Building to a blow-up. (CBS)

Flirty Ashley. (CBS)

Restless Rant for the week of December 30 - January 3:

Happy New Year to all! Although "Y&R" continues to be quite boring at times, some of the building stories centering on well-established characters definitely show promise. Thoughts:

Helping Billy.
Jack and Jill working together to help Billy was one of the high points of the week. They interact so naturally, and still have that old spark. More!

The big bang.
We all saw the Billy/Kelly sex coming but somehow it was still rather shocking. While an illicit romp is exactly what some had been hoping for to spice up this soap, this particular dalliance was more horrible and sad than deliciously naughty. Most came out of it loathing Kelly, particularly after we learned she also had some sort of inappropriate dealings with Stitch. The positive is that the story has made us sit up and take notice and feel something. We're awake and wondering what's next! As of Friday we had Billy working his guilty conscience and Victoria thanking Kelly for helping her husband and inviting her to their home for dinner. Ack!

The godfather.
By week's end, Victor's investigation had led him to conclude that Adam was the driver who hit Delia. In passing, Victor mentioned a female on the list who had purchased a new SUV the day after the accident - could that have been Kelly? One theory is that everything, including the evidence and Adam's own behavior, will point to him having been the guilty party. However, down the road, perhaps just as Victor has somehow managed to get Jack back on pills and wrest control of Connor away from him, it will be revealed that Kelly was actually the hit-and-run driver, and Adam will then return in dramatic fashion. The build-up to Adam being fingered has been fairly intense what with Adam asking Jack to be Connor's godfather, and Victor and Adam facing off. Also, Chloe being Connor's godmother, and forming an unhealthy attachment to the child, will presumably come into play, not to mention how Jack would deal with the conflict of representing Adam's interests with Connor while believing he ran over Delia. What do you think Victor's next move will be now that he believes Adam killed Delia? Vote in's Y&R Poll: What will Victor do?

A very Abbott new year.
Loved Ashley and Traci showing up to drag Jack out for New Year's, even if he did have to party with his 'old friend who should be forgotten'. It's always cool to see Ashley and Victor cross paths, and tying it in with Neil's engagement party was interesting. Everyone seemed thrilled except for Leslie, who made a point of saying it would be a long engagement. Yike. Nick and Sharon both deciding to belatedly appear was predictable, but their kiss turned out to be pretty steamy. Did anyone else think Hilary and Devon were going to lock lips? The reactions to that would have been fun. On the whole, it definitely paled in comparison to the celebrations of yesteryear at the Colonnade Room (which we enjoyed in Wednesday's classic episode), but it had its moments.

The Nick and Sharon storyline is another one that is building toward a blow-up quite nicely. They have not only brought a bit of comedy to their scenes, but their kisses are charged by their history, their chemistry, their denial, the forbidden factor of everyone's disapproval, and of course the explosive secret that Sharon is keeping from Nick - very soapy.

Clearly Courtney is working undercover in some capacity with Alex, maybe to bust a drug ring? What's unclear is why she seems to be so angry about it, as though she has no choice. Given Noah's history with Alex and his sister, I can see him going all hothead like his father Nick might do and messing up their investigation. While the reveal of Alex as the mysterious Zach made this story a tad more intriguing, watching Noah and Courtney is still pretty dull.

Forget me not.
Just when viewers thought things couldn't get worse for the Baldwins, a bearded hallucination showed up in Lauren's bed, and a mysterious box turned up on their doorstep containing an ominously frosted layer cake. This sparked a paranoid debate about whether Carmine (dead) or Womack (incarcerated) was the sender. Notably, no one even batted an eye over the suggestion that it was Carmine, whom they believe to be dead. Worse, it appears Summer is being sucked into the vortex as she has suddenly and inexplicably become consumed with concern over what Fenmore thinks of her. Make it stop.

Picket fence.
In the beginning, Abby and Tyler's interactions felt genuine and were deliciously sexually-charged but somewhere along the line their romance became them playing out a B movie script. The manufactured conflict, the beach scenes, winning the parents over with heartfelt speeches... Initially Tyler was too arrogant, but watching him effectively lose his mojo in this storyline has verged on painful at times. It's enough to make one root for the looming Mariah. As for Ashley getting involved, it was unreal that she asked Tyler what his intentions were toward her daughter as though it were the 1940s, however, it was great that she was there to flirt with Stitch - such chemistry! Bring Ash back full-time.

Read's Primetime Dish for details on Sharon Leal's guest role on Grimm and much more.

Follow on Twitter @soapoperafan and 'like' on Facebook. Come tweet and Facebook with us about "The Young and the Restless," all the other soap operas, "Dallas," "Glee," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Pretty Little Liars," "Revenge," "Vampire Diaries," and "Venice The Series."

- Candace Young