Sunday, January 15, 2012

Burning Questions: 'One Life to Live' Finale Edition

WTF?! Oh my Victor Lord Jr.! He's alive!
Although I would give the Friday the 13th One Life to Live series finale an A for almost awesome (the final frame of Victor Lord Jr. was a truly WTF moment that I can't imagine anyone saw coming and the perfect cap to nearly 44 years of Friday cliffhangers), that doesn't mean there weren't enough gaping holes in the weeks leading up to it for me to fit my entire body through and some true head scratchers. Here are 10 of them.

1. If Todd Manning is smart enough to get Cole Thornhart out of jail free, why did he bungle his own cover-up? I'm still trying to figure out why we needed to spend so much time with Langston and Markko, two characters nobody missed or ever really cared about, on finale day, but more than that, how did Todd get Cole off of that hospital gurney and into the free world? And if Cole's showing up in L.A. as Starr's "bodyguard" (which was so ridiculous, though the Cole recast -- the magnificent Van Hughes -- looked cute in a suit) means that he's cleared of Eli Clarke's murder, how did Todd manage to beat someone else's murder rap? Had he applied the same expert cunning to his own situation, Tomas Delgado would have been toast the minute Todd decided to frame him for the "murder" of Victor Lord Jr.

2. Don't LaBoulaie and Llanfair have security? Kidnappers, murderers and crazy people (including, most recently, Allison Perkins) come and go in and out of two of Llanview's top three estates as they please because there's no security around to stop John McBain and his police force from interrupting Todd and Blair upstairs at LaBoulaie, mid-coitus. That said, the look on Blair's face when McBain told Manning that he was under arrest for the "murder" of Victor Lord Jr. was priceless. Undermined yet again by her horrible taste in men and her raging sex drive!

3. So Marty Saybrooke is a murderer then? Kudos to head writer Ron Carlivati for finally fixing Jessica's paternity, but couldn't he also have undone the botched exit of Marty, one of OLTL's heritage characters? Her portrayer, who is the only OLTL actress other than Erika Slezak to win more than one Daytime Emmy (please correct me if I'm wrong), deserved so much more.

4. Do guns cause only minor flesh wounds? Both Viki and Bo Buchanan were shot, on the brink of death, and out of the hospital in what appeared to be only a day or two. I understand that the show needed to wrap things up outside of their hospital rooms, but it's not like these characters, like the actors who portray them, aren't in their 60s! Also, a final scene between the Buchanan brothers -- Bo and Clint -- was in order, especially since they were both at the hospital making record-breaking recoveries at the same time. Maybe they caught up in heaven, off screen.

5. What happened to Troy and Lindsay? Perhaps these questions were to be answered in Prospect Park's online version of OLTL, but since that won't be happening, does that mean Troy McIver got away with the attempted murder of Bo (a crime for which Roxy's biological son Schuyler is rotting in Statesville) and the kidnapping of his wife Nora, Llanview's District Attorney? And after jumping through Bo's hoops to prove herself a changed woman, did Lindsay Rappaport really take the car and run? Not that she didn't have every reason to. If Cole can get sprung from prison after killing Eli, and Matthew doesn't get to rack up a behind-bars tab for murdering Eddie Ford in cold blood (maybe months in a coma is punishment enough?), she shouldn't have to serve another minute for offing Spencer Truman.

6. Speaking of comas, does Nigel lapse into one at night? He must, otherwise he would have heard all of the ruckus going on in the Llanfair living room the night Allison Perkins came for a visit and dropped the bombshell of Jessica's true paternity, shot Viki and nearly caused Clint's Stacy Morasco heart to stop beating.

7. Who "killed" Victor Lord Jr. ? Since he's undead, it certainly wasn't Todd. And since Allison Perkins was behind bars, it wasn't her either. I'm assuming she was either masterminding the duping of Llanview from Statesville (major eye roll!), or she uncovered the plot after her Llanfair shooting spree. I guess we'll find out when the Mannings and McBain cross over to General Hospital in February, but doesn't that show already have enough storyline problems and gaping plot holes of its own? Of course, I'd be willing to sit through it for Tea Delgado vs. Sonny Corinthos. Pretty please?

8. Dear Rex, Gigi and Shane: Leaving so soon? Do art schools in London really send out acceptance letters giving students all of one day to pack up and relocate to a new country? That's nearly as implausible as Christian Vega getting that job offer in Spain and having to accept and move there in one night, or direct flights from Llanview, Pennsylvania, to Rio de Janiero, or plastic surgery that can make you look exactly like someone else.

9. Is Judith Light OLTL's only heritage character? (And is that 1979 clip of her on the witness stand the only one remaining from her six-year stint on the show?) I know the actress formerly best known as housewife by day, hooker by night Karen Wolek declined the invitation to appear on OLTL in its final months, but she's hardly the only vet that we would have loved to see. What about Michael Storm as Larry Wolek, Ellen Holly as Carla Hall and Al Freeman Jr. as Ed Hall? They're all still alive (R.I.P. Jacqueline Courtney, aka Pat Ashley, one of my all-time favorite OLTL heroines) and much more worthy of finale screen time than Langston and Markko.

10. Are Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and James DePaiva (ex-Max) on the rocks? During their Friday appearance on The View, the couple, who met costarring on One Life to Live and have now been married 15 and a half years, couldn't have appeared more uncomfortable. After they sat down, James had to motion for Kassie to sit closer to him, and when one of the co-hosts asked how long they've been married and Kassie answered, she couldn't help but toss in a little aside: "Feels more like 30!" Isn't time supposed to fly when you're having fun?


ricardo said...

And yet, despite all that, you still give it an A. For me, C+.

tracey said...

Honestly, I never thought Victor was dead in the first place -- to me, the mystery was whether we'd just see the back of a head (a la Wig on a Stick Laura) or TSJ would actually appear. As soon as it became clear that Alison was talking to someone, I had the feeling it would be Victor. And I never believed Todd did the shooting -- Irene did so much messing with his head that I figured he was brainwashed somehow into believing he did it. Plus that whole "You take my life, Victor, I'll take yours" bit that we were subjected to 1,000 times didn't show up on Sean's cell phone recording, nor would Todd's presence have warranted the pretty surprised reaction Victor had upon seeing the shooter, IMO.

It's a little hard for me to give a definitive critique of the wrap-up of characters/storylines since I've only been watching the show 100% since the Two Todds story got underway, but I thought they did a nice job in the last couple of weeks -- the drama of the prison break was good stuff, and then the resolutions of the final week provided some emotional payoff. Thursday's episode actually made me cry (particularly with Viki's voiceover monologue about what soaps mean to their fans), and Friday's finale was excellent. (I could have done without all the time wasted on Jack and Neela on Wednesday -- just a brief shot of Jackass rotting in prison with a 6'5" cellmate named Bubba would have sufficed ;)). And I was glad to see Shane get a happy ending.

Now word is that TSJ will be joining the migration to GH (I guess they couldn't reveal that sooner so as not to spoil the OLTL cliffhanger). I'm very excited by this news -- I love him just about as much as Howarth -- but I'm wondering a little bit if we're going to even recognize GH in a few months!

Jeremy Helligar said...

Tracey, this is the first I'm hearing about TSJ possibly moving to GH, and I'm actually pretty thrilled. I was always a bigger fan of TSJ than I was of his version of Todd, and I didn't realize how much I missed him until he showed up in that final scene. That really made the finale for me. I agree that it was obvious that Todd didn't do the killing (for all the reasons you mentioned), but I wasn't expecting it to be revealed in quite that way, with Allison's involvement. Seeing her and Victor tied up in that bed brought me back to the days of Todd and Margaret Cochran in the cabin, which is what brought me back to OLTL after years of not watching it. You should definitely YouTube some of that.

It will be interesting to see how GH fares after the crossover. After watching Friday's episode (especially Ethan hooking up with his half-sister's lookalike and soundalike), I'm thinking that an unrecognizable GH might not be such a bad thing.

Overall, I was happy with the actual finale. Most of my problems involved the episodes leading up to it. Frank Valentini should give TSJ a huge bonus. His two seconds of screen time really made it all worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

First, I love OLTL! Second, ABC and PP with their demands on an ending to OLTL's network run totally left a lot of holes in what should have been a great send off. Third, having a retirement party for Dr. Larry Wolek would have been great way to segway into the prison break. Fourth, GH is an effing mess, so I'm going to wait until Ron's stories start before even attempting to watch that show.

I loved seeing Judith Light, but if she turned down a return to OLTL but still showed up for the View was a true WTF?

Yeah! Victor is alive!

Last but not least, here's to Agnes Nixon for giving us all OLTL!

I am going to miss this show!

tracey said...

I really do need to go back and check out the Margaret stuff. SOAPnet showed a 14-episode OLTL marathon on New Year's weekend, and I watched all of it, which was really fun (they started with the Judith Light/Karen Wolek on the witness stand episode, which was awesome). One of the episodes they showed was Todd's execution for Margaret's murder (with McBain running in at the last second with the alive Margaret). TSJ did pretty stunning work in that episode.

There's a lot of hostility on the message boards and such right now about the characters crossing over -- most GH fans feel the show doesn't have much time left, and a lot feel that the show should be allowed to go out on its own high note by bringing back its own vets such as AMC & OLTL both did, rather than being infiltrated by other shows' characters. While I certainly do understand that POV, ultimately I'm just a fan of great, well-written drama and high-quality acting, and if I'm going to get the chance to see Todd Manning interact with Sonny Corinthos or Victor Lord, Jr. with Tracy Quartermaine, or John McBain shake up the PCPD, I say bring it on. The show's really got nowhere to go but up at this point. (As long as Dante doesn't get killed/written off ;))

tracey said...

It just occurred to me, Jeremy -- did you ever watch the "What If" mini-episodes ABC did a couple of years ago? I believe they're all on YouTube, and they're approximately five-minute episodes where characters from the three ABC soaps meet each other in random circumstances (usually on an airplane or in an elevator). Sonny & Erica Kane, Luke & Viki, Dante & Tess, Todd/Victor & Spinelli (that one was probably my favorite), Maxie & Rex, McBain & Sam McCall (nice nod to the past KM/ME matchup on Port Charles), Jason & Greenlee, Tad & Blair, Carly & Ryan Lavery, there's probably a couple more I'm forgetting. Kind of fun stuff -- but, thinking about it in retrospect, it kind of makes me wonder whether there's been some plan behind the scenes to try to combine the soaps, and it was a test to see what the reaction might be?

Glen said...

I agree with most of your points and loved the WTF moment with Victor in the last scene. Although you are correct that it was not spelled out and happened off screen, Bo did make it to the hospital and John McBain mentioned in passing that all of the escapees except Allison Perkins had been rounded up, so I took that to mean that Lindsay kept her word and got help for Bo and Nora, and that Troy was recaputured as well.

Bringing back a few of the characters and actors from the 80's, especially Larry Wolek, would have been a logical way to pay tribute to the history of the show in it's final months and weeks, and a last scene between Bo and Clint would have been appropriate. Also, Addie made a final appearance, which was nice, but no Renee during the final week. Maybe I am just being greedy, but I also would have liked to have seen Carlo Hesser again - would have been interesting if he had engineered the prision break as a diversion for some nefarious purpose.

I think the comments that Vicki made on the "Blanca Show" on Thursday, and some of Allison Perkins' voiceover on Friday's show beautifully captured the relationship between viewers and their soaps and the essence of OLTL. All in all, I would give the final couple of weeks a B+, especially when taking into consideration the fact the they were operating under the assumption that the show would continue on-line. I have also been a GH fan for over 30 years, so I look forward to seeing how they get McBain and the Mannings to Port Charles, and what happens once they arrive. Softens the loss just a bit.

Jeremy Helligar said...

Tracey, I do remember those "What If" mini episodes. I really liked them, mostly because they showed that characters from different shows can work together. Y&R/B&B and AMC/OLTL have a long history of crossover characters and storylines, and Skye Quartermaine has appeared on AMC, OLTL and GH, so it's not like there's no precedent. My only concern is that if the Mannings and McBain come to GH, they should be thrown into new storylines or existing ones. I don't really want to see the Victor Lord Jr. case being wrapped up in Port Charles. I suspect there will be an episode of exposition where what went down is explained and then they'll move on. Hopefully!

Anonymous said...

If Victor Lord Jr. shows up on GH, then I expect we'll find out that his murder/kidnapping had something to do with a nefarious act going on in Port Charles.

By the way, RC did a guest Podcast over at Daytimeconfidential on Sunday.

Check it out!

Jeremy Helligar said...

I read the suggestion somewhere that maybe Helena Cassadine was involved. That would be a pretty good twist. Would that mean Allison and Helena were in cahoots? I wouldn't mind watching that scenario play out.

I'm going to check out that podcast. Howarth is a great "get" for them!

Jeremy Helligar said...

Oops, I meant to say Ron Carlivati, not Howarth. Great interview, by the way!