You know, you ask for a few small favors from your favorite TV show and sometimes, just sometimes, your prayers get answered. What a week we had in Llanview! The interminable Eli and Téa storyline has finally ended (albeit with the sad loss of Matt Walton), the saccharine reign of Starr and Cole is coming to an ignoble end, the Natalie/Jessica baby stories are moving again, and Susan Haskell is finally getting another showcase for her immense talent. What's more, the 190th iteration of the "Who Are Rex's Parents?" storyline is, unbelievably, the best story on the show, with an all-star veteran ensemble. Who would have thought Kim Zimmer would electrify this sagging soap? There was a lot of good stuff this week -- and yeah, some not so good -- and even some stuff that was somewhere in-between. Grab a fork and dig in, there are plenty of Two Scoops this week for everyone.
Sole, Filleted Stick a second fork in OLTL's premier teen dream, because with Brandon Buddy's exit only days away, Starr and Cole are some seriously burnt toast. I apologize for mixing my food analogies, but seriously, they're doomed. After a string of mishaps, mistakes, errors in judgment, and a colorful variety of violent felonies usually committed on impulse, Cole looks ready for his very own suite in Statesville General Population. It's a testament to Cole's always-thinly-drawn character that his only distinguishing characteristics are all the times he's "accidentally" shot or otherwise assaulted people, but due to that long history, it only seems fitting that he's ended up where he is this week.
Cole did the right thing, but I've never liked Starr and Cole as a couple. Nor have I warmed up to this version of Patrick and Marty's son, and I've never been much of a fan of Brandon Buddy's portrayal. I hope that if the character returns, and I suspect he will, that there will be a more three-dimensional and nuanced version of Cole, and an actor who can stand up to Susan Haskell and Thorsten Kaye's formidable history as performers. The only question between then and now is how long will it take for Starr and James to hook up?
The Bitch Is Back With Cole behind bars, it's time for Marty Saybrooke to go back to what she always did best: Lose her damn mind. Marty's never better as a character than when she is on some crazy, vengeful tear, and now, with the imminent loss of her vaguely monosyllabic son, she's turning all her rage and ire on poor Natalie. Let me amend that: Poor stupid Natalie. That's fine, I'll take the heat. Because I love Natalie, but come on, her behavior has been stupid. For months. "Oh, I was so sure this baby was John's!" Based on what? You live in Llanview, Natalie, this craziness happens all the time! She's digging her hole deeper, and Marty is clearly about to take advantage of it.
I'm not saying Marty is not totally irrational and out of line -- she certainly is, and she appears to have never fully recovered from her miscarriage, on top of Cole's arrest and Hannah's betrayal. But while I love Natalie, I sometimes enjoy watching stupidity on soaps be rewarded with consequences, no matter who the character is, and that definitely appears to be what Natalie is in for going into November sweeps. She's had a million chances to take control of this situation the right way -- she could've told John the truth this week, again and she isn't doing it, so now Crazy Marty is at the wheel, going off on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I just hope neither Natalie nor Marty's characters are totally destroyed in the process. For John, of all people. As for whose babies are whose, my bets, sadly are on Ford's and John's, respectively. Gross.
The Echo Tango Okay, so the teaser is a bit of a pull quote -- no, Kim Zimmer is not single-handedly saving OLTL. But she, Slezak, verDorn, and Kerwin are sure bringing home the bacon. I realize these veteran actors are only getting this kind of heavy airtime and rotation due to their involvement with young lead John-Paul Lavoisier, but when a story works, it works, and this one really works and seems to be getting better all the time.
First, let's look at Viki's role. I can't tell you what it feels like to see Erika Slezak moving and shaking several days a week again, but I'm sure I don't have to; you know the feeling as well as I. Viki and the tacky Countess DiSavoy make a unique pair of adversaries, unlike the same old Viki and Dorian rivalry, and watching Viki play Nancy Drew, get back to her roots as an investigative journalist and go after the truth like a bloodhound on the scent has been a joy to watch. The only wrinkle here is how absent Dorian has been in the scheme of things.
Then there's Echo and Clint -- apparently, they are indeed Rex's real parents. Well, I'm far more amenable to this than that horrid "Rick and Lili" subplot, and I love that that was denounced as cheap paperback fiction. Further, using Clint -- Rex's Machiavellian adversary -- as his father upends the tiresome Bo/Rex bond that the show leans on too much, thereby taking a lot of the cliché out of Rex becoming a Buchanan. Kim Zimmer and Jerry verDorn have a bond that goes back decades, and they play very, very well together.
There are a few flies in the ointment here which I hope OLTL either corrects or clarifies -- first, the distinct possibility that Echo and Clint had a longer affair than their original one-night stand, something the existence of the heart necklace seems to imply. I don't believe Clint would have catted around on Viki in the '80s, so I don't approve of that. Nor do I approve of the idea that Clint could've known for decades that Echo had his child and not acted. The only way I could believe that Clint has known about Rex and done all this to prevent the truth from emerging is if he only just found out recently.
The post-Asa Clint is a harder, colder man because he has had to be, and with the recent loss of both Nora and Kim, I can see him looking askance at Rex and wanting nothing to do with the young scamp, and putting his scheme into motion no earlier than this spring. There's something poetic about that -- Clint becoming Asa in more ways than one, banishing a child the same way Asa banished Maria Roberts and Cord without Clint's knowledge. But Clint knowing all these years, sleeping with Echo repeatedly? That I couldn't believe, and I hope the show doesn't go down that road.
So what happens now? I haven't a clue, but I'm loving this story and I do think it is single-handedly turning the whole show around, and it's all thanks to these seasoned soap veterans who know how to deliver a story. Who'd have thought a truly obscure character like Echo DiSavoy, an Edge of Night vixen reject dreamed up by former EON honcho Henry Slesar, a speed bump on Kim Zimmer's road to daytime fame, could bring us so much enjoyment after the recent horrific blunders with Powell Lord, Rebecca Lewis, and Lee Halpern? I certainly didn't see it coming, but all I can say is give me more, of all these vets, in stories that both utilize their history and give the next generation -- yes, even but not limited to Rex Balsom -- something to grow on.
A JAR OF LIEEESSSS!!! That's all I gotta say about the Todd and Téa stuff this week: IT'S A JAR OF LIIIIIEEEESSS!!! That's pretty much where my thought process ends. Yes, it's good to see Florencia Lozano, yes, she was obviously having a good time whuppin' that urn, but all I can do when I think about it is just giggle. Hopefully now she can get back to doing something that involves a minimum of Todd, fake tumors, or funeral urns. Beyond that I'm still checked out on ol' Todd. Oh, and Nate is still creepy. Get away from him, Danielle.
....And The Rest. We're back to the lightning round of quick Two Scoops thoughts! Cristian and Gigi share only the vaguest of chemistry, and I've ripped into this story before, but compared to another round with the fake tumor and Evil Eli, it's golden; I want to see Layla! And then there's the poor Evans family and their unfair lack of screen time. Unfortunately, when they did get screen time, it was all about Greg's ridiculous explanation of how "Charlene" died -- by tripping on the carpet. Riveting! Props to Sean Ringgold, though, for turning in a remarkably tender, heartbreaking performance even in the face of such drivel. It's just a pity he and his sister are relegated to C-list story and recurring love interests.
So that's that for this week. OLTL is back! Or at least, it's coming back, slowly. Really slowly in some areas. I still hate the Fords, still can't stand Todd, still wonder why all Blair's men have to be serial killers, you get the idea; we'll discuss it more, I'm sure. But in the meantime, it was nice to have a week I almost 100% thoroughly enjoyed, and our vets and their history -- and I include Susan Haskell and Melissa Archer's dueling dynamic in this equation -- are the reason for it. See you in two weeks, where hopefully we'll have just as much good stuff to talk about. Until then, please remember, when leaving a room after fighting with your lover, walk carefully and steadily. Otherwise, the carpet might kill you. Goodnight, everyone!