Sometimes a mystery just isn't that much fun to solve. Sometimes you get that "eureka!" moment with something, but there's no real moment of realization, no touch of euphoria as you realize you've cracked it. Case in point: The two mysteries running through the undercurrents of Llanview this week. I think I've got them both sorted, and while a lot of the process and journey is being performed with heart and conviction, I just can't care all that much.
Seriously, folks, I'm convinced: OLTL is pulling a Vertigo here, and Farah Fath is -- wait for it -- Kim Novak. Instead of being slatternly psycho Stacy resurrected, it'll turn out the amnesiac Gigi-alike in that Kentucky hospital is actually Gigi herself. What kind of ludicrous tomfoolery they'll write to pull this off is beyond me, but I'm fairly sure I've got it locked. And of course neither Cutter nor the now-jailed Kim (come back!) are the wiser, and this will be Rex and company's last strange, largely lame story before the end of the show.
Though I'm kind of happy that Gigi will likely turn up alive -- I always liked her despite myself -- my response is a resounding "whoooo cares?" Sure, as bizarre twists go, this "doppelganger double-cross" is pretty much up there with something out of The Edge of Night, and yes, I guess it does have its raw, bleeding roots in both Vertigo and something like, say, Otto Preminger's Laura with Gene Tierney (in which the dead woman is revealed to be alive midway through the film, her look-alike cousin having been the one murdered in her place). But this is not old Hollywood, and even at his best, which this is not, Ron Carlivati is no Hitchcock or Preminger, and Farah Fath, bless her, is really no Gene Tierney.
They've wrapped up other ends of this story quickly and tied them off, too; Shane confronted Jack, Rex gave Clint and the family back their empire, and Clint accepted "Balsom" as his blood, much to Viki's teary delight. I still think this Viki/Clint reconnect is coming a bit too quick -- whither my poor Kim? -- but I do think Erika Slezak and Jerry Ver Dorn work so well together, as long as Clint doesn't totally lose his edge. I just think you could string out the romantic drama between them and others, like Kim and perhaps a new man, for years to come on Prospect Park Media's "Online Network." Hopefully it's not all cut and dried just yet.
Meanwhile, Kristine/Aubrey II is making eyes at Rex, and I just can't be bothered. Now that she's passing lots of judgment on Cutter and his schemes, she's even more boring than before. Get gone, Blondie. I'm sure if the show was continuing on ABC with all its current ensemble, Cutter would likely fall for the amnesiac "Stacy" -- I'm grateful we likely won't have to witness that.
Then there's the other kind of limp mystery for me: "Who Shot Victor?" The thing is, at this point it's more like who didn't shoot him for me -- I never believed Shane did, I don't believe Brody did, and I definitely don't believe Todd did, no matter what his flashback says. I say Irene screwed with his mind, again in the vein of The Manchurian Candidate, which the writers gave us a nod to with Nate and Dani (ugh, that couple). And frankly, I still don't believe Victor Jr. is dead. There's too much future story to be mined with that character, his connections on the canvas, and his conflict with Todd. I've seen deader men on soaps, is all I'm saying. But now I'm going to have to watch Todd grapple with this "truth" for God knows how long. And meanwhile, while the actor's doing great work, the story's kind of all over the place at the moment.
Case in point: Tomas taking the rap for Irene. Blair is mad at Todd for not stepping forward, again, some more. That's nice. I can sit here and write that I think Blair is still so wary to trust Todd not just because of what he and Starr did a couple weeks ago or what he did with Sam, but also because of how they left things in 2003, still full of the resentment and bitterness from his two consecutive deceptions and schemes to win her back during that period -- and I think that's the truth -- but the writers have only begun to touch on those points in the last couple weeks. As such, the lackadaisical writing is leaving Blair flailing everywhere.
Because OLTL failed to write an actual romance for Blair and poor Tomas months ago, they're instead trying to force the conflict with her and the two men in her life with a minimum of discussion or character perception evident in the dialogue. Instead, Blair just says random things ("you haven't changed!", etc) and she and Todd have only begun to talk some more, while the signals between her and Tomas are the same mealy-mouthed stuff she used to play at with Sam Sr. She doesn't want a life with him, not with Todd, but she's backing towards him because she fears Todd hasn't changed. I can say all of this here, and I think they've done some minimal work towards it, but it doesn't mean enough when the writers expect us to just run with the few scraps of dialogue they offer. There has to be work. People have to talk more, as Todd and Blair did at the cabin. Don't try to tell me this is a triangle. It's autopilot.
I'm glad Todd is overcoming his demons and confessing all about Irene, and I hope that opens Blair's eyes and lets her character begin to step out of this same dance she does with another hapless dude any time Todd lets her down, because this time Todd isn't going to let her down. Unfortunately, he's still got his other "secret," and I've mentioned the pointlessness of the Victor shooting already. No way is he dead, so how long must we drag this out? Remember when Todd and his love interests actually worked together in semi-functional storylines instead of tearing each other to pieces? Yeah, that was a long, long, loooong time ago. I think this Todd has moved beyond a lot of that, but he's still got monkeys on his back.
Oh, incidentally, Nora: I love you, but shut up. You felt "sorry" for Victor? The man who re-raped Marty and tried to steal Hope? If anything, Victor's "Todd" is the man who, IMO, broke Nora out of her tacit truce with Todd Manning over the years -- back in Roger Howarth's heyday, Starr and Matthew were even regular playmates -- and made him her nemesis again, rightly so. But Todd didn't do any of that stuff from the last eight years, Victor did. Get a grip, Nora.
And now, it's time for the Andrew Trischitta Report of the Week. The latest forecast is, "barely passable, but his hair is still perfect!" Huzzah! Yes, Our Andrew showed some minor improvement this week as he continues to benefit from scenes with the veteran castmembers. Unfortunately, despite his near-death experience and brief flirtation with public urination, Happy Jack seems to have learned precious little; he's still running the Sun, which reminds me vaguely of the fantastical children's book conceit of a mouse riding a motorcycle, and yes, he's still whining about "Scarface" despite his eyewitness testimony coming up bonus. I am considering creating a drinking game involving how many times Jack can say "Skaarfaze!" per week, and if I die of alcohol poisoning, my family will be filing a civil suit against the staff writers of this fine program. Oy. This character seriously needs more pathos, and Trischitta is seriously not the actor I trust to play it. The hair's doing a great job, though.
Over on the Lifetime Network, Natalie appears to be starring in a remake of "Mother, May I Sleep With Ill-Conceived Cartoonish Danger?" Yes, it's Brody's continual downfall into "escaped gorilla on the loose"-style madness. "Say hello to your pretty wife, Vimal!" Come on. I don't care, I don't believe it, I don't care, I don't care, nothing will make me like Ford or hate Brody or make me believe Jessica isn't doing all this because she's still in love with Brody, because she totally is.
Oh, and way to go, Rex. No, seriously, way to go. I mean, yes, it's a stupid plot decision for Rex to make Roxy keep silent about John's love for Natalie, but at the same time, he's right: if John can't say it to her face, then the hell with him. Actually, the hell with John anyway. Why am I watching this storyline? When will it end?
Speaking of stories that must end: the saga of Starr, instant pop idol continues, also starring Austin Peck who really just won't leave no matter how many times I politely hint that the show's got other things we need to do this year, and every hour this storyline continues I wish I was dead. Remember when she used to attack people with piranhas or find hunky men in kooky bondage setups in condemned amusement parks? There's just a density of boredom here that I cannot fathom, from Starr's milquetoast heroine side that only Roger Howarth's Todd seems to negate, to the singing career that rarely ever works on soaps, to James, the nice but incredibly boring boyfriend and finally, of course, to Austin Peck and his need to pay for his children's college tuition. Excuse me, Mr. Peck, but I have problems of my own. Please leave the show. And please, OLTL, end this storyline. Also, why are Nate and Danielle back together?! For the love of God! He made a porn film!
You know what, there's still some silver linings left. Yes! Not all the stories are as bad as the "Grape Ape Brody/Valiant Rapist Ford" mess or "A Starr Is Born," though -- we still have Cord and Tina! Cord and Tina and their relatively swift reunion! Hey, I don't care, they've done it well, the actors are having fun, and it's about time. I do have a hard time swallowing Natalie letting Tina be her maid of honor so quickly, even under duress, but I have always wanted them to be real friends, and I can't wait to see what madness she whips up for this foolish, foolish wedding. And Cord and Tina with a baby (who is still a Lovett, dammit)!