amanda devon chance abby mashup
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI (4)

Everyone’s happy that Dominic can say, “Daddy’s home.” Or, well, he could if he could talk. But had the show left Mom a “widow” for a few months longer, we could have been headed for a stunningly emotional plot twist.

Patience is a virtue that, alas, The Young and the Restless does not currently possess. By rushing Chance back into Abby’s arms in the form of Conner Floyd — already a contender for soaps’ all-time best recasts — the CBS soap robbed itself of the opportunity to tell a far deeper and more resonant story.

“What story is that?” you ask.

What Could Have Been

Imagine that Abby’s sense that Chance was still alive hadn’t panned out and she’d returned from overseas brokenhearted. Obviously, her dear friend and Dominic’s biodad Devon would be there for her. “And I always will be here — for you and our son,” he might say. “I mean, for you and your son.”

It would be a little slip of the tongue but a meaningful one. Devon has already begun to have very paternal feelings for Dominic. And those would only grow stronger as he helped Abby adjust to her new normal as a single parent.

Every step of the way, Amanda would support her boyfriend. She trusts him. They’re solid. But what she doesn’t realize — and neither does Devon until it’s too late — is that his fondness for Abby has over weeks and months blossomed into attraction. He’s accidentally crossed the line in his head between “helping my buddy” and “supporting my family,” the line between “pitching in” and “falling hard.”

Bryton James smiling devon smile "The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles08/19/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 12204U.S. Airdate 09/27/21

Above: “Jabot should make a perfume that smells like Dominic’s head. Shoot, that scent is intoxicating.”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

‘Could It Be I’m Falling in Love?’

Trying to do the right thing, Devon would confess to Abby that he’s accidentally started to think of them as a couple. “Isn’t that the funniest thing you ever heard?” he’d ask.

Only Abby isn’t laughing. “I don’t think it’s all that funny,” she’d admit. “What’s funny — well, depending on how you define ‘funny’ — is that I’ve started to think of us that way, too.

“I know it’s wrong, and I know it’s stupid,” she’d hasten to add. “But when you walk into the house, I want to… I want to kiss you. There. I said it.

“Oh,” she’d add, “when you leave the house, too. Same thing.”

“I get it,” he says, shaking his head, disgusted with himself. “It happens to me, too, sometimes even when neither one of us is going anywhere at all.”

More: Soap does the unthinkable to America’s sweetheart

Devon and Abby look at each other, the question hanging in the air from the sparks flying between them: What do they do about this? They know what they should do, obviously. Duh. And wanting something doesn’t mean that you should have it. And they’re both grownup, responsible people who are well past the point of…

Yeah. In the middle of their discussion of why they shouldn’t cross the line, Devon and Abby kiss. And kiss. And kiss. And suddenly, all the world makes sense to them again.

Later, they try to tell one another that it was a mistake, and one that they won’t repeat. But if it was a mistake, they have to ask, why do they keep thinking about it? Why do they keep hoping each other will make it happen again?

abby engagement ring Bryton James, Melissa Ordway"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles10/15/20© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 11990U.S. Airdate 11/13/20

Above: “In public, you may only shake my hand. I recommend this one.”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Kiss and Don’t Tell

Behind closed doors, Devon and Abby become a couple — stopping short only of making love. He feels bad enough about betraying Amanda this way; he at very least owes her enough respect to break it off with her before he surrenders to passion with Abby. “It’s as close to the right thing to do as we can get,” she reckons, “when we’ve already done so much wrong.”

“It’s not wrong,” Devon assures her. “We… This… is not wrong. We just found each other at a time that was… ”

“Right,” she says. “It was the timing that was all wrong.”

More: Melissa Ordway previews Chance and Abby’s future

Devon and Abby will fix this, as best they can. With that in mind, he heads for the door to have “the talk” with Amanda. But who should be on the other side when he opens it but Chance! Turns out, he’s alive after all. Now, we have Devon in a relationship with Amanda, whom he was about to leave, and Abby in a relationship with Devon, which Chance’s return renders a non-starter. Instead of just playing “Chance is back — yay — but conflicted — uh-oh!” the show would get to play, “Can Devon fall back in love with Amanda? Can Abby put aside her feelings for Devon to recommit to the husband she never meant to lose? And how big will the explosions be when Amanda and Chance find out that their significant others secretly became, for lack of a better term, each other’s?”

What do you think, Young & Restless fans? Does the idea of a story told over a longer period of time appeal to you more than “Chance is dead; oh, wait, no he’s not”? On your way to the comments, review Chance and Abby’s roller-coaster ride to romance in the photo gallery below.