One Life to Love
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September 27-October 1 1999

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The mystery is solved! Jessica is the one who's been tormenting Dorian.

I'm torn about this one. On the one hand, I have always appreciated Jessica as the most down-to-earth, level-headed, and normal of all the Buchanans, but on the other hand, she is Viki's daughter. For a long time Iíve felt that something was not quite right about Jessica's reaction to Megan's death. She seemed to have gotten over the death of her baby much too easily -- she was too forgiving, too dispassionate -- so this revelation does make dramatic sense. And I love the cheesy symmetry of having Dorian first figuratively haunted by visions of Jessica and now literally spooked by her.

I've always enjoyed Erin Torphy's portrayal of Jessica. Her open, natural manner is charming and engaging, but recently, she has really impressed me with her growing maturity as a performer. Her portrayal of a badly shaken, emotionally scarred young women has been believable and moving, especially during the fantasy sequences with Megan. I like the fact that mixed into the emotional swirl of anger, pain, grief, and hate are Jessicaís own feelings of guilt over her conflicted reaction to her pregnancy. On one level, she feels responsible: Since she didn't want this baby (initially), her rejection ďcausedĒ Meganís death. But the Jessica who confronted Dorian at Crossroads was all cold malevolence: a vacant vengeful Kewpie doll. When she said to Dorian, "I want you to die," it was both tragic and chilling.

And let's talk cliffhangers! Wow! How over-the-top was Friday's cliff with Dorian kneeling in the road in the role of sacrificial lamb and Jessica behind the wheel gunning the engine! Take that, Passions!

And where does Dorian fit into all this? You know, I love Dorian and have bent over backwards giving her the benefit of the doubt about the accident that killed Megan, but even I was appalled at the way she kept hounding poor Jessica with her accusations against Viki. Why couldn't Dorian take the high road and just ignore these childish notes and pranks? A few days later, all was forgiven during the scenes at Megan's grave and later at the Palace when Dorian (mistakenly) confessed to Bo that she herself was responsible for the haunting. Dorian's greatest fear has always been losing her sanity, so this admission came at great cost.

Of course, Dorian soon realized that she wasn't to blame, first believing it was Will (who confessed to shield Jess), and then discovering that Jessica was responsible. It took a lot of guts for Dorian to go to Crossroads to meet her tormentor face to face, but would this tenacious survivor really agree to become Jessica's victim to even the score? Possibly, yes. Let's not forget what Dorian has been through in recent years: the discovery that her mother was both alive and a raving lunatic who had killed her father, then killing her own mother to save Cassie, the loss of Mel, Cassie's relapse into mental illness, and finally, accidentally running down Jessica and killing her baby. Yes, even someone as tough and strong-willed as Dorian might welcome death as alternative to the pain of living.

Oh goody, Ester Hoffman's back. And I'd swear she's sporting the same outfit she had on last time. Apparently she blew the hundred grand she weaseled out of Max and Blair on blackjack, so now she's back for another shakedown and this time the asking price for her silence is one million dollars! Talk about inflation! And just in case they don't come through, Ester has Plan B all lined up: Selling the information to Sam for leverage with Asa. Yep, one more fly in the ointment for Max and Blair. I think Ester is great. She's a first-class chiseler and I love how she puts the screws to those two lame connivers Blair and Max. You know, for being such a much-ballyhooed schemer, Blair has the worst poker face I've ever seen!

You know Blair is living right here in Llanview but she seems a million miles away from all the Cramer Women action. She's been barely involved in Dorian's troubles and seems to have no knowledge of Kelly's recent crisis. What gives?

I'm no Roseanne fan but am quickly working up a good head of steam on her behalf. The girl turns herself inside out trying to make Cristian happy -- scrubbing their filthy new apartment, sharing his bed when it suits him (though that probably wasn't too much of a sacrifice!), and now shaking her slinky tailfeather for tips at Club Sable, her sleazy new place of employment. And he's still mooning over Jessica! BTW: the guy who plays Roseanne's scuzzy boss is excellent! And doesn't he resemble a young David Canary (AMC powerhouse Adam Chandler).

Let me understand this: Cris is too proud to accept money from a billionaire like Asa, but feels little compunction about mooching off good friend Rosie. Boy, this kid is really in the doghouse with Midge. What a big baby! Roseanne is busting her hump for this guy and he just sits around pouting over Jessica. Grow up!

Imagine that! Viki and Ben and Skye all wound up in Palm Beach, Florida at the same time. Of course, soaps are always full of wild coincidences and this time the writers at least made a stab at believability by tossing in a line of dialogue about Palm Beach being one of Asa's favorite getaways (thus explaining why he would send Skye there). As a former AMC viewer, I was tickled by the off-screen crossover with Skye talking to Adam on the phone. Personally, I've always felt that AMC blew it big time by failing to capitalize on the Skye vs. Haley/bad daughter vs. good daughter rivalry. Maybe when she's finished with Llanview, Skye can pick up where she left off back in Pine Valley?

You know, I might actually warm up to Ben and Viki as a couple if their scenes together weren't such sappy drivel. That whole goo-goo gaga nonsense with the cigar band engagement ring and the fantasy of a parallel universe had me reaching for the mute button. And guess what? Ben likes kids. So what's stopping Ben and Viki from starting a family some day. If it's not possible the old-fashioned way (and Viki hinted it was not), there are many other options these days, including adoption.

Naturally, Skye just happened to hear ol' Benjie wax poetic on the subject of offspring as she eavesdropped on the two lovebirds, seemingly invisible behind a potted plant all of six feet away (and wearing a very unflattering shapeless beige tunic!). So once Viki had flown back to Llanview (Will called to tell her about Jessica), Skye dropped the bombshell to her unhappy hubby that he was a daddy. Now all she has to do is dig up some hapless kid to play the part.

And the unexpected popularity of Palm Beach wasn't this week's only coincidence: R.J. just happened to choose Club Sable to rendezvous with dirty judge Peterson. Now Roseanne has something else to think about besides Cristian.

Nora's professional distance flew right out the window during her first encounter with new client Brian Harris, the Tattoo Rapist. Unfortunately, by tipping her hand and letting Brian see her emotional response, she may have aroused his predatory instincts.

Brava to HBS for Nora's impassioned speech about the law and how her responsibility to the larger principle has become a double-edged sword. Sam keeps piling up those brownie points with Midge. His offer to step into the breach and take over Harris's defense was in marked contrast to Bo's cold reaction to Nora's distress.

Usually Bo can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, but his preachy lecture to Sam (telling him to back off Will) really annoyed me. And what's with this Zen policing -- letting Will and Viki go off to "work things out." Must the civilians do all the LPD's work!

I know Will's been through a lot, but one of these days when this kid gets his you-know-what together, he's gonna owe his parents (especially his father) a major apology. Sam has bent over backwards and then some for his son, and he's gotten nothing in return but coldness and rejection.

It seems to me that Sam and Asa are both enjoying their daily verbal jousting -- it's like that bracing second cup of coffee, it gets them going! Sam scored at direct hit by nailing Asa in his weak spot: family. Sam's prediction that Jess and Cris might one day make them all in-laws sent Asa reeling! Sam has got to be the true missing Buchanan heir. Age-wise, it's a stretch, but nothing else would have the same dramatic payoff (certainly not John Sykes!) And consider this: Renee has always instinctively liked Sam.

Attention Linda Soto fans: Andrea Navedo debuts on The Guiding Light October 4 in the role of Danny's ex-girlfriend Theresa.

And now for my weekly dose of Grace-and-Kevin bashing. First as individuals, then as a couple:

Grace certainly has a bizarre notion of holding down the fort. First she offers to take over publishing duties at the Sun for a few days so Kelly can recuperate from her ordeal, then she spends the afternoon playing slap-and-tickle with Kevin in Kelly's office.

Kevin's ego can sometimes be funny and charming, but lately (and especially with Grace), he's horribly smug, superior, and over-bearing.

Can this couple get any more puerile. Grace was pouting like a schoolgirl because Kevin dissed her writing ability in his diary (excuse me, reporter's notebook). What next? Is Kev gonna dunk lil' Gracie's pigtails in the ink well? And why does Grace need Kevin to validate her ability as a reporter?

And a few final snippets --

  • Good ol' Hang 'em Hank! Everyone else felt something was fishy about Will's confession, but Hank was ready to play judge and jury.
  • Anyone else curious about Grace's article on "mosh pit people"?
  • Once again, Viki is too wrapped up in her own life to notice that something is terribly wrong with her daughter.
  • I realize emotions are running high, but does Dorian really think it would be good for Jessica's mental health to add murder to her resume?
  • Hey, where are Al and the twins? Weren't they supposed to be part of the one-big-family equation over at Asa's mansion?
  • Why is Cris and Roseanne's NYC apartment bathed in a red glow? Itís Manhattan not Mars!
  • Q: Why wasn't Andrew at the cemetery to comfort Dorian instead of some Central Casting rent-a-padre? A: Because Wortham Krimmer is now on recurring status. No comment.
  • Glad to see Tea finally wising up about R.J.'s interest in the Peterson investigation.
  • So much for Dorian's expensive new security system. Both Will and Jessica just walked in the front door. A $50 nanny-cam would've done a better job.
  • Anyone else spot the smoldering spark that still exists between Tea and Kevin? They've got chemistry and history.
  • Jessica's psychosis seems to have gifted her with the super powers of The Flash. How else did she get from the Palace to Dorian's home, trash the place, plant tapes, spray-paint Baby Killer graffiti throughout, and then make it back to the gazebo to hallucinate about Megan so quickly?
  • When Joey was trying to comfort Kelly for being Brian's dupe, why didn't he mention his own recent gullibility with nutjob Barbara Graham?
  • Ben's a doctor and he mistrusts Skye. So why believe her story about their baby? He should've insisted on an on-the-spot gyno exam!

Till next week!

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