Nothing in his life
became him like the leaving of it.

                      From Shakespeare’s Macbeth 


And so farewell to Michael Cambias.  His death made me just a little sad. A little sad because I would have enjoyed seeing Mikey not enjoying the effects of David’s chemical castration Scotch. It was perfect that the last thing Michael saw was his last victim pulling the fatal trigger. It was wonderful the way his corpse was treated with the same cavalier disrespect that Michael showed his victims. Stuffed into a gym bag, hung in a meat locker, frozen, defrosted, and finally tossed into the Pine Valley dump. An ignominious end to a wretched life. 

But now that Michael is gone what happens next on AMC? 

For one thing Erica is having Pinot Grigio as her power breakfast these days. There was something very chilling about the way she took her first drink after years of being in recovery. Erica did not do the stereotypical “recovered-substance-abuser-sits staring at the bottle (or in her case the Waterford decanter) while operatic music swelled in the background” routine. She simply poured herself a glass of brandy in a coldly matter of fact way. Keeping it a small moment made its implications that much larger.  

Who can blame Erica for needing something to get her through the long days and the even longer nights? Bianca is going to give birth to her rapist’s child. Just as Erica did some 23, 28 or 30 years ago (depending on how old we are expected to believe Erica is today.) And Bianca killed her rapist. All that would send any person reeling towards the bar. 

However I do not think that is the core of Erica’s distress. Viewers and PV residents alike make jokes about “it’s Erica’s world and we all just live in it”, but, as a narcissist, Erica really believes that to be true. She would never express it quite that way, but that is how she behaves. For example, she can never accept that once a man has loved her, he can ever love anyone else. The relationships that come before or after Erica are just not real to her. Look at the way she never accepted Alex as Dimitri’s wife. Even after Dimitri made it perfectly clear that he was deeply in love with Alex. Just as she could never accept that Jeff loved Mary or Tom loved Brooke or that Travis loved Barbara. Events that occur outside of her own direct experiences are not real to Erica.  

Her narcissism is most apparent in her relationship with Bianca. As Dr. Tomlin testified years ago, Erica’s narcissism would prevent her from ever separating from Bianca in the way emotionally healthy parents do. Erica does not see Bianca as her own person no matter how much she protests to the contrary.  

And that is why Erica is falling apart right now. Because Bianca has acted very much like her own person. Erica assumed that Bianca would have the abortion because it was what Erica would do. It never crossed Erica’s mind that Bianca might have a completely different view of the situation.  

In Erica’s world, she truly is the center of the universe. All roads lead to her. She directs the traffic. The fact that Bianca acted on her own is almost beyond Erica’s comprehension. And the fact that Jack and Kendall backed Bianca in her independent decision is almost more than Erica can bear. 

I am not saying that Erica’s rape does not play into this. It certainly does. Her unexpressed rage at her father has been weighing her down for decades. She lashes out at people who “betray” her because she cannot direct that anger at the person who deserves it the most-Eric Kane. Poor Mona bore the burden of that for years. And her need to control things is strong because for that one night when she turned 14 nothing was in her control at all.  

And how will Erica handle being a grandmother?  

And now you are thinking, geesh, where did all this come from Kate? From a conversation with Katrina, that’s where. She asked me why I enjoyed Erica and I replied, “because she is so consistently Erica. So consistently narcissistic.” And in an era when soap characters can morph into total strangers overnight, there is a kind of comfort in that. 

Erica is not the only character in Pine Valley of course. She only thinks she is. What about her erstwhile fiancé Jackson? I love Jackson’s growing family. Reggie has been a great addition, but I do wonder why he never mentions his sisters. And why isn’t Reggie in trouble for cutting class to attend the trial? Although considering this is Pine Valley, being excused from class because a relative/friend/acquaintance has been charged with a felony is probably a routine occurrence.  I hope Reggie will be having more of his own life now that the trial is over. What teenager wants to hang out with adults all the time even if those adults are fascinating felons? 

The big question remains, will Jackson and Erica finally marry? I used to want this to happen, but now I am not so sure. I think Jack has yearned for Erica for so long that he has not really thought about what it will be like to actually have Erica. Maybe they need to be together, get it out of their systems and then move on.

And what about Jack’s career? Even by soap standards it would be a little difficult to justify his staying on as DA considering he stole drugs and a gun from the evidence locker.

I think Jackson and Livia Frye should open a law firm together. That would bring Tom Cudahy back to town permanently, plus their son Jamal would be a good addition; he could move with the JR/Jamie/Maggie/Bianca crowd. Or he could be deSORAS’d to be in school with Reggie. 

I wonder how long it will be before Bianca’s baby will be SORAS’d  and heading off to PVU? Poor Bianca. Now she will not only have to explain to her child that she was conceived during a rape, but Bianca will also have to explain that she killed the rapist. And then maybe Bianca can explain to her child how yes, women keep falling in love with Mommy but she never, ever has real relationships with them. 

Speaking of women in love with Bianca, it is a shame how AMC has wasted Lena. I should have known Lena’s character would be backburnered the moment Megan McTavish said that “Lena is one of my favorite characters and I have big things planned for her.” That is the soap opera writer’s equivalent of “I had a really good time and I will call you soon. Really I will.” 

If they had been serious about Lena, Adam could have paired up with her to take back Chandler Enterprises from Cambias Industries and that twit JR. Adam’s and Lena’s scene in the jail was terrific, too bad it was their only one.  

And then there is the confused Maggie. Last year we had that wonderfully touching, heart breaking scene where Maggie gently told Bianca that while she loved her as a friend, she could never love her in a romantic way. Maggie’s feelings were very clear and well thought out. Now she is kissing Bianca and backseating Jamie. Where did this come from? I can only think it came from the very strong desire of TPTB never to allow Bianca a full-fledged relationship. Hey, we made her a lesbian, what more do you want? 

What I want is for Bianca to have some nice normal happiness for a while. Unfortunately, Bianca has become friends with Babe, so nice and normal seems out of the picture for her. 

And liking Babe is definitely not in the picture for me. I don’t know what the writers were smoking when they decided that JR’s wife should bed Jamie just a few weeks after became Mrs. Chandler. If they felt compelled to do a “who’s the daddy” storyline involving these three, here is a much better way it could have been done: JR could have invited Jamie to San Diego to meet the woman he planned to marry. Before Jamie got there, Babe and JR would have had a huge fight. JR stormed off and missed his meeting with Jamie. Meanwhile Jamie met a crying young woman in a bar, they hit it off and had sex. The next morning Jamie awoke to an empty bed. He may or may not meet up with JR before heading back to PV. This way Babe had sex with Jamie when she and JR were technically on a break. The writers could get their DNA switching story and Babe would not seem like the lying ho she is. 

Of course TPTB did not ask my opinion. Sadly they never do. Sigh. 

DNA switching leads me to the questions I am getting about a possible baby-switching story between AMC and OLTL. I do not know if Kelly’s baby dies and Paul switches her dead baby with Babe’s newborn.  (For non-OLTL viewers, Kelly believes having a baby will keep her husband Kevin tied to her, even though he is lusting after her cousin Blair.) My only hope is that Bianca’s baby is not involved.  

The only proof so far that this baby switching crossover story will happen is TPTB strong statement that nothing like that is in the works. Let us pause for a moment while we remember other strong statements TPTB have made: 

Gillian is not going anywhere. She and Ryan will be happy for a long long time. 

We have a big storyline for Liza coming up. 

We have a big storyline coming up for Brooke. 

The Proteus storyline will be wrapped up next month. (Repeat this one about 12 times.) 

Viewers are going to love how Maria returns to Pine Valley. 

We are looking forward to exploring Bianca’s relationship with Lena.  

And that is all I have to say about that! 

A Cynic Soaps Up - Jan 25, 2004 - AMC

A Cynic Soaps Up - Jan 19, 2004 - AMC, OLTL & ATWT

A Cynic Soaps Up - Old Pete Cooney Has a Plan

A Cynic Soaps Up - OLTL - August 17, 2003

A Cynic Soaps Up - AMC - August 4, 2003

A Cynic Soaps Up - AMC - June 9, 2003

Kate's Emmy Wrap Up

AMC Spoilers and Commentary by Kate Brown

OLTL Archives For A Cynic Soaps Up

AMC Archives For A Cynic Soaps Up

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