situations that it becomes easy to be drawn into it. The idea that Marty and Patrick's son would be romantically involved with Blair and Todd's daughter makes for a masterful spin on "Romeo and Juliet." Two families with a long and sordid history trying to keep their children away from one another to avoid becoming tangled up in their animosity makes for a brilliant spin on this love tale.

Many, though, have argued that the reason Marty and Blair are so insistent about keeping their children away from one another is because they both realize Starr and Cole are blood-related siblings! How preposterous! First of all, other than when Todd raped Marty, I cannot recall a time when the two of them ever had any type of sexual contact with one another. Furthermore, the time line just doesn't add up. When Marty left the show with Patrick, she didn't have a child. There was never a time when we saw her pregnant, and we know she never bore a son. So once she left the show with Patrick, she didn't have contact with Todd again until her return at Todd's trial a few years back. There is no way that anyone can convince me that Starr and Cole are siblings. And if the writers managed to come up with some lame-brain story that did have them as relatives, the fact that they allowed these two young kids to fall in love with one another crosses a line that I can't even begin to explain.

I think the better story is the one that explores how Marty Saybrooke comes to closure with her violent past with Todd. The fact that their children are in love with one another is something that they cannot control, whether they think they can or not. Initially, both families were aghast by Cole's violent outburst with Starr as a result of his steroid use; however, once he cleaned himself up, Cole became a young man that Starr found to be genuine and sincere. If Blair, Marty, or Todd think that they are going to separate these two kids from one another, they are completely wrong! As I said, the better story is the one that shows how these two youngsters handle the baggage that their families bring to this relationship. How do Cole and Starr help to heal the wounds formed by Starr's father over a decade ago? How do these two acrimonious families work with one another for the sake of their children? This isn't just a straight-forward love story, and I look forward to seeing how the lovebirds find happiness despite their parents.

As I said, these are a sampling of some great debates going on in the message board area right now. Feel free to take these discussions and continue them in the OLTL forum.

Enjoy your week,

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