The Darkest Day (or Matthew Speaks For Us All)
I feel like today's post should be a sympathy card. There was some cruel television twist of fate that aired today's episode on the same day as today's announcement.
And do not say I didn't warn you. If you haven't seen today's episode of One Life to Live, stop reading. You don't want to read this before you watch this. Trust me.
Let me just get right down to it if I can make it through without sobbing so hard over my keyboard that I get electrocuted. Matthew narrated today's episode.
"Is there anybody else like Roxy? She's the bomb."
Nora actually expressed concern for the mayor and how what can seem like a spirited hit in a minor physical skirmish can have unintended long-term damage even if the person seems fine. Kind of the way it happened to Matthew.
"Way to go, Aunt Viki. No one keeps the peace better than you."
"John McBain talks just about as much as I do these days."
Roxy tried to convince Shane there's a volcano in Brazil ("all fire and brimstone, red hot lather") that's keeping Rex away on Thanksgiving.
Brody defended Jessica to a fellow patient at St. Anne's.
Clint and Shane had another heart-to-heart and this show is trying its damndest to melt me into the floor. So, Clint's speech to Shane...
Clint: I just did not do right by you and your dad, and I regret that more than you will ever know. Rex is my son, you're my grandson, and me? I'm the fool that waited too long to count his blessings, but you and your father are gifts in my life that I just don't deserve. But I'm going to try and do better. And I'm going to try to be worthy of you, your dad, and (puts his hand over his heart) this wonderful heart that once belonged to your mom. I know I got a heck of a long way to go, so I'm asking you for your patience.
And I don't know why Ford needed to be present for Natalie's apology to Jessica but speaking of that apology, everyone is still showing compassion for Brody for his actions, assuming that he'd snapped rather than assuming he's evil. And Jessica looked truly crestfallen to learn that Brody was back in St. Anne's, back where it all began for the two of them. Three years ago on Thanksgiving. And then Jessica went to visit him in St. Anne's and got the crazy patient to stop taunting Brody! And he asked after Liam and after Nigel and I was thinking about OLTL Thanksgivings past and so grateful for this one because it wasn't the last one.
And they had this lovely exchange...
Jessica: Brody, you didn't lose one child, you lost two. (Three, in a way. --Ed.) First Ryder, then Liam, and that would drive even the strongest person over the edge.
Brody: You don't have to do this.
Jessica: Hey. Hey. Look at me. You have been my rock for so long. Whenever I felt like I was floating away, you were always there to bring me back down to the ground. You were a good man and you still are.
Brody: How can you say that?
Jessica: Because it's the truth. You are smart and strong and kind, and you're going to get through this.
Oh, and just in case we weren't already choked up at that point (Brody and Jessica 4EVAH!), we then cut to Clint telling Nigel that after what he did for the family, he has to stay for Thanksgiving and they should be serving him and then Natalie held Liam up and did a fake voice for him begging Nigel to stay. So cute!
And what would Llanview's final Thanksgiving (I'm sorry I had to use those words, but I did have to) be without a speech from Victoria Lord...
Viki: Oh my my my my my, we have a great deal to be thankful for today. To start with, how lucky are we that Liam is home, safe and sound with his mother and his father. John, welcome. And welcome to the family. Nigel, we owe you so much, you risked your own safety for us. Thank you so very much. And we are very lucky that Ryder's with us today, having his very first Thanksgiving with us, and so is Liam. And his father is here -- thank you, Robert, and welcome (Well, no holiday is perfect. --Ed.). And Bree! So glad you're here! And Shane, it's wonderful that you're here with us, really it is. The newest member of our family! Roxy? What can I say! Thank you. Thank you for your spirit and your caring, I am delighted you're here. Obviously there's some people who should be here but are not, my late brother Victor, and I miss him. I'm very grateful Todd is back with us, although he's supposed to be here with us today and I have no idea where he is! I miss Tina and Cord; I'm very glad they found their way back to each other and I wish they were here but... they're happy. And of course we miss Kevin and Joey and Clint's son Rex. And there's one person who should be here but she's not. And that's Gigi. Gigi gave us her heart. And that has brought new life to this family. Thank you, Gigi. So I think that we should all just be very, very grateful for the love that we have, the love we have for each other, for the love that is in this room -- spoken and unspoken (with the nod to John and Natalie but also a terrific and significant look from Clint to Viki). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
And then Shane visited Brody at St. Anne's and brought him a picture he drew of Brody as a superhero!
And then Bo and Nora kissed Matthew goodbye in his hospital room and told him they would see him soon, and Matthew's voice provided the final narration of the episode...
Matthew: Mom and Dad put their arms around each other. That's my happy ending right there. My name is Matthew Buchanan and today is Thanksgiving Day. It was a day of gratitude, of joy and hope, and wishes, lots of wishes. But in the end, it was also the day I died.
And then they cut to Bo and Nora, who were still in the doorway after all, seeing him flatline.
Well, this episode certainly evoked what it was intended to from me. I believe Courtney Simon was the scriptwriter for today, so I commend her on the beautiful dialogue.
I'm at a bit of a loss right now. I am sad ("sad" is the understatement of the decade) about Matthew and I am sad that this might mean Eddie Alderson's finale on the show was in voice-over, but I wonder if they might not have him do a little narration from beyond as we near the end. And we've heard about some actor returns that indicate we may be paying Heaven a visit, which I would totally accept if we get to see all these people in action once again. And I cried like a baby, for the sentimental components of the episode as well as the tragic, and because today's news was fresh in my mind.
As I've said on Serial Drama's Facebook page (we have one! visit if you haven't!), the writers and producers of both OLTL and AMC had no choice but to include cliffhangers in the presumed TV finales of their four-plus-decades-long shows, and it makes sense that they did what they did (who wouldn't want the shows to continue online, and Prospect Park was certainly sincere in their intent, despite the failure of the effort). But now we need finales, and I don't see any reason at all that both OLTL and AMC couldn't both be produced in two-hour made-for-TV movies as a conclusion. After forty-three years and more than eleven thousand episodes, I think series finales that the creative teams intended as finales are the absolute very least that the shows and their casts and crews and their viewers deserve. I can't possibly be the only one with this idea, so let's hope that it happens. If any of you folks are business-minded, tell us who to write to in order to make this happen! We will, we will!
So readers, this is still your spot if your heart hurts for OLTL. There's time yet, there's hope yet, and if we lose all hope, there are still goodbyes to be said. And so today let's be thankful for our fictional families and friends we've spent these years with and tomorrow we can be thankful for the real ones who really matter, the real family and friends who we're reminded of when even these silly melodramatic hyperbolic soap operas hit the highest highs of story and character. When "our stories" give us great storytelling that gets under your skin and lives with you in ways that truly resonate, it's life-affirming for us in the real world. And for that, we can give thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving, Serial Drama readers!