Thoughts on the week of February 2-6.
After Doris began exploiting the lesbian issue for media coverage, Olivia blew up at her. It looks like she really does have feelings for Natalia after all. Exactly what they are isn't entirely clear but she did turn down a man this week because of it so I'll take that as a hint. For her part, Nat is pushing herself pretty hard into Frank's arms, which is uncharacteristic of her and seems like a sign she's running away from her feelings. So far, Nat and Olivia are turning into the most convincing love story since... um, Cyrus and himself?
Although I know some viewers find the possibility of a lesbian romance budding between two characters who have long been portrayed as hetero hard to swallow, I can tell you, from the lesbian couples I know, that their situation is quite commonplace. That's not why it's convincing though. It's convincing because Chappell and Leccia are two talented actresses who have just been waiting for something better to sink their teeth into. This time the writers have actually given this time to develop a properly nuanced relationship. It's common enough that two characters vie for something, hate each other at first, get played as opposites and end up in an affair. That's actually a cliché on the show. It usually comes off contrived and, worse, dull (just think of Cyrus and Marina) because it has been done so much it's lost most of the power it could have. But this time there is ambiguity and controversy in the matter and that makes it work the way soap plots are supposed to work.
Meanwhile, two other soap story mainstays aren't working quite as well – the return of the wounded son and the return of the reformed villain. Edmund and Shayne got together, opened up and talked about Lara and decided to build a hospital together. Everyone in the Lewis clan backed off a little but Dinah is staying involved with the two of them. Since she and Edmund have long been the scourges of Springfield, having them team up like this has some potential. I just hope the 'reformed' Edmund soon breaks down and goes back to his true nature. I really want this to work, but, so far, I'm not so sure. Perhaps now that he and Shayne have a bond, the family will start to force things to unravel.
Mallet finally told Marina about his former career as a killer and his involvement with Griggs. She took it well, so well in fact that they decided they should go up to the mountains and have sex for the weekend. I understand that she appreciates he told her the truth, but his past almost ended up killing her and he waited a year to come clean about it. That makes this deception as bad as anything Cyrus did. Even stranger was the fact that, despite his brief career as a criminal, his underworld connections and his connections in law enforcement, he had no idea how to fake a few years of employment history. Watching him desperately furrowing his brow while trying to figure out what to do, it really seemed less to be a matter of honesty, than a lack of imagination.
But my favorite moment of the week may have been Robert Newman giving a textbook example of how to suppress rage. Of course, playing Josh and being involved with Reva, he's had decades of experience doing this, but there was something extraordinarily funny about it. Maybe it was the way that David Andrew MacDonald was exploding at him and because it was shot at an odd angle but it created a wonderfully self-skewering scene.
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.