How Do You Offend Me? Let Me Count the Ways.
How many is a gajillion? I'm feeling a little speechless coming into this one, but Marty Saybrooke spoke well and was appropriately appalled today. Truthfully, I used to adore Todd Manning. I even thought Trevor St. John as a recast was fantastic at first. Both Todds had great chemistry with Blair, both played the darks and lights in ways that made me simultaneously loathe, pity, and feel for him. That Todd is long gone.
Today, we had the pleasure of watching Todd stop by the office of his two-time rape victim and prove that, once and for all, there is no humanity there. There isn't a thing there outside of total narcissism. I can't honestly say I'm truly shocked, because it's been looking this way for quite a while (the dismissive and contemptuous way he has treated all of his other children since he learned of his shiny new possession, Dani, for instance), but I guess I didn't really expect the show to go this far. Why didn't I expect that? This was the "rapemance" show! With these very characters!
It's just that for the past few months, we've been asked to buy into this notion that Todd has changed, that he's now a decent (if absurdly bland) man who cares about other people and loves his "girlfriend" Tea in a deep, true way that is at least partly unselfish and pure. Call me crazy, but if they're going to ask me to buy into that and care about this man or his relationship or his connection to his new-found daughter, they're going to have to show me that he's worth it. Consistently. This hasn't happened, of course, but today was the final nail in the coffin.
For anyone who was fortunate enough to miss it, Todd went to visit Marty today to ask her to "stand up for" him when he meets his daughter Dani. To accompany him to assure Dani that Todd is not a bad man and she has forgiven him for raping her, abducting her, lying to her in the most egregious ways, trying to choke her son... the list goes on, though I really do think "being the ringleader of her gang-rape" should be sufficient. When she tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that what he needed was a mediator in the mental health profession to facilitate their first discussion as father and daughter, she was generous enough to offer a referral. He scoffed at this, because he's such a good guy. He responded to all of her protestations with dismissive hand gestures, eye rolls, and smirks. Because he's such a good guy. And then my all-time favorite, when confronted with his most recent heinous crimes against Marty, he made this charming, mocking face:
And then said through a grin, "Now look, I know what I did to you was wrong but I was trying to--" and I know some of you who didn't catch the episode might have trouble believing that this even happened, but that "wrong?" It was in AIR QUOTES.
Air quotes. Re-raping his rape victim. Abducting her, letting her think the people she loved had abandoned her, letting her think she had no child, planning to kidnap the infant child of their two teen children and tell both his daughter and her son that their infant was dead so that he could "give" the child to Marty, and then letting Stockholm Syndrome kick in really, really hardcore before sleeping with her. His rape victim. This, today, warranted air quotes and a chuckle. The actions that drove him to jump off a building last year; now the moral issue with those actions now deserves air quotes.
I have bad news for Tea. Todd's right, he has changed. Todd's not better now that he has your love, he is whole mothertrucking shitload worse than he was before your love. Take your teenage daughter and run.
Was anyone else certain the entire episode that Marty would eventually agree to it? I was, and I was terrified. But finally someone said something right to Todd Manning.
Marty: My God, who do you think you are? Barging in here and insisting
I do anything for you? Anything? I owe you nothing! Hear me? Nothing!"
Preach it, sister. I would've stood up and cheered if she'd impaled him twenty times with a letter opener in that moment. Of course Todd responded by smirking, rolling his eyes, and basically swatting her away when he answered his cell phone.
SUCK IT, TODD.