Peter Bergman and Justin Hartley are holding a televised master class in acting on CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless. From the second presumed dead town pariah Adam Newman showed up in the Abbott mansion, sporting a flawless new face, this storyline has been can't-miss.
On today's show, Adam blackmailed Jack into helping him start a new life as Gabriel Bingham, the deceased trustafarian whose face and identity Adam has assumed with the help of Sage (Kelly Sullivan). Adam believes he can woo his "widow", Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan), and eventually reunite with her and their son. If Jack doesn't help his old frenemy out, Adam will send Jack's kid brother Billy (Burgess Jenkins) to prison for attempted murder.
I never really bought Jack and Adam's relationship before now. When Chris Engen played Adam, I found it out of character for Jack to set up the son of his dearly-departed pal Hope (Signey Coleman) to take the fall for Victor's (Eric Braeden) forged diary. Later, with Michael Muhney in the part, I thought it even more ridiculous for Jack and Adam to become friends, considering everything the younger man did to Jack's sister Ashley (Eileen Davidson).
Hartley, the third adult Adam, didn't waste any time fumbling for clues on how to play the reunion of these two iconic characters. He obviously realized these scenes were pivotal to him being accepted in the role and decided to show up and show out from the jump. Hartley matched Daytime Emmy winner Bergman's every visceral emotion, proving he's much more than just an incredibly pretty face.
Jack thought the man standing before him was spouting lunacy, when he first found Adam in his home. Adam Newman, the unrepentant scoundrel who killed his niece, was dead and gone. Or was he? By the end of Monday's airing, when Jack insisted Adam prove to him he can be a man worthy of redemption, Bergman had expertly guided the scenes into soap opera gold territory.
For his part, Hartley has firmly committed to the material. He's selling Adam as a desperate, once domesticated animal turned feral. After a year in the wilderness (also known as the Bingham's Grey Gardens-esque compound) he wants to return to the life and loved ones he left behind and he needs Jack's help to do so. Now I understand how Y&R was able to convince Hartley to give up a fairly successful primetime career to commit to this role.