November 24, 2010By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Nov 24, 2010
I haven't been so thrilled and thankful to see a soap character simply sitting and talking on a couch in months. Murphy's bedridden plight was one of the saddest I've watched in my many years of YOUNG AND RESTLESS viewership. He tried to communicate with his eyes, and then his hand...in Morse code! And frustratingly, people didn't get it. I found it distressing to watch someone who wanted to fully communicate with people but couldn't. You'd think someone would have taken the time to hold up a sign with the full alphabet and pointed to each letter, to see if Murphy would blink "yes," and spell full words. So I'm glad Ronan took those Morse code lessons in Quantico (an easy story solution, but a believable one), and that Murphy is well on his way back to complete health. I loved his touching conversation with Katherine on their couch last week, which gave him more of a backstory (Meggie causing his son's demise) and fostered the couple's heartwarming connection.
In the show's takedown of Meggie, Y&R once again played the "we didn't show you this" card, and I find "What really happened?" more entertaining than just another "Who's the daddy?" question. Hopefully, however, the next surprise of this type won't involve Ronan, who was also part of the cool, complex "Chance is alive!" cover-up. But it's good to have another hero like Ronan around. While malicious Meggie and Faith-saving "Ultra-Adam" recently did the do-si-do in Y&R's Cruelest Villain Square Dance, the horrible things Meggie did to Murphy (knocking his heart pills out of his hand, then almost killing him in the hospital) made her a "supervillain." Adam's become more likable, but he's still heavily manipulative and far from a hero.
On the other side of Genoa City, with a true hero, J.T., gone, the three characters in one of my favorite Y&R scenes ever — Brad hugging J.T. (whom he'd seriously disliked) for finding Colleen in the destroyed Gina's and carrying her out of the wreckage — have left the show. Fortunately, unlike Brad and his daughter, J.T. left Genoa City alive. And now, like Brad, he's a father. While it's possible that dadhood slightly watered down the character, it permanently connected him to the town's residents (including Victoria), as did Mac carrying Cane and Lily's twins in a story that was as much hers as the couple's. So J.T. and Mac are still around, in a way.
During their final few days, I was pleased by something seemingly minor: Katherine saying J.T.'s full name, Jeffrey Todd, thereby honoring that he had a full name — and that she knew it. I applaud the scribes squeezing that in. The somewhat hastily married couple's departure affected me just as much as I expected it to — a lot. It's simply sad to watch two characters I've grown to care about (thanks in large part to Thad Luckinbill and Clementine Ford's fine performances) leave the canvas, as memorable as their last scenes might be.
And that farewell was certainly memorable...and moving — but ironically, more in the case of Reed and Victoria's goodbye. On one level, it was a caring mother saying goodbye to her son; she'll see him again, but not too often (yes, yes, I know — she apparently didn't see him too often while he was in town). But on another level, imagine if Reed comes back one day (SORASed or not) and remembers her words to him before he jumped in the car with the newlyweds. Will his time with Mac and J.T. in D.C. change his outlook on his mom down the line? That possibility exemplifies one very intriguing aspect of soaps, which regularly bring back characters after several years (sometimes, around 27). It was encouraging to see Billy and Victoria try, in the Nov. 22 episode, to persuade J.T. to let Reed visit them for Thanksgiving.
And it's encouraging that a few generally honest folks are still in Genoa City. We don't need another hero in that character-filled town right now, but hopefully, Y&R will keep making the most of the "good" guys and gals it does have...such as Paul, Nina, Noah, Lauren and Katherine. Sure, they've been secretive and even — gasp — angry at times, but characters like those five are pure of heart, and I'm grateful for that. Happy Thanksgiving!