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Blogging From The Beacon.

Thoughts on the week of August 31-September 4.

We're now into the final two weeks of the show. For past few weeks, however, things have been rapidly bustling along. I keep wondering whether I would experience it differently if I didn't know it was ending. More than anything, the recent weeks have reminded me of the episodes from the writer's strike last year. Everything is plotted and gridded, swiftly leaping from one thing to the next. Subtle developments are only glimpses. Although current episodes are a great deal more even, the pacing, the plotting, the terse dialogue and the sense that everything is racing to something inevitable are all reminiscent of that period. The plots seem less important now than the sheer fact that they are ending. It's actually hard to gauge how well anything is working because the show is in a completely abnormal position. It just isn't normal for a soap, which is virtually defined by a kind of endlessness, to suddenly have one. I know that they are seeking to give people closure, but I always thought that avoiding such a thing is a huge part of what makes Daytime what it is. They won't close off everything before the show ends, thankfully. I may be in the minority in wishing that they would leave more things wide open than they already have. But that's just me. I don't really care what happens, I care about how they make it happen. It's not that things are bad, it's just that it feels like it's all about pulling together a great quantity of things fast, more than anything else and I just don't find it satisfying. I feel bad complaining, but it's the way I feel. Each day, it makes me more sad.

Seeking to cover a lot of ground quickly, Billy and Vanessa gathered up some cakes and went on a tour of town to announce their upcoming nuptials. It was nice, but this ritual brief engagement and folksy thrown together wedding thing is starting to be a bit much. I mean, it is enjoyable, but it seems more like a sigh than like the peak of a difficult romance that's spanned for decades.

Olivia spent much of the week appearing exhausted. She even tried working out. Josh leered, which is more or less what he does now that he has entered the town's population of single men. She hung out with Phillip and they broke the news of his sickness to their daughter. They both seemed adrift and, whatever their emotions, there was something melancholy and fatalistic about them. They were resigning themselves to something, shuffling further from their pasts as charismatic and often brutally self-interested people into whatever it is they are now. She finally bent and gave in to Nat, but it seemed to be more because she was tired, or afraid of being alone, than that she was swept off her feet.

Things didn't look much better for the rest of Phillip's time last week either. He finally came clean with his family. When he told them, we were only shown the event through glass and in silence, which was a very tasteful way to do it. As usual, Alan and Alex's interactions were lovely, though brief. Alan also had a nice scene with Buzz. They used to have more heartfelt scenes like that together, where they would discuss their problems as fathers. It's something I've missed, but it also reminded me that the Alan of late has been even further out of character than the Alan who found religion after a roof fell on his head. I guess realizing that his son is dying could have as much of an impact on him. Yet, in spite of how good Ron Raines' performance has been, the tidy way they have explained Alan's entire life, reducing it to guilt and a sense of cowardice, has been one of the greatest indignities to a major character since Alex was demoted from a scheming and mercenary business woman into a cougar who drifts around town eating dessert.

Coop's book was magically finished and rushed into publication at an unbelievable pace thanks to Blake, Ashlee and Cyrus. Doris finally came out to her daughter. Orlagh was wonderful, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that it has been too little, too late for a character who deserved more.

Anyway, those were my thoughts about last week. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below and remember that this is all in fun.

- Matt Purvis