Getting Highlights and Lowlights at the Llanview Salon
Yesterday gave us a lot of both.
HIGHLIGHT: Somehow they made the soap trope of a character talking out his or her plan make some actual sense yesterday, as Echo's drunkenness seemed the be the driving force of her big speech talking half to herself and half to a bound Dorian.
HIGHLIGHT: Viki and David did have some fun bits. David thinking that Jodie Foster runs the FBI, but moreover that Viki would naturally have FBI connections, was good stuff. Even better was Viki commenting that she enjoyed the image of Echo in a goalie mask with her jaw wired shut.
LOWLIGHT: The image Viki had conjured up in her head was actually not all that different from the way Echo had bound Dorian.
Yikes. Was it necessary to be so creepy? I suppose I'd be more amenable to the image if I thought Echo was supposed to be a frightening psychopath, but thus far Echo seems more standard soap bad-girl troublemaker (which I'd been enjoying) than scary murderess (which seems illogical). Which ties in to:
HIGHLIGHT/LOWLIGHT COMBO:Little Spider-Sam rescuing Dorian was lovely and adorable. And Robin Strasser was terrific when he unbound her and she thanked him; I got a little teary-eyed because she actually played the relief very seriously while maintaining that whole "we have to make this look less scary for little Sam!" kindness. But I found the tonal shift very jarring. The scenes between just Echo and Dorian were very disturbing. Echo was planning to murder Dorian out of desperation, and almost suffocated her with a plastic bag -- and would have had Sam not stopped her. I understood all of that and thought the actresses played it well and, while I wouldn't have chosen to take Echo's character to such a dark place since I'd been enjoying her as a love-to-hate bad girl (and it was especially disappointing after the old-school fun catfight the other day between the two, because this could have continued to work in that vein), it made sense. But then Sam came in and "subdued" Echo by... spraying silly string at her?
I mean...? What? I don't get it. Had the whole sequence been campy, this could have worked. But it wasn't. The physical presentation of Dorian was upsetting to look at, and it appeared that a desperate Echo quite intended to kill her. So a major lowlight for me was the mismatch of what appeared to be a high-stakes dramatic situation with the purely campy resolution. (I have a well-documented love of camp around here, but I still need them to pick a tone for a storyline and stick with it, dammit!) There was even a way to do it with Sam still saving the day, but I'm sorry, silly string doesn't pin you against a wall. Maybe he could've sprayed it in her eyes, or tripped her somehow, or... anything. This was just too much of a jump for me under the circumstances.
HIGHLIGHT: The fact that the line, "I made a porn flick and Dani's the one apologizing to me!" exists in the world. That cracked me up. As does the idea that they recorded the whole thing in one take -- boy, that's going to be some hot porn! Two people doing under duress with basically no direction other than "just have sex"... steamy.
LOWLIGHT: Look, I know David Fumero is not the greatest actor on the show and that Cristian hasn't had a front-burner storyline in years. But Cris has been a character on this show for sixteen years. He was once married to the current female lead. He was once in a romance with another major female legacy character. He's even in the legions of the back-from-the-dead! And now it appears that Cristian Vega's final exit story, his final pairing, is going to be with Rama?! No. Just no.
HIGHLIGHT:Well, duh. The two Todds' first confrontation!
Just soap heaven for me. Trevor St. John and Roger Howarth were fantastic together and, as any scene like this should, it left us with more questions than answers. TSJTodd really does seem to believe he's Todd -- even though there's clearly still something he knows. He seemed genuinely disturbed to see that face. St. John made some great choices throughout the scenes; he went to shock, anger, feeling threatened, mocking, and my favorite bit -- touching his face where his scar used to be (and even if he's not RealTodd, he did once have a scar there in the aftermath of holding and raping Marty at his home, a scar that was something I always thought the show was foolish to vanquish, by the way).
RHTodd ran the emotional gamut, too, but the best moment was the look on his face when TSJTodd called him a freak. Old, old wounds. It's how Todd always thought the world saw him and he spent years vacillating between wanting to fight it and wanting to embrace it. And I loved that he still worked his trademark snark in there -- when TSJTodd asked him if he's some sort of meta-performance artist, his wry agreement was the Todd we once knew.
I was so ready to be disappointed by this initial confrontation, but I was not. Not at all. Chilling, fascinating stuff that I've been wanting to see for years without even realizing it. And if TSJTodd knew anything about RHTodd, he'd know if he points a gun at him, he's not bluffing. RHTodd is no more a swell guy than TSJTodd, just a very different one.
And a great ending, too, with Tea's line, "We have reason to believe that the next thing through that door is going to be good news" with the two Todds heading toward that door... delicious. I'm guessing they'll be interrupted somehow and the larger reveal will be put off some more but, hey, I wanted movement and we got it!
HIGHLIGHT: Starr getting some of her old mojo back. Enough with the romantic ingenue stories for her, please! She's so much better in this mode.
And a final LOWLIGHT:Oh, shut up, Baz and Jack.