The People v. Victor Newman

by Mike
For the Week of February 29, 2016
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Y&R Two Scoops: The People v. Victor Newman
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These days (okay, most days), it seems like everyone hates Victor. Except Victoria. And Summer. And this week's Two Scoops columnist. Brace yourselves, readers, because he's about to try to defend the most hated man in Genoa City!

Poor Victor. The guy just can't seem to catch a break lately. Making a list of people who don't hate him would take less time than making a list of people who do. Half of Genoa City's residents are conspiring against him, including his own wife, one of his sons, and one of his grandsons. And, worst of all, his vintage wine collection was raided not once but twice this week. Dude could really use a friend right about now, which makes me wonder: where's Segundo when he's needed?

I know, I know -- that sound I hear right now is the sound of many readers playing tiny violins in unison, struggling to feel the least bit sorry for a man who has done many despicable things in his lifetime and doesn't seem to have an ounce of remorse for any of them. Still, I can't help feeling sympathetic where Victor is concerned. I know I'm in the minority; complaints about him are common on Twitter and on message boards, and even my own mother regularly tells me I'm crazy for liking the character. But time and time again, I find myself siding with him over his critics, because the way I see it, the characters who love to hate him are really no better than he is.

Take Billy, for instance. He might be sporting a new face these days, but he's still singing the same old tune, constantly complaining about how Victor only cares about Victor. But as Jack rightly pointed out this past week, Victor isn't the only one who routinely puts himself first; Billy's selfish obsession with besting Victor at all costs is precisely what put Jabot in jeopardy to begin with. And he's furious with Victor for "stealing" his precious quick-fix Internet security project away from him, but when he was gleefully exploiting a Paragon-related glitch to "steal" Newman Enterprises assets at bargain-basement prices? That was "just business."

Jack, meanwhile, has been at war with Victor even longer than Billy has. And while what Victor did to Jack last year was appalling, let's not forget that Jack tried to frame Victor for murder just a few short years ago. Adam has had a chip on his shoulder for years because he feels like Victor abandoned him as a child, but he did the same thing after finding out that he was the father of Sage's baby. Nikki complains about Victor's underhanded tactics yet resorts to the same tricks, without hesitation, to protect Noah. And let's not even get into Sharon's long list of misdeeds.

Perhaps the most egregious part of the whole Marco debacle is the fact that Victor knowingly allowed Phyllis to sleep with a stranger for months. And there's no excuse for that violation. Period. I think the writers took things a step too far there, and it's one of the darker stains on his character. But even she is no saint. Setting aside the fact that she tried to kill Christine years ago, perhaps someone should remind her about the time she drugged Danny to get him into bed with her. Sure, nothing happened, but that still counts as a serious violation in my book.

All of these people have done terrible things. Not a single one of them has the right to take the moral high ground. The difference between them and Victor is that he doesn't try to take the moral high ground; he's stubbornly unapologetic about everything he does, to the point where "I don't give a damn!" is literally his catchphrase. And I kind of love that about him, because at least he's not a hypocrite.

At least I can count on Victoria to [almost] always have Victor's back. Except, you know, that one time when she teamed up with her siblings to sue him for one and a half billion dollars. But usually, as Billy lamented this past week, she is her father's daughter, for better or worse. And even if she finds out about Victor's role in the Marco thing (which she inevitably will), she's probably still going to be upset with Billy when his scheme to take Victor down blows up in his face (which it inevitably will). Billy knows she'll be upset, but he's doing it anyway. He just can't seem to help himself.

Phyllis is in the same boat, but she might not even care about Jack being upset with her before this is all said and done; he's already giving her plenty of reasons to be upset with him. I can't really blame her, though. Jack displayed some pretty twisted logic when he decided to tell Neil about Marco to give Neil a reason to stay sober. I mean, burdening addicts with deep, dark secrets always turns out well, right? Just ask Nikki. Keeping quiet about the document she and Neil helped Victor forge while "Jack" was comatose was what drove her back to the bottle the last time.

Phyllis was right to point out that Jack could have chosen any number of other...ahem, "inspirational" tales...to share with Neil. Let's be honest: that was really just a contrived way for the writers to deliver the truth to Nikki. After all, finding out about Jack's recent struggles wasn't what ultimately gave Neil the motivation to stay sober, anyway; deciding to start a support center for recovering addicts was what accomplished that goal, and he didn't need knowledge of Victor's body-snatcher scheme to spark that idea.

But Jack made a good point, too: Phyllis keeps acting like she's the only one Victor hurt with the Marco switcheroo, but that's his story to tell, too, and not being able to talk about it has to be hard, especially for an addict. Of course, with each new heart-to-heart -- or even just conspiratorial -- talk between Phyllis and Billy, I grow more and more convinced that this is all just leading up to them ending up in bed together when Jack and Victoria find out their secret. Probably on Billy and Victoria's wedding day -- which might conveniently be right around the same time Phyllis decides to reconcile with Jack -- because I've been watching soaps long enough to know that's just how these things usually go down.

Then again, maybe not. I'm sure Billy's going to want to tell the whole world about what Victor did, and he's just hotheaded enough that it wouldn't surprise me at all if he spilled the beans, even without Phyllis and Jack's approval. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Billy relaunched Restless Style just so he could make that the cover story of the return issue. He has already proven, more than once, that even his love for Victoria isn't enough to make him resist seizing any opportunity to get revenge against Victor, so he might just end up sinking his own ship before someone else gets the chance to do it for him.

Unfortunately for Victor, there are other threats looming. To break up the monotony of blackmailing Judge Elise Moxley (welcome back, Jensen Buchanan -- I was wondering if we had seen the last of you!), Nikki has decided to make it her mission to "save Victor from himself," and she has enlisted Adam's help -- because what could possibly go wrong there, right? I'm sure Victor will be grateful to her if she succeeds in taking his life's work away from him, and he'll probably even buy her a big bouquet of flowers, a sparkly new diamond necklace, and some vintage sheet music to thank her, then lovingly watch over her shoulder as she plays the piano for him while they laugh about how she forced him into retirement for his own good.

Oh, wait. No. No, he probably won't do any of that. And I doubt he'll declare Adam "Son of the Year," either. And, based on Adam's conversations with Nikki and Chelsea this past week, I think getting Victor's approval still matters to him, whether he wants to admit it or not. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this probably isn't the best way to achieve that goal, but Adam isn't exactly known for making wise decisions. Although confessing to Chelsea was one of the wiser things he's done lately. Predictably, she was upset for maybe five minutes before basically forgiving him. He didn't even have to flash his abs or anything.

That's one thing Newman wives and exes seem to have in common: none of them can stay angry with their respective Newman love interests for long. Just ask Sharon, who found herself cozying up to Nick again this past week -- much to Dylan's dismay. I had to laugh at his jealousy because, first of all, it kind of came out of nowhere, and, more importantly, he could have gotten home sooner if he hadn't stopped at Crimson Lights to have a heart-to-heart talk with his ex. I was hoping that would come out in his little argument with Sharon, but alas, it didn't.

I get why Dylan is conflicted about the less-than-subtle ways in which some of Noah's loved ones are trying to protect him, but I agree with Sharon: if it were Sully, Dylan would probably have no problem using the Newman power and influence to minimize the damage one stupid mistake ended up doing to his son's future. These characters love to complain about Victor until knowing him, or just being a Newman in general, suddenly benefits them in some way. And, again, the Abbotts are no different here; Jack wasn't above keeping quiet about Gabriel Bingham's true identity to keep Billy out of prison.

Jack can't claim innocence when it comes to turning on his family, either. After all, he did oust Ashley from Jabot a few years ago, and, more recently, Billy as well. So Victor's decision to turn Noah in is another one of those cases where I just can't get behind the idea that he has crossed a line no Abbott would ever dare to cross. That family has its fair share of dysfunction.

Noah can't even really be that surprised about the turn of events, can he? It wasn't that long ago that Victor was having Victoria arrested on her wedding day, so it's not like this is unprecedented behavior for him. Noah knew better than to cross Victor, but he did it anyway. For...reasons?

Honestly, Noah's motivations for turning on Victor in the wake of the hit-and-run never really made sense to me. Victor, in his own misguided way, was only trying to protect Noah, and I didn't understand why Noah was so resentful of that yet seemingly a-okay with Marisa, who was the first to insist he needed to keep quiet about what had happened. I'm glad the writers tried to further explain Noah's motivations during the confrontation he had with Victor at the hospital -- having Noah bring up Victor's part in Austin and Courtney's deaths was a nice departure from the usual "Grandpa had Marisa kidnapped!" rants I had grown accustomed to -- but it still felt like a bit of a stretch to me.

When Nikki confronted Victor about the Marco fiasco, he raged that he was sick and tired of everyone complaining about him all the time. I couldn't agree more. Usually, on a soap, when so many people suddenly start turning on a character, it means a "whodunit?" murder mystery is about to begin, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say that's what we're headed toward here. But that can't be right, because this is Victor freakin' Newman we're talking about, and Y&R isn't just going to suddenly kill off the guy who, with Katherine Chancellor gone, is arguably the face of the show. DAYS would, sure, but not Y&R.

Prison's another possibility, but there's no way that would last, either. Wherever this story is headed, I think we can all be certain of two things: no one will be able to keep Victor down and out for long -- if at all -- and Eric Braeden will continue to sell the hell out of it. I thoroughly enjoyed his performances this past week, especially during the aforementioned confrontation scene with Melody Scott Thomas. Love Victor or hate him, I think we can all agree that Braeden keeps the character riveting at all times.

In happier news, Sage and Nick have decided to adopt a child, and they're hoping for a newborn. I'm intrigued to see where this will go. Conventional wisdom -- and Soaps 101 -- says that it will inevitably fall through, and, despite her assurances to the contrary, Sage won't be able to handle the disappointment. But it would actually be pretty interesting if it did go through -- and then we got to see the fallout of that.

Perhaps Sage would find it difficult to bond with a child who wasn't biologically connected to her. Perhaps, after learning the truth about Christian and getting him back, she would find herself favoring one child over the other -- and perhaps the child she favored would actually be the adopted child because she had gotten to spend more time with him or her. Perhaps she would snap and swap Sully and the adopted child -- but having that actually work would be a real stretch, since Sully isn't exactly a newborn anymore.

There are a lot of ways this could play out, and I haven't even touched on how the adoption could affect Nick -- or how the inevitable reveal of Christian's true paternity could turn everything upside down.

Meanwhile, Abby and Stitch are having a baby, baby! I'm wondering if that could somehow tie into the adoption. At the very least, it's already taking a toll on Ashley, who isn't very optimistic about her chances of being around to witness the birth of her first granddaughter (whose father she has slept with and might still have feelings for -- awk-ward!). Of course, if Max has his way, there won't even be a birth.

The socio-Max twist is another one that seemed to come out of nowhere. I can't say I like it, but it will be interesting to see just how far the writers are willing to go with it. We really don't know much about him -- or the accident that resulted in his mother's death. Could he have been responsible for that?

Sticking to the subject of things that came out of nowhere, I'm still not sure what to make of Hilary's sudden power play. She was clearly working Devon, though, so she must have something in mind. Could she perhaps know about Ashley's illness? A Hilary-versus-Ashley rivalry could be fun. At least it'd be a change of pace from the Victoria-versus-Ashley rivalry. But, on the downside, it's still two women sniping at each other about petty crap. We've already seen Ashley do that plenty of times with Victoria, and we've already seen Hilary do it plenty of times with Lily, too. (Wait, that doesn't sound right...) Do we really need to see Ashley and Hilary doing it with each other now? (And neither does that.)

Which brings me, finally, to Summer and Luca. Kyle had better get back to Genoa City pronto, because I think Summer might soon end up sharing more than just the remote with her newest roommate, now that said roommate's wife seems to have made the decision to leave (if not divorce) him. What better way for Luca to get back at Noah than to go after his sister? Since Noah doesn't have a secret wife for Luca to steal, I mean.

On that note, the defense rests. Time for rebuttals. What do you think about Victor? Do you love him, love to hate him, or just plain hate him? Let us know in the comments section below! And, as always, be sure to check back next week for more Two Scoops. For now, I leave you with my pick for the exchange of the week:

Faith: [explaining why she and Sage are babysitting Sully] Mommy and Daddy are keeping Noah out of jail.
Adam: Just your typical Wednesday, huh?
Mike

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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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