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Young & Restless’ Billy Is Playing a Dangerous Game – Plus, What Worked (and Didn’t) in 2021

December 21 - 24

Mariah, Chelsea, Sally, Nick Y&R

CBS screenshot

Young & Restless.

Blurred Lines

As much as Billy vs. Adam feels played out, I can appreciate that they’ve tried to add a twist what with Billy only pretending to spiral, and with his partner Lily standing by him. That said, she may be naïve in taking this approach, because keen observers will notice he’s still behaving like Spiral Billy in that he seems to be on a high. So, the lines may very well become blurred – and will Lily realize it if they do?

It would be another good twist if Adam or Victor were to figure out that he’s faking and turn the tables. In related commentary, Sally had scenes with Victor this week, which led to her having a choice to make when Adam asked her to keep videoing Billy – she chose to defy The Mustache. That could come back to bite her and/or Adam… or perhaps they’re playing right into his hands.

Movin’ In

I’m not sure where they’re going with poor Nate and Elena moving in together other than Snoozeville. I’d forgotten that Nate bought Lily’s former home, so perhaps that’s where they’ll live. But, wow, they need a storyline to spice up their lives.

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The Big Rush

It was very moving to see Tessa and Mariah decide to have a child together, but it also left many shaking their heads. Why were none of the beats played in the lead-up to this? Are the writers so hot to jump into an ill-advised story involving Noah as a sperm donor that they decided the “getting there” part didn’t need to make sense? Overnight, Mariah’s issues with Bowie were gone and Tessa, who had wanted to focus on her career and wasn’t at all ready for a child, suddenly did a complete turnaround on the subject. It was a beautiful scene, but jeeze.

Just Do It

There were more hints dangled about Devon’s attachment to Dominic this week and I felt that the writers really needed to just go there and have him pursue shared custody as there was no other soap-worthy storyline here. Thankfully, it appears from the preview that’s exactly what will happen. Maybe (finally!) some soap drama?!?

Saint Nick

I loved the surprise Summer appearance at the end of Nick’s standalone, the rest… not so much. It was largely an hour of rehashing old themes. It did end on a nice festive note with the “Shick” family together. I really think the writing is on the wall where Nick and Sharon are concerned.

Laying the Groundwork

I love a good rivalry, and Chelsea and Sally’s has more potential than many we’ve seen, but as always, the question is whether or not Young & Restless will really go there and give us a conflict worthy of a soap opera. Adam doesn’t seem inclined to get together with either one of them right now, and we’ve yet to see them designing for Newman Fashion, so it feels a bit “hurry-up-and-wait” still. That said, the little clash of ideas in Society was a decent start.

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Looking Back: Hits & Misses of 2021

I have to say honestly that I enjoyed the anticipation and potential for what could have been in many Young & Restless storylines this year more than what actually aired. There were so many times it felt like something big was about to finally happen, but the follow-through rarely got there.

* Young & Restless did come through with a secret love child for Kyle, a backstory and family for Amanda, and an amazing love story for Victoria with the addition of Ashland Locke. That said, the hype for the Locke Ness Monster failed to materialize, Amanda got dragged down into the mire of a plot from the past involving people we never knew, and Summer and Kyle got married offscreen.

* We got a fiery new rivalry when Phyllis squared off against Sally, but the soap failed to take it to where it should have gone, which was a Nick and Sally hook-up that caused “Phick” to break-up. This would have been far preferable to a contrived narrative surrounding Jack professing his love to the woman who has cheated on him every time they have been together, Nick calmly accepting this, and then a bunch of nonsensical arguing about his family.

* The worst storyline of the year was the Baby Chancellor Crew plot, which started out as annoying, continued even though one of the main players left the canvas, and took insulting, tone-deaf turns before ending up throwing a decent character, Stitch, under the bus to add some drama that didn’t even make sense. They elected not to salvage it by going for the obvious soapy drama of Mariah kidnapping the baby after the fact, and now we’ll have to see how committed they are to bringing some big drama with Devon pursuing shared custody.

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* We got some terrific recasts in our new Faith and Noah, though the latter’s return story is messed up. As for Sharon, in one of the most puzzling moves of the year, an entire storyline played out around her and Adam’s love for one another, but the writers refused to actually provide a payoff by putting them back together, and now she’s back to pouring coffee and doling out advice.

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That’s it for this column… watch next week for my wishes for Young & Restless for 2022. Happy Holidays to all of my readers!

This is just my opinion. Feel free to share your best and worsts of 2021 in the comment section below, but first, take a look at our list of soaps’ all-time best recasts in the photo gallery below and see if you agree with our ranking!

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