The Bold and the BeautifulSoapbox
Bold & Beautiful Sent Us On a Date That Will Live in Infamy, Dropped the Axe in Especially Cruel Fashion and Reminded Us of How Hot a Couple of Illicit Lovers Once Were
Howard Wise/JPI (3), CBS screenshot
I know, I know. I can hear the groans from here. You just realized that this week’s Bold & Beautiful Soapbox has been written by a recast — me, filling in for Richard while he fills in for Lori critiquing Days of Our Lives. But if you can bear the disappointment, I’ll do my best to show you a good time as we discuss everything from Eric unintentionally issuing the most brutal pink slip in recorded history to Katie cluing us in to the fact that she thinks everyone’s jobs are mostly comprised of gossiping and making tracks back and forth to Il Giardino. (If only!) And that’s just for starters. Shall we?
And She’s Off… Her Rocker!
As the week began, we found Quinn behaving like any semi-sane, semi-rational person who should totally be allowed to leave the house without a straitjacket. Whoops — no, that’s not right. We found her behaving so crazily that even Sheila would’ve been like, “Girl, take it down a notch.”
This was confounding on two levels: 1. The show has on its canvas Sheila, a card-carrying madwoman. Why is it dialing up the bonkers on Quinn, a character that it’s worked so hard to flesh out and redeem? 2. Unless Quinn wants to be thought of as terrifying and unhinged, unless she wants Eric to be scared stiff instead of just, ahem, stiff, her attack on Donna was, in a word, dumb. It wasn’t going to score Quinn any points with her husband. It wasn’t going to make anyone think, “Ya know, maybe we misjudged her.” It wasn’t even going to shoo away Donna.
But ya know what it was going to do? Give the Logan sisters another chance to say, “See? She’s every bit the cray-cray harpy we’ve been telling everybody she is.” And nobody, neither viewers nor Quinn, wanted that.
The Good, the Bad and the ‘Wait, Whaaat?’
Quinn’s attempt to intimidate Donna’s shins with an office chair were juxtaposed with — what else? — Brooke badmouthing her nemesis to Eric and praising her sister as someone who’d always had “good morals and good values.” Mm-hmm, because that’s definitely what you’d call someone who once plotted with Jackie Marone to break up your relationship with Ridge and came thisclose to marrying Thorne just to stick it to Stephanie. But if we go down the rabbit hole of the Logans’ selective memory, we might never found our way out. So let’s move on, shall we?
Rena Sofer did a beautiful job of layering sadness beneath resentment in the scenes in which Quinn confronted Eric about the way that Donna had inspired a “response.” (Definitely the word of the week.) But the writing did the actress no favors. I get that Quinn was hurt and angry — and understandably so. However, her snarky skepticism that the exes’ embrace could have been innocent rang self-unaware from a character who only recently sold her husband on the idea that she’d carried on a whole affair behind his back, all the while loving him with her whole heart.
What’s more, Quinn’s demand that Eric banish Donna from his life was, again, dumb. Quinn got him to forgive her fling. Without even trying, she got him to offer up Carter as a sexual surrogate of sorts. When she demanded more after all that, I just wanted to sit her down and ask whether the saying “Take the win” held any resonance whatsoever for her?
Maybe Quinn just isn’t as smart as I’ve always thought. She is, after all, the same character that thought she could play “Adam” and “Eve” with an amnesiac Liam forever and believed that she could marry off Shauna to Ridge.
While all of that was going on on Monday, Katie and Carter went on what might have been the most generic date in recorded history. It felt like there wasn’t a script, only a breakdown, so every line of dialogue was boop — right on the nose. For instance, “I enjoy talking with you, Katie,” said Carter at one point.
In and of itself, fine, right? But it seemed like every line was like that. By the time the episode ended, I was surprised Katie and Carter hadn’t gotten around to telling each other, “I like your hands and see that, as do I, you have two of them” or “Let us meet again one day for another meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner.”
It was so awkward and robotic, it made me regret taking such a strong stand already on the potential pairing.
Woe Is Them
On Tuesday, Liam and Steffy got together to discuss their spouses’ parents as if his dad hadn’t once dropped a skyscraper on him and gotten him involved in the coverup of Poor Dead Vinny’s non-murder, and her mother hadn’t at one point gone so far off the rails that she’d taken aim at Bill. Despite this, I still 100-percent bought what they were selling. There’s a smidgen of wiggle room where opportunistic Deacon is concerned, but Sheila? Nope. When it takes two hands to count how many rampages a person has gone on, it’s time to say to that person buh-bye.
At the same time, Hope and Finn were at Forrester talking about how unfair it was that everyone was so against their involvement with Deacon and Sheila. In Hope’s case, I could kinda see her point. She’s already had some relationship with her father, so it’s not like she’s trying to let in someone entirely new. On the other hand, Deacon is running around pretending that his girlfriend is the woman who once kidnapped Lauren Fenmore’s newborn — not exactly someone you want around baby Beth.
If anything, Deacon’s team-up with Sheila probably hurts his chances of being allowed to see Hope and Beth. Is he a no-goodnik? Sure. But the only person he’s ever shot at was Quinn — and she had pushed him off a cliff in hopes of making herself a widow. Don’t wanna say that she had it coming, but… er… I’ll just let that sentence trail off.
Finn cracked me up throughout. Or, rather, the writing for him did. “I’d like to give our parents the benefit of the doubt,” he said at one point. “People can be rehabilitated.” But in the case of his biomom, that’s kinda like Voldemort showing up at your door and asking, “Who’s got a hug for Mama?” Could he have changed? Could he suddenly be stable and sound and sensible? Uh, maybe. But would you let him in?
That’s basically what Finn is arguing for. Knowing all that he does about the violent crimes Sheila committed, he still wants to risk his wife and family’s safety to find out who Sheila is beneath her tough exterior. Let us save you some time, buddy: A lunatic, that’s who.
Business and Displeasure
Hilariously, at the same time, Donna’s sisters were asking who had left her so upset. “Who is the craziest person that we know?” Donna replied. Uh, Sheila. But not in this storyline, I guess. Not on Tuesday. So after Donna recapped Quinn’s threats, Brooke and Katie reminded us that they take marriage vows extremely seriously only so long as they’ve been made to someone they like, and all but began planning their sib’s remarriage to Eric.
In Brooke and Katie’s estimation, Eric was sure to dump his wife for Donna. How could he not? “What happened” between you, Katie insisted, “was profound.” Katie, hon, he got a chubby; roll that ish back.
While the coven was cackling over what they were certain was the imminent demise of Quinn’s marriage, she was at home beating the dead horse that was her insistence that Eric banish Donna. And in case you hadn’t had enough of that one note, we were then treated to flashbacks of very recent scenes that played and replayed that note some more. Finally, we arrived at the moment of truth: Eric telling Donna that he wanted to “talk about us… you and me… our past and our future.”
Eric, ol’ pal, a word to the wise: That is not and never will be the way you start a conversation in which you are going to pink-slip your ex-wife. Sheesh, that’s not the way you start a conversation in which you’re going to axe anybody.
Uh-Oh, Hope’s Drunk the Kool-Aid
After overhearing Hope and Finn at the tail of Tuesday’s episode, Steffy burst into her stepsister’s office on Wednesday and was having exactly no talk of the in-laws having parents with “with very troubled pasts.” Steffy didn’t say it, but I could tell she wanted to yell that a very troubled past is a history of drinking Zima or accidentally being photographed in a Sally Spectra design, not schtupping your mother-in-law or chaining up your shrink.
What was especially tricky for Hope was that in her empathy for Finn, she drew a false equivalence between Deacon and Sheila. Is he bad? Yes. But she is categorically, murderously worse — a point Steffy was quick to drive home. If Hope wanted to let Deacon hurt her anew, hey, more power to ya, Steffy all but said — as long she didn’t try to make it a package deal in which somehow Finn also got to go to late-in-life Mommy & Me classes with Sheila.
Does Forrester Creations Even *Have* an HR Department?
Since Brooke and Katie have no actual jobs or lives, they killed time while Eric talked to Donna by going to Il Giardino… to talk about Eric talking to Donna. (Eye roll.) Hilariously, Katie looked around the restaurant for Carter, who apparently does occasionally work and had returned to his office. I half-expected a waiter to come up to her and be like, “Back already? Ma’am, you’re not homeless, are you?”
While Quinn and Shauna recapped back and forth, somehow Flo’s mother became the voice of the audience. “Life would be so much better,” she huffed, “without those sanctimonious Logan sisters.” Or at least without them being so sanctimonious.
Back at Forrester, Eric beat around the bush with Donna so much that it crossed the border into cruelty. “I wanna talk about you and me,” he said, “and about a decision I’ve made and the effect it’s gonna have on both our futures.” Who, upon hearing that, wouldn’t think that they were about to become the next Mrs. Eric Forrester? [Bleep], just watching, I was picking out my damn trousseau!
When finally, Quinn’s husband let Donna know not only that she wouldn’t be reclaiming her old title but that she was fired to boot, she took the high road as Jennifer Gareis gave a beautifully moving performance. When Donna told Eric that “you are the one great love of my life,” she did so with such sincerity that I forgot all the other men — and felt sorta bad about the catty stuff I’d written earlier — and believed every syllable.
But can we get real for a second? On what planet can Eric let Donna go and not get sued into oblivion? “My wife is jealous” is simply not “just cause” for termination. I know Donna’s supposed to be the sweet Logan — the show literally told us that — but how much fun would it be if she decided to take Forrester to court and came away with a big enough share of the company to rebrand it Logan Creations?
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
On Thursday, Eric recapped what had gone down with Donna for Quinn in a way that was guaranteed to make her feel like crap. And to what end? To let her know that he was all sulkypants about having been made to put his marriage first? Yeah, I thought Quinn went too far with her demand that he 86 Donna, but what the what was Eric playing at here? He was like a pouty child who’d been told that he couldn’t have his cake and eat it, too.
What were we supposed to think of Eric at that moment? What were we supposed to feel? If it was, “Oh, boo hoo, he can’t keep around the ex that everyone knows is still smitten with him because — shocker — that doesn’t sit well with the wife for whom he can’t muster up a ‘response,’” it… uh… it didn’t work, folks.
Now *This* Was Good Soap!
Elsewhere, Hope and Brooke had a conversation about Deacon that felt fantastically real. Down came Brooke’s guard, at least a little, as she admitted that her daughter’s desire to spend time with her father “fills me with a lot of shame,” because of their past. As Brooke addressed the elephant in the room — the fact that she’d slept with daughter Bridget’s husband — I wanted Hope to say, “And Bridget’s husband, Nick. And Katie’s husband, Bill. Oh, and my old boyfriend, Oliver.” But it was more than enough that Brooke, who lately has too often been written as a judgmental Stephanie 2.0, acknowledged that she’d done something wrong and felt bad about it.
Plus, those flashbacks! Now that’s how ya use ’em, to take us back more than a day or two and, in this case, remind us just how hot and bittersweet Brooke and Deacon’s relationship really was.
All in all, the Hope/Brooke scenes were terrific — intelligent, emotional and authentic. And Annika Noelle was so compelling in them, I could understand why Brooke — why anybody — would have a hard time afterward telling Hope, “No, you still can’t see your father.”
Crazy for You
Speaking of Deacon, when did he become the smartest person on the show? As Sheila giddily explained that she was going to sell the lie that they were an item by producing love letters detailing their romance, he sensibly pointed out that her plot had more holes in it than a Wiffle Ball.
Come to think of it, the writing for them was pretty sharp. When Sheila argued that they weren’t to blame for their charade, Liam and Steffy “forced us into this deception,” it rang absolutely true to the character. Sheila never takes responsibility for her actions, her misdeeds are always someone else’s fault. And it was nice to hear her acknowledge that “we’ve done worse” than fake some correspondence.
I also liked that the show let Sheila throw in a mention of her other children and the fact that they didn’t want to see her. That closes up a plot hole a little bit — and also opens one up. What would you give to see Sheila’s face if in walked Mary or Ryder to tell Finn, “Snap out of it, you idiot! Our mother’s not misunderstood, she’s freakin’ mental!”?
Oh, Happy Day!
Friday’s episode further cemented Deacon’s status as Smartest Person in the Room — any room — as he told Sheila that he was pulling the plug on their pretend romance and cutting ties with her. Hitching himself to her wagon, he reasoned, wasn’t going to do him any favors when it came to winning over… well, anybody.
This, I thought to myself (and then I guess typed out for you to read), is what the show needs a whole lot more of: intelligent people behaving like intelligent people, learning from their mistakes, growing. That’s appealing. That’s interesting. That’s compelling. I couldn’t have eaten it up any faster if you’d given me a spoon.
Given the number of women Deacon has pursued in the years since he and Brooke made Hope, I might’ve scoffed at his insistence that his babymama was the one who got away. But because the show so smartly deployed those fantastic flashbacks to their time together, I didn’t have any choice but to believe him utterly. Sean Kanan and Katherine Kelly Lang really did have chemistry to burn. They created something on screen that wasn’t nearly as tawdry as it could’ve been. It was actually… special.
Despite the undertow of the lovers’ betrayal of Bridget, who among us wouldn’t hold tightly to memories of a relationship that intense?
Can I Get an Amend?
From there, while Liam and Ridge trotted and re-trotted out the same-old, same-old about what a bad guy Deacon is, the bad guy in question showed up on Brooke’s doorstep. It made sense for her to just want him to go — he’s inconvenient for her, and let’s be real, the person she most often puts first is herself. But again, he behaved like an intelligent person, acknowledging his checkered-to-the-point-of-being-completely-black past and asking for a chance to prove that he had changed.
To everyone on the canvas, Deacon’s admission that he’d kept dreaming of a life with Brooke and Hope would smack of manipulation. But because we were privy to his private conversation with Sheila — and because we just saw those amazing flashbacks — we bought it. At least I did. To me that proves the old adage, “If you write it, they will come.” Bold & Beautiful repositioned Deacon as someone for whom I could root, and now, color me as shocked as anyone, I kinda am rooting for him — and not just because I don’t wanna hear everybody tell Hope, “Told ya so!”
So, that’s my (long, gads!) take on this week’s Bold & Beautiful. What are your thoughts? Drop them in the comments below, and next week, I promise I’ll return you to Richard and a Soapbox that isn’t longer than the last two novels I read… fine, thought about reading. Meanwhile, seeing as we’ve spent so much time talking about Deacon, why not peruse the gallery below in which we relive his many exploits.