For the Week of February 14, 2005
There has been much debate over Cristian's return. At first, his return seemed dull and uninspired. Few people in Llanview actually cared that he came back.
One Life to Live did something last week that caught me off guard: It had my full attention for the entire week! I can't remember the last time I was captivated by what was happening and wasn't thinking "Isn't this over yet?" I am not saying I agreed with everything that happened, but I was definitely interested and was anxious to see the next day's episode. I hope One Life to Live can keep up the pace and make me want to watch everyday, whether I have time or not. Here are the main things that caught my attention:
There has been much debate over Cristian's return. At first, his return seemed dull and uninspired. Few people in Llanview actually cared that he came back, and his return turned into a disappointment for many fans. Then, we started learning what Cristian had gone through on the boat. He had been programmed to kill "one hated and one loved," which turned out to be Tico and Antonio respectively. The week before last, we were told that Cristian wasn't actually Cristian. After finding that out, I was frustrated. I didn't understand the point of bringing David Fumero back at all if he wasn't going to be Cristian. I didn't even want to watch the rest of the storyline after that. However, I did watch, and learned that Cristian is indeed Cristian; he just didn't know it. The revelation that he really is Cristian led to some powerful moments. After Carlotta visited who she thought was Cristian's imposter, he had a flashback of her looking for him. He realized he was Cristian and sadly said "I'm right here" after Carlotta walked away. He then had more flashbacks of his life with Antonio, Carlotta, and Natalie. David Fumero did a terrific job of portraying Cristian realizing who he was and knowing that he figured it out...just a little too late. He had already confessed to killing Tico and had been sentenced to life in prison. John tried to get Cristian to tell everyone the truth, but Cristian didn't want to put Natalie and his family through any more grief. Between his flashbacks, Cristian's reactions to them, and the thought that he was essentially sacrificing his life for others, I was reaching for the Kleenex. I have mixed feelings about how this storyline appears to be ending. On one hand, Natalie can move on with her life without feeling obligated to stand by Cristian while he is in prison. On the other hand, she should know the truth, and I am not convinced that Cristian's sentence couldn't be reversed, given the fact that he was held captive and programmed. He didn't choose to kill Tico, and I don't think he should be in prison for the rest of his life. However, the way Cristian is exiting the show allows this to be explored more in the future. For now, Natalie will go on thinking she's been betrayed and that Cristian is really dead. If this is the way that it has to be, I want this to be a turning point for Natalie and not just a plot device to further complicate the triangle with Natalie, John, and Evangeline. Cristian's exit should mean more than just the continuation of a triangle that shouldn't exist. He is giving up his life for Natalie; she needs to move on with her life in a meaningful way. Natalie has never been one of my favorite characters, but now she can grow and become a stronger character. I must say that Melissa Archer did an outstanding job of showing the range of emotions that Natalie felt when she found out the "truth" about Cristian. She was angry, sad, frustrated, and felt betrayed. I felt Natalie's pain, and I give credit to Melissa Archer for that. Natalie hasn't always been given the best storylines, but she absolutely shined last week. Hopefully Melissa Archer continues to get better material to work with, so she can show what a strong actress she really is. I may not like the way this storyline is ending, but the way it was written and acted made me remember why I have watched One Life to Live for so long.
Next, the pace in Todd and Blair's storyline picked up a lot last week. I had really lost interest in Todd and Blair's future. They had been put together and torn apart so many times, that I became numb and didn't really care what happened to them. When Margaret kidnapped Todd, I was in a state of disbelief. When she managed to keep Todd as her hostage for so long, my disbelief continued to grow. I still think it is out of character to not have escaped from Margaret, but I will set that doubt aside. When Blair started looking for Todd and finally started relying on her instincts, my interest in this storyline began to build. Blair found Todd, only to be captured by Margaret and to be locked in a car trunk with nothing but a walkie talkie. Suddenly, I wanted Todd and Blair to escape their situations and find their way back to each other. When they talked with the walkie talkies, their desperation and fear were apparent, and it was obvious that neither Todd nor Blair was sure they would escape. I do not like the idea of Todd having to give into Margaret's demands to be set free. First of all, I don't believe for a minute that Margaret will actually let Todd go after he gives her what he wants, and second, the thought of Margaret carrying Todd's child is a little creepy. I realize this is a way of incorporating Todd's history of raping Marty, but the ramifications of it are just too horrible to ponder. That being said, I am impressed that the writers were able to get me interested in Todd and Blair's fate again. This is a different situation for this couple to endure. Usually, they are torn apart by Todd's dishonesty or manipulations. This time, they are in peril due to external forces that are beyond their control. I want to see them overcome their circumstances and return to their family. Just like with the storyline with Cristian, I didn't feel the need to fast forward during any of Todd and Blair's scenes last week, and I have a renewed interest in what happens to these characters. Hopefully, Todd, Blair, and the writers can continue to hold my interest in their storyline,
Kevin and Kelly were a couple I gave up on a long time ago. I wasn't thrilled when they became a couple in the first place, and I was even less thrilled when they returned to Llanview as an estranged couple. Once the baby switch took place, I figured that was the end of Kevin and Kelly. The bitter custody trial furthered my belief that they would never get back together. However, I have seen glimpses of possibility recently. They seem to be moving past their problems, even though they disagree about what is best for Ace. Last week, they fondly remembered things they had done (while not on the show) and were reluctant to say it was over. I am not sure if I want them to get back together, but it has been a nice change to see them be pleasant to each other. For a long time, they were very bitter and mean-spirited to each other. Now, they are both accepting responsibility for their failed marriage and appear to be forging a new bond. Whether they ever remarry or not, I have really enjoyed their scenes together lately. At the same time, I am happy to see Kelly standing her ground and openly disagreeing with Kevin about Ace's well being. Instead of attacking her character, Kevin has accepted the fact that they are on opposite sides, and is still nice to her. Kevin and Kelly have come a long way since they returned to Llanview. They were destined for divorce when they returned, and even though they did divorce, they seem to be in a better place in their relationship (whatever that is) now. They are honest with each other and aren't fighting and trying to hurt each other anymore. I may not have liked Kevin and Kelly when they first became a couple, but I see potential for at least a good friendship now. I am anxious to see where these 2 characters are headed together, and that is something I never thought I would say.
Finally, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed a scene with Antonio. For months, he has been angry and sad. The scene with Antonio and Evangeline showed a happier Antonio that is capable of making a joke and not taking everything so seriously. He was having fun teasing Evangeline about John, and it was a nice change of pace. It was brief, but it stood out in my mind, as it was so refeshing to see Antonio not be gloomy for a change. As I have pointed out throughout this column, it is nice to be surprised for a change, and Antonio's change in demeanor was a pleasant surprise. Small changes like this can make all the difference for a show, and I hope there are more changes like this to come.
Have a pleasant week!
Until next time,
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