By Michele Dargan

Poor Natalie!

How much sadness and loss does one person have to take?

I tell ya, that first scene today, when Natalie was holding Jared’s picture in the church was so sad. As she was talking to God and telling him that he brought back Cristian and John from the “dead,” I was thinking the same thing.

And my heart broke for her.

She really has had a rough road of it on One Life To Live.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Natalie (Melissa Archer) lost (figuratively speaking) her boyfriend, Seth, (remember him way back when?) to Jessica, after Seth fell in love with Jessica.

Then, Natalie – an outcast back then – won over the heart of Cristian Vega.

But, complications (as is always the case in a soap opera) arose when Cristian’s girlfriend, Jen Rappaport lied that she was pregnant to keep him with her.

When the truth finally came out, Natalie and Cristian married. The next day, he “dies” but the body was never recovered.

Natalie was devastated.

When she finally starts dating again with the tall, dark and amazingly handsome cop John McBain (Can ya tell I like him a bit?), Cristian returns from the dead…… (lotsa stuff in between of course).

Eventually Natalie divorces Cristian and John and Natalie fall in love. But just as John gets his mother’s engagement ring and is going to ask Natalie to marry him, HE gets “killed” in a car accident.

Of course, he doesn’t REALLY get killed. It’s an identity mix-up of the bodies with him and Hugh Hughes and, eventually, everyone realizes that John is alive and Hugh is dead. But John and Natalie couldn’t make a go of it the second time around.

If you’ve lost count at this point – one husband “dead” and one fiancee “dead.”

Natalie mourned both of them.

Which brings us up to date —- and to Jared.

Here’s a really great tribute video to Natalie and Jared.

In my opinion, Jared (John Brotherton) was the best suited for Natalie.

Not to mention, Natalie and Jared overcame severe obstacles to be together – including the fact that he tried to bilk her family out of their fortune and when she found out kept it quiet to be with him.

And, of course, there was Nash’s death, which Jess/Tess/Bess blamed on Natalie and Jared and exacted revenge by locking them in the basement. The two of them almost died together in that basement.

Now, Finally….FINALLY, when they are together, married, happy and an accepted part of the Buchanan family – he’s dead….Shot to death in front of Natalie’s eyes.

And what’s up with that really creepy final scene when Mitch Laurence emerged from Jared’s casket…..UGH!

I just can’t believe TPTB brought in Jared – connected him to his father, Charlie, who’s married to Viki, Natalie’s mother, only to kill him off!!

Grrrr. Not happy about it.

Not to mention it looks like his son’s death may send Charlie back to the bottle, which would only escalate the downward spiral of all the OLTL storylines.

But I’ll save THAT rant for another day……

I am officially depressed.
And extremely agitated and upset.
Things have to be pretty dire because I’m writing my second rant blog in the same week about One Life To Live – my fave soap!
The show has gone downhill even further since the beginning of the week (which I didn’t think was possible) and it was so bad after Wednesday’s show that I don’t feel like watching.
And that is serious!
Click here to read my earlier rant.
Here’s my big thing….I watch soaps as an E-S-C-A-P-E from reality.
I like soapy, fun-type drama. That’s why I watch soaps….
I do not, however, tune in to watch violence, torture, pain and suffering and get depressed afterward.
And that’s what’s happening.
Wednesday’s episode was so dark and so depressing that I couldn’t wait until it ended.
Let’s recap.
First you have poor Natalie (Melissa Archer) being held captive in Llanfair’s basement by her sister’s demented alter personality, Tess (Bree Williamson).
The two actresses are really hitting it out of the ball park with their scenes. Absolutely.
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That’s probably why I’m so distressed by it all.
Their scenes are so believable that it’s all too scary for me.
Williamson is doing such a great job of playing the malevolent, Tess, that it’s so uncomfortable to watch Natalie come to the horrific realization that there’s no way out.
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First of all, this storyline is a rewrite from eons ago when one of Viki’s alters held Dorian captive in the basement.
Just when I thought we were done with all those regurgitated past storylines from the 40th anniversary episodes.
Enough already!
Then there was Tina (Andrea Evans) sniveling and sniffling to Viki’s picture in the living room because she is being blackmailed into silence about Tess holding Natalie captive.
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The wonderfully, talented Andrea Evans and this is the only thing the writers can come up for her to do?
Then there’s Christian (David Fumero) being held on a ship by Carlo (Thom Christopher) – been there, done that too.
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The last time Carlo held Christian captive on a ship, Carlo wiped away Christian’s memory and brainwashed him into killing Tico Santi.
Personally, I thought that was one of the worst and darkest storylines in OLTL history.
So on Thursday’s episode, that s/l went from bad to worse by throwing Christian into a Columbian prison.
Why is it that OLTL writers just love, love, love torturing the Vega family?
I just don’t get it.
Both Vega boys have had more than their share of pain and suffering.
Then there was Jared (John Brotherton) off in the aforementioned Columbian prison (talk about dark and depressing) trying to strike a deal with Langston’s long-lost Uncle Ray Montez (A. Martinez) and break him out to wreak havoc with Langston’s life, per orders of Clint.
I really like Langston and dread the heartache that she’s about to experience.
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Those scenes in the Columbian prison gave me the creeps.
Once again, not something I’m looking for in my soap opera fare.
In between all of this dark drama, you have a few light scenes between Cole (Brandon Buddy) and Matthew (Eddie Alderson) talking about Matthew’s fears about getting beat up in high school. I do like the dynamic between these two young actors and it did offer some light moments in an otherwise dreary hour.
There also were some nice moments with Starr (Kristen Alderson) and Langston (Brittany Underwood).
But, honestly, how uplifting is a seven-month pregnant 16-year-old ready to go back to high school while pregnant?
I like the real friendship that shows through in scenes with Alderson and Underwood. Alderson has done a wonderful job with a tough s/l.
But it’s not exactly a feel-good, happy s/l.
For me, the highlight of Wednesday’s show was when Natalie (I just love how she is so spunky, even in distress) struck out verbally at Tess.
“You’re just an angry bitch with an axe to grind.”
She practically spat those words through the thick, soundproof glass.
Pretty gutsy, eh?

One Life To Live has been so captivating and so action-packed over the past two weeks – I don’t know where to begin – it’s been that good!
On Friday, I wrote about Blair finally standing up to Todd and Todd beginning to get his comeuppance. (See blog below).
There was so much more to be said….However, writing when you’re jet-lagged is never a good combination and I was exhausted.
I had just returned from a week in Ireland – and kudos to Kara for her brilliant musings and for carrying the blog single-handedly in my absence.
And, of course I get back and begin to watch all the back eppys of OLTL – and each one better than the next!
So here goes – although late I feel the need to discuss.
First of all – there was Rex and Adriana’s wedding and “the punch heard ’round the world’ – not to mention the appearance by Brody.
A video is worth a thousand words. Watch below for all the fireworks.

There were lots of really good performances and side scenes leading up to the Bridezilla moment by Adriana (Melissa Fumero) – especially when it looked like Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) wasn’t going to show.
In addition to Fumero and Lavoisier being at their best – there were many other enjoyable, wonderful performances.
Loved the scenes with Talia (BethAnn Bonner) and Antonio (Kamar de los Reyes) sneaking off to be together and the priest finding them in a lip-lock in church.
And then there was Robert S. Woods as Bo trying to keep everything together in the face of impending disaster…Woods always delivers.
It was fun watching the many mood changes of Dorian (Robin Strasser) when at first she thought her plan to stop the wedding had worked – and then watching her as she realized it didn’t.
Kathy Brier is consistently good as Marcie McBain, and I particularly liked her scenes with Gigi (Farah Fath) as she tried to convince Gigi to tell Rex the truth – that he is Shane’s father.
And how about after the wedding – the Bo and Lindsay kiss? Finally!
But that was followed by the Bo/Lindsay and Nora/Clint confrontation, where Bo learned that Lindsay (Catherine Hickland) had fed Clint (Jerry Ver Dorn) the negative info about BE’s enemies.
Also good stuff!
Will Bo and Lindsay survive a second chance?
Or will Nora (Hillary B.Smith) get the revenge she so wants?
Some of the funniest and most entertaining scenes revolved around – who else, but David Vickers, Llanview’s most lovable scoundrel.
With Natalie (Melissa Archer), Jared (John Brotherton) and Nigel (Peter Bartlett) desperately trying to keep secret that Jared is not a Buchanan from the rest of the family, Vickers (Tuc Watkins) finds out the secret and – what else – blackmails them.
What Vickers doesn’t know is that he is the lost Buch heir.
To keep him quiet for awhile, Jared clocks Vickers on the head with a glass and carts him out to the stable to hide him until they figure out a plan.
Some really funny scenes in the living room, before Jared and Nigel are able to get Vickers to the barn.
Clint and Nora enter the room, with Vickers stowed behind the couch.
This is really funny! Check out when Nora sits on the couch and Vicker’s hand appears next to her! The comedic sides from all of the actors really shines in these scenes.

More good scenes with Natalie bringing breakfast to a hog-tied Vickers.
Even Whiskey weighs in on the scene.
Check out Whiskey’s ears as the horse looks at Vickers and tries to figure out what the heck he’s doing in her territory. Being a horse person and having owned horses, I know how funny horses can be with their expressions.

I think some of my favorite Melissa Archer scenes occurred in the barn as she tries to hide Vickers from Clint. She puts a horse blanket around the bound and gagged Vickers and puts him next to Whiskey. Then Natalie tap dances with words as she discourages Clint from going for a ride on the mare.

And there’s so much more going on….What about the jewel heist from Lindsay’s gallery? Will Ramsey finally get his due?
And then there’s Dorian….drugging Charlie (Brian Kerwin) and then pouring alcohol down the recovering alcoholic’s throat? I’m really not liking that twist, particularly because it’s going to bring Viki (Erika Slezak) heartache.
I guess we’ll have to tune in this week to see.