One Life to Love
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November 8-12 1999

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This week, Grace was laid to rest, and in the aftermath of grief, pain, and anger, several characters seem headed for a fall.

Kevin's challenge is to find some way to move past this devastating loss. At the moment, he's content to wallow in memories of Grace and cling to the pathetic false hope that somehow this is all a bad dream (Grace's ethereal beauty is well-suited to her new role of lovely ghost).

Unfortunately, Tim Gibbs stopped underplaying Kevin's grief in several key scenes, and his more dramatic (overly dramatic) style of acting is not as effective. Watching him unshaven and half-hysterical, refusing to attend Grace's funeral felt fake to me.

During the week, various people stopped by the Mill House to comfort Kevin. There was a sweet scene between Jessica and her brother and an achingly tender one between Kelly and Kevin. Kelly had the sad task of selecting a dress for Grace to be buried in. She may be the one person who knows exactly how Kevin feels. And because of that, Kelly didn't try to say too much. More than anyone, she understands how little comfort mere words can bring. There's a nice chemistry that exists between Kelly and Kevin -- not romantic chemistry but a genuine warmth and closeness. These two have been through a lot together, first with Cassie and now with Grace.

Of course, busybody Rae made an appearance. Actually, it was nice of Rae to comfort Kevin and give him the scoop on Grace's final hours, but I wish she'd toned down her makeup and been a little less fully accessorized. At least Viki had the decency to attend Grace's funeral looking haggard and having a bad hair day.

I thought Kevin was very generous with Rae, considering that she'd been such a stone bitch to Grace for 99.9% of their previous encounters. And the unvarnished truth is that by failing to immediately go for help, Rae played a role -- however unwitting and well-intentioned -- in Grace's death.

Earlier, Rae met with Bo and gave her account of what happened. Honestly, Rae's 180-degree turnaround on Grace is a bit hard to take. She's flying fast-and-lose with accusations against Asa. Her opinion of his motives and actions is just that: an opinion. Did she actually see Asa lock Grace inside? And even if he did, how could he predict she'd fall through the floor trying to escape and then drown? Even if Asa had locked Grace in that old house, the worst you could accuse him of is being mean and spiteful -- not murderous!

And speak of the devil! Asa showed up at Kevin's with his heart in his hands, reaching out to his grieving grandson. Personally, I believe Asa is sincere. I think he does feel bad for Kevin and does regret, on some level, the role he played in Grace's death. But it's too soon for Kevin to listen and much too soon for him to forgive.

However, earlier in the week, Asa's motives were a bit murkier. When he asked Will to support him at the police station, that had everything to do with cementing the wedge he's engineered between Sam and Will. BTW: Asa was in fine form at the station house, loudly trumpeting his innocence to one and all.

As for his decision to attend Grace's funeral, that seemed to me to be about half-and-half. Typical Asa. He probably did want to pay his respects for Kevin's sake, but he also didn't mind twisting the knife when it came to Ben and Sam, as well as showing everyone that he had nothing to hide.

Kevin's other unwelcome visitor was none other than Dorian. Yes, she's back on the scene and I couldn't be happier. Earlier at the diner, she talked about seeking out Viki, but Carlotta (also back -- yeah!) wisely dissuaded her. But for all her good intentions, Dorian ended up sparring with Asa (he started it!), then Kevin told them both to leave. Later at the Palace bar, Dorian gave Asa the benefit of her hard-won experience: You may not go to jail for what you've done, but rest assured, you'll be punished. Asa didn't like hearing that!

And guess who else is back? Sophia has reemerged and what a breath of fresh air she is! Say, wouldn't John and Sophia make a cute couple? The square meets the scamp, uptight meets outrageous. I think John's "ok" with Rae, but he and Sophia could really tear things up! Rae asked John to look after Sophia while she's away, so that's the perfect set-up. Sophia really cracked me up when she twitted John about Rae and did a priceless imitation of a flirtatious Rae. And just imagine Rae's reaction if she came back to Llanview only to discover she'd lost yet another fella to a younger woman. Sweet!

If Kevin is feeling overwhelming grief tinged with anger, then Sam is juggling grief and anger in a 50/50 mix. He demanded that Bo remove himself from the case due to conflict of interest. Obviously, Sam is right, but if Bo excused himself from every case involving his nearest and dearest, he may as well tender his resignation outright. And I do recall that Sam wasn't too worried about this issue when Bo was investigating Lindsay. Oh, I see, it's ok when Bo's interests are the same as Sam's.

Sam felt sure that Grace's death would finally open Will's eyes to Asaís perfidy, but that didn't happen. Instead, at Jessica's urging, Will agreed to give Asa the benefit of the doubt. When Sam found out, he blew a gasket and demanded that Will choose his family or Asa. Personally, I loved Sam's ultimatum to Will. No, it wasn't fair and it wasn't right, but Will's been such a jerk to his dad that I was happy to see Sam go off on the little brat.

The writers are really laying it on thick, really strong-arming the irony: Sam is acting just like Asa. How many times has Asa told Bo and Clint that loyalty to family should always come first? Still, soaps are rarely big on subtlety -- they don't call them soap "operas" for nothing, It's all about big gestures, big emotions, and big themes.

As Midge predicted, after Grace died Nora decided to accept Sam's proposal. Initially, Sam was smart enough to see through Nora's pity "yes." But Nora soon convinced him that pity wasnít the issue. Sure. We all know from the courtroom that Nora can be very persuasive, and she put on a good show convincing Sam of her sincere desire to marry him. I think she was also trying to convince herself.

Lindsay is totally into Bo, yet the news of Nora and Sam's engagement still managed to knock her for a loop -- for about two seconds -- and then she realized that Sam and Nora legally wed was insurance for her own relationship with Bo.

When Lindsay found out about Sam's ultimatum to Will, she predictably lashed out at her favorite target: Nora. I mean, gee, Lindsay, if you're that concerned about Will, you could get dressed and go out looking for him. But that might interfere with your romantic evening with Bo.

I love Lindsay/Nora scenes! They always spark and they're always lively. It was especially funny this week when the sniping stopped and the two ladies actually started communicating, comparing notes on their shared men. When they realized what was happening, it freaked out both women. Neither is comfortable with the fact that when it comes to men, they have an awful lot in common.

Of course, while everyone was busy agonizing about Will's state of mind, he was on cloud nine about Jessica.

As I suspected, Jess's little descent into the abyss seems to have evaporated with nary a trace. And all it took was one missed therapy session! Jess and Will consummated (re-consummated?) their relationship at the Carriage House (is Viki keeping any kind of tabs on Jessica at all?). Is Jess really falling for Will "for all the right reasons"? I don't think so. There's still unfinished business between Jess and Cris. And if they don't know it, Will and Roseanne sure do.

Back in NYC, Roseanne and Cris were struggling with the elements: no heat and a broken window. Don't they have a super they can complain to? Actually, I like their little pad -- it's got a certain low-rent charm with realistically modest furnishings, a mixture of funky and cheap. Plus, due to the chilliness factor, Roseanne is actually
adequately dressed these days: jeans and sweaters and more. How refreshing!

Cris made a bad move telling Roseanne that she's his "muse." I thought he was trying to get her to become a more independent autonomous person? Still, at the first opportunity, (Carlotta called asking if he knew where their flood insurance policy was [??!!]), Cris decided to pay a visit to Llanview. That's bad news for Roseanne and Will.

The third person most affected by Graceís death is Ben. While Kevin grieves and Sam blusters, Ben is running all over town glowering and vowing revenge on Asa. Ho hum. And Viki is very worried. Is she beginning to doubt Ben? Did she really think it would be that easy for Benjie to shake off the life he lived for so many years and the values that went along with it? It's now clear to me why Skye was thrown into the Max/Asa mix: to give Ben the opportunity for payback. As of Friday, she was just about to spill the beans about Max's faux paternity. But guess what? Renee
is one step ahead.

Hey, where was Renee all week? Just when I thought she'd wisely skipped town till this whole Grace disaster blew over, Renee showed up on Thursday and tried to talk some sense into Asa (about attending Graceís funeral), only to be brushed off. Honestly, she puts up with too much from that old goat! But if she was MIA earlier in the week, Renee came back with a vengeance, especially on Friday.

Noticing Maxís discomfort, Renee got right to the heart of the matter: What does Skye have on you? Bingo. Max's guilty conscience is killing him. And when Renee actually apologized to him for "neglecting" him all these years, it was almost more than he could take. Then when she begged him to unburden himself and trust her -- too much! At that crucial juncture, Bo showed up and started asking a lot of pesky questions about Esther Hoffman and Skye, and Renee put two-and-two together. Itís a miracle -- the truth is out! Finally, Pat Elliot gets something to sink her teeth into. Friday's scenes were very strong and next week should be even better. Can't wait!

Tidbits:

  • It's been reported online that Florencia Lozano (Tea) has declined to re-sign. If that's true, I can't blame her. Tea's storylines since Todd's departure have been both backburner and lackluster.

  • The other online rumor has Lisa Peluso (Loving, Search for Tomorrow, Another World) being cast as Cassie. I think she'd make a great one!

  • I'm very glad the show was able to bring back a recurring (grrrrr) Wortham Krimmer so that Andrew could officiate at Grace's funeral instead of some central casting rent-a-padre. Though when he admonished everyone to "go in peace," I muttered "not bloody likely!"

  • Nora looked really pissed at Sam when he told her to butt out at the station.

  • If Ben is so damned concerned about justice, why was he trampling all over the crime scene?

  • Anyone else think it was bad form of Bo to go back to Sam's house after the funeral given the situation with Asa and the investigation?

  • Max and Asa both seem to be hitting the booze pretty hard. Guess a guilty conscience will do that to you...

  • John Sykes has been an awfully good sport lately. First Rae ditches him for dinner, then she dumps Wally (Grace's dog) on the poor guy.

  • If John had Rae's driver's license this whole time, how was she getting around Llanview?

  • At Grace's funeral, what was that thing on Rae's right shoulder? Was it a massive broach or just some garish oversized filigree on her sweater?

  • I thought Hank was a bit high-handed with Sam. Usually he's so sure of someone's guilt. This time, he was equally certain of Asa's innocence.

  • How dare Bo tell Lindsay that he's "happy" for Sam and Nora. I hate that!

  • When Skye was hiding behind that newspaper, I'm sure she didnít foresee witnessing a big smooch between Viki and Ben.

  • Heavens! We saw quite a bit of Nora on Tuesday's show. HBS is in great shape!

  • The montage of happy couples in romantic moments that ended with Kevin looking at Grace's image on the TV screen, which then went to snow, was corny but effective.

  • Note to the wardrobe dept: Sam looks much better in a suit than those cheesy sports coat/turtleneck combinations. And what's with that awful rust-colored blazer Max was sporting?

  • Can it be true? Is my little Jessica all grown up? *sigh*

  • Would Ben really appreciate Viki running to Bo (of all people) with her concerns about his actions?

  • Hallelujah! Viki actually mentioned Clint.

  • Does Kevin watching the tape from Grace's surprise birthday party remind anyone else of those touching scenes from The Sixth Sense?

  • Gee, Will, Dorian was pretty broken up about what happened to Megan, but you weren't exactly willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, were you?

  • Grace's death had one very bad result for Asa: It brought Will and Jess even closer.


Till next week!

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