Why Last Week Proved Bold & Beautiful is The Best Damn Soap Opera Airing This Summer

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Ashlyn Pearce

Ashlyn Pearce

It's a rare occurence to be genuinely shocked by a daytime soap opera anymore. I'm not talking about the "shocking" reveal that the character you love is really his or her evil twin, or the baby your fave heroine is raising actually belongs to her nemesis across town. Those soap tropes stopped being shocking in the 90's.

In 2015, a soap has to be really clever and think outside the box of tried and true ratings tricks to give its audience an authentic "WTF" moment. CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful has been delivering such moments back-to-back all year.

No one saw it coming when Maya (Karla Mosley), the social climbing fashion model, turned out to be transgender.  Her heterosexual, white male lover Rick Forrester (Jacob Young) choosing to continue their romance was equally jaw-dropping.

We began to wonder on the Daytime Confidential podcast, "Can B&B keep this up? How long until they're back to those wash, rinse and repeat love triangles and quads?" 

When Steffy Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) returned and made a beeline for Liam (Scott Clifton), who was dating her step-cousin Ivy (Ashleigh Brewer), we collectively groaned. "Here we go. Wash, rinse, repeat," we thought. We just knew Maya and Rick would be backburnered in favor of another less-than-riveting chapter of "For Whom Liam's Bells Toll".

It all seemed so similar. Substitute virginal Hope Logan (Kim Matula) with principled Ivy; have Wyatt (Darin Brooks) suddenly pop a boner for Steffy; start Quinn (Rena Sofer) to meddling and Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) to preaching and voila! We just knew we were in for the exact same storyline we'd watched on B&B for the past five years or so.  Boy were we wrong.  

This time around, Aly didn't just preach about the need for family fashion house Forrester Creations to return to the tenets of morality, elegance and virtue. The emotionally-damaged intern demanded it do so, loudly, and usually in the middle of an executive board meeting. Painfully frigid and clearly unstable, Aly targeted any woman, cis or transgender, who dared to exhibit even a hint of sexuality.

The focal points of Aly's wrath proved to be bodacious cousin Steffy and Maya, the latter of whom Aly found to be repulsive, mostly because Maya is transgender. Granted, Maya and Rick didn't treat Aly very well when they were on their power kick, but Maya having been born biologically male seemed to be what offended Aly most of all.

I was a bit shocked at Aly's bigotry. The young woman grew up abroad. I figured a Forrester heiress living in Europe would have a more cosmopolitan view of sex and gender. That wasn't the case. Aly's rigid beliefs on morality made those of her late grandmother, Stephanie (Susan Flannery), seem like the views of a raging swinger by comparison.

Aly's frustration over Steffy and Maya, in her mind, brazenly flaunting their sexuality was egged on by distorted visions of her late mother, Darla (Schae Harrison). Aly was a toddler when her mother died. She had no idea Darla was a bit of a dingy bimbo herself. From where Aly stood, her mother was saint — a saint who would want her to exact lethal vengeance on the daughter of the woman who killed her.

This brings us to the Greek Tragedy aspect of what's playing out right now on B&B. It was a drunken Dr. Taylor Hayes (Hunter Tylo) who accidentally killed Darla one night on PCH.  Aly was never able to forgive Taylor. She tried, but her myriad of demons simply wouldn't allow it. 

Then Taylor's daughter returned to town and began using sex as a weapon to reclaim Liam, whom Aly felt belonged with the more virtuous Ivy. Someone had to stop Steffy. Aly, with a little help from those creepy-yet-hilarious visions of her mother, decided she was the woman for the job.

Following the fashion show launch of Forrester's new "California Freedom" collection—which debuted complete with a bevvy of beautiful transgender models—everyone headed for the family compound for a pool party. Steffy and Aly didn't make it to the festivities. They were busy having one last showdown at the exact same spot where Steffy's mother ended the life of Aly's mom.

Aly rigged Steffy's tire to go flat. Her plan was to mow her rival down while she tried to fix the tire. The deadly event was to mirror Taylor running down Darla all those years ago.

At the last minute, Aly decided not to commit vehicular manslaughter. A horrified Steffy dragged her cousin out of the car to hash out their tainted history once and for all. 

Just when it seemed Steffy was getting through to Aly, the young woman's blood lust returned full force. She began swinging at Steffy violently with a tire jack. Some how Steffy managed to turn the tables, but then she ended up on the ground.

Aly finally had her opportunity. She picked up a rock intent on bashing Steffy's brain in. Ivy, who earlier that night had found a disturbing collage detailing Aly's hate for Steffy and Maya, managed to track the cousins down. She took out her phone to film their last encounter.

Steffy, realizing she was about to be bludgeoned to death, picked up the tire iron and knocked Aly in the head to defend herself. Aly fell, hitting her head on a rock and died at the scene. 

Back at the Forrester home, Thorne (Winsor Harmon), who himself has long-held animosity toward older brother Ridge (Thorsten Kaye)—Steffy's father—was talking about his plans to take Aly back to Paris with him to get her the help she so desperately needs. Too little, too late.

When I first saw Ashlyn Pearce tweet she was out at B&B, I lost my shit. She's the best actress in daytime in her age range by far. "What the hell is Brad thinking?!" I wondered. 

It became clear when I watched the episode later that day. Brad Bell and his masterful team were thinking what any good storytellers should be at all times — this will make damn good television. They were right.