TV Series - Aug 29, 2022
There was something off about The Young and the Restless' Ashland Locke from the start. It had been told for months that he was a fierce man who was notorious for destroying his rivals. Honestly, we got chills anticipating how he - and original portrayer Richard Burgi - would shake Genoa City.
Particularly, we were eager to see Ashland take on Victor, who hasn't had a decent rival for years. (I'm sorry, Jack, but it's true.) Better yet, because Kyle secretly fathered Ashland's son, he would have clear targets in both Newman and Abbott. Moreover, it would be exactly the kind of excitement Young & Restless needed after a season drenched in plots that went nowhere and storylines that avoided drama altogether.
The Locke-ness monster turned out to be more bark than bite... and he didn't even bark much. As opposed to crafting some master plan to take down Victor and his company, the character lied about having cancer (a hard road for anyone to overcome). Ashland ended up handing Harrison over to his biological father rather than destroying Kyle for sleeping with his wife. Ashland was neutered every time the show seemed to be taking the character in an interesting direction. Burgi was replaced with Robert Newman after unintentionally violating COVID protocols.
Despite his popularity as Josh on Guiding Light, Newman never felt like a good fit here, perhaps because Ashland had become so ill-defined by this point. His love for Victoria had transformed him from a bad man into something better. Did he use questionable tactics despite being a good man?
As often as not, the show seemed to be on the verge of making good use of Ashland only to backtrack. Together with Diane, might he be able to defeat the all-powerful Newmans? Would Adam, once again on the outside looking in, harness Ashland's anger and unleash it upon the Newman family? Would Victoria be able to break free of Victor's stranglehold, as she and her siblings have long threatened?
Ashland seems to have simply disappeared. The fact that Nick had a seemingly fatal fight with the man who conveniently ended up in a fatal car crash only hours later should make for an exciting storyline in the weeks to come. However, after enduring one payoff-free storyline (Mariah's kidnapping) after another (Amanda's family drama), we're skeptical.
What's most frustrating is how many stories there are to tell about Ashland, a character the canvas badly needs. Instead of rehashing the storyline in which J.T.'s death was covered up, his exit could have started a major murder mystery. Could Ashland, like Victoria's previous ex, rise from the grave, hunt the Newmans, and wind up dead again?