Pine Valley Remembers Myrtle and Eileen Herlie
If there is anything I can get behind, it's an hour devoted to Myrtle Fargate and the myriad ways in which she spread her awesomeness around Pine Valley. Eileen Herlie was fantastic with any scene partner she had, but especially with Susan Lucci and Thorsten Kaye, and Myrtle's friendships with Erica and Zach were...oh, hell, the episode hasn't even started yet and I am already on the verge of tears.
Oh, are you effing kidding me? A special weather report? I know it's snowing in the northeast. You know how I know? Because I looked out the window and saw snow! I want my AMC!
...that is a sentence I thought I'd never, ever type.
Okay, back to AMC, already in progress (Damn you ABC!) A flashback of Myrtle and Opal! Jack asks Erica if she's okay, and she says of course, because she's Erica Kane, after all. As Erica looks around the boutique and comments on the new owner's changes, she admires Myrtle's box and satin ribbon and sees an envelope addressed to her: "From Myrtle, With Love". I already need some more tissues...
Petey, adorable in pajamas, asks if Opal's okay and she says she has a package from Myrtle, which she thinks is Myrtle's way of saying "Adios, amigos". Aww, Opal. It's a crystal ball from Myrtle's carny days. Petey asks how Myrtle conned people about being a psychic, but Opal says there was nothing fake about it...she peers into the ball and Petey wonders if she can see the future, but Opal says she can see the past. It's flashback time!
Petey is shocked that Myrtle was as badass as she was, saying he thought she was just a sweet old lady. Oh, naive little Petey. Opal rightly says that Myrtle would not be happy with that assessment of her.
Zach greets Comatose Kendall with "Hey, beautiful" and tells her the sad news about Myrtle passing away. He, too, received a package from Myrtle that he didn't want to open without Kendall, so he is going to do it now. It's an album inscribed with "It's all worth it", something she said to Zach often. Inside is the program at the Miranda Center from the day they first met...another flashback! "Myrtle Fargate, and you better remember that name. If you ever--if you EVER--meddle with anyone I love". Oh! There's also a picture of Zach holding the baby Miranda (flashback! And Myrtle voiceover! And Mallory tears!). A flashback of Zach and Myrtle discussing Kendall, and there are tears in Thorsten Kaye's eyes. Myrtle's last piece of advice to Zach is to be patient, and I cry.
David approaches as Zach leaves her room and asks if he's passed along the information on Kendall's state to the rest of her family, reminding him that there's no hope. Zach corrects him that there is hope...he just has to be patient. Aww...that was kind of cheesy, but it works! It's the holidays and a memorial episode, this level of velveeta is not just expected, but necessary.
Zach interrupts his construction crew and says to drop what they are doing for his new project: the carnival is coming to town.
Bianca comes into the boutique to share her package with Erica, and Jack leaves to give them privacy. Erica tells Bianca that she hasn't opened her package yet, and Bianca understands, since it took her a while to get the nerve to open her own. Bianca takes out a music box just like the one Myrtle gave her at Miranda's baby shower. Erica's voice breaks as she remembers how much Myrtle loved all of them. Tears!
Jesse, Angie and Frankie stand outside the boarding house with flowers and Jesse and Angie reminisce about their early days, like when Angie's father caught Angie and Jesse, and he and Myrtle had a throwdown. Jesse points out that Myrtle would take anyone on if it were for the right cause. Amanda, too, has brought flowers and she remembers her time getting advice from Myrtle, when Myrtle advised her to quit spending so much time making enemies. Not to be totally shallow, but Chrishell Stause looks SUPER PRETTY in this episode.
Ryan and Greenlee come bearing flowers and Ryan remembers his introduction to Myrtle and stares blankly into the distance as he puts his flowers down with the rest. How...moving? I'm feeling charitable, so I won't say any more, or go off onto one of my Ryan/Greenlee rants.
Erica theorizes that Mona and Myrtle made a pact before Mona died, because Myrtle stepped in right away to help Erica...flashback! Of Erica, on pills, being insane, yelling about a dress. Oh, La Lucci, I love you. In the present day, Erica says that she beat her addiction, one day at a time, and remembers telling Myrtle that she was right and that Erica was an addict who needs help, and Myrtle is staunchly supportive and tells Erica that she couldn't love her more if she were her own flesh and blood. I cry a bit, some more, as Erica tells Bianca that Myrtle flew with her to Betty Ford and held her hand. Bianca steps in and holds her mother's hand as they hug and cry, and I cry, and this is way too emotional for me!
Another effing special report. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, ABC? It's like the news people forget that winter weather happens every winter. Of course this happens on the one day I actually want to watch AMC live. This couldn't happen on a Ryan/Greenlee day? I call foul. The weather man promises more updates and says to enjoy All My Children. I'm trying to, dude.
Back in AMC, we join a Bianca flashback of Myrtle telling Bianca that Erica loves her very, very much. Bianca says that Myrtle would want them to remember happy times, leading to a flashback of one of my favorite AMC scenes EVER, when Erica, Myrtle, Opal and Binks spent Thanksgiving in jail after being arrested. LOVE.
Erica says she thinks she's ready to open her package and exclaims, "No, it can't be": It's the dress from the awards dinner she just flashbacked about. The stain is gone. Erica cries as she hugs Bianca and I cry too.
At the boarding house, Greenlee (her hair in a very fetching side bun) remembers how she and Myrtle started off rockily, when Myrtle was pissed the Greens blackmailed Erica. Greenlee asks Myrtle not to tell Erica that Greenlee had been there and Myrtle says, "Honey, I'll do what I damn well please". The entire crowd laughs uproariously, partly because of Myrtle's sass and partly, I'm guessing, because Greenlee pisses them all off a little.
Kelly Tyler joins the group and Angie helpfully introduces her to the gang and the new audience members, as well, as practically being Myrtle's daughter. Flashback! Kelly kisses her hand and presses it up against the door, saying, "She will be so missed". For real. Angie hugs Kelly and--say it with me!--I cry.
Erica and Jack come into the carnival that Zach planned, and she tells him that Myrtle would love it. Bianca says that she couldn't track Skye down (Erica adds that Adam doesn't know where she is, and I get pissed at GH all over again, just on principle) and Bianca says that Rae couldn't come either. A big picture of Myrtle is displayed and Erica regards it sadly, stroking the picture's cheek. All of Pine Valley comes in and joins the festivities--there is juggling, Zach and Reese hand out Bloody Marys, and Bianca sings "Once Upon a Time".
Bianca sings some more and Zach wanders away from Reese to join the group. (A) It sucks that Kendall isn't here for the memorial. I know the timing is bad and, again, I don't begrudge Alicia Minshew her vacation, but I wish Kendall were here! and (B) The Zach/Reese bonding is irritating me even during this otherwise fab episode. Boo.
The crowd applauds Bianca and Greenlee wipes away a tear (she must have found the singing as, um, awkward as I did) and Ryan looks like he's trying to divide 56 by 8. Oh, sorry, I mean "Ryan looks sad". I think that was the intention, anyway...
Erica takes the microphone and addresses the crowd, saying that they are saying goodbye to Pine Valley's heart. Aww! She remembers Myrtle's carny stories and the group laughs, and Erica says that one day Myrtle told her a secret...that she wasn't a real clairvoyant and told fortunes by looking into their eyes and reading people, and she convinced everyone. Myrtle did have a gift, Erica concludes, and made them laugh, gave them shelter, and showed them all how beautiful they were. She says that Myrtle is playing bridge games with Mona and sitting with God as his very top angel. Erica asks Zach if he'd like to say a few words, but Zach is nowhere to be found...
...because he is in the elevator, breaking down and crying wordlessly. As am I, Zach. As am I.
The commercial for Scrubs The TV show that they just showed makes me sad. No more Arrested Development, but this series gets a new network? Bull.
Erica thanks Zach for putting everything together, and she very sincerely tells him to take care, and hugs him. As she, Bianca and Opal leave, they regard Myrtle's portrait and Erica blows her a kiss. And I cry. Zach's voiceover reads a poem as Zach silently loks at Myrtle's picture and just looks...devastated as he puts a single yellow rose under her picture. And the episode ends with a closeup of the portait and Eileen Herlie's voice saying, "And trust me, the angels are on your side" and I...have moved past the point of mere tears and am kind of a mess.
That was a seriously, amazingly lovely episode and what a fitting tribute to Myrtle and Eileen Herlie! It hardly felt like it was a full hour and was the perfect blend of flashbacks, sadness and hilarity. I wish that Adam was there, and Palmer as well (although I'm guessing that, perhaps, James Mitchell isn't doing well again?), but overall, I have next to no complaints. That was beautiful. And you could see how much the actors REALLY miss Eileen Herlie already, it showed plainly all over their faces. Just wonderful. And so sad!
Of course, it does make you wonder why, if they are in fact capable of creating such a great show, why they don't do it more often, but let's just end the afternoon on a high note and not go there...