5, 2007 to December 1, 2007
by Andy Eckles
Copyright(c) 2007 Sunset
Studios. All rights reserved.
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
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
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.
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.
Renee DeWitt, now divorced from her philandering husband, Kenny, got a surprise
when her adopted daughter Sierra landed on her doorstep fresh from University in
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.
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.
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.
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 her 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
was incensed to learn that Stormy was already comforting Heather after learning
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.
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.
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 away, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Hoping 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
removed a loose plank from the floor in the attic where he’d hidden a locket of
Suzanne’s, and an axe.
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...
Season 4 Recap
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.
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.
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
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!