Soap Opera Digest - - DIGEST'S HOTTEST SHOTS -

Ridge and Bill’s ac­ri­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship hit a new low when Ridge in­flu­enced his old school chum, Judge Craig Mcmullen, to side against Bill in his court bat­tle with Katie over Will’s cus­tody. But Bill couldn’t let that de­ci­sion rest, be­liev­ing there was more to the ver­dict than met the eye. He vig­or­ously fol­lowed his hunch until he got to the bot­tom of Ridge’s felo­nious act. Then, Bill did what he does best: held court and gloated.

It all came to a head when Bill sum­moned Ridge, Brooke, Katie, Thorne and Mcmullen to his of­fice. With proof of Ridge and Mcmullen’s col­lu­sion, the for­mer kept up his poker face, while the lat­ter was sweat­ing bul­lets. Don Di­a­mont chewed the scenery with rel­ish as Bill glee­fully threw some­one else’s mis­deeds in their face for a change. Bill bom­bas­ti­cally ex­plained that he and Justin were just out for a drive (“Some­times we do that on a pretty day”) and their high- tech lis­ten­ing equip­ment just hap­pened to record the il­licit con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Ridge and Mcmullen, prov­ing their con­spir­acy. “I give you credit,” Bill faux-praised Ridge. “You did out­smart me, for a minute ... But in the end,” he purred with a mix of brag­gado­cio and vit­riol, “I out­smarted you. Just like I al­ways do.”

Ridge took re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions, and those who’d learned of his mis­deeds but kept quiet (Brooke, Thorne and Katie) ad­mit­ted their guilt by as­so­ci­a­tion. Both Mcmullen and Katie apol­o­gized; Bill then shifted his fo­cus to Brooke, “the one per­son in this room who de­fended me.” Given that Brooke is, was and likely al­ways will be the root of Bill and Ridge’s en­mity, this kicked the con­fronta­tion into yet a higher gear.

Ridge called Bill’s bluff by dar­ing him to call the po­lice. As the on­look­ers gasped, Bill and Ridge re­mained steely-eyed in their game of chicken. Brooke in­ter­ceded with a chal­lenge of her own. “You said that you’ve changed,” she said to Bill. “Well, then, show us. Show me. Show mercy.” She said the magic words; Bill re­fused to press charges. Katie, Brooke and Mcmullen thanked Bill pro­fusely; even Ridge was forced to ex­press his grat­i­tude, al­beit through grit­ted teeth. Bill then dis­missed the group — but asked Brooke

to stay, much to the cha­grin of a glow­er­ing Ridge.

Once alone with Brooke, Bill pounced to make a fer­vent pitch for their re­union, ex­plain­ing that he de­cided against sic­c­ing the cops on Ridge et al be­cause “hurt­ing them would have meant hurt­ing you, and I never want to hurt you again.” Cred­it­ing the pos­i­tive changes he’d made due to her in­flu­ence, Bill pro­fessed, “For the first time, I’m wor­thy of you.” Brooke coun­tered by in­sist­ing that he was re­spon­si­ble for his own growth. “I hope this sticks, this new at­ti­tude of yours,” she de­murred, en­cour­ag­ing him to “com­mit to this change, and be that man I al­ways knew you could be­come.” With that, she walked out, his wist­ful gaze trail­ing her ex­it­ing form. Mean­while, Katie and Ridge dis­cussed Bill’s show of benev­o­lence. Katie de­fended her ex, not­ing that Bill had removed his sword neck­lace, the sym­bol of his ruth­less na­ture. How­ever, as Ridge pointed out, Bill had Brooke do that for him — and that move spoke vol­umes.

This tense, taut show­down hinted at a fas­ci­nat­ing new set of dy­nam­ics that will shape the next arc of For­rester/spencer show­downs. It was no less com­pelling be­cause it proved to be a cri­sis averted; but be­cause Ridge may have avoided jail, it was clear that Bill re­mains very much a threat.

Day Of Reck­on­ing: Bill (Don Di­a­mont, far l.) had plenty to say to (from l.) Judge Mcmullen (Joe Lando), Thorne (Ingo Rademacher), Katie (Heather Tom), Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) and Brooke (Kather­ine Kelly Lang).

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