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Season Three Recap


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Season Three

January 5, 2007 to December 1, 2007

Production Numbers: 301-328

Written by Andy Eckles

Copyright(c) 2007 Sunset Studios. All rights reserved.


After confessing to the murder of Will Thomerson, an arraignment hearing was held to determine if Brooke would be released on bail.  The judge denied the motion and a tearful Brooke spent another day in jail.  Meanwhile, with the help of information found in Will’s personal affects, Ethan learned that baby Michael had been given to Joel and Missy Armitage in exchange for the porn director’s assistance in drugging Heather and videotaping her having sex with Philip Whitacre.  Ethan pleaded with Missy to return his infant son, but she refused.  Attempting to escape persecution, Joel sped away in his car with Ethan close behind.   Racing from the scene, Joel was struck by a car and killed, but not before pointing the finger of guilt at Will as his dying words. The police intervened and Missy started to run off with the baby, but was eventually apprehended and brought to the police station.  Her husband dead and her illegally adopted baby ripped from her arms, Missy felt that she had nothing left.  While being led through the courthouse, she grabbed a policeman’s gun and fired at Ethan.  Panic ensued, but a quick acting James pushed his nephew to safety.  The chaos in the police station sent a rattled Heather fleeing from the scene.  Finally, Michael was returned to Brooke’s arms and Ethan watched with resentment as James coddled the infant, still believing himself to be the father.

Brooke TaylorWith Michael home safely at long last, James and his attorney, Brandon began working on Brooke’s defense.  After viewing photos of the crime scene, Brooke noticed something that seemed out of place.   In the photos, Will was wearing a tuxedo, but Brooke maintained that when she shot him he was dressed in a smoking jacket.  After further inspection of the crime scene, a fresh bullet hole in the wall seemed to be the key to Brooke’s innocence.  Brandon pieced together the night of the murder, naming nearly every member of the Blackthorne family as having went to Will’s house that night.   Brooke had fired the gun but the bullet missed its target, sending Will staggering back and hitting his head on the fireplace, thus explaining the blow to the head that had yet to be explained.   Believing to have killed him, Brooke left the scene.  Brandon maintained that the real killer appeared shortly after that and fired the fatal shot that killed him.  Still, the District Attorney refused to drop the charges until they had another viable suspect.

When Miranda discovered dirt on the bottom of Heather’s nightgown, and witnessed her freak out at the police station, she began to wonder if her step-sister was really in bed asleep while Will was murdered.  While being questioned again by the police, Heather remembered passing through the tunnels and shooting Will.  Recent blackouts had prevented her from coming forward sooner.  Rather than risk her being imprisoned for what they claimed to be justifiable homicide, James, Alex and Jordan bribed the D.A. into reducing the charges to self-defense. Heather Rydell

With Will’s murder behind them, Alex began railing against James and Jordan’s attempts at bringing James’s uncle, Nathan Blackthorne, back to Hollywood from a twenty year exile.  Early in her career, she had had a relationship with Nathan but was never in love with him, merely using him to give her acting career a jumpstart.  When James had come to town they started a passionate romance and married, jilting Nathan.  Years later, Nathan raped Alex while James was on location for one of his films.   On top of that, Nathan had been accused of molesting several underage girls with the promise of helping them with their careers.  At the trial where young Debralee Scott and her parents accused Nathan of statutory rape, Alex was called as a witness and revealed the details of her rape.  Afterwards, Nathan threatened Alex, who then recanted her testimony.  She spent thirty days in jail for perjury.  During the trial’s deliberations, a mole planted by longtime friend Victor Distefano reported that the jury was leaning towards a guilty verdict.  Rather than risk prison time, Nathan escaped to Paris on Victor’s private jet, where he remained, protected by the absence of an extradition agreement with the United States.   

Despite Alex’s protests, Jordan located Debralee Scott, who was now an adult and a published self-help book author.  She made a press statement that she held no ill will against Nathan and felt that he should be allowed to return to the United States without facing legal retaliation.  The media blitz seemed to lean in favor of Nathan’s return, so James and Jordan arranged for him to fly to Hollywood.  Upon stepping off the plane, Nathan was immediately arrested.  Days later, he was released under house arrest pending a re-trial for his crimes.   But Nathan was far too clever and quickly convinced the court to remove the order, allowing him to come and go as he pleased while waiting for his trial. 

Meanwhile, Renee DeWittRenee DeWitt, now divorced from her philandering husband, Kenny, got a surprise when her adopted daughter Sierra landed on her doorstep fresh from University in Europe.  Renee also began dating Jordan Rydell, much to the resentment of Alex, who, despite their divorce, still carried a torch for her second husband.  To complicate matters for Renee, Nathan had returned and made her feel very uncomfortable with memories of their secret past.  Renee tried desperately to hide Sierra from the public, finally admitting to Jordan that she had adopted Sierra after her parents died in a car crash when she was an infant.  Since then, she’d kept her overseas in boarding schools.  When Kenny learned that his ex had a secret daughter, he exploded into anger at her manipulative nature, mortified that she could lie to him about something like that for the many years they’d been married.  As if the troubles with Kenny weren’t enough, Renee was clueless as to the growing sexual tension between Jordan and Alex.  On the day their divorce became final, they slept together at Alex’s Malibu mansion.

Divorce didn’t only rear its ugly head with the older crowd.  Miranda, disgusted with Brett’s attempts at getting Stormy framed for Will’s murder, put her husband on alert.  With James’s instance, she held off on filing for divorce.  But when Heather found Brett having sex with his secretary at Sunset Studios, she told Miranda, who sent her husband packing and flew to Mexico to get a quickie divorce.  While staying at the posh Continental Hotel in Acapulco, she met Leigh Purcell, who regaled fondly of a chance meeting with James six years earlier while he was there on location.

Brooke pleaded with Ethan to keep her secret about Michael’s paternity.  Angry and depressed, he went on a drinking binge, staying out all night and carousing with many different women.  Brooke went to Ethan to plead with him to straighten himself out, and inadvertently revealed to him that Will Thomerson was his father.   Ethan grew more belligerent after learning that he’d been lied to his entire life.  He downed a bottle of vodka and set off to confront James.  Meanwhile, when Sierra found out that Renee hadn’t told Kenny of her existence, she flew into a fit of despair and ran off.  Racing out into the front drive of Hotel Terranova, she was hit by a drunken Ethan in his car.  Sierra was taken to the hospital where she required an emergency blood transfusion.  The doctors, as well as Jordan, were surprised when Renee was found to have the same very rare blood type that Sierra, her adopted daughter did.  After much reluctance, Renee revealed to Jordan that Sierra was her biological daughter, and that Nathan was her father.  She had been in a relationship with Nathan twenty years earlier, and learned of her pregnancy just before Nathan was carted off to jail for rape and child molestation charges.  Rather than go through the humiliation of being pregnant with a monster’s daughter, she gave birth to Sierra secretly in Europe and went through the legal process of adopting her in an effort to cover it up. 

James threw a lavish party at the mansion to honor his uncle’s return to Hollywood.  Alex made an unwise appearance, shocking many, as she still held on to the clam that Nathan had raped her.  Due to her forever changing story, many, including James and Jordan, refused to believe her.  To them, Nathan was an idol. During the party, Alex pulled Brooke aside and issued her a cryptic warning against Nathan.  Despite Nathan Blackthorneher recent feelings of discomfort around Nathan, Brooke chose to ignore the woman’s heed.   During the party, Nathan went up to his bedroom where he was confronted by Debralee Scott, brandishing a gun.  She detailed the miserable state of her life since their relationship, then turned the gun on herself.  Jordan believed that Debralee had only aided in their campaign to get Nathan back in Hollywood so that she could confront him and deliver the ultimate suicide note.  This, coupled with Renee and Alex’s fears, changed his position on his former mentor, and decided that he was the monster he was portrayed to be after all.   James, however, stood blindly by his uncle, still guilt-ridden over taking Alex from him many years before.

James and Alex encountered financial problems with Blackthorne-Reynolds.  To Alex’s dismay, Renee offered up fifteen million dollars to aid and became partners in the natural gas company.  On top of their constant squabbles over Jordan, they were now pit against one another on a daily basis.   When Renee found that Sierra had become infatuated with Nathan, she forbad her daughter to see the man again, for fear that either one would learn the truth that they were father and daughter.  Alex was determined to find out why Renee was so protective of her daughter and went to work at uncovering the truth.  She went to Jordan’s yacht to try to get the truth from him, but they only wound up making love again.

Brooke became obsessive over Michael following his kidnapping, so much so that she wouldn’t leave the house or associate with other people.  Concerned, James made every attempt at getting her to relax.  His insistence didn’t bode well and Brooke angrily lashed out at him.  Meanwhile, James was angry that Brooke inadvertently told Ethan the truth about his father.  On top of that, James didn’t like the fact that Brooke distrusted Nathan.  The two were constantly at odds.  When Ethan was released from his month in jail for running down Sierra while drinking and driving, he went to Brooke and told her he understood why she wanted to keep the truth from James about Michael.  Little did they know, Nathan was listening and heard the startling truth.  When James, Alex and Renee went to Rio De Janeiro for an energy conference, Brooke was left home alone with Nathan.  One night, Nathan invited Brooke to a romantic dinner, but she declined.  In retaliation, Nathan tried to rape her, almost succeeding before Brooke fended him off and locked herself in the bathroom. 

Leigh PurcellMeanwhile, James ran into Leigh Purcell at the conference in Rio.  Their romantic history, coupled with James and Brooke’s growing marital problems, led to their making love.  When James returned home with the intention of confessing his sins, Brooke interrupted and revealed what had happened with Nathan.  Unable to accept the truth about his uncle, James accused Brooke of misunderstanding Nathan’s intentions.  Hurt and angry, she took Michael and moved out, taking a room at Hotel Terranova.

Heather began seeing a therapist, Dr. Erich Anderson, to help her cope with the trauma over killing Will Thomerson and to get to the root of her occasional blackouts.  During this time, Stormy was there for her to lean on.  Heather began to romanticize his intentions and thought they would get back together, but Stormy sadly explained to her that he just wanted to be friends.  When Brett arranged it so that Heather would walk in on Stormy in bed with Samantha Fallmont, it only intensified the fact that the high-school sweethearts weren’t getting back together.  One night, Heather was carjacked at gunpoint.  It was then that she finally remembered everything about the night she shot Will, and the grief and the guilt finally hit her.  Shocked and in a daze, she wound up on Brett’s doorstep and he comforted her until morning.  After that, an awkward attraction developed between them.  As much as Heather tried to fight it, she was falling for Brett, the man who had done so many despicable things to her.  To complicate matters, Miranda revealed that she was pregnant with Brett’s baby and announced that she was going to have an abortion.  Heather protested, reminding her that Brett had always wanted a baby and that he had a right to know.  When Miranda refused, Heather told Brett the truth, who rushed to the hospital the day of the procedure.  To his relief, she had changed her mind.  Miranda put Brett on notice, warning him that it would be up to her how much he had to do with their baby’s life.  Before long, Heather couldn’t control her growing attraction to Brett and they made love.  When Stormy walked in on them afterwards, he exploded into anger and got into a brawl with Brett.  Heather grew angry and threw them both out, claiming she didn’t need either of them.

David JennerMiranda met the likes of David Jennings when he came after Hotel Terranova.  David was the son of the late hotel mogul Royce Jennings, and socialite Jaqueline Lamont, who was the daughter of Jonas Lamont, the producer who catapulted Nathan to fame, and former owner of the Blackthorne mansion.  They were immediately attracted to one another and went out on a few lukewarm dates.  Despite an awkwardness between them, David seemed perfect.  He didn’t even care that Miranda was pregnant with her ex-husband’s child.  After running into him at a bar, Nathan asked David how his mother was.  It had been over twenty five years since he’d seen his ex-wife and one true love.  Remembering the fondness Jackie felt for Nathan, David lied, claiming that she had passed away in New York some years before.

Alex learned the truth that Sierra was the biological daughter of Renee and Nathan.  Only too happy to stick it to her nemesis, she filled Sierra in on half of the secret, but the girl ran off in tears before she could learn who her real father was.  Sierra raged against her mother for her deceit, and ran directly to Nathan for comfort.  After hearing details of Renee’s deception, Nathan realized the truth, that Sierra was his daughter.  Jordan railed against Alex for her treachery, claiming that her war with Renee had only succeeded in hurting Sierra.  Alex was quickly racked with guilt.  After learning that Sierra and Nathan were together on Victor Distefano’s yacht, Alex, Jordan and Renee raced to the marina.  They arrived just as Nathan was about to force himself on Sierra.  Renee flew into a rage, revealing that Sierra was his daughter.  Sierra was horrified, but Nathan appeared less than surprised, and a sickened Renee realized that Nathan already knew the truth.  She took Sierra home and Jordan stayed behind, throttling Nathan for his inhumane behavior.  While they were exchanging blows, the yacht sailed into the harbor and collided with a freighter, exploding into flames with both men still aboard. 

Brett was incensed to learn that Stormy was already comforting Heather after learning of Jordan’s fate.  Heather coldly told Brett to leave.  Meanwhile, Brett got a job as Congressman Seth Walker’s public relations director.  He quickly began an affair with Seth’s horny wife, Marilee, unknowing that Seth had only hired Brett as a distraction for Marilee while he went about shady business dealings.  When Leigh Purcell showed up at James’s door, they resumed where they left off in Rio.  Little did James know, Leigh was secretly in cahoots with Seth Walker.  James was nothing but a device in their master plan, but Leigh began to fall in love with him.  Even Miranda pushed them together, grateful that her father finally seemed to be getting over Brooke.

When Nathan emerged from the accident on the yacht alive and unscathed, he was confronted by a suspicious James.  To escape the blame and confuse the situation, Nathan chose that time to reveal to James that Michael was Ethan’s son, not his.  James went to Brooke and she confirmed the horrible truth.  Meanwhile, Alex was fit to be tied.  Jordan was still missing and presumed dead.   Renee gave Nathan a stern warning to stay away from their daughter or else.  But while she was out, Nathan entered her hotel room and cornered Sierra under the pretense that he just wanted to “talk”.  A terrified Sierra plunged a letter opener in Nathan’s chest.  Renee arrived on the scene, followed by Alex and saw Nathan writhing on the floor in agony.  Jordan, who had washed ashore following the explosion, showed up and phoned the police. When they arrived, Alex unselfishly took the blame for the stabbing, claiming that Nathan had tried to attack her again.  Neither James nor Jordan believed her story.  James, finally coming to the realization that his uncle was not the saint he made him out to be, decided to do something about this uncle once and for all. The D.A. informed them that they had no case against Nathan since Debralee Scott was dead, Alex was a convicted perjurer, and Sierra’s involvement was secret.  Alex attempted to convince Jordan's mother, an aging actress shut away at the Actors Retirement Village, to confess what she knew.  Lola had witnessed Nathan's attack on her years earlier.  But a stubborn Lola refused to get involved.  Finally, James learned that rape charges had been surfacing against Nathan back in Paris where he spent the past twenty years.  While recuperating in the hospital, Nathan devised a plan to escape, this time to China, again with the help of his best friend Victor.  He was smuggled out of the heavily guarded hospital and to a private airstrip.  However, David Jennings aided in foiling the plan by boarding the “cargo” onto his own jet instead of Victor’s, and flying it to Paris.  When Nathan emerged from the plane, he was arrested by the Parisian Guard. 

The aftermath of Nathan’s reign of terror was anything but easy.  Sierra began seeing Dr. Anderson to help her deal with the recent traumatic events.  She began to grow needy, clinging to Renee helplessly.  Alex and Renee were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, and James felt a fool for believing his uncle for so long.  When Miranda learned that Brooke had lied about Michael’s father, she confronted her step-mother and a bitter argument ensued.  Brooke pushed Miranda Ethan Blackthorneaway, who stumbled and fell to the floor, resulting in a miscarriage.  Miranda blamed Brooke, but James used the opportunity to attempt to reconcile with his wife.  However, he flew into a rage after finding her with Ethan, and filed for divorce.  Brooke was in no way ready to pick up with Ethan, and begged him to take things slow.  A patient Ethan agreed.  After spotting Brooke one day, David Jennings recognized her from when she worked as a makeup artist at the Galleria.  He and Miranda had recently grown close, but he couldn’t fight his attraction to Brooke.  While at David’s cabin in Big Bear Lake, Miranda found a photograph of a young blond girl nicknamed Babydoll.  Brooke asked David why he would have remembered her from the Galleria, and he admitted that she reminded him of Babydoll, a local girl who he met when his family vacationed at the lake when he was younger.

After seeing the despair Brett was in after Miranda’s miscarriage, Heather began to grow soft again.  She comforted him and they slept together.  Seth sent Brett on a business trip to Reno and Brett invited Heather along.  While there, they got married, stunning their family upon their return. 

Leigh suggested to Seth Walker that Alex was a suitable target in their secret agenda.  With the constant wars between her and Renee, Alex was eager to make a name for herself in business.  Seth invited Alex to join him in a venture in Costa Mesa, California, where there was a vast oil field.  It didn’t take much convincing for Alex to draw ten million dollars from Blackthorne-Reynolds accounts and start the fictional Stratotech as an offshoot company, unbeknownst to James and Renee.  Meanwhile, Seth and Leigh continued their affair, although Leigh was quickly falling deeper in love with James. The guilt over her lies started to weigh heavily on her.   Meanwhile, Brett caught on to what Walker was doing and blackmailed him for five percent of the profits.   Kenny sat quietly by, knowing something was amiss because the Land Commission had done a survey of the land at Costa Mesa and found that no oil was present.  Even still, Seth donated a large sum of money to the Land Commission in exchange for being granted a drilling variance.

Adrienne Fallmont was strangled to death with her own pantyhose and Jack was quickly suspected.  However, when a map of Costa Mesa was delivered to Renee with instructions to give it to Kenny if anything happened to her, something bigger was obviously brewing.  Leigh suspected Logan Mackenzie, the geologist Seth had hired to survey the land, of the murder.  He was a suspicious character who had a large stake in Stratotech.  Alex also feared that Adrienne had been murdered when she learned that she’d been partners with Seth before she died.  Logan hinted that Adrienne knew too much and had threatened to tell the authorities.  After Logan told Seth he wanted more of a cut in Stratotech, he was found dead following a suspicious car crash on Pacific Coast Highway.  Alex became terrified that Seth was going to kill her too, so she locked herself in her home.  Leigh pleaded with Seth to let her tell James the truth, but he threatened her into staying quiet.  Brett searched Logan’s office and found a surveillance video taken from Adrienne’s house the day she was murdered, which clearly showed Seth entering and leaving around the time of her death.  He used the evidence to blackmail Seth for even more of a cut in Stratotech, and an insurance policy that he wouldn’t have any “accidents” of his own.

Stormy and Eddie investigated the drill site at Costa Mesa and learned that it wasn’t oil the company was dealing in, but rather armaments that wree being sold to Panama and shipped via truck to Central America.  James confronted Alex about the missing ten million dollars from Blackthorne-Reynolds, and she begrudgingly admitted to owning Stratotech and being partners with Seth.  James blasted Alex, as did Renee, because not only had two people been murdered as a result of the operation, but Blackthorne-Reynolds could easily be implicated in the selling of illegal weapons to an embargoed nation.   To complicate matters, Jordan professed his love for Alex and asked her to remarry him.  She sadly declined, secretly unwilling to involve him in the mess she’s created. 

Eddie DistefanoHoping to stall Walker’s chilling plans, James had Stormy and Eddie hijack the shipment of weapons, replacing it with an empty truck.  When Seth learned of what happened, he flew into a rage and told Leigh that if she didn’t get James to release the truck, he would kill him.   On the night of the Filmmaker Awards, Leigh went to James and confessed to her involvement with Walker, pleading for James to release the shipment.  A stubborn James refused, sending Leigh away after a bitter argument.  Desperate, and terrified that Seth would kill James, Leigh called Seth over to her hotel room where she waited with a loaded gun.  A self-assured Seth laughed at her pathetic attempt at standing up to him and wrestled the gun from her.  When she threatened to go to the authorities, Seth shot her.  Moments later, James arrived, filled with regret over the harsh words he’d spoken to her.  Seth panicked and shot James too.  Meanwhile, Stormy and Eddie were arrested when they were caught with the truckload of weapons.  Stormy impatiently waited for his father to bail them out, clueless as to what transpired at Hotel Terranova.

Seth left the hotel and made his way to the Los Angeles Theater, where Alex, Renee and others had gathered for the Filmmaker Awards.   Cornering Alex and Heather in the ladies room, Seth demanded the location of the missing truck.  When Alex swore she didn’t know, he took her and Heather hostage to the roof of the theater, demanding fifty million dollars and a helicopter or he’d kill them.  Brett immediately blamed himself, realizing that if he hadn’t gotten involved, Heather wouldn’t be at the hands of a madman.  To make matters worse, Heather had just informed him that she was three months pregnant with his child.  Jordan attempted to take Walker by surprise, succeeding only in getting shot in the shoulder.  After Marilee gathered the ransom money, Seth decided to take Alex and Heather with him.  A treacherous struggle resulted on the helicopter ladder as it hovered thirty stories above the street.  Brett, intent on saving the life of his pregnant wife, climbed up and struggled with Seth, sending Walker falling to his death.

Relieved to have the nightmare over, Alex raced to Jordan's arms and accepted his marriage proposal.  A grateful Jordan expressed his appreciation for Brett’s heroic actions, but Heather wasn’t as quick to forgive her manipulative husband for his involvement with Walker. 

James was taken to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery following the shooting.  When Miranda, Ethan, David and Brooke arrived, they were informed that Leigh hadn’t survived, and that James had a dismal prognosis.  A vigilant Miranda sat by her father’s bedside for days, refusing to leave him.  Brooke’s concern for James caused friction between her and Ethan’s already strained relationship.  Consolation came from David, who shared a tender moment with Brooke in the hospital waiting room where they talked about God and death.    Later, an unwelcome surprise in the form of Brooke’s mother, Roz Taylor, showed up at her door.  While helping Brooke pack for her move to a new house, Roz found photos taken of Brooke when she was younger at Big Bear Lake.  On the back of the photo was scribbled the nickname Babydoll.  Roz cryptically taped the box up and announced that she was taking them home with her when she left.

Alex ReynoldsKenny announced that criminal charges against Alex, Renee, James, Stormy and Eddie had been dropped, but that Blackthorne-Reynolds would have to be liquidated in order to help pay the one hundred million dollar fine that they now owed.  Renee exploded in anger over Alex’s stupidity in getting them involved in the first place.  They brainstormed over how they would come up with the money to pay the fines, leading Alex to announce that she planned on returning to work as an actress.  Jordan and Alex remarried in a quickie ceremony at Jordan’s house.  Surprise came for Jordan when his son Benji showed up at his door claiming that he’d graduated early from his Swiss boarding school.  Leilani made plans for her daughter, Kelly, to leave Hawaii and move to Los Angeles.  Sierra informed a tearful Renee that she had been accepted to the music department at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. 

Heather grew ill with the flu and collapsed at the hospital while visiting James.  With Brooke there to lend her support, Dr. Farraday informed a stunned Heather that she had contracted toxoplasmosis, which had affected the baby’s brain, commonly leading to birth defects and mental retardation.  Rather than risk disappointing Brett, Heather claimed that everything was fine with the baby.  Her anger over his recent lies seemed trivial to her now, and she went about as if everything was fine. 

Alex asked Jordan why Suzanne, his first wife, had left him, and he quickly dismissed her questions.  Benji announced to a friend from school that he was planning on making Jordan pay for what he did to his mother.  Later, Jordan removed a loose plank from the floor in the attic where he’d hidden a locket of Suzanne’s, and an axe.

James awoke from his coma with a positive prognosis, thrilling Miranda and Stormy, and resulting in his regret over the things he’d done to hurt the people he loved, namely Brooke.  Far away, a mysterious woman learned of James’s recovery, and made cryptic plans to travel to Los Angeles...

Read Season 4 Recap

Producers Remarks

by Andy Eckles

The third season was inspired to some degree by two infamous Hollywood Scandals; Roman Polanski’s exile from Hollywood, and Loretta Young’s secret lovechild.  I had a concept of Nathan Blackthorne from the inception of The Blackthornes, always knowing that someday he would transfer from a casual mention between characters to a full fledged assault on the reader.  I knew that I wanted him to be this iconic character with a sprawling, epic story, and the Roman Polanski model worked perfectly.  Nathan, who actually only appeared in twelve episodes, was the threat that held the season together.  The other thread was surprisingly a character who I hadn’t touched on much in the previous two seasons.  Renee DeWitt, who was nothing more than a minor character who appeared in a handful of episodes before, was the link between past and present.  I loved the idea of an African American woman who had appeared so strong and together, actually having this deep dark secret that she’d been hiding for twenty years.  Her move from recurring player to starring role was quick and relentless.  Her secret, much like that of Loretta Young and Clark Gable, was her “adopted” daughter Sierra, who, as it turned out, wasn’t adopted at all.  The two stories fit together perfectly.

Perfectly, relatively speaking, that is.  Admittedly, some character motivations in this saga were spread a bit thin.  Namely Renee’s unconvincing web of lies to protect her secret lovechild, and later, James’s extreme devotion to his uncle at the expense of nearly all of his loved ones, before the hard truth finally hit him three quarters of the way through the season.   Some of those missteps aside, I felt relatively happy with the storyline.  In particular, and at the risk of sounding immodest, I felt the crowning achievement, not only of season 3, but of the series as a whole, was American Star, the two-part retrospect of Nathan’s emergence on the Hollywood scene.  I had an idea of doing a big backstory on him, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to implement it.  An entire episode of nothing but flashbacks was out, because that doesn’t give the reader much of a reason to read it.  So I incorporated a string of flashbacks with present day activities and tied them together.  Plus, I decided to use the opportunity to not only explore Nathan’s past as a tool of explaining some of his motivation, but to preface some questions posed about other characters too.  Jonas, Jackie, Royce, Suzanne, Lola and David were characters who were integral to the history of the Blackthornes, and this episode pulled it all together.  It also allowed me to plant seeds for future storylines and the arrival of new characters on the scene. 

My intention was for the Nathan saga to go through the end of the season, but about twenty episodes in, I felt the story was at a natural stopping point, and extending it beyond that would seem forced or contrived.   After wrapping things up with Nathan, I was left with a number of episodes left to write and nothing planned for them.  I couldn’t start on storylines I'd already mapped out for season 4 because it would throw things off, so I sketched out a storyline involving politics, business, murder, and a lot of stuff inspired by recent true-life scandals involving arms trade.  Plus it gave me the opportunity to showcase a tightly woven, short-term storyline involving nearly all of the cast.  The Stratotech story involving Blackthorne-Reynolds, was originally to play out in the sister series that I had created, Moonshadows.  Crossovers with Renee, Alex, Kenny, and James would frequent this new series, but the actual storyline I always felt was better suited for Moonshadows.  Nonethless, I scaled it back and revised a few things and voila, it became an admittedly popular storyline that filled in the necessary number of episodes.  The finale wrapped up lingering threads and ended with the storylines that would have originally followed the Nathan debacle.   Namely, Jordan’s secret involving Suzanne.  That scene in particular was one that I had been waiting a long time to do.  He walks in to a room, unearths a loose floorboard, and removes the scariest, ugliest, most menacing of all weapons, an axe.   Creepy! 

All in all, probably my favorite season so far.  A lot happened and things moved pretty fast at times.  This was also the first time I tried to experiment with some different writing gimmicks, like changing up the timeline of things and throwing in flashbacks that the reader doesn’t realize is a flashback.  I know, some people think gimmicks are cheap and sensationalistic, but to me, anything that makes the reader stop and think for a second is nothing to sneeze at.  Season four should have a lot more of the same.  Stay tuned!



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