Johnny and Olivia’s break up has so much soapy potential, but also so many ways in which it could go horribly, horribly wrong that I’m having trouble enjoying it as much as I would like to:
Lisa LoCicero broke my heart when Olivia was desperately lying to Johnny that she didn’t love him. (Incidentally, I am so jealous of pretty criers. If that was me, my face would have been blotchy, red, and disgusting. But I digress.)
I love the set up of forcing her to choose between her son and the man she loves. Brilliant! I even love that she’s talking about loving Sonny, because it is so clear that nothing could be further from the truth. (Thank GOD.) And Johnny’s hurt disbelief was deliciously painful to watch.
It’s nice that the writers at least remembered that Olivia knows the truth about Claudia’s involvement in Michael’s accident. It’s a lot less nice that they chose to treat both her and Jax like complete MORONS who aren’t smart enough to realize you don’t actually have to use information like that in order for it to be effective blackmail material.
All they needed to do was have Olivia threaten to expose Claudia’s secret to Sonny. Claudia could have fired back that if Olivia did that, Johnny would be exposed too. Stalemate! And it would make sense and put Olivia in the even more untenable position of choosing between hurting Johnny’s heart or getting him killed.
It also would have been nice if we’d seen her at least contemplating the idea of telling Johnny some version of the truth. If she’d only called Jax to talk it over before talking to Johnny, we could have seen her suggest and reject ideas like asking Johnny to fake breaking up, telling him Dominic is Dante (but not that Dante’s a cop), etc. I don’t need to see her actually do any of those things, but knowing that she’d thought about alternatives would have given the actual break up more weight.
And then there’s this, which I hated:
No, not the kissing. Kissing is great! But why is this show so in love with men forcing themselves on women who are clearly telling them their attentions are not wanted?
Yes, Olivia is lying. We know it, she knows it, and Johnny thinks he knows it. So no, I’m not exactly breaking my rape whistle out over one aggressive kiss. But I hate the trope of “her mouth said no, but her eyes said yes!” and all the baggage that carries in our rape-happy culture. And dick moves like this are the kind of thing I associate with Sonny, not Johnny.
Hey, writers! Don’t get me wrong. I am really, really happy that the sub-text now indicates you may have switched your endgame plan from Sonny/Olivia to Johnny/Olivia. But — and listen closely here, because this is important — that does not mean you should turn Johnny into a mini-Sonny. The reason Johnny and Olivia have worked so well so far is that he is the exact opposite of Sonny in so many ways. I know you’re hacks, and your default setting for Leading Man = Abusive Ass, but please try to rein those impulses it, okay?
Speaking of which…
Claudia is both obnoxious and gross, and I won’t be shedding any tears when she leaves town later on this month (yes, most likely in a body bag). But am I supposed to cheer when my romantic hero grabs the back of his sister’s head, waves a fist in her cowering face, and promises to “crush her skull”?
I don’t find that entertaining, GH. I don’t find it heroic. And I don’t find it even remotely romantic, edgy, interesting, bad ass, or whatever other misguided adjective you were going for.
Bob Guza: treating violence against women as a lark, 12 years running!
Of course, what can you expect when the other two romantic male leads have the following charming conversation in the very same episode:
SONNY: I meant it when I said I had high hopes for Dominic, you know. The guy has great potential. And I am grateful that he saved Morgan’s life. But I can’t let–because I’m grateful, I’m not blind and stupid. [Ed. note: !!!] If he can’t do a simple assignment, then I don’t want him around.
JASON: I’m sure Dominic had every intention of taking Sotto out. I’m sure that he didn’t anticipate having any problems. I mean, look, the guy has killed before, although they were in shoot outs and you’re jacked up on adrenaline, and it’s either you or the other guy. That’s easy. It’s a whole other story when you’re taking someone you’ve worked with out into the woods and you’re pulling that trigger when he’s staring you right in the eyes, begging you for his life.
SONNY: That’s a point.
JASON: So, I don’t think he’s incompetent. Sonny, that type of work, it’s specialized. [Ed. note: Yes. Specialized for SOCIOPATHS.] Not everybody’s cut out for it.
SONNY: [nods thoughtfully] I guess maybe I judged him harshly. I like the guy, like his energy. I just appreciate you stepping up for him.
On a show like The Sopranos, that dialog would be darkly hilarious: mobsters having a meeting to discuss employee performance like they’re middle managers doing a goddamn quarterly review. But a show like The Sopranos would realize — and expect the audience to realize too — that the truth is these people are monsters.
I can’t decide whether it’s worse when the show wants to pretend that the Corinthos organization makes its money smuggling lollipops and cotton candy up into Canada, or when it gets honest about the horrifying reality of what these men actually do for a living, and then still expects us to root for them as the heroes.
Oh, that Jason! He’s the kind of guy who can bring a guy he’s worked with out into the woods, look him in the eye as he’s begging for his life, and put a bullet in his skull. But he wore that pink tie to Spinelli’s wedding, and he’s so nice to women — gosh, what a sweetheart!
Excuse me, I think I need to go throw up.
Finally, in non-mob news, who else is rooting for Lucky to just take Spencer, leave the PCPD, and start up a Daddy Daycare business? With so many absentee parents in town, he’s sure to make a killing! Also, that way Spencer will know a father’s love for the very first time in his sad, lonely life:
LUCKY: That’s it? See you in the morning, that’s the extent of it?
LUCKY: Come on, you don’t want to go, like tuck Spence into bed or bedtime story or–?
NIKOLAS: [heaves enormous, put upon sigh] No, Norma does that, okay? Look I’m not as callous and disinterested as that may have just sounded, it’s just you know how erratic my schedule [Ed note: of stalking women…. ?] is and I don’t think it’s fair to him to interrupt his bed time schedule.
LUCKY: [laughs incredulously at the self-serving bullshit coming out of his brother’s mouth]
NIKOLAS: Kids–kids need structure!
LUCKY: Boy, do you have a lot to learn about family.
That last line was accompanied by the following beautiful WTF!? face:
You know, as excited as I am for Jonathan Jackson’s return, I’m also really going to miss Greg Vaughn. His Lucky may not have been the brightest bulb in town, but he’s got a good-natured sweetness that comes out around the kids which I really enjoy. Good luck wherever you land, Greg!
By the way, I don’t know when exactly Nikolas went from merely boring to actively AWFUL. But man, he is clearly vying for winner of Worst Father, Brother, Friend, and Lover of the Year at this point.
(It should be noted that Sonny has been the reigning champion of all four categories for about ten years running, so this could be a real coup for Nikolas if he’s able to pull it off.)
The key, I think, would be for him to get Spencer shot in the head and not even notice. The scary part? Is I can actually see that happening.