One Life to Live Update Thursday 12/26/02
Pictures by Juanita
proofread by Theresa
Well, it was the December 26th in the free world but in Llanview on Thursday's episode of "One Life to Live," it was merely Christmas Eve. Funny how soap calendars operate, true? At any rate, not many of the town's citizens were feeling terribly festive (at least not the ones we saw onscreen) so I 'spose it doesn't really matter....
Sam and Matthew went to the penthouse under the pretense of delivering Christmas presents to the Mannings (which, not surprisingly, was the only reason greedy little Starr let them through the door). Matthew told Starr that he was sorry that her mom wasn't there for the holiday, and Starr almost let it slip that she in fact was. "Oh you mean you don't know the secret?" she blurted out as Sam stood there horrified. "What secret?" Matthew asked innocently. Starr covered by saying something about the secret of Santa Claus, and how he doesn't really exist, and then Sam covered that one to his confused son by amending it say he won't visit kids who are awake. I don't know…it was something like that.
Then Sam had had enough of entertaining the chillins and was ready to go up and see Blair, and as he made a beeline for the stairs, Todd decided to try and block his way. It didn't last long, mind you, but Todd still had his perverse fun toying with his mentor. (Remember when these two used to like each other? Think the head writing team remembers? Pshaw!) "Watch the kids," Sam instructed Todd, "and don't give Matthew any chocolate." Then Sam raced up the steps and Todd immediately gave Matthew an entire crystal dish of foil-wrapped Hershey's kisses. And just who said this man was heartless?!
Upstairs, it was a big ol' lovefest for the tortured lovers, Blair and Sam... B & S... B/S... oh what the hell, BS (which sums up my opinions on this and just about every other romantic pairing on this show; how about you guys?). They each wished each other a happy holiday and a standard "I love you" and "I miss you" or two or five. (Isn't it funny that Blair's been stuck in that penthouse for, like, three years now and she still looks just impeccable? I mean it, her nails and makeup and hair are just FLAWLESS, baby!) Anyway, then Sam told Blair that he picked up the distinct impression that Todd still has feelings for her, and eased himself into the question of whether she reciprocates that at all. Blair assured her favorite legal eagle that he's the only man for her now, but she never really was all that good a liar now, was she?
Meanwhile, downstairs, Todd and Starr had a bonding moment as he told her about being on the island this past summer and how the only thing that kept him holding out hope was focusing on a picture of Starr and Jack that he had. Starr told her daddy that she was very happy that he was back home where he belonged, and Todd gave her a really nice hug. (That was actually an oddly touching scene; as I'm sure you guys have figured out, Todd is one of my least favorite characters on this show right now for lots of reasons, not the least of which is he's been morphed into a pointless, one-dimensional caricature who is light years away from the riveting, complex, intense man that he and Michael Malone and this show's last good writing team created in tandem nine years ago. He's played nowadays for comic relief more often than not, much more often than necessary, and that resonant power that the character used to convey -- the necessity of his place on this canvas, indeed -- are no-damn-where in sight, and it's a damn shame. But anyway, the point of my telling you all this is that in the aforementioned scene with Starr today, he showed but a tiny glimpse of that old fire, and it was absolutely refreshing. Anyway, hopping off my soapbox now, on with the recap.)
Speaking of vapid ridiculous couplings (and characters who are a million miles away from their original designs, natch!), Nora and Troy were up today with more pointless circular conversation that meant nothing and went nowhere. Nora told Troy that she did something that she wasn't terribly proud of that she needed to confess to him: she went through the things on his desk, snooping. She said she had no intention of doing it, that she honestly was going to drop her suspicions and her doubts, until running into Sam and learning that Lindsay and Troy had been seen together in Troy's office. And Troy didn't mention it to Nora. And it was just the latest in a long line o' stuff that Troy hadn't mentioned to Nora. And evidently it was the final straw for Nora, so she went through his desk and admitted to him that she found a diamond ring. Now I had kind of zoned out on this part by this time (because the illogical story is just nauseating most days) so I don't really remember why she thought the discovery of this ring was a bad thing -- because wouldn't the old, intelligent, brain-wielding Nora have at least suspected that it might be for her? I mean... really! -- But she was convinced that she had ruined everything. Troy responded to this by reaching into his pocket... and pulling out the ring, and presenting it to her just before asking her to marry him. He told her that he was going to bring it home to her that night and propose and that he'd been holding onto it for a while, waiting for the right time. Nora told him that now she really felt bad, because it seemed like she more or less goaded him into proposing to her. Troy told her not to be ridiculous (which, incidentally, was what I was screaming at my television screen).
Lindsay, meanwhile, was visiting with her psychotic daughter Jen, and delivering Christmas presents. She revealed to her daughter that she has planted a copy of Troy and Joanna's marriage certificate in Troy's office for Nora to find -- these scenes were spliced with the scenes of Nora telling Troy about finding the ring, lest you think these crack script writers have no grasp of the inherent ideas of suspenseful drama -- and that she was sure Nora would find it eventually because Nora can't just let it go. Nora can't stop snooping and Lindsay told her daughter that that was going to be the redhead's downfall. And sharp-as-a-tack Jennifer more or less put it together from there: "So you think that Nora will be devastated and dump Troy and then you'll be there to pick up the pieces?" "Works for me," Lindsay responded. "That's delusional," Jen said to her mother (funny how she picked right up on that, isn't it?) Lindsay countered by saying that last she heard, Jen had pretty much that exact same plan. "Not anymore," Jen said, and then admitted that Cristian had finally officially broken it off with her for good. And that Cris and Natalie were going to pay for hurting her.
Oh yes, never fear, the vapid couplings continued, as Cris and Natalie skulked around Llanfair worried about Jessica. Bo refused to let them go out and look for Jessica on their own, what with Mitch still on the loose and all. So they stayed in and talked about past Christmases, and how they both wanted as children to be part of traditional family celebrations like the ones they saw on TV -- Cris because he was poor, and Natalie because she was with Roxanne (and since we all saw her horrifying concept of holiday decorating on Tuesday's episode, I'm inclined to agree with ol' Nat). Then Natalie told Cris that last year, she finally had that -- the big family, the big house, the big tree, lots of presents under it, the classic Christmas -- and it wasn't quite all it was cracked up to be. She told him about breaking Jessica's special ornament accidentally and not really feeling all that bad about it, since Jessica had had all the advantages their entire lives. She then admitted that she wouldn't trade any of the hardships of her life -- life with Roxanne, any of it -- for Jessica's if it meant that she'd have to go through the hell that Jess is going through now.
And no one knew where Jessica even was, including best friend Al, to whom Bo and Gabrielle explained the sordid story of Mitch Laurence and his actions against the Buchanan family. Al was saddened to hear of Jessica's pain and thought he might know a couple of places where she might have gone that no one else would know about. He volunteered to go looking for her on his own and Bo thought it was a fine idea. Just before this, Al and Gabby were discussing Christmas, and Bo, and Gabrielle told her son that Bo didn't propose to her as she had been thinking he would. Al asked how she felt about that, and she told him she was actually kind of relieved, but her face didn't exactly second that emotion. Nonetheless, she said she didn't have any business getting married again -- and considering her matrimonial track record, who can argue? -- and that it was for the best. Still, she was thrilled when Bo blurted out later that night that he loved her. And she told him she loved him as well.
Also, quickly, the worst storyline in the history of television celebrated la Navidad in style, as the whole disparate Vega/Gannon/Reynolds clan came together at Keri's house for a disastrous Christmas Eve get-together. Nothing at all noteworthy happened during any one of these scenes, just the usual bickering and fighting that occurs when any combination of Carlotta, RJ, Hank, and Liz are in the same room together. Antonio assured Hank that after the holiday is over, he will be finding out definitively whether or not he's the father of the baby. Carlotta made several bitchy comments about drinking on Christmas Eve before midnight mass, about Liz's brownies, about RJ being there at all, about her boys declining to spend Christmas with her. RJ complimented Liz's apple pie. (I swear to God I didn't make any of this paragraph up, we had to sit through every bit of that and more; these scenes were as good as Unisom, don't doubt it.)
And the episode ended with a music montage set to a Christmas song that I'd never heard before. I don't even remember the last time we saw a music montage on this show; anyone remember when we had one, like, every day? It's a nice technique when it's done right and used sparingly however, and this one showed us shots of all of this episode's featured characters: Antonio and Keri hugging after their train wreck of a cocktail party reached its merciful conclusion; Todd and Starr sitting together; Sam and Blair together upstairs; Jen all alone at the loft; Cris and Natalie all moony-eyed at Llanfair; and finally, Troy and Nora in bed together -- Troy shirtless, of course, because it's been a few days since we've seen his pectorals -- and Nora mouthing the word "yes" at him, and Troy sliding the ring onto her finger... and Lindsay watching all of this unfold through the window.
See you tomorrow, kids
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