Before I begin, I would like to thank my good friend Liz for writing the column in my place for the past month. She did a wonderful job with the columns, and I am glad to know it was in such good hands!
It seems like the pace on the show has increased over the past few weeks. The show fell into a major rut over the summer, so I am glad that stories are moving forward now. November sweeps could be an interesting period for this show, as it slowly gets back on track. There is still room for A LOT of improvement, but it is better than when were hopelessly stuck in 1968 and/or Mendorra!
Dorian and Clint are engaged in a contest of who can be the most marginal person. Clint thinks its okay to use an innocent teenage girl as a pawn in his scheme to get back his company, while Dorian doesn't have a problem with having someone killed so she can keep the company and custody of Langston. Clint should have known that Dorian wouldn't give up because of his threat of taking Langston away, and Dorian should have known her scheme wouldn't work. Her schemes always backfire, and this was no exception. While her bad scheming is actually one of the things that makes me like Dorian, I think her work was sloppy this time. What surprised most is how Dorian had a known mob associate walk into her house for Blair and Addie to see like they wouldn't be suspicious. Anyone who has watched at least one episode of The Sopranos knows that you don't make arrangements to have someone killed in the living room. You at least have to go to the basement and turn on the air conditioner or some other loud appliance! Since Addie is willing to tell anyone anything, Dorian couldn't have been surprised that it took John 2.2 seconds to figure out that she hired the hit man to remove Ray Montez from the equation. Meanwhile, Clint tried to rationalize what he did by telling Langston that it was Dorian's fault that Langston was being sent away. It was a weak attempt at trying to clear his conscience, and it didn't work. I don't know how far Clint and Dorian are willing to go to "win" this competition, but considering a man's life was almost lost because of it, it's not going to end in a good way!
While the airport shooting had all the makings of a true soap opera moment, Vanessa shooting Ray was pointless. I simply don't care why Vanessa hates Ray. I don't know her or Lola, and their story is unimportant. The number of characters on this show is already staggering, so bringing on two new characters that have little attachment to anyone else is senseless. Bringing Ray Montez to Llanview for Langston's story made sense, but Vanessa and Lola don't need to be there, and I don't want to see air time taken from established character to tell Vanessa and Lola's story. I don't know how long these new characters are supposed to be on the show, but I hope it's not a long term arrangement.
The other issue I have with this story is how Nora has been written throughout. She has had serious disagreements with the choices Clint has made, but instead of doing something about it in a timely fashion, her character has been reduced to a passive-aggressive person who merely frowns to show she doesn't approve and then walks out of the room. I challenge the writers to read Nora's entire character history and then convince me that she would put up with Clint moving his ex-girlfriend into her house and then using a teenage girl as a pawn in his business dealings. This is the woman that put her legal career on the line when she refused to defend Todd at the end of the trial. This is the woman that insisted on telling Bo the truth about Lindsay (the first time), even if it meant risking her relationship with Sam. Nora hasn't been written properly in years, but the situation seems to be getting worse by the day. I urge the writers to restore Nora to the strong, independent character she is supposed to be. Nora is becoming unrecognizable, and that is simply inacceptable, given the prolific history she has with this show.
I was thrilled to see that Viki finally returned to Llanview. There is always a void when Viki is away, and she is needed now more than ever. I wanted Viki to find Jared and Natalie in the basement, but I knew she wouldn't. I wanted Jared to say "We're in the basement!" before he lost the cell phone connection with Viki, but I knew he wouldn't. Viki hasn't saved the day yet, but she is on the right track and will most likely make everything better, just like she always does. I like that she and Charlie have set aside their issues to work together to solve the mystery of their Jared and Natalie. They make a good team, even as friends. Charlie took the news of Jessica having an alter extremely well. I am not sure if he knew about Viki's DID before that conversation, but the news didn't rattle him. It was amazing that they were able to discuss the situation in such a calm, collected manner. It was painful to see Viki blame herself for Tess' existence and then fear that Tess harmed Jared and Natalie. Viki isn't responsible for Tess or her actions, but it's obvious that Viki will always harbor guilt about Jessica's illness. I am counting on Viki to find Tess and stop her because I don't know how much more of Tess I can handle. I also think that Viki can relate to Tess in a way that no one else can, so she would have the most success at catching Tess and getting her the help she needs.
Todd's actions, much like Tess' continue to baffle and annoy me. He still thinks it's okay to tell Marty lies about her past and plan a future with her, even as Marty is starting to remember things from her past. I keep hoping that Todd will snap out of this dream world that he's been in that makes him think he can steal Starr's baby and run away with Marty and have a new, ready-made family. When this story began, I said it was one of the strangest stories I've witnessed on a soap opera, and I still think that now. Todd has lost touch with reality and doesn't seem to realize what he is doing. I don't want to see Todd and Marty run off with Starr's baby. Marty is going to remember more things as time goes on, and I don't want her to realize that Todd has been feeding her lies after they've left Llanview. Hasn't this woman been through enough? The thing is, I don't think Todd is doing this to be the bad guy. He actually seems to think he is doing Marty a favor. I think the best way to end this story is to acknowledge that Todd has had a breakdown. He has been through a lot in recent years, and he never got help in dealing with all of it. The writers have the perfect opportunity at this point to show us that Todd hasn't been himself and write a story that involves him working through all of his issues. Now that would be an interesting story, and we wouldn't have to watch Marty fall for Todd's lies everyday!
Finally, I liked the developments with Rex's shooting and recovery last week. I think this is one of the best stories on the show right now for a couple of reasons. First, I think the story has been the recipient of good writing. The conflict of Adriana not knowing what to do about Rex made the story more intense. While I didn't like her before she went to Paris, I could understand her position when she came back to take care of Rex. She wanted to be the one who could save Rex's life and went as far as to build him his own private hospital to do it. She didn't want to acknowledge that Rex really loves someone else, and that he needed to have that someone else by his side in order to recover. Who can blame her? Adriana is his wife, even if they did decide to separate immediately after getting married. Part of me thinks that Adriana wanted Gigi to find Rex, even if it wasn't a conscious decision. She chose Dorian's living room, a well traversed area, to take care of Rex. She could have had him transported to a facility far away from Llanview, but instead, she took Rex to a place where just about anyone could find him. When Michael told her that Rex had regained consciousness, and she entered the room while Gigi and Rex were talking, Adriana didn't even seem surprised that Gigi was there. It clearly broke her heart to hear Rex proclaim that Gigi was the love of his life, but again, Adriana didn't seem surprised. Adriana did the most unselfish thing a person can do in a situation like that. She let Rex go. She could have made a scene and kicked Gigi out, but she knew it wouldn't change the way Rex felt about her or about Gigi. Instead, she took the high road and said goodbye to Rex peacefully. I think that shows a lot of character development for Adriana. She acted like bridezilla until she married Rex, and now she has become a character for whom I can sympathize. Melissa Fumero has done a great job since she returned to the show. Adriana has had to show a range of emotions since Rex was shot, and Melissa Fumero has portrayed Adriana perfectly for every one of them!
The other reason I like this story so is that it involves so many characters. The story was mainly about Gigi, Rex, and Brody when it started, but it ended up being so much bigger than that. We got to see the serious side of Roxy as she worried about her son. Bo was deeply affected by Rex's condition and couldn't help Rex by letting him see Gigi because of his job title. Brody is just now realizing the damage he did while he was having hallucinations. Michael was put in a tough ethical position, by being forced to decide if he should tell Gigi where Rex was. Marcie had to choose whether to be loyal to Adriana or to Gigi, and Shane confided in Matthew about not knowing what to do about having two dads, something that Matthew had to deal with in a slightly different way. The story affected all of these characters, which it made it more interesting and gave it a stronger purpose. Ilene Kristen and Robert S. Woods did an amazing job with showing Roxy and Bo's emotional turmoil over Rex This is the type of story the show needs, especially since the cast seems to get bigger by the day. Not including them in the story would have been a huge mistake, but the writers did a good job with including so many key characters. This is the key to improving the show. We need stories that include more characters that already in existence and that can lead to other stories. As I said, this show has a long way to go, but this story is a good start to getting the show back on track.
Until next time,