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This past week on The Young and the Restless wasn't the most exciting, but a lot of groundwork was laid for storylines that are simmering and ready to come to a full boil -- and it is certainly going to be a hot end to the summer in Genoa City when they do! Join our Two Scoops columnist as he examines what went down this past week and where the show is likely headed in the coming weeks and months.

I have to start out this week by venting my frustrations over Friday's Jack/Diane scenes. That "fake-out" of Diane and Jack kissing had me sooooo irritated! I absolutely hate when soaps do this. Don't show us an exciting scene only to reveal that it was just something one of the characters was imagining! It's tired. I get that the writers wanted to show us that, yes, Diane has romantic intentions toward Jack (as if we hadn't already suspected that!), but they could have done it without such a tease!

The kiss fake-out might not have even been so bad if the Y&R promo for the week hadn't been all about this kiss between them. The producers knew full well that the kiss wasn't even real, but they still teased everyone into watching --and waiting all week (literally to the last few minutes of Friday's episode) -- with this fake scene. I guess CBS really is peddling "fake news"! I was so disappointed.

I thought the buildup to the scene was fantastic, though, and I really enjoyed seeing Jack let his walls down and start to bond with Diane. They have great screen chemistry, and I liked the character development in their relationship leading up to that moment. But it really felt like a slap in the face when it was revealed that the kiss itself was nothing but a daydream of Diane's.

Ultimately, I really want Jack to finally find some real happiness and love in his life. He has been one of my favorite characters on the show for years, so I'm always rooting for him. I was hoping they might start something up with him and Celeste Rosales, then I was excited by the prospect of a Jack/Phyllis reunion, but I am actually sort of rooting for Jack/Diane now. I adore Susan Walters in the role of Diane, and it would be great if she sticks around on the show for a long while. A romance with Jack would certainly help to cement her place on the Y&R canvas for the foreseeable future; that is, if Phyllis doesn't have anything to say about it!

Phyllis really could benefit from a lesson in manipulation from Diane. Sure, Phyllis excels at scheming, but Diane has her beat in the manipulation game. While Phyllis is wasting her time plotting Diane's demise with Nikki and Ashley (which is almost certain to backfire and blow up in her face), Diane is playing the long game with Jack. When Diane brought up Phyllis to Jack during their "non-date" and even empathized with Phyllis' plight to Jack, she made a million more strides with him than Phyllis will with her scheming.

Jack is tired of the games and wants someone he can settle down with. And I actually do think that Diane wants that same type of life with Jack (even if she is being a bit manipulative to get it). Phyllis, on the other hand, is a wild card and I am not sure that the type of stability Jack is looking for is something that Phyllis can offer him in the long run. It would be great to see Phyllis paired with someone more her pace that can bring the type of excitement into her life that she is constantly craving. Even if I think Phyllis and Jack might ultimately be better off with different partners, though, I am thoroughly enjoying this current storyline. The groundwork that is being laid between Phyllis, Diane, and Jack is certainly going to be explosive and heat things up in Genoa City when it all comes to a head. I can't wait!

For me, the Diane storyline is the hottest thing on Y&R this summer but there are certainly other storylines that are simmering and ready to boil over, too, that have me excited. At long last, the drama with Nate and Devon was more entertaining than aggravating this past week. I loved how Lily played Devon into showing his true feelings about Nate's ideas for their company. Just as I suspected would happen, Devon almost immediately began to find reasons to shut down the ideas about their musical artists and musical festivals even though he was ready to start having meetings about how they could make it happen when he thought Lily is the one who had the ideas.

Is Devon delusional? I get that he is the boss (well, one of them) and makes the rules, but he claims to not be shutting down ideas just because they come from Nate, even though he literally just did that exact thing this past week! And even when he was called out on it, Devon still insisted that wasn't what he was doing. It's clear that his ego is still hurt from Elena cheating on him with Nate when they were together, and now he is finding every opportunity to bruise Nate's ego, using his position of power over Nate at work.

Speaking of Elena, she is not doing herself any favors by siding with Devon whenever Nate complains about his struggles at work. Is she trying to push Nate into Imani's arms?! Nate has confided in Elena that Imani has been very supportive of him regarding his struggles with Devon and even mentioned how much he has appreciated that -- and then Elena does the exact opposite?! I'm not sure why she thinks that will be helpful to him or their relationship. Methinks Elena might still be hung up on Devon and is subconsciously pushing Nate away because of those feelings. It's almost like she wants Imani to steal Nate away from her!

That's not to say that I don't think Elena should voice her opinion and tell Nate how she really feels, of course. I would hate for her to just be a "yes woman" and agree with everything Nate says just because they are in a relationship. Instead, I just think she needs to step back and evaluate her reactions and consider that they may be rooted in some unresolved feelings for Devon. I don't think that Elena could come between Devon and Amanda even if she wanted to, though, so that won't get her very far (although I'm sure Devon would love to stick it to Nate by "sticking it" to Elena). Elena could at least be more empathetic toward what Nate is actually going through rather than automatically just siding with Devon and assuming Nate is the one that needs to change.

Nate is certainly not blameless, of course. It may sound like I am painting him as the victim, but he is not without his faults. I think that what others in his life have pointed out to him -- that he is feeling insecure about being out of his element in the business world after leaving his job as chief of staff at the hospital -- is certainly true. He needs to find a way to work through those insecurities, but the difference between him and Devon is that he acknowledges those insecurities and recognizes that he could do better. Let's just hope he takes action to work on that now that he has acknowledged his role in the animosity between the two of them.

Meanwhile, even after Lily told Devon that it was her idea to approach Nate, and also that it was her idea to present Nate's ideas as her own to gauge Devon's reaction, Devon ignored Lily and went straight to Nate to call him out for something he knew that Nate wasn't at fault for. In short, Devon was truly getting on my last nerve this past week. And, honestly, his character has been on a decline for me ever since he demanded custody of baby Dominic even though he had originally agreed to be nothing more than a sperm donor and an "uncle" to the child. But let's not delve into all that baby drama again...

Aside from all the Nate/Devon and Nate/Elena drama that is heating up and about to reach a boil this summer, I have to say that I think what made this whole storyline better this past week was Lily's involvement. She absolutely breathed new life into the story this week -- and it was a fitting time for her to be showcased, since Christel Khalil just celebrated her 20th anniversary on the show as Lily Winters! I remember her first episode when she was a teenager, so it is a bit surreal to me that I have been watching the show for so long now! I hope we see her character intertwined in this story further because her scenes with Billy have become incredibly boring (like most of Billy's scenes in general this year have been).

But Billy's character and storyline could finally be on an upswing after this past week (fingers crossed)! I was annoyed at first that Chelsea was roped into Billy's podcast storyline because I thought he would bring her character down; however, I am happy to say that I think the opposite is happening, and she is making his storyline more interesting now. Thankfully, the podcast itself has not been featured much, and instead, we have just seen Billy and Chelsea interacting more now that they are co-workers.

This was actually a brilliant move to bring these two characters into each other's orbits again because both of their storylines have been floundering with not much of a direction over the past year. And I had nearly forgotten that Chelsea was Johnny's biological mother because Billy and Victoria have been raising him as their own for so long now. I am excited that they are revisiting this bit of Y&R history! I really enjoyed Chelsea's scenes with Victoria, too, because they actually managed to have a mature conversation about when would be the right time to tell Johnny about who his real mother is. Hopefully, Victor doesn't talk Victoria out of telling Johnny the truth. Sometimes "the Mustache" should just shut his mouth and stay out of his family's affairs that don't concern him (okay, maybe more than sometimes)!

For Johnny's sake, I hope things stay cordial between Victoria and Chelsea while they navigate how to tell him the truth. It would be great if they could all get along, but this is a soap opera, of course, so I am sure this storyline is going to go from the backburner to front and center and hit a rolling boil in no time! And I am wondering if Chelsea and Billy's growing relationship will be the catalyst that launches this storyline into full-blown drama. Their scenes recently have me thinking that their professional relationship will turn a little more personal in the near future, which is actually kind of exciting to me. This is the most I've been excited about either character in a long time, so bring it on!

Another potential coupling that has taken me by surprise lately is Nick and Sally. I have really enjoyed seeing them interact, and they do complement each other quite well. While I am intrigued by the possibility of a coupling between them, I am not rooting for them just yet. I don't know if I'll ever give up hope for an Adam and Sally reunion (even if Nick and Sally end up together at some point first). Hell, it wouldn't be the first time the two Newman brothers fought over the same woman!

I'm also still rooting for Nick and Sharon to find their way back to one another, so that's another reason I can't fully get behind Nick and Sally. Nick and Sharon's love story is as classic and Nikki and Victor's, so it would be a shame for the writers to not take advantage of them both being single and lonely again at the same time. Having said that, though, I do also really like them as friends lately, and it is nice how they are able to lean on each other. Yes, they can still lean on each other and support each other as a couple, but it would obviously be on a different level. I like where they are now, so if Sally is a bump in the road on Nick's way back to Sharon, then I would be okay with that. It could be refreshing to see Nick with someone new for a little while -- at least until Adam and Sally get back together!

Before closing out this week, I suppose I should mention one of the larger storylines from this past week -- Chance's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ashland's death. Even though I am a little disappointed that the Newmans (Victor, in particular) are getting away with yet another crime, I am also relieved that the storyline is not being dragged out for months on end.

I agree with Chance's decision to close out the case because, although Victor's security team moved the body to make his death look like an accident, Nick did not set out to purposely kill Ashland when he punched him to the ground. And even though Nick was acting out of anger when he punched Ashland (not in self-defense like they keep insisting), it is also true that Ashland went to Victoria's home with the intention of harming her that night, and she might have been the one that ended up dead if Nick hadn't intervened.

I am curious to see where Chance's storyline may go from here because, although he felt justified that justice was served in this case and that is why he decided to drop it, he still seemed like he was struggling with the decision to let his father-in-law and siblings-in-law off the hook when he knew there was more to the story. Will this cause a rift between him and Abby because he ignored the law to support her family? Will this set him back in his struggle with his mental health? Only time will tell!

That's all for this week, folks! Don't forget to hit the comments and let me know what you think about all these summer storylines and where you think they are headed.

Until next time,
Vance

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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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