So, just as time was ticking away while we waited for Ashley's exit, I reflected on what exactly made the character of Ashley Abbott tick. While a figurative yet noisy clock was counting down the seconds until her departure, I realized I had never really known Ashley at all. From all my observations, while I wouldn't say she was pure as the driven snow, I had truly believed that Ashley was an honest and loyal person, who was good deep down and true blue to the core. Sure, I saw that Ashley was professionally ambitious and that she desired power. But Ashley also saw the family business as a product of her beloved father, whom she had always adored.
In Ashley's world, everything to her was John, and nothing was Dina, so it was rather ironic that Dina had always held the key -- or should I say, contract -- that would essentially give Ashley her heart's desire, Jabot. While it may have been too little, too late for Dina with Ashley, at least it was a gallant effort to deed to Ashley the patents and ideas of any and all Jabot products that Ashley had created or inspired. Yep, Kyle was right -- those were the lifeblood of the company, and the contract was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. Tick, tick, tick. So, Jack defused it by shredding the document, only to have Traci find it and paste it back together again. That must have been one crazy jigsaw puzzle. Oh, this would surely kill the next joyous Abbott family reunion.
And that became very apparent when Traci suddenly called a family meeting, and, thank goodness, it wasn't another intervention. Traci always gives such good advice, but nobody ever listens to her. Traci feared the Abbotts wouldn't be able to recover from all the heartbreak, and who can blame her? They tend to turn on each other at a moment's notice, but maybe Traci was right, and it was because they were jealous of each other. But Traci, the youngest and the quiet one, had been in the perfect position to observe it all when they were growing up.
Ashley had been the apple of John's eye, and Jack had been Dina's favorite, which had created a rivalry to apparently last for all time. Traci remembered that Jack was always working overtime at the office to try to live up to the name of John Abbott Jr., to which Billy replied, "The more things change." And Jack was still trying to live up to John's name and legacy, so the more things stayed the same. Jack had to have been terribly lonely, though, since not even John had comforted Jack after Dina left. This had not been the saintly John's most endearing quality, because Jack must have truly missed his mother. How sad for them both. If John and Jack had bonded after Dina had first deserted them, it could have changed the whole future family dynamic.
If John doted on Ashley, and Dina saved all her special smiles for Jack, where did Traci fit in? She's the one I really feel sorry for. It seems like Traci, not Ashley, was the one on the outside, looking in. John and Dina seemed to have overlooked the young girl's very presence. But since Traci was the quiet one, she was probably just fine with being forgotten, as she let her older siblings hog the limelight of their parents' attention -- as well as all the drama. And for that reason, Traci turned out to have the healthiest outlook on people and on life.
Anyway, Traci knew John would be ashamed of them all, so she forced Jack to confess his knowledge of the contract. And Jack actually looked ashamed when he did, unlike Ashley when she revealed the hoax she had created regarding Jack's paternity. But strangely, that protective gesture by Dina broke through Ashley's tough fašade and reached her heart when Ashley finally realized that her mother had loved her, after all. Ashley finally appeared to regret her bad behavior toward her mother throughout the years.
I mean, really, look at the way Ashley treated her mother, even after the Abbott family learned that Dina had Alzheimer's. Ashley had been standoffish with Dina before, but once the truth came out about Dina's medical condition, Ashley still never made much of an effort to spend more time with her. Jack practically had to strong-arm Ashley into staying with Dina at times when he couldn't be around. Ashley could never be bothered, because Jabot was always her number one priority. And she even admitted she had been angry and bitter with her mother, whom she considered unloving and selfish. In her eyes, Dina was the worst mother possible, which made Ashley determined to never let herself get close to Dina again. That's just sad.
Jabot became the love of Ashley's life and the one major connection to her dad, John Abbott. Her mother, her siblings, and even her own daughter seemed unable to touch her heart like the family business could. Ashley proved that when she threw Abby to the wolves by involving her daughter in Jack's paternity cover-up. She had to know that Abby would never willingly do anything to hurt her uncle in such a cruel fashion, but Ashley just didn't concern herself with that. She never even considered or cared how her daughter would feel about being such an unwilling participant in the deception. That's just cold.
To Ashley, her mother didn't matter, her siblings didn't matter, and even her daughter didn't matter. Only Jabot mattered, and she was going to get back at Jack for keeping her true love from her, darn the consequences, so Ashley put her scheme into motion. Then, when the truth was revealed, Ashley justified doing such a horrible thing to her brother by insisting they were even-steven after Jack had used the blood Abbott clause against her. However, the big difference was that Jack had not created Ashley's biological situation, and he also didn't create the clause to use against her. The clause had originally been intended to protect Jabot from Phyllis. But Ashley was the one who pulled the dirty stunt of making Jack believe that his adored father was no longer his biological dad. Ashley knew how much Jack had loved their father, John Abbott, and she used that against him.
I still can't believe what Ashley did. Although I knew she had always wanted to be Jabot's one-and-only leader, I never really saw just how far she would go to accomplish that goal. Ashley had put on the kind and concerned sister face the entire time Jack struggled to find his identity, so I fell for her act, also. After all, Ashley always seemed cool and in control of her emotions, so there was no reason to suspect that she'd had anything to do with the ruse. In most situations, Ashley was as cool as a cucumber. It was just her nature -- or so I thought.
And even after the truth came out about Jack's true father and the lengths she had gone to to make Jack believe he wasn't John's son, I truly believed Ashley would eventually regret the horrible actions that she'd taken and would feel so ashamed that she would decide to leave town with her tail between her legs. Silly me. All Ashley did was to go around Genoa City, justifying her actions to anyone she saw. Apparently, she felt no guilt or shame about anything she had done. I almost felt betrayed, but I really should have suspected...something.
So, when her anger toward him intensified because of the contract, Jack reminded Ashley that what she had done to him was far worse. The contract gave all the power to Ashley, and she tried to grasp that power, which could essentially lead to Jabot's death spiral, as Jack so eloquently put it. The document that was meant to level the playing field for Ashley could destroy the Abbott dynamic forever, since she only wanted what she had always wanted -- to be CEO of Jabot. Tick, tick, tick...kaboom! It seemed that time bomb just went off.
Gee, if only that contract had reared its ugly head earlier in the year. Jack could have been spared all the torture of believing he wasn't John's biological son, since Ashley wouldn't have needed to go to such extremes. So, in a sense, she would be rewarded for tormenting her brother. I guess playing to win does have its advantages. But after the family refused to play with her, Ashley decided to pick up her shovel and pail and take her patents with her to a new sandbox. That'll show them. Somehow, I doubt if Jack and Billy will be seeing her off at the airport, since they apparently will have some damage control to do at Jabot. But it's going to be a whole new ballgame at Jabot, especially if a non-Abbott takes charge. Phyllis? That would be so ironic, since the blood Abbott clause was created specifically to prevent that from ever happening.
Although it's a little bizarre, this is my tribute to Ashley, who became more of a stranger to me than an adored soap friend in the long run. But I will miss her when she's gone, especially since there is still so much story to tell for her. There were certainly some missed opportunities. It would have been nice to see Neil as her real love interest instead of just having them flirt around with each other from time to time. And I really wish the writers had done more with the rivalry between Ashley and Victoria when they were both vying for control of Newman Enterprises and probably also for Victor's attention. A duel to the end would have been quite interesting and entertaining. Alas.
However, Victoria was busy with her own stuff, worrying about the fallout over J.T.'s demise. Okay, let me get this straight. Someone was blackmailing the ladies with vague threats about J.T.'s impromptu gravesite, so Phyllis and Nikki thought it would be wise to pay the person one dollar...to do what? Antagonize the one who was willing to go through the trouble of blackmailing them? I mean, I could see it if the Fearless Foursome had nothing to hide. But when you are covering up a huge secret that could send you to prison, you should probably play nice with the one who could possibly take it all away. Or at least try to find out what that person knows. For four intelligent women, that was a stupid thing to do.
When I was first considering the possible list of suspects, I never even thought of the one person who should have jumped immediately to mind: Tessa, which Christine suggested in last week's Two Scoops. She's desperate for money, and Mariah was close enough to the tragic situation to possibly have made Tessa suspicious. And Tessa appeared to be willing to do whatever it took to get the funds to rescue her sister...or whatever. Tessa can be a cold fish, and Mariah will probably learn that in time -- just as her brother eventually learned.
I think the writers were teasing me, because I still love Jack and Phyllis together. He adores her, which was obvious after he declared how proud he was of her for taking control of her life again. Jack has always had the ability to see the goodness in Phyllis, even when the ugliness showed through. As Phyllis would say, Jack was the path bathed in blue skies and sunshine, leading to happiness and enlightenment, while Billy was the dark and dangerous one filled with quicksand and poisonous mushrooms -- what picturesque phrases could describe the two brothers. Phyllis had definitely left the better path, Jack, for the screw-up, Billy, who was "a riddle wrapped in a mystery at the bottom of a scotch glass." That's a pretty accurate depiction, Billy, even if you say so yourself.
Gosh, Ashley did a whole lot worse to Jack than she ever did to Billy, but Billy was the one who didn't seem ready to forgive her. He felt Ashley had only undermined him at every turn when he was CEO because she had wanted him to fail. Poor Billy. So misunderstood. There's the difference between Jack and Billy. Jack will admit when he is wrong, but Billy didn't even try to see that he had also made mistakes. Ashley was right. Billy never even tried to get rid of the blood Abbott clause. Billy only took advantage of a bad situation where he could finally rule the roost...and he almost took down the entire kingdom during his reign.
Although I'm not crystal clear on how Lily was able to get a container of Vaseline into her prison cell, it was great that she was trying to find a positive way to survive her time in the slammer. An alternative beauty consultant. Opening a salon should occupy her mind enough to stop her from dwelling on her past mistakes, if the prison would allow it. With her new job, her awareness to keep from being a target, and Cane's encouragement, Lily should be able to get through her time, which was slowly ticking by. Maybe as a beauty consultant, those ticks would seem to pass a little more quickly for her.
But, of course, that would have been too easy. Really, Lily should have heeded her own advice. She tried to help another girl, which backfired, and she ended up becoming a target of some disgruntled inmates. As a result, Cane learned that his wife was being put in solitary. Sheesh, and Lily thought having only an hour of visiting time was bad. She'd go stir crazy. But the prison's only other choice for Lily was to transfer her to another prison four hours away, and since we knew Christel Khalil requested to be placed on recurring status, we knew what the decision would be. I just hope it's a scenic drive for Cane and the twins.
Neil actually asked the warden about moving the other inmates to another prison, and, no surprise, his request was turned down. I mean, would the prison be expected to move inmates anytime one looked cross-eyed at Lily? She wouldn't have to be put in solitary then, because she could end up having the entire prison to herself. But since life is not always fair or rosy, Lily's goodbye her kids was the perfect advice to give them, reminding them that better days would be ahead. "Remember, the morning always comes after the night." Nice.
I guess we'd better hold onto our hats, because you know it won't be too long before Rey's "invisible wife" arrives in town.
Traci thought it was great that Dina trusted Kyle. What? You sure could have fooled me the way Dina ripped into Kyle in the Jabot CEO office. But they'll always have Marlon Brando, so I guess there's that.
Showing clips from the past was an interesting way to show things from Traci's perspective. Cool car!
Ahhh, Billy and Victoria are sweet together. I liked Victoria's smile after Billy hinted revenge sex with her could never be meaningless. Let the Halloween costume competition begin.
I was so pleased to read in an interview with Soap Central that Sharon Case is Team Shick, too. I have been rooting for Sharon and Nick for so many years, and it's always nice to know that the actress is on your (and her) side, also.
Until next time, please stay tuned -- and keep on buzzing.
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