A few days ago, Daytime Confidential's Jamey Giddens delicately asked the question Who In High Hell Fathered David Vickers on OLTL? Because I'm a sucker for such things, I attempted to explain in the comments section of his post how the paternity would shake out. However, it seems the matter is still rather confusing to some/many/everybody, including me.
My feverish brain could not let the issue go, so I decided to simplify the explanation a bit for those who are still confused about who banged whom, when minds were switched, and what's the smoke monster. Oops, wrong show! Anyway, here is my attempt to unravel the mystery of David Vickers' paternity. Mind you, if you stick with me to the very end of this, there is a theory of mine that I think will please people who have wanted to see a particular outcome. Mind you, it's only a theory but it is based on everything we've seen on screen.
Are you sitting down? Got your anti-anxiety medication ready, be it prescription or a stiff drink? Take a deep breath. In and out, slowly. Get set! And here we go!...
First, a couple of ground rules.
For those who have objections to OLTL doing a time travel story, I'm sorry but that wormhole was activated in 1988, when OLTL embarked on an ambitious, prolonged time travel trip to 1888 in it's famous/infamous Old West story. Whether you liked or hated it then or missed it altogether, time travel is a part of the show's canon.
Second, let's list the players in order to keep track of who's who:
Third, this is not an exhaustive recap of the 1968 time travel story, just an attempt to unravel David's paternity. If I don't get every detail right, sue me.
Finally, time travel does not exist. For that matter, neither does Llanview! Now that is out of the way, here is where the fun begins!:
How could Bo be David's father?
Bo slept with Emma in 1968.
We saw Rex sleep with Emma.
No, that was Bo.
When Rex and Bo time traveled, their consciousness jumped into Bo and Asa's bodies, respectively. Physically, it was Bo who banged Emma.
Why did we see Rex and Bo?
We saw Rex and Bo the same way we've seen Sam (Scott Bakula) in the bodies of other people on Quantum Leap, or mind transfers on Star Trek: we the audience just saw the actors. Even if you don't follow science fiction, it doesn't matter. Just remember this: Everyone in 1968 saw Bo and Asa as they were in 1968.
Why/How did Bo & Rex recognize each other in the past if they were inhabiting Asa & Bo's bodies?
We can assume it was due to some connection to the actual act of the time travel that linked them. That would also explain why Gigi recognized 2008 Rex in the past — the importance of which will be apparent soon enough.
Why wouldn't Bo remember sleeping with Emma?
Because Rex's consciousness had transferred to Bo's body: Bo — and Asa's — true conscious selves were in a sort of hibernation at the time, where there would be no reason for Bo to remember he had slept with Emma. There would also be no reason for Asa to not assume that David was his child.
Think of it like Viki's & Jessica's alters, where the primary personality (Viki or Jessica) doesn't know what the other alters are up to. Bo might think that evening's events were hazy because he had been drinking (or rather, Rex-in-Bo's body had been drinking).
Why does/would -- as spoiled -- Rex's DNA temporarily match as David's father if Bo is the real father?
This is nothing more than an in-joke/wink to the audience by the writers, just like when Renee commented about how Blair used to "look different" when she was married to Asa, given that the actress was Asian who played Blair at the time . Don't take Rex's temporary DNA match literally.
So, did Rex ever sleep with Gigi-as-Emma?
No. Gigi and Emma were/are two completely separate characters. In fact, Gigi caught Rex (Bo) in bed with Emma after they had done the deed.
Here is where many audience members get confused about whether Rex slept with Emma: Rex had convinced Emma that Bo's first name was "Balsom" after overhearing conversations between "Asa" and "Bo" where Bo had called Rex by his last name. This is also addressed in the clip linked above.
Okaaaaaaayyyyyyyy. So, um, what's the summary again?
Bo slept with Emma. Bo does not remember this because Rex's consciousness was occupying his body. Asa thought that David was his son because Asa was sleeping with Emma at that time and would assume David is his son. Emma might have lied about David's paternity knowing it was Bo's child (afraid of what Asa might do to her) or genuinely thought that Asa was the father. But there is another possibility...
OK, Smarty Pants, riddle me this: if 2008 Rex & Bo's conscious selves "quantum leaped" into 1968 Bo & Asa's bodies and Rex & Bo's bodies remained in 2008 and 1968 Bo & Asa's minds went into a DID-like hibernation, how did Gigi physically time travel to 1968 and why did she not jump into Emma's body? Gotcha!
That's Mister Smarty Pants! There are two possible reasons why Gigi didn't quantum leap into Emma's body:
Although it seems counterintutive, it might not be possible to "leap" into one's look-a-like. After all, Gigi and Emma were phsyically twins and this was Gigi's cover story when various members of the 1968 Buchanan clan mistook her for Emma.
The other is a bit more sneaky, the one I like: it might not be possible to leap into another person's body...if there is more than one body present. In other words, it not have been possible for Gigi to "leap" into Emma's body because Emma might have already been pregnant at the time. With Asa's child. David.
Whatchu talking about, Willis?
Perk up, gentle readers! This is where it gets interesting!
As noted, time travel on OLTL has existed since the 1998/1888 Old West storyline. So we know it exists in the ABC soap universe (given that all three soaps share the same universe). If memory serves, the Old West story was rather hapazardly told, involving all kinds of issues called time travel paradoxes. The most famous example of a time travel paradox is "If you went back in time to kill your own grandfather, you would never be born and therefore you could not go back in time to kill you own grandfather." OLTL's Old West paradoxes were never addressd and the show ignored them and ran with things. In fact, most time travel stories suffer from some sort of paradox or another, something that the show Lost is trying to avoid. OLTL seems to have taken taken a page out of Lost's playbook in the following way...
In time travel theory (of the scientific kind) paradoxes can be resolved by any number of methods, only one of which serves our purposes here. This specific resolution to paradoxes is the theory of universal self correction. This states, basically, that even if you could travel to the past you would not be able to change the future no matter what you attempted to alter. The universe will find a way to "fix things" so that events will unfold the way they were always meant to unfold. In simple terms, whatever will be will be. Predestination. Fate. Destiny.
OLTL's 1968 story, as far as I can deconstruct its rules of time travel, relies on this principle. This allows for both physical and consicousness time travel. Even if the the past timeline is altered (as borne out by the complaints of fans about when previously referenced events happened being mucked up by the 1968 story), the events themselves still happened! Nothing was changed!
Here is the mind-blower: the obvious beneficiary of universal self-correction theory for soaps is that it irons out all of the kinks of SORASing or Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome and its distant cousin, SORDAS, Soap Opera Rapid De-Aging Syndrome. In the fictional universe of soaps, universal self-correction allows for characters to be aged or de-aged as long as past events are still acknowledged to have happened.
Therefore, the rules in the case of the 1968 story would allow a time traveler (Rex/Bo) to "jump" into anyone's body under the circumstances described above. However a time traveler (Gigi) would be prevented from jumping into the body of a pregnant woman (Emma) because the time traveler's consciousness could only displace one person at a time. [Note: this does bring up the issue of whether a fetus has consciousness, but this would not matter in the course of universal self-correction, which would be agnostic on the matter and merely account for the presence of two bodies].
In this scenario, the universe would have allowed Gigi to physically travel through the portal if she had access to it since her presence would not upset events as they were to have happened anyway. Meanwhile, the universe self-corrected for Rex and Bo's presence, despite the transference of their consciousess.
This leaves leeway for Asa to have fathered David after all if Emma was already pregnant when 1968 Bo-under-the-influence-of-Rex slept with her!
MY THEORY (Not a spoiler): The original question was, per Jamey, "How in high hell is Bo David's father?" and the first question here is how could he be? I think that if the way I've laid things out here holds up, it is possible for it to be proven down the line that what we find out this week isn't necessarily the end of the story. Remember, the DNA tests that will be run this week will come back with a couple of bad results including one false-positive (that Rex is the daddy). Just because the DNA test says that Bo is David's poppa doesn't mean the DNA test will be final proof. However, I think it will be right just long enough to play some hijinks with the Buchanan fortune, an incredulous Bo and those in his orbit, and allow the show write Tuc Watkins out for a while until he returns a time or two again for a definitive answer: that David Vickers Buchanan might turn out to be Asa's son, after all.
Universal self-correction. Fate. Destiny.