And with it, the Sweeps. Here's hoping the payoff will be worth the long wait. The up side is there is certainly plenty of storyline to play with. The down side is, of course, whether or not it will be played with successfully.
When it comes to what's coming, the first to come to my mind is Victor and his battle with depression. This story has finally begun to grow on me. At first, knowing Victor and his sometimes ability to coldly eliminate and unfeelingly dismiss any situation not to his liking, I found it rather unbelievable that he would take the death of Sabrina and with her, his child to be, so much to heart. After all, he hadn't known her that long and he wasted no time getting her in the ground and giving her belongings away. I presumed it was just a short-term way to deal with his annual vacation, especially when he returned home, disowned Adam, fired the staff and did everything but barricade himself behind the ranch walls. When he turned Newman Enterprises over to Neil, again I was skeptical, presuming it was a situation he would contrarily reverse in a matter of days, perhaps a week or two at the most. Slowly but surely, however, my curiosity about what was going on with Victor was piqued. In spite of Nikki's rather annoying attempts to inject herself wholeheartedly into the situation.
So, as Nikki hopes, will Ashley be the haloed, but earthbound angel capable of singlehandedly dragging Victor back from the deep black hole of despair before he can throw himself in? Probably, although I confess it will require a generous portion from my belief suspension bag to help me swallow this particular scenario. Because even though Victor always had and presumably still has a soft spot in his heart with Ashley's moniker on it, these two haven't been close in years. But helping Victor back to emotional health would repay the decades' old debt she owes him for once doing the same for her. Besides, since Victor made it crystal clear he wants no help of any kind from any of his family, who else is there to turn to but Ashley? And if I had to choose, I think I'd prefer that than him being led back to sanity by some woman we have yet to meet (like with herbal healer Ramona or mind-mender Hope). Lastly, since this situation has been rumored to form the foundation for Nikki and Victor's eventual hugely romantic reunion, how else to show Nikki's selflessness and great love for Victor? So much love that she would intentionally propel him straight toward the arms of the one other woman who loves him just as much as she does. How will it all come out? I guess we will have to wait and see, but, when the dust and debris has settled to the ground, I would be dumbfounded with disbelief to see Ashley waltz off with the man prize.
Of course, I don't know who I want to root for in this love link-up. I can't claim to have ever been a fan of Victor and Ashley's romance. Back then, I swore I might do harm to myself if I had to hear Victor utter the words 'my beautiful Ashley' one more time in that sappy, indulgent tone he used to use with her. Their romance also happened during Ashley's pre-swimmer snatching period when I found her quite annoying because she talked the high morals talk but frequently failed to walk the walk. On the other hand, I'm not feeling particularly loving toward Victor and Nikki either, although theirs was once a romance I called Romeo and Juliet, Genoa City Style. There has been so much ugliness shown on both their parts that it will take some serious and compelling storytelling to make me believe in their love again.
When it comes to Victoria, once the Daddy crisis has passed, whatever is she going to do with herself? Because she only seems to show some life when she's stabbing at Adam or moaning over Daddy's doings. What has happened to this woman? She used to have so much spunk and sass, was definitely what one would have called an Independent Woman. Now, more often than not, she's all timid little girlish, either wrapping herself around J.T. like a vine, or constantly looking for comfort or verbal petting or reassurance from Nikki or Nick. I find myself wanting to scream shut up at her every time I see her shoulders slump or her face, with the obligatory hank of hair hanging over half of it, droop into that sad, poor me, what am I to do expression. Because I know she's probably going to say something that begins with I and ultimately ends with me.
The next story I'm looking forward to has to do with Sharon. As you can probably guess, I wouldn't go out of my mind with grief if Nick and Sharon were to find their way back to each other. Yes, like many of you, I've heard the rumors about a possible Nick-Sharon pairing of the romantic kind during the Paris trip, but have a hard time imagining anything could come of it, if it even happens, because right now Nick is clearly still madly in love and lust with his current wife. I'm guessing Phyllis would have to do something pretty despicable or Sharon something extraordinarily wonderful to change that. And it's not as if I'm positive a new and improved Nick and Sharon would be the Cat's meow. After all, a whole lot of muddy water has flowed under that particular bridge, but I can't deny I wouldn't thoroughly enjoy watching Phyllis hobble painfully around in the same kind of high heels that once left Sharon with throbbing toes. On top of that I just plain don't like Phyllis. Being loved by Nick and loving him in return hasn't managed to improve her personality much. She's still nasty, jealous and abrasive and I'd rather see her living out her days with a deceptive man like Jack instead of mostly nice Nick. I side with other fans who found both she and Jack more interesting together than they are separately with their current partners.
But, Nick and Sharon aside, I can't wait to see what happens next with Sharon and Jack. Once a faithful fan of Jack, no matter how dastardly he behaved, his unacceptable actions have now changed my mind. There's nothing likable about him anymore; he's become all deceit and no decency. When he was fighting for the family company, in the midst of his trickery with JiMin, there was at least something I could understand about his determination to get Jabot back. And though the way he tricked a not quite all there Victor wasn't nice, he at least managed to show us a few flashes of remorse to make it a bit more palatable to choke down. His latest scheme, however, contains nothing redeemable. Adam has to bear some of the blame, of course. He's clearly not using any of the brain he was blessed with, and the fact that he would team up with a man like Jack makes it tough to feel much sympathy for him. But, I can cut him a little slack due to the fact that his ego (and his zero balance bank account) is still feeling the pain from the rejection he received from every Newman quarter.
I've cut Sharon that same slack because she's just been trying to do what she promised in her wedding vows. And she's managed to do it while keeping all her cookies in the home cooking jar instead of giving out an occasional crumb to other extramarital parties. But I have to admit I was all but on my feet cheering her on when she finally, finally, gave Jack a big piece of her mind. And yes, I'm sure she still had some left when she'd finished. I know I'm not the only fan who has long been thinking most of what she finally said to him. We knew no one could be as gullible as Sharon pretended as she swallowed sentence after sentence of Jack's tall and completely unbelievable tales. I hope she sticks to her guns and leaves Jack's fabricating behind parked on the concrete curb. And should the Abbott marriage get tossed on the trash heap, I really, really hope the scribes won't aim her in Brad's direction next.
Speaking of Brad, there haven't been any pretty female flowers fluttering in his arid, weed-choked yard for a very long time. I wonder if anyone has told him his once or twice stand, Olivia, is back in town. Someone must have told him flattery might get him somewhere because he was certainly throwing effusive compliments Sharon's way fast and furiously. I was proud of her again for nicely lobbing his obvious invitations right back at him with a smile that said she wasn't even tempted to use him as a confidant or anything else. Perhaps he can revisit a relationship with Ashley once Victor doesn't need her anymore. If not, maybe he can go after Jill either as payback or a love interest.
Back to Adam for a minute. I guess Jack has done something few in Genoa City manage to accomplish. Learn from their past mistakes. After boasting and bragging for JiMin's audiotape made after Victor and Michael completely intimidated him, Jack has apparently learned his lesson. Because despite his best efforts, Adam wasn't able to catch him incriminating himself on his hidden tape. At least not the first time. I hope Adam was smart enough to bring it with him during their next conversation, because Jack was much more forthcoming that time. I still say Jack's little get Victor scheme has as much substance as whipped cream and I can't imagine that he will get away with it. The forger he hired might be good, but I would be much surprised if he could fool a handwriting expert. And once it comes out the diary is a fake, it should be child's play for someone to quickly put the pieces of the puzzle together. Someone like Heather, who saw the forger with Adam with her very own eyes. And knows Jack and Adam have been working together. Poor Adam. Should that happen, he might as well pack his bags and return to the farm to scratch out a living milking cows and scattering feed to chickens and little porkers. Because I doubt Heather will be at all forgiving when she learns Adam watched her march down the primrose path to career disgrace and said or did nothing to stop her headlong flight.
Not that Heather makes it easy to feel any sympathy on her behalf. Just like she did the first time, once again, she's determined to catch Victor whether the evidence convicts him or not. She's nearly as bad as Jack when it comes to an obsession with all things Victor. Not that she's the only one doubting Victor's innocence. Unlike her brother and mother, Victoria seems to be the lone Newman convinced Victor did not kill Walter. At least this time, though Nick and Nikki seem convinced Victor murdered the man; they want to help him get away with it. Big improvement over wanting to see him rot in the pokey somewhere like Nick did when it came to commercial bribery. Of course, Victor hadn't been seen on the receiving end of a lip lock from Nick's wife this time either. Heather's focus on Victor sure was a lucky break for Brad, though, wasn't it? Obviously with a prize shark like Victor to land, Heather can't be bothered trying to catch a little minnow like Brad in her net and he got to wriggle right off the hook.
While I'm talking about people being on the hook, looks like Jeff is back to making empty blackmail threats to Gloria again. But this time I'm not falling for it. And it doesn't appear Gloria is overly alarmed by them either. How many times has the tainted face cream had its ugly head reared? As if anyone is ever going to find out about Gloria tainting that cream! With the industrial strength cleaning solvents or whatever it was she put in it, I'm surprised that cream hasn't hardened to concrete in that jar. Jeffrey may as well give it up. With the chain of evidence broken into millions of pieces, I'm guessing even a green behind the ears lawyer on his first case after passing the bar would probably be able to get those charges tossed out before they came anywhere near a courtroom. So just imagine how easily Michael the Magnificent Legal Magician could cloud the issues, twist the facts and get any charges dropped. Not that I care overmuch when it comes to Gloria. Although it wasn't unbearable watching the long ago events surrounding the bombing, I remain uninterested in this storyline. Obviously, a lot happened to Gloria in the years between River's flight from responsibility and the entrance of Terrible Tom into her life. Because the worn by life woman waving a cigarette around as she laughingly tugged at Tom's arm as he locked their child in the closet bore no resemblance to the Gloria looking up at River in wide-eyed adoration. Then there is the Gloria of today, who, without a single qualm, uses her boy, Kevin, to further her many schemes, the latest of which involves the hoodwinking of Katherine. In my biased opinion, despite the scribes' attempt to write Gloria's back-story in a way to hopefully whitewash her into an acceptable shade has failed in my opinion. Because Gloria is still a self-serving piece of work. May she one day get all that is coming to her. And I don't mean that in a good way.
Watching Katherine in her dual role this week has been pure pleasure. When it comes to carrying a storyline, Katherine never disappoints and this time is no exception. The flashbacks to the past have been a great and nostalgic look back for long time viewers like me, who often miss the way things used to be written and acted, and have been a nice refresher of what has gone before. Not only do we get to see grand dame, Katherine, slowly loses her grip on mental things, we also get the bonus of seeing her return to her alcohol-imbibing days in the form of Marge. With the rumors early this year that 2008 might be the last for the character of Katherine, what we are seeing has a rather bittersweet quality. I haven't heard anything for sure, but I would hate to see Kay's departure, if there is one, be a final one. With Marge back on the canvas, I can only hope that if there is to be a final goodbye, the hoax might be that the body actually belongs to Marge, leaving the door open a crack should Katherine wish to return.
Besides the duality of Marge/Kay, the interplay between mother and daughter is also good TV. Kay is extremely believable in her vulnerability and confusion as a woman who can't or won't face the inevitability of mental deterioration. As for Jill, one moment I'm nearly convinced she is truly concerned for Katherine, the next, I'd swear she's being her usual all for me self. Because although she keeps stressing her concern for her mother's health, mostly she seems more concerned about Chancellor's and her determination to keep her claws hooked in it at all costs. And she seemed to become even more determined to shove Kay aside once she learned Kay's tell-all book was all but on the stands.
In the foursome made up of Chloe, Cane, Lily and Billy, it's been more of the same. Chloe continues to keep her talons fastened on Cane, her cunning eyes on Lily and her stalker tendencies aimed at Billy. Billy pants discreetly after Lily while she looks longingly at Cane when no other eyes are looking. It looks to be a looong time until the birth.
When it comes to happiness, at least there is joy to be had for two Genoa Citians. It took awhile, but Amber and Daniel are finally back together and I'm having as much fun watching Amber rub Colleen's snooty little nose in their happiness as Amber apparently is getting from doing it. From the moment Colleen decided it was cool to sample her best friend's ex, I have been waiting to see her left standing forlornly alone. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Whether or not there will be joy for Karen and Neil remains to be seen. I wasn't pleased to see Tyra return, and Neil's seeming jealousy over the attention Officer Whoever was paying her doesn't bode well for a future between Karen and Neil. Not to mention all the talk about whether or not Neil wants more babies. Babies Karen can't give him. This one left me scratching my head just a little. I know people are having babies later in life much more than they used to, and Neil doesn't actually have a biological one of his very own, but up until recently, he didn't seem to want one. Dru was the love of his life, but I don't remember him even hinting about longing to hear the pitter patter of toddling feet again. Sure, he wanted more children before she moved to Paris with Lily, but that was a very, very long time ago. And, of course, he barely wanted anything to do with Dru once he found out about Malcolm, but once they finally got past that and reconciled, not one murmur do recall about procreation. Not that he's come out and said he wants another run at parenthood, but if he does, Tyra is obviously the woman prepared to give him what he wants. And lastly, there is newly-arrived Olivia. Where is her place in this portrait of the quickly-growing Winters family?
Until next week, my fellow fans. And from the mailbox: