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One Life to Live Recap: Too Many People

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Happy 40th Anniversary, Erika Slezak!  You are the grande dame of daytime, and it has been our honor to witness your immeasurable brilliance for four decades.  Thank you!

Viki awakens in her subconscious mind and panics, especially when she sees Niki in a mirror living Viki's life.  She struggles for freedom to no avail, and she’s relieved when she encounters her mind’s gatekeeper, Jean Randolph.  In Viki’s mind, Victor Lord’s secret room staircase is the conduit to the outside world, but it sits in the center behind a locked gate.  Viki pleads for the key, but Jean informs her that Viki gave the key to Niki.  Viki admits she wasn’t feeling up to par, but Jean explains that Viki intentionally allowed Niki’s release because Viki chose to hide.

Niki arrives at the courthouse and ducks into the bathroom to change.  She laments Viki’s lack of taste, but she’s playing along because Tess will owe her.  She plans to disappear to Vegas or Monte Carlo, but until then... it’s showtime!

Joey and Natalie confront Tess about Niki’s return engagement, but she denies everything.  They demand to know where Niki is, but Tess stays mum until Joey grabs her arm, accusing her of using Niki for her own purposes.  Ford blasts Joey for “assaulting” his wife, and they dissolve into a physical altercation.

Niki enters the courtroom and orders the “children” to quit fighting.  Joey accuses Niki of overtaking Viki and he appeals to his mother, but Niki as Viki insists she’s fine.  As Tess and Ford vow to look like the perfect couple and Niki unsuccessfully attempts to shoo Natalie and Joey back to Clint’s bedside, a new judge is announced.  Natalie and Joey question Nora’s absence, as does the judge, and Niki first tells Viki’s dubious children that Nora had a conflict of interest, followed by casually informing the court that Nora had a previous engagement. 

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The judge asks about Charlie’s involvement, but Niki says he showed his true colors and he’s out of the picture.  Niki tries to withdraw Viki’s custody petition, but before the judge can accept it, Joey declares that “Viki” is not his mother, but an alter.  The judge is bombarded with Viki and Jessica’s mental health histories, and Joey promises Niki and Tess are the personalities in control.  Niki resigns herself to being outed, going on the attack against everyone present.

As Viki and Jean helplessly watch Niki’s antics knowing her success would be disastrous, Jean fears it’s too late to thwart Niki’s plan in court.  Jean warns Viki against underestimating Niki, and Viki snatches the key ring and orders Jean into action, entrusting Jean with Viki’s best interests.  As Viki shakes the ring, Jean battles Niki for outward dominance.

Niki is jarred by the war within, appearing increasingly unstable until doubling over onto the judge’s desk.  The judge is concerned, but Jean, now dominant, insists Niki has “left the building.” 

After Jean prevails, Niki finds herself back in Viki’s subconscious.  Viki insists Niki’s fun is over, but Niki taunts Viki that she will lose Ryder.  Viki demands Niki return her mind’s key, and they argue until Niki runs off.

Though not fond of children herself, Jean fights for Viki, promising Ryder will be well-cared for, much like a pet.  When the judge asks whether or not love factors into Jean’s equation, she rattles off statistics and insists she’ll find a book on love in parenting.  Joey interjects, asking for a postponement while he takes his mother to the hospital, but Jean stiffens when he touches her.  Exhausted, she collapses and the judge calls a recess.

In the bathroom, Ford wonders what happened, and Tess explains that Viki “short-circuited.”  He’s thrilled that they likely just won the case, and they share a close moment until Tess backs away, leaving him with his handkerchief containing her lipstick print.  

Viki collapses internally at the same time as her physical body, and Niki and the “robot with PMS” quibble over who was the cause.  Jean points out that if Viki dies, so do they, so both alters encourage Viki to live.  Viki comes to, delivering a stirring speech and triumphing over them both:

Viki: As if you two could finish me off. I had a weak moment, that's all it was. The loss of another marriage, a man I thought I could trust. Yes, yes, it threw me seeing Echo in Charlie's arms, and I'm only human. And Clint playing God destroying our daughter's happiness, and Tess coming back to torment us, and Natalie -- all I ever wanted for Natalie was to see her happily married to the man she loves, and look what happened instead. Oh yes, I faltered. So what? I admit it. Despite all the marriages and the deaths and the shattering losses of the men I loved, a child, my beloved mother who left me far too soon, and despite my father, who betrayed my trust in the worst way imaginable -- despite all of that, no, because of it, because of everything I have suffered, I am stronger than you, than all of you. I have survived and I will continue to survive and I will walk through hellfire if my children need me. Joey, Natalie, Jessica, I'm coming back, I promise you. I will never allow Niki or Jean or any of them to take my place in the world. Yes, I share aspects of their characters. But I'm better than you, Niki. You're selfish and you're sloppy and you're devious. (to Jean) And I'm better than you, with your cool precision and your relentless logic. I am a whole person and I deserve to be with be with the people I love. There's no more hiding, there's no time for that now. I have only my one life and I intend to keep living it... now.

Paramedics arrive as Joey and Natalie cradle Viki and plead with her to wake up.  When she does, they’re skeptical as to her identity, but Viki sincerely promises she’s herself, and mother and children share a warm reunion.