The devil's masquerade

by Mike
For the Week of November 2, 2015
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The devil's masquerade
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The week of November 2, 2015
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Cane got injured, Abby got engaged, Newman Enterprises got a restaurant, Hilary got amnesia (or did she?), Adam got squashed, and someone's about to get burned. The devil's in the details, so read on for the scoop!

In the interest of beginning at the beginning (a very good place to begin, I've heard), I guess I should introduce myself before we go any further. I've been writing for Soap Central since 2010, primarily as a recapper for Days of our Lives. I also participate as a panelist in the site's annual "predict the winners" feature for the Daytime Emmys, but this is the first time I've taken a stab at writing a Two Scoops column.

Don't worry, Y&R fans -- that link you clicked to get here didn't send you to the wrong place. This isn't a Two Scoops column for DAYS. Although that's the show that got me into soaps, I have watched others over the years -- Sunset Beach, Passions, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, and, yes, The Young and the Restless. Actually, my earliest soaps-related memories are of the CBS soaps, because those are the ones my mother watched (and continues to watch). I can't really say that I was paying much attention to the shows back then, but I was familiar with the characters -- and, of course, the music. I've been hearing "Nadia's Theme" my whole life; it was ingrained in my memory long before I first heard "Like sands through the hourglass..."

It's easy for me to say when I started watching DAYS; one of the characters was being possessed by the devil at that time, and that's not the sort of thing that happens every day, even on a soap. All that's needed is a quick Google search to figure out that I obviously began watching that show sometime in 1995 (or perhaps during the last few weeks of 1994). I wish it were that easy to pinpoint when watching Y&R became a five-days-a-week ritual for me, but I always knew what was happening (more or less), even before I got to the point where I was hooked and had to watch every episode, so it's much harder for me to narrow down the timeline with Y&R. Let's just say I've been watching for a while now, and, while I'm far from being an expert, I'm pretty familiar with the show. Aside from DAYS, it's the only soap I still watch on a regular basis (I never cared for GH much, and I lost interest in B&B during the never-ending Hope/Liam/Steffy rinse-repeat cycle), and, if you promise to keep a secret, I'll confess something to you: I'm kind of liking it more than DAYS these...well, days.

There. I said it. And no, I'm not just saying it because this is a Y&R column; I'm saying it because it's true. Y&R certainly isn't perfect. Arguably, it has seen better days, and I know many of you probably have very legitimate complaints with the show right now. So do I. But it's still a fun way to spend an hour a day, five days a week -- for me, at least, and hopefully for each of you, too. I can't say the same about DAYS right now. In fact, I've never been less interested in watching what was once my favorite show, particularly because the writers just finished brutally killing off my favorite character for no real reason. These things happen, of course.

As soap viewers, we know that actors come and go, characters come and go -- hell, even soaps themselves, unfortunately, come and go. But we all have our favorites, and we all hope such fates will never befall them. The DAYS writers could have picked probably any other character on the show's canvas to kill off, and I would have found a way to get over it, but they chose the one character I just don't want to say goodbye to. I'd say that was the point, but the aftermath of his death was treated so poorly that I can't even give them credit for doing something that made a huge impact on the show. It really seems like it was done for shock value alone -- a way of quickly getting rid of a character who had just suffered a year of endless (and, ultimately, pointless) destruction under a previous writing regime, instead of putting in the work needed to repair and redeem him.

Which brings us to how this all relates to Y&R (again, don't worry -- I haven't forgotten that I'm not acting as a DAYS columnist here). Actually, it relates to Y&R in two ways, but we'll start with the most obvious one: Adam, Y&R's very own repair-and-redeem project. I've never been one of Adam's biggest fans, but I'm actually kind of starting to soften toward him lately. It helps that his secret is finally out in the open -- that part of the story dragged on far too long for my taste -- but I also appreciate the fact that he's beginning to say and do all the right things for a change. His resolve to hate Victor even seems to be weakening, and that makes me happiest of all. Of course, it probably won't last very long, which is unfortunate. But I'll take the temporary reprieve from the endless complaints about how Victor never wanted to have anything to do with him as a child.

I realize that Victor is far from perfect, but I just can't sympathize with Adam when he continues to hold a grudge against Victor based on a warped view of the past, even after having been told, repeatedly, that Hope was the one who decided to keep him separated from his father during his childhood. I'd like to see Adam move on and try to build a relationship with his father that's based on the present instead of the past, because that's what he has always wanted, anyway -- a relationship with his father -- and I think it's obvious that Victor, in his own way, loves Adam, even though Adam has certainly given him plenty of reasons not to.

Of course, Adam has a certain knack for giving people plenty of reasons not to love him -- or, in Chloe's case, to want to run him over with a white sedan. Obviously, that wasn't the best idea Chloe's had in her life, but, in her mind, there's poetic justice to her madness. While Adam's prison sentence was arguably fair -- even by Christine's lofty standards! -- ten years is a drop in the bucket compared to the lifetime Chloe's facing without Delia. Frankly, given what she has been through, there probably isn't a jury in Genoa City that would have given her ten months in prison if she had succeeded in killing Adam, let alone ten years.

I'm sure she sees that as a small price to pay for ridding the world of Adam in the same way he rid the world of Delia. It wouldn't take away the pain, of course, but that's the realization of a rational mind, and Chloe hasn't been thinking with a rational mind since the night of that tragic accident (although her comments about going to see her and Kevin's daughter might have been more rooted in reality than anyone who heard them guessed). Hopefully, she'll actually get the help she needs this time -- preferably, for her sake, anywhere but Fairview.

Surely we haven't seen the last of Chloe -- after all, there's still the unresolved matter of that "dog" of hers that no one else really knows anything about yet -- but after escorting her out of Crimson Lights, Paul certainly shifted his attention back to Hilary in a hurry. Not that he had much of a choice, since Mishael Morgan Hilary chose that exact moment to return from maternity leave emerge from her coma. Of course, now she's back to thinking Neil's her husband again. Show of hands -- who didn't see that one coming? Okay, now one a few of you might actually raise your hands for -- who thinks she's faking it? She does know a thing or two about getting revenge, after all.

Whether she's faking the amnesia or not, though, I just hope it doesn't last long. I realize that, unlike Adam's story, the delays in Hilary's story can't be blamed solely on the writers' [sometimes annoying] determination to stretch certain things out until the next available sweeps period, but hers is another story that has dragged on far too long for my taste. It's a good thing that they're winding down Adam's repair-and-redeem tour, though, because Neil's next in line, and he needs all the help he can get right now.

I know that Neil is -- or, at least, was -- a fan favorite, but, personally, I've never really cared for him. I can't remember a single story of his that I have actually liked. I can't relate to the way he falls in love at the drop of a bra hat. And, while this is admittedly a somewhat petty complaint, I really can't stand the unique way he has of saying things. I'm all for giving characters their own unique voices, but while it makes sense for Ian to talk in an annoyingly pretentious manner, I just don't find it endearing when Neil does it.

So, yeah, Neil has always been one of those characters I know I'm supposed to like but, at best, can usually only manage to tolerate. And, to poorly paraphrase Dickens, these are not at "the best of" times. Not even Neil's biggest fans are Neil's biggest fans right now, so I'm sure you can imagine how I feel. But perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel, because Neil has now assured Gwen that he's going to do the right thing and finally end my Devon's Cane's Lily's everyone's suffering.

Oh, wait. We've all heard that before. And he made those assurances before finding out about Hilary's amnesia. So I'm not going to hold my breath while waiting for Neil to make good on that promise. Something tells me he won't be doing so on Monday, unfortunately. Can I at least hope for sometime before February sweeps? Because November sweeps just began, and we already have a fire to deal with first. I say first, of course, because nothing screams "stall the confession a bit longer" more loudly than "your niece, whom you think of as your daughter, and her children, whom you think of as your grandchildren, are trapped in a burning building!"

It's great that with everything else that has been going on in his life lately, Victor still managed to find time to reopen a restaurant I had never heard of before (a question for those of you who have been watching longer than I have: was Top of the Tower ever actually a thing before this past week, despite the backstory we've been given? Because I can't find any old references to it online), but couldn't he -- or someone -- have also found a bit of time to mention it in passing? And, by that, I mean before the actual day of the gala. Top of the Tower literally popped up overnight.

Of course, it's basically just the Athletic Club's rooftop-deck set, and, of course, it's basically just an excuse to get everyone over to Newman Enterprises for a disaster, but still, a little warning would have made the whole thing seem less random. In any case, the set, wearing its Halloween best, looked great, and so did the attendees, although I would have preferred more original costumes. I couldn't help thinking that at least some of the characters had probably worn those exact outfits before. Still, it's always fun to see Halloween celebrated on a soap. I particularly enjoyed seeing Phyllis hide her iconic red hair for the evening; she's almost unrecognizable in that black wig!

Let's just hope the costumes are flame resistant, because that fire is going to be looking for victims next week. And that brings us to the second way in which my earlier comments about DAYS relate to Y&R: some [possibly beloved] characters are about to die on the latter show, just as they already have on the former. It's a given that this fire -- and its subsequent explosion -- will result in casualties, so, at this point, it's really just a matter of figuring out who they will be. Stitch seems like the most obvious choice; the anvils were dropping like crazy during that speech he gave Abby at the Athletic Club, and while they made sense as things one would say before proposing, they also work as a not-so-subtle foreshadowing of things to come.

Soaps 101 teaches us that when soaps kill off multiple characters within a short period of time, at least one of those characters has to count as an "important" character, because no one really cares when glorified extras die. And, as Jack pointed out this past week, Stitch is one of Genoa City's finest doctors (now that he's, you know, allowed to practice medicine again), so he qualifies as an "important" character, while still being just expendable enough. Ashley might not have to worry about having feelings for her daughter's fiancÚ much longer.

Speaking of glorified extras, Joe's not really doing much right now -- other than possibly framing Cane for Hilary's kidnapping in an effort to drive a wedge between Cane and Lily, a plan that Hilary's sudden reappearance could disrupt -- so his days might be numbered, too. I don't think that dressing as a devil will give him immunity from the flames. The same goes for the other devil who is skulking around Newman Enterprises -- the one who actually set the fire. If it's the I.T. guy who helped create Paragon, he's quite expendable; I'm pretty sure he never even got a proper name. (I just refer to him as Derek Hough With Glasses, because behind those glasses, that's exactly who the actor looks like to me.) If it's Marco, letting him die in the fire would be an easy way to get rid of him, and it could lead to a "Jack is presumed dead" moment, if the writers do something to address that pesky missing ear.

Either way, the "real" devil, as Faith referred to him (or her!), probably won't make it out alive, especially if he (or she!) finds himself (, you get the point) afflicted with that troublesome condition that renders soap villains unable to resist sticking around to catch the aftermath of the chaos they've unleashed. And then there's Plot Device -- I mean, Emma, who really has no reason to continue existing now that she has served the purpose for which she was invented -- I mean, intended.

Throw in some random restaurant employees, and we already have a pretty solid list of possible victims, and I haven't even gotten through the whole guest list yet! Let's just hope your favorites -- and mine -- make it out alive.

Odds and Ends:

It was much easier for Nick to convince Sage to attend the gala than I thought it would be! While I'm on the subject of Sage, I loved seeing Nikki get maternal with her at the hospital, and it was also nice to see Victor share a dance with her at the gala. I didn't expect to like Sage when she was first introduced, but she's actually one of my favorite newer characters.

If Lily was going to badmouth Cane to Joe, she could have at least had the decency to move a few feet away from Charlie and Mattie first.

I couldn't help laughing every time Chelsea complained that Adam was being treated like a criminal. Hate to break it to you, Chelsea, but he is -- even without taking into account the crime he is currently being punished for. Look up his rap sheet sometime.

I won't believe Adam has regained the use of his legs until I actually see him moving them. Meanwhile, not to get too graphic, but when Adam sent Chelsea off to do something "special" for him, and she returned wearing scrubs, was I the only one who briefly wondered if he was trying to find out whether certain other parts of his anatomy were still in working order?

I doubt we've seen the last of Dr. Neville. Surely the Y&R execs didn't snatch up Michael E. Knight just to let him go after a handful of episodes. Besides, the hospital might soon be in need of a doctor -- even an unorthodox one.

I'm glad Billy and Ashley came to their senses and decided to give back the divisions they had poached from Newman Enterprises. The change of heart happened so quickly, though, that I knew there had to be a catch. I figured they were about to get some karmic justice, and I can't really say that I feel particularly sorry for them. Perhaps it wasn't technically stealing. Perhaps Victor would have done the same thing to them if the roles had been reversed. But it was still wrong, and they knew that but gleefully did it anyway, so I'm glad they're now on the receiving end of a similar attack. I'm sure Jabot will survive, but maybe knowing what it feels like to watch their company get dismantled will stop them from being tempted to participate in such an attack in the future, if the opportunity ever presents itself again. The same goes for Victor, of course.

Speaking of people doing the right thing, I'm also glad that Kevin and Esther didn't try to protect Chloe from the police. That would have only caused more problems -- for her and for them.

Of course, we all know that the real reason Cane's suddenly in a cast is that Daniel Goddard suffered an injury while filming a fight scene, but within the context of the show itself, it kind of makes it seem like Joe's face must be made of marble. Gives new meaning to the phrase "chiseled jaw," I suppose.

For my money, the award for the line of the week has to go to Phyllis (for what she said at the end of the exchange of the week):

Guard: No visitors for the prisoner.
Chelsea: Oh, come on -- he's my husband!
Nikki: Officer, Chief Williams allowed the patient's wife to go in earlier; I'm sure he wouldn't mind if Mrs. Newman went in again.
Victor: Officer, if I need to resolve this myself, I will.
Jack: So will I.
Phyllis: Okay, so here's the thing: if you give up on this one, no one's gonna blame you. That's Victor Newman and Jack Abbott. It's in your best interest to, now.
[Guard steps aside.]
Phyllis: Excellent choice.

And, on that note, I'll step aside myself and let you get back to overdosing on leftover Halloween candy while debating who's going to be the first to die in the explosion. (Or maybe I'm the only one who will be spending the rest of the weekend doing those things.) But if you're so inclined, let me know: what's your earliest soaps-related memory? And has a character's death ever diminished your enjoyment of Y&R (or any other soap)? Just click the link below to send in your feedback!

What are your thoughts on The Young and the Restless? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts. You can leave your comments below in the comments section, you can click here to submit Feedback, or you can call our 24/7 caller feedback hotline at 267.341.7627 and voice your thoughts.

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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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