“Young and the Restless” spoilers tease that there might not be an end in sight for the nearly nine-month storyline involving J.T.’s (Thad Luckinbill) death. As Victor (Eric Braeden) faces false charges and Reed (Tristan Lake Leabu) becomes deeply emotional at his father’s memorial service, it’s fair to question not just how long this arc has lasted, but if it’s been worth it?
Y&R decided in 2017 when it made a deal with Luckinbill to return to the steamer he’d departed seven years prior, to re-imagine who J.T. Hellstrom was. No longer the generally likable guy who was on the side of justice and was loved by various ladies. Instead, this now middle-aged guy would be devolved to something less than human.
All longtime fans were surely perplexed at the storyline that portrayed J.T. as suffering from some undefined malady that made him go insane. If he had a brain tumor or some mysterious disease he contracted overseas that affected his judgment, then his resulting behavior could have been seen as at least plausible.
Mac: “Part of me mourns the loss of JT, but a bigger part of me finally feels safe. For the first time in a really long time.”
She looks at Victoria and says: “We’ll get through this. You’re not alone.” They hug.
— Kim Huck (@acejordan23) January 11, 2019
But claiming that he was dissatisfied with his job status as the reason why he demonstrated controlling, manipulative, verbally and then physically abusive behavior? That wasn’t convincing. Instead, it felt like what it was, a way to push a specific plot forward that’s also come to involve numerous other individuals.
Did Y&R also have to write Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) off the rails? Here’s a parent who courageously defended her daughter, purely on instinct. That was commendable.
So what happens within the next handful of minutes after J.T. was struck down by Nikki, Thomas Scott’s character agrees to a coverup that Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) fiercely suggested. Huh?
The implausible writing of Nikki, Vickie, Phyllis, and Sharon (Sharon Case) at Vickie’s home on that fateful night was necessary in order to create the Fearsome Foursome, Coverup Crew, or whatever anyone wants to call this contingent. So many of the ladies’ resulting actions, both individual and collective, continue to prove B-movieish, like the kidnapping of Tessa (Cait Fairbanks) to simply name one plot point.
And now Victor is arrested and imprisoned on charges the audience knows won’t stick, as he’s not the villain. That’s yet another obvious move to stretch this arc.
So, Y&R transforms a good guy (J.T.) into a one-dimensional character, while also making the lady who probably saved Vickie’s life into a coverup artist. How did those two major developments help the show, or entertain its fans?
Soap fans often accept escapist storylines, even those that are horrific, and don’t expect everything within them to be perfect because of the volume of episodes a daily steamer produces. But good stories begin with a strong jumping off point that builds through logical steps and then reaches a satisfying climax. Has the J.T. storyline met that reasonable expectation, and now, how can it?
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