Well, Nothing Lasts Forever
It was bound to happen sooner or later. It was pretty much three straight weeks of One Life to Live kicking all manner of ass. Pure soap heaven for me. It couldn't last.
It's not that yesterday's was a bad episode -- there was some great stuff in there. But there was a dark, dark cloud over all of it that made it impossible to enjoy and too easy to pick apart. What was that dark cloud? Oh, you know.
Dammit. We'd gotten such a nice break from Ford, but there he was, grinning and being oh-so-cute with HIS SON (did you know he has a son? He does, and he's a changed man, y'all, it's a beautiful thing!) and apparently "challenging" Jessica or some shit that's supposed to make us want their adversarial relationship to turn romantic because it's just so hot. It's not. It will never be hot. They're totally gross. And this actually happened.
Jessica: Well, I found out the man I thought was my Uncle Todd is really my Uncle Victor, my dad's under house arrest. Oh! And Natalie and Brody just happened to leave some apartment listings lying around in case I didn't get the memo that they're totally crazy in love! (Dear Jessica, you should watch them together sometime. It couldn't more stiff and awkward. There's certainly no joy or love going on there. Go claim your man, please. He'll be available any second now. --Ed.)
And then regarding Clint...
Ford: So, he gets to live in this mansion, with his daughter checking in on him, surrounded by his grandkids like he hasn't done a damn thing wrong?!
Jessica: Keep your voice down, you'll wake Ryder.
Ford: Did you know that his hired muscle beat me so badly that I had to check into a hospital?
(The line that should have been here is Jessica: Oh, you mean when he had them beat you up for the first time you took advantage of my mental illness and sexed me up and then lied about it so you wouldn't get into the trouble you so obviously deserved to be in? --Ed.)
Ford: Jessica, he changed Ryder's paternity test so that I wouldn't even know he was mine! Not to mention the countless other crimes he committed. And now he has to do his time here. There are -- there are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start!
(Dear Ford, would you like me to start counting up your crimes? You know, the ones that you've never had to deal with actually being prosecuted for? Remember when you blackmailed a serial killer which led to the deaths of a few more people? Oh, and how about statutory rape? And breaking and entering, and overpowering and tying up a nun? Do I need to keep going, ass-munch? --Ed.)
Jessica: Fine, fine, why don't you go upstairs and yell at him? And then maybe the heart that Rex sold him will burst right out of his chest! Will that make you feel better?
(No, seriously, he gave her that look. That shocked, hurt look. Seriously. As if she'd crossed some line and he just couldn't believe it. Seriously. --Ed.)
Ford: Jessica. Jessica, what am I missing. What's going on?
Okay, really? Was this supposed to be some beautiful moment that showed us just how sensitive he is to her that he can tell that there's something really wrong? Uh, what do the words "I found out the man I thought was my Uncle Todd is really my Uncle Victor, my dad's under house arrest. Oh! And Natalie and Brody just happened to leave some apartment listings lying around in case I didn't get the memo that they're totally crazy in love!" mean to you, Ford? Wow, it's like you can read Jessica's mind! How did you know there was something wrong! It's like you have a sixth sense. It's fate, y'all. These two are destiny.
Just so gross. And the episode progressed as we all knew it would, with the two of them talking about their various unresolved feelings for Brody and for Tess in some manner that I'm sure was intended to generate sexual tension, but really just generated an acute sense of nausea for me. Speaking of nausea, this all led up to the predictable cliched moment in which their yelling at each other led to this nastiness:
I'm really glad I'm single because this shit would really put me off kissing for quite some time. Stop it, Show! You were on such a roll!
In the mostly fabulous Tale of Two Todds, I have to say that I think yesterday was a bit of a misstep. It's not that it wasn't as engaging as it usually has been, it's just that... it feels rushed now. I was glad that they rushed Irene's big revelations because that's the absurdity you just have to lay out there to get back to the good stuff. But the good stuff that had been so near-perfect so far seemed to skip an awful lot of beats yesterday. I thought it was fabulous that Victor's "team" (can I just say how happy I am to stop with the TSJTodd and RHTodd monikers and move on to Victor and Todd?) found out that he's not Todd the way they did. I loved Victor lying to his people that he's really Todd and trying to get them out of town with a creepy, fake smile of joy and ultimately screwing up by trying to include Starr, who made everyone face the truth. That was terrific, and Trevor St. John did great work once again (as did everyone else in those scenes and, when I say that, I include Andrew Trischitta in the sense that when he doesn't have lines, he just always has this perpetual "duh" look of shell-shock on his face which actually works in these scenes) (and this is easily the best work I have ever seen from Kristen Alderson by a country mile, which is great to watch). But upon facing the truth? It took everyone about ten seconds to soften and essentially say that nothing has changed and he's still their father in their hearts or whatever, and then they all went in for a group hug.
I am hoping this was just a timing issue based on Trevor St. John's departure timeline, because it just feels like there was so much drama to be mined here and they just skipped it. I believe that some of these characters would feel this way -- after all, he's still family and it's not like anything that's happened in the past eight years now hasn't happened (although in Starr's case, I have no idea why that would be of any comfort -- he hasn't been any sort of loving father figure to her in the better part of the last five years) and we know (?) he wasn't deliberately deceiving them, but shouldn't at least one character have a "I can't deal with this right now, I have to go" moment? This was way too pat. So far finding out that he isn't Todd at all and was brainwashed by his own mother has had virtually zero ramifications on Victor's life at all. Huh? (Though I do want to give them credit for one terrific part of the backstory: Victor is a man with no past. His mother had him isolated and sheltered his entire life [as far as we know] before the switch, so now it's a matter of forging his own identity rather than trying to reclaim one.)
And Todd and Blair had their first real scenes together since his return. Much of it was vintage Todd-and-Blair arguing, including fighting over a gun, of course...
...and of course Todd blames Blair for this entire thing (even though it was actually Starr's belief that Victor really was Todd that cinched it for all of his loved ones, not to mention the fact that Victor's non-Todd-like behavior is exactly the reason Blair isn't with him anymore), but it was like they fell right back into that without anything in between. Like shock? Like being emotionally bowled over? Like anything at all? I know Blair's been through hell and it's hard to rock her world, but this should rock her world to its very core. She just kind of sat down and showed him some photo albums and told him a few stories and then did damage control with his rage and took it all in stride as if this were an ordinary day in the life. I feel like we're still waiting for something to happen there. Am I crazy? Was this a little bit muted for what their first scenes should have been? After some great moments early on in the episode...
...it just went too fast for me. They've still got five months of five-days-a-week episodes! Relax!
Am I nuts here? These were certainly good scenes to watch, but did it feel to anyone else like we skipped some of the good drama? Maybe I'm being unfair and we'll circle back around to those necessary beats after we muck through the necessary "REVENGE!" plot, and I hope that's true, I really do. But my insane soap high did get just a tiny bit lower at the end of this week. It couldn't last forever! Especially when there's a Ford lurking.