Victor, Michael, Gloria, Lauren flashback collage Y&R

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The very special Michael anniversary episode and its many flashbacks had an unexpected side effect.

Standalone episodes have been overused – and often underwhelming – in recent years at Young & Restless, but the latest installment was something special. Not only was it created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Christian LeBlanc’s Michael Baldwin character, but it also promised to be something of a rare treat these days – a chance to have vets we love and miss back in the spotlight. There did, however, prove to be a downside…

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As expected, the focus was on the clever and witty Christian LeBlanc’s legal eagle character, Michael, his wife Lauren, his family members and those who featured prominently in his past. While the subject matter was fairly pedestrian – Michael wrestled with the question of retirement while friends and family weighed in predictably – as mentioned, it was the delight of having these people back on the front-burner, however briefly, that made it so worthwhile. And the flashbacks… oh, the flashbacks.

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But a curious thing happened for some of us as the episode played out and we meandered back through Michael’s rich history… we became saddened.

The combination of having these much-missed characters back on screen along with the various memories playing out reminded us of the complex drama, romances and rivalries we once enjoyed on Young & Restless, and began to make us feel a profound sense of loss. We at Soaps.com weren’t the only ones to become reflective, as many chimed in on the thread to agree:

In addition to sharing similar sentiments and expressing frustration with the current state of the show, many repeated the lament about lack of quality airtime for vets:

Sadder still, some sensed or worried that this was a signal that we’d be seeing even less of Christian LeBlanc, and Michael, on Young & Restless.

We certainly hope that the writers see the potential fans do with our beloved veteran characters. In an exclusive sit-down with Soaps.com, Christian LeBlanc previewed possible story for Michael, who, as we pointed out, is a complex man capable of going down any number of storyline avenues.

See if you agree with our thoughts on what Young & Restless needs to do in 2022, and share your take with us in the comment section after looking back through Michael and Lauren’s love story in the gallery below.