Victoria, Ashland Y&R
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

In a word: Psych!

We knew all along that The Young and the Restless’ Ashland was no saint. You don’t get a nickname like the Locke Ness Monster by playing fair and square. But we — along with a legion of “Ashtoria” fans — bought hook, line and sinker his love for Victoria. So the bombshell that was dropped in the February 23 episode gave us pause.

How could he lie to her about having terminal cancer?!?

It felt like a slap in the face. Like we’d been misled right along with Victoria. And we don’t get it. With one fell swoop, the CBS soap totally undermined one of the few romances with which it had really struck gold over the last year. It, in essence, told viewers, “Gotcha!” as if we believed in something that had never been real.

It’s wholly unnecessary, too. If ever there was a couple that had enough going on that it didn’t need for its foundation to crack beneath them, it was “Ashtoria.” They’ve got [bleep] coming at them from all sides at all times. To reveal that all along Ashland has been playing Victoria… well…

It means that they are no longer husband and wife but con artist and patsy.

More: A ‘new’ Summer and Kyle?!?

Maybe this is the show’s precursor to breaking them up rather than continue the love story with Robert Newman in Richard Burgi’s place. Maybe the powers that be want to chemistry-test their new Ashland with different leading ladies before doubling down on “Ashtoria.” Or maybe there’s a reasonable explanation for why he would allow the woman about whom he cares so deeply to spend months worried that he as well as their relationship has an expiration date.

What do you think, Young & Restless fans? Can “Ashtoria” be saved? Or is this the deal-breaker of all deal-breakers? On your way to the comments, stop off at the below photo gallery, which recounts highlights of their romantic “merger.”