And There Are Silver Linings Yet
I maintain that a whodunit murder mystery taking out Victor was not the best way to let this Todd Returns story unfold. Even if Trevor St. John's departure was necessary, they could have removed him from the scene in some other manner (taking off to find himself? dying in a non-whodunit situation?) so that we could still get to the human drama of Todd reconnecting with his old life, as well as the various family members coping with the truth about Victor. I just want that out there. That said, here's what we have now and here's what we have to deal with. And today's episode was pretty damn good from my spot on the couch. Let's review some highlights:
Todd in the rain.
I mean, you know, whatever, no biggie.
I can't really explain why it's hot, but it's hot. Leave me alone.
And I don't think I've ever said this before, but I really liked Starr's hair today.
It just looked like a real person's hair. A real person's pretty hair. Someone who wasn't styled within the hour. I still want to wash off some of her eye makeup and pluck the inner parts of her eyebrows, but she really was at her loveliest today.
Now, yesterday I tried to give some good girlfriend advice to Nora about how she deals with Destiny from now on, and encouraged her to get a grip and to back off. Uh, she did not take my advice. Not even a little bit. In fact, she drew up a draft of legal papers for the Evanses to look over and sign to make sure the Buchanans have some sort of rights to Destiny's child. (Destiny's Child, heh heh. I'm 12.) These were great scenes because they seriously made me cringe. Nora was so way out of line that the line had been shot, bled out, body-bagged and disappeared long ago.
And the level of "OH SWEET JESUS THIS IS AWKWARD" on the faces of Bo and Dani and Richard (Frankie Faison is back!) made me about as uncomfortable as the first time I watched that torturous episode of The Office when Michael and Jan had everyone over for their Dinner Party of Ultimate Discomfort (I don't really know why I linked to that, everyone who'd be interested knows what I'm talking about and it's not like NBC is giving us kick-backs) (note to self: get NBC to give us kick-backs for linking).
I wonder if it's occurred yet to Nora that if and when Matthew wakes up and finds out he's now a teenage father and is, in fact, legally bound to be, his first thought might not be to thank his mother? (Also, come on, Matthew! Wake up! Time to get up!)
Well, that's pretty much all that happened today on the show.
Oh wait! Just kidding. Victor died. Someone shot him. The suspects they want us to be thinking of are Brody and Todd, at the moment. Jack also turned up dumped at the emergency room with a bump on his head, and his keychain was found at the scene of the crime -- making it look like whoever did it went there to kill Victor but had to knock out Jack in the process, and anonymously dropped him at the hospital. Because giving a crap about what happens to Jack limits it to very few suspects, today worked pretty hard to convince us it was Todd, so of course it wasn't. Were it Rex, I wouldn't be so sure he'd take Jack to the hospital. Brody? Tomas? Yes indeed.
Victor's death was very soapy in the sense that his wife was over him begging him to stay with her the whole time, but very non-soapy as he actually had blood spurting out of his mouth, was convulsing, and did not manage to string together a long, poetic goodbye. I found the soapy and the non-soapy juxtaposition very effective; for all the complaining I have done over the years, this tugged at my fraying heart strings. Trevor St. John played dying very well. That sounds like strange praise, but it's not easy to pull that off without looking incredibly fake or incredibly cheesy, and I really felt like I was watching a man lose his life -- and it wasn't quick.
Florencia Lozano rocked the crap out of the material as she tried desperately to keep him alive and then went straight to numbed shock after the EMT's pronounced him dead (and they did it dickishly, I might add, but we know about Llanview Hospital's doctors' bedside manner so getting him to the hospital wouldn't have made anyone show any more grace giving her the news).
I was really worried yesterday that today would open with a Very Dead Victor and that was way too abrupt for the character that's essentially been the male lead of this show for the past eight years, love 'im or hate 'im. This was far more fitting, and I hate to say it but I was glad they put off Dani finding out until tomorrow. We already know exactly how she'll react and exactly what notes she'll hit (they'll hurt the ears) because she reacts like that to a lot of things (I really don't dislike her; I'm just not interested in the histrionics), and that would've put a damper on today's episode for me. (I will be very excited to take this all back if she turns in a low-key reaction tomorrow. I will also eat a small piece of my hat.)
But while I'm throwing praise around for performances, I have to offer it up for just one moment that was played today. Kassie dePaiva hasn't been given much in terms of big, dramatic scenes lately (most of Blair's drama has been in muted, quieter discussions), but what she's done with just a small reaction here and there has told us a great deal. And today after John nonchalantly told her (in front of two of her children) that Victor had been killed...
Oh come on! These stupid screencaps never do anything any justice. Point is, there was just so much in that one-second reaction shot that let us know just how many layers of everything she's experiencing in this moment. Victor, who she just learned is Victor. Victor, who she did love and marry more than one time. Victor, a man who all of her children do love. Is dead. And she "knows" that Todd killed him. Todd, the love of her life who she just got back in her life. Todd, the father of two of her children. Todd, a man she cares about, was driven to kill his brother. And she's hearing all of this in front of the two children they share.
Rough moment, and well done.