Lane is Dead — But Cane Shouldn’t Be
Lily (Christel Khalil) and Cane’s relationship on “The Young & the Restless” is dead, and so seemingly is he. Given that his body ended up on a slab on the morgue, and Daniel Goddard is encouraging fans to write letters encouraging the show’s Powers That Be to bring Cane back, the character’s death seems more permanent than Chance’s or Skye’s. Though I am a big fan of Daniel Goddard, Lily and Cane never had much appeal for me. I realize that the pairing has some ardent fans, and I respect that people responded to their seeming sweetness and sincerity. I personally never bought that Cane would fall for someone as young and uncomplicated as Lily. Their romance was sappy and old-fashioned. His character’s constantly rewritten history rivaled “General Hospital’s” Sam McCall and “Days of Our Lives” John Black for soap’s most retconned character. Cane managed to have multiple pasts in less than five years. It was only in this most recent incarnation, when it was revealed that Cane was a former Australian mobster who turned in his own father then fled the country to assume a new identity that I really became interested in the character.
The scenes of Cane coming clean to Lily were, in my opinion, the most interesting that the couple ever had. Even as his façade crumbled thanks to his father’s associate Blake (Paul Leyden ) poor performance in the job he blackmailed Cane into giving him and the arrival of his father Colin (Tristan Rogers), he still could not bring himself to tell Lily absolutely everything. Her refusal to forgive him or consider staying with him made her character stronger and more interesting than she has been since her teen romance with Daniel. Lily may be boring, but she truly is a good person. It was nice to see a soap character act with true integrity. She has forgiven Cane’s previous lies about his identity. As she pointed out, all he had to do was be honest with her. The fact that he couldn’t proved the man she loved never existed. Of course she changed her mind at the last minute, arriving at the church to tell her husband she was willing to give him another chance as he fought with Blake. Cane died nobly, taking a bullet that was meant for Lily.
Cane’s desperation as the walls close in on him was riveting to watch. Once Goddard knew who Cane was, he gave him a lot of depth. Cane did love Lily and the people he has come to think of as family. In his mind, he really was a good person. Yet the fact that he lied so easily and was always able to justify actions that hurt the people he purported to care about showed that he still has a criminal mind. Though the show certainly does not need the character of Cane structurally, it would be a shame to lose him just when his character finally became someone worth watching.
Two Rafes is Too Many
I have to hand it to “Days of Our Lives.” No soap is as determined to recycle the cheesiest, most dated plot devices instead of crafting actual character driven stories. With Sami (Alison Sweeney) and E.J. (James Scott) forging a tentative peace on the back of poor little Johnny’s eyeballs, there was actually an opportunity to let the characters with the most explosive chemistry on the show to reconnect. Finally, the E.J./Sami/Rafe triangle that would practically write itself and has the potential to develop into something as enduring as the Taylor/Ridge/Brooke triangle on “The Bold & the Beautiful” could happen. Sami caught between the cop who brings out the best in her and the twisted man who understands her flaws because he shares them.
Instead, DOOL has decided that what the storyline really needs is an evil Rafe double. Apparently, Stefano (Joseph Mascalo) has a laboratory full of surgically altered minions ready to do his bidding, perhaps made out of the bodyparts he obtained from the prison organ theft ring. E.J.’s apparent plan is to have Fake Rafe be mean to Sami, causing them to break up, which will draw her closer to E.J., even though he professes not to love her. He just wants Rafe out of the way. In other words, we are heading back to the James Reilly zone, minus his originality and humor. Does anyone want to watch this? Galen Gering is a charming actor, but his take on Fake Rafe so far is to ham it up as a cartoonish dolt. Who is this guy? How and why did he end up getting his face altered to look like Rafe’s? Has he been brainwashed? The show has yet to address these issues, and, given its track record with plot holes, may never do so.
Given that this is a predictable storyline, Sami, despite numerous experiences with doubles and people who have had their personalities altered by Stefano, will take Rafe’s sudden turn for the nasty at face value. You would think that after seeing John Black repeatedly brainwashed by Stefano, she would be on to DiMera manipulations. She will break up with him and align herself with E.J. Then, inevitably, the truth will come out, and Sami will once again be at war with E.J. As always with DiMera schemes, it begs the question, why don’t they just kill Rafe? Lather, rinse, repeat like we’ve been doing for the past year. It’s not just hokey. It’s boring. The double storyline is overdone. Sami and Rafe as saintly, put-upon victims of E.J. even though Sami shot E.J. in the head at point blank range is overdone. Watching what should be the most interesting characters on the show has become the television equivalent of watching Sisyphus push that rock up a mountain. It’s like DOOL does not think that Sami fans are capable of being engaged in a storyline with any ambiguity whatsoever.
In fact, isn’t it time soaps recover the plot device of unrelated people who look identical? We all know that plastic surgery can’t really do that. The stories invariably follow the identical trajectory and just serve to make everyone involved look like idiots.
The witty, refreshing, sophisticated flirtation between Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) and Victor (John Aniston) shows that DOOL’s writers are capable of telling a good love story. The universally positive response to the backburner mature romance shows that the DOOL audience enjoys more than two-dimensional melodramas. So why won’t Dena Higley write it?