One Life to Love
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October 4-8 1999

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So, Jessica ran down Dorian and Viki stood over her dying enemy laughing and laughing and laughing. No, of course that's not what happened! At the penultimate moment, Jessica snapped out of it (whatever "it" is/was), slammed on the brakes, and everyone had a heartwarming group hug. OK, that last part didn't happen either, but almost. What did happen is that Jessica did apologize, Dorian graciously waved off her regrets, and everyone went home.

Don't get me wrong, there were some stellar moments to this story's denouement. I loved the dramatic tableau of Viki, Dorian, Jess, and Will standing in the diffused glow of the headlights, a freeze-frame snapshot of sorrow, shock, and regret, and I also liked the moment when Viki held out her hand to help a kneeling Dorian to her feet. But we all knew Jessica would come to her senses and that no one would get hurt (physically), so there was no real suspense. What was surprising were Viki's actions. I mean, what was she thinking of? Risking Jessica's future (not to mention Dorian's life) on some pop psychology hunch that Jessica wouldn't be able to actually run Dorian down? Crazy!

And how about when Viki left Jessica at Llanfair (with Will) to go to Dorian's house to help clean up the aftermath of Jessica's rampage. "Gee, Dorian, a little Murphy's Oil Soap and that 'Baby Killer' graffiti will come right off." Naturally, the two ladies had another one of their "let's not do this to each other" chats, but this umpteenth rapprochement felt much too rushed. It really undercuts a story's effectiveness when the ending is not played out with care and given enough time and attention, and I feel like that's whatís happening here.

Yes, Viki would seek out Dorian for closure, but not that very night and not if it meant leaving a confused and shaken Jessica. And what is going on with Jess? Are we supposed to think it was an alter who was terrorizing Dorian (I don't think DID is a genetic disorder) or was her aberrant behavior the result of post-traumatic stress? Does the show intend to deal with this or will Jessica just take a really long nap and be good as new. More likely, it'll be the usual dose of off-screen therapy that does the trick.

Now, let's talk about the shortest storyline on record: Ben and Skye's baby. Ben sure came off like a prize dunce letting Skye bamboozle him into thinking he was a father. But what a surprise when two seconds later, she pulled the emotional rug out from under him by admitting she'd made up the whole story. Huh? You could've knocked me down with a feather. Here I was thinking we had months of (yet another) faux paternity story. I guess I'm relieved, though I have to question Skye's strategy. That was the best response she'd gotten out of Ben since she showed in Llanview -- why give it up? What exactly does Skye want? Except for his brief enthusiasm over her made-up baby, Ben has displayed zero interest in her, in fact, he's openly hostile. Skye has no emotional hold over Ben, and for all her conniving she's really not much of a threat -- more petulant than dangerous. And when her one ally (Asa) got fed up and sent her packing, Skye quickly caved in to Ben's threats about jail time (for bribing some guy in Nevada to pull his medical license) and signed the divorce papers -- is she really cutting her losses? What's next for Skye? Now she's nosing into the Blair/Max/Ester situation. Why? Is she just gonna function as an all-around trouble-maker (kind of the "bad" version to Rae's good one). I mean, lately, the most interesting thing about Skye is her revolving series of snappy hairstyles. If she's out of the picture as a spoiler for Blendie, then somebody better come up with something for this lady to do -- and fast!

Wily old Ester is still on the scene working all the angles to get her million dollars. It's fun watching her toy with Max and Blair, they really come off like a couple of bumbling idiots. And can someone explain to me the purpose of the document they want Ester to sign? On what planet would a signed promise not to blackmail further be legally binding? I can't believe Max thinks he can appeal to Ester's softer side with his sappy plea to keep quiet for the sake of Asa and Renee -- come off it! This sudden marshmallow attitude towards his "parents" is too bizarre. Max is so concerned about "hurting" Asa and Renee but what about the fact that not only is he lying to them and misrepresenting himself, he's also keeping them from knowing their real son (oh yeah, and he's stealing Renee's jewels to pay off Ester). I'd hate to think what he'd do if he didn't care!

A few weeks ago I had the brief hope that this Max/Asa/Renee story might finally be getting interesting. Instead, it's just more of the same pointless, repetitive, and unbelievable storytelling. It's also dull, dull, dull! I don't want to see a story about Max scamming Asa where Max feels guilty and ashamed. Max needs to be enjoying the scam -- for weeks now James DePaiva has looked glum and depressed, and Blair is completely wasted. I'm just about ready to write-off this story completely. If it's not going to improve, then wrap it up and move on. The lone bright spot are the scenes between Asa and Starr.

Oh goody! More sappy softcore interludes between Kevin and Grace. Ho hum. I actually zoned out during their extended pillow talk and started planning my grocery list. If these two aren't pawing each other, they're playing dumb mind games. The way Grace scampers off every time her feelings get hurt (over some dumb misunderstanding), is really too much. Yes, dear, those raging insecurities of yours are sooo attractive. If this couple ever moves in together, Kevin will need to install a revolving door at the Mill House.

Nora's defense of rapist Brian Harris went from bad to worse. First he sandbagged her in court by changing his plea to "not guilty," then he fired her (after Sam told him about her failed defense of Todd, Zach, and Powell), then he took her hostage! First of all, I just have to ask why Harris would ever agree to cop a plea. In this day and age of mandatory minimums and given the very serious nature of his crimes, I can't imagine the state could offer him much of deal, so why plead guilty? He's got nothing to lose by going to trial and it's probably an ego trip for him to be the continued center of attention, not to mention a way to keep some control over Kelly and Rae since they would have to face him to testify and thus relive the experience.

Secondly, I hate to seem like Brian's advocate, but Nora really wasn't doing a very good job for her client. I didn't hear any talk of a psychiatric evaluation or diminished capacity. In fact, Nora seemed so freaked out by Harris that I question her ability to offer a competent defense, which might cause any conviction to be thrown out on appeal (as would Sam's shenanigans in tampering with their lawyer/client relationship).

But all legality aside, I thought Sam was a good egg for getting involved, even though it resulted in a hostage situation. His intentions were noble. More stellar police work from the LPD as Harris got hold of a guard's gun and took Nora hostage. Then Sam got Brian to make a trade (Sam for Nora), then the LPD burst through the door armed and dangerous, and then I'm not exactly quite sure what happened next.

Bo kept flashing back to the scene at the Palace rooftop where he mistakenly shot Sam, then Sykes snuck around the back way and when Sam grabbed Harris's gun, Sykes shot Harris, while Bo stood there all freaked out. I guess we were supposed to think Bo had lost his nerve. At least that's what Bo seemed to think. But how could he have gotten off a clean shot from his vantage point with Harris holding a gun on Sam? Sykes succeeded because he had the element of surprise and because Sam had grabbed for the gun and it was pointed at the ceiling. Yes, you need to make decision quickly as a police officer, but not recklessly and not without weighing all the options and risks.

Anyhow, Bo moped around for a bit afterwards, second-guessing himself and questioning his professional competence until Nora showed up and told him what a great guy he was (a great cop and a great man, were her exact words). That seemed to cheer him up. Even though I didn't buy the stuff about Bo, I must admit that the hostage scenes were well-staged -- believable and tightly edited with that dramatic music video flavor JFP seems to favor -- lots of slow motion and moody alt. rock wailing in the background.

And here's your final smidge of Midge for the week:

  • I think it's so weird that Kelly can listen to Grace drone on and on about her relationship with Kevin and Kelly never mentions her cousin Cassie (Kevinís most recent ex).
  • Is the Jess-as-Stalker revelation totally hush-hush? By the end of the week, it didn't seem as if Kevin and Joey knew anything about it.
  • Here's my prediction about Dorian. The Peterson verdict will be revoked but she'll be spared any jail time after Viki gives an impassioned plea on Dorian's behalf at her re-sentencing.
  • Ester has plenty of street smarts, so I hardly think she would fall for Skye's oh-so-obvious fishing expedition.
  • Even after Skye signed the divorce papers, Ben couldnít resist gloating -- real classy.
  • Awwww, Bo called Nora "Red." And she loved it! It's clear to me that while Nora does love Sam, she's still "in love" with Bo. I'm just not sure Bo feels the same way.
  • With Dorian threatening to turn over a new leaf, thank god Asa is still his unrepentant ornery self.
  • Tee hee -- Lindsay's positive new attitude disappeared as quickly as her big grin when she caught Bo and Nora in a (friendly) clinch.
  • Lots of Todd talk lately -- is something brewing behind-the-scenes?
  • Is this really the last we'll see of that great Dynasty-style portrait of Dorian? I hope not.
  • I cracked up at Ben's Incredible Hulk routine -- ripping the door off the wall to get out of that locked bathroom.
  • Very nice hair cut on John Bolger and Asa looks much better in those updated specs.
  • How dare Viki tell Ben that she's waited her whole life for someone to say "I'm gonna take care of everything." From Joe Reilly to Clint Buchanan to Sloane Carpenter, every man she's ever loved has been there for her.
  • Well, whatever Tea had must be contagious 'cause R.J. is suffering from a bad case of the stupids. I mean, he goes to all the trouble to meet with Peterson in NYC, then starts having a heated discussion with him right in the Llanview Courthouse hallway!
  • I'm used to everyone on soaps being effortlessly wealthy, but how in the world can Sam produce a million dollars on the spot. Yes, he's a very successful attorney, but this is ridiculous! Even the Bill Gates of the world don't have a million in liquid assets (or do they?).

Till next week!

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