FALCON CREST versus DYNASTY versus DALLAS versus KNOTS LANDING versus the rest of them, week by week

Discussion in 'Falcon Crest' started by James from London, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    19 Nov 86: DYNASTY: The Mission v. 20 Nov 86: KNOTS LANDING: A Turn of Events v. 21 Nov 86: DALLAS: Who's Who at the Oil Baron's Ball? v. 12 Nov 86: FALCON CREST: Nepotism

    The secret missions instigated by Blake Carrington and JR Ewing (to break Caress Morelle out of prison and blow up the Saudi Arabian oilfields respectively) both step up apace this week. While BD Calhoun and his gang of mercenaries head to the Middle East on DALLAS, Dex Dexter and Clay Fallmont travel to Venezuela on DYNASTY. Whereas JR has taken care to distance himself from BD’s actions (“Whichever way it goes, I want the trail to stop with you,” he told him last week), Blake has to be actively dissuaded from accompanying Dex and Clay on their undertaking. “I don’t like other people fighting my battles for me and this is my battle,” he protests.

    Over on FALCON CREST, Richard Channing instigates an assignment of his own, albeit more locally. Appropriating the Empire Valley toxic-waste-disposal storyline from last season’s KNOTS LANDING, he bribes an official to dump poisonous chemicals from Peter Stavros’s company onto land belonging to Angela which will then seep into adjacent vineyards recently acquired by Chase — neatly sabotaging three of his enemies in one fell swoop.

    Bad guys they might be, but JR’s and Richard’s dastardly schemes both come with a similar caveat. “I don’t want anybody hurt on this project,” JR told BD last week. “I want to make sure that any life-threatening chemicals are properly disposed of,” orders Richard this week. Blake voices a similar concern about the rescue mission on DYNASTY. “Explosives? That’s out of the question. There must be a better way,” he tells Dex — only for Dex to insist that there are no other options.

    Blake and JR regard these overseas missions as a way out of their present business difficulties. In each case, however, outlandish soap plotting cuts no ice with the legal system. “You’re asking the district attorney’s office to believe that Benjamin Carrington kidnapped you, somehow managed to fly you to Venezuela and had you put into prison — all this when there’s no record that any of it took place?” scoffs ADA Ferguson on DYNASTY when Caress and Blake go to him with their story. “You’re a rich and powerful man, but if the agency ever found out you were involved in something like this, you’d need a lot more than money to keep you out of a federal pen,” an FBI agent warns JR when questioning him about Calhoun on DALLAS.

    Last week’s FALCON CREST afforded us our first glimpse into Dan Fixx’s tangled back story. As if the revelation that Angela crippled his mother in a car accident when he was a young boy was not enough, it also transpired that he’s recently completed a prison sentence for killing a police officer. After bedding Adam on this week’s DYNASTY, Dana Waring treats him (and us) to an insight into her own bizarre past. “I went to the same high school as you,” she tells him. “I followed you here to Denver. I got a job at your father’s company … so that in some strange way I might be near you again.” “I don’t remember you,” Adam admits. “Of course not,” she replies. “I was Dana Waring — long straight hair and hand-me-down clothes, the girl who had a dream that one day you would notice me, look at me, make me smile because I was desperately in love with you.” In this regard, Dana’s status resembles that of Dan’s, the classmate Lance tried to bully when they were young — the invisible high school kid from the wrong side of the tracks.

    Much of the action on KNOTS and DALLAS currently focuses on a male outsider — Peter Hollister and Wes Parmalee respectively — who is so isolated from the rest of the characters that he has no one onscreen to whom he can confide his innermost thoughts. Consequently, each of this week’s episodes uses a non-linear narrative device to convey these thoughts to the audience. At the end of last week’s KNOTS, Peter’s sister Jill fell off a cliff shortly after threatening to expose his true identity. The opening scene of week’s ep juxtaposes the sight of Peter abandoning the scene of the accident with a succession of flashbacks that illustrate his conflicted state of mind. It’s a great sequence that seems to go on forever: lots of short, sharp shots of Abby, Greg and Jill, variously taunting, threatening and cajoling Peter until he doesn’t know which way is up. In fact, it may be Soap Land’s most effective use of flashbacks yet.

    DALLAS, meanwhile, makes the bold choice of a dream sequence in order to give us an insight into Wes Parmalee’s frame of mind. In contrast to DALLAS’s last dream sequence, it’s brief (twenty-seven seconds as opposed to thirty-one episodes) and economical. It takes place in the cockpit of an aircraft during the middle of a storm. Everything is shaking. A hand struggles frantically with a control stick. Altitude monitors spiral like crazy. The helicopter plummets. Waves rise up to meet the camera. Then Wes wakes up in a cold sweat similar to the one Peter’s covered in by the end of his flashback montage. Being a dream, of course, there’s nothing conclusive about it, but the implication is clear. “He went through the same kind of accident that Jock must have had,” as Dr Danvers declares in a later scene after surveying x-rays of Wes’s battered body. “This man deserves our respect,” he tells Bobby and JR. “He endured more pain than you or I hopefully ever will know.”

    Back on KNOTS, Peter eventually makes an anonymous call for help on Jill’s behalf. Her retrieval from the bottom of the canyon is depicted using what looks hand-held footage of a real-life mountain rescue, interspersed with more conventional reaction shots of Peter watching from a discreet distance. It’s a far from seamless blending of styles, but there’s something pleasing about it. By now, this storyline is so layered with secrets and lies, misunderstandings and innuendo, that the chopping and changing of camera footage seems somehow appropriate.

    Vicky Gioberti’s almost identical accident on FALCON CREST rendered her unconscious for most of last week’s episode and therefore unable to raise the alarm about Jeff Wainwright’s return to the Tuscany Valley. Jill’s even more serious injuries mean that she is in no condition to either expose Peter as a fraud or exonerate him of any involvement in her fall. Nonetheless, speculation is rife: was Jill’s fall a suicide attempt or the result of a lovers’ tiff between her and Peter? This leads to some first-class scenery chewing from Greg Sumner. “The woman is dying in the hospital under mysterious circumstances … If they implicate you, it’s over!” he bellows at Peter. A gloating Jean Hackney puts it even more succinctly: “This is Peter Hollister’s Chappaquiddick and an end to Sumner’s obsessive aspiration to the White House.”

    While Greg conjures up the kind of headline that could wreck Peter’s career and his own dreams of power (“You see the papers now —‘STATE SENATOR’S FORMER LOVER PLUNGES OVER CLIFF AFTER SECRET MEETING’”), Blake Carrington and Angela Channing are the subjects of some genuinely bad press. ‘NEW CARRINGTON SCHEME: EXPERTS LABEL CRATER GAS FIELD WILD SPECULATION,’ reads the front page of the Denver Mirror. ‘COP KILLER FINDS PATRON: A well-known killer continues to serve guests at Angela Channing’s Del Oro Spa,’ trumpets the New Globe.

    “Everything you’ve written about the crater so far is fiction,” Krystle tells Gordon Wales on DYNASTY. “Isn’t journalism a respectable profession that this woman [Alexis] is defiling? … I used to respect you as a reporter … I’m afraid she’s corrupted you.” The subject of journalistic integrity also comes up on KNOTS. “I never thought of you as a gossip monger. You’re classier, more of a hard news guy,” Greg tells Ben Gibson who is under pressure from Jean Hackney to tie Peter to Jill’s accident. “You put [the insinuation] on the air, the press will print it. That’s what headlines are made of,” she urges him. “I am not a yellow journalist,” he insists. “It has never been nor will it ever be my style.”

    Two more Soap Land women are revealed to be pregnant this week, bringing the current total to six. Just as Donna Krebbs, Fallon Colby, Maggie Gioberti and Jenna Wade were, DYNASTY’s Sammy Jo is surprised to find herself with child, but at least she’s happy about it. (“I have a chance to do something right,” she tells Krystle.) She does, however, follow the Soap Land tradition of keeping the father-to-be in the dark. “I’m scared what he’ll say when he finds out,” she admits, echoing Laura’s concerns in last week’s KNOTS about broaching the subject of having a baby with Greg. An even more unexpected pregnancy is revealed at the end of KNOTS when Jill’s condition takes a sudden turn for the worse. A flock of extras in scrubs descend upon her hospital bed and wheel her away, one of them muttering, “I didn’t know she was pregnant.” Cut to Gary and Abby’s shocked reactions.

    Back on DYNASTY, Sammy Jo is urged by her obstetrician — a fifty-something woman with a blonde bouffant and kindly face — to make a hospital appointment to have her pregnancy confirmed. Over on FALCON CREST, Maggie is urged by her obstetrician — a fifty-something woman with a blonde bouffant and kindly face — to make a hospital appointment for her amniocentesis and paternity tests. In each case, the pregnant woman fails to keep the appointment.

    Abortion continues to be a common Soap Land topic. On DYNASTY and FALCON CREST, it’s referred to somewhat obliquely. “I’m gonna keep this baby,” Sammy Jo states firmly before her Aunt Krystle has a chance to assume otherwise. “The sooner you know the facts, the sooner you and Chase can make a clear-headed decision,” Maggie’s doctor tells her, referring to the tests she needs to take.

    Over on DALLAS, the possibility of Jenna having an abortion is tackled head on, generating some meaty — and sometimes surprising — exchanges between various sets of characters. (This is unusual territory for DALLAS. Customarily, it’s only the latest fight for Ewing Oil that would elicit such an array of opinions.) Donna sides with Bobby who wants Jenna to keep the baby. This leads to another disagreement between the Krebbses. “The baby is hers,” says Ray. “Whether or not she keeps it, that is her choice … As far as Bobby goes, he just wants to have everything his own way.” “Don’t we all?” Donna snaps back. Cliff Barnes, meanwhile, suggests to his sister that if he were her, “I’d be sticking pins in a voodoo doll.” Pam guilty admits that “it would be easier if that baby were never born.”

    JR, surprisingly, is on the same side as Ray and Pam. He advises Bobby not to interfere with Jenna’s decision: “Just let things run their course … You’d be ruining your marriage before it even got going.” Bobby is understandably suspicious of his brother’s motives. “Maybe you’re more concerned that if I have another child, that adds up to one more Ewing heir,” he suggests. “This may come as a surprise, Bobby,” JR replies, “but not all my motives are selfish. Maybe sometimes yours are.”

    Ray and JR both accusing Bobby of being the selfish brother — now that’s something you don’t see every week. And it’s part of a wider trend of showing Soap Land’s heroes to be more fallible than we’re used to seeing them. Bobby and Pam behaving selfishly on DALLAS (“I hate myself for it,” says Pam), Karen Mackenzie thinking uncharitable thoughts about Mack’s daughter on KNOTS (“I hate myself for feeling this way,” she echoes), Chase Gioberti riding roughshod over people’s feelings on FALCON CREST (“It’s time to put aside friendships for the good of the valley,” he declares) — suddenly, these paragons of Soap Land morality have feet of clay. And all are more interesting, and relatable, as a result. As Cliff says to Pam, “Welcome to the human race.”

    The most pronounced of these character changes belongs to Chase. “I have never seen you like this before,” Maggie tells him. As this once courageous and selfless character grows darker by the week, becoming ever more arrogant and power hungry, DYNASTY’s Sammy Jo travels in the opposite direction, revealing a surprising vulnerable, even fragile side, as her feelings for Clay Fallmont deepen. Whereas this new Sammy Jo bears little relation to the scheming little minx we’ve come to know and love, the new Chase feels like one we’ve occasionally glimpsed out of the corner of our collective eye during FALCON CREST’s first five seasons — his innate self-righteousness has simply been twisted in a new direction. And it sure makes for some interesting sparks between him and Maggie. “It’s time for a change,” he tells insists. “Does that mean turning your back on everyone who’s ever meant anything to you?” she asks. him

    There are more juicy marital scenes in DALLAS where, thanks in large part to the narrative disruption caused by Pam’s Dream, the depiction of Ray and Donna’s estrangement now has an unusual rhythm to it. Almost every week, there’s a scene between them that’s dramatically meaty and/or achingly poignant, and which feels much more character-based than plot-driven. “If two people are willing to compromise, they can work things out,” asserts Ray. “Compromise? Why is it that when people use that word they always mean ‘do it my way?” scoffs Donna in reply. “You don’t wanna compromise, Ray Krebbs. You don’t wanna do it my way — anymore than I wanna do it yours.” “When someone does something you hate, do you try to ignore it to save the relationship? How much can you ignore about a person and still call it a relationship?” That’s not a quote from Ray or Donna — it’s actually Melissa talking about her marriage to Lance on FALCON CREST — but the question still applies to the Krebbses.

    There are similarly tense bedroom scenes between Soap Land’s recent newlyweds-for-the-second-time this week — Lance and Melissa, and Bobby and Pam. At Southfork, Pam arrives home late, using shopping as an excuse to avoid being alone with her new husband. “There is a problem, but I don’t like my response to it,” she admits, referring to Jenna’s pregnancy. “Lance, when we go to bed at night, am I supposed to forget everything that’s happened all day?” pouts Melissa, alluding to her new husband's mysterious alliance with Richard at the New Globe. Both disagreements are resolved by the end of the scene, at least temporarily. ”I’d probably run away if I could, but I need you too much,” Pam tells Bobby and they kiss. “I know what I’m doing,” Lance assures Melissa and they kiss.

    Soap Land’s best-selling novelists, Val Gibson and Maggie Gioberti, are each back at the typewriter this week, struggling to put their real life experiences on paper. On KNOTS, Val attempts to adapt Capricorn Crude for television amidst various distractions. “It’s what you call a backyard pilot,” explains Lilimae to someone on the phone. “If they like it and the ratings are good, they could turn it into a regular series.” (In other words, Val is writing a parallel universe version of the original DALLAS mini-series.) Maggie, meanwhile, is trying to write “an article, an essay, therapy …” based on her ordeal at the hands of Jeff Wainwright. A sympathetic Richard offers to print it in the Globe. Maggie, still angry at the coverage he gave Jeff’s novel (“If you had thought for one moment how those articles would provoke that sick mind …”), points out that Richard himself features in her piece. “Are you gonna print something that calls you what you are?” she challenges him. “Sure, why not, if it’s the truth,” he replies seriously, then adds, “… and if it’ll sell more newspapers.” Maggie laughs despite herself. The scene in DALLAS where Pam confides in her brother about her feelings of anger towards Jenna’s baby has a similar dynamic. Like Richard, Cliff responds with compassion and understanding (“All of us are selfish at one time or another …”) and then immediately undercuts this by making a knowing gag at his own expense (“… even me”). Like Maggie, Pam laughs.

    Karen’s instinctive mistrust of Paige on KNOTS is met with scepticism from Val and agreement from Lilimae who takes the opportunity to remind them both of her own clairvoyant abilities. “I know you don’t trust my premonitions,” she tells Val, “but I was right about Karen and all that fire, and I know I’m right about that girl.” Indeed, Soap Land has always approached the paranormal with a surprising lack of scepticism. (The psychics consulted by Alexis, Pam and Blake were all genuine, for instance, and let’s not forget all the supernatural stuff that took place towards the end of FLAMINGO ROAD and in the “Three Sisters” episode of KNOTS.) This week’s FALCON CREST, however, features Soap Land’s first psychic charlatan. When Emma consults a medium named Karlotti in the hopes of communing with her late fiancé Dwayne, he covertly flicks a switch that causes lights to flicker on and off at the appropriate moment. It’s a bit SCOOBY DOO.

    Val finding Gary with Abby, Alexis discovering Dex with Amanda, Donna walking on Ray and Bonnie, Sue Ellen catching JR with Holly Harwood, even Angela seeing Lance with Morgan Fairchild — numerous Soap Land characters have walked into a room and been shocked to find a loved one with their shoes parked under the wrong bed. KNOTS recently gave us a variation on this scenario when Gary caught Abby in bed with Peter Hollister but failed to raise an eyebrow. This week, it gives us another. Late one night in the Mackenzie household, Karen creeps into her sleeping son Michael’s room to collect his dirty laundry. So far, so mundane. It’s only when she turns around to straighten his blankets that she realises that he’s sharing his bed with his stepsister Paige.

    At the other end of the age range, this week’s DALLAS is bookended by scenes of Clayton accusing Miss Ellie of betraying him with another man. “Ellie, what are you doing here with him?” he demands in the opening scene after finding her and Wes Parmalee at a museum. “How could you stand there while that man makes a mockery of your family, of our marriage?” he asks her in the closing scene, after Wes has taken to the stage of the Oil Baron’s Ball and publicly declared himself to be Jock. In each case, Miss Ellie dithers, unable to provide a satisfactory answer — another indication that Donna Reed’s less assertive portrayal of Mrs Clayton Farlow wasn’t so wide of the mark after all.

    The TV and movie business seem to have replaced the music industry as Soap Land’s go-to branch of showbiz this season. A week after KNOTS introduced us to the husband and wife team in charge of Ramilar Productions (fictionalised versions of Bernard Lechowick and Lynne Marie Latham, perhaps?) who are making Val’s TV movie about the Dallas Ewings, DALLAS itself introduces its own Hollywood producer — Rocket Films’ Bruce Harvey. Last seen getting electrocuted at Empire Valley, he is now a sleazy “tinsel town dummy” who “does more exploitation pictures than anybody in the business.” Spotting an opportunity to get Mandy Winger out of Dallas once and for all, Sue Ellen engineers a meeting between her and Bruce. Imagine the irony if Rocket Films were to pass on Mandy and Ramilar ended up casting her as Sue Ellen in Val’s TV movie instead.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (3) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (4) DYNASTY
    4 (5) FALCON CREST

    Yes, that's interesting. Ana, Kolya's sister, sort of feels like the Duchess of Branagh in reverse.
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    26 Nov 86: DYNASTY: The Choice v. 27 Nov 86: THE COLBYS: And Baby Makes Four v. 27 Nov 86: KNOTS LANDING: Touch and Go v. 28 Nov 86: DALLAS: Proof Positive v. 28 Nov 86: FALCON CREST: Slow Seduction

    The intertexuality is through the roof in this week’s Ewingverse. On KNOTS LANDING, Val is informed by Lorimar — I mean, Ramilar — Productions that the screen adaptation of Capricorn Crude needs to be rushed into production because “another network is working on a similar story … set in Texas.” As Capricorn Crude has already been established as an (even more) fictionalised version of DALLAS (a fiction within a fiction, if you will), then what can be the real life equivalent of this “similar story … set in Texas”? Surely the only candidate is THE YELLOW ROSE — the oil-and-ranching drama in which Mandy Winger made her Soap Land debut. And where do we find Mandy this week? Why, watching her own image projected onto a movie screen as she performs an audition scene on the set of Karen and Mack’s KNOTS LANDING kitchen. To make matters even more meta, the scene itself is a pastiche of MIAMI VICE (not a “similar story … set in Texas” this time, but DALLAS’s real-life time-slot competitor) with Mandy as the long-suffering girlfriend of a Sonny Crockett type played Soap Land’s future Tommy Mackay/Roger Grimes. While the ongoing Ramilar gag on KNOTS feels a bit too broad and knowing, the sly digs at MIAMI VICE (“You drive around in that sports car all night playing terrible music so loud you drive everybody crazy!”) are light and — that word again — playful. The sequence also manages to advance Mandy’s storyline in a way that is both poignant (the success of her screen test means the end of the road for her and JR) and thrilling (Sue Ellen is secretly behind the whole thing!).

    This week’s DYNASTY is volatile and fast-paced and slightly mad — in a good way. The scene where Caress lunges at Ben (“You scum!”) as Alexis looks on in alarm has a similarly visceral quality to the brilliant scene in “Divorce Ewing Style” (DALLAS Season 2) where Sue Ellen physically attacks JR during a family gathering. Caress goes on to demand $1,000,000 from Ben and Alexis, “for each of the five years I was buried alive.” Over on DALLAS, April Stevens mentions the same figure when she tries to offload her five percent of Ewing Oil onto Cliff Barnes. “I came into this town with nothing,” she reminds him. “A million dollars would be very nice walkaway money.” While Ben and Cliff each react to their respective propositions with a derisive chuckle, Alexis’s response is more surprising. In the same way that JR caught his brother Bobby off-guard in last week’s DALLAS by giving him some selfless advice about his marriage, Alexis wrong foots her sister by offering her a no-strings-attached job as the Denver Mirror’s new society columnist. The gesture is as satisfying as it is unexpected, as it makes Alexis appear (as JR did last week) a more rounded character. Caress’s response is very interesting too. Even though she accepts the position, it soon emerges that she has no interest in working for a living, however well-paid. In her craving for wealth and luxury, she’s like an addict — she wants it all and she isn’t even prepared to wait for her first paycheque to get it.

    Zach Powers is well-utilised in a crossover appearance from THE COLBYS. As well as helping Michael Culhane infiltrate Blake’s latest business venture (a sneaky scheme that is speedily executed within the space of a few scenes), his presence affords Caress the opportunity to call in an outstanding debt. “How much are your past mistakes worth to you, Zach?” she purrs. He responds by writing her a cheque for $250,000. “Is that fair?” he asks. “For now,” she replies smugly. Here, alas, she has overplayed her hand. “It would never end, would it, Caress?” Zach realises, snatching back the cheque and ripping it into pieces. “Therefore, it must never begin.” As much as Caress would love to be a Soap Land femme fatale, she can’t quite pull it off. She’s too pathetic, too needy to compete with the big boys and so Zach — the man she has described as the love of her life — is able to swat her away without so much as a second thought.

    As Caress loses out on $25,000 from ex-lover Zach, April tries to offload her piece of Ewing Oil onto ex-husband Jack for the same amount. Jack, however, isn’t biting. “It’s looking more and more like our share of Ewing Oil may come to nothing — which is a hell of a lot more than you deserve,” he snaps at her. Caress is no more successful in her efforts to extort a measly $100,000 from Emily Fallmont. “I can’t raise that kind of money. Every cent I have is in Buck’s name!” Emily sobs.

    Thwarted gold-diggers they might be, but Caress and April are very different characters. Whereas Caress can’t help but emit a scent of desperation (she blackmails Emily with tears in her eyes), April has fun as she schemes. In spite of the setbacks she encounters in this week’s episode, her twinkle never wavers and she always has a ready quip to hand. In this regard, and in the carefree way she sashays in and out of scenes, her blonde curls bouncing as she goes, she reminds me of no one so much as early Abby on KNOTS. Caress, meanwhile, is more like DALLAS's Kristin or FALCON CREST’s Pamela Lynch as they teetered on the brink of their respective downfalls. Like Caress, they were both self-described “wronged women” who made the mistake of thinking they could turn the tables on their ex-lovers (JR and Richard Channing) only to be outmanoeuvred at the last minute. But whereas Kristin and Pamela then sought revenge by trying to kill JR and Richard, here it’s Caress who finds herself dodging a hail of bullets (Kit Marlowe-style) in an underground parking garage.

    It’s strange to see DYNASTY characters as glitzy as Emily Fallmont and Caress Morelle scrabbling around for a mere $100,000 (the Soap Land equivalent of loose change) and it adds an interesting edge to the show. In fact, DYNASTY as a whole is looking less grand this season. Blake’s latest office suite and Alexis’s new headquarters at the Denver Mirror are significantly smaller than their previous showrooms at Denver Carrington and Colby Co, while most of the Carringtons are still camping out in the comparatively modest surroundings of the Carlton. Indeed, Blake and Krystle’s hotel suite pales next to the swanky one presently occupied by Wes Parmalee on DALLAS. “You’re living high on the hog — and on the cuff,” observes Ray, also making reference to the fact that Wes is now dressing in bespoke suits courtesy of Jock Ewing’s old tailor.

    While DYNASTY has the kind of fast-moving momentum one associates with the end of a season, the atmosphere on DALLAS is more sombre, while suggesting that the show is similarly headed towards a point of no return. “There’s a time coming when people are gonna have to decide once and for all,” predicts Wes while talking to Ray about his claim to be Jock.

    Then there’s the bittersweet scene between JR and Mandy in his box at Texas Stadium. “This was the first place you brought me when we met,” she remembers. “You were so sweet, the way you courted me. You treated me like a queen.” She goes on to explain that she has been offered a Hollywood movie contract. “It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.” However, “I’ll turn it all down, I’ll give all that up … if you move off Southfork right now and tell the whole world that I’m to be the next Mrs Ewing …” “We both know that will never happen, don’t we?” JR tells her. “I guess we always knew,” she agrees sadly. On paper, this is a rerun of their breakup scene that took place in the penultimate episode of the Dream Season. Back then, it was an overseas modelling assignment that Mandy was willing to sacrifice if only JR would make an honest woman of her. JR turned her down then too — but whereas that version of events left Mandy in a sobbing heap on the floor, here she gets to keep her dignity. As she turns to leave, JR stops her with the line: “If it woulda happened with anyone, it woulda happened with you.” “But it didn’t,” she replies before carrying on her way, her heart broken but her head held high.

    “I guess we always knew …” says Mandy. There’s a similar sense of predestination in the best scene of this week’s FALCON CREST. “It never changes — Cole has the dreams, Lance has the schemes,” Cole sighs when his erstwhile rival drops by for a not-in-so-many-words farewell scene. “Take care, cousin,” replies Lance fondly, giving him a thumbs up. This exchange comes out of nowhere — at this point, Cole hasn’t announced his intention to leave the valley — and yet it manages to silently acknowledge six years of history between these two characters, who could have easily been close friends had the circumstances they were born into not pitted them against each other.

    Young love — and the parental disapproval thereof — remains an ongoing theme. In the same way that Michael Fairgate showed up late to an important family dinner on KNOTS a few weeks ago because he was in bed with his stepsister Paige, Amanda Carrington fails to show up to an equally significant family gathering on this week’s DYNASTY because she’s in bed with ex-chauffeur Michael. “I wanna spend all my time with you,” Michael tells her by way of pillow talk. “All I care about is you,” echoes ballet dancer Kolya on the sister show after breaking into the Colby grounds at night to woo Bliss in her bedchamber. Neither Blake nor Jason hold back in voicing their displeasure when they find out what their daughters have been up to. “You chose to be with that man rather than with your family. It’s a sad choice,” Blake tells Amanda sternly. “I don’t want to see you near my house again or my daughter,” Jason informs Kolya emphatically.

    In contrast to the strong moral certainty exhibited by the patriarchs of the DYNASTY-verse, Mack and Karen cannot decide how best to confront Michael and Paige over their relationship. The Mackenzies’ discomfort and indecision is both funny and relatable. “I don’t know what we should say,” Karen kvetches. “I don’t wanna say the wrong thing.” “Don’t overanalyse this,” Mack replies. “It’s plain and simple, black and white — they were kids and they were wrong to have sex.” When Karen insists that “the worse thing we could do is to make a big deal out of this,” it’s as if she’s already watched this week’s episodes of DYNASTY and THE COLBYS and doesn’t want to come across as heavy-handed a parent as Blake and Jason have.

    Karen’s more considered approach appears to pay off. Whereas the DYNASTY-verse daughters remain defiant in the face of their fathers’ disapproval (“I won’t give him up, Daddy!” insists Amanda; “I’ll never forgive you for this — never!” Bliss vows to her daddy), Paige is downright apologetic when her stepmother tactfully suggests that sleeping with Michael might not have been such a good idea: “You’re right. I’m sorry … It won’t happen again. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you or Mack.” (This doesn’t, however, prevent Paige and Michael from continuing their relationship in secret.)

    A grownup child leaving the family home is always A Major Deal in Soap Land and the prospect crops up several times this week. As well as Mandy challenging JR to “move off Southfork”, DYNASTY ends with Amanda announcing, “I’m moving in with him!” when her father forces her to choose between her family and Michael Culhane. “You want us to move out?” asks Michael Fairgate when Mack objects to his romance with Paige on KNOTS. Over on FALCON CREST, Cole Gioberti presents his family with the idea as a fait accompli: “In ten days time, my boat and I have a date with the Pacific. I’m sailing to Australia where I’ve been asked to be a permanent partner in a new wine venture … It’s something I have to do.”

    There’s more moving out on DALLAS. “Part of you thinks that Wes Parmalee is your dead husband come back to you and as long as that is so I cannot live in this house,” Clayton tells Miss Ellie before leaving Southfork. And how ironic that JR should be the most vocal about wanting his stepfather back at the ranch! “What’s he doing in a hotel for crying out loud?” he barks angrily. “How could you let him do something like that, Mama? … I’m gonna get him on the phone and you’re gonna talk him into coming back here!” At this, Ellie puts her foot down. “In this house, I’ll tell you what your business is,” she informs him in no uncertain terms. Nor is she the only head of the family to pull rank this week. “Breaking in, sneaking into my daughter’s bed? Not in my house!” decrees Jason Colby. His sentiment is echoed by Mack on KNOTS. “This is a big deal,” he tells Karen. “Your son and my daughter have had sex in our house.” Back on DYNASTY, Blake feels the loss of his own house keenly. “Ever since we’ve moved out of our home, I feel like I’ve lost contact with my children,” he admits to Krystle.

    It’s been another busy week in Pregnancy Corner. While Fallon makes a surprise threat to Miles on THE COLBYS (“If you don’t stop [harassing me], I swear to God I’ll have an abortion”), Jenna and Maggie reach identical conclusions on DALLAS and FALCON CREST. “I can’t abort this baby,” Jenna tells Charlie. “I’m going to keep this baby,” decides Maggie after hearing its heart beat during her amniocentesis. Over on KNOTS, Jill Bennett miscarries on the operating table.

    There are similarly contrasting reactions to the prospect of fatherhood. Whereas Clay Fallmont’s reaction to the news that Sammy Jo is pregnant on DYNASTY is lukewarm — he manages a smile, but we can see from his expression as he hugs her that he is far from thrilled — Miles wastes no time in asserting his legal rights as the presumptive father of Fallon’s baby on THE COLBYS. (“It looks like the three of us are having a baby and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it,” he tells Fallon and Jeff gloatingly.) And while Bobby Ewing is too busy dealing with the threat posed by Wes Parmalee to deal with Jenna’s pregnancy on DALLAS, his brother Gary spends pretty much all of KNOTS reeling first from the shock of Jill’s pregnancy and then from the news that she’s miscarried. Meanwhile on FALCON CREST, Chase chooses to bury himself in his various business projects rather than face the uncertainties surrounding his wife’s pregnancy. Somewhat inevitably, Maggie turns to Richard for support instead.

    As new brides who have recently discovered that their husbands have impregnated other women, Channing Carter Colby and Pamela Barnes Ewing have a lot in common. This week, each approaches her adversary on enemy territory (Channing confronts Fallon in the new Colby nursery while Pam visits Jenna at her boutique) to make a desperate plea. Channing asks Fallon to return to Denver for the remainder of her pregnancy while Pam, unaware that Jenna has already decided against an abortion, tries to persuade her to have the baby and then let her and Bobby adopt it. “I’m not asking you, I’m begging you,” pleads Channing. “This is wrecking my marriage … Please just give us some time.” “Oh Jenna, please,” entreats Pam. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do … I’m trying to make the best of a horrible situation.” While Fallon tries to point out that Channing’s request is unrealistic (“out of sight is not out of mind, not with Miles”), Jenna accuses Pam of trying to buy her baby and furiously orders her out of the boutique. It’s particularly satisfying to see Jenna — for so long the passive underdog in the Bobby/Pam saga — energised by her anger towards the happy couple and finally regaining the upper hand over her rival.

    Elsewhere, Emily Fallmont and Adrienne Cassidy continue to battle it out for the title of Most Long-Suffering Wife of a Former Senator in the DYNASTY-verse. Both are haunted by secrets relating to an extra-marital affair that took place years before. Caress is once again threatening to expose Emily’s fling with Ben Carrington (“My family is my whole life!” Emily wails) while Adrienne delivers the shock revelation that her eight year old son is really the result of Cash’s affair with Monica — only Monica doesn’t know! Turns out it’s all Barbara Stanwyck’s fault. “She said if I didn’t let you adopt Scott,” Adrienne tells Cash, “she’d drive you out of the senate … I loved you. I couldn’t let her destroy you so I swallowed my pride and took in your bastard.” Wow — that’s the plot of a whole Douglas Sirk movie right there.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (2) DALLAS
    2 (3) DYNASTY
    3 (-) THE COLBYS
    4 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    5 (4) FALCON CREST
     
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  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    03 Dec 86: DYNASTY: The Secret v. 04 Dec 86: THE COLBYS: Bid for Freedom v. 04 Dec 86: KNOTS LANDING: The Inside Man v. 05 Dec 86: DALLAS: Something Old, Something New v. 05 Dec 86: FALCON CREST: Maggie

    Once again, Soap Land’s fathers are out in force, trying to prevent their impetuous offspring from making unwise romantic choices. While Buck Fallmont’s objections to Sammy Jo as a potential daughter-in-law appear to be solely based on her last name (“Her background is Carrington. That means she’s filth … a Carrington tramp!”), Jason Colby’s argument against his daughter Bliss’s “disastrous love affair” with a Russian ballet dancer is more considered. “You and Kolya, baby, it can never happen,” he tells her gently. “They won’t let him stay and they won’t let you follow. Now that is reality … You can’t change the Soviet system.” Chase Gioberti and Blake Carrington, meanwhile, have each based their opinions of their respective daughter’s new boyfriend on his past reputation. “I know who you are and how you operate. I am not going to let that happen to my daughter!” shouts Blake at Michael Culhane after finding that Amanda has moved in with him. ”He’s an ex-convict, he’s a murderer!” yells Chase after reading in the gossip columns that Vicky is now dating Dan Fixx.

    Predictably enough, Soap Land’s children remain defiant. “Her name is Sammy Jo and she’s a beautiful decent woman,” Clay Fallmont informs his father. “Kolya and I will be together!” Bliss Colby tells hers. “He is good enough,” insists Amanda on DYNASTY. “There’s a reason for what he did,” argues Vicky on FALCON CREST.

    Their fathers’ cases stated, the focus switches to Soap Land’s mothers — can they do a better job of getting through to their lovestruck kids? The results are mixed. FALCON CREST’s Maggie proves surprisingly ineffectual when Vicky turns to her for support in the face of Chase’s disapproval of Dan. “I feel the same way about it,” she admits. Back in the DYNASTY-verse, whereas Sable’s instinct is to defend Jason (“When it comes to your happiness, he’ll do anything,” she assures Bliss), Alexis wins Amanda round by pretending to side with her against her father (“Unlike Blake, I don’t put conditions on your happiness”) even though she and Blake are, for once, on the same side.

    Things are even more topsy turvy in the Ewing-verse where once unassailable matriarchs are under fire from their sons. On KNOTS, Karen Mackenzie is the focus of Michael’s anger when Paige’s feelings towards him begin to cool. “My mother interferes with my life and treats me like a baby,” he complains. On DALLAS, Miss Ellie’s refusal to denounce Wes Parmalee as a fraud provokes threats of desertion from her boys. “I’d hate to see you and I come to a parting of the ways,” JR tells her, “but I will never let another man sit in Jock Ewing’s chair.” “I won’t leave under the same roof as that man, Mama,” echoes Bobby.

    The missing pieces in two characters’ back stories are filled in this week when Michael Culhane makes a full confession to Amanda on DYNASTY and Dan Fixx does the same thing to Vicky on FALCON CREST. “I’ve cheated people,” admits Michael, “I’ve used them. I was even using you at first … to get back at your father.” Dan, meanwhile, tearfully explains the real reason he killed that cop — because he was supplying Dan’s drug-addicted wife with narcotics in return for sexual favours. (“I found them in my bed. He went for his gun, I dove on him, the gun went off.”)

    No sooner are these characters’ histories are explained than fresh cracks appear in another newcomer’s back story. Over on KNOTS, Karen suspects Paige of forging a letter supposedly written by her mother to Mack twenty years earlier. “If Paige is lying about the letter, then what the hell else is she lying about?” ponders Mack as the screen cuts to a graveyard and, specifically, a shot panning down the names on Matheson family headstone. Right at the bottom lies the inscription: “Paige, 1967 - 1985.” Cue the end titles.

    If Paige isn’t really Paige then she’s in good company. There are so many impostors, frauds and characters leading double lives in Soap Land, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Aside from Peter Hollister claiming to be Greg’s brother on KNOTS, Wes Parmalee insisting he’s Jock Ewing on DALLAS and Kit Marlowe pretending to be Skylar Kimble on FALCON CREST, this week sees the unmasking of humble chauffeur Michael as a multi-millionaire on DYNASTY (“I have had you investigated … Why the lies?” demands Alexis) and trophy wife Sue Ellen as the mastermind behind Valentine Lingerie on DALLAS (“I created you,” she informs a stunned Mandy Winger). Meanwhile in the Tuscany Valley, you can’t move for fakes. While Richard Channing is too busy blackmailing Kit Marlowe over her deception to notice that his baby son’s sexy new nanny is really Erin Jones’s vengeful sister in disguise, his sister Emma is being conned twice over: firstly, by the psychic Karlotti who is pretending to channel her dead fiancee Dwayne and secondly, by a flirtatious magazine writer who is really one of the gangsters gunning for the aforementioned Kit. Even Val Gibson’s preppy personal secretary on KNOTS is under suspicion — Ben is convinced he’s really a spy planted by Jean Hackney but scares him off before we can get to the truth of the matter.

    The letter Anne wrote but never sent in 1967 might well be a forgery (“Something about it just seems wrong to me,” maintains Karen), but the mixed emotions it describes at the prospect of facing motherhood alone (“Today I’m crying for happiness because today I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl — our baby, Mack. But I’m also crying because you’re not here with me now”) chime almost exactly with those expressed by Donna Krebbs regarding her unborn child on this week’s DALLAS. (“There’s this new little person in there and I get very excited, and then I get real sad because Ray and I aren’t sharing it together.”)

    On this week’s episode of THE COLBYS, Miles gatecrashes Fallon and Jeff’s ski-lodge vacation, ostensibly to prevent them killing his baby: “They were talking about an abortion … Now they’re going skiing? Wouldn’t it be convenient if Fallon should accidentally fall, losing the baby?” Other Soap Land fathers-to-be are somewhat less protective, however. “I want you to have an abortion,” Clay tells Sammy Jo on DYNASTY. Over on FALCON CREST, Chase is incensed when he learns that Maggie has cancelled the paternity test because she has decided to keep the baby irrespective of who the biological father really is.

    After some soul-searching, Sammy Jo informs Clay that, “I love you but with or without you, I’m gonna have the baby.” “You never said how you felt about abortion, but I think I know a little bit about you,” says Jenna to Ray who is visibly relieved upon hearing that she too plans to keep her baby on DALLAS. Back on FC, Richard Channing equips Maggie with an emotive poem “written by a lady down in Los Angeles” which she then reads aloud to her family to explain why she has also decided against an abortion. (“Come to me, all my children that will never be …”) So it is that Jenna, Maggie, Sammy Jo and Fallon have all considered the option of abortion before electing to keep their babies. While each character’s decision has been based on her own storyline, taken cumulatively, the overall message one is left with as a Soap Land viewer with is that choosing to have an abortion simply isn’t something that a morally good person does. The fact that someone as ethically dubious as Richard supports Maggie in her decision to keep her baby while her own husband doesn’t merely serves as an indication of how far towards the dark side Chase has travelled.

    Redemption, meanwhile, is a recurring theme in this week’s DYNASTY. After returning to Denver to get revenge on Blake, Michael Culhane has now seen the light. “I love you and I could never do anything to hurt your father now,” he tells Amanda. Blake then appeals to bad brother Ben to mend his ways as well. “You’ve got intelligence and drive and ambition. Why don’t you put those wonderful qualities into something positive, something good and decent?” he suggests. Ben seems momentarily tempted, but then quickly pulls down the shutters. “You live your way and I’ll live mine,” he snaps.

    Elsewhere in the episode, Emily Fallmont’s need to confess her affair with Ben Carrington to her husband is driven by her religious beliefs: “If only God would forgive me, but I guess he hasn’t.” Nor is that the only religious reference in the Fallmont household this week. “In church one Sunday,” recalls Buck during a bitter argument with son Clay, “the minister was quoting proverbs … ‘A wise son maketh a glad father.’” He goes on to describe Clay as “a worthless son”. Shortly after this confrontation, Clay has a change of heart about Sammy Jo’s pregnancy and asks her to marry him. And of course, Sammy Jo herself is a prime example of a DYNASTY character trying to make amends for past mistakes. As Krystle reminds her, “You’ve gone through the pain and you’ve grown from it.”

    (It’s interesting to compare these various attempts to Do the Right Thing with the gradual, low-key erosion of Ben Gibson’s integrity on KNOTS LANDING. The mysterious wedges of cash Val finds in his pockets, his bedtime drinking, the abandoning of his cherished journalistic career in order to work for Greg Sumner … it’s all quietly, desperately heartrending — all the more so because there’s nobody he can turn to for help.)

    After Emily tells Buck about her fling with Ben twenty years earlier, it doesn’t take him long, in spite of his permanently drunken state, to figure out that Clay might not be his worthless son after all. Distraught, Emily decides to flee Denver. Dainty as she is, one would be hard pressed to find anything in common between Emily and Phil Harbert, the slob who kidnapped Karen at the end of last season’s KNOTS, yet each character meets a similar destiny. Both attempt to outrun their past mistakes by leaving town — only for fate, in the shape of an oncoming car, to intervene before they can make their escape.

    There are several departures from Soap Land this week. Like Emily Fallmont at the end of DYNASTY, Kolya Rostov appears to die in the final scene of THE COLBYS, having opted to throw himself off a hotel balcony rather than be forcibly returned to Russia. Sylvia Lean, meanwhile, abruptly disappears midway through this week’s KNOTS after Greg offers her the choice of “a condo in Hawaii, a penthouse in Singapore or a little grass shack in Tahiti.” At least DALLAS’s Mandy Winger and FALCON CREST’s Cole Gioberti each get to bid an on screen farewell before heading for a new life in Hollywood and Australia respectively.

    If one accepts that Soap Land is a place where women are defined by their relationships with men and that when it comes to the battle of the sexes, revenge rather than empowerment is as much victory as any female character can hope for, then Mandy’s goodbye scene, which takes place between her and Sue Ellen, is about as feminist as the genre gets. Albeit unintentionally, Mandy and Sue Ellen’s effect on each other’s lives has been almost wholly positive. Just as it was Mandy’s affair with JR that led to Sue Ellen’s transformation into a successful creative business woman so it is Sue Ellen who has turned Mandy into a star.

    Her plan to get Mandy out of Dallas having succeeded, Mandy acknowledges Sue Ellen as “the winner” — but is she? As Sue Ellen herself points out, “You would have been miserable with JR, in or out of marriage.” She also assures Mandy that “when you become a famous movie star, revenge will seem like such a little thing.” So, having been set free from the shackles of Soap Land and the treadmill of misery and revenge that a life with JR would surely entail, doesn’t that make Mandy the real winner? Fast forward twenty-seven years to JR’s memorial service and there’s a similar ambiguity. “You’re the lucky one, Sue Ellen,” concedes Mandy in 2013 while reminiscing fondly about the man they both loved. Meanwhile, her erstwhile rival is hungrily eyeing up the drinks tray.

    While Mandy’s departure is fascinating, Cole’s on FALCON CREST is more conventional as his immediate family line up to wish him bon voyage. However, the emphasis in the scene isn’t really on Cole, but on those he is leaving behind. The estrangement between Chase and Maggie is striking. Far from comforting each other as their only son sets sail to the other side of the world, they barely acknowledge each other’s existence. When Cole observes that “this family’s falling apart,” his mother does not contradict him. Instead, she sets him free from his soap opera existence (“Go, it’s OK”) just as Sue Ellen does Mandy from hers.

    The truth is that Cole’s been on the FC sidelines for some time. Much has been made on screen about Angela bringing Dan Fixx into the family fold as a replacement for Lance, but in terms of his role on the series, it’s really Cole’s position that Dan had usurped. Such is the haste with which Cole is written off the show that the fact that he is leaving without his son Joseph — the same son he has fought so hard to gain custody of in earlier seasons — is mentioned merely in passing. Meanwhile, Cole’s DYNASTY counterpart, Steven Carrington — another longstanding “good son” in danger of being overlooked by the series — gets his first independent storyline in ages when a pretty psychotherapist informs him his son Danny has become introverted and withdrawn, for much the same reasons that John Ross was on DALLAS a few years ago. Whether Christopher Atkins will once again show up in a pair of blue speedos to save the day remains to be seen.

    At the same time as depicting the Soviet government as tyrannical and corrupt, THE COLBYS is careful to portray its leading man, Jason Colby, as an example of the best the USA has to offer. He is described in this week’s ep as both “one of the most powerful men in the United States” and “a man of principle”. The suggestion is that in America at least, power and principles are not mutually exclusive. This week’s KNOTS offers a more jaundiced view of those in charge. “I know world leaders,” Greg tells Laura. “I do business with them, I’ve danced with their wives in DC. Believe me, they define the term mediocre.” We also glimpse, in a scene where Ben Gibson nostalgically surveys some of his past journalistic successes, an eyewitness report he filed from the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago during which thousands of Vietnam War protestors fought with police. It’s a fleeting reminder that the American way of life isn’t always as rose-coloured as the version served up by THE COLBYS.

    There’s more “bigger picture” stuff on DALLAS during a seemingly throwaway scene where Donna lobbies a couple of Washington bigwigs regarding a proposed tariff on imported oil. Their unsympathetic response puts the Texas oil industry, and the parochial world of DALLAS itself, into a wider national context that we have never seen before. “If the oil business is in trouble in this country, it’s getting its just desserts,” sniffs one politico. “While the oil people were riding high, you had nothing but thumbs down for anyone else in trouble,” adds another. However, it’s Donna, a mere woman in a man’s soap opera, who gets the final word: “I am talking about the life of the independent oil company. The majors will never die, but it’s people like you, with the shortsighted view that the Southwest is finally getting its comeuppance, that’s gonna cause us to lose it all — because I believe that without the independent oilman, America does not have an oil industry.” Personally, I’d far sooner listen to Susan Howard deliver this kind of fiery political speech than watch her fawn tearfully over a busload of Down’s Syndrome kids the way she did last season.

    Donna’s impressive performance in Washington and Sue Ellen and Mandy’s newfound mutual respect are not the only positive representations of women in this week’s DALLAS. Throughout the episode, female characters repeatedly challenge and/or exceed men’s expectations of them. Shortly after JR dismisses the notion of women in business as “a flock of hens who can barely carry a briefcase”, Sue Ellen reveals that she is the brains behind Valentine Lingerie. Cliff likewise mocks Pam’s complaint about her lack of involvement at Barnes-Wentworth (“Where do you get all that stuff — have you been reading those women’s lib mags?”) before being stunned into silence by a coolly delivered ultimatum: if he doesn’t turn 25% of the business over to Pam, then she’ll withdraw all her financing from the company. Cliff also sneers at estranged wife Jamie when she tries to hand him the solution to his offshore drilling problems: “I don’t want any advice from the oil business, especially from a female, more especially from you.” There’s more sexist behaviour at Southfork. “Have you discussed this with your wives — or don’t they have any say in this?” challenges Miss Ellie when JR and Bobby issue their threats to leave the ranch. While Pam insists that “Bobby respects a woman who does things on her own”, Donna refuses to live her life to suit Ray: “With a husband and wife, if you have to compromise who you are, you become a very empty person.” Even in the most adversarial of female rivalries, the DALLAS women refuse to lower themselves to the usual Soap Land level of tit-for-tat bitchiness. “I can’t hate Pam. She must love him very, very much,” concedes Jenna graciously, echoing Sue Ellen’s line to Mandy, “I never hated you and I never meant to hurt you.” Instead, Jenna’s focus is on becoming emotionally and financially independent of the man who betrayed her. “I’m angry all right,” she tells Bobby. “I’m also going to sell the boutique that you gave me and I’m also gonna hand you the cheque.”

    Those who assert that this season of DALLAS, as opposed to the one before it, is where the female characters got a raw deal could do worse than checking out this episode again.

    And this week’s Top 5 are ….

    1 (4) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (2) DYNASTY
    4 (3) THE COLBYS
    5 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    10 Dec 86: DYNASTY: The Letter v. 11 Dec 86: THE COLBYS: Sanctuary v. 11 Dec 86: KNOTS LANDING: Gifts v. 12 Dec 86: DALLAS: Bar-B-Cued v. 12 Dec 86: FALCON CREST: Hot Spots

    Soap Land’s mid-season exodus continues. Following last week’s departures of Sylvia Lean, Mandy Winger and Cole Gioberti, this week sees the exits of Emily Fallmont (who survives her collision with that taxi cab long enough to make it through the opening scene of this week’s DYNASTY before expiring discreetly off screen), Caress Morelle, Anna Rostov, Wes Parmalee, and Jack and Jamie Ewing.

    While his mother is busy dying at Soap Land Memorial Hospital, Clay Fallmont is busy marrying Sammy Jo in “a room service wedding” in Las Vegas. After Lance and Melissa on FALCON CREST and Miles and Channing on THE COLBYS, this is the third elopement of the season. The tackiness of such nuptials is often played for laughs in Soap Land, most overtly by Karen and Mack on KNOTS who succumbed to a fit of the giggles during their Vegas ceremony a few years back, but this time there’s an unspoken poignancy about the anonymity of the proceedings (“If I can have your first names, I’d be happy to decorate the cake with them?” offers the bellhop). It’s as if this marriage was somehow doomed from the start.

    It’s not until the next morning that Clay learns that his mother is dead. He rushes home to be with his father, but it’s too late. By absenting himself from his mother’s deathbed, however unintentionally, Clay has committed the same cardinal Soap Land sin as Sue Ellen when Bobby died and Cliff Barnes when his mother expired. “You’re never around when you’re needed,” snapped JR at Sue Ellen after his brother’s death. “You never were around when you were needed,” snipes Buck at Clay now. Then into the Fallmont living room walks Sammy Jo, and of all a sudden we’re watching a variation on another familiar Soap Land storyline: the son and heir bringing home a surprise bride to meet his dismayed family. Buck combines these two scenarios with his exit line, which echoes JR’s dismissal of Sue Ellen after Bobby’s funeral: “You don’t exist”. “You’re nothing,” Buck informs Clay, “and now you’re married to nothing.”

    Although not the most multi-layered of Soap Land characters, one can’t help but feel sorry for Clay in light of his father’s repeated rejection of him — even more so when one compares their relationship to the one Clay’s mountain-climbing counterpart on FALCON CREST, Eric Stavros, enjoys with his father. Whereas Buck blames Clay for events over which he has no control, Peter Stavros strongly defends his son against Angela’s suggestion that Eric is the one framing her for the toxic waste dumping at Tuscany Downs. However, the most poignant father/son exchange of the week occurs on DALLAS when Wes Parmalee shows up at Southfork demanding to see Miss Ellie. “You know, at first I prayed that you were Jock, but now, even if you are, I don’t think I care anymore,” Ray tells him. “You’re a good man, Ray. Any man would be proud to have you as a son,” Wes replies before going inside the house to tell Ellie that he isn’t Jock after all.

    Just as DYNASTY recalls DALLAS in the aftermath of Emily’s death, this week’s DALLAS also mirrors events from DYNASTY’s past. In the same way that Blake once travelled to Singapore to quiz a doctor about Ben Reynolds, a patient upon whom he had performed extensive plastic surgery, so Bobby flies to South America to ask another doctor about another patient, Wes Parmalee, whose face has been similarly reconstructed. Whereas Blake desperately hoped Ben would turn out to be his son Steven, Bobby is equally anxious for evidence that will prove Wes is not his father Jock. However, luck doesn’t seem to be on Bobby’s side. “He had lost all memory of everything,” recalls the doctor, “and then one morning, I walked into his room. He looked at me. He had tears in his eyes. ‘It came back to me last night,’ he said. ‘I remember who I am. I’m Jock Ewing.’”

    Mandy Winger and Sue Ellen parted on surprisingly good terms on last week’s DALLAS. So do Caress Morelle and Alexis on this week’s DYNASTY. Alexis even tries to persuade her sister not to go: “Cassie, how can you leave? We’ve just started having a relationship like real sisters.” Caress explains that she’s afraid of what Ben will do to her if she stays. “Don’t ever turn your back on him,” she warns before heading off to make a new life in Australia — the same place Cole Gioberti was bound for on last week’s FALCON CREST. Cole may have got a week’s head start, but as Caress is flying and he’s sailing, my money’s on her to arrive first.

    Over on DALLAS, Cliff Barnes takes his soon-to-be-ex-wife Jamie out for lunch, with the aim of achieving a similarly cordial farewell to Caress and Alexis’s — and thus dissolving their marriage without paying out a hefty divorce settlement. However, he hasn’t bargained on Jamie billing him for solving his offshore oil problem to the tune of $2,000,000. “Do you know what you’re doing to me?!” he asks angrily. “Oh yes,” she replies with relish. “I’m doing exactly what you haven’t done to me since just after we got married.” Back in the day, this line actually made me gasp in shock. As far as I was concerned, this was the raciest thing anyone in Soap Land had said since Alexis’s quip to Mark Jennings three years earlier: ”I paid you $100,000 to keep your mouth shut. For a tennis bum, that'll buy a lot of balls — and believe me, you're going to need them!”

    Before they leave DALLAS, Jamie and her brother Jack have one last twist up their sleeves. In order to prevent his ex-wife April getting her hands on fifty percent of his Ewing Oil shares, Jack sells them to Jamie — for a dollar. Jack presenting April with her half of the proceeds — fifty cents — and her throwing it back in his face makes for a really fun exit scene.

    Surprisingly, the saddest onscreen farewell (given that we’re privy to neither Emily Fallmont’s death nor Wes Parmalee’s final words to Miss Ellie) belongs to the most minor departing character, THE COLBYS’ Anna Rostov. Surrounded by assorted Russian and American officials, a team of cops and various members of the Colby clan, she tearfully breaks the news to her brother Kolya, who has chosen to seek political asylum in the States, that she is returning to Russia without him. The ambiguity over whether or not her decision has been coerced makes the situation all the more devastating, and those two Russian kids act the hell out of it.

    “Where’s your heart?” appeals Jason Colby to Sasha Malenkov, who seems determined to take at least one of the Rostov siblings back to Russia whether they like it or not. ”I listen to my head, Mr Colby,” Sasha replies coolly, “not my heart, just as you do. I am a servant to one ideology, you to another. We do what we have to do, what we believe is right.”

    The ongoing real world tensions between the Soviet Union and America also manifest themselves, briefly, on DALLAS during a news report about a group of mercenaries attacking a major Saudi Arabian oil field. “Syria is blaming the Iraqis who are blaming the Iranians,” says the announcer. “Different factions of the PLO are blaming each other while a spokesman for the Soviet news agency issued a strong statement blaming America.” Bobby’s secretary Phyllis wonders if maybe the Russians are right: “That’d be one way of getting oil prices to rise.” “Americans would never stoop to violence like that,” snaps JR patriotically. In this instance, of course, an American has stooped to violence like that — JR himself. Whereas the Americans on THE COLBYS, as represented by leading man Jason, are fair-minded and pure of heart in comparison to the paranoid fundamentalist Russkies, the Americans on DALLAS, as represented by leading man JR, are hypocritical and dangerous, while the Soviets we hear about are bang on the money.

    With so many cast members leaving Soap Land — nine over the past two weeks — there's room for a few new faces. This week sees the introduction of two tertiary characters, both defined by their governmental job titles, Senator Andrew Dowling on DALLAS and EPA Project Director Gwen Fuller on FALCON CREST. While Senator Dowling’s function is to debate the proposed tariff on imported oil with Donna Krebbs, Project Director Fuller’s is to investigate the toxic contamination of Chase’s vineyards. Between Donna and Andrew, and Chase and Gwen is forged an immediate bond of professional respect and courtesy (in sharp contrast to the messy, resentful state of both Chase and Donna’s marriages). In each case, there is just the tiniest suggestion of the professional and personal becoming blurred — Andrew’s polite enquiry about Donna’s pregnancy elicits the information that she and Ray are separated, while Gwen unintentionally overhears a conversation which establishes Chase and Maggie as similarly estranged. Small moments both, but each is significant enough for the dedicated Soap Land watcher to foresee further complications in both the Krebbs and Gioberti marriages.

    There is a younger, slightly less formal variation on this character type on DYNASTY. Like Gwen Fuller, Danny’s pre-school teacher-cum-psychologist Clare Prentice is somewhat prettier than she needs to be and this week finds herself in the middle of an argument between Steven and Sammy Jo, aka the new Mrs Clay Fallmont, who renews her threat to sue for custody of their son. In stark contrast to other recent Soap Land newcomers, these characters slip into their respective shows with no fanfare and little emotional baggage. Not for them the convoluted back stories of Dan Fixx (crippled mother, drug-addicted wife, rap sheet for murder), Channing Carter (a mother she saw die in childbirth, the uncle who may have abused her, a teenage rape and abortion) or Paige Matheson (who might not even be Paige Matheson). The only personal information we’ve been given about Andrew Dowling and Clare Prentice, for instance, is that he is a widower and she is new to Denver.

    Two weeks after Mack Mackenzie received a posthumous letter written (supposedly) by Paige’s mother Anne in 1967, Blake Carrington receives an equally posthumous letter from Emily Fallmont written shortly before her death but dealing with events that also took place in the mid-sixties. “I was the one [in bed] with Ben Carrington the day your mother died,” she admits. It’s enough of a confession to clear Blake of any wrongdoing in his mother’s death and prove Ben and Alexis guilty of perjury — but can he bring himself to go public with it and smear Emily’s reputation? No, he decides: “She was a warm and wonderful woman and that’s how people should remember her, including her sons.” But by the end of the episode, having learned of Alexis’s latest scheme to destroy him, he has changed his mind. “I’m going to use it,” he decides. “I’ll get them. I’ll get the whole pack of them!” Richard Channing also opens a dramatically significant letter on this week's FALCON CREST, but this one is anonymous. “You won’t get away with this, Channing,” it reads, referring to the disappearance of Erin Jones. What Richard doesn’t know, but we do, is that the letter was sent by his son’s live-in nanny, aka Erin’s sister Meredith.

    There is no shortage of significant phone calls in this week’s Soap Land either. Hoping to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Paige, KNOTS LANDING’s Karen calls the home of her maternal grandparents, the Winstons. They’re not home so she leaves a message. When Mr Winston later returns her call, it is Paige who answers. Once she realises who it is, she hangs up and pretends to Karen and Mack that it was a wrong number. Later, when Karen admits she has made contact with the Winstons, Paige pretends she did speak to her grandfather and that he was abusive to her. “They’ve always hated me,” she sobs. “Oh God, if only you knew!”

    There’s more deception-by-phone on THE COLBYS when Channing finds herself stranded in a snowed-in ski lodge with Fallon — the woman who is carrying her husband’s baby. Earlier in the episode, we heard her repeat almost exactly Pam Ewing’s recent words regarding Jenna’s pregnancy on DALLAS: “I wish to God that baby didn’t exist!” Now Fallon is sick, meaning that that baby’s life is possibly in Carter’s hands. She calls a local doctor for help, but after dialling the number, suddenly realises that Fallon suffering a miscarriage could be the solution to her problems. The doctor picks up the call, but Channing pretends she can’t hear him. “The phone’s completely dead,” she tells Fallon. It’s really fun watching her later relay this version of events after Frankie arrives on the scene, only for the phone to abruptly start ringing. “I thought you said the phone was dead,” says Frankie, glaring at her with suspicion.

    Meanwhile on FALCON CREST, Maggie, newly separated but equally pregnant, is home alone one evening when she feels her baby kick for the first time. Her first instinct is to call Chase to tell him the news. His phone rings as he’s on his way out of the office. “The work day is over. Let the service take care of it,” he decides. So Maggie calls Richard instead. “I needed a friend,” she explains. “I just happen to be one,” he replies and it feels like a turning point in their relationship. (Admittedly, most every other scene between Maggie and Richard so far this season has felt like some kind of a turning point, as circumstances conspire to bring them slowly but steadily together. In that regard, they’re the anti-Ray and Donna, who seem to be travelling inexorably further apart with every scene.)

    Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan starred together in the 1954 movie The Cattle Queen of Montana and on this week’s Soap Land they’re sort of co-stars again, albeit off screen. We are asked to imagine that each is on the invisible end of a phone call — one on THE COLBYS, the other on DALLAS. Monica Colby calls her Aunt Constance (Stanwyck), who is still on her never-ending vacation (“They told me you and Hutch flew to Agra to see the Taj Mahal”), to ask her a life-changing question: “I need the answer if I’m ever going to get on with my life. Promise me you’ll tell the truth. Connie, is Scott Cassidy mine? Is he my baby?” Meanwhile, Donna Krebbs’ first meeting with Senator Dowling is cut short when he receives a call from none other than “Mr President” himself (Reagan) — one of the world leaders who “define the word mediocre," as described by Greg Sumner in last week’s KNOTS.

    It’s nearly Christmas, but KNOTS LANDING is the only show to directly embrace that fact with Lilimae wrapping presents, Greg carrying off the indignity of a Santa suit with aplomb and even a festive flashback to ’67 featuring Young Mack and Young Greg. THE COLBYS gets into the festive spirit indirectly with its snowy ski-lodge scenes while the Ewings of DALLAS throw their equivalent of the Lotus Point Christmas Party, i.e., the annual Southfork barbecue. It’s something of a back-to-basics affair this year — JR takes exception to Pam inviting a member of the Barnes clan just as Jock did in the original “Barbecue”, and he and Cliff subsequently get into a verbal spat just like their daddies did. However, Pam slaps JR before he can get any ideas about pushing her out of a hayloft. Other party memories are evoked when Bobby arrives home from South America by helicopter the way Jock conspicuously didn’t in “Barbecue Two” five years earlier. Just as that was the episode that officially killed off Jock, so this is the one that eradicates his ghost/impostor from our screens as Bobby announces Wes Parmalee’s real identity as Wyatt Haynes, another passenger aboard the same chopper as Jock when it crashed.

    The truth, or at least some variation of it, catches up with three of Soap Land’s impostors at the end of their respective episodes. In the penultimate scene of KNOTS, Karen finally speaks to Russell Winston over the phone and explains that Paige is living in her house. “You’re a sick person, Mrs Mackenzie,” he replies coldly. “Paige is dead, my granddaughter is dead!” Meanwhile on DALLAS, Wes Parmalee pulls a disappearing trick before Bobby gets the chance to unmask him, leaving Clayton to vow revenge: “Maybe not today, but one day he’s gonna pay for what he did to my family!” Over on FALCON CREST, the fake Skylar Kimble opens her hotel room door to find the fake magazine writer standing there with a gun. “Kit Marlowe is your real name, isn’t it?” he asks. “You’re gonna kill me, aren’t you?” she assumes, not unreasonably.

    Joining Sammy Jo, Fallon, Donna and Jenna in Pregnancy Corner this week is KNOTS LANDING’s Laura Avery. Her announcement of the happy news to husband Greg is met with a long silence followed by a muttered, “Not a good idea.” It’s as crushing a response as Clay Fallmont telling Sammy Jo to have an abortion on last week’s DYNASTY. Clay is singing from a different hymn sheet this week though. “Thank God you’re gonna have our baby,” he tells his new wife. “I’m gonna be a real father to it.”

    In the same way that borrowing another Ewing’s car invariably leads to disaster on DALLAS (Bobby was kidnapped while driving JR’s Mercedes in Season 1, Sue Ellen was hit by Walt Driscoll while doing the same thing in Season 5 and no good will come of Pam borrowing Bobby’s car at the end of this season) so the gifting of a car at Christmastime is similarly cursed on KNOTS LANDING. Who amongst us can recall the Christmas morning when Laura’s husband and boss each presented her with an automobile without our cringe glands throbbing? Even worse comes to pass in this ep after Gary and Abby give Olivia a car as a reward for passing her driving test. With Lilimae in the passenger seat, a giddy Olivia swerves into the path of another car. One can only hope it’s not the same unfortunate cab driver that Emily Fallmont ran out in front of at the end of last week’s DYNASTY.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (4) THE COLBYS
    3 (2) DALLAS
    4 (3) DYNASTY
    5 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    17 Dec 86: DYNASTY: The Ball v. 18 Dec 86: THE COLBYS: Reaching Out v. 18 Dec 86: KNOTS LANDING: Truth Will Out v. 19 Dec 86: DALLAS: The Fire Next Time v. 19 Dec 86: FALCON CREST: False Point

    “Her story is so far-fetched, it could almost be true!” Gender pronouns aside, this line could apply to almost any of this season’s supporting players. Gone are the days when all a Soap Land newcomer needed to make their entrance was to be a greedy sister-in-law or a vengeful ex-husband (Jack Ewing’s greedy ex-wife April being the exception that proves the rule). The original premise of each of the big four soaps having been thoroughly mined for dramatic potential, it now falls to the incoming characters to bring with them story-lines of their own that are sufficiently bizarre and complicated for the been-there-done-that regulars to react to.

    In this particular instance, the story so far-fetched, it could almost be true belongs to KNOTS LANDING’s Paige. It is the tale of how she escaped life with her evil grandparents by faking her own death in a car crash. The circumstances have much in common with those that allowed Wes Parmalee and Kit Marlowe to similarly reinvent themselves — in each case, there was a fiery accident, and a victim who either disappeared or was burnt beyond recognition and whose identity Paige/Wes/Kit then assumed.

    So far, so familiar — but things get more complicated when the perennially suspicious Karen digs a little further and discovers that Paige Matheson “died in a freak boating accident off the coast of France in the Mediterranean.” So, in a sense, Paige has died twice. A unique occurrence in the average Soap Land week, one might think. However, this is the Post-Dream season, where all bets regarding life and death are off and no newcomer’s story can be too tortuously convoluted. So it is that on FALCON CREST, Kit Marlowe is also about to fake her own death for the second time so that she can enter the Witness Security Programme.

    While Mack Mackenzie and Ellie Farlow are inclined to give Paige and Wes Parmalee the benefit of the doubt over their deceptions, their respective spouses are in a less forgiving mood. “The man claimed he was your husband and he wasn’t. The whole thing’s outrageous!” exclaims Clayton on DALLAS. “Mack, ordinary normal young women don’t solve their problems by pretending they’re dead, certainly not dead two or three different ways … That’s the most angry, hurtful thing anyone can do to her family!” argues Karen on KNOTS. “Yes, but there were reasons,” insists Miss Ellie. “I’m just saying we may not have all the reasons,” echoes Mack. However, all Clayton and Karen are interested in is the bottom line. “I don’t care about his reasons,” snaps Clayton. “The man tried to destroy my family and almost got away with it and I don’t see how you can still take his part.” “Either she is Paige and Paige is a pathological liar or she’s an impostor,” maintains Karen. “In either case, she’s a liar.” While Clayton storms off in search of Parmalee (who seems to have vanished into thin air just as Krystle’s impostor did last season), Karen urges Mack to call the Winstons to let them know their granddaughter is alive.

    This leads to one of three episode-ending phone calls in this week’s Soap Land. During all three calls, it is suggested that someone previously assumed to be either dead or alive isn’t. In each case, this is bad news. THE COLBYS’ Jason, who has spent much of the preceding hour trying to track down his sister in India, receives a call telling him, “Connie and Hutch chartered a small plane … There’s not been a sign of them … They just disappeared.” “Anne is alive?!” asks Mack incredulously, having plucked up the courage to call Anne’s father to explain that Paige is, to borrow a phrase from the CIA’s Leo Daltry on DALLAS, “not as dead as we all thought (s)he was.” Agent Daltry is referring to BD Calhoun, previously assumed to have been killed in the botched attack on the Saudi Arabian oil fields. At the end of this week’s DALLAS, Calhoun calls JR himself to confirm Daltry’s prognosis — and issue a threat to JR, whom he blames for the deaths of his men: “Do you ever read the Bible, JR? … Deuteronomy 19, verse 21. ‘Life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ We’re gonna make your punishment fit your crime.” JR looks scared. Meanwhile, Richard Channing is also unnerved by a phone call he receives on this week’s FALCON CREST, this time from Erin Jones. Here again, all is not what it seems — Erin’s perky sounding message on the answering machine has actually been spliced together from various recordings by her ever-resourceful sister Meredith as part of a ruse to discover Erin’s whereabouts.

    Arguably even more unlikely than BD Calhoun quoting from Deuteronomy is Alexis Colby paraphrasing Gertrude Stein. “‘A trailer is a trailer, but you are you are you,’” she coos at Dex on DYNASTY. But perhaps the week’s most unusual reference to the real world is Donna Krebbs and Senator Andrew Dowling discussing the pros and cons of US intervention in Nicaragua. “You’re just like all the other conservatives,” Andrew concludes. “You scream ‘communist takeover’ even before the ballots are out.” This is one of those DALLAS conversations that one can’t imagine taking place any earlier in the series — it belongs strictly to the Post Dream era. That Dowling and Donna are now comfortable enough to freely debate their differences is evidence they are already on more familiar terms than they were during last week’s ep. They’re not moving nearly so fast as Gwen Fuller and Chase Gioberti on FALCON CREST, however. “If I was your wife, I’d fight like hell to keep you,” purrs Gwen before inviting Chase back to her hotel and kissing him. While he doesn’t fully reciprocate, he doesn’t exactly push her away either.

    The focus of this week’s DYNASTY is Alexis’s Black and White Ball held at the former Carrington mansion. Meanwhile, the Ewing barbecue is in full swing at the start of this week’s DALLAS. Needless to say, the two parties have a very different atmosphere. While her guests are decked out in monochrome, Alexis makes her grand entrance in a bright red ballgown. Over at Southfork, the dress code is strictly down-home. Instead of ballgowns and tuxedos, there are Stetsons and cowboy boots — and that’s just the women.

    Still, both shows use their parties as dramatic backdrops in very similar ways. At the end of last week’s DALLAS, Bobby brought the storyline that has dominated the first ten episodes of this season to a close when he announced at the barbecue that Wes Parmalee was not Jock Ewing, but a man named Wyatt Haynes. At the end of this week’s DYNASTY, Blake likewise interrupts the ball to bring Alexis’s eleven episode reign as mistress of the mansion to an end. Having amassed sufficient proof that she and Ben lied about his mother’s death in court, he vows to expose their perjury unless Alexis signs his company and his house back to him. A similar turning-of-the-tables takes place on FALCON CREST where Lance is about to take over the New Globe. At the last minute, Richard produces an eyewitness to several of the crimes Lance committed over the years. “You wait till the authorities find out about this — which they will unless you sell your stock and stop your takeover bid,” he tells Lance who, like Alexis, has no choice but to comply.

    Elsewhere on DYNASTY, Blake accuses Alexis of exploiting Amanda’s relationship with Michael Culhane for her own devious ends: “You’re dealing with a man who’s destroying your daughter’s life!” Over on THE COLBYS, Sable’s motives in trying to reunite her daughter Monica with the son she gave up for adoption appear to be selfless — until we learn that she too has an agenda, to worm her way back in her husband’s good graces: “One way or another, I’m going to give Jason Colby his grandson … and no one is going to stop me!” Alas for Abby on KNOTS, there’s simply no way for her to capitalise on her daughter’s current predicament — it appears Olivia is hooked on cocaine. While Abby is able to put her experience as a soap vixen to good use — she snoops and she follows until she is able to confirm that Olivia is buying drugs — her plotting is not accompanied by her customary malicious glee. This is a whole new ballgame for Abby.

    Still reeling from the discovery that her biological child is being raised by Cash and Adrienne Cassidy, Monica Colby has a baby-related nightmare spookily similar to the one experienced by Val Ewing almost exactly two years earlier. Then, familiar faces from Val’s life (her doctor, mother, brother, ex-husband and current boyfriend) appeared at her bedside dressed in hospital scrubs to take her newborn twins away from her. Here, it’s Cash and Adrienne, also dressed in surgical scrubs, who approach her as she lies in a hospital bed asking to see her baby. “You don’t have a baby. You’ve never had a baby,” they tell her. Her pleas for her child (“You’ve taken my son!”) fall on deaf ears just as Val’s for her twins did and she wakes up screaming.

    It’s another busy week in Pregnancy Corner. When Sammy Jo’s doctor tells that her pregnancy is all in her imagination, she refuses point blank to believe it. (Her denial chimes with that of KNOTS LANDING’s Olivia who continues to angrily refute accusations of drug use even after she is caught red-handed.)

    Meanwhile, two middle-aged mothers-to-be, both separated from their husbands, are each hit by a moment of sad realisation. On DALLAS, Donna Krebbs is distracted during a political soiree in Washington by thoughts of home. (“It’s the Ewing barbecue — first time in six years that I haven’t been there.”) Over on FALCON CREST, Maggie Gioberti is overcome by loneliness when she finds herself in her obstetrician’s waiting room surrounded by happy young expectant couples.

    Upon her return to Dallas, Donna solemnly asks Ray for a divorce. (After so many beautifully poignant exchanges between them on either side of the dream season, this scene feels strangely anti-climactic — but then maybe that’s exactly how the end of a marriage is supposed to feel.) Meanwhile, Maggie goes to visit Chase, only to find him in an embrace with Gwen Fuller. She drives away before she can be seen but subsequently collapses. Unlike Fallon, whose medical emergency in last week’s COLBYS turned out to be a false alarm, Maggie’s situation is deemed serious enough for her to be wheeled into the operating room. In spite of her resentment towards him, she calls out for Chase, proving Jenna Wade’s observation in this week’s DALLAS to be true: “Emotions aren’t like faucets, Donna. You can’t turn them on and off.” (That’s kind of a terrible line, but for some reason, it’s always stayed with me.)

    Over on KNOTS, Greg and Laura arrive late to the same debate that has featured on each of the other shows in recent weeks. “We have to be responsible for this accident,” Greg tells Laura, referring to her pregnancy. “So what do you want me to do — you want me to have an abortion?” she snaps. “I’m not so sure the world is ready for another Greg Sumner,” he replies.

    “I hate you and I love your daughter,” Michael informs Blake on DYNASTY — a position the young Mack Mackenzie would surely sympathise with. As this week’s KNOTS flashbacks illustrate, Soap Land fathers were even more disapproving in 1967 than they are in 1986. When Mack asks Anne’s father for her hand in marriage, he simply ignores him. (This scene takes place in the grounds of the Winston residence, which is now the Agretti house on FALCON CREST — the very house Melissa almost throws Lance out of this week, until he kisses her hard on the mouth and she changes her mind.)

    After stumbling on the truth about Jill Bennett — that her real name is Dorothy Simpkins and Peter Hollister is her brother — Gary Ewing turns to Mack for advice: “I want to know what to do when someone has been dishonest about who they are.” “If it’s someone that you love,” Mack replies, clearly thinking about Paige, “maybe you need to give them a chance.” Let's hope Tony Cumson is taking notes — he’s fallen for Skylar Kimble not realising she’s really Kit Marlowe or that she’s about to fake her own suicide.

    If Mack and Gary’s conversation seems unusually intimate — I mean, these two guys are pally but they’re not best buds like Mack and Ben are — then it’s the not the only male friendship in Soap Land that has been intensified for storyline convenience. “You’re one of the few people in the world that Blake really trusts,” Alexis tells Dex, forgetting that up until a few months ago, the two men hated each other.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (3) DALLAS
    3 (2) THE COLBYS
    4 (4) DYNASTY
    5 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
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  6. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    31 Dec 86: DYNASTY: Fear v. 01 Jan 87: THE COLBYS: Power Plays v. 01 Jan 87: KNOTS LANDING: The Unraveling v. 02 Jan 87: DALLAS: So Shall Ye Reap v. 02 Jan 87: FALCON CREST: Missed Connections

    “Alexis, I have never seen you this frightened before,” observes Dex on DYNASTY. “Your lies frighten me. You frighten me,” admits Abby to her daughter on KNOTS LANDING. “Don’t sound so nervous, JR,” chides BD Calhoun on DALLAS. “I think she’s lonely,” says Dan Fixx of Angela on FALCON CREST.

    Alexis, Abby, JR and Angela — each of these tough guys is unusually vulnerable this week and each, in a different way, is dealing with an enemy within. For Alexis, it’s Ben Carrington. When she tries to sever their business partnership, he threatens, in a juicily noir-ish scene, to send both of them to jail. “No more talk about getting rid of me ever,” he tells her. For Angela, it’s her grandson Lance whom she believes (wrongly) to be the person who framed her for the toxic waste dumping. This is one of those FALCON CREST plot points that might just as easily be glossed over, or even played for laughs. Instead, the episode chooses to explore Angela’s more emotional side as she weeps in Dan’s arms. Abby’s enemy within is her daughter Olivia who continues to beg, borrow and steal to feed her coke habit. While Olivia herself is presented less as a character than a case study, acting out a checklist of various behaviours associated with the stereotypical addict, Abby becomes the figure we identify with — out of her depth and grappling for a way to cope. By the end of the episode, she’s adopted the old adage, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. “I’m gonna lock you in — with me,” she informs her daughter. By contrast, JR Ewing and his opponent, BD Calhoun, don’t even meet this week. Instead, BD demonstrates how easily that he can infiltrate JR’s ivory tower, first by leaving a dead body in his office, then by bugging the place and finally introducing himself to Sue Ellen at the Oil Baron’s Club as an old friend of her husband’s.

    As DYNASTY brings to a close Alexis’s reign at the mansion and DALLAS mops up the remains of the Wes Parmalee mystery, each of this week’s instalments could be described as a transition episode. Just as JR drew a line under the past last week by informing his long-term banker Franklin Horner, who had sought to take advantage of the Ewing boys’ recent problems, that his services would no longer be required, Alexis does the same this week to prize reporter Gordon Wales after he asks one too many questions about her decision to return Denver Carrington to Blake. JR’s relationship with another long-term recurring character also comes under pressure when he instructs his trusted dogsbody Harry McSween to dispose of the corpse sitting in his office. For the first time ever, Harry questions JR’s orders: “I don’t see how I can cover this one up. The man was murdered.” “Harry, I made you a rich man,” JR reminds him, “but I also have enough information on you to ruin your career …” Harry has no choice but to submit, but it’s a nice reminder that no Soap Land relationship can ever be taken for granted.

    Amidst all the comings and comings in these transition eps, we are given our first look at two sets that will become long-term fixtures of their respective shows: Alexis’s suite at the Carlton Hotel and April Stevens’ condominium in downtown Dallas. Meanwhile, as Blake and Krystle move back to the Carrington mansion, Donna Krebbs leaves Southfork. Donna’s departure makes for a touching scene, especially when one realises with hindsight that this is the beginning of her permanent exit from the show. “I have to do it for Ray,” she explains to Miss Ellie. “My being here makes it impossible for him to even visit. You’re his family, not mine.” Her reasoning combines logic and poignancy in a way that is rare on Soap Land. After all, this is a genre where husbands often continue to live under the same roof as their ex-wives even after they’ve married other women. In spite of Miss Ellie insisting “this isn’t goodbye” and “please don’t think you’re not a part of this family”, and Donna replying that “I really care about all of you very much”, the sad truth is (if I remember correctly) that Donna won’t set foot on the ranch again. In fact, I don’t think Susan Howard and Barbara Bel Geddes ever appear on screen together after this scene. The mawkish dream season aside, these two always made a great combination.

    As DYNASTY regroups, it takes the opportunity to relive some of its past glories: there’s a silly but fun catfight between Alexis and Dominique (which serves as a housewarming of sorts for the former’s new abode), Blake and Krystle celebrating their return to the mansion by reprising one of their patented fireplace love scenes, and even a flashback to Alexis getting slung into jail at the end of Season 4. However, the episode ends on an exciting new alliance as Alexis and Adam team up against Ben. Alexis orders her son to Australia to find out what secrets Ben might be hiding. “It’s a matter of life and death,” she tells him.

    This phrase is repeated by Jeff Colby the following night. “We’re trying to respect your traditions here, but please, this is a matter of life and death,” he says to a monk in a Nepalese monastery where he and Miles are trying to unravel the mystery of Connie’s disappearance. Not since Chase Gioberti went hunting in Chinatown for the eyewitness to Carlo Agretti’s murder has Soap Land strayed so far into another culture.

    In a DYNASTY-verse week packed with enjoyable girl-on-girl confrontation scenes — Alexis v Krystle, Alexis v Dominique, Sable v Frankie, Sable v Monica, Adrienne v Monica, Fallon v Channing — the pick of the bunch is a restaurant encounter between Sable and Adrienne where the former calmly asks the latter to hand her over son. “We want him back, to raise as a Colby with all the advantages that that implies … Just think what we could do for him.” Up until this point, Adrienne has consistently been depicted as the neurotic, clinging obstacle to Monica and Cash’s happiness. Now in front of our eyes, mid-scene, there is a shift. She is now the sympathetic, relatable one. When she tells Sable, “You’re amazing … and more than a little crazy,” it’s hard to disagree.

    Two tabloid articles provoke threats of libel action in this week’s DYNASTY-verse. While the Denver Mirror prints an amusing item about “the vastly overrated Dominique Devereaux, who was never more than a glorified saloon singer,” the American Informer publishes an article implying that Jason Colby is “not above selling out his country if the price is right.” While everyone already knows that the Mirror is a mouthpiece for Alexis, it takes a little digging before Jason discovers that the Informer is secretly owned by Channing’s uncle Lucas Carter. While Dominique confronts Alexis (“The truth? I hope you say that when I sue you in court for libel”), Jason faces down Lucas’s lawyer, the delightfully unsavoury Sam Erskin. “I’m filing a twenty million dollar libel suit against Lucas and his sleazy scandal sheet,” he informs him.

    Soap Land’s latest batch of blondes, meanwhile, are serving themselves up on a platter. Babysitter Claire Prescott’s response to Steven Carrington arriving home drunk on DYNASTY is to put him to bed and then slip under the covers alongside him. KNOTS LANDING’s Paige gains access to Peter Hollister’s apartment while he’s at work (“Your building supervisor likes blondes”) in order to surprise him with a home-cooked seven-course Italian meal. “This could take all night,” he says. “So could dinner,” she coos, plonking herself down on his lap. And while DALLAS’s April Stevens doesn’t bat an eyelid when Jeremy Wendell suggests she sleep with JR in order to get information on him, FALCON CREST’s fitness instructor Dina takes advantage of Melissa’s infidelity to get Lance into bed.

    It’s also a big week for some of Soap Land’s prepubescent males. Five-year-old Christopher Ewing has his first on-screen argument with his mom when Pam refuses to let him go on a field trip to Fort Worth. “Do you know how many bus accidents there have been lately?” she says to Bobby by way of explanation. As perils go, this isn’t exactly up there with the dangers faced by Olivia on KNOTS — teen prostitution, jail, even death — but Pam’s overprotective streak stems from the perceived threat Jenna’s unborn baby poses to Lucas.

    Bobby’s line to Christopher, “I love you too, partner. You know, it’s real important we never feel embarrassed to say that to one another”, made me fast forward mentally to their relationship on New DALLAS which, as Bobby hopes, will turn out to be far more emotionally open than any of the father/son relationships in the original series. In fact, one could argue that almost all of the drama on Old DALLAS springs from the lack of communication between Jock and his sons. If he had been able to express his love for his boys directly then they wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to gain his approval, even after his death.

    Over on KNOTS, twelve-year-old Brian Cunningham gets more scenes than he has in years by playing unwitting patsy to his scheming sister — lending her his pocket TV which she then sells for drugs and fetching the bleach she needs to contaminate her urine sample. I’m not sure what age Jason Avery is supposed to be at this point, but he too gets an interesting scene in which he confides to his recently acquired stepfather Greg that he’s “not doing so hot” with his multiplication tables. “Mom’ll have a cow.” To make the boy feel better, Greg makes a confession: “I flunked math two straight years. Then I stopped and I started looking around at all those kids who were getting straights As and they all had one thing in common. They all had their underwear on backwards.” When speaking to Laura, who has overheard the conversation, Greg admits that his confession was a lie: “I told ya I wasn’t a very good role model.”

    “I think Greg’s a fool for not wanting to have a baby with you,” Karen tells Laura. “You’re right, but I still love him,” she replies. Maggie pulls no such punches towards Chase on FALCON CREST when he tries to console her over the jeopardy her unborn child now faces. “You didn’t even want me to have this baby. How sorry could you be?” she snaps. Meanwhile, Sammy Jo’s pregnancy might be imaginary on DYNASTY but Emma’s plan to conceive a child with her dead fiancee by using her a psychic as a middle man on FALCON CREST is something else. (Obviously, it’s not believable, I just wish it was funny.)

    While Monica Colby and Mack Mackenzie face-off with those who raised their children instead of them (“I’ll die before I lose my son and by God, so will you,” Adrienne Cassidy tells Monica; “You’re the one who kept me from even knowing I had a daughter … You had no reason for it,” Mack tells Russell Winston), DALLAS’s expectant fathers, Bobby and Ray, are both determined not to end up in the same position. “When that child is born, I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure it knows its father,” Bobby promises Jenna. “Get me some control,” Ray instructs his lawyer after learning of Donna’s intention to raise their baby in Washington.

    FALCON CREST and THE COLBYS both contain examples of a wife, Melissa Cumson and Sable Colby, taking revenge on her husband. After learning that Lance sabotaged her business partnership with Eric Stavros, Melissa strikes back by taking Eric to bed. As Zach Powers points out, sex is no longer an option for Sable: “You can’t hurt [Jason] in the bedroom anymore, but you can in the boardroom.” And so Sable uses her first board meeting as a Colby shareholder to cast the deciding vote against Jason’s attempt to acquire an electronics company. (There’s slightly more to it than that, but my minuscule business brain couldn’t quite grasp it.) Jason calls her “petty, spiteful … a willful, dangerous child.” Eric is no more impressed when he realises Melissa has used him to get back at Lance. “The two of you are just a perfect match. You both use people without a thought for their feelings.” Eric’s words send Melissa into a tailspin. “There’s something wrong with me,” she tells Father Bob. “I have something evil in me and I can’t make it go away.” Sable’s gloating is also interrupted when Jason gets a call from Jeff at the end of the episode with the shock news of Connie's death.

    Back on KNOTS, while Russell Winston confirms that Paige is really Paige, Jill Bennett admits to Gary that she’s really Peter’s sister — which leads Gary to assume she’s also a Galveston. The plot thickens on FALCON CREST where Guy Stafford, the bad guy who pretended to be a reporter but then turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, turns out to be a bad guy after all — and that’s after he’s also pretended to be Kim Novak’s secret lover.

    Stafford, or whoever he is, has an interesting take on one of FC’s other impostors. “Kit Marlowe has not only taken on the identity, she believes she is Skylar Kimble … She’s run so far from her past, she’s forgotten she had one.” This chimes with a theory put forward on this week’s DALLAS as to how Wes Parmalee was able to “cheat” the polygraph test when he claimed he was Jock: “It might be possible with a little self-hypnosis … he went back in his mind to a time when he really did believe that he was Jock.” For what it’s worth, I’m now leaning towards the idea that Wes actually was Jock, but realising his sons would never accept the fact, chose to walk away from his family rather than destroy it — and that this is what he explained to Miss Ellie (who had already chosen Clayton over him) during their final, pivotal conversation that took place off screen. It would help explain why Ellie has no anger towards Parmalee and now just wants the whole matter dropped.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (3) THE COLBYS
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (4) DYNASTY
    4 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    5 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
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  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    07 Jan 87: DYNASTY: The Rig v. 07 Jan 87: THE COLBYS: The Legacy v. 08 Jan 87: KNOTS LANDING: No Miracle Worker v. 09 Jan 87: DALLAS: Tick, Tock v. 09 Jan 87: FALCON CREST: Dark Passion

    “All those terrorists running around … who know where they might strike next?” wonders Sly in this week’s DALLAS. And it’s true — almost without one noticing, this Soap Land season has been gradually infiltrated by all manner of mercenaries (DALLAS), mobsters (DYNASTY, FALCON CREST), drug dealers (KNOTS LANDING) and government agents-turned-bad (FALCON CREST, KNOTS). It’s too soon to say which category COLBYS’ newcomer Hoyt Parker fits into, but he’s clearly up to no good as well. And those on the right side of the law cannot necessarily be counted on to help. “What happens between you and BD is your business,” FBI agent Leo Daltry informs JR after he learns about the body Calhoun dumped in JR's office. Meanwhile, the fact that FALCON CREST’s new sheriff is played by future KNOTS mobster Manny Vasquez only adds to the sense of lawlessness,.

    Soap Land consequently feels a very dangerous place at the moment. The week starts with Ben Carrington shooting his brother Blake at point blank range on DYNASTY (as part of a dream sequence, admittedly) and ends with the gunning down of two unarmed women on FALCON CREST. Characters aren’t even safe in their own beds. No sooner does this week’s DALLAS end with BD Calhoun breaking into Southfork as the Ewings lie sleeping than FALCON CREST begins with a group of armed men invading Richard Channing’s home and snatching his baby son from his crib. Three of this week’s soaps end in cliffhangers that place characters in mortal danger (a gas explosion aboard an offshore rig leaves Blake trapped under some debris on DYNASTY as Ben looks on impassively, Hoyt Parker aims a rifle at Jason and Frankie on THE COLBYS, and JR wakes up to find himself face to face with a bomb on DALLAS). Highlights of this week’s KNOTS include Abby breaking down her daughter’s bathroom door with an axe (“You wanna get high? You let us watch you get high!”) and a drug dealer beating up her twelve-year-old son. There’s more kiddie violence on DALLAS when John Ross and Christopher come to blows for the very first time after John Ross cheats in a swimming race. (JR subsequently congratulates his son on his “competitive edge … Your winning made your daddy real proud of you.”)

    But when it comes to gratuitous violence, this week's FALCON CREST is streets ahead of its competitors. In the first ten minutes alone, there is a threat of infanticide (“Police or FBI = Dead Child,” reads a note Michael Channing’s kidnappers leave for Richard), Guy Stafford threatening to shoot Kit Marlowe unless she commit suicide by throwing herself off a bridge, and a knock-down drag-out fight between Stafford and Tony Cumson which results in Stafford going over the bridge instead. Tony assumes he has killed Stafford, but he later shows up alive — only to be immediately garrotted by his underworld superiors. “Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy loses life,” wisecracks his anonymous mobster boss in what is probably the grimmest death scene in Soap Land history — at least until the Jones sisters (Erin and Meredith the undercover nanny) are mown down at the end of the episode by a different group of anonymous mobsters. Oh, and there's also Melissa threatening to slash her own throat with a pair of scissors after finding Lance in bed with Dina the fitness instructor.

    Death hangs over THE COLBYS as well, specifically Connie’s — although let’s not forget poor old Hutch Corrigan who perished alongside her. Connie’s death — overseas, off screen, the result of a mysterious air crash — parallels Jock Ewing’s on DALLAS. In place of an entire episode of Ewings flashing back to memories of their patriarch, roughly a third of this week’s episode is given over to characters recalling scenes they shared with Connie during last season and even quoting her lines. Back on FALCON CREST, Kit Marlowe, with some help from Tony, has managed to convince everyone that she — or rather her alter-ego Skylar — is also dead.

    In the absence of bodies to bury, Connie and Skylar/Kit are granted matching memorial services, each set against a picturesque Californian backdrop. While the minister at Connie’s service assures the mourners that “her spirit is here with us where she lived,” Skylar/Kit really is there. Yes, in a Soap Land first, she’s shown up her own memorial service, watching from a discreet distance.

    In their grief, Connie’s brother Jason and Skylar’s stepfather Peter withdraw from their respective other halves, Frankie and Angela — just as Bobby Ewing will from wife Anne following JR’s death on New DALLAS. Frankie eventually persuades Jason that he needs a break and they travel together to the Colby family ranch where Hoyt Parker lies in wait for them. Peter Stavros also decides to get away, but refuses to take Angela with him. “I need to be alone,” he tells her. Like Angela, Miss Ellie is disappointed when Clayton rejects her idea of a vacation as way of recovering from recent events. It seems as if DALLAS is struggling to move on from some of its recent character departures. “It hasn’t been the same between us, has it, since the Wes Parmalee business,” Miss Ellie tells Clayton. “None of them matches Mandy Winger. Not one of them even comes close,” admits Sue Ellen as her search for a new Valentine Girl proves fruitless. Meanwhile, April is preoccupied with tracking down Jamie Ewing: “She now owns my five percent of Ewing Oil and I want it.”

    Hoyt Parker is one of three significant characters making their Soap Land debut this week. Each appears only briefly. Firstly, DYNASTY’s Adam is in Sydney, Australia when he happens to overhear a young woman in a telephone kiosk trying to track down Ben Carrington. She turns out to be Ben’s daughter Leslie (“I haven’t seen him in a very long time”), but disappears before he can question her further. Then the mysterious Hoyt Parker, whose name has been mentioned in connection with Connie’s death, is seen checking into a modest looking hotel on THE COLBYS (“Welcome to Los Angeles, Mr Parker”). And then finally, at the end of this week’s KNOTS, Mack Mackenzie opens the door of his New York hotel room to find Anne Matheson standing there, a dreamy smile on her face. (“Daddy told me you were here. Hi.”)

    This week’s KNOTS is unusual is that it focuses exclusively on just two storylines — Olivia’s drug problem and Mack’s visit to New York to see Anne — and features no more than a half dozen of its regular adult characters (two of which, Gary and Val, only appear in one scene apiece). Whereas Olivia’s story is full of big gestures and histrionics, the Mackenzies’ scenes are more nuanced, focusing on minor bits of character behaviour. Rather than deal with Mack’s impending reunion with his first love directly, he and Karen distract themselves by discussing insignificant details — what top he’s going to wear, how he plans get from the airport to the Winston residence, etc.

    A Soap Land taboo is quietly broken when Karen, already anxious about Mack and Anne, worries if the sweater she’s wearing is too tight. “I look fat!” she tells Val. My only previous memory of a non-pregnant woman’s weight being directly addressed in Soap Land is the jarring moment in DYNASTY Season 3 when Alexis refers to a nurse as obese. On one level, the “I look fat!” dilemma and the girly chat that follows it (“Have you gotten to be a big girl?” Val teases. “I’m afraid to weigh myself!” Karen kvetches) serve to make the characters seem more relatable to their audience. They have the same insecurities that you do, the scene is saying. At the same time, Karen’s groundless anxiety serves to highlight the fact that no one on KNOTS LANDING, or anywhere else in Soap Land, is even remotely overweight — at least no one deemed worthy of any significant screen time. So in trying to relate to its audience, KNOTS also distances itself from it. That isn’t to say that watching Val trying to stretch the sweater while Karen is still wearing it isn’t good fun.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) THE COLBYS
    2 (3) DYNASTY
    3 (5) FALCON CREST
    4 (2) DALLAS
    5 (4) KNOTS LANDING
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  8. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    21 Jan 87: DYNASTY: A Love Remembered (2) v. 22 Jan 87: THE COLBYS: Manhunt v. 23 Jan 87: DALLAS: Night Visitor v. 23 Jan 87: FALCON CREST: When the Bough Breaks

    The search is on for three missing persons in this week’s Soap Land: Blake Carrington on DYNASTY, Scott Cassidy on THE COLBYS and Richard Channing’s son Michael on FALCON CREST. The circumstance of each disappearance is different. Suffering from amnesia, Blake has been spirited away to a secluded villa by Alexis who leads him to believe they’re still happily married. Scott, meanwhile, has run away in response to his parents’ breakup and Michael has been kidnapped by Mr Green (a professional mercenary, like BD Calhoun) who demands fifty million dollars and Meredith Braxton from Richard for his return.

    “I don’t want this part of our lives to end,” Alexis tells Blake in Singapore. “I wish I could freeze this moment forever. I wish I could always feel the way I do right now as though nothing could hurt us or interfere with our lives,” echoes Pam on DALLAS, enjoying some quality time with Bobby and Christopher. While Alexis is acutely aware that her time with Blake is running out, Pam is oblivious to all the misfortune that is soon to befall her. So is the first time viewer. It’s one of those Soap Land scenes that becomes more significant in hindsight.

    In the same week that Clayton Farlow’s private eye (played by none other than DYNASTY’s Ted Dinard) admits that his search for Wes Parmalee has reached a dead end, “the best detective in Singapore” comes up trumps by leading Krystle to Blake. Meanwhile, Monica Colby successfully intuits that Scott at the Griffith Observatory. However, neither Krystle nor Monica is congratulated for their efforts. “I don’t know who this woman is,” Blake tells Alexis when Krystle embraces him. “You’re not my friend. You just pretend to be nice to me so you can be with my dad!” Scott yells at Monica. “I like you very, very much, more than you could know,” Monica insists, mirroring Alexis’s line to Blake, “You’ll never know how much the past few days have meant to me, Blake — being with you, loving you again.” In the event, it is Alexis who tells Blake the truth. “I’ve lied to you,” she admits. “That woman is your wife.” There’s a similar twist elsewhere in the same episode when Sammy Jo, rather than Clay, decides to end their marriage following his discovery that she lied about her pregnancy. “Sammy Jo, all I want is for us to stay married and be happy,” he tells her. “We’re strangers to one another … I have to end this,” she replies. It’s an unexpectedly poignant moment.

    After Fallon, Sammy Jo and Maggie Gioberti, Donna Krebbs becomes the fourth pregnant woman in recent weeks to be admitted to Soap Land Memorial Hospital following a health scare. While Fallon’s turned out to be a false alarm, Maggie’s proved more serious and Sammy Jo’s revealed she was never actually pregnant in the first place, Donna is diagnosed with a serious-but-not-too-serious case of appendicitis. From a dramatic point of view, its main function is to put her soon-to-be ex-husband Ray and potential suitor Andrew Dowling in the same room.

    On last week’s COLBYS, during an oddly retro disagreement reminiscent of Bobby objecting to Pam working at The Store back in ’78, Jeff argued with Fallon’s decision to start an interior design business while carrying a baby. Fallon’s response, that being pregnant is a condition, not a disability, is echoed by Miss Ellie on this week’s DALLAS. “That’s typical, a man telling a woman to take it easy just because she’s pregnant. I remember with my sons, the energy I had! To me, it was a miracle. To my doctor, it was a medical condition.” Ellie is talking to Jenna for the first time since Jenna found out she was carrying Bobby’s baby. “I want only the best for my grandchild,” Ellie tells her. “Miss Ellie, that’s one thing this baby can never be,” Jenna insists. “There can be no ties with the Ewing family, for all our sakes.” This dynamic is mirrored on THE COLBYS. “I am your son’s grandmother,” Sable tells Cash Cassidy. “Let me set you straight,” he replies. “Scott is my son, Adrienne and mine’s legally. That’s all you need to know.” While Miss Ellie stands open-mouthed following Jenna’s pronouncement, Sable immediately calls her lawyer.

    Jeff Colby and Chase Gioberti travel to Boise, Idaho and Ridley, Oklahoma this week, to investigate the pasts of Hoyt Parker and Dan Fixx respectively. Between them, they encounter a virtual whos-who of character actors from Soap Land’s past — among them Jock Ewing’s first wife, Karen Mackenzie’s shooter, the doctor who erroneously informed Jason Colby that he was dying, the cop who investigated the shooting of Claudia Blaisdel and Verna Ellers’ coffee shop boss from Shula, Tennessee.

    Ridley is a particularly interesting location. It’s almost the Soap Land version of S Town: a strange, remote, inward-looking place full of intriguing characters hiding murky secrets. Like previous close-knit communities depicted in Soap Land, it doesn’t take kindly to outsiders asking too many questions. As a result, Chase receives a pasting from some anonymous locals, just as the Dallas Ewings did in Landowne (“The Dove Hunt”, Season 2) and Gary Ewing did in Shula (KNOTS Season 6).

    Once again, violence permeates this week’s episodes. On DYNASTY, after Dominique refuses to let Gary Tildon and his group of mobsters manage her singing career, he sends some boys round to her recording studio to interrupt her rendition of Gershwin’s ‘I Can’t Get Started’ and knock her around a bit. Nick Kimble rides to her rescue using a variety of musical instruments as offensive weapons. Not since Gary drunkenly disrupted Ciji Dunne’s recording session has a Soap Land music studio seen this much chaos. “Those creeps won’t be back,” Nick assures her. The same cannot be said for BD Calhoun who stalks Sue Ellen throughout this week’s DALLAS.

    Following the tabloid article that accused him of betraying his country and made him the target of death threats, Jason Colby has been obliged to beef up his personal security. After JR discovers BD’s little bomb at his bedside, he feels the need to the same thing at Southfork. “Doesn’t anybody read the newspapers?” he asks the rest of the Ewings. “Here we are, an enormously rich family right out in the middle of nowhere. We’re fair game for anybody … In this day and age, anybody with three dollars more than their neighbour is a target … With all the nuts and all the terrorists, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eskimos started hijacking airplanes.” This rant reminds me of Fallon Colby’s after her son was kidnapped on DYNASTY four years ago: "My father worked very hard for all of this. He had genius and he had guts and he got it all for us, and until now it never occurred to me that people might hate him for that, might hate us, might even hate our baby enough to take him from us. Is this way it really is for people like us, Jeff?” This time, however, JR’s knee-jerk paranoia is a smokescreen for his own wrongdoing. As a further precaution, we also see him practising his aim at the local firing range. It’s kind of refreshing to see JR shooting a gun instead of being on the receiving end of one for once.

    Speaking of shootings, the safeguards taken by Jason Colby cannot prevent the assassination attempt against him at the end of this week’s ep. It takes place at the Jefferson Hotel during a press conference and is the best staged Soap Land shooting since the Belmar Hotel sequence at the end of KNOTS’ fifth season. Now as then, the wrong person is shot as Cash takes the bullet for Jason. (Oh my God — they killed Kenny!) I particularly liked the double-cross moment in the ensuing chaos where the bad guys’ inside man on the hotel security team shoots the assassin dead (“You. You set me up”). DALLAS tried something similar during the Martinique shoot-out last season’s, but that moment was nowhere near as effective.

    The last time I watched the scene of Cash’s shooting, I remember noticing that Monica’s hair had been styled in an unusually ‘60s way and that her clothes resembled those of Jackie Kennedy’s on the day of JFK’s assassination. This time around, the comparison seems less obvious — although the moment where she kneels over Cash’s body, her hand covered in his blood, suggests that perhaps I wasn’t imagining things after all.

    Intentional or otherwise, it’s not the only cultural reference of the week. On DYNASTY, the amnesiac Blake peruses newspapers looking for a familiar name. “The only one I recognise after twenty-three years is Paul Newman,” he tells Alexis who co-starred with Newman in Rally Round the Flag, Boys! back in ’58. There’s more movie magic on DALLAS where a waitress observes Sue Ellen reading Star Struck magazine. “Mandy Winger,” she says, referring to the magazine’s cover girl. “Now she’s a movie star. In real life, she’s very shy. My sister has a friend who used to know the girl that did her nails.”

    There’s also some literary name-dropping in this week’s Lorimar soaps with DALLAS and FALCON CREST referring to the most famous character created by Henry Fielding and Harper Lee respectively. Having gathered his courage to ask Donna out on a date, Senator Dowling suggests a crab restaurant where they “let you get positively Tom Jones-ish about it all.” Meanwhile, Dan Fixx’s former lawyer insists that “Clarence Darrow himself couldn’t have done any better” at defending him.

    Two weeks after Karen’s “I look fat!” outburst on KNOTS, more female bodies are discussed in terms we’re not used to hearing in Soap Land. On THE COLBYS, Kolya wants Georgina Sinclair replaced as his dance partner. “She’s gained weight — she’s getting too heavy for the lifts,” he complains. “She doesn’t weigh an ounce!” replies Sable. Over on DALLAS, Sue Ellen and her PR guy pass comment on a parade of potential Valentine Girls, all of whom are filmed from the neck down, the better to emphasise their lack of identity. “This girl has a very pretty face but no --” “Bust?” “She’s just flat, no --” “Fanny? … It’s all right to use those terms in your presence, Mr Barton. I’m a trained professional,” Sue Ellen assures her colleague. Nevertheless, hearing her critique another woman’s fanny feels as incongruous as the sight of Abby Ewing sticking her hand down a toilet bowl did a couple of weeks ago. Belonging to the same category is the scene in FALCON CREST where Angela Channing explains the workings of a feeding tube to Melissa, who is refusing to eat after being hospitalised for her breakdown: “They put it up your nose and you swallow it down into your tummy. I know it sounds terribly uncomfortable but after a couple of days, you can’t live without it.” Melissa promptly takes a bite of the nearest apple.

    And this week’s Top 4 is …

    1 (-) DALLAS
    2 (2) THE COLBYS
    3 (-) FALCON CREST
    4 (3) DYNASTY
     
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  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    28 Jan 87: DYNASTY: The Portrait v. 29 Jan 87: THE COLBYS: All Fall Down v. 29 Jan 87: KNOTS LANDING: Never Trick a Trickster v. 30 Jan 87: DALLAS: Cat and Mouse v. 30 Jan 87: FALCON CREST: The Cradle Will Fall

    Reconciliation is in the air in this week’s Soap Land. On DYNASTY, Blake holds out his hand to his estranged brother: “You saved my life, Ben, I want to thank you for that.” “You saved my life,” echoes Jason on THE COLBYS. He’s talking to Cash Cassidy who intercepted a bullet intended for him at the end of last week’s episode. “I was wrong about you,” he admits. KNOTS LANDING’s Karen likewise sees Paige in a new light after meeting her mother Anne. “I never realised what Paige was up against … I really feel sorry for her,” she tells Mack. With Cash unconscious after the shooting, there’s not much Jason can practically do for him. Blake and Karen, however, offer Ben and Paige a roof over their respective heads. “I’d like you to come home, Ben,” says Blake. “I think Paige should live with us,” says Karen.

    There’s also a thawing of hostilities between various feuding exes. After four years of animosity, DYNASTY’s Steven and Sammy Jo are now sleepover buddies. Even more surprisingly, Blake forgives Alexis for deceiving him while he had amnesia. “I was angry,” he concedes, “but now I’m very grateful to you for all the ways that you helped me then.” And in spite of JR being somewhat culpable in Sue Ellen’s recent abduction, the ordeal serves to bring them closer. “We’ve been through some major battles, Sue Ellen,” he tells her, “but no matter what happens between us, the last thing I wanna see is for you to be hurt.”

    The reconciling doesn’t stop there. Steven also patches things up with Alexis while FALCON CREST’s Emma forgives nephew Lance for using a psychic to trick her into signing over her proxy in the New Globe to him. “I guess I’ll keep you as my nephew after all,” she giggles, hugging him. Lance himself turns to his formerly estranged father Tony for support following Melissa’s “temporary psychosis.” Even Tony and Angela — two FC characters who have despised each other since long before the series even began — are suddenly cordial towards one another.

    As last season’s DALLAS demonstrated, too much harmony between characters can kill a soap stone dead. However, there are enough hostile reactions to these truces to fan the flames of dramatic conflict — at least for now. While Dex is predictably jealous of Alexis and Blake’s newfound understanding, Steven’s friendship with Sammy Jo leads to both a dance-floor punch-up between he and Clay and a bitchy exchange between Sammy Jo and Alexis. Meanwhile, Krystle remains wary of Ben. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re still on trial,” she warns him. However, the juiciest response to a rapprochement belongs to Anne Matheson. “If Paige is staying in Knots Landing, then so am I,” she announces.

    As Paige comes face to face with the mother she hasn’t seen since she faked her own death, DYNASTY’s Leslie Carrington arrives in Denver to confront the father she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl. Whereas Leslie’s meeting with Ben is all raised voices and overwrought emotions (“You walked out on us and I’ll never forgive you for that!” “That’s not true, Leslie! … You must believe me, please!”) Anne’s reunion with Paige is far, far chillier — and, for added social awkwardness, unfolds in front of Karen and Mack. “If I collected on your death, it’s because you abandoned me and I deserved it,” Anne tells Paige. “And where did you go on my death — to Cannes?” Paige asks. ”Rio,” Anne replies.

    On DALLAS, Ray has been advised to curtail his friendship with Jenna in order to increase his chances of winning custody of his and Donna’s unborn baby. This has affected Jenna more than she expected. “You miss him, only you won’t say it — so say it!” challenges Charlie on her way out the door. “Yes, I miss him, very much,” confesses Jenna tearfully to an empty kitchen. Over on FALCON CREST, Vicky Gioberti is even more direct when confronting her pregnant mother about her true feelings for a platonic male friend (who, like Ray, just happens to be the half-brother of the father of her unborn child). “Are you falling in love with Richard Channing?” she asks. Maggie proves more circumspect than Jenna in her reply, however: “I am five-and-a-half months pregnant. I am not gonna be having a romance with anybody.” While Jenna worries that Charlie has grown “too attached” to Ray, Maggie faces the opposite problem with her daughter. “Fair warning, Mother — if this friendship with Richard gets any deeper, I’m outta here,” Vicky tells her.

    This week’s DALLAS and FALCON CREST each include what might be called “a mini-abduction”. When Sue Ellen returns home after a night away from Southfork but cannot remember where she’s been, the family assume she’s fallen off the wagon — but things are not what they seem. When two men burst into Tony Cumson’s office and tell him, “Our employer would like very much to talk to you about Skylar Kimble” and then refuse to take no for an answer, the audience assumes the mobsters looking for Kit Marlowe have caught up with him. Again, things are not what they seem. While Sue Ellen later discovers she had been kidnapped, Tony is taken to Greece, where he finds Peter Stavros desperate for answers about his stepdaughter’s suicide: “Why did she do it, Tony? She had every reason to live.”

    It then falls to Tony to hand-deliver a letter from Peter to Angela. “My dearest Angela,” it reads, “I hope you can understand what I’m going through and why I cannot return to Falcon Crest … I can’t ask you to tear yourself away from your home and your family. The time that we’ve shared has been the happiest of my life … I’ll always love you, Peter.” DYNASTY’s Michael Culhane delivers a similar letter to Blake from Amanda, who has also decided against returning to Soap Land: “Dear Daddy, you and Michael were forcing me to choose between you. Well, I can’t. I love you both too much.” “She says she’s leaving for London and not to try to follow her,” Michael adds. Yet another significant piece of mail is delivered to JR on DALLAS. It contains a set of photos of an apparently naked Sue Ellen unconscious in BD Calhoun’s hotel room. “Thought you might like to know where your wife spent the night,” reads the accompanying note.

    Peter’s rejection of the Tuscany Valley as a whole (“I kept her in the valley,” he says of Skylar. “I let it poison her … I have no desire to go back there“) chimes with Fallon’s outburst on this week’s COLBYS: “Sable and Channing and Miles — these people, this house. I’ve gotta get out of here … I can’t stay locked up in this castle forever!” she yells at Jeff. His response is interesting. “It’s time you grew up,” he snaps. “Ever since I married you, you’ve had everything your way. You married me, you divorced me and you ran out … If you wanna run, go ahead and run, but this time I’m not running after you!” This speech serves to bring the somewhat sugary nature of Fallon and Jeff’s relationship as depicted on THE COLBYS in line with the more volatile version we saw previously on DYNASTY.

    Corporate intrigue of the week: While Hoyt Parker purchases $2,000,000 worth of Colby Enterprises anonymously, Greg Sumner is, as Peter Hollister puts it, “convinced somebody’s hacked into his computer so he’s feeding it false information to smoke out the culprit … trying to trap some imaginary bad guys.” The illicit passing of information continues on DALLAS where Pam innocently mentions Ewing Oil’s interest in acquiring MacArthur Mining to Cliff who then relays this information to Jeremy Wendell who subsequently instructs April to pick up a little pillow talk from JR on the subject.

    Back on KNOTS, Greg’s plan succeeds: “Someone took the bait … a South African named Rudolf Bauer. He’s a shady investor … All of his investments make sense only if he’s got the information I put in my machine. This guy is gonna lose millions … Our friend Rudy hangs around with some nasty people — mercenaries, arms dealers. Rumours have it that he even finances a terrorist group.” Mercenaries, arms dealers, terrorists — these are becoming increasingly common terms in Soap Land with THE COLBYS’ Hoyt Parker, DALLAS’s BD Calhoun and FALCON CREST’s Mr Green fitting at least one of these descriptions each.

    Peter Hollister paints a very interesting picture of Greg this week: “He used to be pragmatic. Now he’s isolated, eccentric, paranoid … He almost never goes to work in his corporate headquarters anymore … His ranch is crawling with electronic sensors.” This sense of paranoia and isolationism is reflected in the other soaps as well. “It could be a conspiracy. We don’t know how many are involved,” says Miles Colby following the most recent attempt on his father’s life. Meanwhile, Bobby Ewing accuses JR of “endangering your entire family” by his involvement with Calhoun. “Do we all have to pack guns from now on?” he asks. Suddenly everyone’s battening down the hatches and “beefing up security”. “You’re safe here,” Miles assures Fallon. “Between the sensors and the guards and the dogs, lord knows, this house is as tight as a drum.” Similarly, the Ewing boys elect to keep their sons home from school (“Calhoun’s just crazy enough to nab one of them”) and Bobby persuades Pam not to go into work either. “Do you know that I’m afraid to leave the house — what if he comes after me again?” asks Sue Ellen, summing up this new atmosphere of intimidation.

    In response, characters start taking the law into their own hands. Bobby’s first impulse after learning that Calhoun kidnapped Sue Ellen is to call the cops. “I wouldn’t do that,” JR tells him. “Why not?” he asks. “Because if the feds find out about this,” JR replies, “Ewing Oil will lose its franchise. They’ll shut us down, Bobby, and you and I will go to prison.” As a result, it’s up to the Ewing brothers to deal with Calhoun themselves. The final scene of this week’s DALLAS finds them both armed and ready to burst into BD’s hotel room. “I’m gonna kneecap him. That’ll slow him down,” JR mutters. “Protecting the family” is leading the Ewings into some very murky waters, both morally and legally. The same can be said for Ben Gibson on KNOTS. “You and the kids are the only things that I care about in my life,” he tells Val. She takes comfort from this statement, but it’s also the reason Jean Hackney has been able to persuade Ben to spy on Greg Sumner. And there’s worse to come. In fact, the final lines of both of this week’s Ewing-verse shows set the stage for an impending fatal showdown. “Your assignment is to kill Greg Sumner,” Jean tells Ben. “Now you’re an enemy worth killing,” Calhoun informs JR.

    Once again, FALCON CREST takes these theme of violence and lawlessness to a whole different level. The majority of this week’s episode is taken up by two separate storylines, one involving Richard, the other Chase, each of whom must do battle with a different set of anonymous bad guys who are out for blood. Bizarre highlights include Meredith Braxton bursting out of her own coffin to gun down a bunch of mercenaries and Chase digging his own grave at gunpoint. For better and/or worse (and this instalment is actually quite engrossing), we’re a very long way from FC’s original soapy premise of a feuding family battling each other for control of their shared legacy.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (-) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (3) FALCON CREST
    4 (2) THE COLBYS
    5 (4) DYNASTY
     
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  10. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    04 Feb 87: DYNASTY: The Birthday v. 05 Feb 87: THE COLBYS: Guilty Party v. 05 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: A Plan of Action v. 06 Feb 87: DALLAS: High Noon For Calhoun v. 06 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: Topspin

    BD Calhoun quotes the Bible again on this week’s DALLAS. “The sins of the father shall be visited on the sons,” he tells JR (a sentiment THE COLBYS’ Zach Powers would heartily agree with). But it’s another Biblical passage — “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” — that springs to mind elsewhere in this week’s Soap Land. “You have more money and more power than you ever could have imagined,” says Laura to Greg on KNOTS. “I never know who you are anymore.” This sentiment is mirrored on DYNASTY. “In my lifetime, I have made more money than I ever dreamed I would make,” Dominique tells Dex. “Sometimes when I look in the mirror, there is no one looking back at me.” She and Dex are chatting over drinks in a bar. Even though these two characters have coexisted onscreen for about three years, it’s the first significant discussion I can recall between them, yet one immediately buys them as good friends with a shared history. There exists a similar connection between Ray Krebbs and Jenna Wade during this season’s DALLAS. Dex and Dominique are both smarting from tiffs with their respective love interests so it would be the easiest thing in Soap Land for them to wind up in bed together. Instead, the characters — and the show itself — have different ideas. “You just don’t go to bed with a friend to strike out at someone,” declares Dominique, clearly not up to speed on the book of Soap Land clichés. “Even if you find that friend warm and appealing?” teases Dex. “Especially if you find that friend warm and appealing,” she replies firmly, drawing any possibility of romance between them to a close. The situation isn’t entirely devoid of soap tropes, however, as evidenced when Alexis finds them in a friendly embrace and inevitably misreads the situation. An even rarer, more tantalising Soap Land pairing than Dex and Dominique? Greg Sumner and Val Gibson, who share their first scene on this week’s KNOTS. While their conversation is fairly inconsequential, the scene derives its tension from the fact that Val knows, but Greg doesn’t, that her husband has been ordered to kill him.

    Viewed with hindsight, the scene of Dominique taking stock of her life seems to anticipate her low-key departure from DYNASTY at the end of this season. There’s a similarly ruminative quality to the lovely scene on DALLAS where Andrew Dowling asks Donna about her marriages to Sam Culver and Ray Krebbs. This provides Donna, who is also on her way out, with an opportunity to look back to when she arrived on the show, and in particular her first meeting with Ray (her description of which is slightly different to what played out on screen at the time, but no matter). “He was young and vibrant, everything the years had stolen from Sam,” she remembers, her eyes closed in reverie. She is brought sharply back to the present by a kick from her and Ray’s unborn child. Andrew picks up on an unspoken thought. “Ray isn’t gonna let you go easily, is he?” he asks. Over on FALCON CREST, Maggie Gioberti experiences a similar combination of nostalgia and loss after attending her first Lamaze class. She tells Richard about her awkwardness at “being in that class with all those young couples. When Vicky was born, it was such a happy time.” “Just where do you and Chase stand now, if you don’t mind me asking?” Richard asks her gently, displaying a sensitivity similar to that of Senator Dowling in his conversation with Donna. “We don’t really communicate,” she admits. Neither do Greg and Laura on KNOTS. When Laura tries to tackle Greg directly about their problem, he suggests that “if you’re so unhappy around here, maybe you should go back to the cul-de-sac.” So she does, joining Donna and Maggie as Soap Land’s latest middle-aged mom-to-be currently estranged from her husband. (“Pregnant women alone seem to be the fashion nowadays,” remarked Donna at Bobby and Pam’s wedding — in which case, Laura is bang on trend.)

    Things aren’t looking much rosier for the three couples who eloped earlier on in this Soap Land season. The most recent newlyweds, Sammy Jo and Clay, sign their annulment papers on this week’s DYNASTY while FALCON CREST’s Lance and Melissa are now sleeping in separate bedrooms. Over on THE COLBYS, after Miles accuses her of pushing her pregnant sister-in-law down the stairs, Channing announces that “the nightmare’s over and so is this marriage.”

    As if to redress the balance, Vince Karlotti and Adam Carrington pop the question to Emma Channing and Dana Waring on FALCON CREST and DYNASTY respectively. Emma declines but Dana accepts, making her and Adam Soap Land’s third currently engaged couple, alongside Jason and Frankie on THE COLBYS and Gary and Jill on KNOTS. Meanwhile, Zach Powers continues to pressure Sable for an answer to his proposal.

    DALLAS opens with John Ross and Christopher breaking a vase while playing ball in the upstairs hallway of Southfork. A similar misdemeanour on THE COLBYS has far more serious consequences when it transpires that Fallon’s fall down the stairs wasn’t caused by a vengeful Channing, but by LB leaving his marbles on the staircase. While LB, John Ross and Christopher are suitably apologetic, an unrepentant Joseph Agretti/Gioberti/Cumson (delete where necessary) is sent to his room for calling Lance a butthead on FALCON CREST. As contemporary vernacular goes, “Butthead” is up there with Jason Avery’s recent “have a cow” remark on KNOTS. These phrases will, of course, be popularised by BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and THE SIMPSONS, but interestingly, neither cartoon had made its TV debut at this point.

    This week's FALCON CREST takes a narrative jump forward of about six weeks which means that Maggie is suddenly seven months pregnant. Laura’s pregnancy on KNOTS appears to have accelerated, too, mainly due to the actress’s real-life condition. By contrast, DALLAS’s Donna is still carrying the baby she conceived almost two years ago.

    As a result of her fall, Fallon is taken to Soap Land Memorial Hospital where is she told that the complications surrounding LB’s birth five years earlier mean that her second child must be delivered immediately by caesarian section. This is one of two pregnancies that occurred during the 1981/2 season to impact this week’s Soap Land. The other is Emma Channing’s miscarriage on FALCON CREST which, she is now informed, has left her unable to conceive.

    Fallon’s new baby is a girl, just as we learn Laura’s will be on KNOTS. (“Two boys and now a little girl,” remarks Karen. “Yeah, just like you,” Laura replies.) Exactly like the last time Fallon gave birth, Jeff is nowhere to be found. Back then, he was in bed with Claudia Blaisdel (who is unexpectedly name-checked by Alexis on this week’s DYNASTY). This time, he’s busy tailing Hoyt Parker.

    Birthday parties are comparatively rare occurrences in Soap Land. (As a general rule, this is not a genre that actively seeks to draw attention to the ageing process.) Nonetheless, there have been three such events in recent weeks: Peter Stavros’s seventy-fifth birthday bash on FALCON CREST, Kolya Rostov’s twenty-somethingth on THE COLBYS and, this week, Krystina Carrington’s third on DYNASTY. Somewhat predictably, each celebration ends in relative disaster. Skylar’s nonappearance at Peter’s gathering on FC led those who were in attendance to fear that she had committed suicide. An altercation between Bliss Colby and Georgina Sinclair resulted on Georgina sitting on Kolya’s birthday cake (not so much a cat-fight as a cat-splat). And now Krystina’s party is cancelled after she experiences breathing difficulties and has to be admitted to Soap Land Memorial Hospital.

    This leads to a truly bizarro final scene in which a wheezing Krystina rides maniacally on her rocking horse. As the situation builds, there is some frantic cross-cutting between her and her sleeping parents, followed by her slow-motion collapse. (It’s somewhat reminiscent of her big sister Fallon freaking out on a merry-go-round horse back in Season 4.) “Blake, she’s not breathing!” yells Krystle. Just as last week’s FALCON CREST finished on a slow-mo shot of Angela, her voice echoing as she announced: “Nobody walks out on me and gets away with it — NOBODY!” this scene ends the same way, with Krystle’s pleas reverberating as she cries, “Somebody help me — HELP ME!” By chance, the closing scene of THE COLBYS also takes place at Soap Land Memorial with the news that Fallon’s baby, just like her three-year-old aunt on DYNASTY, is struggling to breathe. “We’ve got her back on the respirator but that’s not gonna help her to live too much longer,” her doctor warns Jeff and Miles gravely.

    The lives of the Ewing-verse children are also in danger, but for them, the threat is malevolent rather than medical. In the opening scene of this week’s KNOTS, Ben Gibson calls Jean Hackney’s bluff by refusing to assassinate Greg Sumner. “Do your worst. Kill me,” he challenges her. “It’s not just you we’ll kill, Daddy,” she replies. In the last scene of this week’s DALLAS, the threat is even more overt. “What I’m gonna do is kill him and let you watch him die,” BD Calhoun informs JR while pointing a gun at his son.

    In fact, this week’s KNOTS and DALLAS run along very similar lines. Following Jean’s threat to Ben and BD’s to JR (“Now I know you’re an enemy worth killing”), both men decide that the time has come to tell those closest to them (Val in Ben’s case, the rest of the Ewings in JR’s) about the dangers they are facing. While Ben tells Val the truth about his previous involvement with Jean, JR spins the facts about his association with BD to make him look like the innocent party. Ironically, in so doing, his and Ben’s stories end up sounding almost identical. Ben describes himself to Val as “a guy that got involved with a group that planted a couple of bombs … this guy had no idea that the bombs were even being planned on.” “Calhoun came to me,” claims JR. “He wanted to get support for his organisation … I thought they were just one of those patriotic outfits, good solid Americans … I gave him some money and then I found out that what he wanted to do was blow up the oilfields in Saudi Arabia.”

    Upon hearing Ben and JR’s stories, Val and Pam react the same way. “We should go to the police,” says Val. “Why not just call the police?” asks Pam. It is impressed upon each of them that this is not a good idea. “We can’t take that chance … The kids could be killed,” insists Ben. “If the police get involved, Ewing Oil may find itself in serious jeopardy,” argues Bobby.

    As far as Ben and the Ewing brothers are concerned, there is only one solution: to get the women and children out of town. “The most important thing is to get those kids and you and Lilimae safely out of their reach,” Ben tells Val. “Our first priority has to be to protect the family. You and Sue Ellen have to take the boys away,” Bobby tells Pam. For the Ewings, “away” means California; for the Gibsons, “out of reach” means anywhere but California.

    While Pam might be angry about the situation (she scoffs at JR's attempt "to convince us he’s just some innocent bystander that this person just latched onto”), she reluctantly goes along with the plan. Over on KNOTS, Lilimae adds an extra complication to the drama. The Gibsons need her help (not to mention her savings) to make their getaway, but cannot risk letting her know what is really happening, and so she is dragged into a situation she has no understanding of. However, having got her cooperation and Ben having dumped his car and stolen another, the Gibsons are finally on their way to safety. Back on DALLAS, with the Ewing wives and sons stashed in California, JR, Ray and Bobby wait armed and ready for Calhoun to make his next move. But for all their precautions, both families have been outmanoeuvred.

    When Jean Hackney and BD catch up with their prey, they each adopt the same faux friendly tone. “Hi, what a coincidence!” Jean calls out cheerily to Ben as she pulls up alongside his car. “I see you’re out shopping with the entire family. You know, I know a wonderful store nearby that’s having a sale on vitamins.” “JR, how you doing, old buddy?” asks BD amiably over the phone. “I knew you were expecting my call so I didn’t wanna disappoint you. I just wanted you to know that I have a couple of other things on my agenda first before I get to you so you can relax a little.“ While Jean’s implication is clear — her reference to vitamins is a way of letting Ben and Val know she’s been keeping tabs on the twins, Lilimae having spent the morning trying to get their prescription filled — BD’s is more subtle. JR doesn’t yet realise it, but Calhoun is calling from the very hotel Pam and Sue Ellen have taken the kids to (it’s also the place where Jill Bennett resides on KNOTS) and “a couple of other things on my agenda” include kidnapping John Ross. When BD contacts JR again, it’s to trade his son for him.

    Throughout this episode of KNOTS, Ben impresses on Val that “the important thing right now is we behave as usual, nothing out of the norm. Remember, when you go into the house there’s a possibility that it could be bugged.” This need to pretend adds a whole extra layer of tension to their situation. By contrast, the Dallas Ewings’ words and deeds are concealed from prying eyes — or so it seems. After they arrive in California, JR, Ray and Bobby also put on an act for the benefit of whoever might be watching — although we viewers don’t realise it at the time. On the morning of JR’s showdown with BD, Ray and Bobby approach their elder brother. “We’re going with you,” Ray tells him. “Oh no you’re not,” JR insists. As eventually becomes clear, they do follow him and are the ones who shoot Calhoun dead just as he’s about to kill John Ross. Thus, another of this season’s bad guys comes to a memorably gruesome end. (See also Phil Harbert and Erin Jones.)

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (4) THE COLBYS
    4 (3) FALCON CREST
    5 (5) DYNASTY
     
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  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    11 Feb 87: DYNASTY: The Test v. 12 Feb 87: THE COLBYS: Fallon's Baby v. 12 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: Survival of the Fittest v. 13 Feb 87: DALLAS: Olio v. 13 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: A Piece of Work

    “I hate to feel powerless,” says Dominique on DYNASTY. “I feel so helpless,” complains Fallon on THE COLBYS. “I’m sick and tired of waiting … feeling helpless,” echoes Jeff. If there’s a theme connecting this week’s DYNASTY, KNOTS LANDING and THE COLBYS, then it’s one of impotence. While Krystina Carrington and Fallon’s as yet unnamed baby are at the mercy of the fates, Ben Gibson’s family are at the mercy of Jean Hackney.

    The message from the medical staff to the characters on both sides of the DYNASTY-verse is the same: everything that can be done is being done, all you can do is wait, etc. Much fretting and pacing of the hallways of Soap Memorial Hospital ensue. Not surprisingly, several characters’ thoughts turn to religion. “I wish I had your faith,” sighs Bliss Colby when boyfriend Kolya introduces her to Catholicism. “Everyone has faith,” he assures her. “It’s just that some people have to reach deeper to find it.” “If there’s a God in Heaven, he’ll hear us,” declares Jeff confidently. Over on KNOTS, in the absence of an explanation for recent events from her family, Lilimae Clements announces her intention to “look for answers in my Bible.” Steven Carrington also reaches for the Good Book, a copy of which he keeps on his mantlepiece, before choosing to commune with the Lord in his own words: “Dear God, Krystina has so much love here ... Please let her live.” His sentiment is echoed by Bliss: “Please let Fallon’s baby live and be healthy.” She then adds a delightfully soapy postscript: “Whichever one of my brothers is her father, please don’t let it destroy my family.”

    On DYNASTY, Krystina is diagnosed with congestive heart failure — one of those occasional Soap Land emergencies for which no one is responsible, no one is to blame. In this regard, it’s reminiscent of Jamie’s freak oil drum accident on last season’s DALLAS. Just as the Ewings were then, the Carringtons are suddenly getting along like a house on fire. This means, with nearly all their family hatchets buried, everyone is free to drop by Soap Land Memorial Hospital and lend Blake and Krystle their support.

    The biggest surprise during the equivalent DALLAS storyline was how concerned JR was about his cousin. Here, it’s Alexis’s concern that stands out. While we knew all along that JR had an ulterior motive, Alexis’s sympathy for Krystina seems quite genuine. This makes Krystle’s unprovoked outburst towards her all the more interesting. In fact, it’s the only point in this week’s DYNASTY where the drama really catches fire. “You don’t care about Krystina,” she tells Alexis. “You never bothered about her, you never asked about her … ” “Believe me, I have nothing against your little girl,” Alexis insists. “Then what’s changed?” Krystle snaps. “You obviously had something against my first child. I’ve lost one child because of you. I don’t want you near Krystina.” “… I’d never harm Krystina,” Alexis replies. “You’ve harmed everyone I’ve ever loved!” Krystle shouts. For once, Krystle is the aggressor and Alexis is the innocent party — it’s a very unusual dynamic. Over on THE COLBYS, Fallon reacts to a hospital visit from Channing with the same degree of hostility and suspicion — “You stay away from my baby … Stay away from this hospital” — and Channing is just as taken aback as Alexis is. Meanwhile on KNOTS, Val is similarly protective of her twins (“Don’t you lay a hand on them … Don’t you touch my children”), but this time the threat posed by Jean Hackney is all too real.

    DYNASTY explores Krystina’s condition with unusual detail. Towards the end of the episode, she undergoes a heart biopsy to determine the cause of her problem. It’s a relatively minor, even pain-free procedure, but one that requires the patient to be conscious throughout, and the show elects to depict it in its entirety. The intention seems to be to portray Krystle and Blake as “every-parents” struggling to master their own emotions and comfort their frightened daughter as she undergoes this bewildering procedure. This sober approach is also reflected in the episode's wardrobe choices. Instead of turning up to the hospital in cocktail dresses, as is customary in Soap Land, everyone’s suddenly in winter coats and scarves.

    However, the soap must go on. On DYNASTY, Blake insists that Adam and Dana continue with their wedding as arranged: “I want you to make your plans. Don’t let anything stop you.” On THE COLBYS, Fallon says the same thing to Frankie about her and Jason’s forthcoming nuptials: “I want you to go ahead with your wedding. Our lives have to go on, all of our lives.”

    If Krystina’s storyline is an attempt to make the rich and glamorous Carringtons seem more accessible by putting them in a situation that the average viewer can relate to, then the Gibsons’ ordeal on KNOTS is the opposite. The suburban lifestyle depicted (however superficially) on KNOTS is readily identifiable to the audience and so the show rings the changes by taking Solid Old Ben and thrusting him into a high-octane nightmare. The cosily familiar trappings of suburbia are still there — neighbours Mack and Ben attending a basketball game, Ben sitting out on the lawn on a Sunday morning fixing his kids’ swing (shades of Richard Avery doing odd jobs around the house just before disappearing out of his family’s lives for good), but nothing is quite as it seems. Even Ben and Val’s more intimate ‘scenes from a marriage’ turn out to be conversations conducted for the benefit of Jean Hackney’s surveillance equipment. Instead, their true communications take place via notepad and pen. Subtext has taken on an unexpectedly literal meaning on KNOTS LANDING.

    While the “normalising” of Krystle and Blake isn’t terribly involving (although far less grating than DALLAS’s attempts to do the same to the Ewings last season), the transformation of Ben into an assassin is gripping stuff. Just as last week’s DALLAS climaxed with the showdown between JR and BD Calhoun followed by the fatal shooting of BD, this week’s KNOTS concludes with Ben aiming a gun at Greg followed by the sound of a shot ringing out. Whereas the DALLAS gun battle took place in an abandoned amusement park, giving JR and BD plenty of room to run and hide, Ben and Greg’s showdown occurs in an enclosed space — Ben’s office — and is far more intense. While Ben might be the aggressor, pointing the gun and issuing orders (“You’re gonna commit suicide, you’re gonna leave a suicide note,” he tells Greg, as if he’s been picking up pointers from the Kit Marlowe story on FALCON CREST), he is also the more overtly terrified of the two men. Greg remains comparatively measured and calm, almost paternal. It’s a fascinating dynamic.

    In spite of all the gun battles, kidnappings and hospitalisations of recent weeks, a feeling of fatigue is detectable in this Post-Dream Soap Land era. It’s understandable — the four big shows have been on the air for the best part of a decade, the budgets aren’t what they were, and it must be hard for long-term characters to sustain the requisite sense of dramatic urgency week in and week out. This sense of ennui manifested itself last week in Dominique Devereaux’s and Greg Sumner’s low-level identity crises. This week, it’s the turn of Alexis Colby and Bobby Ewing. “You should be jumping at this!” exclaims Michael Culhane as he tries to galvanise Alexis into investing in a new deal. “Don’t you ever get tired of jumping?” she responds wearily. “I’m tired of it,” echoes Bobby during a scene with JR. “I’m tired of you getting into trouble and then me and the rest of the family having to pull your fat out of the fire… If you can’t stop this secretive crap [I’m pretty sure that’s the first time that particular c-word has been used in Soap Land, at least in a non-gambling context], then I’m out. We can sell Ewing Oil, we can divide up everything and I’m on my way … There’s not a member of the family with a share in the company that wouldn’t do the same thing. They’re all fed up with you.”

    JR’s response is interesting. First, he delivers his by-now-familiar apologetic spiel (“Don’t you think I realise I almost cost my son his life … and why? Just to get the price of oil back up. Hell, all the oil in the world is not worth a hair on that boy’s head. I never should have got involved with Calhoun … I’m sorry, Bobby”), and then he does what Jock used to do whenever Bobby got a little antsy. He offers him a taste of power: in this case total, if temporary, control of Ewing Oil. “You can run the company any way you want to,” he tells him. Pretty soon, Bobby’s no longer worried about JR’s “secretive crap” — he’s too busy cutting a fast deal for Park Bell Oil and delivering some ‘Ewings Unite’ rhetoric to Jeremy Wendell: “Whatever goes on between JR and me, when it comes to you, we’ll be together and when we’re together, we are one tough family, Wendell.”

    But why does JR feel the need to manipulate Bobby into staying at Ewing Oil in the first place? Possibly, it’s because he isn’t in a position to buy Bobby's, or indeed the rest of the family’s, shares of Ewing Oil and fears the company falling into outside hands. Or could it be that the idea of autonomy has lost some of its lustre for JR? Perhaps some residue of Pam’s Dream, during which JR discovered that his late lamented brother meant more to him than their father’s company, has seeped into this version of reality. Or maybe he’s just grasped that no man is an island — something the reclusive Greg Sumner also seems to realise on this week's KNOTS. Not only does he regret sending his pregnant wife packing, but there’s also his surprising reaction when, while watching a basketball game on TV, he spots Mack and Ben in the crowd. “Hey — Mack and Ben!” he calls out excitedly. “Mack and Ben are on the tube!” The only person around to hear him is his manservant Carlos who is unsure of how to respond. “Perhaps you should have joined them, sir,” he suggests politely. “Yeah, I wasn’t invited,” Greg replies, deflated — it’s a fleeting moment that’s both funny and sad, and one gets the sense of Greg understanding how his lifestyle choices have denied him the mundane pleasures of an ordinary life. (Not that ordinary, of course: Ben has only lured Mack to the game so he can tell him that he has been ordered to murder Greg.)

    Alexis, meanwhile, deals with her listlessness by taking a trip to California. Theoretically, it’s to visit Fallon and her dangerously ill newborn, but Jeff doesn’t even pretend to believe that’s the real reason. “Why else did you come to Los Angeles?” he asks. “I know that it has to be more than being worried about Fallon and the baby.” The Jeff/Alexis scenes are curious, for while Alexis is in Colby Land, she’s not actually on THE COLBYS. Instead, Jeff has been spun back onto DYNASTY. Yet he’s still in California. It’s like they’ve been caught in some no man’s land — or no man’s beach — between their respective shows. Here, both characters are more relaxed and informal than we’ve ever seen them before. Even their speech patterns are different. Jeff teases Alexis affectionately and she responds by laughing at herself in a way that would ordinarily be unthinkable. She lets her guard down sufficiently to relate a rare anecdote about her childhood in wet and windy England where she used to pine for “this fantastic place I’d read about called California.” For a moment, this could almost be Joan Collins describing her young self dreaming of a movie career in Hollywood. (Other surprise revelations in this week’s Soap Land: Richard Channing used to ride a motorbike and Greg Sumner once played Brutus in a college production of Julius Caesar.) Meanwhile, Jeff’s maybe-baby is hovering between life and death, but that seems to be happening in a parallel universe. However, the following night’s episode of THE COLBYS finds him weeping once more in the hallways of Soap Land Memorial as if he’d never left.

    Fascinating-in-hindsight moment of the week: Greg and Paige meet for the first time. “Hi. You’re Mack’s daughter, right?” “And you’re Laura’s husband.”

    This week’s DALLAS deals with the aftermath of last week’s shooting. It's all consequences, recriminations, cover-ups and, most interesting of all, the almost instantaneous rewriting of recent history. No sooner has JR placed his immediate family in mortal danger — resulting in the abductions of his wife and son — than said wife and son hail him as a hero. Meanwhile, his shady CIA contact resurfaces to inform him that all charges against him and his brothers for the death of Calhoun are to be dropped. While Bobby is initially angry at JR, he is soon distracted by the responsibilities of running Ewing Oil. That leaves Pam as the only character with sufficient clarity to see JR for what he is. “JR did it again. He got everybody in trouble,” she declares. “Pamela, that is a terrible thing to say,” Sue Ellen replies. “Well, it’s the truth, isn’t it?” Pam argues. “If he hadn’t gotten involved with Calhoun, none of this would have happened.” It’s a simple truth that is quickly buried in a smokescreen of sentimentality and revisionism. In a way, it’s a dry run for how JR will be deified after his death in 2013. Then it will be Elena Ramos who succeeds Pam as the speaker of truth when she calls the family out on their “rush to sentimentalise” JR. Pam’s stance also parallels Krystle’s attitude on this week’s DYNASTY. While the rest of the Carringtons, including Blake, seem happy to forgive and forget whatever Alexis has done in the past, it falls to Krystle (like Pam and Elena, her show’s original outsider) to hold her accountable for past sins. “I’ve lost one child because of you,” she reminds her.

    While THE COLBYS' final scene resolves one issue of paternity (“Oh, thank God!” gasps Jeff), the closing scene of FALCON CREST makes another more complicated. “No one knows better than you what it feels like to be a bastard in this world and you should have thought of that before you got Maggie pregnant,” says Angela to an incredulous Richard. Just then, Maggie herself bursts through the door and promptly goes into labour in the Falcon Crest hallway. The show’s heroine about to give birth in an enemy territory? It's a quintessential Soap Land scenario. Indeed, when Melissa turned up at Cole’s door in the same condition back in Season 2, it felt like the Soap Land equivalent of a Bronte novel. Alas, the impact of this cliffhanger is spoilt at the last minute by Angela putting her hand to her face and raising her eyebrows in a comedic “I’ve-seen-it-all-now” gesture. It’s one of those increasingly common moments on FALCON CREST that conveys a message of “isn’t this all very silly?” to the viewer and makes the drama that bit harder to invest in.

    It’s interesting to compare this ending with the closing scene of DALLAS which shows Sue Ellen on the phone to an unknown caller. Her melodramatically gobsmacked response (“Oh no! Oh my God! How? … There was an accident … Jamie’s dead!”) is played with endearing earnestness. In spite and/or because of that earnestness, it made me laugh out loud. Angela’s gesture at the end of FC, meanwhile, skips any pretence at sincerity and goes straight for the laugh. As a result, it falls flat.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (3) THE COLBYS
    4 (5) DYNASTY
    5 (4) FALCON CREST
     
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  12. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    19 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: In Mourning v. 20 Feb 87: DALLAS: A Death in the Family v. 20 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: Dance of Deception

    Last week, Ben Gibson shot Greg Sumner dead — or did he? That’s the question running through this week’s episode of KNOTS. It’s a mystery tailor-made for a Soap Land audience who have sat through 32 episodes of Pam’s dream on DALLAS, as well as numerous resurrections from the dead, and subsequently know better than to take anything at face value, the offscreen gunshot at the end of last week’s ep being a prime example. Such scepticism is mirrored by the characters on screen. “He’s dead,” Jean Hackney announces in the opening scene. “If he’s dead, why are you the only one who knows it? No police report, no hospital report, no news report,” responds her unnamed associate, as if pointing out the plot holes on our behalf. Whereas the sight of a body bag being loaded into an ambulance was all it took for Val Ewing’s legs to buckle back in ’84 (during the classic Gary-is-dead episode, “Finishing Touches”), times have changed. “You saw a damn body bag, big deal,” Jean’s cohort shrugs. “You didn’t look inside … For all you know, it could have been a sack of potatoes.”

    This spirit of cynicism carries through to the other soaps. “What are the odds Kit Marlowe’s still alive?” muses Richard Channing on FALCON CREST. “Tony Cumson saw her commit suicide,” answers Meredith Braxton. “He says he did,” Richard counters. Meanwhile on DALLAS, Cliff Barnes greets the news of Jamie’s death with a degree of caution (as well he might, given that her last death turned out to be part of Pam’s dream). “How did they know it was her?” he asks.

    The circumstances of Jamie’s demise turn out to be even more freakishly random than the oil barrel mishap she endured last season. “She was mountain-climbing in Mexico with a girlfriend,” Pam explains. “There was a rockslide … and they were buried … They didn’t find her for a week … They took pictures of her before the funeral.” If some of these details seem a tad grim, they pale next to what we learn has become of garrotted hitman Guy Stafford on FALCON CREST. “He’s been on the slab for seven weeks — no fingertips, no teeth,” Meredith informs Richard.

    While this week’s KNOTS is tightly structured — Greg’s disappearance informs every scene, even those involving characters who have no direct involvement in the story — FALCON CREST seems happy to throw anything and everything at the wall and hope some of it will stick. The opening sequence where Maggie goes into labour, for instance, combines elements of melodrama, farce, soapy sentimentality and sitcom self-parody. While some of it works (Dan Fixx playing Chopin on Angela’s piano as Chase and Richard deliver Maggie’s baby behind some Chinese shutters), some of it doesn’t (turning Angela’s secretary into a posh version of Butterfly McQueen in Gone With the Wind for the sake of a couple of lame gags).

    While Ben’s latest storyline is one of KNOTS’ most improbable to date, it paradoxically returns to the show to its roots. Specifically, the three original cul-de-sac housewives — Val, Karen and Laura — react to the circumstances in which they find themselves with their most defining character traits. Obliged to pretend that everything is normal while wondering if her husband is safe, Val remains tremulous and terrified throughout. Kept in the dark by both her husband and her best friend, Karen becomes ferociously curious. Confronted by the rumour of her husband’s death in the morning paper, Laura retreats once more behind her controlled and defensive veneer. “Just stop. Just don’t say anything, OK?” she says firmly when Karen tries to console her. In a different way, Sue Ellen’s recent abduction by BD Calhoun on DALLAS had a similar effect: there was something positively nostalgic about the scene where she returned to Southfork unable to account for her whereabouts the previous night. “You all think I’ve been drinking, don’t you?” she asked the family accusingly.

    The original cul-de-sac relationships are touched upon too: Karen and Val’s, Karen and Laura’s and, most interestingly, Laura and Val’s. When KNOTS first began, these two had the closest friendship on the cul-de-sac until the demands of continuing drama made Karen the most expedient confidante for both women. This dynamic is illustrated vividly in the scene where the news of Greg’s supposed death becomes a front-page headline. Whereas Val, knowing what she knows (or at least suspects), can’t even look at Laura, Karen dashes across the cul-de-sac to her, leading Laura to politely rebuff her attempts at comfort.

    As Peter Hollister worries about the correct way to respond (“If I make a public statement about his death and he’s not dead, I’m a liar. If I act like he’s alive and he’s not, I look like a fool … It’s a no-win situation”), Cliff Barnes’ duties following the demise of his ex-wife are more straightforward. Peter allows himself to be guided by Abby in her capacity as a corporate Lady Macbeth while Cliff is supported by Pam who travels with him to Los Angeles to sort out Jamie’s affairs.

    Peter’s subsequent behaviour mirrors JR’s attitude to Jamie’s demise. First, both pay lip service to the respective death in their midst. “Laura, I’m so sorry,” Peter tells his fake sister-in-law. “I feel terrible about it,” JR assures April. However, neither is blind to the potential upside. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t make the best of a bad situation,” reasons JR as he points out that Jamie’s death strengthens April’s claim to five percent of Ewing Oil. “I’m only looking after my interests, same as you would yours,” Peter insists as he asserts ownership of Greg’s prized chestnut mare. While April describes JR’s attitude as callous — our first indication that she may not be an entirely bad girl — Laura’s response to Peter is even stronger: “Oh, you’re such a greedy bastard.”

    Of course, there’s far more to Greg’s estate than to Jamie’s. “In the A’s alone, Galveston Industries controls half the businesses in this country,” marvels Peter. Jamie’s fortune, meanwhile, consists of her $2,000,000 divorce settlement and ten percent of Ewing Oil. “It’s no big deal anyway. Jack gets everything she has,” shrugs Cliff.

    However, the final scenes of KNOTS and DALLAS each contain a fab switcheroo. By this point, Val has plucked up sufficient courage to visit Laura at the ranch — whether this is to support her or to make sure Greg is really dead is hard to say. Then suddenly Greg appears. “Oh, brother!” mutters Laura in relief as she embraces him. Cliff also gets a nice surprise at the end of DALLAS when his lawyer informs him that Jamie apparently died before either filing their divorce papers or formalising her will: “It means you were the husband at the time of her death and accordingly, the sole beneficiary of her estate.” Cliff breaks into a smile and then into laughter. “God bless her!” he chuckles as the frame freezes. However, the best ending is on KNOTS when Val turns her head away from Greg and Laura's embrace in alarm — a more abrupt variation on her slow-mo spin the end of Season 6 — and silently asks herself, “If Greg’s alive, where the hell does that leave Ben??”

    DALLAS has a few anomalous moments this week. There are a couple of stabs at comedy — one where Sue Ellen’s associate assures her that he’s found a worthy successor to Mandy Winger as the Valentine Girl, only for Sue Ellen’s face to drop when she lays eyes on the girl in question. We don’t see what she sees so it’s a bit like we’re missing the punchline. Then there’s the scene where Cliff visits Jamie’s rock-climbing pal Mary Elizabeth, who is still on crutches, in LA. Before Cliff appears, we see her struggle across her apartment to answer her phone, only to take so long the line goes dead just as she picks it up. Then she hobbles back to her chair, only for Cliff to knock on the door as soon as she sits down. While neither of these scenes is laugh out loud funny — far from it — there’s a kind of endearing wackiness to them. They don’t undermine the drama in any way, and Sue Ellen’s scene at least serves the purpose of keeping the concept of Valentine Lingerie alive in the viewers’ minds. The same cannot be said for the party scene in FALCON CREST where Melissa angrily cuts the straps off her rival Dina’s dress, leaving her stranded in her sexy underwear as if she were in a 1970s comedy series. As there are no dramatic consequences, the moment seems to exist solely for our amusement. Alas, it’s just not funny.

    The most curious occurrence of the DALLAS week is when Christopher, while playing with John Ross, reaches for his daddy’s real-life gun and fires at his cousin. No one is hurt, the future Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe both cry a lot and are then sent to their rooms, and that’s about it. It’s not terrible, it’s just strange — and again, impossible to imagine occurring prior to the Post-Dream era.

    Another child-related rarity: in spite his premature birth, Maggie Gioberti’s son suffers no ill effects — a refreshing change following the DYNASTY-verse’s recent sick-kiddie pile-up. Instead, the drama comes from Maggie's decision to take a paternity test after all. If Chase is the father, she’ll keep the baby. If it isn’t, she’ll give it up for adoption. All very soapy, but FC manages to make her choice feel both poignant and emotionally mature. (“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.”) However, the subsequent scene in which a gloved pair of hands open a hospital cupboard helpfully labelled “Blood and Tissue Samples” and switch a vial of Chase’s blood for a fake one is pure nonsensical soap thrillingness.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    25 Feb 87: DYNASTY: The Mothers v. 26 Feb 87: THE COLBYS: Answered Prayers v. 27 Feb 87: DALLAS: Revenge of the Nerd v. 27 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: Hat Trick

    There are two weddings and two divorces in this week’s Soap Land. Jason Colby is an active participant in one of each. The divorce scene between him and Sable on THE COLBYS is simply a knockout. It’s also one of three recent instances of an estranged couple signing a legal document in a civilised manner that belies the more complicated feelings of heartache and bitterness underneath the surface. On last week’s FALCON CREST, Maggie thanked Chase for signing her son’s birth certificate as the father. “I didn’t expect you to,” she admits. “I was very touched.” “It seemed like the right thing to do,” he replies. However, any hopes that his gesture might lead to a reconciliation are promptly dashed when Maggie apologises for her decision not to have a paternity test performed before the baby was born. “What am I supposed to do — just accept this apology, come running back to you?” he snaps at her. Meanwhile on last week’s DALLAS, Ray and Donna both signed a property settlement in which they each renounced any financial claim on the other. So far so amicable, but when Donna reaches out to him afterwards, Ray proves to be just as resentful as Chase. “If I sound bitter about this, I’m sorry, Donna, but I just can’t help it,” he says. “Why don’t you just go back to Washington, do whatever it is that makes you happy back there? I’m fine. It’s taken me a while, but I think I’ve finally got you out of my system.”

    Chase and Maggie, Donna and Ray — for a long time, these were two of the most dependably solid couples in Soap Land. The Krebbs and Gioberti marriages provided an emotional ballast to the soapy turmoil surrounding them (the relationships of Bobby and Pam, Gary and Val, and Jeff and Fallon, for instance, which seem almost teenage in comparison). To watch these same characters now behaving towards each other with coldness and indifference — well, it’s a bit like watching your mum and dad split up.

    Affecting though these scenes are, they pale in significance next to the divorce-paper-signing-scene in Jason’s office in this week’s COLBYS. It is the moment Sable has moved heaven and earth to avoid, but finally, she gives in and signs on the dotted line. She even manages a brave little joke. “I had a plan,” she admits to Jason. “You know that pen of mine that always leaks? Well, I was going sign with that and then hope a huge inkblot would invalidate everything.” The deed done, she stands to leave. She makes it as far as the doorway before turning around. “Don’t marry her, Jason,” she pleads, referring to Frankie. “Please don’t marry her … You need me.” Begging the man you’ve just divorced not to marry your sister isn’t an experience many viewers can identify with, but the feelings behind them, the pain and humiliation, are universal. The line where Sable acknowledges her loss of dignity is particularly striking. “I do know how ridiculous I’ve made myself for you,” she tells Jason. “There are smiles and whispers when I enter a room. Did you know that?” This is a rare instance of a soap character recognising how their behaviour must appear to the outside world. If DALLAS was happening in real life, for instance, Sue Ellen’s social standing would have been in tatters years ago. As stars of their own TV show, however, she and JR are regarded indulgently as “practically an institution.” Sable continues to implore Jason (“Don’t be my husband — I’ll learn to accept that — but please, I beg you, don’t be hers”), but to no avail. “I will marry her. I will be happy,” he insists, quietly but firmly.

    THE COLBYS’ divorce scene ends with Sable gliding down a hallway swathed in furs, her back to the camera. She appears the image of cool and collected glamour yet we the audience know how broken and defeated she is. It’s a juxtaposition which encapsulates the series’ USP: the messiest of human emotions wrapped up in luxurious artifice and the soapiest of contrivances.

    The Krebbs marriage also comes to an end this week. Their divorce takes place in a courtroom where Ray and Donna have their attorneys to speak for them — not that there’s much left to say. (“It’s all been said,” as Miss Ellie acknowledges during what amounts to a farewell lunch with Donna). In contrast to the emotional nature of Jason and Sable’s parting, there’s a numbness, almost an anti-drama about the Krebbs’ situation which feels as just real.

    In spite of everything, Sable and Ray each make a last minute attempt to act selflessly. Realising that Jason really is going to marry Frankie, Sable manages to find it in herself to wish him well. “I hope that you’re happy … I won’t make it difficult for you,” she promises him. Ray, meanwhile, quietly signals his lawyer to drop any attempt to challenge Donna for custody of their unborn child.

    Following their respective divorces, Ray retreats into the past by drowning his sorrows in the saloon bar where he and Donna first met while Sable looks to the future by vacationing in Morocco with new lover Zach Powers — at least, that’s the theory. In reality, her ex-husband’s wedding is Sable can think about. Meanwhile, Ray returns home from the bar to find his future, in the shape of Jenna and Charlie, waiting for him. Jenna wakes up having dozed off on the couch, but Ray tells her to go back to sleep and then sits next to her in the dark. It’s a touching little moment. Watching this season of DALLAS with hindsight, it’s hard to pinpoint precisely where Ray and Jenna’s relationship shifts from the platonic towards something more intimate, but this scene seems significant in that regard. Likewise, the confrontation between Richard and Chase on this week’s FALCON CREST seems to mark a turning point in the Chase/Maggie/Richard triangle. “What in the hell are you doing running around with some cheerleader while your wife sits home with a newborn baby?” Richard demands of his half-brother. “Maggie is one of the finest women I’ve ever known. She gets raped by a maniac and you turn your back on her … I told you this once before — you turn your back on Maggie and I may just come courting.”

    As for the two weddings in this week’s Soap Land, one is a low key affair (Emma and Vince Karlotti’s on FALCON CREST) while the other, Jason and Frankie’s on THE COLBYS, is anything but. The final scene of this week’s episode takes two show-stopping Soap Land scenarios — the wedding day bombshell (e.g., Pam Ewing learning that Jenna is carrying Bobby’s child just before she walks down the aisle) and a resurrection from the dead (e.g., Pam Ewing finding Mark Graison in her back garden and then collapsing into his arms) — and combines them in one almighty cliffhanger. Midway through her wedding vows, Frankie spots Hoyt Parker in the congregation and freezes. “Oh my God … him!” she finally gasps. Jason follows her gaze and manages to identify the man as “Phil, my brother!” before Frankie, just like Pam Ewing before her, faints in his arms.

    It’s a toss-up as to who looks the more amazed — Jason and Frankie upon seeing the long-dead Phillip Colby at their wedding or Peter Stavros when he spots his more recently deceased stepdaughter Skylar in a hotel lobby on FALCON CREST. Merely with the aid of a curly wig, Skylar — or rather Kit — manages to convince Peter that she’s someone called Madeleine McKittrick and makes her getaway. (Madeleine is Kit Marlowe’s third persona of the season, thus bringing her level with Wes Parmalee/Jock Ewing/Wyatt Haynes.)

    At first, the story of Krystina’s heart condition on DYNASTY was about what happens when the rich and powerful are confronted with a situation over which they have no control. In spite of Krystle’s protests (“Blake, this can’t be happening … It can’t be true, I won’t accept it … She’s my baby, I won’t let them hurt her, I won’t!”), there are basic medical facts that money and prestige cannot override. “Her heart muscle is deteriorating and without a transplant, she’s not going to make it,” her doctor states. However, once the search for a transplant donor begins, it becomes a different kind of storyline. The Carringtons’ name and connections mean they can launch a nationwide appeal. (How convenient that newspaper magnate Alexis turned from bitter enemy to eager ally just in time to assist with this latest crisis!) From this point, the situation plays more like a traditional Soap Land kidnap scenario with various family members huddled tensely round a telephone, waiting for the all-important call. It also makes them vulnerable to those “real world” whack jobs against whom they would otherwise be insulated — perverts, extortionists and crazy people. Or in the case of the wonderfully creepy Adele whom Krystle encounters in a hospital corridor, a crazy person who is also an extortionist. “I can get you a heart,” she tells her eagerly. “You’ll pay me to get you a heart, won’t you?”

    The “real world” people depicted on this week’s DALLAS are generally more benign. When Bobby informs John Carter, a company employee from the town of Pride, that Ewing Oil is shutting down the town’s wells for economic reasons, he greets the news with quiet defeat. “These are some times,” he sighs wearily. “Those oilfields have been the lifeblood of that town.” Things are looking similarly bleak on FALCON CREST where “twenty-six vineyards in the last month and a half” have been swallowed up, Jeremy Wendell-style, by the Tuscany Land Company. “Somebody’s trying to destroy the family vineyards in this valley,” concludes Tony Cumson.

    Then there are the three seemingly nondescript people we meet in the final scene of DALLAS, working in a basement room of the FBI. With its coded entry system, whirring computers and bunker-style surroundings, there’s a bit of a sci-fi/Empire Valley vibe about the place. The people themselves, however, are reassuringly down-to-earth. There’s Agent Leo Daltery, whom we’ve seen before with JR, complaining lightly about the demands of his job and engaging in some low-level flirting with a file clerk called Henrietta, whose status as “ordinary” is emphasised by the fact that she’s played by Gary and Abby’s Hispanic housekeeper Maria from KNOTS. There’s also an anxious-looking character called Alfred who wears a bow-tie and mutters about cross-referencing and different numbered forms. He’s the kind of socially awkward tech geek that’s since become ubiquitous on TV, but this is the first time one has found his way into the glamorous world of Soap Land. His ears prick up when he hears Leo instructing Henrietta to take the evidence the FBI has on Ewing Oil’s association with BD Calhoun and “deep six it forever.” As Leo, Henrietta and all that dirt on the Ewings disappear out of shot, the camera lingers on Alfred long enough for him to get the freeze frame. It’s a unique introduction to a Soap Land character, especially one as unprepossessing as Alfred. I’ve always assumed that the title of this episode, “Revenge of the Nerd”, refers to Cliff getting one over on the Ewings, but maybe it applies to nerdy Alfred too.

    There’s a tenuous but emotive theme running through this week’s Soap Land to do with parents surrendering their children. It’s there in the DALLAS courtroom when Ray gives up his custody fight and in the hospital waiting room on DYNASTY where Blake gently persuades Sarah Curtis to give away what is left of her child’s life. (“You have a child with a healthy heart. I have a child that’ll die if she doesn’t get a strong healthy heart. We have a chance to save one of them.”) It also surfaces in two paternity test denouements, one on THE COLBYS, the other on FALCON CREST. First, a magnificently bitter Miles Colby is obliged to relinquish the possibility that he is the father of Fallon’s baby to his brother Jeff: “First you take my wife, then my dad. Now you want my little girl, my only child.” Then it’s Chase Gioberti’s turn to be informed that “you are not the father of this baby.” Compared to Miles, his response is muted. Of course, the extra twist in this situation is that Chase’s blood sample has been switched so maybe he is the father after all.

    While Madeleine McKittrick, Kit Marlowe’s latest alias on FALCON CREST, is another intertextual reference to Kim Novak’s film ’Vertigo’, the final scene of this week’s DYNASTY evokes the ending of another classic Hollywood movie: an airport runway at night, a small private plane, characters in raincoats, a huge sacrificial gesture, the final shot where the camera pulls up and away to reveal Blake, Krystle and Sarah Curtis as smaller parts of a bigger picture — it feels like the start of, if not exactly a beautiful friendship, then a strange bond between the Carringtons and this grieving woman.

    DYNASTY, dominated as it is by Krystina’s story, currently has more in common with the three-hankie, women’s weepies of old Hollywood than the inter-family feuding we’re used to seeing in Soap Land. However, the episode does contain one deliciously soapy scene where Neil McVane, freshly released from the Soap Land Penitentiary, lies in wait for Adam in his suite at the Carlton Hotel. The lighting is dark and ominous music plays on the soundtrack. A framed photo of Alexis at her most ridiculously glamorous prompts McVane to flash back to the dramatic moment in Season 3 where he tried to strangle her. “No one will save you this time, Alexis, no one,” he murmurs alone in the darkness. The confrontation between him and Adam that follows is just as juicy. “I’m certifiably sane,” McVane insists, looking anything but. He then casually rewrites Carrington history by announcing that “Adam Carrington, the real Adam Carrington, died the day after he was kidnapped.” Adam — if indeed he is Adam — looks stricken, as well he might. The impostor who doesn’t even know if he is an impostor — it’s an interesting variation on the fake identity theme that has been running throughout this season.

    Elsewhere on this week’s DYNASTY, Alexis encounters Dirk Maurier, aka “the man World Finance called a financial genius.” Meanwhile, Angela has a new associate on FALCON CREST, Roland Saunders, aka “the rudest billionaire in the Fortune 500.” Beyond their reputations, little is known of either man, but both seem quite unsavoury, if not downright sinister. In terms of villainy, Saunders gains the advantage when he orders the execution of the mother of his child, Kit Marlowe. Moreover, he wants to watch it happen. “I just want to be there to say goodbye,” he explains.

    The last episode of DYNASTY found a disillusioned Alexis on a beach in California, questioning her life choices. There have been similar moments involving Greg Sumner, Dominique Devereaux and Bobby Ewing in recent weeks, and now Ellie Farlow becomes the latest character to succumb to soap fatigue. “I just can’t bear anymore,” she complains. “There’s been no peace in this family for as long as I can remember.” Clayton responds by calling her “the rock that holds this family together.” “I don’t want to be a rock!” she insists, thereby rejecting her primary dramatic function. As if that weren’t shocking enough, she then says the unthinkable: “Sometimes I think I should just sell the ranch, period, and let everybody go on their way.”

    FALCON CREST heats up this week with several disparate plots — the Kit Marlowe story, Angela’s association with Roland Saunders, the mysterious Tuscany Land Company, Chase’s love life and the ongoing feud between Angela and Richard — starting to converge in interesting ways. It also finds time to go back to its roots with Angela giving Vicky a guided tour of the family gravesite and a brief character sketch of each of the ancestors buried there. (No other soap family is as interested in its forebears as the Giobertis.) The scene is a blast from the past in more ways than one — Angela shared a near identical scene with Vicky’s brother Cole during the first season.

    DALLAS also revisits its backstory as Cliff’s surprise inheritance of Jamie’s ten percent of Ewing Oil reignites the Barnes/Ewing feud. “They cheated old Digger Barnes and they laughed,” he recalls. “Jock Ewing treated him like dirt just like his son JR treats me like dirt and now it’s my turn. There is no price you can put on that.” The manner in which Cliff, after years of scheming and struggling, suddenly lucks into a slice of the company is reminiscent of the way JR was unexpectedly offered complete control of Ewing Oil by Pam at the end of the dream season. Whereas the tone of that story had an end of an era momentousness about it, this one is mostly just fun. Watching Cliff trying to keep his mounting hysteria in check as he realises all his dreams are about to come true is a blast.

    However, one can also detect an underlying darkness to his obsession, especially in the scene where Pam asks him to sell Jamie’s ten percent to her so she can put it a trust for Christopher. “You don’t deserve it and you are going to destroy us. I am begging you to sell me those shares,” she pleads. “No way on earth,” he replies flatly. The Cliff we see here and during a subsequent confrontation with Bobby is a very different man to the one who behaved so generously and compassionately towards Jamie's friend Mary Elizabeth in last week’s episode. As he himself acknowledges, he is now “smelling blood, Ewing blood” and has consequently acquired a tunnel vision where nothing else matters, not even his sister and his nephew. Amidst all the funny stuff, we can glimpse the monster he’ll become in New DALLAS.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (-) THE COLBYS
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (-) DYNASTY
    4 (3) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  14. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    04 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Surgery v. 05 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: Return Engagement v. 05 Mar 87: KNOTS LANDING: Nightmare v. 06 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Battle Lines

    The most interesting scenes in this week’s DYNASTY-verse delve into the past to evoke themes of identity and betrayal. First, on DYNASTY itself, Adam visits Dr Edwards, that most reliable of recurring characters who pops up every season or two to doggedly recount the same old story of Adam’s unhappy childhood — an unhappiness due to some intuitive sense that he was an outsider (i.e., a Carrington) who didn’t belong in the backwoods of Montana. However, pressed by Adam this week, the good doctor admits that he has been lying all along, that he has always secretly believed Adam to be Michael Torrance. It’s a surprising admission that casts everything that went before in a new light. “You were playing with my life, do you realise that?” Adam/Michael barks at him. On the following night’s COLBYS, Jeff finally comes face to face with the man he grew up believing to be his dead father. Turns out he was wrong on both counts. “I knew your mother would raise you as my son,” Phillip tells him. “In the POW camps, I used to imagine a kid halfway across the world growing up in this house talking about his dad. Sometimes it hurt, sometimes it helped.”

    “This prison camp — how long did the Vietcong keep you there?” Jeff asks. “The first one? Twelve years,” Phillip replies. It occurs to me that, with the exception of Chase Gioberti, virtually all the Soap Land characters to have served in the Vietnam War have been depicted as morally twisted. The duplicitous Ed Haynes (Pam Ewing’s first husband who used his wartime internment as a ruse to pretend they were still married), the vengeful Nick Toscanni, Michael Brandon’s disturbed character on EMERALD POINT NAS and now Phillip Colby — they all carry a trace of Colonel Kurtz in their DNA.

    Phillip is a first-class Soap Land addition. Simply by his presence, without appearing to do anything, he pits the Colby family against itself. All of a sudden, there are newly divided loyalties, power struggles and love triangles everywhere you look. As for Phillip himself, he has a charismatically subversive presence reminiscent of Greg Sumner or Joshua Rush. The actor has a habit of looking downwards during conversations, averting his eyes from whomever he is speaking to. This is common enough human behaviour in the real world, but within the stylised environment of Soap Land where most scenes consist of close-ups of faces looking at one another, it feels quietly transgressive.

    In the same way that the appearance of Frankie’s first husband on last week’s COLBYS wrecked her wedding to Jason, the actions of Gary’s first wife on this week’s KNOTS scupper his plans to marry Jill. Only a few weeks after her former brothers-in-law took it upon themselves to shoot BD Calhoun on DALLAS, Val decides to the same thing to Jean Hackney (whom she thinks has murdered Ben) . However, Val being Val, and KNOTS being KNOTS, procuring a gun proves more complicated than it usually does when a Soap Land character is suddenly possessed by an urge for murderous vengeance. Throughout the episode, Val makes several thwarted attempts to obtain a weapon before finally ransacking Gary’s bedroom to find his gun. “It was my grandfather’s. I inherited it,” Gary later explains, neatly connecting this latest drama to the Ewing family backstory.

    Gary’s subsequent efforts to prevent his ex from doing something crazy prompts the second Mrs Ewing (Abby) to give the soon-to-be third Mrs Ewing (Jill) “a friendly warning: the first Mrs Ewing doesn’t go away. Ever.” The same, of course, could be said for the first Mrs Colby. When we initially encounter Sable this week, she is in a Moroccan hotel bedroom with Zach, claiming to have come to terms with the past. “I was reborn the moment I knew Jason and Frankie were finally married,” she declares. “I feel a sense of freedom, a release … What’s past is gone.” As soon she receives word that the marriage didn’t take place, however, her first instinct is to fly home to console Jason and taunt Frankie.

    “My sister’s about to say, ‘I do’ when the groom’s dead brother, coincidentally the bride’s ex-husband, returns from the dead,” Sable recounts mockingly. She’s not the only character to acknowledge the farfetched nature of recent events in Soap Land. “This just can’t be true! … That is insane! … I just don’t believe this! It’s crazy!” interjects Karen Mackenzie at regular intervals as Mack finally brings her up to speed on the Jean Hackney storyline with the aid of multiple flashbacks and reams of exposition-heavy dialogue that resembles the summation at the end of an especially complicated SCOOBY DOO episode.

    Phillip and his “widow” don’t meet until the end of this week’s COLBYS when Frankie comes out of her bathroom to find that he has let himself into the pool house. He proceeds to reminisce about the visits they made there years earlier. (“We used to come here in winter. Nobody would come near it then. You remember — just the two of us.”) The scene takes place at night, as did a similar encounter earlier in this season’s DALLAS. Then it was Miss Ellie who was surprised when her previously dead husband, Wes Parmalee, stole onto the Southfork patio and began recalling intimate moments from their marriage. (“That time that Punk lent us his lodge down at the lake for that second honeymoon I took you on … Neither one of us were kids then, Ellie, but it was like we were eighteen again.”) In each instance, the man’s words exert a power over the woman which has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with emotion and sensuality. Frankie’s hair is damp and she is clad in a simple bathrobe. Consequently, she looks more naturally beautiful and less like a Nolan Miller mannequin than she ever has before. It feels both shocking and inevitable when she and Phillip kiss. The wonderfully ridiculous living arrangements of the Colby household mean that Sable is just closing her bedroom window for the night when she spies them together across the grounds.

    Just as THE COLBYS concentrates on the fall-out from Phillip’s shock resurrection at the end of last week’s instalment, this week’s KNOTS focuses on the repercussions of Greg Sumner’s surprise reappearance at the end of its previous episode. As a result, this ep resembles a slightly less bloodthirsty version of recent FALCON CREST. Instead of Meredith Braxton bursting out of her own coffin, we have Ben Gibson discovered alive and well inside a body bag. In lieu of Meredith blowing away a bunch of bad guys with relative ease, we’ve got Jean Hackney bungling a last-ditch attempt to assassinate Greg during a faux seduction scene where he ends up pulling a gun on her. Meanwhile, Gary prevents Val from inadvertently shooting a cleaning woman.

    Ben finally makes it home in the third-to-last scene of the ep. Instead of Val fainting Frankie Colby-style when she sees him, she, Ben, the twins and Lilimae enjoy a touchingly emotional reunion reminiscent of the one that took place between Val and her babies after their kidnapping.

    The stolen twins storyline is also echoed on FALCON CREST. Such is the unsympathetic reaction Maggie receives from those around her as she agonises over whether or not to put her son up for adoption, it’s almost as if they were conspiring to force her to give her baby away. While Angela is characteristically cruel (“It’s amazing how much he looks like his father,” she sneers upon visiting the baby and threatening to one day tell him the truth about his paternity), Vicky is surprisingly callous, calling her mother “totally insane” to even contemplate keeping “Wainwright’s bastard.” Meanwhile, Emma’s insensitivity (“You don’t have to give Douglas up for adoption — you can give him to me!” she suggests excitedly) is matched by Chase’s — he chooses this week to begin sleeping with his younger girlfriend. And the cold efficiency of her adoption lawyer prompts to Maggie to exclaim that “we are talking a living breathing helpless little baby here, not some kind of a business merger!” Such behaviour allows Richard to emerge as the sole voice of compassion, suggesting to Maggie that they leave the valley and raise their sons together. However, she is not convinced and tearfully hands over her baby to a stern-looking nurse.

    Even though it’s never had quite the same impact on me as it did on first viewing, the final scene of this week’s KNOTS is very memorable. It takes place the morning after Ben’s return and begins with an establishing shot of the cul-de-sac looking idyllically peaceful. It then cuts to the happily reunited Gibsons lying next to each other in bed. “Good morning,” they say to one another. After promising to clean out the garage, Ben gets up and Val starts to follow him to the shower. (All the clues were there …) Suddenly Jean Hackney appears and pumps three bullets into Val. Ben rushes back to find his blood-splattered wife lying on the floor. Before we can process what has happened, Ben wakes up again, this time frightened, gasping and covered in sweat. This is his reality now. The sequence is kind of a metaphor for KNOTS itself: There’s no going back. This is no longer a show about everyday suburban folk who can contentedly revert to the mundane status quo once their latest storyline is over. Neither the characters’ own psyches nor the inflationary demands of Soap Land drama will allow it.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (1) THE COLBYS
    2 (-) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
     
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  15. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    11 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Garage v. 12 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: Devil's Advocate v. 12 Mar 87: KNOTS LANDING: Neighborly Conduct v. 13 Mar 87: DALLAS: The Ten Percent Solution v. 13 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Nowhere to Run

    Still grieving for her husband and daughter, Sarah Curtis tries to kill herself on this week’s DYNASTY. Krystle finds her in time, gets her to hospital and then invites her to move into the Carrington mansion to recuperate. At the end of the episode, Sarah speaks to Krystle’s daughter as if she were her own lost child. The loss of her family, a suicide attempt, lodging with the Carringtons, confusing one child for another — this is more or less Claudia Blaisdel’s entire Season 2 arc compressed into a couple of episodes. Whereas we’d had the previous season to get to know Claudia, Sarah’s almost as much a stranger to us as, well, New Claudia on New DYNASTY who has also been bereaved twice over — and what’s the betting she too will to be invited to stay at the mansion after being knocked down by New Blake?

    Old Blake, meanwhile, has his doubts about Sarah’s visit. “I think it’s a bad idea,” he tells Krystle. “It’s not good for her, not good for the baby, not good for any of us.” Frankie feels much the same about Phillip on THE COLBYS: “He shouldn’t be staying at the house … Please, Jason, make him leave. You’re gambling with our happiness.” Karen Mackenzie is just as unhappy on KNOTS when she finds that Anne Matheson has moved into the cul-de-sac: “I don’t even like seeing her occasionally. Now she’s gonna be right next door!”

    If Sarah Curtis is following in Claudia Blaisdel’s footsteps, then Anne is following in Susan Philby’s. Just as the sophisticated ex of Karen’s last husband showed up on her doorstep to find her with dirt on her face and her hair in bunches (back in the Season 1 episode “Civil Wives”), Mack’s old flame arrives in Seaview Circle on the very morning that Karen is clearing out the garage whilst wearing a headscarf. Nor are these the only examples of Soap Land déjà vu this week. Back on DYNASTY, Neil McVane sidles up to Michael Culhane at Dirk Maurier’s cocktail party and tries to enlist him in his anti-Alexis gang (“Welcome to the club. From the inner circle to the bleachers … she tossed you out”), just as he did Mark Jennings at the Carousel Ball three seasons earlier.

    A week after Val Gibson went after Jean Hackney with a gun on KNOTS, Kim Novak pulls a pistol on her tormentor, Roland Saunders, on FALCON CREST. “Go ahead,” Saunders tells her. “Pull the trigger, Susan. Or is it Kit? Or Madeline? You couldn’t still be Skylar.” Indeed, at this point, Novak's aliases are proving almost impossible to keep track of. The double lives led by Adam Carrington/Michael Torrance and Phillip Colby/Hoyt Parker are relatively straightforward in comparison. Both of these DYNASTY-verse “impostors” (the jury’s still out on Adam) receive an unexpected windfall this week. Blake reinstates Adam/Michael in his will while Jeff promises Phillip/Hoyt a third of his shares in Colby Enterprises. Even though this is what both men have wanted all along, their reactions are interestingly ambivalent. “You’re acting like Blake just invited you out for lunch,” observes Adam’s fiancee Dana as he hides his identity crisis behind a veneer of indifference. Phillip’s response to Jeff, meanwhile, is possibly the Soap Land highlight of the week. Upon learning he’s in line for $150,000,000, the normally impassive Phillip doubles over in sudden laughter which subsides as abruptly as it began. He then apologises and seems genuinely moved. “I didn’t expect it, your generosity,” he murmurs. “I wish things were different. I wish you were my son … I don’t know how to thank you.” He embraces Jeff with an edge of desperation, then collects himself again.

    Jeff’s gift provides Phillip with the chance to repay a $2,000,000 debt owed to “some people you don’t disappoint” — unless Jason can find a way to discredit his brother before the transaction is finalised. Cliff faces a similar deadline on DALLAS. When he refuses to sell Jamie’s 10% of Ewing Oil to West Star, Jeremy Wendell calls in his $6,000,000 debt. “You have three days to come up with the money,” he tells him. After an attempt to seduce Marilee Stone into giving him a loan goes amusingly wrong, Cliff contemplates selling his share of Wentworth Tool & Die, a company that has acquired sacrosanct status within the Barnes family almost overnight. (“Wentworth Tool & Die was Mama’s legacy to us!” Pam exclaims. “I can’t believe you would even think of selling it. Do you know what that company meant to her? Don’t you have any integrity?!”)

    Hoping to find some dirt on Phillip, Jason makes a secret trip to Singapore. He soon runs into some red tape and goes to the British Embassy Vice Consul for help. Rather neatly, this turns out to be Roger Langdon — the very man whom Frankie recently divorced in order to marry Jason. “Ironic isn’t it? Her next husband consulting her last husband about her first,” muses Roger. The third Mr Frankie then gives the soon-to-be-fourth Mr Frankie a friendly warning about the woman they both love: “She’s quite a woman, but she does have her flaws … I don’t think she knows herself what she wants. You see, when it comes to men, the latest voice seems to be the most persuasive.” And that’s not the only COLBYS conversation to echo Abby’s advice to Jill on last week’s KNOTS. “I want to give you a tip,” Adrienne Cassidy tells Monica during a drunken late night phone call. “Try stepping down off that pedestal. Cash likes that … You see, he thinks he wants a lady, but what he really wants is a whore.”

    As the episode title suggests, much of this week’s KNOTS is set in the cul-de-sac, with the action taking place against a backdrop of everyday life — spring-cleaning, jogging, a neighbourly dinner party. However, this is less a depiction of suburbia than suburbia-with-a-twist. To the left of the Mackenzie house, we have fish-out-of-water Anne attempting to adhere to the norms of neighbourhood life whilst simultaneously exhibiting a passive-aggressive desire to disrupt the domestic status quo. This results in a kind of sly parody of suburbia, the high point of which is Karen and Mack’s response to the nude photos of Anne hanging on her living room wall: “They’re very … nude.” To the right, we have Ben and Val, each trying to move on from their recent ordeal at the hands of Jean Hackney by retreating behind a facade of normalcy. “It’s like nothing ever happened,” whispers Val, still clearly traumatised, while Ben sits staring into space as Lilimae tries to talk to him.

    Consequently, when a delivery package is left on the Mackenzie doorstep, it is not simply a delivery package left on the Mackenzie doorstep. For Ben, it’s potentially a bomb sent by Jean Hackney to wipe he and his family off the face of the earth; for Anne (to whom the package is addressed and who has pre-arranged for it to be dropped off next door), it’s a way of luring Mack over to her place while Karen is working late. I don’t think this is a precise example what the following passage in @TommyK's fascinating essay describes, but the basic principle still applies:

    ”The brilliance of Knots Landing -- as with the best domestic dramas -- is that the mundane tasks were always a backdrop (and more often than not, an outlet) for issues of real importance. If Val helped Karen stretch a sweater that seemed tight, it wasn't about the sweater: it was about Karen's insecurities, after spending time away from her family and coming back to find so much changed. If Mack and Karen started squabbling about trivial matters -- like what color the living room should be painted, and which way the toilet paper should come off the roll -- it wasn't about paint chips and toilet paper; it was about Mack having a midlife crisis. (As I mentioned in my Season 6 essay, that season's headwriter, Richard Gollance, would always ask, "What is the scene about?" There had to be something simmering subtextually that the actors could play.)”

    http://thatsallsiknow.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/knots-landing-season-13.html

    What happens when there isn’t “something simmering subtextually that the actors could play” is illustrated by a couple of domestic-themed scenes in this week’s DALLAS. First, Clayton chortles as Miss Ellie mock-chides him for eating salsa and chips late at night, then John Ross coos over a puppy in a pet shop as Sue Ellen looks on in mock-exasperation. “What is the scene about?” indeed. Presumably, each of these scenes is intended to show the Ewings as more relatable, rounded characters. Instead, the absence of subtext robs those characters of what made them interesting and unique in the first place and so they end up sounding the same as any other bland, generic characters on any other bland, generic TV show. Scenes of this nature were prevalent on DALLAS during the Dream Season so it’s probably significant that this episode was written by cast member Susan Howard, a vocal champion of that period of the show.

    A more intriguing idiosyncrasy of Howard’s writing reveals itself at the start of this episode. Her previous ep, last season’s “Overture”, began with JR in a meeting with his boot supplier and this instalment also opens by focusing on a major character’s choice of footwear. “I heard they do that in Los Angeles, but this is Dallas,” says secretary Jackie with reference to Pam’s hightop trainers (or the 80s equivalent thereof).

    There are three awkward social gatherings in Soap Land this week. The first is set up, somewhat uncharacteristically, by Jason on THE COLBYS. Upon his return from Singapore, he summons the entire family to a formal dinner party at the house. He then springs a nasty surprise on them: Bianca Jagger. She promptly identifies Phillip as “Hoyt Parker. So this is where you’ve been hiding yourself!” Cue dramatic music, shocked close-ups and a freeze frame of Phillip looking shifty. Anne’s housewarming-cum-dinner party on KNOTS, meanwhile, is played for light comedy rather than melodrama with a reluctant Karen obliged to make nice to her hostess while Mack is slowly bored to death by Anne’s stockbroker date. The engagement party Angela throws for Dan and Vicky on FALCON CREST, meanwhile, is not so much awkward as an unmitigated disaster. The groom-to-be is a no-show while the bride arrives drunk and tries to get Eric Stavros into bed. Not to mention the small matter of Roland Saunders' dead body being found in the winery, after Kit/Skylar/Madeline/Susan has chosen cigar-injected-with-poison over an everyday shooting as her preferred method of murder.

    It’s notable that Maya Kumara, Bianca Jagger’s character on THE COLBYS, is introduced as Hoyt Parker’s “mistress”, despite being the wealthier and more powerful of the couple and the fact that she rather than he was married during their affair. Soap Land’s other current big name guest star, FC’s Kim Novak, is defined in the same way. “You were born to be the mistress of a man like me,” Roland Saunders tells her prior to puffing on that fatal cigar.

    Sartorial trend of the week: Donna Krebbs and Maggie Gioberti each turning up to a black-tie affair in a plain winter coat. In Donna’s case, she unintentionally crashes a formal dinner party in order to apologise to Senator Dowling for rebuffing his offer of support earlier in the episode. Maggie, meanwhile, marches into Angela’s house during the engagement do demanding to see the child Emma has secretly adopted, believing it to be the baby she gave away (and now wants back, having found out Chase is the father after all). She is stunned into silence when a ten-year-old black boy appears. (Unless one counts Dominique Devereaux’s “the same daddy” revelation to Blake back in ’84 or the non-reaction to Eric Fairgate's black girlfriend on KNOTS a year later, this is the first time race has been used as a punchline in Soap Land — and it works, in a DIFF’RENT STROKES sort of way. It’s certainly funnier than most of FC’s recent attempts at humour).

    Just as the first soap of the week ended with a mother addressing someone else’s baby as her own (“Goodnight, my darling,” said Sarah Curtis to Krystina) so does the last. In the final scene of FALCON CREST, we discover that Melissa has somehow taken possession of the child Maggie put up for adoption. “You’re not Maggie’s, you’re not Chase’s — you’re my little Roberto, my little Bobby,” she coos.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) THE COLBYS
    2 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (-) DALLAS
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
    5 (3) DYNASTY
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    25 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Dress v. 25/6 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: The Dead End/Crossroads v. 26 Mar: KNOTS LANDING: Deadly Combination v. 27 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Cold Hands

    At the end of last week’s COLBYS, Jason found his fiancee Frankie in bed with his brother Phillip. At the beginning of this week’s FALCON CREST, Dan Fixx discovers his fiancee Vicky in bed with Eric Stavros. When confronted, Frankie and Vicky both try to deflect the blame onto the men they have cheated on. “I asked you to keep him away and you wouldn’t listen!” Frankie tells Jason. “It wouldn’t have happened if you were there!” Vicky tells Dan. Neither man is impressed by this method of defence. “This marriage — maybe we’re making a mistake,” Jason suggests. “I want you to move out,” Dan insists.

    While Dan and Eric discuss their differences over a bottle of whisky, Jason favours a more violent approach when dealing with Phillip. First, he contemplates a shotgun (echoing the time Sable aimed the same weapon at him), then a horsewhip (evoking memories of Miss Ellie and Jock in DALLAS: THE EARLY YEARS), before finally settling for a messy, muddy fistfight in the grounds of the Colby mansion (a cross between Roy and Chance’s cattle pen punch-up on THE YELLOW ROSE and Eric and Michael’s fight in the Mackenzie living room on KNOTS).

    Exes drifting back together is another common trend this week. On DYNASTY, fireside reminiscing between Steven and Sammy Jo (“Remember the first time we made love?”) leads to montage sex and even a shared freeze-frame. On THE COLBYS, Jason’s discovery of Frankie with her former husband (“the pull of the past,” she explains) leads to an unexpected rapprochement between him and Sable who describes their relationship as “some sort of curse. Every time I nearly accept that it’s over, something happens to give me hope.” FALCON CREST’s Chase and Maggie also reunite — if only in a failed attempt to retrieve their baby son from whoever adopted him. Meanwhile on KNOTS, Mack and “the passion of his youth”, Anne Matheson, spend a nostalgic evening in her house imbibing pizza and beer and grooving to her collection of sixties records, most notably Mamas and the Papas’ ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’.

    In this most meta of seasons — who could forget Val Gibson’s dealings with Ramilar Productions on KNOTS, Mandy Winger’s MIAMI VICE pastiche on DALLAS or FALCON CREST’s ongoing homage to VERTIGO? — the use of ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ is surely the most satisfying intertextual moment of them all. Even if the viewer is unaware that the actress playing Anne Matheson was one of the singers performing the song, it would still be the perfect soundtrack for the trip down memory lane that Anne has orchestrated. And for those who are aware, the track works on many levels: as well as being gorgeously romantic, it’s also dreamily nostalgic, hearkening back to an era when Anne and Michelle Phillips were each in her youthful prime. It’s also slyly manipulative — both Anne and KNOTS itself know precisely what buttons they are pushing. Heck, a Mamas and the Papas LP cover can even be glimpsed on Anne’s living room floor.

    The first Soap Land Song Wars in, well, ages, is between Marvin Gaye’s ‘I’ll be Doggone,’ as performed by Mack and Anne as part of their boozy night in, and Melissa’s rendition of the old standard ‘Goody Goody’ during an amateur talent night on FALCON CREST. Whereas the KNOTS couple are drunkenly uninhibited as they dance and sing along in the privacy of Anne’s home — Mack’s use of a beer bottle as a pretend mic and his sweat-stained shirt only add to the impromptu vibe of the occasion — Melissa delivers her performance, for reasons yet to be explained, under the alias of Veronique the Slumming Socialite. Her heavily stylised, semi-spoken, innuendo-laden rendition could not be further from the raucous fun going on over at Anne’s house. If one also remembers that we are witnessing Michelle freaking Phillips performing a song from the era that defined her in throwaway circumstances similar to those in which Howard flipping Keel casually serenaded a bedridden Miss Ellie with ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ on DALLAS a few episodes ago, then Anne and Mack are the clear winners. Admittedly, Melissa’s cabaret act on FC drives the crowd of on-screen extras wild, but that doesn’t prevent it being Soap Land’s possibly most cringe-inducing sequence to date.

    Two weeks after Sarah Curtis tried to end it all on DYNASTY come two more Soap Land suicide attempts. Following rejections from Jason Colby and Mack Mackenzie, Frankie and Anne each decides that life is no longer worth living. But whereas Frankie retreats to an out of the way motel to shuffle off this mortal coil, Anne has prearranged for Mack to come round for breakfast the morning after her pill overdose and thus presumably find her before it’s too late. (“And the darkest hour is just before dawn,” sing those Mamas and their Papas) But while Jeff manages to track Frankie down and save her in the nick of time, Mack changes his breakfast plans at the last minute (“I am gonna have breakfast in my house at that table with my wife,” he insists) and so the episode ends with Anne’s life hanging in the balance.

    It’s coming up to a year since the historic moment when Pam Ewing awoke from her season-long nightmare. Turns out on this week’s COLBYS that the only thing more outrageous than a thirty-one episode dream is not dreaming at all. “I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Maybe that’s part of it,” Fallon tells Jeff in an effort to explain her slightly-more-highly-strung-than-usual behaviour. “Bad dreams?” he enquires. “No dreams,” she replies. “I just wake up in the middle of the night with this terrible feeling — as if I’ve lost something.” He suggests she might be suffering “West Coast postpartum depression”, but the reality turns out to be something even stranger.

    Prior to other I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening moments in Soap Land, the norm had already been departed from. DYNASTY invented an entire foreign country and accompanying royal family weeks before gunning down all the show’s major characters during a military coup. Bobby’s return in the shower came at the end of a very strange year in DALLAS that combined international espionage with Down’s Syndrome. By contrast, recent events on THE COLBYS could scarcely have been more traditionally soapy: a long-lost brother returning from the dead, an aborted wedding, a love triangle, a suicide attempt, a pregnant wife running off to have an abortion … what could be more comfortingly familiar? I’m not convinced we really needed a UFO (a UFO!) landing in front of Fallon and then whisking her away — not when we’ve already seen the earthly equivalent in the very same episode, i.e., Jason’s helicopter, in hot pursuit of a car containing Phillip and Frankie. The car crashes. While Phillip disappears into thin air (in the same tradition as recent Big Bads Jean Hackney and Wes Parmalee), Frankie is left behind, badly injured. Although I’m no fictional doctor, I’ll wager her prognosis isn’t great, especially when she smiles bravely and urges Jason and Jeff to “be a family.” Now where have I heard those last words before?

    While THE COLBYS’ final scene is undoubtedly impressive, it suffers from having little relation to the episode surrounding it. Perhaps the UFO sequence would carry more resonance had the series been granted a third season that showed Fallon’s alien abduction being somehow absorbed into the traditional Soap Land genre. Might there have been some connection between Fallon whizzing around the galaxy and Jason’s space-age IMOS project? As it is, the sequence, however memorable, pales next to the exquisitely executed scene on KNOTS where Anne Matheson interrupts the Mackenzies’ evening to ask her new neighbours about “garbage day”. She looks as mystified by the concept as Fallon is by the extra-terrestrial who beckons her onto his ship. “What exactly does that mean?” she enquires nervously. “It means that, early in the morning, the garbage trucks come by and pick up everyone’s garbage,” Mack explains patiently. “We have to move the cans to the kerb — all by ourselves,” adds Karen with a little more edge.

    The bulk of this week’s FALCON CREST, meanwhile, is dominated by the investigation into Roland Saunders’ murder which is given a distinctly KNOTSian treatment. In an effort to bestow the story with an extra dimension, we are granted a brief glimpse into the local DA’s backstory (“For the first time in seventeen years, I’ve got a case that’s worthy of me!”) just as we were into Detective Baines’s past when she began looking into Cji’s death. There is much jump-cutting between witness interrogations just as there was after Ciji’s murder, and as in that storyline, one character willingly takes the rap to protect another. The big difference is that here the plot is so convoluted, and the characters chiefly involved so remote, it’s hard to really care what happens.

    1 (-) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) THE COLBYS
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (-) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  17. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    01 Apr 87: DYNASTY: Valez v. 02 Apr 87: KNOTS LANDING: Our Secret v. 03 Apr 87: DALLAS: War and Peace v. 03 Apr 87: FALCON CREST: Body and Soul

    Last week, aliens landed in Soap Land for the first time. This week, FALCON CREST’s Melissa declares that “You really can’t believe everything you see on television,” which seems like a timely observation. Following that intergalactic interlude, it’s reassuring to hear characters debating more traditional Soap Land themes. “Power and sex, what else is there?” challenges Dirk Maurier on DYNASTY. “There’s love,” counters Alexis Colby, “and power and sex can never replace that.” While Alexis's idealism is newly acquired, the discussion that takes place between Pam and Cliff on this week’s DALLAS could easily have occurred at almost any point in the past nine years. However, knowing that it comes so close to the end of Pam’s tenure gives it an extra significance. “You’re obsessed with revenge,” she accuses her brother. “You’re a Barnes. You should understand that,” he argues. This allows Pam to restate the position she has held since the DALLAS saga began: “I was raised to hate the Ewings just as much as you were, but from the day I fell in love with Bobby, things were different for me. Why can’t you understand that I don’t want to live my life in the middle of a battlefield?” From the day Pam fell in love with Bobby to the first time Richard Channing saw Maggie Gioberti. “When did you get so damn romantic?” Maggie asks him on what might be regarded as their first official date. “I think it was about five years ago at Angela’s house when I first saw you,” he replies. While Richard and Maggie tentatively acknowledge the changing nature of their relationship (“I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that right now there is no one else I would rather be with,” he tells her), Ray and Jenna do much the same on DALLAS. “Ray and I are not little kids setting up house,” insists Jenna to Miss Ellie. “This isn’t a romance, it’s a friendship — a friendship that no one seems or wants to understand.” Later, she admits to Ray that, “when I was busy defending us to Miss Ellie, I wasn’t thinking about Bobby. I was thinking about you.” “Does that mean you’re finally getting over Bobby?” he asks her. There is no easy answer to this. Instead of replying straight away, Jenna pauses and is then distracted by the baby — Bobby’s baby — kicking inside her. Similarly, back on FALCON CREST, Richard realises that Maggie still has feelings for Chase. “It’s OK. You’re allowed,” he assures her. Things are a little clearer for DYNASTY’s Clay Fallmont. “Something tells me the new you is finally over me and in love with someone else,” Sammy Jo tells him. “It’s as if you had the word Leslie tattooed across your forehead.”

    In fact, it’s almost as if every character on this week’s DYNASTY has their true feelings tattooed across their forehead. No one (with the possible exception of supporting bad guys Dirk Maurier and Neil McVane) says anything they don’t mean. Everybody's dialogue is as literal as three-year-old Krystina’s when she confides to Sarah Curtis that Raggedy Ann is the favourite of her dolls but that she is worried that her other toys will be upset if they find out. (“I don’t like them to be sad.”) Even Sarah herself isn’t so much duplicitous as deluded in the scenes leading up to her kidnapping of Krystina. It appears as if the part of her that tells Krystle and Blake that she is planning to return home to Wyoming has no idea that another part of her has secretly rented an apartment in Denver where she intends to live with “her” daughter.

    “I didn’t realise how desperate she was,” says Mack following Anne Matheson’s suicide attempt on KNOTS LANDING. Equally, neither Blake nor Krystle realises how desperate Sarah is until they discover she’s snatched their daughter — just six days after Krystina’s big sister Fallon was abducted by aliens on THE COLBYS. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one Carrington daughter in the space of a week might be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. As an increasingly paranoid Ben Gibson rants on KNOTS: “What is it gonna take…? Does somebody have to come in here in the middle of the night and slit your throats or kidnap our children?”

    While the characters on DYNASTY are largely transparent, the atmosphere on KNOTS is decidedly enigmatic. Recurring throughout this week’s episode are dreamlike interludes set in a kind of ethereal ice palace. These appear to be taking place either in Anne’s mind, as she lies unconscious following her overdose, or in some sort of afterlife antechamber where her soul is waiting for the fates to decide if she should live or die. (Heck, following Fallon’s extraterrestrial encounter, this seems as viable a Soap Land scenario as any other.) Each of these scenes is accompanied by the strains of ‘Künstlerleben - Walzer, op. 316’ by Johann Strauss II. We first see Anne sitting peacefully alone gazing into a tunnel of light, then waltzing with an invisible partner and then with Mack in slow-motion. As the dance continues, Anne and Mack slowly turn into younger versions of themselves as seen in the 1967 flashbacks earlier in the season. (Young Anne is, of course, played by Paige who is also Future Alexis, but let’s not think about that now.)

    The walls between cul-de-sac reality and Anne’s dream world dissolve in the scene where Mack, in heroic slow-motion, smashes his way through her living window and takes her unconscious body in his arms. What could be a more classically romantic image? It’s literally a dream come true. Of Soap Land’s three recent suicide rescue missions — Krystle preventing Sarah from gassing herself in her car, Jeff diving into the ocean to save Frankie — this is by far the most dramatic and visually impressive.

    Anne is taken to Soap Land Memorial Hospital where, in addition to the usual anxious-relatives-in-the-waiting-room scenes, there is a very striking shot of Paige walking slowly down an empty corridor towards her mother’s room. She carries a bouquet of flowers, out of which she selects a single rose before allowing the rest of the flowers to drop to the floor and then carrying on her way. There is no music to underscore the scene, just the sound of Paige’s reverberating footsteps (underlying the sense that this is a real corridor rather than a traditional Soap Land set). The sequence feels symbolic of … something, but as this isn’t an episode overly concerned with spelling things out, the viewer is left to their own conclusions.

    The characters’ motives are likewise shrouded with ambiguity. “You don’t think she intended to die, do you?” Paige asks Karen with regard to Anne’s overdose. “Mother is a pro at exhibitions like this.” Anne neither endorses nor refutes this interpretation of events, but her reaction when another bouquet is delivered to her hospital room speaks volumes. “The envelope, please,” she smiles knowingly, as if onstage at the Academy Awards. There’s another theatrical metaphor later in the same episode, again related to deception. “Time for your performance, maestro,” Paige tells Peter Hollister, referring to his seduction of Olivia. “She is ready and tuned. All you have to do is pluck.”

    Unlike the enigmatic Anne or the archly ironic Paige, Olivia is as sincere in her feelings and behaviour as the cast of this week’s DYNASTY. Indeed, the futility of her crush on Peter, a man to whom she is fundamentally unsuited (not only is he much older, but he’s also sleeping with both her mother and her best friend), resembles Sammy Jo’s feelings for Steven, a man with whom she might be sharing her bed, but who can never truly be hers. “Part of me is never going to change, Sammy Jo,” he tells her. “I can’t be the kind of man you want me to be and I can’t lie to myself about it.” “Then what do you want?” she asks. “I don’t know, but it can’t be this,” he replies. Within the heteronormative confines of ‘80s Soap Land, Steven can only be defined by what he isn’t and what he can’t be, rather than who he is and/or might be in the future. This inner turmoil leads to a riding accident that leaves Steven’s son’s favourite horse with a broken leg and being put out to pasture. “I was riding him hard, too hard!” Steven laments. “No one blames you,” Sammy Jo insists. “No one except me,” he replies. This is the one scene in this week’s DYNASTY that can be read metaphorically — it’s clear that by blaming himself for the accident, Steven is really blaming himself for his inability to fulfil the role of a traditional family man.

    Back on KNOTS, Peter’s interest in Olivia is prompted by the news of his fake mother’s off-screen death. Sylvia Lean is the third Soap Land character of the season whose passing we learn of after she has already been written out of her respective show. The circumstances of her demise (“She drowned in a bathtub,” Greg informs him matter-of-factly) might be more prosaic than those inflicted upon Constance Colby Patterson’s (a plane crash in the Far East) or Jamie Ewing Barnes (an avalanche in New Mexico), but the dramatic consequences are no less juicy. Just as Jamie’s death has led to various characters fighting over the ten percent of Ewing Oil she left behind (a fight which reaches its courtroom climax this week), Sylvia’s death has Peter desperate to get his hands on the letter she gave to Olivia before leaving town, to be opened only in the event of something “unusual” happening to her. And in order to get his hands on the letter, Peter must first put his hands on Olivia.

    There are interesting references to a couple of long-departed, rarely mentioned Ewing-verse characters this week. Firstly, in an effort to make Abby take Olivia’s feelings for Peter seriously, Karen recalls her own estrangement from daughter Diana in terms that, in a roundabout but satisfying way, help explain why so little has been heard from Diana since she moved to New York almost three years earlier: “You know how close Diana and I once were … I’m not sure we completely fixed the damage that was done.” Then on DALLAS, after Pam admits to Bobby that she is unable to forget his past relationship with Jenna (“Every time you kiss me, I see you kissing Jenna”), he reminds her of her own involvement with Mark Graison. It’s the first time Mark has been mentioned since his resurrection was obliterated by the dream solution. Since then, we have been no clearer about his fate than we were when Pam went looking for him in Hong Kong. “Oh Bobby, Mark is gone,” she says simply in this ep, which kind of tells us all we need to know about him in the present.

    Towards the end of KNOTS, we return to Anne’s otherworldly ice palace. Strauss is still playing, Young Anne is still waltzing with Young Mack -- until he turns, surprisingly, into Young Greg. Then as the dance reaches its climax, there’s a blurring whirl where Young Greg, Old Mack and Young and Old Anne all seem to be dancing with each other — but the couple we are left with at the end is the present day Anne and Greg. We then fade back to an inscrutable looking Anne in her hospital bed and then to Paige walking back down that same hospital corridor, just as haughty but now also strangely vulnerable.

    The court hearing on DALLAS is one of two in this week’s Soap Land this week. The other is Tony Cumson’s arraignment over his arrest for the murder of Roland Saunders on FALCON CREST. The DALLAS sequence is an enjoyably unruly affair with Jack Ewing (in his final appearance) and Cliff Barnes hurling insults at each other across the courtroom and much gavel-banging from the judge (“Any further outbursts and I will instruct the bailiff to remove both of you from this courtroom!”). While the judge’s decision to award April 5% of Ewing Oil comes as no surprise, the twist is that Cliff is allowed to keep the other 5%. There’s also an unexpected outcome in the Cumson hearing — instead of the case being thrown out, “recently acquired evidence” leads to Tony being charged with first-degree murder. Despite being the end of episode cliffhanger, this is probably Soap Land’s dullest murder investigation to date.

    The final scene of DALLAS and the penultimate scene of FALCON CREST are almost identical this week. On DALLAS, JR is being interviewed by a TV news crew as he leaves the courthouse. “Justice was not served in this case,” he declares. “Not by a long shot.” On FALCON CREST, Maggie is making a televised appeal for information about the whereabouts of her and Chase’s child. Each character is being watched on TV by a woman holding baby who feels no sympathy for their plight. “Oh, justice will be served, Mr Ewing. I can promise you that,” murmurs Nancy Scotfield thrillingly on DALLAS. “You see that lady right there? She and Chase did a terrible thing by sending your little brother Joseph away and they’ve just begun to pay for it,” Melissa tells Maggie’s baby son on FC.

    Speaking of babies, following the longest-spanning pregnancy in Soap Land history (two full seasons), Donna Krebbs finally gives birth on this week’s DALLAS. As befits her character, she does so in a thoroughly no-nonsense manner — there’s no falling down the Colby staircase or going into labour on Angela Channing’s doorstep for Donna. The one moment of dramatic irony takes place after the blessed event when she calls Ray’s house to give him the news. Jenna, herself heavily pregnant, answers instead. “I really wish you the best,” Donna tells her erstwhile rival, gracious to the last. “You too,” Jenna replies. And thus the two women — who in the alternate universe of Pam’s Dream shared the most intense of friendships — bid each other a low-key, bittersweet farewell. There’s a far less civilised scene on FALCON CREST between Maggie and the woman who has moved into her husband’s life, Gabrielle Short. Frantic with worry about the missing baby, Maggie turns up at Chase’s looking for help. “I really admire the way you’re handling this,” Gabrielle tells her somewhat patronisingly. “What an incredibly stupid thing to say,” responds Maggie contemptuously. It’s a hugely satisfying moment and one of the few times this episode really comes alive.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (-) DALLAS
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
     
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  18. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    08 Apr 87: DYNASTY: The Sublet v. 09 Apr 87: KNOTS LANDING: Breakup v. 10 Apr 87: DALLAS: Ruthless People v. 10 Apr 87: FALCON CREST: Loose Cannons

    “You’re not Paige’s father, Mack,” says Anne Matheson on this week’s KNOTS. “Peter Hollister is not your brother,” Abby informs Greg in the same episode. “Alexis Carrington Colby is not your mother,” Neil McVane tells Adam on DYNASTY.

    Adam’s downward spiral starts to resemble Sue Ellen’s at the beginning of the DALLAS Dream Season. Both are triggered by a loss of identity. “You don’t exist — you’re just a bad memory that doesn’t know when to go away,” JR told his wife back then. “I don’t know my name,” Adam admits this week. Where Sue Ellen staggered dazedly down a sidewalk full of drunks and hookers, Adam staggers drunkenly into a down-at-heel boxing gym and tries to pay someone to fight him. Unlike the predators and opportunists who plagued Sue Ellen at every turn during her lost weekend, the guys in the gym are too honourable to take Adam’s money. At least, most of them are. One man follows him into an alley, beats him and then robs him of his cash and ID. Just as Sue Ellen was subsequently identified by the police as a penniless Jane Doe, the cops who discover Adam dismiss him as “just another drunk, another wise guy.” “Why didn’t you just leave me there?” Adam asks his mother angrily when she collects him from jail. “To let you rot?” Alexis replies, echoing the words of Sue Ellen’s doctor to Miss Ellie last season: “She was rotting out in there in the streets, in your home.”

    Adam’s closest Soap Land equivalent at present is KNOTS LANDING’s Ben Gibson, who is going through his own kind of meltdown. This week, Lilimae persuades him to ask Abby for his old job back, but halfway through their meeting, he changes his mind. “I must be crazy,” he tells Abby. “I would never work for you or anyone even remotely like you ever again.” His sense of liberation is short-lived, however. Upon his return home, he thinks that Val has turned into Jean Hackney.

    With the 86/7 season drawing to a close, that indefinable “end of era” atmosphere starts to permeate some of the shows, most notably DALLAS. “I’ve had it, Pam,” Bobby tells his wife. “I’m getting out … I’m gonna sell my shares of Ewing Oil … They just don’t mean anything anymore.” “… At least we’ll have a chance at a relationship that doesn’t include all this fighting, that doesn’t include JR,” proffers Pam. If one didn’t know better, one might suspect that both Pam and Bobby were about to leave the show. Meanwhile, the Krebbses finally come to terms with their past as Ray and Donna make peace following the birth of their little girl, and Ray reaches a cordial understanding with Andrew Dowling. Over on FALCON CREST, Chao Li is apparently dying, which leads to an unusual, and surprisingly touching, conversation between Lance and Chao Li’s acupuncturist (“That person you’re poking those needles into, doc, is very important to me”). This is Soap Land’s first glance at alternative medicine since Mark Graison’s offscreen search for unorthodox treatments on DALLAS a couple of years ago.

    Sometimes the sense of finality is more apparent in retrospect. The foreknowledge that Ben is on his way out of KNOTS, for instance, turns his meeting with Abby into an unintentional farewell scene (Ben: “You can be guaranteed, I won’t be back ever again.” Abby: “Oh — and I was afraid this meeting was going to end unpleasantly”) in much the same way that Donna and Jenna’s awkward phone conversation on last week’s DALLAS serves as their de facto adieu. Meanwhile, the unexpected reinvention of DYNASTY’s Nick Kimble as a multi-millionaire who sweeps Dominique off her feet in a manner reminiscent of Blake’s courting of Krystle at the beginning of the series (chartering a private jet to San Francisco on a whim, hiring an entire restaurant for an intimate dinner) makes more sense when one realises Dominique only has a few episodes in which to fall in love and leave Denver with her new man. With further foresight, Nick also feels like an antecedent to the fresh batch of young black billionaires on New DYNASTY.

    This week, Krystle and Blake on DYNASTY and Maggie and Chase on FALCON CREST are each the parents of a missing child. Whereas the Carringtons know that it was Sarah Curtis who took their daughter, the Giobertis have no idea that former daughter-in-law Melissa is behind their son’s abduction.

    While Blake finds Krystle in Sarah’s old room, frantically searching through her belongings for clues to her whereabouts, Richard Channing finds Maggie in her and Chase’s marital bedroom, looking for things to smash — keepsakes, ornaments, even pictures of her children: all are up for grabs. Each woman blames herself for her child’s disappearance and neither is interested in being consoled. “Dammit Blake, don’t patronise me!” Krystle yells. “Who are you angry with — God, fate, Sarah? … What about me? … I’m the one who brought her into this house!” “I am not in the mood for cute, Richard,” Maggie snaps. “Giving up my baby was so easy I thought I might as well give up the rest of my past while I’m at it.” Whereas Krystle is eventually able to channel her anger constructively (it is her initiative that leads to Krystina’s discovery at the end of the episode), Maggie remains bitter and pessimistic. “When I came here six years ago with a houseful of furniture, two grown kids, a husband, I had something I could reach out and touch, protect, be protected by, and now I have nothing,” she reflects.

    Krystle and Sarah Curtis make similarly curious wardrobe choices this week. In spite of the claustrophobic situations in which they each find themselves — Sarah holed up in an apartment with a sick child, Krystle waiting tensely at home for news of that same child — both women spend the ep dressed formally, in trouser-suits and buttoned-up blouses complete with fussy ties and bows. (Even when trying to sleep, Krystle does so in a tightly-belted twinset.) Each looks uncomfortably overdressed — but perhaps that’s the point: Krystle and Sarah are both emotionally straitjacketed by their circumstances and that also manifests itself physically.

    It’s hard to say who is the more inappropriate surrogate mother to the child she has abducted — Sarah or FALCON CREST’s Melissa. While Sarah addresses Krystina as if she were her dead daughter Cathy, Melissa treats the newborn Kevin to the following review of her latest nightclub performance: “The audience just adored me. It was almost as if they were making mad passionate love to me with their eyes.” (When Dan Fixx finds out about Melissa’s secret profession this week, she gives him the same “becoming my own person” spiel Lucy Ewing gave Ray Krebbs when he discovered her double life as a waitress, and he promises to keep her secret, just as Ray did Lucy’s.)

    This week’s episodes of DYNASTY and FALCON CREST conclude similarly. Just as Krystle arrives at the door of the apartment Sarah has secretly rented and hears her daughter’s voice coming from inside (“Mommy! … I want my mommy!”), Melissa is scarcely through the door of the apartment she has secretly rented when she discovers Angela holding the baby she (Melissa) has stolen from Chase and Maggie. (“I thought I’d give your nanny the day off,” Angela purrs.)

    There is further doorstep action in this week’s Ewing-verse. On KNOTS, Mack shows up unexpectedly at Anne’s door and hears her on the phone to Karen, mocking her way of life (“Your little tract house, your little dead-end street, your little dead-end life, with your little outdoor barbecue grill and your little ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron — it all makes me sick”) and freely admitting that her suicide attempt was staged (“I never intended to die. I intended to bring Mack to his senses”). Elsewhere in the same episode, Olivia pays an uninvited call to Peter Hollister’s apartment and glimpses a semi-nude Paige coming out of his bathroom. Mack receives a second, even nastier, surprise on Anne’s doorstep in the final scene when she informs him that Greg is Paige’s real father.

    DALLAS, meanwhile, is bookended by house calls from Jeremy Wendell. In the opening scene, he visits April’s condo with the intention of buying her five percent of Ewing Oil, only to find JR waiting for him: “Wendell, you just flat underestimated me … It’ll be a cold day in hell before you ever own a piece of Ewing Oil.” “You made a fool of me,” Jeremy concedes. “I will have to try to see it doesn’t happen again.” He makes good on this intention in the closing scene when he makes another visit, this time to the home of Nancy Scotfield in Navarro. Here, he’s on the front foot, assuring Mrs S that he can do what her local newspaper can’t: expose the evidence against the Ewings she has obtained from the CIA while protecting her and her family: “There’s only one man that’s going behind bars and that’s JR Ewing.”

    The story of the Anne/Mack/Karen triangle culminates in a reaffirmation of both the Mackenzies’ core values and those at the heart of KNOTS itself. “I love our house … I love how quiet it is on a cul-de-sac,” declares Mack after he has invited Anne to witness him present his wife with a string of hot dog sausages while wearing the aforementioned ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron. In fascinating contrast, the core value at the heart of DALLAS — the Ewing family sticking together against outsiders (“That’s what makes us unbeatable,” as Miss Ellie once said) — come under fire from several quarters this week, not least from Ellie herself.

    It starts in an interestingly low-key way, with a minor news report in the Dallas Press: “Navarro Weekly Sentinel Reports Ewing Oil-CIA Cover-Up.” The Ewing boys’ first instinct is the traditional one — to unite against their enemies — and so Bobby and JR visit Mr Harrigan, editor of the Navarro Sentinel to strong-arm him into retracting the story. JR sounds decidedly Trumpian as he rewrites history to suit his own ends: “My family built Texas into the great state it is right now and this is the thanks we get for it?” Harrigan is resolutely unimpressed: “Thanks? You want thanks? What for — putting half this county on the unemployment line? … You’re as guilty as sin and you know it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be down here.” The brothers, with a little help from the CIA, succeed in shutting Harrigan up, but the damage to the Ewing reputation has already been done.

    There follows a little gem of a scene where Miss Ellie and Clayton, attempting to escape the tense atmosphere at Southfork, arrive at the Oil Baron’s Club for dinner but find no respite. “If I was a member of that family I’d put a mask on before I’d venture out on the street,” proclaims one nameless diner, loud enough for them to hear. Be it small-town newspaper editors tearing a strip off JR and Bobby, day players heckling Barbara Bel Geddes, or Mrs Scotfield storing photocopies of incriminating evidence in her refrigerator the way Mack Mackenzie stores hot dog sausages, there’s something hugely satisfying — not to mention excitingly subversive — about seeing the high and mighty Ewing family knocked off their pedestals by their social inferiors. After nine years, DALLAS still has the power to surprise.

    This all leads to Miss Ellie’s terrific speech delivered to JR and Bobby in which she disavows the whole notion of ‘Ewings Unite’: “I always thought that no matter what happened, I’d always stand by my family. It was always that way with the Ewings ... We always stuck up for each other, even when we knew we were wrong. But no more. It’s gone too far and I won’t defend either of you any longer … You’re both on your own now and as far as Ewing Oil goes, it should have died with your daddy … Don’t you ever, ever speak his name in front of me again.”

    All this and the return of Mandy Winger!

    1 (2) DALLAS
    2 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  19. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    29 Apr 87: DYNASTY: The Affair v. 30 Apr 87: KNOTS LANDING: Parental Guidance v. 01 May 87: DALLAS: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel v. 01 May 87: FALCON CREST: The Great Karlotti

    The relationships between Clay Fallmont and Leslie on DYNASTY and Peter Hollister and Paige on KNOTS each move up a notch this week. While Leslie agrees to move in with Clay, Paige drops some heavy hints about her and Peter’s future. “I could be the perfect wife for the rising politician,” she tells him. Both couples are then rocked by a similar bombshell. Just as Anne Matheson claimed that at the end of the last episode of KNOTS that Greg Sumner is Paige’s real father, Buck Fallmont insists at the start of this week’s DYNASTY that Ben Carrington is Clay’s. Not that either Anne or Buck is necessarily a reliable witness. “She’s unstable,” Karen points out on KNOTS. “He’s nothing a drunken liar,” insists Clay on DYNASTY. In both cases, the mother in question is no longer around to give her side of the story: Emily Fallmont is dead while Anne has high-tailed back to Long Island between episodes. But what if Buck and Anne are telling the truth? “It means your niece is sleeping with her brother!” Buck tells Blake. “She’s dating Greg Sumner’s brother!” Karen tells Mack — which would mean that Paige is sleeping with her uncle (except that she isn’t because Peter and Greg aren’t really related). Interestingly, the word incest is avoided on both shows.

    Prior to this week, the pairing of Leslie and Clay has felt a bit forced. Sparring work colleagues whose initial antagonism belies a mutual attraction, it seemed like the writers were aiming for a screwball-comedy battle-of-the-sexes romance with a ‘80s twist, but instead, the characters came across as smug and robotic. Paige and Peter are a pretty smug couple too — smug to the point of narcissistic in Paige’s case (for example, the scene in this week’s ep where she lists her attributes while admiring herself in the mirror: “I’m pretty, but don’t intimidate other women, I’m rich, but not too rich to embarrass the middle class, well-read, properly schooled and always au courant.”) The big difference is that on KNOTS, the characters’ self-regard has been factored into the story-telling. In fact, Abby exploits both Peter’s and Paige’s vanities in order to split them up this week.

    Once Clay and Leslie became caught up in the wider story of Fallmonts and the Carringtons, however, they instantly become more sympathetic. As Blake says, “these are two innocent kids,” which makes it easier to forgive their previous shortcomings. Likewise on KNOTS, for all of Paige’s self-involvement (“You are so spoiled you think that wanting something automatically makes it yours,” Peter tells her), there’s an inbuilt vulnerability about her — due in part to the fact that, for the bulk of this week’s episode, we know, but she doesn’t, about the question mark hanging over her paternity.

    “You can’t believe Mother. She just said it to be vindictive,” Paige insists tearfully when Mack eventually breaks the bad news, echoing Leslie’s reaction to Clay’s bombshell: “This can’t be true! We can’t be brother and sister!”

    There are some noteworthy female encounters in each of this week’s soaps. DYNASTY begins and ends on familiar ground, with Alexis and Krystle clashing over the arrangements for Adam and Dana’s wedding at the mansion. In the final scene, Krystle calls Alexis to complain about the unscheduled appearance of a workman in the house. When Alexis asks to speak to the man, Krystle realises he has disappeared — a situation deemed significant enough to warrant an end-of-episode freeze-frame of her surprised face.

    Over on DALLAS, there’s a great scene where Pam pays a visit to new neighbour Jenna in an effort to “break the ice” now that “we’re going to be moving in some of the same circles.” Jenna remains enjoyably defiant throughout (“We can’t just smoke a peace pipe and be pals — there’s been too much history,” she declares) but Pam still gets the last word. “There’s a new time coming, Jenna — for all of us,” she says spookily.

    Abby and Sue Ellen deal with their female adversaries more circuitously. On KNOTS, Abby reacts to the discovery that Paige has been sleeping with Peter by encouraging her in her belief that Peter wants to marry her. (“Maybe when you two set the date, we can have the reception right here at Lotus Point,” she adds sweetly). At the same time, Abby tricks Peter into thinking that she is willing to marry him herself — but only after he has told Paige to “take a hike”, which he eventually does.

    Over on DALLAS, whatever game Sue Ellen is playing regarding Mandy Winger is less clear. The women share two scenes this week, but without speaking or even making eye-contact. The first is an impressively shot sequence where Sue Ellen observes Mandy from a distance during a sexy photo shoot. She listens as Ozwald Valentine and Bruce Harvey lavish praise on Mandy. While Ozwald refers to her as “the goddess of lingerie”, Bruce describes her as “a very rare and profitable commodity.” As Bruce chatters on about movie scripts (“the usual potboiler detective-psycho-killer-type things, but they could be special if the psycho was to stalk Mandy Winger in the hot tub”), the camera moves in on Sue Ellen, scrutinising her as closely as she is scrutinising Mandy. The scene ends with her face in extreme close-up, her expression giving nothing away. In the second scene, Sue Ellen arranges for Mandy and JR to run into each other in a restaurant. Again, she watches from a distance, unobserved. This is Soap Land Scheming 101, but turned on its head so that the traditional victim, Sue Ellen, is now the one pulling the strings.

    Alas, the scenes between Angela and Melissa on FALCON CREST are memorable for all the wrong reasons. The episode starts promisingly with Angela telling Melissa that she doesn’t intend to inform Chase and Maggie of their missing baby’s whereabouts. “And ease Chase’s mind? Don’t be silly,” she says casually. This would appear to herald a return to the wantonly cruel Angela of FALCON CREST’s early years, a welcome development after the increasingly benign, almost sitcom character she has become over the last couple of seasons. But what happens next is just baffling. As the price for keeping quiet about her baby-napping, Angela orders Melissa to put on a silly dress and record a song in her (Angela’s) living room with some long-haired musicians. That’s it. An equivalent scenario would be Greg Sumner reacting to the discovery that Abby knew about the kidnapping of Val’s twins by forcing her to wear an unflattering shade of eyeshadow and perform a stand-up routine at Lotus Point. Even judged on its own infantile terms, Angela’s punishment makes little sense. The dress she makes Melissa wear is, in truth, scarcely more over-the-top than a regular Soap Land party gown. If the idea is to humiliate Melissa, wouldn’t it be more effective to force her to dress plainly and without makeup? And why order her to sing when that’s what she wants to do anyway? And why would Angela leave Melissa and a bunch of reprobate musicians alone in her own house? I’ll willingly go along with Moldavian massacres, dream seasons, UFOs, doppelgängers and any number of characters returning from the dead, but this plot development has me genuinely stumped — not because it’s far-fetched or illogical, but because it’s just so half-hearted, so limp, that it scarcely qualifies as drama or comedy or anything else. It’s hard to imagine anyone over the age of ten finding it satisfying.

    Three weeks after Donna Krebbs gave birth to daughter Margaret on DALLAS, Laura Avery gives birth to daughter Marguerite on KNOTS. As with Donna, the delivery befits Laura’s understated persona, occurring discreetly offscreen with zero dramatics. The soapy stuff comes later when Mack confronts Greg, busy celebrating his newly acquired daughter, with the possibility that he could also be Paige’s father. “What happened twenty years ago?” Mack asks him. “Whatever happened doesn’t make babies,” he replies emphatically before adding, “one daughter a day is enough.” (Watching this scene with hindsight, the ironies are inescapable. Just as Mack will eventually “lose” Paige to Greg, Greg will eventually “lose” Meg to Mack.)

    “He’s gone,” says Krystle of the missing workman at the end of DYNASTY. “With the wind?” quips Alexis in reply. “We will make Gone with the Wind, but further down the line,” Bruce Harvey assures Sue Ellen during Mandy’s photo shoot. Casablanca is also referenced on DALLAS when the freshly minted April celebrates the acquisition of her new restaurant by first firing the concierge who had previously refused to seat her as an unaccompanied woman (within the parameters of mid-‘80s DALLAS, this pretty much counts as a major feminist victory), and then by telling her pianist to “play it again, Sam.” On FALCON CREST, Vince Karlotti shows up to his and Emma’s wedding rehearsal so heavily disguised that their adoptive son Wendell calls him Inspector Gadget.

    However, the most prominent cultural reference of the week is made by Ben Gibson on KNOTS when he compares himself to the English officer in Bridge Over the River Kwai (“Alec Guinness played him in the movie”) who became so obsessed with the assignment he had been given that he ended up endangering his own men. “I wasn’t protecting my family. I was ruining it,” Ben realises. No sooner does he announce his intention to get back to work than he is offered an overseas assignment. “The old boy is back!” says Val with relief. So why does this feel more like an ending than a beginning? Mostly because of the conversation Ben then has with Gary about the twins. (“It’s kind of nice to know that there’s someone who feels responsible enough for your kids to take over. That’s the kind of insurance that money can’t buy.”) The scene is a bit like a companion piece to the one between Ray Krebbs and Senator Dowling on last week’s DALLAS. There is a similar tone of conciliation between the two men, but whereas Ray made it clear that he will remain Margaret’s father no matter what, here Ben is all but handing parental responsibility for Bobby and Betsy over to Gary.

    As Pam says, “There’s a new time coming … for all of us.” It just might not be coming in a way the characters anticipate. As Val waves Ben off on his trip, she is unaware of the grim expression on his face as his cab pulls away from the cul-de-sac. On DALLAS, the rest of the family follow Bobby’s lead and decide to sell their shares of Ewing Oil to JR. The consensus is that this is a positive move, one that represents a fresh start for all concerned. “I thought I’d be mourning the loss of Ewing Oil but all I feel is relief, like a giant stone has been lifted from my shoulders,” says Bobby. “This breakup of the company, I really think it’s going to be for the best,” declares Miss Ellie who allows herself to believe that, “after all the dust is settled, everything will fall into place and things will be right in this family.” Running counter to the Ewings’ optimism, however, is Jeremy Wendell’s visit to the Justice Department in Washington where he discreetly hands over “some very regrettable information” about “one of my fellow oilmen.” These two storylines collide at the end of the ep when Senator Dowling informs Donna that the government is gunning for Ewing Oil. This sets in motion a slightly bonkers chain of events as Donna calls Southfork to tip off Miss Ellie who then turns into a hysterical, blubbering mess which in turn sends Clayton into a murderous rage. He physically attacks JR and ends up falling down the stairs, Sable Colby-style. “He’s not breathing!” JR exclaims.

    On this week’s DYNASTY, Sarah Curtis visits her daughter’s grave in Wyoming (“Cathy Curtis, beloved daughter of Boyd and Sarah, 1983 - 1987”) accompanied by Krystle. On this week’s FALCON CREST, Maggie Gioberti visits her rapist’s grave in Chicago (“Jeffrey Wainwright 1948 - 1986”) accompanied by Chase. Sarah has been in denial about Cathy’s death since kidnapping Krystina and it’s only now that she is able to face the truth, thus bringing her storyline to a close. Maggie, meanwhile, has been spooked by the sight of Jeff’s identical brother and wants to make sure he’s really dead. She breaks down at the graveside and starts hitting Chase. This leads to a pivotal scene where Maggie and Chase discuss their feelings of resentment towards each another, really for the first time. While bringing them closer together (“All the hard feelings between us just start to take a back seat,” says Chase), it also makes them realise that their marriage is definitely over. (“This is never gonna work out, is it?” Maggie realises). This puts the Giobertis in a similar position to the Krebbses on DALLAS. “Donna and I did a lot of talking while I was in Washington and that part of my life is behind me,” Ray tells Jenna before kissing her for the very first time. Likewise, upon returning from Chicago, Maggie finally admits to Richard that she is “a little in love” with him.

    On DALLAS, Bobby’s claim that he has been “in touch” with brother Gary in California regarding the dissolution of Ewing Oil (“I have his power of attorney. He’s agreeable to the sale on any terms I approve”) is interesting given that, as far as Gary and everyone else in KNOTS LANDING is concerned, Bobby is still dead and buried. There’s another reminder of the Dream Season on FALCON CREST. “Sometimes I wish I would wake up one morning and find this whole past year had been a bad dream,” says Maggie knowingly.

    Two months ago, Francesca Colby became the first Soap Land bride to faint at the altar. In the closing scene of this week’s FALCON CREST, Emma becomes the second. This time, the cause of her collapse isn’t the sight of a back-from-the-dead husband but the appearance of her bigamist groom’s four other wives, one of whom tries to shoot him. This sequence is a slight improvement on the Angela-makes-Melissa-wear-a-dress scenario but nonetheless feels like a soap opera pastiche created by people who don’t really like soap operas. But then, in true schizophrenic FC style, the episode ends with a quintessentially soapy twist as Eric Stavros upstages Emma’s non-wedding by announcing that “three days ago, Vicky Gioberti and I got married!”

    Eric Stavros and Clay Fallmont arrived in Soap Land within a week of each other, roughly two-thirds of the way through last season. Back then, they had a lot in common: an outdoorsy, daredevil reputation, a well-meaning nature and a weakness for young, high-maintenance divorcees. A year or so later, their paths have diverged. While Clay has knuckled down to an honest job working for Dex Dexter, Eric has become a pleasure-seeking playboy since hooking up with the equally wayward Vicky. Traditionally, when one person in a Soap Land relationship is irresponsible or decadent, their behaviour is tempered by that of their more sensible partner, e.g., Fallon and Jeff in early DYNASTY; Lucy and Mitch on DALLAS. This is the first instance I can think of where both parties are equally hedonistic. With no restraining influence, where will Eric and Vicky end up?

    If the new Eric Stavros resembles any current DYNASTY character, it is Dirk Maurier’s enjoyably sleazy nephew Gavin, who’s like a younger Peter de Vilbis with an English accent. He’s in Denver looking for money and so sweeps Alexis off her feet in much the way de Vilbis did Fallon. This week, he takes Alexis for a spin on his motorbike and, in an MTV-style montage scored to Kenny Loggins’ ‘Danger Zone’ (continuing the trend begun by this season’s KNOTS of using original pop recordings for such scenes rather than tinny soundalikes à la PAPER DOLLS), introduces her to the dizzy delights of milkshakes, hotdogs (Mack ‘Kiss the Cook’ Mackenzie would surely approve) and disco dancing. Gavin’s even younger than Dex but, unsurprisingly, there is no reference to the age difference between them, unlike on KNOTS where this week Abby freely describes herself as “an older woman” in relation to Peter Hollister.

    Trend of the week: subordinates in distress. Mrs Gunnerson sulks on DYNASTY when Alexis brings in outside caterers for Adam and Dana’s wedding, Phyllis cries on DALLAS when Bobby tells her Ewing Oil is being dissolved, and Chao Li continues with his duties on FALCON CREST in spite of his worsening physical condition. These people live to serve.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …
    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  20. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    06 May 87: DYNASTY: Shadow Play v. 07 May 87: KNOTS LANDING: Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate v. 08 May 87: DALLAS: Two-Fifty v. 08 May 87: FALCON CREST: Chain Reaction

    The penultimate week of the Soap Land season and there’s a birth on DALLAS, a death on KNOTS LANDING and a wedding on DYNASTY. FALCON CREST weighs in with a murder trial, a couple of kidnappings and a poignant scene in which Chase and Maggie agree to a divorce without actually mentioning the word itself.

    The theme of men abandoning their families for their own good, which began with Ben Gibson driving away from Seaview Circle on last week’s KNOTS, continues in this week’s DYNASTY. First, Ben Carrington decides to leave Denver. “The less you have of me in your life the better,” he tells daughter Leslie. Then Ben’s nephew Steven tells his young son that he too is leaving town “because I have another job in another city.” Alone with Sammy Jo, Steven admits that the job is a lie and that he is moving away for Danny’s sake: “As long as we’re in the same town, Danny will never understand why we’re not living under the same roof.” Back on KNOTS, Val discovers that Ben has been lying about his out-of-town job as well. “He’s not working for us,” say the news agency he is supposedly on assignment for.

    “The girl I’m in love with may be my sister!” says Clay on DYNASTY. “I almost married my uncle!” shouts Paige on KNOTS. Still reeling from last week’s paternity bombshells, both characters confront the men who might be their real fathers. While Clay barges uninvited into Ben Carrington’s office, Paige turns up unexpectedly at the Sumner ranch to find Greg and Laura cooing over their new baby. Where Clay insists on a paternity test, Paige asks about Greg’s relationship with her mother. Each is denied a satisfactory conclusion. On DYNASTY, the blood tests prove inconclusive. “Either Ben or Buck could be my father,” says Clay. “We’ll never know for sure.” Meanwhile, Paige cannot be certain that Greg is telling the truth when he insists that he never slept with Anne behind Mack’s back. (“I always thought there was something there,” Paige’s grandfather tells her when she asks him about the relationship.)

    Blood tests also figure on FALCON CREST. During a punch-up with Lance in the Agretti house, Chase upsets a wastepaper basket and out spills the stolen blood sample that would have proved him to be the father of Maggie’s baby. This leads him to conclude that, not only have Lance and Melissa failed to empty their trash for about three months (looks like Anne Matheson isn’t the only Soap Land character to need the concept of “garbage day” explained to her), but that Melissa must be the one who kidnapped Kevin.

    “I don’t care what Greg Sumner says. You’ve become a daughter to me and … I love you,” Mack tells Paige. Blake and Alexis feel pretty much the same about Adam’s on DYNASTY. “You’re our son. You always have been, you always will be our son,” they tell him, before making it legal by presenting him with adoption papers on the day of his wedding to Dana.

    Clay and Paige might not get to the bottom of their respective paternity mysteries, but DYNASTY and KNOTS each employ the use of flashbacks to answer those questions for the audience. While looking at her photograph, Buck Fallmont recalls his wife’s final words: “Clay is your son, I swear to you.” “I believe you, Emily,” he replies in the present. “Clay is our son and if I had to lie, it was worth it. At least now no more Fallmonts will be sleeping with Carringtons.” Buck’s gesture, however twisted — he has sacrificed his relationship with his own son in order to save him from what he believes to be a terrible fate, i.e., “sleeping with Carringtons” — slots neatly into the ongoing theme of fathers giving up their children for their own good. Over on KNOTS, Greg flashes back to a scene of his younger self making a move on the young Anne. “Even if I weren’t seeing Mack, I still wouldn’t give you the time of day,” she tells him categorically. As with Buck, Greg then confirms the truth of what we have just seen by speaking aloud in the present. “Your dad struck out,” he tells his baby daughter. It’s very cool how the 1967 flashbacks have spanned the entirety of this season’s KNOTS, serving different purposes along the way — from illustrating Mack and Anne’s courtship to explaining Mack and Greg’s past relationship with Phil Harbert to resolving the issue of Paige’s paternity.

    With the Fallmonts’ storyline concluded, Clay becomes the latest character to join the Soap Land exodus. (Dominique Devereaux also makes her final appearance this week, her low-key exit in stark contrast to the grand entrance she made almost exactly three years earlier.) It’s the end of the road for KNOTS LANDING’s Peter Hollister too. The farewell scenes between Clay and Leslie on DYNASTY and Peter and Paige on KNOTS could not be more different. “I’ll try not to think about you,” says Clay as he takes Leslie in his arms for one last tearful embrace. “God, it’s not going to be easy.” “You son of a bitch!” screams Paige, throwing plates at Peter. “My father — your brother. That’s why you didn’t marry me, right?” Peter laughs in surprise; this the first he’s heard of the matter. It’s also the last thing he ever hears — for next time we see him, Olivia is kneeling over his bloodied corpse while looking up at Abby who is frantically wiping her hands. This is one of those scenes that’s even more rewarding to watch in hindsight than it was the first time around.

    Given that it’s the season finale, this week’s DYNASTY is unusually conflict-free. Adam and Dana’s wedding is Soap Land’s most harmonious since Pam Ewing and Mark Graison’s a year ago, with the Carringtons, including Alexis, acting like one big happy family. It’s only in the last three minutes of the episode after the newlyweds have left on their honeymoon and the guests have gone home, that things go suddenly nuts. While Alexis’s car plunges off a bridge and into a river, a bunch of men speaking in a foreign language, each with a strange insignia on his hand, infiltrate the mansion and proceed to take the remaining Carringtons hostage.

    In contrast to the cordial Carringtons, the Ewings of DALLAS are divided following the news that the company is being investigated by the Justice Department. “You’re on your own on this one … As far as I’m concerned, you can go to hell in a handcart,” Ray tells JR. “Let the boys handle Ewing Oil. We’ve got our own lives to lead,” Clayton tells Miss Ellie. “There may not be a Ewing Oil left, get out while you can,” Pam urges her brother. Ironically, Cliff is the one character who cannot bring himself to desert JR’s company in its hour of need. “I just can’t let go,” he admits. But however much they might like to, the Ewings cannot disentangle themselves from one another quite so easily. “They hang, they all hang together,” Senator Dowling tells Donna gravely.

    Consequently, this week’s DALLAS might easily be subtitled “Mr Ewing goes to Washington” as JR spends most of the episode in the nation’s capital calling in markers, trying to make the evidence against him disappear. To that end, he gets to enact his own version of the Deep Throat scene from All the President’s Men, complete with a darkly lit parking garage and anonymous informant. FALCON CREST stages its own movie reenactments too. A week after April Stevens told her pianist to “play it again, Sam,” Richard Channing surprises Maggie with a Casablanca themed dinner for two, complete with costumes and a piano playing ‘As Time Goes By’. (To be honest, it’s a bit naff — Richard and Maggie are strong enough characters to carry a romantic scene without resorting to such gimmickry.) Later in the same ep, as part of a prolonged flashback sequence during Tony Cumson’s murder trial, Kit Marlowe and Roland Saunders deliver their own equivalent of Casablanca’s final airport scene — the same scene referenced by Blake, Krystle and Sarah Curtis on DYNASTY a couple of months ago, only here the “homage” is more blatant. More fun is noting the parallels between Kit’s surprise court appearance and Alexis’s on DYNASTY six years earlier. Like Alexis, she makes her big entrance in a hat and veil, then gives testimony about a prior relationship with a rich man who neglected her, prompting her to seek comfort in the arms of someone else. The rich man found them in bed together, had the lover beaten up and then separated her from her child. However, the best moment of the trial is Peter Stavros suddenly standing up and confessing to Saunders’ murder. First Clayton Farlow trying to kill JR and now this — elderly stepfathers with murderous impulses are becoming something of a trend.

    While cultural references are common enough, it’s more unusual for Soap Land to allude to real-life news events. So the following stand out: On KNOTS, when Karen overrides Abby’s decision to fire Paige from Lotus Point “because she’s had a rough time lately and she deserves a second chance,” Abby argues that “the Ayatollah Khomeini has had a rough time lately and I don’t think he deserves a second chance.” Even more topical is JR’s line to CIA Agent Daltery on DALLAS: “I understand that when the Iran scam broke loose, they shredded enough paper to bury fifty people.” “I remember when Reagan was a Democrat,” quips Bobby in the same episode.

    Even more interesting, and also strangely moving, is Soap Land’s first acknowledgement of the AIDS epidemic. This takes place on DYNASTY during one of those meaty father/son chats that often occur on the morning of a big Carrington wedding. Steven tells Blake that he intends to leave Denver. It’s when he mentions his plan to move to “the East Coast, I was happy there once” that alarm bells start ringing for Blake: the East Coast means New York, New York means Ted Dinard, Ted Dinard means gay sex, and these days gay sex means … “Don’t do it,” he urges. “Suddenly the world out there is different. There are new things to consider. I’m worried about you being out in that kind of a world.” “You’re talking about AIDS, right?” surmises Steven. “I’m talking about a disease that kills,” Blake replies. “It’s no longer just a gay disease. It doesn’t matter if somebody’s gay or straight, it’ll catch up with you if you’re not careful.” But of course, it does matter, otherwise why make Steven the focus of this topic? That contradiction isn’t peculiar to DYNASTY, however; it reflects the prevailing mindset of the time. “Dad, I’m as aware of the problem as you are and I can take care of myself,” Steven assures his father. “I know about safe sex and I know about celibacy if that becomes necessary.” While it’s ironic that Steven, arguably Soap Land’s least sexually active character, should be the one to introduce the concept of safe sex, there’s also something fascinating, and kind of touching, about Blake’s conviction that his son will be OK so long he remains within the glossy, heteronormative confines of DYNASTY itself; it’s only in “the world out there” that the danger lies: “This choice that you’re making is scaring the hell out of me. Son, I love you. I don’t want to see you die.” By the end of the episode, the lives of Steven, Blake and the rest of their family are all in jeopardy anyway, AIDS or no AIDS.

    Whereas Steven plans to leave Denver and venture into an offscreen real world fraught with danger, Mandy Winger expresses a desire to remain in Dallas and leave behind an offscreen fantasy world of Hollywood stardom. Mandy’s agent is almost as alarmed by her decision as Blake is by Steven’s. “You must be out of your mind!” she tells her. “Valentine Lingerie means a lot,” Mandy insists. “It’s given me everything I have.” “It’s given you some things and it’s taken away others,” replies Sue Ellen icily.

    While Sue Ellen retains a veneer of politeness towards Mandy, the gloves are finally off between Abby and her younger rival on KNOTS. Intriguingly, Abby’s opening salvo is aimed at Paige’s background: “You’re nothing but a little spoiled rich kid.” She then proceeds to define herself against Paige’s privileged upbringing: “Everything I have, I’ve earned. Everything you have, you’ve been given. I know it galls you. It galls people of your class to see a woman like me who’s earned what you thought was yours by birth. People like you are threatened by people like me because, deep down, you’re worried you won’t be able to cut it without your trust fund.” Hmm, I guess it’s how you define the word “earned”, but Abby’s depiction of herself here doesn’t quite jibe with the carefree woman who moved into the cul-de-sac seven years earlier with an eye for married men and a work ethic no stronger than Anne Matheson’s on garbage day. There’s a similar disconnect on DYNASTY between Alexis’s portrayal of herself as an independent woman of the ‘80s (“God, what is it with you men? Is it something that feeds your little ego that you think that a woman isn’t complete unless she’s either with one of you or pining for one of you? … I can take care of myself and I don’t need anyone”) and the emotional mess she becomes as soon as Dex calls her “a very lonely lady with nothing and no one in your life.” Minutes later, she’s tearfully driving herself off a bridge.

    While counselling a younger woman — anxious bride-to-be Dana and lovelorn Olivia respectively — DYNASTY’s Krystle and KNOTS LANDING’s Abby each find the time to recall an old love affair this week. “When I went to work for Denver Carrington, I met a man,” Krystle recalls. “He was lonely and needed someone to talk to. We became friends and then, eventually, involved.” “When I was just a little bit older than you are now,” Abby tells her daughter, “I fell in love … He was a graduate student. I knew we were going to get married.” Whereas Krystle’s recollection ends happily (“I met and fell madly in love with Blake and from that moment, the past didn’t matter”), Abby’s story concludes more poignantly: “He went and married someone else. I thought I was going to die. I really did.” In both cases, the writers have ulterior motives for sending their characters down memory lane. Krystle’s story sets us up for the end of the season cliffhanger when the man in question, Matthew Blaisdel, makes a shock return from the dead (almost exactly a year after Bobby Ewing made a shock return from the dead for the end of season cliffhanger on DALLAS). “I’ve come back for what belongs to me, what you stole from me,” he tells Blake while looking at Krystle. Maybe he wants his sex tape back. And the reason behind Abby’s little anecdote? Well, that has yet to be revealed.

    Following Donna Krebbs and Laura Avery, Jenna Wade becomes the third Soap Land mother in little over a month to give birth in a straightforward, non-melodramatic fashion. Once again, the soapy complications arise outside of the delivery room. Bobby, rather than Ray, is on hand when she goes into labour and it falls to Pam, of all people, to track down Ray and Charlie and bring them to the hospital where the nurse inevitably mistakes Ray for the daddy. “Congratulate him. He’s the father,” says Ray pointedly, looking at Bobby.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (4) FALCON CREST
    4 (3) DYNASTY
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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