Intense confrontation! (CBS)

The gala. (CBS)

Restless Rant for the week of February 10 - 14:

There's definitely a sense of "Y&R" getting 'back on track' what with some powerhouse acting, scenes, and stories. The much-anticipated gala, unfortunately, didn't really live up to the hype, at least not yet. Thoughts:

Shout it from the rooftops.
Jack let the cat out of the bag about Victor blackmailing Adam after Nicholas and Victoria happened upon him shouting across the hospital corridor about it. Knowing what Victor's capable of, they soon realized Jack's allegations were true. Victor was unable to spin his actions into a favorable light with Nick, Vikki, Billy or Nikki. The confrontations were all satisfyingly intense, with Nu/OldBilly giving 110% in his scenes with his father-in-law. He was perhaps a notch or two less menacing and ferocious than the former Billy might have been, but it was nonetheless riveting. Victoria, for her part, disowned her father - again. Love how everyone keeps pointing out that she's done this repeatedly and it never sticks. Nikki and Victor also had it out, with him hollering at her to 'mind her own business'. Ouch. Clearly the stress is affecting her health. Victor backed off being a baddie long enough to proffer some Valentine's goodies but Nikki still told him he just doesn't get it. Wait until she finds out about the Cassie lookalike... Do you think Nikki should kick Victor to the curb? Vote in Soaps.com's Y&R Poll: Should Nikki dump Victor?

Phantasm.
As mentioned, Sharon's been having run-ins with a more solid form of Cassie lately, and on Friday's episode we discovered that Victor was indeed gaslighting his ex-wife/ex-daughter-in-law with the help of a, sigh, doppelganger. It's anyone's guess how the girl was able to make sure that she was only ever seen by Sharon (okay Faith may have seen her but believes it was a raccoon), but that's soaps for ya'. Bottom line is it's bad timing for Victor to get caught in a scheme this distasteful considering the way his family currently feels about him. The question at this point is whether this will be enough to compel Sharon to confess to Nick about the DNA swap before the jig is up for Victor. As for how Sharon will react, well who could blame her if she burned down the new ranch too? Sidebar: Sharon still not properly mourning Adam - fail.

Something to take care of.
Speaking of doppelgangers, there's a growing sense with the Tyler/Abby/Mariah storyline that Mariah, whose face we still haven't seen, will turn out to look exactly like Lily, with the only thing differentiating the two being Mariah's tattoo. Viewers weren't up for Tyler becoming Abby's doormat, or for Abby becoming a one-note foot-stomping spoiled brat, and few are likely to be up for another round of 'two doppelgangers in Genoa City at one time' (re: Lauren/Sarah and Patty/Emily). Besides, if Mariah looked exactly like Lily, wouldn't Leslie and Tyler have made more of it before now? If it happens, it's probably a nod to those who wanted to see a Tyler/Lily affair. Do you think this could light a fire under this storyline? Discuss in the comment section!

Get your hand off me!
The Avery/Ian exchange was fairly compelling. Ian had clearly done his homework and knew Avery's Achilles heel - her father. After, Ian phoned Summer. Cringe-y. Avery and Dylan each made visits to Chelsea's penthouse this week as well. Notably, Dylan didn't tell Avery he was going to see Chelsea, or that he'd been there, and there was only a necklace in that heart-shaped box, and not an engagement ring as Avery was so obviously hoping for. It's the little things...

I can't do this.
The Stitch/Kelly connection only gets more confusing with time. On one hand, he's treated her like she's some sort of viper, and then later he hinted that he's worried about her. Huh?

The gala.
While it was nice to see everyone decked out at a big event, the gala was rather humdrum much of the time and a little odd at others, especially in light of the build up. There were some highlights, such as the chemistry-laden exchange between Kelly and Jack (sorry Hilary), Chloe hollering about Adam as Jack escorted Chelsea in, Jack's emotional call to Phyllis, and Colin's foreshadow-y comment to Cane that they'll soon believe he's changed (could he have orchestrated this heist to set the scene for redeeming himself?). Some viewers took issue with Lily and Cane sneaking off to, ahem, celebrate their anniversary in a suite just as the gala was getting underway, citing disbelief that Lily would be willing to compromise her hair and make-up at such a time, among other reasons. Others weren't fazed by the interlude at all, and enjoyed the soapy 'love in the afternoon' session. As for Devon's hook-up with Esmerelda the Golddigging Witch, well that seemed out-of-character and weird on a number of levels, but presumably served its purpose - to make Hilary see what she was missing...yeah. Let's not even get started on how stupid it was for Tyler to take off to see Mariah and leave Abby alone for the whole gala - does the man have a death wish? Luckily he returned in time to get taken hostage with her, otherwise it would have been relationship suicide. Neil and Leslie spent the gala volleying back and forth about their relationship - over it. Billy and Victoria made it to the gala, as did Nick and Sharon - all were glad not to see Victor. The big shocker, presumably, was the theft of the solitary auction item. Our resident crafty criminal, Womack, warned Fen not to say he'd seen him there, and then commenced to wend his way through the crowd so that everyone got a good look at him. He even spoke to Lily while standing beside the doll case. Of course it was a breeze to steal the doll, since no one appeared to be guarding it, in fact, he was able to enter the code and spirit the doll from under the glass case without so much as raising an eyebrow. As he lurched out with the doll bulging under his coat, one had to wonder if he wanted to get caught. He was, of course, but was able to throw off two men and pull out his gun. This dramatic development caused everyone in the entire place to become rooted to the spot. And so we wait...

Cuckoo Chloe.
Chloe probably stole those passports to keep Chelsea from leaving with Connor, but after the gala pushed her completely over the edge, they became her ticket to a new life and a fresh start with 'her son'. Yike. Who will ultimately become the hero of this situation? Will it be Kevin the wonder boyfriend, Victor (Chelsea will then be forever in his debt), Jack (Chelsea's gratitude kiss causes sparks between the two) or perhaps even Super Dylan (so he can feel better about kidnapping Connor previously). Hmm.

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