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Credit: Howard Wise/JPI (6)

What should be a joyous occasion could turn out anything but.

When you stop and think about it, it’s kind of amazing how the Douglas custody drama has spread out to consume virtually the entire Bold & Beautiful canvas. Even more amazingly, the whole mess can all pretty much be traced back to a single, tragic event three years ago.

More: Did the show just tease a [spoiler] reunion?

Caroline, you see, was dead, to begin with. OK, so The Bold and the Beautiful isn’t exactly telling A Christmas Story, but it is telling a custody story — and pretty much the only reason it’s even gotten this far is because Douglas’ real mother, Caroline, died three years ago. Offscreen. After faking a fatal illness to win Thomas back from Sally.

No, no that’s not suspicious at all.

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This is everyone imagining how bad things would get if Caroline died. Is it just us, or does she look… intrigued?

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

In any case, that’s when the Thomas trouble started. He returned home, heartbroken (even though he and Caroline had supposedly only been living together as co-parents) and determined to pry Hope away from Liam. That way, she could be Douglas’ new mommy and Thomas’ new love.

Well, we know how that turned out. Since then, in a way, the fallout from Caroline’s death and Thomas being a single parent has continued and grown and ballooned to consume virtually everyone it’s touched.

Ridge has dropped Brooke for Taylor (again) after Thomas framed her for calling CPS. Steffy hates the Forresters, Thomas may be growing obsessed with Hope again, Liam’s being all condescending to Hope about her ex and now would be the perfect time for Caroline to come back from the dead!

Oops, did that just slip out? Well, like we noted earlier, her death wasn’t exactly ironclad — especially in the soap world where organ donation doesn’t even keep people from returning to life. And when there’s no body, it’s practically a given that there’s no death.

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“What are you doing here??”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

More: The show is doing the impossible with Taylor

Caroline’s return right now would blow everything up. The question, though, would be since Hope adopted Douglas and Caroline was declared dead, would she have any legal right to be with her son? What would her excuse be for abandoning him?

It wouldn’t be all that much different from what Diane did to Kyle over on The Young and the Restless, but Caroline’s return would be even stickier — at least from a legal standpoint. Yeah, Diane abandoned Kyle for most of his life, but she doesn’t have to worry about fighting for any custody rights seeing as how he’s all grown up with a kid of his own.

But Caroline’s return would, well, not invalidate everything that happened, but make it all so unnecessary, from Thomas’ Hope obsession to his gaslighting of his own son. All that mental health trauma he went through, Hope’s adoption of Douglas, the CPS drama and the Brooke and Ridge friction (OK, that would have come out one way or another… It always does!)  — all of it could’ve been avoided if folks had known Caroline was still alive.

Would her return short-circuit Thomas’ affection for Hope? Would he welcome her back or flip out at her deception? Heck, would anyone welcome her back after all the pain she caused, not just for Douglas but pretty much everyone in his orbit?

Probably not. And that’s what would make her return right now, as yet another domino has fallen with Ridge and Brooke’s marriage, the perfect timing.

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Bill had trouble keeping a straight face as Thomas looked to the heavens and added, “God rest Caroline’s soul.”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

More: Ridge had better not play the victim

There’d be questions. Oh, so many questions. Like how she managed to pull it off. And why? Who helped her? It would be natural for folks to start taking a long, hard look at Bill. It was, after all, his idea for her to fake her original terminal illness. Caroline is family and Bill’s resources are pretty much unlimited.

And what about Liam? What are all his high and mighty, “I told you so’s” about Thomas and keeping Douglas with him and Hope going to amount to if his cousin and the kids’ true mother showed back up?

Granted, with Linsey Godfrey busy over on Days of Our Lives as Sarah Horton, chances are slim she’d be returning in the role, but since Thomas has a new face these days, there’s no reason why Caroline couldn’t as well! Heck, if she’d really wanted to disappear, she could have gone the whole plastic surgery route.

No matter how you slice it, though, this is one return from the dead that, rather, than being eye-rolling would shake things up on Bold & Beautiful in a massive, earth-shattering way. What do you think? Is her return too far-fetched or would it be the perfect break from the Brooke/Ridge drama?

Take a look at our updated B&B couples photo gallery to ponder where the show’s relationships are and what Caroline’s return might do to them!