Has any recently returned character on soaps been shoehorned into more stories off the bat than Dusty Donovan?
The brilliant Emily and Casey pairing clearly was sacrificed at the altar of an Emily/Dusty redux.
Paul and Meg are once again threatened by Dusty, this time mainly as a result of Paul's insane jealousy, not to mention Dusty always managing to stick his nose in their business.
Lily and Holden were supposedly on the road to reconciliation for the 149th time until Dusty popped back up.
Now Dusty has purchased controlling shares of Worldwide from Lucinda in a logic defying character twist for her (as a result of a couple of words from Brian that she live her own life, which has no real relationship to Lucinda as a businesswoman) that rings completely false.
Between all the talk about Dusty, jealousy about Dusty, plots against Dusty, gossiping about Dusty and general obsession over Dusty, it was a shock when Derek strolled into Metro and shared scenes with Bonnie.
Oh wait, Derek was dragged into Paul's plot against Dusty, too.
On one level, using Dusty as a catalyst to move certain characters in some stories is a smart idea and makes perfect sense given his history with a great deal of the canvas. Nonetheless, once again because of the speed of the storytelling, Dusty's re-entry reeks of overkill. Any of the story threads mentioned above could have taken two to three months or more to unfold, building tension and motivation over time.
The other unfortunate side effect of these events is that many scenes are repeating themselves seemingly verbatim: Emily berating Paul, Holden and Lily questioning their relationship, Meg confronting Paul over whatever he has done this time and Paul promising to make everything right. Again. Although the storylines are different, it is hard to trust that whatever reconciliation or break up that happened today is going to hold past tomorrow or next week. Damn, I'm as skeptical as Faith is of Lily!
That's the bad news. The good news is that today's episode was very good despite the repetitive nature of the scenes. Grayson McCouch has been terrific, although I do wonder if his "Moses Hair" will compete with him come Emmy nomination time.
I particularly liked Roger Howarth's performance as Paul's mental state continued to unspool. The historical problem with Howarth's version of Paul is that the writers have constructed 211 versions of the character in an effort "do different things" with him. When the writers have set Paul on a specific course or given him definitive direction, Howarth turns in really strong work. I've said it before: it is time to make Paul a "true" Stenbeck, which is something James (and the hallucination of James) has set in motion.
What say you, gentle readers? Is it too much Dusty too soon or are you liking how quickly he's been assimilated back into Oakdale life? Do you think Holden and Lily are for real about making their mariage work? Has Paul finally lost his marbles? Is there a barber for Dusty anywhere near the ATWT studio?