New faces, new drama, new questions

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New faces, new drama, new questions
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Three new characters were added to the mix this past week on One Life to Live, ramping up the drama but bringing with them a whole new round of questions. Who are these people and what is their real aim? It's time to look for clues in a new Two Scoops column.

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The drug storyline shifted to another level this week with the introduction of Arturo Bandini, a wealthy middle-aged man who was paying for the hotel room where law student-turned-drug dealer Briana Marland was found dead of a drug overdose. Arturo told Bo that he was romantically involved with Briana and seemed shocked to hear that she was doing and dealing drugs -- especially since he was paying for anything she needed, including her studies.

Is Arturo being genuine, or does he know more than he let on to the police? Only time will tell. He did foot the bill for a memorial service in Briana's honor at Shelter, where the crew outnumbered the guests. Speaking of which, who the heck holds a memorial service for a dead loved one at a nightclub? I know the show is more restricted on the sets it has available nowadays, but it would have been more plausible to have a gathering at Shelter after the memorial service than trying to turn Shelter into some sort of chapel for dead druggies.

Meanwhile, Bo got another clue when Rama informed him that Briana had been with another middle-aged man on the night she overdosed. Maybe we're finally getting that Sugar Daddy story that was hinted at in the early casting script for Destiny -- only Destiny doesn't seem involved with this story at all, at least at this point.

While I have to say I'm glad this story is moving along, I'm still not invested in it like I think we're supposed to be. The focus so far has centered on a non-character who only had a few scenes before meeting an off-screen exit. I suppose the greater mystery involves the tainted drugs that Briana sold to Dani, and whether the drugs are linked to the dangerous tattoo organization that is out to get Victor. I'm trying to be patient, but I think the producers would be wise not to drag this out much longer.

Speaking of Victor, Téa's tip about Willow Lake paid off when Todd's private detective found Victor hiding out at a seedy motel in the area. But by the time Todd got there, the P.I. was dead and Victor was MIA. Victor then sent Téa a text message saying he knew she had ratted him out and urging her to call off the dogs. Later, he sent her another message saying he was leaving for good.

Blair wanted to keep searching for Victor, saying the folks behind the mysterious tattoos won't stop targeting their family until they get what they want -- Victor dead. Which led Todd to realize that they need to fake Victor's death.

I'm not sure how they're going to pull it off, and I will feel horrible for the kids if they think that they've lost Victor again. This is another story that seems to be going somewhere, but the destination is still unclear.

While some stories are moving in fits and starts, Jack Manning flirted his way to the sack faster than it takes to order a coffee and donut (which he left uneaten on the table, by the way). Was Jack's liaison every teenage boy's dream come true, or is he being lured into a trap?

The whole encounter at the coffee shop on Tuesday's episode left me scratching my head. Had Jack been eying this woman for some time or was this a lucky chance meeting? He certainly was eager to get to the coffee shop that morning and very nervous once he spotted her. She then walked over to where he was sitting, gently removed his laptop from the table and slowly headed for the exit, leaving Jack to follow -- all without saying a word. I wasn't sure if she was seducing him or stealing from him. It didn't take long to get the answer, however, as they were going at it in the next scene.

Cut to the next episode, and Jack was basking in the afterglow, prompting another round of Hide the Diploma. Only then did the woman introduce herself as Kate. Jack swiftly got Kate's phone number before running off, explaining he was late for an appointment.

Jack's sitting in his summer school English class, bearing the biggest Cheshire Cat grin ever, when the new teacher walks in -- and it turns out to be Kate! Judging from her reaction, Kate wasn't aware that Jack was a high school student when she led him into her bed. If she were smart, she'd put an end to the dalliance at once. But I'm not sure I'd bank on the morals or intelligence of a woman who lures a young stranger to her room for anonymous sex.

The third new character to appear this week was actually a character I wasn't sure existed until she walked into the coffee shop: Michelle. Matthew's online admirer finally made her presence known after Jeffrey convinced her over the phone to meet them face to face.

Michelle explained that she had first spotted Jeffrey and Matthew after leaving a movie and later realized they lived right across the street from her. She claimed she lied about where she lived because she was shy and afraid of rejection. Matt decided to give her another chance, and they made plans to meet again after Michelle returned from a trip home to Toronto, where she claimed she was going for her mother's birthday.

Is Michelle on the up and up? Jeffrey's still skeptical, and I hope he's right, since I was underwhelmed with this reveal. Surely there is more to Michelle than meets the eye.

The other main story this week involved Viki's ongoing financial troubles and her growing rift with Clint over his interfering in Natalie's life. Clint couldn't wait to share the "good news" that Viki hadn't lost her five million dollar investment in the Pellegrino Fund after all.

At first Clint claimed that her business manager, Frank, had pulled some strings and gotten Viki's money out of the fund before the fund was frozen by the SEC. When Viki raised the very real concern that she could face legal troubles if her money was withdrawn just before the fund was frozen, Clint changed his story and claimed that Frank had actually failed to make the investment before the fund was frozen and then lied to cover it up.

Viki's too smart to fall for Clint's lies, but she's probably better off not knowing how Clint managed to save her from financial ruin. Of course, once Dorian learns that her plan to bankrupt Viki backfired, you can bet that she'll stop at nothing to see Viki and Clint pay.

Other tidbits from this week's episodes:

It was nice to see Destiny share a moment with her older brother, er, uncle, Shaun. Destiny's relationship with her family members was a big part of the old OLTL, and it's been lacking here. Somehow, seeing Shaun pester Destiny about paying the bills and asking about her love life made this new version of Destiny seem more like the old one to me, if that makes any sense.

I also liked the tender mother-daughter scenes between Téa and Dani. Dani opened up with her mother about Briana's death and that she died from the same drug that Dani had ingested. Téa's gentle warning about taking drugs, especially illegal ones, felt realistic and not preachy. It's nice to know that we can still get these character-driven scenes, even in the show's more abbreviated format.

Speaking of formats, Prospect Park made the headlines again this week with not one but two scheduling announcements regarding OLTL and sister soap All My Children.

First, each week's new episodes will debut on Mondays from now on -- that includes the episodes and the More specials. So instead of waiting for new episodes of OLTL to premiere on Tuesdays and Thursdays, viewers can log on to Hulu each Monday and watch both episodes back to back, plus the More show -- or you can watch them whenever you get the chance.

This is a nice change that goes in keeping with the "anytime, not daytime" theme. And hopefully this will make it easier to add additional episodes to each week's rotation going forward.

The second announcement was a real stunner. Oprah Winfrey's OWN network has purchased the rights to televise the first 40 episodes of both OLTL and AMC. The special ten-week run will begin on July 15 -- which happens to be the anniversary of OLTL's debut on ABC.

It's certainly a credit to soap fans everywhere that Oprah has reversed course and eaten her earlier statement that there was no money to be made from the soaps. But no hard feelings, Oprah. As my momma would say, "Better late than never!"

Well, that's it for this week! Thanks for taking the time to read the column. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too, so please send me an e-mail, leave your thoughts below in the comments section, or call our 24/7 feedback hotline at 267.341.7627.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.
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