This has been a great week of GUIDING LIGHT. I was hoping for the best but feared Grant Aleksander's return might not live up to the hype. I'm so happy to report that it absolutely did. So far we have been treated to excellent reunion scenes between Phillip and Alan, Beth, Rick and Lizzie.
There have been so many wonderful moments this week that it's hard to choose a favorite so I'll name a few. Phillip and Beth's scene at the Spaulding mansion where she breaks down was just classic. The scene where Buzz goes after Alan and Phillip interferes was excellent as well. At first Phillip defended Alan but when Alan kept mouthing off, Phillip stepped aside and let Buzz take a shot at him. And then the scene today with Oliva and Natalia where Natalia told her she would be strong for her as Olivia was freaking out about Phillip being back. It was very powerful and emotional.
Phillip's return has impacted everyone on the canvas and will continue to do so. Aleksander said today in a chat with fans at Fancast that this return "feels like I have returned home to alot of old friends and family." It does for me as well. This is the type of classic soap drama that I love played out with characters the audience is invested in and cares about.
So those are my quick thoughts after the first week. Here's a round-up of what some other pundits had to say:
Patrick Erwin: "The material that I’ve seen in the last four weeks is the strongest material I’ve seen since the fall of 2004. I really feel like many of the scenes I saw this week refocused the characters and really took them back to who they are."
Sara A. Bibel: "After writing multiple columns about Grant Aleksander’s return, I’m thrilled that, so far, it’s been really good. Having Phillip back on the canvas impacts nearly every other character. The writing has lived up to the occasion with lengthy, dialogue heavy scenes. Staging a conversation between Phillip and his father next to Phillip’s gravestone was one of the show’s most effective uses of exteriors so far. Phillip seems to have brought long term plotting back to Springfield with him. The show actually seems like it’s telling stories that will last longer than three weeks again. For the first time since the show switched to its current production model, I’m actually looking forward to watching it every day."
T. L. Smeltzer: "This week, GUIDING LIGHT put together some of the best acting and drama on television."
Michael Fairman "And, in the end analysis, the 'Light' is on! This week has been 'soapy' drama at its best. Aleksander presence is pretty astounding, and the impact he makes with his looks, stances and words are pretty magnificent."
Lynn Liccardo: "For me, the most memorable moment was a tiny one; while Phillip was helping Beth out of her blood-stained wedding dress she tells him their daughter, Lizzie, had a baby. His face betraying no emotion, Phillip crossed to the sideboard in silence and poured himself a stiff drink. It was a pitch-perfect moment, as has been the rest of his return thus far."
J Bernard Jones "I am very encouraged that GUIDING LGIHT is better than it has been in a long, long time. What is being done on screen and within narrative is more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; there is a true effort to fundamentally return to the basics of soap opera."