You've been an Abbott all along

For the Week of October 22, 2018
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Phyllis cries in bed while Billy beds Summer
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The Young and the Restless challenged the adage that revenge is a dish best served cold. Revenge is a dish best served raw, and some of the wounds this week were very raw. There is some big stuff the people of Genoa City have to work through this week, and there's no way to skip over it. The only way to get there is to go through it, so let's dive in and get raw in this week's Two Scoops.

I try not to complain too much about slow burns on the show. I figure sometimes stuff is just on the back burner, simmering until it's ready to be served. Admittedly, sometimes the flame just goes out, so yeah, some stuff is a little too slow -- or it's outright forgotten, but I'm not paying a lot of attention to it, so if it fizzles out? Eh. No big deal. Because usually, while that's simmering in the back and we just quietly pour it into the trash and pretend it wasn't there, something big is happening on the front burners, and this week, it boiled over in spectacular style. They'll be cleaning the stove and mopping the floor for a long time to come! Hello, November Sweeps -- I see you coming, old friend, and I'm ready! And this is all happening before November. Talk about buildup!

Did the weekend take forever or what? I was a little annoyed, thinking The Young and the Restless had given us the cliffhanger and not shown Jack's response when I realized it was only Monday, and the show hadn't aired yet! This may be the first time I complained about a weekend being too short (and really, what is wrong with me? Why would I complain about that?), but I wanted to know what happened, partly because of the drama, partly because I'm not sure how this will usher Eileen Davidson off the show and if that's even okay.

Ashley was like Glinda the "good" witch: You had the power to go home all along. You've been an Abbott all along. If I'd been Dorothy, I might have (briefly) entertained thoughts of strangling Glinda. If I'd been Jack, I probably would have had the same. We're human. We've been in pain. You've known what would stop our pain for a long time and have done nothing about it (except, in Ashley's case, she caused it).

And in case it seemed like Ashley was just looking for power, no. No, she wasn't. She put the video snippet in for the screening and reveled in the impact: "The look on your face -- it was worth it, Jack." When she learned Jack had bought pills in his distress, she admitted she hadn't thought it would go that far. The fact that it did shows perhaps Jack should be attending twelve-step meetings (they can work wonders) or doing continuing work with a therapist. Or both. If Billy could graduate to outpatient therapy so soon after his spectacular fall, perhaps Jack should be paying attention to the way he's responding to stressors and seek help before he has that Humpty-Dumpty fall where all the kings horses and all the kings men won't be able to put him together again. No, he didn't use, but he sure thought hard about it and went so far as to make the purchase. That isn't good.

Ashley justified her actions to Jack: "Every time you made me feel less than led to this moment." But was there a better solution? I feel that, given time, the blood Abbott clause would have been reversed. I think Jack would have done it if they used the right approach and he'd gotten past his hardheadedness around it. But, it was never written for Ashley or to punish Ashley; it was written to protect Jabot from Phyllis. I also think that a case could be made, in a court of law, that Ashley was an Abbott because she shares 50% of her DNA with Jack and Traci, John's name was presumably on the birth certificate, Dina and John were married at the time of conception and birth, and usually it's hard to undo those things just with a revelation that the child had a different sperm. Ashley was loved, doted on, and her father's favorite, so I find it hard to believe that a good lawyer couldn't have challenged that ruling. If he did, would Ashley have undone the clause? Maybe not.

Ashley admitted that Billy wasn't as cooperative as she'd hoped. He was collateral damage in her pursuit of... what? CEO? Legitimacy? Respect? What was she seeking in all of this? Revenge? Yes, she wanted that. Jack used some harsh words to describe Ashley, too: cold, cruel, bitter, heartless, monster. He called her someone he wouldn't want to know, much less be related to. There wasn't a lot of love in the room at moments this week.

And it seems a lot of people feel not part of this family that Victoria told Ashley had always seemed more perfect than her own. Kyle felt like he never belonged. Ashley felt she didn't belong. At the family breakfast, when Jack made the appeal to try to heal, his appeal was met with silence. And speaking of that breakfast, if you were Ashley and walked in on it, would you have sat down to eat with them? I might have slinked out of the room, so she's braver than I.

The board voting to oust Ashley was appropriate. Her actions were not only illegal but also downright cruel -- and she admitted she had thought long and hard about what to do, and she lashed out and blamed everyone for her actions, too. I felt it was not in character for her. I don't think this is how I want Ashley to go out, and her time is running out on the show. Please, please, writers (I know it's filmed already, and I have no control because I'm writing for Soap Central, not Y&R), please, let there be some redemption so Ashley doesn't leave in shame and sadness.

Also, for DNA testing... Ashley snipped some hair off the end, and one thing I remember from various crime show watching and books I've read and research I've done is that hair without the root doesn't have enough DNA to run a DNA test. So, this whole test would not have worked with Ashley snipping her hair. She would have had to rip some hairs out. That first test should have come back inconclusive at best.

I do not understand why everyone wants to be reigning monarch of Jabot. Why is any role other than ruler not respected? If we were all king or killing each other to be king, nothing would get done. Ever. Because it's us workers who do the bulk of the work. Always has been, always will be. Without us, the ruler is nothing. And being a worker is nothing to look down at.

Jack told the family to be a family. Dina's tears during the breakfast tension showed how vulnerable she was, and things kept going down despite her tears. Ashley did apologize to Abby (for using her) and Billy (for working to oust him). She refuses to do so to Jack (oh, how I hope there's some healing before she's off our screens! She's put in too much to leave as anything but beloved. Jack needs it, too. They all do). Billy didn't really accept the apology, and I get it. If he feels Ashley has always made him feel she was above it all and she sunk to this level, it would be hard to just forgive and forget right away. Jack is right, though, that as part of recovery, Billy should forgive. Eventually. Won't be easy or painless, though. And the one he has to forgive the most will be himself. (Also, I still think there is Delia pain in there that he almost never addresses. He would never forget. Ever.)

Billy managed to get himself some revenge. Kyle called him on it, saying that sleeping with Billy meant something to Summer. Billy told Phyllis he and Summer were two consenting adults, so he had nothing to apologize for. He was getting revenge on both of Summer's parents, but using a poor emotionally immature girl who he knew liked him to do it. Not cool, Billy. Not cool. Has he gone lower than Rock Bottom? He'd better take this up with his therapist. Plus side? Summer and Phyllis might get some healing by uniting against him. They have things to work through, but they started.

I've said it before. I'll say it again (in fact, way back when J.T. died, Soap Central founder and guru Dan J Kroll and I discussed what a fun, soapy plot twist it would be), but I would love if J.T. were really alive, hiding in the shadows, plotting this whole thing (he certainly would need money at this point). Is it probable that an unconscious man (he was never medically declared dead) could awaken under a mound of stomped-upon dirt and save himself before he ran out of air? No. No, it's not probable. But it's not impossible, and this is a soap. Anything's possible. Dead isn't dead without an autopsy, and even then, strange things have happened (evil twins and doppelgängers and medical mysteries, oh my!), so dead isn't necessarily dead.

Not that I like who J.T. became, but the soapy potential is so much greater if he has leverage over the Fearsome Foursome. Maybe I'm the only one who hopes it, but I hope the ladies really aren't guilty of murder and cover-up, not that they're not guilty of attempted murder, cover-up, and whatever burying a body alive would be... attempted murder if you thought the person was alive, attempted illegal disposal of a corpse or something if you thought he was dead. Messy, but isn't that the whole point of soaps? If it wrapped up cleanly in an episode (or ever), it would end, and we don't want that!

By Wednesday, I had determined that the blackmailer was Tessa. She overhears a whole lot of stuff at Crimson Lights, is not above bending some laws, and certainly needs cash quickly, but God only knows what she needs it for. Not that I think she's really clever enough to pull off the plot, but she's a potential suspect. Rey is too obvious, so I don't think it's him. Yet there's that big part of me that feels perhaps J.T. should still be alive to relieve the women of their emotional burden.

I don't think I would pay a blackmailer (only partly because I couldn't afford it). If someone was blackmailing me, I would know it wasn't a one-and-done deal; I'd have to report whatever I did to keep them from coming after me over and over again. I would not taunt them by sending a dollar, though!

Now, as to the blackmailer... why is he or she using mail? Mail doesn't come to everyone at the same time. Sometimes in the same town, identical letters mailed at the same time from the same location end up at different people's houses on different days (I've known a river to impact delivery date, for whatever reason). Sometimes I don't open my mail right away. Sometimes things in an envelope with a printed address and no return address goes right in the recycling bin. Sometimes I put it aside and forget it for a long time. Sometimes someone else opens it. It just feels like a tremendously ineffective method for blackmailing a group. Also, did any of them look at the postmark? I'd do that as soon as I saw the first note! Especially if I was discussing it with my coconspirators.

There should be an injection of fun in this storyline with Mariah wanting her and Tessa to investigate the weird things that are going on. She knows something is up with Sharon and obviously wants to help her mother. It might have the opposite effect, and if Tessa is the blackmailer, it could get all shades of confusing, but it wouldn't be a soap without someone doing the worst thing for the right reasons (or for the wrong reasons, really). It would be boring. We can't have that.

Comedian Cathy Ladman described religion as "guilt with different holidays." I feel like being an Abbott is about the same. It seems people are starting to feel some guilt for their behaviors (independent of religion). But maybe it's time to feel some guilt. I tell people regularly to listen to what guilt is telling them. If the guilt is over something you're doing wrong, stop doing it, change your behaviors. I see some of that in Kyle, who is showing some remorse and regret. Even Billy admitted he had gone too far. I also tell people that guilt when we've done nothing wrong and have no control is a useless emotion, so it's okay to let it go. That goes for all of you, too!

But guilt that is warranted? When we start to feel that nagging regret for doing terrible things? We need to change. And soap characters who want some redemption do, too. We want to still love them. Or love to hate them.

Random observations:

With the level of anxiety they all have, perhaps the Fearsome Foursome should switch to decaf?

Jack seemed to have some eye-opening moments. He said he got his father back but lost his sister. And maybe he's realizing the still-alive sister was someone he should have fought harder for.

Ashley showed a bit of a cruel edge to Dina. Not that Dina didn't earn that with past actions, but overall, there's so much coldness in Ashley now. And it seems a lot of it is rooted in hurt.

How sad was it to see Dina looking through Ashley's mementoes and remembering happy times, some of which Ashley remembered as not happy, some of which Dina wasn't even part of.

I liked Cane and Billy bickering -- and semi-bonding -- at the bar.

Not gonna lie. I think Arturo will be more interesting when some of his secrets are revealed. I did like when he told Abby that all that was going on in her family didn't mean it was broken.

It was totally appropriate for Sharon to share Cassie's history with Rey. It helps explain how she reacts to some situations he might be suspicious of (even though suspicion is warranted).

I loved Mariah's protectiveness of Sharon with Rey.

Kyle was right when he told Ashley that if she had only paid Andrew with her own money, she would have gotten away with it. Let this be a lesson to all you schemers: no company funds!

Ashley saying "I am the most qualified to run that company" while throwing a tantrum did not scream "leadership" in that moment, for sure.

Did anyone else laugh when Ted, the new secretary at Jabot (who I like), saw the broken glass on his desk and said, "Whoah!" then said it looked as if the Russo brothers had filmed a fight scene?

When Jack threw the chair through the plate glass window, I chuckled and rewound. There was a seam in the middle, but I know from my "Active Shooter Training" at work (we have to pass a test on it, so I remember the details) that if you need to break a window with a chair, you need to go at it in a corner. If you throw it into the middle, it will bounce back at you. That would have been hilarious, not dramatic, so it wouldn't have worked, but it made me want to test. However, the only big glass I had is on a sliding door, and my boyfriend forbade me to experiment (it is getting cold, so it's probably for the best).

I was glad when Rey told Sharon that the mattress tag statute only applies to merchants (they read "not to be removed except by consumer") because I know a lot of people who won't remove tags from their pillows or mattresses and actually fear they'll be arrested if they do.

I would have tried both Tessa and Lola's Café Cubano, even if Tessa's was wrong. One doesn't say no to coffee.

Traci made a side comment that included "with all of us living here." Does she officially live there now? Not just staying while the issues are resolved?

When you're an Abbott and want to let people know how angry you are, you move out of the family house. I cannot imagine living with all my family! Seriously. We love each other far more in separate homes!

I have mixed feelings about Lily being upset at Cane not coming to see her. There is emotional honesty (I think she should be honest with the kids, too), and there is making someone feel unwelcome. If I'd been Cane, I probably would have stayed away because I thought she didn't want to see me.

I laughed when Lola made an aside about "how hopeless I am at replacing an alternator." I wouldn't know what one was if I was looking under the hood (but I would know it's in the car. There's that).

I laughed when Kyle told Lola, "Even for Abbott standards, things are one hell of a mess."

Saddest Moment of the Week:

Jack was apologizing to Dina, telling her he'd do everything he could to set the family right, and Dina so appreciated it. Then she said, "Now, remind me again who you are." It was heartbreaking, subtle, beautifully executed.

Line of the Week:

Kyle, at the Abbott family breakfast: "Short forks, breakable glassware...this could require medical attention if it goes wrong."

Seeking your thoughts:

Who do you think is the best person to lead Jabot? Ashley has a mental illness history. Jack has a history of pill addiction (and doesn't shy away from drinking). Billy has a gambling addiction (and some significant impulse-control issues). None seems 100% fit to lead. They all seem to use work and ambition as substitutes for ongoing therapy. So, is any of them the best choice for leader? Is anyone in the Abbott clan a good choice? I mean a really good choice. I'm not sure I have an answer to that, but I bet you do!

Is there any character on this show who is selfless? I'll say Traci, who seems to suffer the burden of always wanting to do the right thing, and she is deeply pained by some of the things happening around her. She gave up her book tour to help heal her family. But otherwise, do you see it in anyone? Sure, sometimes they have moments, but not a consistent pattern (or really, repetition in a timeframe that would make it seem like they were doing anything but having a moment).

Anyone want to make a guess what's in those documents in the secret Jabot safe? Should be big! Hopefully it makes things right for Ashley. Again, please.

That's all for now. I'm excited to see what November brings, and it'll be here in two weeks. Viewership is up! Keep watching, and please share your thoughts. We do love to hear from you.

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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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