Lockedown: the rise and fall of Ashland Locke

by Nel
For the Week of August 1, 2022
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How the mighty have fallen... and can't get up. As Ashland inched more and more toward evil villain instead of your run-of-the-mill bad guy, it seemed inevitable that he would meet his maker. But did Ashland have to die? Maybe so, maybe no. Let's check it out in this week's Y&R Two Scoops.

A fond farewell to Robert Newman, who portrayed Ashland Locke. He will be missed. I had been so sorry to see Richard Burgi leave as the portrayer of Ashland Locke that I couldn't imagine anyone replacing him, but it didn't take long for me to warm up to Robert. Robert did an amazing job as the villain, and I, for one, am really sorry to see him go. I had such love/hate feelings for this character, and that shows what a great actor Robert is. I wish him every success in his future and hope to see him again.

Well, it finally happened. The moment many fans expected the minute Victoria grabbed that fireplace poker: Ashland Locke's time in Genoa City -- and on earth -- has come to an end. But the poker turned out to be a red-hot herring because it was a right hook to the jaw and an accidental fall that ended Ashland's life. Or did it?

More on that later. But... how did we get here? Let's take a look back at the life and times and the rise and fall of Ashland Locke.

Ashland's rise to billionaire status was built on nothing but lies. He was born Bobby DeFranco, and his best friend was Ashland Locke. Bobby and Ashland were involved in a car accident, the car caught fire, Bobby stole Ashland's wallet, he let his friend burn to death, and he assumed Ashland's identity. As Ashland, he went for an interview with a small media company. He was hired by the owner, Camilla Rhodes, and later became an accomplice with Jesse Gaines Sr. in forging a letter to inherit Camilla's entire estate. He moved to New York, built his empire, and because he was so ruthless and arrogant, he was dubbed the "Locke Ness Monster." His marriage to Tara appeared to have been loveless; nevertheless, Tara gave birth to a son, Harrison.

Ashland decided to sell Cyaxares Media. Victoria, as frontrunner, lost her bid to Victor because Victor had refused to call 9-1-1 until Ashland sold the company to him -- while Ashland was in the throes of a heart attack. Tara had had enough of Ashland's control, and she and Harrison were offered refuge at the Abbott home. Ashland arrived in Genoa City, searching for Tara and their son, and he discovered that Kyle Abbott was Harrison's biological father. Ashland divorced Tara, and he was about to fight for custody of Harrison, when he claimed he'd been diagnosed with cancer and only had six months to live.

Ashland then manipulated Victoria into a relationship with him. Victoria insisted on taking care of him to the end. They had a spectacular wedding in Tuscany, and when they returned to Genoa City, Ashland implemented his plan to take over Newman Enterprises. When Victoria discovered Ashland's lies, manipulations, and plan to take over Newman Enterprises, their marriage was annulled as part of a deal arranged by Adam.

Adam paid Ashland $500 million of Victor's money for Ashland to leave town, but Ashland remained in Genoa City and kept proclaiming his love for Victoria with the hope of winning her back. Victoria devised her own plan to turn the tables on Ashland. She made him believe she wanted a life with him, and she convinced him she would sever ties with her family. She retrieved what was left of the $500 million, and she told Ashland she never wanted to see him again. She threatened to expose his lies via media and podcasts if he ever came near her again. Victoria left Ashland in New York.

This begs the question of whether Victoria should have left well enough alone or if she was right in turning the tables on good ol' Ash. I have always hoped she would get back at him in some form, and I believe she did a brilliant job of it, since it appeared that Ashland was never going to get out of her life; however, I wonder whether the ends justified the means, because it appears something in Ashland snapped, and he was determined to exact his punishment on Victoria.

Victoria stupidly ignored the warnings from everyone to stay clear of Ashland because he'd become dangerous, but she invited Ashland into her home after he knocked on her window and asked to enter so he could say a proper goodbye. When Victoria felt threatened, she grabbed a fireplace poker just before Ashland attacked her, and thank goodness Nick arrived -- in the Nick of time -- to save her, but next came the big oopsie for Ashland. In his attempt to save Victoria, Nick punched Ashland, Ashland fell and hit his head on the fireplace hearth, and he died, from what I assume would be classified as blunt force trauma to the head, but I could be wrong, since my forensic degree comes from watching Forensic Files.

I wonder what would have happened to Victoria if Nick hadn't ridden in on his white horse to save the day. Would Victoria been able to fight Ashland off with the poker, would Ashland have beaten her and left her for dead, or would he have succeeded in his determination to kill her? Ashland commended Victoria on beating him at his own game. He told her that many had tried and failed. I guess we have to wonder how many of those warriors had wanted to kill him.

What if Ashland had fallen in a different direction and survived. What would Ashland do when he regained consciousness? Would he have continued to be a threat to Victoria, or would he have ridden off into the sunset?

What would have happened if Nick's punch had brought Ashland out of his rage? Would he have walked away, or would he have engaged in fisticuffs with Nick?

I'm not sure whether Ashland deserved to die, but he did deserve the punch to the jaw from Nick for being in a rage, out of control, and ready to do harm to Victoria. Nick really was the hero in this scenario, and he saved Victoria from Ashland's wrath. However, the last thing I expected was for Ashland to die. I'm not usually surprised by the various events in a story, but this one did catch me off guard. I really expected Ashland to stick around for a bit longer to torment Victoria before he bit the dust.

Now the questions begin. I would like to know how Victor got to Victoria's right after Nick and Victoria discovered Ashland's body had disappeared. Had he been alerted by his security crew that Ashland was at Victoria's home, or did Victor have a plan of his own. His quick appearance surprised me, and it did seem odd; however, it became obvious that Victor had had a hand in getting rid of Ashland's body. The only way that the signet ring could have fallen on the floor would have been if Ashland had been carried over someone's shoulders, and the ring would have dropped out of Ashland's shirt pocket. There is no way that Ashland walked out of Victoria's under his own steam, especially since Nick and Victoria had checked for a pulse and hadn't found one.

The decision to call Chance was because he was a detective and he was family, but it looks like Chance is going to go by the book, family or not. Chance seems to be very suspicious of Victor, for some reason. Hmm, I can't imagine why. It's obvious that Victor had had his crew dispose of the body, but I wonder if Chance will ever figure that out. Victor and Michael have Victor's account of the events well rehearsed.

In the meantime, Nick is grappling with the thought that that he killed a man, and he is finding it hard to accept. I wonder if he will be charged with manslaughter -- and Victoria as his accomplice. If that happens, I wonder how long it will take Michael to have those charges dropped by proving there hadn't been any premeditation, but it was an unfortunate accident. Will Victor finally be exposed for his part in the cover-up and charged with tampering with evidence, or will Michael be able to put a different spin on the events and keep Victor out of jail? This has become curiouser and curiouser.

I wonder if Princess Victoria has learned anything from all of this. Nikki is being extremely supportive, but I choked on my coffee when Nikki said Victoria was a forgiving and loving person. I think Nikki has been hiding under a rock -- or she fell and smacked her little head, too. When was Victoria ever forgiving, and as for her loving side, I've only seen that when it came to Ashland. She lost that loving feeling after she learned about all his lies and his manipulations.

Things I have been pondering

Did Ashland have to die, or should he have continued to be a threat to Victoria? (That would have been fun.)

Did anyone believe that Ashland would die?

Is Ashland really dead if we didn't see him in the ditch? Is he having some sort of secret ditch party with Rey? Would it be a good decision if Ashland wasn't really dead and returns? What might that look like, story-wise (I would guess November Sweeps, when we've all forgotten about him)?

How much of a villain was he?

While Phyllis and Summer were having dinner at Society, Nick delivered the shocking news of Ashland's demise to them. Summer and Phyllis were both shocked, but they had different reactions. Summer was worried about how the news would affect Harrison, while Phyllis told Nick to look on the bright side: he would never have to deal with Ashland Locke ever again. For that comment, Phyllis received a very disapproving look from Nick.

It looked like Summer and Kyle will have to deliver the bad news to Harrison, but he is only four or five years old, and he has no real concept of death. I'm not sure whether he would understand the finality of death. I think Kyle is projecting how he felt when he'd been abandoned by Diane onto Harrison. Kyle had been much older at the time he'd been abandoned; he'd understood death and been able to mourn, but Harrison is much younger. At his age, death is an obscure thing, and he might think that Father would return at some point in the future. Harrison doesn't understand the finality of the situation.

I have to say that Diane certainly helped in explaining that Father wouldn't be returning. Diane seemed very emotional during that conversation, and I believe she remembered how she'd abandoned Kyle. However, I think Kyle was premature in telling Harrison that Diane was his grandmother, and judging by the look on Jack's face, Jack felt the same way.

I love how suspicious Summer is of Phyllis -- and Phyllis putting on the innocent act and asking why Summer kept bringing up Diane when the dinner was strictly about her and Summer. That sly little witch wants a job at Marchetti to sabotage Diane, but she is coming across as mother of the year and reminding Summer how much fun they'd had working together previously and how she wanted to do that again. Talk about manipulation. Oh, Phyllis, you sly dog; your plans always blow up in your face, and this one will be no different, even with Nikki and Ashley's help.

I wonder if Phyllis and Jack will ever reunite, since they have admitted they still love each other. I'm sure Diane will find a way of keeping them apart. Diane seems to think she is making inroads with Jack, but I'm not so sure. I think Jack tolerates her for Kyle's benefit, because when Diane asked Jack if one day they could be friends and also asked what her chances were, Jack told Diane she didn't want to know. That answer was a bit convoluted, but I took it to mean that hell would freeze over first.

Sally doesn't know when to let go. Like the other women in Adam's life, she stroked Adam's ginormous ego and proclaimed her deep love for him. Adam had made a huge sacrifice for Sally because he wanted her to shine in her CEO position, and he knew that wouldn't happen if he and Sally remained in a relationship. You could see how difficult it was for Adam to maintain an uncaring fašade to prove to Sally there was nothing between them, even though it broke his heart to do so. This was a huge sacrifice coming from Adam, and I commend him for sticking to his guns and thinking of someone other than himself. Go, Adam.

Thank God for Chloe. Who knew she would be the voice of reason? Chloe knows Adam extremely well, and she said that Adam had Sally begging him to admit to his sacrifice in honor of Sally's love for him. Sally finally had to admit that was exactly what she'd been doing; she'd been stroking Adam's ego and making Adam believe he was more important to her than anything else, and all Adam did was put her down. Chloe also told Sally that Chelsea had fallen into the same trap because of her obsession with Adam.

Chloe reminded Sally that Adam hadn't given her the CEO position because Sally had earned it by proving she deserved to be CEO. Chloe reminded her that Victoria and Nick had heard her pitch and her ideas, and they had been impressed; they were giving Sally a great opportunity. Sally claimed she would make the most of the opportunity she'd earned. Go, Sally. I hope that Sally has finally figured out that she doesn't need Adam or any other man to complete her and that she can do things on her own merits.

Once again, Nick turned to Sharon for advice about what had happened with Ashland. Sharon reminded Nick that he might have believed that Ashland had died, but she referred to the incident with J.T., when Nikki had believed she'd killed him, but months later, they'd discovered that J.T. hadn't died that night. Sharon said that the scenario was almost identical; she said Nick believed he'd killed Ashland, but Ashland hadn't died -- he'd walked away. Nick understood that, but what seemed odd was the fact that Victor had arrived seconds after Nick and Victoria discovered that Ashland's body had disappeared. Hmm, very curious.

Those are my thoughts about this week's drama, and I would love to read your comments and opinions. Until next time, stay safe!
Nel

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