One Life to Love
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November 2-5 1999

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Ooops! Midge forgot to adjust her VCR for daylight savings time, so I taped AMC instead of OLTL on Monday. Looks like I didn't miss much, however, since Grace didn't actually expire until Tuesday. Forging ahead...

Kudos to the cast for what must've been uncomfortable and grueling wet work. The underwater scenes looked real and were extremely well done. Never for a moment, did I feel like I was watching Kevin and Bo splash around in a tank of water. And what a chilling sight as Kevin pulled his seemingly lifeless fiancée through the murky water to the surface.

I do, however, have a couple questions:

Why didn't either Viki or Nora offer their coats to cover a cold, wet, hypothermic Grace? Precious minutes passed before the cops showed up with blankets (rather chic palomino-striped blankets, I might add), and that extra warmth might have done some good!

And once the EMTs arrived, they sure were quick to throw in the towel. Why wasn't Grace transported to the hospital? Not only does that seem like proper medical procedure, but I would've been spared the lachrymose sight of a distraught Kevin pawing his dead beloved. And not to be too cold-hearted and clinical, but what about the issue of organ donation?

Why do Buchanan men insist on making a fetish out of corpses? For a minute there, I feared Kevin might cart Grace all over town like Bo did Drew. Haven't these guys seen Weekend at Bernies? Dead is dead, fellas, thatís all she wrote.

Actually, Tim Gibbs did a fine job portraying Kevin's grief, especially when he underplayed. The haunting ballad (ďSay Goodbye,Ē by Beth Nielsen Chapman -- thanks, posters!) that accompanied these scenes was quite effective, though the scene at the morgue with Kevin surrounding Grace's body with candles was awfully gothic, and the attack on the poor pathologist was a bit over the top. Kevinís final farewell to Grace also fell flat. I could see what the writers were going for, a kind of casual heartbreak, but having Kevin say to a lifeless Grace "see you around" could only provoke giggles.

Initially, Viki attempts at comforting her son were pretty sorry. Those pious platitudes and windy philosophical utterances would surely give little, if any, comfort to someone in Kevin's position. Later, when she spoke from the heart about her own losses (specifically Joe Reilly, but let's not forget Sloan Carpenter), she seemed to finally connect with her son on an emotional level.

With this latest tragedy, Dorian may have to relinquish her title as "Most Hated Person in Llanview" to Asa. Yet, even as Dorian had her core group of supporters (R.J., Kelly, and, to a lesser-extent, Nora), Asa's not entirely without backup: Max, Jessica, and probably Renee (though she was mysteriously absent from the show in the days following Grace's death).

With all apologies to Susan Misner fans, Grace's death was a stroke of genius. Killing people off on soaps has become a difficult business. These days, no one wants to sacrifice a strong, vital character or lose forever a popular performer who wants to fly the coop, so the door is left open for his or her return (typically, the body is never found: Maria/AMC, Brenda/GH). Yet death is such a stunning dramatic event that the writers want to make use of it in their storytelling, but killing off expendables and nobodies doesn't pack much of a punch. The solution: bump off a character who, while not a major player herself, is important to those who are. Not only does Grace's death puts some real teeth into the enmity between Asa and Ben and Sam, it puts Asa at odds with son Bo and grandson Kevin, puts a wedge between Jess and Will, causes problems for Viki and Ben, gives Skye newfound leverage with Ben, opens old wounds between Sam and Bo, and puts Nora back between a rock and a hard place. Neat trick that. It's a real choosing sides situation now, and the question of the hour is this: "Which side are you on?"

Renee is in an especially tight spot. If she truly can't live without Asa, then she's gonna have to put up with a lot or start practicing some serious denial. He's clearly never going to change. Actually, I was surprised that the story Asa initially told Renee was a truthful as it was, with a few pertinent facts left out (like the fact that he locked Grace in and was blackmailing her).

In Asa's defense, it's not as though the Rappa-Davidson's haven't pulled a few annoying stunts: Lindsay married Clint, mainly to spite Sam, and then took him for a bundle; Sam helped break up Nora and Bo's marriage; Will knocked up Jessica; and Grace was hiding an unsavory past. And I honestly don't think Asa intended to physically hurt Grace. Just like the situation with Dorian and Jessica, this was an accident. And just as in the Dorian scenario, the history of ill will between the families is coloring everyone's reaction.

Ben showed his true colors by attempting to go medieval on Asa. Then he shut out Viki, thereby opening the door, just a crack, for Skye to make her move. I just have to say that I find Ben to be incredibly inauthentic. He's always huffing and puffing and blustering and sputtering, but I never "believe" a word of it. I don't truly believe in his love for Viki, his family feeling for Sam and Grace, or his hatred for Asa. Kevin's grief moved me and Sam's grief moved me, but Ben's did not. It's partly the way the character has been conceived and written (someone's notion of an appealing male fantasy figure for the post-menopausal set), but I have to also fault Mark Derwin for failing to make this character come alive.

His sister's death has finally pushed reasonable, rational Sam over the edge. This celebrated defense attorney wants to forget all about due process and string Asa up on the spot. He wants Asa arrested and charged with murder in the second degree and he wants Bo removed from the case (he thinks he's covering up for Asa). Well, don't hold your breath, Sammy boy. This ain't Texas, but Llanview, PA is still "Buchanan Country." Actually, murder two is a bit of a stretch, all things considered. I'm afraid, Sam will have to seek the cold comfort of legal justice in civil court. In a criminal trial, Asa would have reasonable doubt on this side, and there would always be at least one out of 12 who would see things from the old man's perspective.

It's ironic. Now Sam knows exactly how Will felt when the person he held directly responsible for Megan's death got off scot-free. As I remember, at the time of Dorian's sentencing, Sam urged restraint. Like so many of us, Sam Rappaport fails to practice what he preaches.

When Rae heard the news of Grace's death, it was "boo-hoos" all around. Then she snapped back to attention and made immediate plans to travel to Pine Valley to find Daniel, telling John that she "owed" it to Grace. Huh? John took the news pretty hard. But I'm confused. Is Rae giving John the old heave ho? I understand that she needs to go to PV to look for her errant spouse, but both she and John are acting like she's never coming back. Is that true? After she takes care of business on AMC, is the character off to General Hospital or Port Charles next?

Of course, it wasn't all about Grace this week, there was some forward momentum on the Jess/Will front and a few scenes with Roseanne and Cris.

I know I've been critical of Cristian, but I really felt for the guy as Roseanne continued to fixate on him, chanting her mantra of "You're my world, your dreams are my dreams," in a Manson-girl-like monotone. Kinda scary. It took awhile, but Cristian finally realizes how much of an emotional investment Roseanne has made in him. He wisely encouraged her to follow her own dreams, go back to school, make plans for her own life and career -- all good advice, motivated partly by genuine concern and partly out of healthy self-interest. Roseanne's obsessive "love" verges awfully close on fatal attraction territory.

Jess thinks she's falling for Will. But if she knew about his little arrangement with Roseanne or the sneaky way he kept the truth from her about Cris coming to Llanview, those feelings would quickly evaporate. Thank heavens their little sex-session at the lodge was interrupted by the news of Grace's death.

Final thoughts:

  • Don't Bo and Kevin want to talk to Rae about what happened? After all, she is an eyewitness.
  • Gee, once Grace expired, the rain stopped.
  • Hopefully Nora won't be asked to defend Asa.
  • I can't believe that even after Grace's death, Will is still holding back from his dad and Nora.
  • I realize that Clint Ritchie is no longer on the show, but has the character of Clint Buchanan ceased to exist? Given Kevinís situation, is there going to at least be some allusion to Clint? A phone call? A telegram? Something? No one even mentioned him after Jessicaís breakdown.
  • Given her and Max's rather precarious position, it wasn't too politic of Blair to call Asa on his hypocrisy, but she just couldn't resist. That's the Blair I know and love!
  • Is Nora gonna marry Sam out of pity now?
  • My oh my, but isn't Rae the ultimate tattletale! Not too long ago, she was slamming Grace all over town. Now she's acting all "holier than thou" about Asa's revenge trip.
  • Was Skye implying to Blair that she was turned on by the sight of "the real Ben" throttling Asa? Get some therapy, girl!


Till next week!

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