As The Word Turns.

Thoughts on the week of October 26-30.

Brad died. There are good and bad things about that. One good thing is that, after a few months of substantially altering his character so he was ready to die as a ‘hero’, his death bed scene was a little more like the Brad of old. He was dopey, a bit charming, and made some bad jokes. Now he’s dead, but he’s not gone. He’ll be sticking around for awhile as a spirit. We got a glimpse of this at the end of week when Henry began seeing him after receiving a whack on the cranium. He’ll be leaving behind a big void, especially as far as the humor goes. Most of the show’s comic relief has been spread between Brad, Katie, Vienna, Henry and, lately, Audrey, but now that seems largely gone. It will be interesting to see how the writers work with what’s left. Henry’s fairly unsympathetic at this point. Even if one doesn’t hold him accountable for what’s happened, he’s been rendered so ineffectual and pathetic he’s almost become a painful presence.

Whoever one believes about the behind-the-scenes reasons for why Brad has been killed off, the impact of what it means on screen has been even more baffling at times. The death is supposed to lead to numerous other things, most notably Jack’s next major plot. Whether that will make it worth it or not is still up in the air, but, so far, things are just odd. The grief around Brad is weird. Part of that’s because so many people in Oakdale really didn’t get along well with him so we weren’t treated to the hypocrisy of a lot of over-the-top grief, but what there’s been has been mostly cold. Janet broke the news of his death to Liberty in silence at a distance. I’m guessing that was supposed to be respectful of the emotional intimacy of the moment, but that doesn’t explain why we got to see so many people learn that Jack pulled the trigger and why it came off so undramatically every time.

Jack, who has been pretty repressed for quite awhile thanks largely to Janet, finally broke out of it. Michael Park was extremely good at showing not simply grief, but a very specific and tightly nuanced kind of grief. He never let it get too showy and he allowed it to be complex. Although Jack is miserable, he isn’t pathetic. Instead, it’s an angst ridden suffering which is full of ambiguity. Since this is what’s going to be fueling his storyline for some time, it’s important that they retain that. He was completely infuriated by the lack of any real clarity in the situation. This leads me to guess that the death has been slightly downplayed to accent Jack’s mental state, but it’s actually led to a lack of necessary tension, Jack blamed himself but no one else will, not even Craig. Even when Jack was pointing a gun at him, Craig wouldn’t lay the blame on him, but that didn’t stop him from pointing out that part of this mess was the way Brad and Jack act in general. It’s helped to demonstrate that Jack may be the worst, most irresponsible cop in Oakdale history. As usual, I got a kick out of Craig. Sometimes it seems like he’s the only person who can see anything realistically.