This week most of the Passions characters attended one of Rome’s ever-popular masked balls. Well, actually, it was an art-gallery opening. But for some reason, it was also a masked ball; therefore, all kinds of sinister lurking ensued. Back in Harmony, Sheridan pulled the rubber mask off of the coma patient, and Kay got confirmation that Siren is a mermaid. And in off-screen news, I found out that Passions’ budget is being cut. Yes, that’s right. Passions’ budget is going to be EVEN LOWER than it is now! I, for one, can’t wait to see that in action.This is from TVguide.com Soaps News, May 26. Exact quote: “NBC has officially renewed the camptastic supernatural sudser for an eighth season. This means Passions is confirmed to stay on the air at least through July 2007!… The bad news is that NBC required Passions to do some serious financial belt-tightening in order to stay afloat for a Season 8. Sources tell TVGuide.com that the soap had to slash its budget by as much as $5 million….”
Oh my goodness. I guess we had better enjoy the fake-outdoors, fake-beach, and fake-Rome sets while we have them, because soon there will just be one big set with different painted backdrops, like a high-school play. As for the acting talent, they could switch to an all-“Will Work For Food” cast without any appreciable decline in quality, so I’m not too worried about that.
I had a DVR malfunction this week, so I am doing this from memory, and I’m going to talk about the whole week instead of focusing on Friday. A huge thank you to www.all4passions.com for many of the screencaps.
I’m sorry, you and your sister did what?
Let me start with a recap of perhaps my favorite Passions conversation ever – and that’s saying a lot. This happened on Tuesday, when Chad was, as usual, searching for Whitney in the Vatican. Chad ran into a friendly young monk (apparently, a pre-existing friend of his), and they had the following conversation, which I am trying to quote as closely as I can:
CHAD: Hey, do you think you can help me? My friend is lost in the catacombs.
FRIENDLY YOUNG MONK: Why sure, I’d love to help. You seem to care about your friend very much.
CHAD: Well, actually, she’s the mother of my baby, and I love her more than anything.
FYM: I can see that you do. Why don’t you do the right thing and marry her?
CHAD: Well, I really want to. I really wish I could. But I can’t.
FYM: Why not?
CHAD: Because she’s my half-sister.
[LONG, AWKWARD SILENCE]
FYM: Uh…. Ooooookay. Well, I can still help you look for her.
CHAD: Great! We didn’t know we were brother and sister when we conceived our son. But now that we know, I still love her.
FYM: You mean, you love her as a sister now, right?
CHAD: Oh, no. I’m still totally in love with her.
[LONG, AWKWARD SILENCE]
FYM: Uh…. Ooooookay.
So there you have it, kids. Your Passions public-service announcement for the week. Love your siblings! Awesome.
Chad knows a lot more than he used to about what’s going on with Whitney. You see, there is this old Italian nun around, and she has-a the second-a sight-a. She predicts-a great disaster and apocalypse. This week, she informed Chad that (a) the Vatican has been infiltrated by an evil outsider called “The Deceiver,” and (b) The Deceiver is using “The Innocent One” as his pawn to do his evil bidding. If The Deceiver succeeds in stealing the secrets of the Church as he intends, it could bring down the Church; nay, it could destroy the world as we know it!
I’m sorry, you and your sister did what?
So Chad has figured out that Whitney is The Innocent One, and he actually chases down and tackles this one monk whom he thinks is The Deceiver. But the poor guy just turns out to be some random monk. Hey, Chad? All the monks wear the same outfit. Just a helpful hint you might want to remember for next time.
Meanwhile, EvilMonk (Alistair) is making Whitney study an old painting for clues. Remember, last week, she found the chalice in the Pope’s private chamber – that is, in the virtual-reality-goggles version of the Pope’s private chamber. But when Alistair tried to touch the chalice, it burned his hands.
Next time, use a potholder.
Well, duhviously this is because he’s evil, but he talks Whitney into trusting him yet again. He tells her that there’s a clue hidden in the painting, and they will be able to use that clue to circumvent the holy security system and get the chalice.
Whitney finds the clue in the painting, but Alistair can’t see it. Not sure if this is because he’s evil or because of the hood completely covering his face. Then she has a great idea – why not shine a black light on the painting? And what do you know – they just happen to have a black light lying around. When she shines the black light on the painting, the word “AGAPE” is revealed.
This leads to a fairly funny sequence in which Alistair asks, “Why would the code word be ‘agape,’ like a person with their mouth agape?” And Whitney is like, “Er, that’s a different word, dude. AGAPE is an important word in Christianity meaning God’s love.” She is, yes, a bit suspicious that this highly placed Vatican monk has never heard of this key Christian concept. Alistair covers, a little.
Check out Alistair’s laptop. No, it’s not relevant; I just thought it was funny.
Whitney then deduces that they need to enter the code word into the keypad next to the chalice. Um, no, this isn’t EXACTLY LIKE the Da Vinci Code or anything, why do you ask?
After Alistair finds out the code word, he shreds the painting into a bunch of pieces so no one else can follow the clues. Whitney is appalled that he’s treating an old masterpiece in this manner, but he tells her that the Church matters more. While he’s cutting it up, they almost get caught by the Three Dunceketeers. Alistair yoinks Whitney out of the room through a secret passage. He later tries to use the clue to get the chalice again but he is still too darn evil to touch it.
The Dunceketeers (and Chad) end up coming into the room and finding the torn-up painting. They recognize it as one of the paintings from Alistair’s secret files back in Harmony, and they already have the torn-off corner with The Symbol on it. Then they find the “AGAPE” clue because Alistair didn’t do such a great job of shredding the painting.
Actually, only two of the Dunceketeers (Simone and Paloma) were available to participate in this big find because Jessica got kidnapped by Spike. AGAIN. Her stupid friends haven’t noticed yet. But Spike grabbed her from the masked ball, and Noah showed up to save her yet again. Also, Noah realized that Spike has The Symbol tattooed on his wrist, so now he knows that Spike killed the guy that Lena said was her “partner.”
So – the masked ball. Let me ask y’all a question. How many of you have ever been to a masked ball? No? Me neither. But on soaps, masked balls are a dime a dozen. Every time I watch one of these things, I just end up thinking that if I *am* ever summoned to attend a masked ball, I sure hope I get the kind of mask that straps onto your head, as opposed to the kind where you have to hold it up on a stick in front of your face the whole time. Those are the worst.
If any of the characters explained why this so-called art-show opening needed to involve masks, I didn’t catch it. But as you would expect, virtually every character wound up at this thing.
It all started earlier in the week, when Fancy decided that she wanted to use herself as bait to bring Beth out of hiding. She knows Beth wants to kill her, so hopefully she can lure her out and get Marty back for Luis and her beloved Aunt Sheridan. (Because, you see, Fancy is falling for Luis and wants to impress him.) Fancy confided this plan to Theresa, who thought it was stupid. Um, when Theresa finds your scheme to be excessively harebrained, it might be time to stop and reflect.
Of course Luis forbade Fancy to execute Operation Use Self As Psycho Bait, but she snuck out of her hotel suite and went to the opening anyway, sans mask. I’m proud of the writers for realizing that if she’s going to this event to act as bait, she shouldn’t wear a mask. Gold star, you guys! Fancy also had “Crane PR” issue a press release saying that she would be at the event.
Meanwhile, Beth was plotting with Spike. Note that there are no fewer than four villains in Rome: Beth, Spike, Lena, and Alistair. Before this week, I had no idea there was any connection between Beth and Spike, but whatever. Beth tells Spike to murder Fancy. Spike is reluctant, because he works for Alistair, and Alistair doesn’t want Fancy dead. (Remember, she’s his precious granddaughter and the only person on Earth he cares about.) But Beth is hoping that once Fancy is dead, she can take Fancy’s place in Alistair’s affections, as well as Luis’s.
My mask is eviler than your mask.
For whatever reason, Spike agrees to murder Fancy, so he and Beth both go to the masked ball. Unlike Fancy, they are actually wearing masks. Spike makes numerous botched attempts to get at Fancy with a knife. Meanwhile, Fancy totally makes out with Luis to make Noah jealous. Of course, this only fuels Beth’s murderous rage.
Yes, that chump watching is Noah. Or maybe it’s the non-union, lower-budget Noah.
After Spike fails repeatedly to get near Fancy with the knife, Beth tries to poison her instead. Eventually Luis spots Beth and grabs her, but she doesn’t care, because she thinks Fancy is about to drink poisoned champagne and die. Beth moronically tips Luis to this, so of course he saves Fancy and they end up kissing again.
Also at the masked ball are the Three Dunceketeers, who sneak in by disguising themselves as wait staff. Their goal is to sneak around and find clues to the art thefts, or something. As I mentioned earlier, Jessica ends up getting kidnapped, while the other two find Alistair’s shredded painting.
Finally, Theresa and Ethan are at the masked ball too. And so is J.T. Cornell! When we last saw J.T., he was being arrested for public drunkenness. Well, after that, Theresa went to the police station to file a report on him. She spotted him there, but he made bail at the last second (thanks to Rebecca wiring him the money) and he got away.
Ethan and Theresa at the ball.
J.T. then decided that he still wanted to leave town for Spain, but first, he had to have one more night of checking out the hot Italian ladies. And what better place to mack on sexy ladies than an art-show opening? Or a masked ball? Or an art-show opening that is also a masked ball? No strip clubs or hookers for this guy – he’s class all the way when he’s on the prowl.
Of course, Theresa ends up spotting J.T. at the event, and she tracks him to some ruins, followed by Ethan. At the end of Friday’s show, J.T. is in the midst of actually telling Ethan the truth about how his paternity got leaked to the tabloid. (Theresa promised him $10 million if he would tell Ethan the truth.) Rebecca and Gwen are listening over the phone in horror. So, it seems like something has finally happened with this storyline.
There were a couple of significant developments back in Harmony this week, too. First, Luis and Sheridan talked on the phone about the weird feeling they both have that Alistair is the evil mastermind behind the whole Rome thing. Actually, for Luis, it’s now more than a feeling because Beth kind of let slip that she has been in contact with her daddy. After Luis and Sheridan got off the phone, Sheridan went over to the nursing home just to make sure for one last time that her father was really there and really in a coma.
Well, when Sheridan got there, she inspected old “Alistair” a little more closely than everybody did when they went over there just last week. In fact, she noticed right away that there was a BIG RUBBER SEAM along the side of Alistair’s neck. Then she just reached right over and pulled off his rubber face. Yup – it was a rubber mask of Alistair, and underneath, there was some poor yutz in a coma.
I have a few comments about the rubber mask. First, it looks like Passions actually did go to the trouble to make it look like Alistair’s face. The actor must have sat and let them make a mold. Good for y’all! (I feel that if I am going to bash Passions for being low-budget and brain-dead, it is only fair that I give them their props when they do something right.)
Second, the show was obviously very proud of the trouble they went to making this rubber mask because they kept showing it over and over again. Sheridan stood there with it in her hands and talked to herself for a good long while, and we got to see it from various angles.
Third, the mask does not have hair. So there would have been seams not only along the neck, but also along the whole hairline of the dude wearing it.
And fourth, in related news, the whole team of doctors and nurses at this convalescent home never even noticed that their coma patient had his face covered by a rubber mask! Which did not even include hair, and was perfectly visible to the eye of the first lay person who looked for it! Now, that is some truly discerning medical care right there. Even the lovely Dr. Eve was taken in by this. I now realize that I gave the show too much credit with my prior assumption that the coma guy would turn out to have received plastic surgery to look like Alistair. Nope – sorry, we don’t even have the budget for *imaginary* plastic surgery these days.
Of course, now that Sheridan knows that Alistair is not in the nursing home, she is able to deduce that he just might be in Rome. But so far, she hasn’t been able to get up with Luis to tell him this, so nobody in Rome knows it yet.
Okay – I have saved the mermaid story for last. When we last saw our little Siren, she was suspended in a net, with Kay, Fox, Miguel, Gorton, and the photographer all agape (geddit?) at the sight of her very cheap-looking fabric tail.
Siren flipped out and escaped into the ocean. Miguel swam after her. Kay got really worried about him, but they both came back safe and sound, and Siren had legs again.
Siren then convinced everyone that they didn’t see what they thought they saw. You see, she argued, the tail was just a really creative idea she had for the photo shoot. It was just a costume she brought from home. Yup, and for some reason, she wasn’t wearing it when she fell into the water, and she *was* wearing it when they rescued her with the net!
Of course, all of the men believed this, but Kay totally didn’t. She was on a mission to find out the truth, and she confronted Tabitha. Finally she got Tabitha to admit to the whole thing – Siren is a mermaid; Endora conjured her up one night to save Miguel from drowning; then Endora gave her legs so she could be paired up with Miguel.
At first, Kay found this totally hilarious. This person she thought was her romantic rival was actually, as she put it, a fish! She rattled off all the clues she should have seen. Yes, Kay, that’s right. You should totally have known that this girl was actually a mermaid. Where was your head?
But Tabitha put an end to Kay’s merriment when she told her the truth about mermaids. Once a man has sex with a mermaid, she will dump him and break his heart, and he will pine away for her for the rest of his life. And he will never be able to have sex with a human woman again.
Well, Kay is absolutely not okay with this, since it’s on her agenda to sex up Miguel herself. She goes looking for Miguel, but – uh-oh – he’s off someplace ALONE with Siren. And yes, they are totally making out on the beach, and they’re about to Do It. And then her tail grows back. What the? Won’t this make it hard for them to…. Um, you know what, I don’t want to think about it.
I’m … speechless.
I have to digress here for a moment to express some sympathy for Miguel. For the first several years of this show, one of the main plots was that Tabitha had to make sure that Miguel never had sex with Charity, because then good would triumph over evil and Tabitha would lose her powers. And now, one of the main plots is that Kay has to make sure that Miguel never has sex with Siren. This poor guy is not getting any, and it’s through no real fault of his own.
Blast from the past: Miguel and Charity. (Yes, the old Miguel was John from Desperate Housewives, for anyone who didn’t know.)
As far as I know, Miguel has only had sex once – the time he got Kay pregnant. And that time, he was under a spell to think that Kay was Charity. And afterward, he ended up stabbing Kay through the midsection with a huge metal pole when she was in the form of a big black dog, and now she can’t have any more kids, and he feels really guilty about it because he thinks that the big black dog was just a crazy hallucination of his. Yeah, it’s a long story. Poor Miguel, that’s all I’m saying.
Tune in next week to see if Kay will get to Miguel in time … or maybe the fishtail will be enough to dampen his ardor. And will Ethan actually dump Gwen now that he knows she ruined his life? And will the doctors of Harmony all lose their jobs for failing to notice the rubber mask on their coma patient? Don’t bet on it.