HOLY. %$#@&&ING. CRAP.
Y'all, I warn you now just to skip this if you (a) want me to avoid being hyperbolic or (b) are expecting me to be articulate and do today's episode justice. I can't help you with either of those things. I've been totally humbled in terms of my ability to articulate anything at all. But how could I not at least give it a whirl? Get ready for crazy-person ramblings and non-sequiturs.
Today, Kristen Alderson did some of the best work of her entire stint on OLTL. When Starr went up to her daddy and reached up to touch his scar and he leaned into it with such pleading, well, that might've been the first time I broke today.
Or the first time might have been:
Todd: I'm Todd Manning, and I'm home.
Or, you know, maybe:
Todd: Yes, I'm real. I'm real, and you're not. And I need you to stay the hell away from my family.
I mean it's sort of pointless to single out actors. Roger Howarth was also terrific today, and Florencia Lozano seriously delivered, and Trevor St. John was just chilling (his cold-smug-face seemed to be more of a mask than ever before). Even Andrew Trischitta as Jack was functional (remember I only said functional!) today, quite specifically in the sense that he (of everyone) would be least struck by any of this. Sure, it would be confusing and upsetting, but not as world-shaking. That face isn't actually the face he knows as his father, not really. He was too young.
Kassie DePaiva broke my heart. And Ted King in his pure outsider role played it well -- he hung back in every scene, playing it as if he were waiting and watching for a potential bomb to explode at any minute.
I mean hot damn, Most Of The OLTL Cast!
Back to the stuff that may have broken me...
Blair: Where have you been?
Yup, yup, that might have done it. Got to me just a tad. But not as much as...
Todd (to Blair): The only thing I know for sure is that you kept me alive. What kept me going day after day, for eight years, was the idea of coming home to you. And to Starr. To Jack.
And honestly? I thought they did a nice job of doing what they had to do, which was actually have non-Todd scenes in the episode. Maybe it undermined whatever exciting moments were going on elsewhere, but I thought it was smart to move action forward in other stories but make sure they stayed second- and third-thread stories for the sake of this "very special episode" (please, it was). Dani now knows how and why Nate was blackmailed into doing porn (still funny to write that out), Destiny's pretty sure Nate hurt Matthew, and Shawn knows that Destiny is likely pregnant. Rex, too, who was actually lurking behind a curtain for the main event seemed to not even notice it was happening because he was having some sort of breakdown (people lurking behind curtains always make me think we're going to get a Polonius situation but, alas, no one stuck a sword through the curtain) in which he actually realized maybe he probably shouldn't go ahead and start murdering people. But they definitely remembered where their bread was buttered in this episode.
Okay, you're right, who cares who cares who cares. Back to business.
Todd: I fought for eight years to get here. To be with the people that I love. I wanted to live my life again. But it turned out someone had taken my place... Blair, you were my wife. You had my children. You know in your heart you know who I am.
So that happened, too.
If you're all now thinking, "Uh, Louise, are you just going to transcribe the entire show?" the answer is, "Uh-huh, yes, probably, yes."
Okay, so I'm going to throw down one challenge here. Upon learning that RHTodd (accidentally) knocked out Jack...
Blair: If you say you're Todd Manning you would never raise a hand to your own child.
Say what now, Daimler? She's just in shock, right? 'Cause, uh, not only would Todd raise a hand to his child, he has done so more than once. (And hell, Blair, so have you!) So let's not be silly here.
And I know that TSJTodd has called Starr "Shorty" a couple of times, but seeing RHTodd say it to her again after all these years totally tugged at my heartstrings (oh, my heart which has as of late turned into a completely-pathetic-sap heart by this damn show).
And I probably still could've been convinced RHTodd isn't really Todd (okay, I would cry, but I could be convinced) until the moment he was begging Blair to tell him she knows him and she kept saying, "I don't know, I don't know," and the anguish on his face right there? Oh, that's him. That's him.
Oh yeah, and then:
Todd: I dare you to ever forget me. I dare you.
I got nothin'. Speechless on that one.
Okay, except: Aw, poor Tomas.
My friend and I have already been discussing how tomorrow should obviously be declared a national holiday. I just want to sit around my house for days watching old YouTube videos. No, I don't. I want to watch more of this show now! Mercy it feels good to type that.
Téa took a bit of a back seat today to the Blair/Starr/Todd maybe-reunion and was also dealing with the fact that her daughter is mid-crisis now, so I assume we'll delve deeper into her reaction to this soon. While others were playing shock or denial or even hope, she fell somewhere closer to heartbreak. Todd was the man she loved and wanted so much and couldn't ever really have, not the way she wanted him, and now she finally thought she was sharing a life with him. But was it never him? Was it all a lie? RHTodd's extreme focus on Blair and coming back to her had to echo those final moments with Todd on the island a million times in her head -- does she love that man? Even though she can never have him? Does she love this man? And for TSJTodd to stand behind her stroking her back telling her he's the man who's always loved her? That actually was probably the moment that made her the most suspicious of all. All of a sudden she heard that loud and clear, and that just doesn't sound like Todd. Florencia Lozano had about a million things to play and she played the living hell out of them.
I could clearly write a short book on this, and there's so much more coming in the next few episodes (I mean we still don't really have a single solid piece of information on how and why this all happened!), so I'll leave it at this:
Dear One Life to Live,
You have put me through the wringer -- I've had a love/hate relationship with you for a long time. But I've stuck with you for almost three decades. And duration is a gift that we, the viewers, give to you. It's unique to your medium and it's something you can really take advantage of, and when you do? It's a payoff not available to us when we view a movie or a prime-time show or anything else. It's years upon years upon years and decades upon decades of our relationships with the show. Because so many of us were watching in 1994 and 1996 and 2002 and 2003 and 2005 and 2008 and now, you got an opportunity to give us something that makes the duration all worth it. You got an opportunity to let some of your most talented cast members shine and work in a room of artists they will always step up for. Thank you for delivering. I'm glad I waited.
Weezie (super-long-time fan)
That's all I got. And yeah, yeah. Hyperbole. I'm crazy. And if you think so, I understand, but trust me -- no one's raining on this parade for me! So just one more thing: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!