Family means everything. Isn't that what we've always been led to believe? If you are a relative of Victor Newman, you would know that to be true. Victor has claimed for years that his every decision and action have been to protect his loved ones and the family name, although that didn't always appear to be the case. But seriously, family is a major ingredient of a soap opera's dish, and it takes just the right mixture of drama, secrets, lies, and manipulation, seasoned with a little love, honor, and humor, to create a tasty morsel of intrigue. Family fuels the stories on The Young and the Restless, which is what keeps the fans riveted and tuned in. And it's these fabulous secret family recipes that have kept soaps on for years and even decades.
Even though Ashley's known for years that John Abbott wasn't her biological father, she still considered herself an Abbott -- up until Dina blurted out the truth in front of a boatload of people. I don't see why that should change for Ashley now. If John had known the truth about her parentage, I doubt it would have changed a thing for him in regard to his daughter. Ashley was always the apple of her father's eye, and she still would have been that, deep down to her core. John was an honorable man, and he loved his darling girl.
Jack was right when he said that blood was only part of the equation and that Ashley was still an Abbott through and through. Nothing has changed that. The saying may be "blood is thicker than water," but that's not always the case. Ashley was raised to be an Abbott, and the love from her family will keep her an Abbott. That is and always will be her family name.
And that would mean that Abby is still truly John Abbott's granddaughter. Ashley still has the right to be proud of that fact. Ashley and Abby both stand for the values that John believed in, and they both have been carrying on the Abbott family tradition of honor, even when Jack and Billy tend to slip a little in that area at times. John would have been so pleased that Ashley won "Innovator of the Year," an award that John himself had won in the past. To achieve that kind of recognition really does run in the family. Yet, Abby has already been floundering in her confidence as a Newman, so how will she let the fact that she is not a biological Abbott affect her? This could be her chance to prove herself, in her own right and as her own person, rather than as either a Newman or an Abbott.
Jack pointed out that Ashley and Abby were Abbotts in every important way, even as he laid out all the "family's dirty laundry in a nutshell" to Nikki. What a cool way to phrase it. I can't blame Jack for trying to find his mother, but Nikki had a point. Dina had hurt her family in the past and then she ran away. And even if Dina was worth more to Graham dead than alive, that didn't mean that he killed her in cold blood. But as soon as Paul gave him Dina's location, Jack and Ashley dashed off with "a wad of cash" to bring their mother back. It never even dawned on him that his mother might not be willing to return to Genoa City. But she sure looked no worse for wear at the resort hotel, where she was living it up with two older women. In fact, she looked like she was having a blast.
Even if Graham had convinced Dina to leave, she was the one who actually left. However, Jack refused to believe that she would leave on her own, and he may have a rude awakening. It's probably too late to redeem him, but I would really like to have seen Graham as a grey character with many layers, mixed with good and bad qualities. That's why I had hoped he would end up being Ashley's brother. Yet almost every time a new guy hits town, he winds up being the latest villain. The show could use another character like Justin Hartley's Adam Newman, who was always in hot water, even as he was trying to do the right thing. It's more fun to root for a grey character than for a white knight or the straight-out villain, although they can be entertaining too. I fear it's too late to lighten up Graham's character.
But Jack's obsession with Graham had a mighty grip on him, so much so that Jack willingly let Phyllis finish out the final steps of their plot against Brash & Sassy. Even if Jack was distracted, he knew he could depend on Phyllis to keep Jabot safe. Jack still obviously trusts her, and I'm sure he still loves her. It may sound crazy, but I would love to see Jack and Phyllis slowly work their way back to each other. And Jabot always seemed the best vehicle for them to do that. Even when Phyllis was angry with Jack, she still respected the Abbott family business. Phyllis always saw that Jabot was her connection to Jack.
On the other hand, Billy, who is tied by blood to the Abbotts, was willing to risk everything, including his relationship with Phyllis, in order to bring the family company, run by his brother and sister, down. His malice toward Jack was so deep that Billy didn't care who else he hurt to get back at his sibling. Only I'm still not exactly sure why he's getting back at Jack. Billy was successful in wrestling his brother's wife away from him, so he had already won out over Jack. I mean, I can understand why Jack wanted revenge on Billy. That made sense. But for Billy, it seemed to be a game more than anything else. He appeared to want Jack to lose everything -- just as he had for Cane. It was just never enough. And if Ashley and Phyllis had to pay the price too…oh, well.
Finally, Phyllis let Billy have it, and he deserved even more than she threw at him. How outrageous that Billy was angry at Phyllis for her betrayal, when he was the one who instigated it all. Plus, he snooped into the messages on her phone to find it out. Going onto Phyllis' computer to steal top-secret Jabot information wasn't enough. Billy used Phyllis from the get-go to take Jabot down, yet he was the one who raged at her with his self-righteous indignation. It was pretty ironic, considering all that he had done to her. And finally, Phyllis got to explode with her infamous fiery temper. I loved it!
It truly was fun watching the former Red lash out at Billy, as she threw him out the door. That's what I've been waiting for. This was one big reveal that didn't prove to be a disappointment. When Phyllis fires off, all guns are a-blazing, no holds barred. And just when Billy thought the wrath of Phyllis has eased up, she flung his clothes into his face. Woo-hoo! Billy really deserved it.
I found Phyllis' opinion of the order of Billy's priority list interesting in that she thought that Billy's undying devotion to Victoria was number one, Brash & Sassy was number two, and his revenge on Jack was number three. I might have placed getting even with Jack a little higher on the list, maybe even at number one. However, Phyllis was correct when she noted that she was toward the bottom of the list -- possibly right ahead of Billy making amends with Cane, which we know will never happen.
Phyllis and Billy sure put on an entertaining show with all their antics, as they scuffled on the balcony and around the kitchen table, up until the time Victoria called, and then Phyllis dropped Billy's phone off the balcony. That was so funny. I can't remember the last time I was so thoroughly entertained by our favorite daytime serial. I only hope that Billy's phone didn't hit and kill someone down below when it was dropped from above. I read earlier this week that a rock dropped from an overpass hit and killed a passenger in a car. That really is a dangerous situation. But as for the big reveal itself, Phyllis' confrontation with Billy ended up being so much more rewarding and pleasurable to watch than I had even hoped. Bravo!
I couldn't believe that Victoria wanted Chelsea to keep her car crash hush-hush from Nick. Yeah, just what any couple needs -- lies and secrets. The real shock was that Chelsea told Nick about Victoria's fender bender anyway. What?! No, that's unheard of. Come on, this is a soap opera, where deception and deceit are just part of the norm. Yet I couldn't help but notice that Nick kept quiet about what almost sounded like Lily's proposition to him of revenge sex. Whew -- and all's right with the soap world again.
The second Victoria agreed to be on Hilary's show, I knew something would happen to make her regret it. But actually, the regrets came before the interview, once Billy let Victoria know about Jack's fake memo regarding the Jabot men's line. Victoria was shaky once the interview got underway, but then she completely zoned out and eventually passed out for all of the show's audience -- and Billy -- to see. That certainly was must-see-TV. Shoot, if Victoria didn't already have the upper hand over Phyllis in the battle for Billy's heart, her collapse surely must have sealed the deal.
And Billy was right at her side, flanked by a gaggle of Newmans, when Victoria was rushed to the hospital. Wow, he must really care about her if he was willing to face Victor and the sneers lurking under his mustache. Of course, in Victor's eyes, her condition had to have been Billy Boy's fault. To Victor's dismay, tests revealed that Victoria had been inflicted with a prolonged toxic poisoning that had been unwittingly self-inflicted by what was to be her potentially biggest seller, a facial mask that she had been testing for months. So, why hadn't the prior tests at the hospital revealed that? Victoria ought to consider filing a lawsuit. She has been suffering the symptoms since then, and those symptoms even caused her to have a car accident.
But leave it to Victoria to be more worried about the fate of Brash & Sassy instead of her own health. It's too bad that Nick had already promised his fund money to the Winters/Abbott Foundation; however, Neil and Jack could hand that over to her too. It would be a little tacky for Nick to renege on his pledge, especially since he made his declaration on camera for all of Genoa City to hear. Billy was also concerned about Victoria's baby, which was her precious cosmetics company. Hopefully, Billy will eventually think to let their actual children know about their mother's health also. Johnny and Katie would probably like to know what's going on with their mommy.
But apparently, Billy was too busy putting out fires at Brash & Sassy and spreading the word that all of their products, including the facial mask, were just fine. Hmmm…I think postponing the launch says otherwise. But Billy, being true to form, blamed Jack for sabotaging the ingredients in the face mask, which gave him yet another excuse to retaliate against Jack. And Victor wanted to join forces with Billy Boy to get even with a man whose only thought lately had been to find his missing mother. So, whether Jack wanted it or not, he was in for yet another round of the Newman/Abbott feud, only with a twist, since it would be two Newmans and one Abbott versus two Abbotts. These never-ending battles would be okay if Jack won once in a while. But when you know the results of the game before it even starts, there's not much point in watching.
However, I'm glad that Victoria finally told her family about her medical condition, although after her on-air collapse, that could hardly have been avoided. But as they stressed, her family loves her and would want to know. While it's true that the Newmans are dysfunctional in almost every sense of the word, they still love each other, even when they hate each other. And Victoria is the one Newman who has somehow managed to stay off of Victor's hit list of vengeance and revenge so far, although Abby has been pretty far from his target lately too.
If Mariah isn't careful, she will be guilty of destroying her family, also, even if, unlike Billy, that was not her intention. She really hasn't been acting like Tessa's best friend, since she keeps sniping and snapping at her. I guess it's all or nothing for Mariah when it comes to Tessa. It's strange that Mariah was fine with being best friends with Kevin when their romantic relationship went south, but she's not so willing to play second fiddle to her brother when it comes to Tessa's love. I know I have asked this before, but why doesn't Mariah consider the kind of pain she would be bringing to her brother if she were, in fact, successful in stealing his girlfriend away from him? Mariah knows about Noah's past with women. Mariah loves her brother, but she acts as if Tessa is the only one who matters. Even as an ex-con, Mariah has never seemed so inconsiderate before, especially in regard to her own family.
And Tessa has been trying desperately not to rock the boat, because she wanted to hang onto what she finally considered as her loving family. Tessa has never had a family before, so she didn't want to lose that one. Plus, Noah was her first real fan. He has been encouraging her all along in her journey toward a successful music career. What kind of a person would Tessa be if she were to just toss him aside like yesterday's garbage now? The dark-haired girl was between a rock and a hard place. Tessa would break Noah's heart by encouraging Mariah's interest, but she could very well lose a dear confidante if she were to give the redhead the typical "let's just be friends" speech. Tessa really couldn't win in this situation, no matter how hard she tried.
Mama Bear Sharon has been every kind of mother to Tessa that she can possibly be. Sharon has really gone above and beyond to help the girl out, even so far as to put her own life in danger to help Tessa locate her sister. Thank goodness they finally found her, even if Crystal couldn't be adopted into Tessa's newfound family. You would have thought that once Crystal was rescued, this storyline would have been over, but sadly, that wasn't the case. Sharon and her sidekick Scott were still hot on the trail of the mastermind who was behind the sex trafficking ring in Genoa City. Maybe Scott should bicker some more with Abby, who may just be able to put him squarely onto Zach's path.
But Muhammad decided to go to the mountain when Zach joined Scott at Crimson Lights for a little chat, probably to pump out from Scott just how much he actually knew. Scott didn't really know Zach all that well, so why on earth would he disclose practically everything he had discovered about "the small, under-the-radar businesses" and following the paper trail to the top of the ring? Scott even admitted to knowing Natalia, one of the prostitutes. This, most certainly, was not all in the family, since Crystal was long gone. Well, the next thing you know, Scott was covered in blood as he lay in a strange bed next to the dead girl. A little pill in your beer can do a whole lot of damage.
For the first time, this storyline has become somewhat interesting to me. Before this, it seemed just contrived to further Tessa and her boring family's history along. And the only slightly compelling incident in all of that was when Alice believed that Mariah was Cassie. It was rather fun watching Mariah pretend to be her deceased twin. But after that, it was back to Dullsville until this latest twist. I'd say that Natalia was literally giving Scott the cold shoulder.
Scott was in no laughing mood, however, as he reached out to Victor for help in getting him out of the sticky situation. What happened to Scott's ethics as a journalist? He had a real story to tell now, but his first thought was of self-protection, as he did everything he could think of to cover it up. Victor had other plans, though, since he reported the prostitute's death to Paul and the police. Victor sure picked a bad time to become squeaky clean. Yeah, Scott was in a world of hurt if even Victor could turn his back on him.
Between Victor and Zack, Scott didn't have a prayer. Of course, Zack had his own fairytale version of how the previous night went as he reflected that Scott had been drunk and had wanted to go clubbing. Zack recalled to Paul how Scott had flipped out after seeing some blonde girl at the Underground, who had seemed "spooked" at seeing Scott. (Notice how I used a Halloween term there.) And Paul sure appeared to be falling for Zack's tall tale. I mean, it was pretty obvious to me that Natalia's reaction of fear had been aimed at Zack, not Scott.
Then Zack decided to quietly slink out of town, although he later changed his mind. At least he had the courtesy of intending to dump Abby by voicemail before he left. Pretty classy, right? Zack used adjectives like "damaged" and "broken" and "defective" and "can't be fixed" to describe himself. Yes, I would say you have hit the nail on the head, old bean.
But once Scott was bailed out of jail, it was back to ho-hum again. Oh, well, it was interesting for a second. Do you know what would have been entertaining? If someone totally unexpected were the one in charge. Think about it. Wouldn't it have been neat if the seemingly innocent Crystal had actually been the one calling all the shots? Or even Tessa? Of course, that would eventually leave the actress, Cait Fairbanks, without a job. Yet that would have been far more interesting, although that would have broken Noah's heart -- but Mariah's going to make sure that happens anyway.
This story needs a huge reveal about the head honcho that has all the fans gasping, "What?!" I remember I had that kind of reaction when, on One Life to Live, it was revealed that Blair's nice-guy boyfriend, Eli, was a villainous serial killer. That kind of shock would surely liven up this storyline.
It was known almost right off the bat that Zack was one of the villains, even if someone else is pulling the strings. (And I would think it wouldn't be Victor this time, as much as he likes being a puppeteer.). So, even if Zack was armed with a million balloons, it's too late for redemption for him. Another new man in town sacrificed, all in the name of family. Since Abby was a Newman, her drama must automatically involve being with a bad boy. Zack's days are probably numbered, and that's too bad. Maybe the epidemic of the new guy in town being a villain can change in the future. It's sad to think our lovely ladies will never have a happy, stable relationship.
Juliet sure has had everything go her way in creating her brand-spanking-new family with Cane and their soon-to-be new arrival. It didn't take any time at all for Cane to offer to have her move in with him -- at the Chancellor mansion. My question, though, is because Jill and Esther live there, also, shouldn't Cane have cleared that with them first -- out of consideration, if for no other reason? Juliet is so sickening with her butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth attitude. And she's so phony about it all. Her demeanor is so greasy and oily. Oh, Cane, I would never stop you from being with your kids. You should stay at the house with them while Lily is away at a conference. Boy, she is just reeling him in. This is one nightmarish family dynamic. And just in time for Halloween. You can't beat that.
Lily even blamed Juliet and her little bun in the oven for the strife between Cane and his twins, most notably Mattie. And while Cane's one-night stand that resulted in Juliet being in the family way and his lies to cover it up were responsible for the spouses being estranged, it was Cane's ongoing, never-ending feud with Victoria that had Mattie up-in-arms angry with her dad. However, Lily also created a bigger problem by allowing Mattie to see Reed again without consulting or even informing Cane about it first. Who didn't know that Cane would be furious when he saw the two lovebirds together? Nobody. Really, Lily should have seen that coming.
When she learned that Cane would be staying with the twins at the house, Mattie yelled that they did not need a babysitter. Hey, I hate to burst your bubble, girlie, but a father cannot babysit his own kids. His job as a parent is to love and raise them, which is just what Cane would be doing during his stay.
If Hilary really wants the ratings to skyrocket on her show, she should add Lily as another co-host. They were hysterical when they were bickering and sniping at each other during Victoria's interview. Together, they would be ratings gold.
So, Nick thinks Victor's flaws include his "massive personality and ethical defects," eh? Yeah, that sounds about right.
Abby told Nick of her woes and said, "My grandmother was apparently kidnapped by her charming, constant companion, who turned out to be the stepson of her former lover, the country club gigolo, who's been plotting revenge against her for decades. Yeah, I know…the same old story." Hey, wait…that would make a good soap storyline. Oh, that's right. It already has.
Mal Young's stories started on Wednesday, so I made a point of paying particular attention to the pacing of the show. First, I noticed a subtle change in tone, where it is a bit more relaxed, instead of the in-your-face tone that had been present before. I loved how Jack and Dina's special song, "Moon and Back," set the mood and the pace at the end of Wednesday's show. And I always enjoy watching humor on a soap, because that gives a show balance. In life, there are times when you laugh and times when you cry, and soaps should reflect that. Plus, as a contrast, laughter in one scene tends to highlight the drama in another. I truly enjoyed the hijinks between Phyllis and Billy this week, and I hope Mr. Young keeps bringing the humor, as long as it doesn't overwhelm the show.
I also realized that the focus is being placed on only three or four situations in one episode so more attention can be given to each one. Instead of zipping from scene to scene, they are now spending more time developing each scenario. It's a refreshing pace and more enjoyable to watch. So far, I approve, and I am interested to see where the writing takes our most beloved characters in the future.
Until next time, please stay tuned.
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