By Saiph ( English translation by Rishi06

Olivia (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia (Jessica Leccia), known as “Otalia” - Guiding Light new super couple


Much attention has been gathering once more around the soap opera airing on CBS, “Guiding Light”, and the news is good considering how ratings almost got the show cancelled not so many months ago.

The reason behind all of this attention?

A love story budding between two of the main characters: Olivia Spencer (Emmy winner actress Crystal Chappell) and Natalia Rivera (Jessica Leccia). A love story which still hasn’t reached its top, but that has been built with grace and gentleness by the writers, so much that its development has a natural flow, with “normal” schedules, contrary to the usual modus operandi of soap operas, where time is generally sped up and the first date ends in the bedroom, plus within the following two months – at most – we witness marriage and an overly expected divorce.

With Otalia (for the newbies: contraction and union of the two names: Olivia and Natalia) things didn’t go that way.

Let’s start from the beginning.

When Olivia’s character meets Natalia, they are not friends, quite the opposite: they’re rivals in love, both aspiring to win the interest of detective Gus Aitoro. Natalia (a recently added cast member) is Gus’ old fiancée and, more or less twenty years ago, even gave birth to his son, of which he knows nothing. The story between them start again from where it was left uncompleted: Gus marries Natalia and takes responsibility for the now teenager Rafe. In the meantime Olivia falls in love with Gus, with whom she built a strong friendship; the feeling evolves into love – at least for the woman – when, given Olivia’s severe health condition and heart failure, Gus starts taking care of her (this devotion, by the way, causes him problems with his new wife).

When Olivia’s condition worsens to the point that only a transplant can save her, Gus promises to help. And it’s on his way to the hospital, to tell her about a possible donor, that his destiny takes its course. In spring 2008, due to a bad motorbike accident, he is taken to the hospital in critical conditions; this forcing his wife and son to a difficult decision: when the man dies, he turns out to be compatible for a heart transplant with Olivia, at the death door herself. Natalia, despite all the hate she feels towards the woman who tried in any way she could to steal her husband, agrees to give Gus’ heart to her. Olivia is now safe and, as Natalia will say in one of their many verbal clashes, has all that’s left of Gus. A cold comfort for someone who wanted the man by her side. In fact Olivia starts refusing meds, doesn’t follow prescriptions, she openly declares that she doesn’t want to live and goes down a self-destructive path. The sense of guilt for Gus’ death is too big, even though she tries to hide it with sarcasm, for example in a phrase she tells Natalia: “Oh yes, God answered my prayers, didn’t he Natalia; yes he did! He sent me a heart straight from the man that I loved, what a sick sense of humor this good Lord of yours has, he must be laughing his head off!”

Despite mutual repulsion, though, the two women start to rely on each other, and when Rafe gets in trouble for trying to avenge his father’s death, Olivia supports Natalia economically and sentimentally. So to repay the kindness, Natalia starts to take care of the other woman, fiercefully fighting against Olivia’s intent to stop living. But Olivia’s heart keeps getting worse, so Natalia begins helping her at work too, proving to be worth becoming miss Spencer’s assistant.

Olivia quickly realizes Natalia’s potential and asks her to leave her job at Company (a restaurant managed by Buzz Cooper, father of the detective Frank, who will have a big part in the development of Otalia) and to help her running the Beacon, her hotel. During one strife with Natalia, while trying to raise the maid’s self esteem, Olivia has a heart attack: the next scene is fundamental for the storyline because, for the first time, the viewer has the impression to be seeing something more than a strong friendship – even though the two, of course, still are unaware of it.

Olivia undergoes another operation and gets a peacemaker to regulate her heartbeat, after declaring her will to live (much to Natalia’s satisfaction). At this point Natalia suggests Olivia should move in her house so she can help her both with health, and the woman’s little child Emma.

Besides some comprehensible quarrels the two turn out to be very akin and end up developing a deep, tender friendship, so strong that their living arrangement is defined as “family”. This “couple” develops in an opposite way compared to the standardized soap couples: the feeling is expressed in a way so that the viewer perceives it as natural, innocent and – most importantly – real.

Then suddenly, almost one year after the beginning of this complicated relationship, the two are forced to face their mutual feelings through little Emma. The kid, innocently inspired by her family, writes an essay for her school titled “my two mommies”, which she reads during the family day in front of other school parents. The reactions of the two women are completely different: while Olivia tries – with funny and vain attempts – to deny to everyone, maybe even to herself, that she’s in a lesbian relationship, Natalia seems not to notice the shindig created by Emma, and only considers the tender, deep aspect of said presentation. Trying to explain “with actions” what everybody sees in them, an exasperated Olivia reacts to the apparently naïve behavior of the other woman by passionately kissing her, act which makes Natalia lose control completely (from the beginning of the story, spring 2008, to this scene, more or less ten months passed: the kiss aired on 01/19/09..well built!)


At first the two think they can control the situation: only few people misunderstood, it seems pretty easy to walk away with it through explanations. But something obviously clicked in their minds so, again, both react in opposite ways: Olivia starts to come to terms with a growing feeling she now comprehends; Natalia for instance accepts the courtship of Frank Cooper; the man is blindly and hopelessly in love with her and, at one point, she even sleeps with him. Natalia is then crushed when she confesses to a shaken Olivia that she slept with Frank, adding that it was horrible because she’s not in love with him.


Phillip (Olivia’s ex husband and Emma’s father) says he has no problem with the living arrangement and the whole situation with Natalia. Despite this, Olivia pushes an overly hesitant Natalia to accept Frank’s proposal, gets drunk to forget her despair and searches for advice from a nun who, instead, openes her eyes about the importance of log, despite the shape or form of love.

On march 30 Olivia, despite her pain, asks Natalia to organize an engagement party: everyone can read the hurt and desolation in Natalia’s face as the other woman fakes a non-existent cheerfulness.


How is the story going to progress?

Both actresses ensured the couple won’t be written off (actually, Otalia prides itself with the honor of saving the show from cancellation from CBS airtime) and that the story will evolve. How, we’ll have to wait and see.

One thing is sure: the love and mutual respect is at such a level that it can’t be just ignored and, even thought the word “lesbians” has never been used, imagination of old and new fans started galloping. If it’s true that Olivia’s and Natalia’s story is drawing new fans, it must be said that so far, surprisingly, it still hasn’t risen any protest from religious associations which, some time ago, vehemently criticized gay characters on “All my children” and “As the world turns”: let’s hope this state of grace lasts!

Want to know more? Keep coming back here, on!

The kiss (01/19/2009)



WEEK 6/29-7/03

That’s for granted: it’s been really hard to keep up with all the twists, turns and emotions of this “all Otalia” week (5 days on 5, one surprise after another). Before I get started I want to say, I know there are unpleasant things ahead for me to write, especially because loyal fans of this wonderful couple will be reading. I do know spirits got heated up quite a bit, and I fully comprehend the variety of feelings born from what happened. Do remember, though, that this is Soapland and anything can happen and, again, spoilers are deliberately written to jumble, mislead, pump up heartbeats plus, dulcis in fundo, create interest. Because this is what we’re talking about: to appeal people curious to know how it’s going to end. Nobody can convince me otherwise: just look at the sneak peeks in many soaps/TV magazines, see how many suspension points here or there, often dropping the phrase at the juiciest point. So let us stay calm, even at the verge of losing it, breathe deeply (or count to ten: everybody has a personal method) then sit comfortable and enjoy – in good and bad fate – the beauty of a story which somebody is crafting in front of our eyes (and why not, hearts too). I don’t know how, nor why, but I’m sure this month will push Otalia not adrift like many expect, but towards a final realization, a reciprocal reinforcement. Feel free to come here, one month from now, and yell me “Toldja so”: for now I prefer to think that challenges and pain are not laid out in front of us for nothing, but –as Natalia Rivera once said – help us become stronger people.

MONDAY 29th  We are back where we last were: Natalia splaying water over her face, wondering what’s happening (in the meantime, we too wonder whether it’s some Parkinson that she has: her hands tremble so much…are you anxious already? Chill out: breathe, inhale deeply, exhale…better? No?! sigh) at the table, meanwhile, Olivia brightens the scene with her sparkling happiness (and beauty: let me say this, Crystal is divine these days!) even Buzz compliments her, telling he hadn’t seen her so happy in years (and we don’t dare think what’s about to happen, right? Right??). When Natalia comes back from the restroom, Olivia worries about her pallor. She gently helps her sit next to herself then, while caressing her face and looking with adoring eyes, asks what’s wrong: Natalia answers it’s probably just stress

(one small digression: these two women have no problem whatsoever touching, caressing, practically flirting in public but when alone at the Beacon or farmhouse, they literally don’t know where to put their hands or how to behave with each other. Now, I wonder: it never occurred to the writers – don’t misunderstand me: long live Jill Lorie Hurst and Ellen Wheeler! – that such a behavior is at least weird, especially for a soap opera ‘supercouple’? I’m not saying to go all the way and make it sensual, God forbid – we almost put that thought aside – but at least a kiss! Come on, a peck on the cheek, we’re not asking much! Is it possible for two women who love each other so much not to express it somehow? Otalia’s desexualisation has become, unfortunately, one of the main arguments of the opposers, the ones affirming that Otalia is over, lost in this limbo of uncertainty and goofyness. I won’t say defeatists are right, but I find such a plot weird – in direct contrast with the actresses’ masterly, emphatic performance, so terribly physical in how they interact – and hope, after so much waiting, angst, that there will be some leveling off, some resemblance to the wonderful episodes that got us hooked up so hopelessly, between October 2008 and April 2009. We’d be contend even just like that!)

Meanwhile, at Frank’s place, Rafe plays “who wants to be a millionaire” , torturing the man with questions like “Do you blame my mother for breaking up the wedding or do you blame Olivia for breaking up the wedding?”, “You don’t blame Olivia then”, “Are you trying to tell me if Olivia wasn’t in the picture you wouldn’t be the first person to swoop in and try to get my mother back?” (I take back what I said some weeks ago: Rafe is not simply a pain in the ass, no. He’s a douchebag, and Red Death could, I think, take him as an assistant) Saint Frank is visibly uncomfortable but upon hearing Olivia’s name you see resentment painted on his face: no matter how much he denies, he blames it all on her. (absurd: for once Olivia truly did nothing wrong, she was willing to give up everything to make Natalia happy, and people still pester her. Holy rock casting saints!)

Natalia, on her part, is dealing with Fr. Ray, camped in her kitchen with the excuse of picking up cookies she prepared for a sale. (last time she did so, a hormonal storm washed over Springfield: let’s hope for the best!)

Seeing her rather flustered, he asks Natalia how she’s going: she says it’s just some uneasiness, probably due to stress about Rafe and his refusal to spend his birthday with her. She then adds her son now lives with Frank, and things it could be a good thing (If she thinks so…). Fr Ray wastes no time and presses the woman; maybe she’s sick not because her son wasn’t with her but because of the reason why. After a request not to bring the subject up (she’s visibly tired), the priest – with infinite charity – can’t help himself but insist: “Your life choices are putting a conflict not only with Church, but with your son” (Life choices? Live choices?? Why, being gay now is a choice? Ah, I didn’t know that. Gotta update my database)

Like a pitbull, never letting go of its prey, he continues his closing address while following Natalia to the living room: “Though I’m sorry, it’s just not gonna go away Natalia

Nat: “Ok. You believe one thing, and I believe something completely different now. I just don’t believe God is judging me because I love someone

Fr. Ray: “What about the problems it’s bringing in your life, starting with your son?

Nat: “Are you suggesting to me that I pretend that I don’t have feelings for Olivia because it would make my life a little bit easier? My life would have been a lot easier if I had given Rafe up for adoption! Just because something’s easier, it doesn’t mean it’s right. So no, Father Ray. The decisions I’ve made I feel have made me a stronger person. So if I’m sick or if I’m a little run down I don’t believe it’s because of the choices I’ve made

(Way to go Natalia! Even if it was your choice to sleep with Frank – we don’t know whether you were imagining to be with someone else or what. Maybe we’ll never know – and the consequences are about to fall on you/us like rocks)

Olivia, meanwhile, meets Doris, frustrated because she can’t tell her daughter about being gay.

Olivia tells she understands why she never officially came put (Mayor Wolfe is famous for her crusades in favor of a traditional family and “normality”) but that she’s surprised Ashlee still doesn’t know. Doris answers she always waited for the right moment, it just never came (that reminds me of a certain someone…). Furthermore, she’s petrified  by the idea of somebody else telling her daughter: it would be impossible to explain not just why she loves women, but also why she lied all those years (right now, ad an idea of how many direction this storyline could have taken floods my mind, I feel like hating CBS for cancelling the show!!)

After a patended Springfield timewarp we are in the mini market with Olivia, who spots Rafe in the cafeteria, comes near with the excuse of wishing happy birthday. He tries to ignore her, but Olivia insists.

Rafe: “Olivia don’t do this, please.  We’re not friends, ok? I don’t like you

Olivia: “Alright, alright, you don’t have to like me, but what you’re doing to your mother is wrong

Rafe: “No, what YOU are doing to my mother is wrong

Olivia: “Yeah well your mother, she’s spent her entire life dedicated to you, taking care of you, when you were in jail she was so miserable. She had this calendar and she would mark off the days, every day that you were gone. And all she wanted to do was spend your birthday with you and you blew her off. So you can hate me all you want you, but maybe you need to grow up a little bit and put her ahead for once” (Yes, yes, yes! Come on, Olivia freakin’ Spencer, show him what you got!!)

Rafe: “Ok. Now, first of all, almost everything that I’ve ever done has been for my mother – knowing your history, Rafe, I’d just shut up. – And what about the church, Olivia? When I was a kid she would drag me to mass every single Sunday. Why? Because it was important to her. And now it’s important to me […] and I’m worried about her, about what’s going to happen when she has to answer to God” (right, we really needed some Last Judgement)

The boy rudely walks away. But, considering Olivia’s backbone just came back from its vacation, she simply can’t let go.

Olivia: “Ok, I’m not gonna pretend I’m some expert in religion, but if your mother can come to terms with this, why can’t you?

Rafe: “Because you don’t get to do that, Olivia, you don’t get to pick and choose, you don’t get to change the Church just to fit your needs, it’s selfish

Olivia: “Ok. Well, your mother stood by you when you went to juvenile, she stood by you when you were in prison so you’re gonna have to figure a way to get past this

Rafe: “What if I can’t?

Olivia: “Then I’ll feel sorry for you. Would you rather spend your time judging your mom, than loving her? I mean honestly, your reaction, it almost split us up but we realized that what we have is important to us so I really should be thanking you because in the end you made us stronger

Rafe: “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation. Whatever…

Needless to say he leaves without as much as a goodbye. Olivia, who looks satisfied anyway, takes the chance to speak (as it usually happens in Springfield) with Phillip’s voice mail, she leaves a message telling they need to talk about Emma ASAP.

Natalia and Blake are working together. While Blake walks away to take a call (how weird is it that she doesn’t have her voice mail on!) Natalia feels sick again.

Giving her a glass of water, she then muses: “If I didn’t know you are together with Olivia, I would say you’re pregnant



TUESDAY 30th The episode starts with a dialogue between Olivia and Frank, on a bench at the city park. Interesting to note how the adjective “good” has been deflated lately: it seems deliberate that every day someone has to say Frank is a “good man”. (not that I have anything against it, but to be honest, it’s tiresome!). Not even Olivia is immune unfortunately. Nonetheless, the dialogue contains some good news (and God knows how much we need them!)

-                     Frank doesn’t hate Olivia,

-                     He doesn’t want Rafe to hate her and will try to make him pacify with his mother

-                     He still loves Natalia

-                     He knows Natalia loves her

-                     He doubts Olivia is the right one for Natalia, not because she’s a woman, but because she’s Olivia Spencer.

Olivia perfectly knows she has quite a tumultuous past (unable to really and fully love someone without setting boundaries, unable to give in to happiness, unable to see love beyond physical intimacy: all the things she has now with Natalia) and maybe she’s about to have that period of crisis every soap character lives sooner or later.

Meanwhile Natalia goes to work with Blake, confesses she’s thrown up a couple of time that morning, but she’s sure it must be indigestion, food poisoning at most. (too many cookies and shots lately, Ms Rivera!). The other woman, serious, asks whether it really couldn’t be that she’s pregnant. This provokes a fit of laughter: “Possibility? That would be…amazing” (yeah right laugh now while you still can)

Blake, of course, explains she didn’t mean to insult Natalia, she knows her catholic faith is very profound. She’s perplexed though, Natalia was going to marry Frank, nowadays nobody gets to marriage without having sex before. Of course, Natalia’s dumbstruck look tells Blake she’s found a rarity. As if to justify herself, Natalia tells that her relationship to God is very important, but Blake stops her: “I get that. Well no actually I don’t get that, but I d respect that. I don’t think I could do it, I mean I just don’t think I could date someone without having sex – remember how good Blake is at getting things? Exactly..does this mean that you and Olivia…you haven’t had…sex? I mean, how would you know that that’s right for you, that you’re meant to be together?” Natalia starts to feel embarrassed, explicitly asks to change subject.

While they work Olivia shows up, asking Blake to borrow Natalia for the day: Emma wants to make a special treat for the fourth of July and needs help to do it. Once they’re out of the room, Olivia advises Natalia she wants to tell Phillip they’re going to show up together as a couple at the Bauer Barbeque, but only after telling Emma they’re together. Natalia worries about his reaction: what if Phillip doesn’t agree about telling the little girl? Olivia is sure everything’s going to be ok: there’s always gonna be someone who’ll criticize them but it doesn’t scare her because now she’s happy (and our hearts sink a little…don’t think about it, not yet, it’s not Friday yet)

After a short stop at the mini market to buy ingredients – during which Natalia secretly buys a pregnancy test – they go back to the farmhouse.

(I need to stop a minute. After these hard days, and after trying not to be influenced by articles, spoilers, rumors, specs – NOT an easy task, mind you – I feel like pointing out at least two things: first, the progressive separation of the two main characters, one completely absorbed by her newly found happiness; the other dragged in a spiral of anxiety apparently with no solution but an escape from everything and everyone. That’s a fact: Otalia can’t communicate anymore. Olivia can’t see there’s something wrong with Natalia and doesn’t notice her partner’s various signals; on the other side see Natalia unable to tell Olivia first her doubts, then the truth – real or presumed. Secondly, I’d like you to notice small details. They’re crucial in soaps. In Soapland nothing happens without reason and some event from months before can come back and weigh on character even after a long period of time – and I’m not just talking about the five-minute-long pity sex Natalia and Frank shared. So, from now on follow my advice and look: look carefully. Pay attention to random phrases. Hope I won’t mislead you, but I received the same advice and I’m sticking to it. It kept me going until now…)

Back to the episode! Olivia and Natalia arrive at the farmhouse, and find Phillip on the porch waiting for them. While Natalia goes inside and, unseen, takes the pregnancy test in the bathroom, Olivia discusses with her ex-husband about Emma and co-parenting: “You and I need to figure out how to respect each other because I need your help. Emma adores you and she needs you, and we need to be able to get along for her sake, so you need to mark your calendar off: her sweet sixteen, her prom, her graduation. I expect you to be there on each and every one” (I never got the chance to tell, but Phillip just found out he has an incurable disease, and therefore has only about three months to live – classic GL style – he hasn’t told anybody yet so imagine the effect of Olivia’s words on him). Olivia informs him that her and Natalia intend to speak with Emma and make her understand the true nature of their relationship. Phillip seems cool with it, as long as Emma doesn’t have problems and is happy. Olivia reassures him that the child lives in a positive environment.

Finally, she says that she’s going to go at the barbeque with Natalia, together.  Both her and Phillip know it’s going to turn more than a couple of heads, and Olivia asks him not to let bad jokes be told when Emma, or Rafe and Frank are around. Phillip promises he’ll have their backs and wonders whether her and Natalia considered that someone might not agree with their relationship. Olivia is confident: “I’m sure everything will be ok!” she exclaims, smiling. In the meantime Natalia is waiting for the result of the pregnancy test. She looks at herself in the mirror, her eyes desperate.


WEDNESDAY 1st - One of the hardest episodes to impartially comment, believe me (even though I’ll try to keep some lighter parts, where possible. So forget my need to write some sillyness, every now and then. Even just to smile a bit). I must praise the writers’ ability to frame parallel stories together delightfully, underlining complementary feelings and situations. The burden of sadness weighing on our mind during the last episodes is going to grow, even because of the dichotomy of two different points of view, given by two opposite feelings: on the one hand complete happiness (generated by absolute certainty) and, on the other, the darkest fear (generated by sudden uncertainty). I’m sure you’ve already given the right feeling to the right character. It’s not hard. Ready to go through an emotional rollercoaster? If the answer is yes, then follow me.

While Natalia is in the bathroom, painfully anxious about the results of the pregnancy test, Olivia and Emma start preparing the treat for the Bauer BBQ.

Emma is thrilled at the idea of the party, and her mother too seems enthusiast, ensuring it’ll be the best BBQ ever. The child is astonished: “You always complain about barbeques. You say it’s too hot, your feet hurt, and the food stinks. Why you so into it this year?” Olivia’s answer – “Because I’m going with my two favorite girls in the world!” – is a double-edged sword: while it shows us Olivia finally at peace, happy, which makes us happy, considering we are spectators of everything happening and therefore of the hurricane about to crush against Otalia, the sense of uneasiness given by the fact we know how things are going to turn out grows, we wish it wouldn’t be like that but we’re completely powerless.

Meanwhile Natalia waits for the last minute to pass, staring at her cellphone timer.

Emma, worried for the absence of her mommy nr. 2 knocks at the bathroom door and refuses to go back downstairs. Olivia comes there too, worried about her partner’s health. Cornered, Natalia has to come out before getting to look at the test (which she throws into her purse). Once out, she reassures both Emma and Olivia and goes with them to make the treat.

While cooking, the little girl ask Natalia to do with her the three-legged race. Olivia asks why she’s not even taken into consideration, the kid answers with a joke (“No offense, but Natalia is farter and I really want to win…” : how fierce our Jellybean!) and suggests she runs with Rafe. Olivia looks enthusiast: “Fine, fine. I wanna be on Rafe’s team. You know that? I want us all, you and me and Natalia and Rafe to be a team one day. Not just at the Barbeque, but everyday.” All three smile.

When the cake is ready, Olivia asks Emma to take it to the car. Once the girl is gone, she tells Natalia that, while cooking, she thought about their situation:

O: “We are a family. We do things together. Not that I know much about the real kind of family thing, this is the first real bona fide experience I’ve had

N: “Me too

O: “That’s how I know when we tell Emma, everything’s gonna be ok

N: “Olivia…” (a weak attempt to say something, but Olivia is too happy to understand.)

O: “It will be ok. Because she loves you so much and you love her, it shows. I just know, I know it’s gonna be a great day tomorrow


Natalia tries to smile and Olivia, after blowing her a kiss (we’re getting better: it’s the first KISS – would you believe it?? – in months…let’s hope it won’t be the last until September), leaves the scene.

She doesn’t know yet, but this is the last time  she’ll see the woman she loves.

Natalia now can see the result of the test: her expression says it all.

At company, Olivia is glowing: first Buzz, then Doris notice (who, I don’t know you, but to me seems to have a huge crush on our dear Ms Spencer). Mayor Wolfe carefully listens, somewhat surprised, while Olivia confides her that she and Natalia intend to go to the Bauer BBQ together, as a couple, and they’re about to explain to Emma the nature of their relationship (“We’ll tell her tonight. But after that, she and I are gonna go spend the rest of our lives together and being happy”. Please, somebody tell Olivia she’s got the wrong context: this is a soap opera, not a Disney cartoon, she should know that!! Never use absolutes: forever in Springfield is the rarest of things. Maybe Olivia doesn’t know, considering she was born and grew up in the island of St. Cristobal…)

While Olivia speaks with Doris, Natalia meets Blake and confides her she’s pregnant. The other woman offers to take her to the hospital, to make sure with a serious test whether it’s true or not.

Here begins the hardest part: the juxtaposition of the two stories becomes, ironically, the painful symbol of two separating streets. The words of one woman clash against the actions of the other. I ask just one thing though: keep calm and try to reason considering every character’s peculiar feature. By doing so you might comprehend (not to the point of sharing perhaps) some choice, no matter how radical.

Doris and Olivia joke about the various reactions people are going to have when Olivia and Natalia will go to the Barbeque together.

Olivia explains Phillip will have their backs, he has no problem with their relationship. The woman admits she’s nervous about what people might say about them but jokes about it because she’s sure everyone will understand she and Natalia are a couple like all other “Except unlike half of them, we actually like being together!”. Transpiring happiness, she tells Doris she too might have what her and Natalia have. Ms. Wolfe doesn’t seem persuaded:

Doris: “Yeah, sure I can. And I can also wear a size two…

Olivia: “Natalia and I weren’t looking for this, it just happened. And now I can’t imagine my life without her

The scene moves to Cedars: Natalia is laying on a bed, staring at the ceiling, while Blake holds her hand and a doctor takes a blood sample.

WARNING!! What I ask to do now for the first – but not last – time is look at the small details. What’s the first thing to do, when about to take blood in a vial for analysis= you label it with the name, right? Well, take a look at this photo:

The arrows I obviously added for a reason.

The RED arrow shows the vial with Natalia’s blood. How is it? Take a look. Yeah, you’re right, it’s not labeled, like all others on the same line and contrary to the others of the tray which are labeled (follow the green line and you’ll get an example.)

It might be an insignificant detail, but:

1)      The nurse taking the blood gives the idea she doesn’t recognize the vial, once put in the tray

2)      In the previous episodes Lillian, head nurse, complained about the disorganization in the analysis lab and the fact that some vials were not labeled correctly

3)      Why show the tray in a close-up (not even strategically placed, considering Jessica Leccia’s huge belly)

Think about this, people, because I think in soaps nothing is ever random.

Back to us.

While mute images of Natalia’s personal trial run, Olivia’s enthusiast voiceover serves as a sad soundtrack: “When we’re together it’s like things are how they are supposed to be and I’ve never felt this way with anyone else

The descent to their very personal circle of hell, for Otalia, has just begun: the doctor tells a distraught Natalia that she really is pregnant, and quite some months along too (ok: for someone who got pregnant on her first sexual experience, Nat doesn’t really pay attention to certain things – and hasn’t got that much luck, it seems! – how can she not have notices she’s more than four months pregnant?). To establish exactly how many weeks along she is, the doctor recommends a sonogram.

Natalia, catatonic, listens as if things were happening to someone else. When her phone rings the woman, fighting back tears, answers trying to speak as normally as possible.

It’s Olivia who’s calling, and immediately realizes there’s something wrong and asks what it is to which her partners reassures her.

The woman then informs Natalia that Emma is about to come back home and it would be great to organize a family dinner, spend the night normally and, in then, talk to the child. Natalia answers the idea is good but that evening she won’t be home because something came up and she needs to fix it. Olivia again asks whether there’s any problem and again Natalia reassures her. Olivia then suggests they talk to Emma the next day, before going to the Barbeque:

O: “I’m really looking forward to walking in there together, you know, like a real family, and I know I’m being a big cheeseball, but I’m just so happy for us

N: “Me too

O: “Ok. Call me later. I love you

N: “I love you too”

Only now can Natalia stop fighting and cry all the tears she’s been holding back.


Considering the estreme difficulty to resume today’s and tomorrow’s episodes (as a good Otalia fan, believe me, it’s almost an impossibile task!) I decided to limit my personal comments as much as possible – as long as they’re not crucial, of course – and let the reader think about actions and reasons motivating characters’ decisions. I won’t however, forget to point out, where there are any, some small details to let your mind ponder…furthermore, just to alleviate tension a little, I’d ask again to let me make some jokes.

Finally the so much awaited 4th of july arrives: at the Beacon, Emma can’t wait to go and presses her mother, saying she wants to go soon and not miss any of the games organized at the Bauer’s. Olivia merrily answers she’s not gonna miss any of the fun, but she has to wait for Natalia. Emma asks why her mom is so happy, to which she answers: “Because this is going to be a very special day for our family

At the farmhouse, Natalia is not ready to go out: in a big grey robe, sitting in front of some food she’s not eating, she reads and re-reads a brochure about helping groups for pregnant women – and, like the first page says, in difficulty. (Natalia is most probably living a déjà-vu: being sixteen again, pregnant after her first encounter with a man, Natalia had abandoned by everyone: Gus, her sweetheart, and her family, unable to accept the “sin” committed by their daughter. We can imagine the magnitude of the turmoil shaking her now: it mustn’t be easy)

When Natalia’s phone rings, she already knows who’s calling: Olivia wonders whether she’s getting ready. The woman, in fact, not just can’t hold back Emma’s exuberance, but she to is thrilled at the idea that, after the BBQ, they’ll finally be able to be together, a couple like many others.

Natalia, her skin almost as grey as her robe, apologizes to her partner: she’s going to run late a doesn’t think she can stop at the Beacom before going to the Bauers.

O: I thought we were gonna talk to Emma…

N: Well you know, you said she was in a rush to get there, and I really don’t her missing out on anything because of me

O: No, but I really wanted to her before we show up together

N: Well, we can’t show up together if I’m running late

O: Ok, alright, we’ll just find some time at the barbeque then

N: Yes, we will tell her then. So, uh, I’ll see you guys there

O: Ok. This is it, you know? Tonight we’re gonna be together, we’ll be family and, um, you and I won’t need to wait anymore

N: Hey. Alright, let me get going.

O: Ok. I love you

N: I love you too. Bye.

(Another crucial point: Olivia doesn’t know, but this is the last time she speaks to the woman she loves. After this call, every other contact between the two will be via somebody else, no more verbal exchanges nor possibilities to meet for them. We should resign ourselves to the bitter direction this storyline is taking, and to the idea that Natalia is about to take a difficult decision, which will leave many people dumbstruck, if not other because her declarations of trust in her partner seem to be dropped miserably. On the reason why she decides to act that way, we’ll reason in tomorrow’s episode: the definitive goodbye)

Natalia ends the call, takes her head in her hands, sighing deeply.

Later on she meets Blake on the street: the writer notices her assistant is not feeling well. She asks whether Natalia spoke with Frank, or Olivia: she says she hasn’t, and Blake is very concerned about it. But Natalia is in a hurry: she’s meeting Olivia at the barbeque later on, and still needs to do some things before that. After reassuring Blake one more time, she goes away.

At the Bauers’, Olivia and Emma meet Phillip.

Emma runs away to play, while Phillip compliments Olivia: she’s a good mother and it’s evident, given her daughter’s happiness. He asks his ex-wife whether her and Natalia already spoke with Emma. Olivia says they haven’t: they’ll do that during the barbeque.

Natalia, at the mini-markt, is buying the last things for the 4th july party, when she sees some infant accessories (strangely put next to the fridges: how are aisles organized??). Needless to say the emotion, so strongly and obstinately kept at bay now takes the lead: the woman starts to cry while looking at the plushes.

And of course, who should show up at the mini-markt? Saint Frank! The good man, thanks to his refined detective senses, notices immediately there’s something wrong, but Natalia immediately denies (and he accepts the explanation without investigating further…), she turns down his offer of a drive to the Bauers, saying she still has some things to do. (I forgot: knowing the viewers could go into withdrawals, writers decided to insert in the dialogue between Natalia and the Saint the usual refrain we anxiously wait for in every episode: “Thanks for being such a good man” …no comment…)

At the barbeque, the party has definitely started. Between water balloons, laughs and jokes near the swimming pool, everyone is having fun. Everybody notices Olivia’s happiness, and it becomes the main object of discussion.

They can really note how fizzy and helpful she is, serene and positively interacting with other people: a radical change, noticed most of all by those who have been gone from Springfield for a long time and only knew the “old” Ms Spencer.

(I start what I’ll call a “mundane” digression. Is it possible to track down the wardrobe assistant’s name? The one in charge to study Olivia’s clothing these episodes? I don’t believe in violence, but the responsible for such a havoc needs to be punished with an appropriate torture for the visual agony we are experiencing. Why was it decided to dress Crystal Chappell like a penniless American visiting Rome?

Those capri trousers, tennis shoes with no socks and – sacrilege - no heels, practically nullified her ankles and made her calves look like the ones of a football player! The tight shirt – nothing to complain – tucked in the trousers and covered by a short denim jacket shortens her figure even more, making her a pandemonium of not matching colors randomly moving at the swimming pool’s border…so alright, Guiding Light’s budget is like those of Southern America’s TV products, but why focus all efforts on Olivia? Maybe because in these ten years she’s been the one with the most expensive wardrobe? Or maybe because, that day, Crystal Chappell was the only one not to take clothing directly from home? An unresolved mystery…)

Olivia has the chance to speak with Frank: she thanks him for bringing Rafe to the barbeque (the man, definitely kinder towards Olivia than he was the previous days, answers that the boy came by his own will) and emphasizes it’ll make Natalia really happy. Frank hints he saw her previously and Natalia ensured she was going to be there soon: Olivia is happy and reaffirms how happy she is to be celebrating Independence Day.

Natalia, instead, is not going to the Bauer barbeque: she’s in Church praying, when suddenly Fr Ray approaches her. The man asks why she’s not at the barbeque and she abruptly asks something astonishing:

N: Is it a bigger sin to love a woman or to have slept with a man outside of marriage?

In front of the priest’s stunned silence, she continues:

N: I’m pregnant. And I don’t know if God is trying to punish me because I love Olivia or trying to tell me that I should have married Frank…or both…

(Do notice that, in both cases, the one losing out would be Olivia. A moot point, but what can you do about it. It’s still good to see that Natalia repeats – and will continue to repeat – constantly that she’s in love with Olivia, and doesn’t even start to hint at any affectionate relationship with Frank: she’d go back with him only for the child’s sake. So in the long run, she’d be losing out too: forced to leave the true love of her life and be with a man she doesn’t love just because it’s the “lesser evil”. Moot point as well, but worth debating)

Fr Ray is definitely upset (and so are we, honestly), at least judging by the bizarre position of his eyebrows.

Natalia refuses a call from Olivia and continues her confession:

N: I just can’t even think straight, I can’t talk to her right now.

Fr.R: I don’t think God is punishing you, or telling you you should have married Frank.

N: Olivia and I had just decided we were gonna tell Emma and then we were gonna go to the barbeque together, and then this happened and I can’t believe this could be coincidence, you know, I think it must mean something

Fr.R: I agree. It happened for a reason. 

N: What?

Fr.R: If I knew, I would tell you. But the road to that answer is a journey you are gonna have to take by yourself.

N: I saw Frank before, and I just couldn’t tell him and the thought of telling Olivia and…I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do

Fr.R: Look. Maybe you should go away for a while, for yourself, and try to figure things out.

N: That just sounds like running away

Fr.R: No, running towards something. Get yourself to a place of peace, when you find it, you’ll know what to do.

At the barbeque, in the meantime, Olivia and Phillip share a chat:

P: I could stand here all day and watch this: everybody so happy, just having fun

O: Yeah, it’s a good day

P: Natalia here yet?

O: No, but she will be here soon.

P: She really makes you happy

O: Yeah. For the first time in a while I can’t wait for tomorrow to be here. You know what I mean?

Phillip nods and Olivia smiles.

But WE are totally not happy of what tomorrow will bring...

JULY 3rd This is the episode we all knew was coming, the one we’ve waited with trepidation and a bit of resentment for the direction of events. Many speculated of how they could make Natalia leave Springfield without necessarily shredding Olivia to pieces, leaving her deadly injured and making Natalia look like a heartless coward. No need to burn brain cells trying to find alternative finales: the decisions were made at least four months ago and the scenes shot four to six weeks before airing: no matter how we’re feeling, I hope the writers took that into account, and wish it’ll be a prelude for an at least acceptable august.

Before beginning the review I need to underline something important: throughout the whole episode, more times, Olivia will call Natalia, finding always the voice mail. Like hinted yesterday, from now on for Olivia, besides the agony of a sudden separation, there will be the painful doubt about the causes, fomented by the impossibility to speak with Natalia and solve the problem (personally I think this is the weak point of the storyline: Natalia perfectly knows Olivia has a strong personality, because this is what she loves about her, and that she could have reasoned with her to find a solution. The decision to leave, so, seems to alter or nullify many of the goals achieved by the two while building their relationship)

Natalia is still in the church: like always, she lights candle while praying.

Father Ray comes close and tells her that, in this case, lighting candles won’t be enough. Natalia feels like she has to go: she promised Olivia to go to the barbeque and doesn’t want to delay further. Father Ray, who we know descends from pitbulls, mentions the retreat again (and we immediately wonder whether it’s purposeful or just disinterested compassion for Natalia’s case…mmm: it’s logical to have doubts) He knows – can you imagine? – a retreat at a convent which might just be the right thing, nuns would be glad to host Natalia. The woman is annihilated: she can’t believe something like that happened to her.

N: Everything was going really well

Fr.R: Was it?

N: What do you mean?

Fr.R: Think about it. You find out you’re pregnant right before you and Olivia are about to announce to the world that you’re a couple? (No comment. This is circumvention of a person of unsound mind! You can’t say that in front of someone deeply shocked and who admitted she doesn’t know what to do. That’s a very bad impression for your category, Fr. Ray…)

N: I know, then Frank…

Fr.R: you’re having a baby with Frank. You’re gonna have to deal with that

N: I know. I just don’t know why everyone has to get hurt…

Father Ray insists on the retreat like it’s the solution of all problems. Natalia thanks him: she understands he only acts for her good (you sure?), but for her this means running and she doesn’t want to hurt Olivia like that. At this point, the priest launches his last attack:

Fr.R: Listen if Olivia loves you, if she really, really loves you, she won’t be afraid to let you go for a while. Or are you the one who’s afraid? Maybe you’re worried that if you’re not around Olivia your feelings for her will change. Is that why you’re so anxious about leaving?

Natalia seems to seriously consider the priest’s consideration.

Outside the Church, Natalia meets Blake, who asks her how things are going. Natalia answers that, normally, praying comforts her in moments of confusion. This time, though, it didn’t go like that:

N: Blake, I’m pregnant with the baby of the man that I didn’t marry and I’m in love with my best friend. My son doesn’t want to talk to me…I have to go. I think I’m leaving town.

B: Wait a minute! You can’t…say you’re gonna do something like that and than do it!

N: So what do I do if I stay here

B: I don’t know, I know that you have to tell Frank, and you need to talk to Olivia

N: I can’t, I’m too ashamed, I don’t know how to talk to Frank, I don’t know what I would tell Olivia

In that moment, as if feeling called upon, a very worried Olivia calls Blake. Natalia gestures she doesn’t want her partner to know she’s there. Olivia is preoccupied and wants to make sure Blake didn’t give Natalia an assignment, accepts the writer’s reassurances on the fact that Natalia will surely show up at the barbeque.

When Blake hangs up, Natalia immediately asks about Olivia:

N: How is she?

B: She seems good. Actually, she’s looking for you.

Natala walks away after promising Blake to call her later on.

At the barbeque, Olivia is not the only one missing Natalia: Emma is sad because her other mommy had promised to run the three-legged race with her and didn’t show up. Olivia justifies the woman: “She’s late but she’s gonna get here, ok? She has to”. Maybe, doubt starts to haunt her.

Later on as she fights with a picnic blanket, which has absolutely no intention do fold like it should, Josh gets near Olivia and jokingly asks what that blanket could possibly have done to be treated so bad. Olivia plays along and answers the blanket did nothing: she only wishes the day would have gone differently.

J: There’s still a lot of this day left, I mean, there’s speeches, fireworks, that kind of things.

O: Alright. Ok. You’re right, and it’s not over yet. I’m just being…me

J: How did you want this day to be?

O: Perfect. But Nat..alia—

At this point Olivia realizes she said too much, so she tweaks the wording by saying Emma wanted to run the three-legged race with Natalia, but the woman didn’t show up. She hates to see her daughter disappointed, that’s all.

J: Still lot of games to play. Don’t give up hope.

(Attention: small detail, very important. I don’t think Josh refers just to Emma. I think this phrase is a sort of warning, a small clue. Like you well know, in soaps nothing happens without reason: be it actions, or words…)

At the farmhouse, Natalia meets Rafe.

The boy left the barbecue because unwilling to think his mother and Olivia might show up as a couple and behave like one in front of everybody.

N: You just bailed?

R: No. I mean ma I tried. But I just kept thinking I’d turn around and see you guys holding hands or something. Ma, I don’t know if I can deal with that. Ma, I don’t get it. Alright? I don’t get you and…Olivia. I’m sorry, this whole thing has me a little confused, you know

N: That makes two of us

In the house, the speech continues (strange enough, Rafe doesn’t notice Natalia brought to the living room a suitcase. Doesn’t he even think something bad is happening?)

R: Just wanted to see if you’re gonna show up at all. ‘cause I wanna be able to be prepared if you and Olivia are gonna…

N: We’re not.

R: Ok. All my life you tried to guide me and even though I may not have  always lived up to standards, or to your standards, I needed them. And that’s kind of what makes this whole thing so hard to accept. I’m sorry if I let you down.

N: You can never let me down Rafe

R: You know I love you ma, even if I don’t like everything that you’re doing.

Natalia doesn’t answer: the look on her face is really sad. Rafe leaves (again, not noticing the suitcase his mom has next to her. Not the smartest tool in the shaft, eh?)

At the barbeque, Blake approaches Olivia

B: Olivia, I have a message for you from Natalia. She’s not coming. I mean she can’t.

O: Is everything ok? Where is she?

B: She doesn’t want to see you right now

(Olivia of course is shocked by the assertion: it’s a real bolt from the blue. We can only imagine the variety of hypothesis tied up in bundles in her head. And how can you blame her, when tears immediately show up in her eyes? The doubt she’s been having, and maybe she’s been fighting back all day, now becomes real and painfully true

O: did something happen?

B: You know what? She’s gonna have to tell that yourself..

O: No Blake, come on! Don’t do that

B: No Olivia, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.

While Blake walks away, Olivia’s defenses start to crumble.

So here is the end. Hold on tight, because the nosedive ahead of us, I can assure, will take our breath away. Partly, the success is to be attributed to the skills of both actresses (foremost, undoubtfully, Crystal Chappell, who in these episodes shows to be a powerhouse actress, and seems to be wasted for a soap opera! During the dialogue with Blake her face expresses perfectly every feeling felt by her character, letting us feel the same turmoil Olivia is feeling. If this is not pure art, I don’t know what is…) but we need to pay justice to whom created the story: even though I don’t like the direction it’s taking, you just have to appreciate the style and mastery with which it’s told, the perfection of dialogues, shots and editing.

Natalia sits outside the farmhouse: she’s crying.

A car pulls by, stops and Blake comes out of it.

B: Are you sure?

N: Yes

B: Alright. Let’s go inside and get you packed.

Olivia runs to an isolated place, far from the looks everyone else. She tries in vain to calm down, breathing deeply. Fear, anxiety and  pain, though, are too strong: she curls up on the floor and gives vent to her tears, desperate.

Other images of the people invited, cheerful and happy, overlap the ones of a car leaving, with no possibility of turning back

and a woman whom somebody, with no apparent reason, caused a heartbreak.

From Monday on, of Otalia, only Olivia will remain: let’s hope GL can give us more moments of top acting like in this week and make justice to this “beautiful and broken” heroine.



Thinking about the week of july 29th.

“Then I’d say walk away, she’s gonna break your heart”


We all try to forget that phrase thrown by a bartender to Olivia, in a distant episode of march, but it’s useless, I’ve repeated this far too many times these weeks: nothing in a soap happens without a reason. Now we’re looking for a reason, desperately searching for an explanation for what happened. I’ll forego the anger of watching powerless the triumph of “het” happiness against the agonizing pain of the downfall of the “gay” relationship (barbecue docet). I’ll try not to think about the resentment of watching yet again the stereotype gay = suffering, so cheekily illustrated. It would be useless to torture your brain to find a decent explanation and you might burn out, not able to control what you’re feeling. I don’t want to do that, I want to be better than who offended so greatly a big part of the audience, on who spits on the plate he’s eating from.

So I’ll look beyond that: psychology of the character and techniques of soap opera, I’ll try to study with you a plausible explanation for what happened, without thinking that I’m very pissed. What’s done it’s done: not much you can do about it, it seems.

So let’s peacefully begin.

I postponed up to now the analysis of Natalia’s “escape”, because I needed to think about what happened and the rebounds of events on the character’s psyche and in order to do so, I went way back in GL’s history. Let’s go on step by step.


THE ESCAPE - If it can comfort you, Natalia is not the first one to run in front of bad news. People who know and follow GL from a very long time will probably remember that Vanessa Chamberlain (who, with Matt Reardon, was one of GL’s supercouples in the mid ’90) ran from Springfield without any hint of where she might be and - most of all - not telling her husband, after receiving the news to be severely ill.

In that occasion, the diagnosis was wrong and the woman had run, if I’m correct, in Switzerland, but the matter doesn’t change. The need to remove an actor from the scenes, sometimes, ignites a dramatic and unexpected turn of events: practically, every soap’s manna.

Otalia’s storyline might not culminate with a wedding but, probably, will follow the standard route of all other supercouples: the initial frienemies stage, getting close, falling in love, contrasts/problems/sensational developments, separation, more misfortunes (for one of the couple or both) , reconciliation, happiness.

Our couple is missing only the last two steps (besides the so much longed – and improbable? – kiss, and at least one scene of intimacy between the two, which I think we’ll never have the grace to see! For those, there’s thousands of fanfics wonderfully written: contact me and I’ll give you some links to visit!)

I know, disappearing with no trace is not exactly nowadays’ Natalia philosophy, you know the woman who allegedly said to be “tired of waiting”, who convinced a very restive Olivia to start a relationship, the one who declared to her son that loving Olivia wasn’t “strange”, it was simply “love” and who stood up to Fr. Ray quoting the Bible, to show that love is love, whichever shapes it might have.

We have to admit thought that escape, for Natalia, means always a way to hide things from herself: do I need to remember you that she ended up sleeping with Frank as a reaction to all the feelings surfacing after Olivia’s kiss?

Wasn’t that an escape from the feeling she perfectly knew she felt but which couldn’t accept?


Let’s try to see it this way, or we’ll end up hating the character. In our search for a reason that makes sense, we have to take into consideration that Natalia has one big, huge weak point: her religion. When she was pregnant with Rafe, her faith in God and the comfort she found in religion, the stability more than other, sustained her, taking the place of the family which had abandoned her.

Now, after fighting to affirm her liberty to love Olivia (and she did so in every way possible, like a real freakin’ superhero, never taking it back), she finds herself tested by that God with whom she thought she’d come to piece with. Paradoxically, she seems to confide only in who represents Him and doesn’t search for answers straight from Him: it’s this relying on a third party concept that leads her to go away, following the advice to “search for inner peace”.

Everything that happens to her, she lives like a test: she needs to be alone in order to confront herself with God, the Being which, her own admission, she considers a sort of best friend. In this case, the escape assumes a much deeper meaning: it’s moving away to decide what to do with her life by herself: not Olivia, nor  Frank can help her (or, at least, that’s what Natalia declares to think). Up to her, no problem: being alone doesn’t imply breaking somebody’s heart. It’s the way Natalia decides to do so, if something, that leaves a mark: she literally lost herself, her foothold (religion, love, family) is completely gone. The way she decides to leave the scenario is typical of someone who doesn’t know what to do and decides on the spot (remember? Had it not been for Blake, she’d have left right after her last chat with Fr. Ray…if that’s not losing any ability to rationalize, I don’t know what that is…). And this brings us to the second point.


SILENCE -  Let’s try, now, to understand Natalia and her silence, because this is much harder to do and requires a good dose of patience.

Natalia, I think, doesn’t say a word to Olivia because, just like Vanessa before, she’s petrified by the consequences a news like that would surely have on the relationship with the woman she loves.

Let’s not forget, in fact, that “The only thought of telling Olivia…” takes her breath away.

She’s probably pregnant with the child of a man she refused to marry exactly in order to explore her love for her best friend.

Analyzing the behavior towards her partner, we must note the small attempts made  by the woman to tell Olivia that something is, in fact, going on.

When, after cooking the rice krispies with Emma, the two are left alone in the kitchen of the farmhouse, Olivia expresses her joy towards the fact that, after sitting the child down and having “the talk” with her, they’ll finally be a family. At that point, Natalia whispers a weak: “Olivia…”. Olivia can’t hear the plea in that simple word, probably she thinks Natalia is worried about Emma’s reaction to the news, so she reassures her: “It’s going to be ok

So what does Natalia do? She steps back. Again. And she choses silence: a behavior difficult to understand for us, but not alien to her story and very typical of her character’s psychology, actually.

Natalia chose silence in many occasions and for various reasons:

·        When she contacted lawyer Vince Russo to defend Rafe and decided to go through that all by herself, even accepting to pay with sexual favors in exchange for his service, for her daughter’s safety (in that occasion Olivia promptly took action, after hearing about the “deal” from Buzz: how can we forget her heated “Back off!”?): attempt to put something right by herself;

·        When she couldn’t immediately say she accepted Olivia’s offer to be her personal assistant (talking to herself, after Ms Spencer had stormed off, she said: “I wasn’t gonna say no…”): little trust in herself;

·        In many occasion she declared that she “wasn’t ready to face the subject” (situation which repeated more and more times, here and there in Otalia’s storyline, always relating to the romantic evolution of the story between the two women or the hoax between Natalia and Frank): fear to take a stand/ fear of her own feelings;

·        As a reaction to sleeping with Frank (in that occasion, after some exhausting moments of obstinate silence and sudden resentment, after confessing to Olivia, she got as an answer “Why did you have to tell me this?” Probably, right there silence would have been the best thing): fear to hurt Olivia;

·        After almost kissing Olivia at the hospital (she masked what she was thinking with a “Hey, you’re awake!”): fear of her feelings for Olivia;

·        After having second thoughts about the wedding, when she decided to give back the wedding dress (“I can’t have the one thing I want because it’s selfish and wrong”, she yells to Olivia. And what is selfish and wrong? The fact that you’re in love with your best friend, of course. Even then, despite the obvious subject of her statement, Natalia says nothing): fear of her feelings for Olivia;

·        After the engagement party organized by Olivia (Natalia thanks her friend for the touching speech, hiding the fact that truth was there, in front of her eyes, and that she had understood it clearly): fear of her feelings for Olivia;

·        During throughout the evolution of her story with Olivia (Natalia, reached by Olivia in the Gazebo, after declaring her that she’s in love with her, says that what she heard at Gus’ grave hadn’t “surprised her too much”. Natalia knew about Olivia’s feelings and, most of all, knew about her own feelings for Olivia. But, she remained silent. Always): fear of her feelings for Olivia;

·                                After running at the altar (remember? It was Olivia who justified Natalia’s action explaining to Frank that she didn’t feel ready because her heart “still belongs to Gus”): fear to hurt Frank and the Cooper clan;

·                                It might seem a useless detail, but even when she convinces Olivia to go to church with her, Natalia says nothing about the reason behind such a gesture. It’s Olivia who has to ask for an explanation;

·                                For weeks after the wedding that never was, Natalia will never find the courage to tell Frank (letting other people and circumstances let him understand the truth): fear to hurt Frank;

·                                Once Rafe is out of prison, Natalia will never find the right moment to tell him the truth about her relationship with Olivia (it’s by coincidence that, against his will, the boy finds out): fear to hurt Rafe.


After all this, is it so impossible that Natalia might choose complete silence?

Let’s think about it: silence, running away, are a way for her to preserve the person she mostly cares about from pain. The psychological immaturity of the character is evident: it’s on this that we must reason. Letting events, the evidence of facts, give explanations for her behavior is, all things considered, Natalia’s modus operandi. And, after all, it’s what she’s doing with Olivia now. The relationship between the two women, though, is so strong (Natalia herself once declared that she feels intertwined with Olivia, as if they were one person) that every word, now, couldn’t add anything to what Olivia surely knows already: Natalia is in a deep crisis, Natalia wants / needs to get out of it by herself.

I like to think that, in her own way, Natalia is going through some kind of evolution (we know so little of her backstory): if for Olivia it’ll be “public suffering”, because shown on screens, who can say that Natalia isn’t undergoing the same kind of pain alone in her retreat? It’s certainly like that and, certainly, upon her return to Springfield she’ll have to put a remedy to what her silence has destroyed along the way. Finally, she will have to speak.

Vanessa got in touch with Matt (who believed her dead) only by chance, without realizing what had happened.

We, for instance, know that Natalia will come back on her own volition and it won’t be a chance if Olivia will be there, asking her to take responsibility for her actions (real pregnancy or not) and Ms Rivera, at that point, will finally have a sure answer.

And if the finally will only be “hopeful” and not “fabulous”, like everybody wishes, we will at least be sure that we witnessed a “voyage”, a personal growth, Natalia’s growth, told with unusual mastery.



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