Monday 6/9

Tiff is asleep on the beach, with her dog Spike. Spike is currently mute, which is a surprise given how much he had to say for himself in later episodes. Obviously he only acquired the power of speech when he moved in with Greggie. Either that or the show is planning to take itself seriously for these first few episodes. Novel concept. Bungalow and Michael, our scantily clad duo, set the tone for future episodes by parading around in very little clothing, and posing in the most advantageous manner. They chase Tiff off with concern for her welfare.

Thickardo, in uniform, is on the beach with Paula. He's moping that he's not made detective yet. There's a reason for that, Thickardo. You have to be good at thinking to be a detective. His promotion comes in, though, and he gets very excited. Paula acts happy for him, but clearly fears that this is the death knell of their relationship.

Smeg is worrying whether or not Tight Pants is the man she truly loves. Her mother tries to put her mind at rest, but on her way downstairs Smeg overhears Tim and her maid of honour getting overly friendly, and planning how they can continue to do so after the wedding. Having just said goodbye to 'SB', an anonymous internet 'lover', Smeg decides that he, not Tight Pants, was the man she wanted after all. She rushes off to Sunset Beach to meet the Mystery Man, but when she tells him that she's coming, he panics and tells her not to. Too late.

Mystery Man 'SB' is of course Ben Evans, who sits at his desk looking dark and mysterious, brooding about something. He has a painting of a woman by his desk. Her voice echoes in his head. He sees raging seas and hears the woman scream. He broods some more.

Mark finds Tiff somewhere where she can live safely off the beach, and she bitches at him. Mark tells her that he used to live rough until Ben helped him out. She fails to be moved by his demonstration of solidarity.

Newly arrived in Sunset Beach, Smeg meets Elaine at the world famous Waffleless Waffle Shop, and hears the legend that when the winds get up and the sun goes down, the first person you meet on the far side of the pier is your soul mate. Of course later on when the winds are getting up and the sun is going down, the first person Meg lays eyes upon is Ben, but straight afterwards her bag is stolen by Tiff and she gives chase. She falls off the pier. Tiff escapes.


Tuesday 7/9

Casey, Michael and TGO drag Smeg from the surf, and Bungalow and Michael rush her to hospital. Once there Casey meets Doctor Martial Law, and begins to flirt with her. She hates him. He loves her. She, of course, begins to soften. Meanwhile Smeg begins to tell everybody who'll listen all about SB, Tim and her maid of honour. She decides to check her E-mail, but her laptop was in her bag, so she goes to the JavaWeb, where she finds a message from SB telling her not to come to Sunset Beach. A local drunk tries to make trouble for her, and Ben beats him up and throws him out. Smeg is underwhelmed, and Mark puts on his patent pending Beware Of Ben face.

Meanwhile Smeg's tumble into the sea has caused TGO to sink into flashback land. He is tortured by images of Maria, and her voice echoes around his head. He mistakes Annie for Maria, and they talk together. Annie is flirting wildly, but Ben is not reciprocating. Annie's charmless dad is being unpleasant to her again, and TGO is nice about it all. They chat. It's sweet. They really made a better couple than Ben and Meg ever did.

Elaine tries to split up Paula and Thickardo. She is psycho-mum. Michael visits Vanessa, and is introduced to the Mysterious News Story plot that will plague him for some weeks to come. And Tiff discovers Meg's laptop, and with it the history of her relationship with SB. Mark lets on that SB is Ben, but warns Tiff that she has every reason to be scared of The Brooding One. She sees this as a good opportunity to get rich, and even though Mark turns Meg's bag in to the police, Tiff keeps printouts of the E-mails, and decides that she's going to pretend to be 'Dorothy From Kansas'.


Wednesday 8/9

Smeg is convinced that Bungalow is SB, and sets about trying to seduce him, hopelessly. He thinks she's a good friend, but has his heart set solely upon Martial Law. Smeg mopes. Smeg worries. Smeg phones home. Tim overhears and decides it's time for him to head out to Sunset Beach too.

Tiff breaks into Ben's house in an attempt to find out about him. He sees her on the CCTV set up, and calls in Thickardo to talk about his security. Thickardo is not happy to talk to him. Their relationship is revealed to be highly antagonistic. Thickardo blames TGO for Maria's death. They argue. Thickardo leaves. Mark tries warning Tiff off, saying that Ben is not a man to take risks with. Meanwhile, as Annie moans about her father, TGO asks if she wants him to kill him for her, just to hammer home the 'Is Ben Dangerous' theme a little more. Del cuts Annie off without a penny. Tiff hangs around some more and spooks Ben.


Thursday 9/9

Bungalow and Martial Law are trying to buy a house. Neither of them has enough money. At the last minute, at an auction, they decide to go halves and wind up with a big beach house that needs a lot of work. Martial Law isn't at all sure about it, but Casey is delighted.

Tiff contacts TGO claiming to be Dorothy. He's still spooked. Annie suggests a business deal, which he agrees to if she gets her father to put up half of the money. He's trying to help her mend her relationship with her father, but Del acts as charmlessly as ever, and refuses. She goes off to mope, and even TGO and Bette can't make her feel any better.

Greggie visits Del. He's apparently beginning to suspect that there's something going on, but it's unclear whether he cares more that Cruella is having an affair, or that Del is. It seems as though he expects Cruella to cheat on him, but he doesn't expect to be betrayed that way by his best friend. I suppose the inference could be that Greggie is another suspect for the murder when it happens, but Greggie's too nice. Yes, I know he wound up killing Franchesta, but that was a public service for goodness sakes.


Friday 10/9

Bungalow invites Smeg, Michael and Mark to join him in his beach house as lodgers. Doctor Martial Law isn't impressed, but Bungalow wins her over with his coin-tossing skills.

TGO and Collagen have another of their flirting-but-not-flirting scenes, and she confesses she has wanted to kill her father. TGO does his "the producers are going to milk this 'I may be a murderer myself' plot for the rest of the series, so I'm not going to pass judgement" thing, then mopes about Maria for a while.

Tim arrives in Sunset Beach, and shadows Meg for the rest of the episode.

Del and Cruella decide to run away together. Greasy Greg, uncharacteristically, is in the dark about it, although he is fairly certain that she's having an affair. Cruella is being set up as another suspect in Del's upcoming murder. As, obviously, is Collagen.

TGO goes to mope on his boat. Smeg turns up. They completely fail to realise that they're the ones they've been E-mailing all these months, and Ben goes off, moping. Left behind, Smeg gets accosted by Tim. They talk about stuff. He accuses her of two timing him online with SB, and unsurprisingly she gets exasperated. Meanwhile having left Smeg behind, Ben goes home, still moping. He tries to call Collagen (she lives next door, weirdo, why are you phoning her?!) to chat, but she isn't there, which conveniently sets her up as a suspect for Del's murder. Tiffany pretends to be 'Dorothy from Kansas' again, in her scheme to get Ben's money. Interrupted mid-mope, TGO is not best pleased, and does his "the producers are going to milk this 'I may be a murderer myself' plot for the rest of the series, so I'm going to be mean and moody now" act, and in trying to get away, Tiff hurts her ankle. Ben picks her up and takes her into his house.

Meanwhile somebody without a face shoots Del.


Monday 13/9

We open with Del being shot again, in decidedly more gory detail this time. Spawn sees the murderer escape, but whoever it was is dressed in a black cape - so no face in evidence. Meanwhile Smeg is still drooling all over Bungalow at the beach, and Bungalow is still dreaming about Doctor Martial Law.

TGO drags a struggling Tiffany into his house, angry with her for stalking him. She bashes him over the head. Hooray! Ben's first trip into bye-bye land! If only he knew that he was going to spend the next three years dropping unconscious to a series of floors... But I digress. She runs around in circles apologising and squeaking, then he jumps up and grabs her, and does the "I'm not the man you think I am" act again. You know the one - the "The producers are going to be milking this 'Am I a murderer?' plot for the next three years, so I might as well have fun with it" act. Then Annie comes in with news of Del, and Ben rushes off with her to the hospital. Thickardo is there, alternately getting in everybody's way, and accusing TGO of murdering everybody from Del to JFK. Cruella de Olivia snuffles, Greg looks wistful. Del dies. Ben takes Annie home. Aunt Bette is cool.

Mark finds Tiffany and warns her off Ben. She says she isn't scared of Ben, but Mark says she should be. Cue lots of shots of Ben looking as tough and as "I could be a murderer - fear me" as you can when wearing a fluffy white jumper. Annie sniffles.

Oh, and Thickardo and Paula may have split up, largely thanks to her mother from hell, and Thickardo being Thickardo. But nobody cares about that anyway.


Tuesday 14/9

Aunt Bette finds Del's blood-soaked wallet in Annie's handbag, and gets all drama queen. She wants to talk to Annie about it, but TGO has appropriated her for a broody walk on the beach. Or at least he's trying to be broody. The fluffy white jumper is still rather hampering that. He asks her if she killed Del, and she dodges the issue, moaning that she never asked him if he killed Maria. They glare, they posture. Collagen Annie shows off her lips, and TGO proves that he can scowl with the best of them even when his clothing is doing its best to resist. Eventually they decide to visit Greasy Greggie for advice.

Tiffany searches the Net for information on Ben. She's so busy printing off happy stories about his sailing achievements that she continually fails to notice the news story about his suspected involvement in Maria's death, and how he was under police investigation. Smeg carries on mooning about Bungalow. Mark dithers, again, about whether he should tell everybody the truth about who's Dorothy and SB and who isn't. There may have been something else about Paula and her dreadful mother, and whether or not they still love Thickardo, but that's all a bit hazy. I suffer from a severe lack of interest in Paula. Sorry.

Greg tries to sober up an increasingly obnoxious Cruella by sticking her under a shower that he must have had installed for just that purpose, since it seems to be stuck in the middle of the bedroom floor, with no other noticeable shower fixtures nearby. She does her drunken goldfish impersonation, and Greggie, bless, looks all wounded. The writers were still being sympathetic towards him in those days. Or maybe I'm just prejudiced. I like Greasy Gregory! Caitlin walks in during the communal sprinkling, and doesn't bother to ask why her parents are soaking wet. She heads off for coffee and dry clothing. It's really weird seeing Smurf again, anyway. I got used to Bimbi. She talks to Greggie about how sorry she is that his best friend just got shot (at least six times now, usually in slow motion). Greggie looks mysterious, as though he's borrowed Ben's patent pending "The producers are going to milk this 'am I a murderer' plot for the next three years so I might as well make use of it" look. He behaves as though Cruella having an affair is nothing new, but still seems bothered by it. Maybe he's upset because he fancied Del himself. Ben walks in (praise be, the fluffy white thing has gone!) with Annie, and they all natter gaily. Well, no they don't. Ben pretends he knows who Caitlin is, despite that that's probably the only scene they have together in the show's entire length, then broods in a corner whilst Greg pretends to be a lawyer, and Annie sulks. My nicknames are slipping. Sorry. TGO broods in a corner and Collagen sulks. I think her lips grow whenever she lies. Sort of like Pinocchio, but poutier. After a while, Thickardo comes in. He wants to interview Annie, but apparently is only allowed to with Greggie and TGO present. They all traipse off for a communal interrogation with half the SB police force looking on. Collagen is being fed answers by half the people present, but Thickardo fails to notice.

Little Miss Bubblewrap keeps getting attacked by people, incidentally. Who they are, nobody knows. Michael gallantly attempts to save her, but she has to save him instead. His door-kicking-down skills are excellent, but he sucks at fighting. Anyway, then she faints, and refuses to let Michael call the police. Hang on - then she faints, then she wakes up, and then she refuses to let Michael call the police. Oh yes, and Olivia has a meeting with Eddie and tries to persuade him to cover up for her enthusiasm over wanting to hire a hitman at the Christmas party. Odd place to try to hire a hitman, and a policeman is an odd person to ask about it, but then Cruella is a very odd lady. Then she runs off to hide a gun. Meanwhile Thickardo is convinced he's got his killer, but since he's the one who keeps having flashbacks to the murder, I think he should probably be arresting himself.

And we end with Aunt Bette sitting in the Java Web, inexplicably cuddling Del's blood-soaked wallet. Get rid of it you daft woman!


Wednesday 15/9

The race is on to make Surf Central habitable, so that lots of characters with little plot as yet can all move in together and try to make all their little plots add up to one big one. Since it doesn't really work until Derek turns up, they've got a long wait. Mark plays Exposition Boy, just in case nobody has been paying attention thus far. Doctor Martial Law tries to fry everybody wth her stunning electrical skills. Sadly she misses frying Smeg, who is still mooning all over Bungalow, who is still mooning all over Doctor Martial Law, who is still oblivious to everybody. Clearly she knows she won't be staying with the show long, and doesn't want to waste time making friends.

Annie worries over why TGO won't give her an alibi for the night of her father's murder. He says lying to the police won't work, and she brings up the fact that he lied to the police over Maria's death. Oh boy, they really do love waving their murderer flag over Ben's head, don't they. No wonder he always looks so glowery and sulky, if the script writers don't trust him either. Meanwhile Tiffany drops by to visit Smeg, and make sure that she hasn't guessed who SB is yet. Tiff is currently wearing a huge sign on her head reading "I've read your letters from SB, Meg. Don't Trust Me!" but Smeg is failing to see any bad in anybody, a trait she will continue to display with remarkable doggedness, even when surrounded by murderers. And Tim.

Tiffany leaves a model of Ben's boat, the Mariah, at his house. Annie helps her sneak it in, gleefully anticipating entertaining fireworks when he sees it, 'cause she's still sulking that he asked her if she killed her father. TGO is on his way to work! Work! It happens with decreasing regularity as the show progresses, but hey, he had to have got his money from somewhere. Somewhere quite remarkable if you actually bother to do the maths, 'cause he must have emigrated to America when he was about seventeen, and he's supposedly been living in that beach house all that time, but... don't think so hard.

Cruella throws her gun in the sea. Eddie takes pictures. Greggie worries, and paces, and worries, and glowers, and worries, and gets snippy with Cruella, and frankly who can blame him. Thickardo is worrying and pacing too, but mostly just because he's Thickardo, and he can't understand why nobody loves him. Mostly because you're Thickardo. Sorry about that. Meanwhile the police find out that Spawn was in the room next to Dead Boy's, and bring him in for questioning. He remembers seeing his mother going into the hotel, but when Thickardo asks for a description of the person he saw he decides to go with the opposite, and says she was young and redheaded, thus neatly dropping Collagen Annie into the doo-dah. The police are testing Cruella's hair though, as they've found brunettey stuff in Dead Boy's bed, and want to rule her out of their enquiries. They'll be lucky.

Smeg gets a brainwave (oh dear). SB loves strawberry muffins! She makes some and force feeds them to Bungalow as he does his scantily-clad plumber act. He's violently allergic and begins to die. She seems to be worrying more about her hair, but does manage to call Mark for assistance. An ambulance might have been a better idea, but never mind.

And Ben comes back from work, sees the model of the boat and immediately has flashbacks to Maria's death. He hears her endlessly ambiguous cries, carefully designed to make him look like the perfect murder suspect, then throws the boat across the room, and attacks Annie when she comes in to giggle.


Thursday 16/9

TGO broods about yesterday's model boat, now lying in bits all over the floor. He's still shaking Annie, which presumably he's been doing since yesterday. Odd that she hasn't objected yet. She wins him over again though, and asks him to go with her to the reading of her father's will. He softens and agrees, but is still in hyper-brood mode. Seems to be wondering if the whole "Dorothy of Kansas" thing is a set up, and that maybe Maria is behind it. Cue more gazing at that painting, with the conveniently indistinct face, and a cunning plan to trace "Dorothy" through her E-mail.

Casey is still choking to death, but Smeg and Mark manage to get him to the hospital, where Doctor Martial Law diagnoses extreme strawberry dislike. Meg gets confused, because SB loves strawberries. Mark dithers again. Just bloody tell her that Bungalow isn't SB, you twit! You don't have to tell her who really is... Smeg goes to talk to the gulls on the beach about whether or not Casey is SB, and finally (finally!) decides to ask him.

Greasy G sets up Del's videotaped will. Why does everybody in soap land video their wills?! Dead Boy has left everything to Cruella, which sparks off our first major Cruella v Annie cat fight. Ben breaks it up, sadly. Thickardo orders search warrants for Collagen's and Cruella's places.

Smeg asks Bungalow if he's SB, but I fully expect it to be a fortnight at least before he answers. If there's one thing that Sunset Beach is really good at, it's making the viewers scream "Get on with it!" at the screen.


Friday 17/9

Olivia and Gregory are arguing over evidence, and what is and isn't likely to make her look guilty of Dead Boy's murder. The mere fact that she's Cruella should be evidence enough, but not realising this they leap upon the issue of her gun, now residing at the bottom of the bay. Sadly Cruella has failed to dispose of the bullets as well, and between them Greasy Greggie and Oh-livia manage to scatter the ammunition collection all over the bedroom floor, just as a policeman arrives. Greg distracts him with some lightening-fire reactions, which basically means he glowers a lot and looks haughty. The policeman says that the search he and his colleagues have been conducting has now finished. Hang on. I thought the suspects had to be present during a search, not hiding upstairs disposing of evidence?! But apparently the SB police don't do things that way. Cruella pretends that the bullets are her contact lenses, and crawls around picking them up. The policeman obviously needs contact lenses himself for falling for that one. Big glinty metal cylinders? And she puts these in her eyes?! One has rolled right under the policeman's foot, however, but Greggie yet again saves the day, this time by hurling himself across the floor, grabbing the bullet, and displaying his amazing pro-baseball youth, by whizzing it over to Olivia, all whilst ushering the policeman politely from the room. Olivia catches something else being flung from an entirely different direction, but looks relieved anyway.

TGO arrives at the JavaWeb to find Tiff trying to send him E-mails. He gets cross and accuses her of not being Dorothy. She says she is, he says she isn't, she says she is, he says it was all a fantasy, she says it wasn't, he says it was... and it goes on for some time. In the end he tells her never to come anywhere near him again, and she gets all teary. He gets all moody. He's good at that.

Meg has finally explained all to Casey about SB! Casey denies being him, and Smeg realises what a berk she's been. Bungalow clearly couldn't be SB anyway, since whenever Smeg got a message from him, Ben's voice used to read it out. Smeg apparently failed to notice that. He encourages her to try to contact SB and arrange a meeting, so that they can get closure, or true love, or so that she can slap his face or something. "I left everything for this man!" Excuse me Smeggie, but no you didn't. It was hardly SB's fault that your fiancé cheated on you, and you decided to run away from home. But anyway... Tiff tries to dissuade her from contacting SB, but Meg sends him a message saying that he should at least meet her face to face just once before she leaves. TGO realises Tiff can't be Dorothy, then, and agrees to a meeting at the pier at sunset.

Thickardo arrives at Collagen's house with a search warrant, and every policeman who's so far been given a name in tow - so clearly this is where the writers are expecting to find the interesting bit of plot. Thickardo won't let Annie leave the room during the search. See - he's been to police college! The ones doing the search at Greggie and Cruella's screwed that bit up! Panicking, Aunt Bette tries to hide any left over bits of Del's wallet that are still in the fireplace, but Thickardo sees her, finds the bits, puts two and two together to make ninety-six, and a very confused Annie leaps out of the bathroom window and runs away. The police give chase, badly. Thickardo and Paula realise that Annie is going to go straight to Ben, and head off to watch the JavaWeb, completely failing even to bother stopping her from going in. She arrives just as TGO is preparing to head down to the pier to meet Meg, thereby stopping him and ensuring that at least one other plot line is spun out over the weekend. Or the next three months. Whichever. Smeg is left talking to Tight Pants instead, and thinking that SB doesn't love her anymore. Stop fiddling with your bloody hair, Meg, damn it! Get it cut if it's annoying you that much! Ben believes Collagen's tales, and decides they should explain all to the police. Annie disagrees and pulls a gun. Cue close ups and dramatic twiddles in the music. Annie, you do realise you're going to have to hold that pose now until Monday morning?


Monday 20/9

Smeg wanders the pier at sunset, waiting for SB to put in his appearance. Naturally he's having problems making their tryst - well, they have to spin the storyline out as long as possible, don't they. In this instance he has a good excuse, anyway, since he's currently being held at gunpoint by his best friend, his worst enemy, the entire Sunset Beach police department, a helicopter, and an LAPD SWAT team, but more of that later. Waiting for him, Smeg sets about accosting innocent passers-by, in order to burden them with her lifestory. She begins with Mark, who listens patiently to her fervent accusations of true love and destiny, and then fails to complain when she punches him very badly in the stomach. Which I don't blame her for really (the punch, not the being bad at it), given that he's clearly not SB, but pretended that he was for ten minutes of love-nonsense-gushing just so that he would "know what it felt like" to have somebody wax lyrical to him. Mark, if you want somebody to love you, quit lurking on piers pretending to be mysterious romantics, and ear-wigging on weirdo monologues. Anyway, abandoning Mark, she finds Cole instead, putting in his debut appearance and looking even more of a drip with his original head than he did with his later one. She pours everything out to him, and he listens patiently. Personally I think I'd have run away. What is this woman's weird compulsion to tell complete strangers every secret she possesses?! Eventually she wanders off again, no doubt leaving Cole wondering if his scenes in this show are always going to be this weird. Leave now Cole. Save yourself. And us.

Michael arrives home to find that Little Miss Bubblewrap is starting a home for the disadvantaged children of mysterious story sources. A little girl is hiding in his bedroom. He shows no great concern over the presence of the girl, the existence of her allegedly murderous father, or the fact that LMB is being menaced by dead hitmen (or so say the fingerprint reports, which come from the local police, so their accuracy is probably questionable). All that Michael cares about is whether or not Bubblewrap and he have any chance of making out at all, at any time in the foreseeable future. It's nice to have priorities.

And so to our main story of the day. Collagen is holding TGO at gunpoint, much to his irritation. He broods, she cries, he glares, she gnashes her teeth and looks manic. He broods some more. In one of the stupider acts of his career, Thickardo bursts into the room with four uniformed officers, all with guns drawn. Clearly he never went on the Hostage Situation training course. Either that or he was hoping to get Ben shot. They all argue. TGO looks thoroughly annoyed by the whole situation, and tries to persuade Annie to give herself up. She refuses, and Thickardo sends the excess police out of the room in an attempt to talk Collagen down. Eddie takes the opportunity to call the LAPD, and soon there's a helicopter and a SWAT team outside. Eddie dances in glee, hoping that Collagen will get blasted. Ben stands in front of the window looking broody, so that nobody can shoot Annie, she panics some more, he broods some more, Thickardo flounders some more, and Ben glowers. Everybody bursts into the room bar the helicopter, which hovers outside, failing to arouse the local populace, who later appear oblivious to the whole affair. Hang on. Why are they at the Deep? It was the JavaWeb that Annie burst into earlier, wasn't it?! Never mind. Anyway. There's a struggle, the gun goes off, Ben is hit. He and Collagen find this hilariously funny, and whilst the police argue over who is the most incompetent, TGO and Collagen crouch on the floor to staunch Ben's blood and giggle like a pair of schoolchildren over the whole incident. Annie gets arrested, Ben calls Aunt Bette's legendary lawyer ex-husband, and Thickardo makes another abortive attempt to arrest TGO for something. Either helping Annie, murdering Maria, or excessive brooding in a public place, not sure which. They posture. They glower. Ben misses his rendezvous with Smeg. Oh dear. Never mind.

Oh, and TV's most unconvincing jail puts in its first appearance. Hooray for TV's most unconvincing jail! I love the way it wobbles when Eddie checks that it's locked.


Tuesday 21/9

We open with Doctor Martial Law and Bungalow, caught like rabbits in a torch beam by the arrival of Martial Law's parents. They're expecting her to marry the son of a friend of theirs, and are rather surprised to find her shacked up with a paint-daubed lifeguard. Martial Law claims that she and Casey are married, and he jumps merrily into the game. So does Smeg, on a fleeting visit in between failing to meet Ben, and going to work for Ben. Smeg is eventually going to work out that Ben and Ben are in fact the same person, however at present she's too busy dreaming about Ben, being angry with Ben, and thinking about Ben to be able to have room in her brain to form theories about Ben as well. Anyway, Martial Law's parents have arranged a marriage for their daughter, and Casey plays the Hammerhead American smashing his way through different cultures in arguing against it. Martial Law shrugs and ums and ahs, and offers to cook dinner. They all talk about nothing, in little two minutes snatches throughout the episode. Poor Bungalow. It's not easy having to wait so long for a storyline to come along. Like the rest of us he's eagerly waiting for Derek to turn up.

Eddie turns up at the Deep with his photos of Cruella throwing her gun in the sea. He plans to make her pay him for them, but she has no money. Spawn and Smurf see them talking and Spawn gets the wrong idea, eventually winding up drowning his sorrows in ketchup with Tiffany. Woo, spot the romance. Cole walks in, being just as annoying as he was yesterday, and falls in love with Smurf at first sight. Woo, spot the romance. Actually, that's an important one I suppose. A storyline! A storyline! An annoying one, admittedly, but still - a storyline! Smurf leaves him to escort her drunken mother home. Spawn fumes, amidst endless flashbacks to when he saw Cruella at the hotel right before Del's murder. Cruella throws furniture about, and generally acts like an annoying child. And later on the writers try to make us like her more than Greggie. Get real!

Tiffany sends Smeg an E-mail from SB (it's astonishingly easy to fake an E-mail address in Sunset Beach land!) saying that he never wanted to meet her anyway, and is going to work in Paris. Mark looks worried again, but as always fails to do anything. At times he seems to exist as a character solely to warn people of the Potential Dangers Of Ben. "Don't get on his bad side, Tiff!" Meanwhile at the Deep, or The Nightclub With The Tackiest Music, whichever, TGO is sending E-mails to Dorothy telling her his real name and how he really wants to meet. Boy, guess which E-mail is going to go astray then! Smeg gets Tiff's fake mail first and, yes, closes her account, so Ben's message bounces. He goes for a stroll through the club and runs into Eddie, and they have a Macho Moment. TGO is missing his playmate Annie, and wants her out of jail and scrapping with him again. Eddie is Macho Posturing World Champion, as he gleefully proves, but TGO can out do him in the Brooding Championships any day. They glower. They glower some more. Ben goes back to his office to brood about some stuff.

Michael finds somebody who's looking for information on Bubblewrap, and immediately suspects Danger! Danger Will Robinson!, so runs off. This gets about ninety seconds of show time, but I'm assuming it's important, and since I've so far almost completely ignored their storyline (what there is of it), I thought I'd mention it now. For what it's worth. Which isn't much at present.

Smeg can't leave Ben alone tonight. She interrupts his brooding every two minutes with various minor pieces of business, and eventually takes him some sandwiches and coffee, to make up for him being shot by his best friend. He giggles about that again, as he obviously finds it terribly funny still. Well... let him laugh. It's just about the only time we'll ever see him doing that. Smeg has also brought him some pie, which is strawberry flavour. Did we all catch that? Because TGO certainly said it loudly enough, and with buckets of enthusiasm. It was strawberry flavour. Which is important, as strawberry is SB's favourite. Dorothy and he chatted about this. Bungalow nearly lost his life over this. Strawberry is Very Important in the Sunset Beach Internet Romance. It even gets This Is Important music. Smeg fails to notice. She and TGO flirt shamelessly, in between Ben's brooding. She leaves. He stares into space. He broods. He is Dark And Solitary Brooding Guy. Poor Ben. The police stole his only friend.


Wednesday 22/9

Gregory frets because Spawn hasn't come home yet. Greggie, love, if you had any sense you'd be worrying that he might come home, not that he hasn't. Smurf worries too, in as much as she ever worries about anything. It's hard to tell with Smurf. Olivia wanders about drunkenly, being generally unbearable, before setting out to find her missing Spawn. He's down on the pier, and when she turns up he tells her how he saw her leaving Del's room on the night of the murder. He doesn't want to speak to the police again, in case he slips up and tells them something incriminating. But - ee gads! He's too late, because Thickardo and assorted uniformed heavies are coming along the pier, guns drawn. They heard the whole exchange and want to take Cruella in for murder. Cruella tries to flee. Flee! Flee! But Thickardo and his mob shoot her down. She collapses in Spawn's arms. Yes folks, it's another of the world famous Sunset Beach dream sequences. Spawn's, in this case. He's fallen asleep on the beach, and wakes up to Tiffany's warning that the lifeguards are on the way, and there's a danger of being booked for illegally sleeping in a public place. Run! Run from the men in red shorts! Spawn tells Tiff that his life sucks and he's running away. She sympathises. What went wrong, Spawn? Are you telling me that we could have been spared your rapping in years to come?! Change history and run away now!

Michael and Bubblewrap argue over who is going to meet Bubblewrap's Mysterious Source down on the beach. Mysterious Source is the mother of the small child that Bubblewrap is pretending to keep in protective custody. Michael wants to go to make the meet, on the grounds that it's too dangerous for Bubblewrap. He seems to have forgotten that last time the Mysterious News Story Bad Guys put in an appearance, she was much more use at fighting them off than he was. She nips off anyway, and he gives chase, arriving just in time to beat off some Mysterious Bad Guys intent on doing Something Mysterious. Goodness only knows what. Goodness only knows who they are, where they came from, what the news story is about, who the Mysterious Source is, or indeed what the hell else is going on in this little bit of plot. But it gives Michael something to do, which is nice.

Casey and his doctor are still pretending to be married, for the benefit of Martial Law's visiting parents. This involves Martial Law reminding Bungalow of the entire plot at every available opportunity, just in case the viewer happened to have fallen asleep at some point. Honestly, I know Bungalow's a bit dim, but he's no Tim for heaven's sake. I think he can hold his one little bit of storyline in his brain for more than five minutes at a time without needing a recap. The parents are upset about the 'marriage'. Martial Law is guilty. Bungalow is being so nice it's like he's a big, blond, male Meg. He really should have stuck with Meg; they'd have made the perfect pair. Then TGO could have had Collagen.

Eddie phones up Olivia and demands money for the photos of her throwing her gun into the sea. She sells some jewellery to get the money. Spawn walks in on the deal and whines some more. Eventually he tells her that he saw her at the hotel on the night of the murder. She worries, she flusters, she pants a lot. Well, her second nickname isn't Exhaling Olivia for nothing. She persuades him not to tell anybody anything, which he really wasn't planning to do anyway. He runs off again. Cut to Greggie, zooming through the streets of Sunset Beach in his big limousine, apparently looking for Spawn. He stops off for a meet with Eddie, though, and pays him for the photographs. Then he goes off back home, to commiserate with Smurf about the problems their family gets itself into. Greggie wants to look after them all. Smurf wants to look after Greggie. Cruella wants to get drunk, and Spawn wants to run away. I like Greasy Greggie. Whatever he comes to do in the future, he's still kinda sweet. And evil, admittedly. And guilty of many crimes involving hair oil. But still kinda sweet.

Olivia sets off for a rendezvous with Eddie, who's obviously intending to sell his photos to anybody who'll buy. The twit should have sold them to Ben yesterday. He'd have paid a fortune to get Collagen off the hook, but Eddie apparently doesn't want Annie freed. Plus he was enjoying the macho posturing too much yesterday to want to spend any time on proper conversation. He heads down to get his money from Cruella, but is beaten to it by Spawn, who rushes down to ask her for some money. He's leaving town, as he doesn't want to speak to the police again, in case he slips up and tells them something incriminating. But - ee gads! He's too late, because Thickardo is coming along the pier! Yes, it's a repeat of the beginning of the episode, but sadly sans guns. Olivia fails to get herself shot. Thickardo just wants to talk to Spawn about the night of Del's death. Aw. Poor Spawn. As if that hair wasn't torture enough.


Thursday 23/9

As a public service, Spawn has chosen to spend the day in Flashback Mode. Today, for your edification, he will be endlessly remembering seeing his mother enter the hotel on the night of Del's death, as well as seeing the faceless hooded killer leaving Dead Boy's room. Occasionally he will be speaking; the rest of his time will be spent watching these scenes on a constant loop. Gee, thanks for that Spawn. I'd have forgotten it all if it hadn't been for you. Cruella browbeats him into saying that it was Annie he saw, and is backed up by the police Ballistics report, which they are handing out free to everybody in Sunset Beach as part of their community policing programme. It says that the gun Annie had when she was arrested was the murder weapon. Spawn hums and haws and whines and argues, but gives in and positively identifies Collagen. Collagen is not best pleased.

Cruella heads off home, much pleased with having stitched up Annie, and pays off Eddie on the beach. She tries to pay off Spawn, too, in gratitude for his having lied for her at the police line up, but he flounces off, insisting that he's running away again. He got as far as the pier yesterday. Wonder if he'll get any further today?!

Michael and Bubblewrap flee the scene of yesterday's shenanigans on the beach, only to be accosted back home by one of their earlier assailants. He bursts in with a gun, intending to take Mysterious Source's Daughter. Bungalow and Smeg arrive unexpectedly, surprising him, and he runs off. Michael and Bungalow give chase, and using guile and cunning (well, okay, an empty bottle) overpower him and take him back home. Using lessons learnt from Derek when this was all screened the first time around, Smeg leads the gang in duct taping the Mysterious Bad Guy until he looks like a Cursed Jewel Mummy, then they dump him in the bath. Bungalow does some Mysterious Bad Guy Taunting, then the gang discuss plans. They realise they don't have any.

The neverending saga of Do Paula And Ricardo Love Each Other continues for a bit as Thickardo gives Paula a heart shaped gold charm for her collection. Paula snaps at him, but smirks when he leaves. She's weakening. The twit. And today, for your edification (or not) Paula is modelling the latest in Pamela Anderson beach wear as her uniform. It really does look like the stuff they used to wear in Beach Patrol back in the eighties, but I don't remember Robin Strand's shirt ever getting that tight. Mind you, he was a slightly different shape.

And so to TGO, who is still missing his playmate, and trying to get her out of jail. He's actually smiling today though, so running the Annie Liberation Front must agree with him. Ben and smiling aren't two things that go naturally together on a usual day. He tries to talk her out of taking a polygraph test, but she's determined to prove herself innocent. Needless to say she screws it up and, amid much pouting and hair tossing, neatly fingers herself for her father's murder. Way to go Annie.


Friday 24/9

Bungalow and the rest of the Keystone Kops (they've now recruited Mark as well) panic at the realisation that they have an unconscious and trussed up Mysterious Bad Guy in one of the bedrooms with Martial Law's parents still in the house. They decide that the best way to keep his presence secret is to sneak him out of the private bedroom, and put him in the very public closet downstairs. Martial Law comes in. They all try to act natural. Mysterious Bad Guy falls over, and the attempt to keep him a secret doesn't even make it to the opening credits. Martial Law is aghast, but leaps into the fray and agrees to help with the situation. She will inject him with a new (and not at all fictional ) drug that will cause 24 hour amnesia, hopefully long enough for Mysterious Source and Mysterious Source's Daughter to get safely away. They dump Mysterious Bad Guy on the beach with a towel, a very fetching hat, and a cooler full of beer. Happily nobody on the crowded beach sees them doing so.

Annie has been to her bail hearing. Sadly we don't get to watch this, but we do hear about it as Thickardo and TGO escort her back to her cell. She's in a strait-jacket and gag after having attacked the judge and the clerk of the court, accused everybody of having been bribed by Olivia, and turned one of the lawyers into a soprano. Ben frees her from the jacket, then looks like he's settling in to stay the night with her in jail. Thickardo turfs him out, and Collagen plays the Maria Card, claiming that Maria would want Thickardo to help her. Thickardo gets all growly, then all sad, then goes away to shout at Greggie for a bit. Greggie has been getting in the way, so Thickardo threatens to lock him up as well. No go, Thickardo - only one cell. The police have discovered that Cruella owns a .38, and that the murder weapon Annie was found with had had its serial numbers filed off. Thickardo is beginning to suspect that Cruella planted her own gun on Annie to frame her, and tells Greggie to produce Cruella's gun to prove that wasn't the case. Greggie thinks about the photos he has of Cruella's gun sinking into the waves, and looks glowery. Meanwhile Aunt Bette is visiting Annie, and switches clothes with her so that Collagen can make her escape. Sadly Thickardo wants to speak to Aunt Bette about Collagen's hopeless alibi for the night of the murder, and sinks the plot before it has a chance to float. Collagen waits to be shipped off to the County Jail as penance, and Aunt Bette goes off to try to get frisked by a few more cops.

Mark is too busy playing Keystone Kops to go to work tonight, so Smeg goes in his place. She meets Tight Pants on the way. He's all sad about losing her. Aw... Anyway. He says he's staying in Sunset Beach. Smeg doesn't mind. She likes everybody, even childhood sweethearts who betray her on her wedding day with her best friend. She goes off to work and spends the entire evening bonding with TGO, who's in Brood Mode (just for a change) in his office. They stocktake together. Goodness knows who's looking after the club, as TGO only employs two people, and one of them is doing strange things with an unconscious Mysterious Bad Guy - in the daylight, which makes it odd that it's ten pm at Ben's place. Smeg commiserates about Annie, and tries to solve the case. She ends up declaring Aunt Bette to be the killer, which TGO doesn't think much of. Smeg wanders off to a desk to mutter about why she's in Sunset Beach. She's told everybody the story of her life now, which makes it all the more peculiar that she hasn't told Ben yet. But as she begins to do so, the camera drifts off TGO, which naturally means he's about to be revealed to have fallen asleep and therefore missed her admission of being Dorothy. And yes, as she reaches the end of her story, sure enough he's asleep. Which is not only uncharacteristically rude, but also highly unlikely. Smeg was practically shouting from three feet away. Boy was Ben tired.

And we end with Annie seducing Eddie. She begins to undress, and we'll have to leave her spending the weekend doing so alone.


Monday 27/9

Eddie awakens in Annie's jail cell, decidedly undressed, and handcuffed to the bars. Annie is dangling the key, and threatening to leave him as is unless he agrees to help frame Olivia. Eddie agrees, and Collagen lets him go just as the relief guard arrives for the morning shift. Eddie isn't best pleased, but then he's a sulky sod anyway. He heads off to try to extort more money from Cruella, but gets tossed out by Greasy Greggie, who's doing his "Tower Of Strength" act. Cruella just acts all obnoxious and breathless and generally unlikeable. She's written as though we're supposed to feel sorry for her, with her power hungry husband, but sorry, my sympathy is with Greggie all the way. She's obnoxious, he's Gregory. Really there's no competition. Anyway, she goes on about him always having her followed all the time, as he doesn't trust her. Then how come he always knows she's having an affair, but never knows who with?! I think he needs to hire some better private detectives in that case! She pouts, he sighs. She mocks him when he asks Smurf about her new boyfriend. Then she pouts some more and collapses, poutily, across a sofa.

Smurf makes her escape and goes to meet Cole. Cole who is not yet Dimples, as he still has his old head. His old head suits Smurf much more than the new one did, somehow. Anyway, they talk, they wander, they talk some more. They get all gooey and gushy and wind up in the Sunset Beach Caves. Hooray for the first appearance of the Sunset Beach Caves! With all their polystyrene rocks.

Back to the police station, where Greggie is reporting in on Cruella's faked alibi for the night of Dead Boy's murder. Greggie has blackmailed a Congressman to say they were all having dinner together, so all is now well on the Richards As Murder Suspects front. Thickardo shows rare insight in not believing it all, but can't do anything. Greggie leaves, and Thickardo finds out that Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent's mother has a .38 as well. Paula goes to find out what Elaine was doing on the night of the murder, but doesn't actually ask her (that I remember). Elaine probably wouldn't have answered anyway, as she's too busy having her first bit of plot. She's closed the world famous Waffleless Waffle Shop for the day, to go and sigh over somebody's grave. We don't get to see whose.

But graves bring us nicely to TGO, anyway. He's wandering through his house in the dark, listening to the doors banging and the curtains swishing (Ben never closes his doors at night, even when he goes to bed). He's hearing Maria again, shouting the usual: "Ben! Ben, no! Please!" He wanders, he mopes, he holds his head in his hands, he mopes some more. He is Sunset Beach's favourite Guilt-Stricken Murder Suspect. Meg touches his arm and he nearly breaks her jaw, then realises that he's waking up in his office in the Deep, where he fell asleep at the end of Friday's episode. He apologises for falling asleep, and she starts to tell him her life story again, to make up for him having missed it on the other side of the weekend. The telephone rings, saving him, yet again, from finding out that she's Dorothy. It's Big Al, Annie's lawyer, so TGO races off to jail, where he, Big Al and Aunt Bette hold a big party in Annie's cell. Big Al promises to stop Collagen being sent to the County Jail, and goes off to do just that. Bette follows him in Full Flirt Mode, and TGO and Collagen cling to each other broodily until Thickardo turfs Ben out again. Collagen gets all clingy. I love the way that the bars wobble every time she and Ben clutch at each other. Meanwhile Smeg goes to the police station for some kind of follow up on her credit cards being stolen in episode one, and accidentally walks out with some evidence on the Del Douglas murder case that makes TGO hug her in glee. And glee is rare when you're Ben.

Sunset Beach's jail grows another cell for a few minutes, so that a County Jail refugee can be put in to talk with Annie for a bit. Annie starts to panic. Eddie arranges for her transfer to County to go through early so that Big Al won't be in time to stop it. As she's taken away he rubs his hands, twirls his moustache (well, he doesn't have one, but it's the thought that counts), and cackles gleefully about how she's now as good as dead.


Tuesday 28/9

Terrific episode today, even if it did look like a chunk was missing halfway through. Annie is great when she gets to do some proper acting. So's Ben, actually, when he has some real lines instead of all that brooding, and listening to his dead wife accusing him inside his head. Anyway...

We open with Ben and Meg chasing up the lead she found yesterday, which apparently was a charge made on Dead Boy's credit card from a travel agent. The plan is for Smeg to distract Manic Travel Agent Lady, whilst TGO breaks into her computer. They pose as a loving couple, then Smeg breaks down when Manic Travel Agent Lady suggests a ski-ing holiday, claiming that last time they went ski-ing she found Ben naked in a hot tub with a lap-dancing ski instructor. TGO joins in with protests about avalanches and drastic loss of body heat, and before long Smeg is tearing up brochures and crying on Manic Travel Agent Lady's shoulder, and TGO is finding out that "Mr and Mrs Del Douglas" were booked to go to Guatemala. TGO is so delighted that he congratulates Smeg on her performance before they leave the store, but Manic Travel Agent Lady doesn't seem to notice. Which is good, because Sunset Beach is low on police, and if she called any of them they'd all turn out to be Thickardo.

Meanwhile Annie is on her way to the County Jail, with a Sinister Guard. He tells her she needs him to be her friend inside, or she'll get eaten for breakfast. Poor Collagen is terrified. Big Al comes through with the injunction, which allows Annie to stay in Sunset Beach's jail until the trial, so Thickardo gets on the radio to tell Sinister Guard to bring her back. Sinister Guard turns off the radio, then drives off the road and sets about trying to rape Annie. Back at the police station TGO is doing his nut about Annie having been sent to County in the first place, and leaps to give chase when Sinister Guard doesn't answer the radio. Thickardo goes with him so that they can go in a police car.

Bungalow wins over Martial Law's parents with talk of becoming a lawyer. They leave happy. To celebrate their departure, Martial Law and Bungalow go to the Deep - the world's smallest nightclub, with its complete lack of an age limit on entrance, and its soundtrack of constant lift muzak. Martial Law is laughing uproariously at the idea of Bungalow being a lawyer, but it turns out that he really is doing an evening class to become just that. Michael thinks he should tell Martial Law, but Casey explains that he wants her to love him as he is, rather than turning out to be like her parents, and only liking him for what he hopes to one day be. Meanwhile Mark The Hyperactive is being DJ for the night, thanks to Tiff having slashed the usual guy's tyres in order to get him the gig. Being DJ seems to involve playing some really bad music, to constant cheers of unutterable delight from the crowd. They have no taste. Either that or they're all extras desperate to get noticed by a casting director.

TGO and Thickardo speed through the night streets. They're yelling at each other as usual. And this is where a chunk seems to be missing. One minute Thickardo is telling Ben that he's the perfect friend for Annie right now, as he has plenty of experience at getting away with murder, then the next they're hauling Sinister Guard out of the prison truck, rescuing Collagen, and acting like Starsky and Hutch. Or like Starsky and Hutch would be if they were both dark. And hated each other. Okay, not much like Starsky and Hutch then. They take Annie back to Sunset Beach, where TGO introduces her to Smeg. Collagen goes into immediate Jealous Mode, and three years of plot is born in an instant. Smeg leaves them alone, and TGO explains about Guatemala. They decide that "Mrs Del Douglas" is Cruella, which of course is right, and TGO says that he thinks Greggie is the killer. He plans to investigate. Collagen is surprised that he would set out to prove his friend and mentor guilty, but he gives her the "You're more important" speech, and she melts (well, clings, anyway, which doesn't do much for the increasingly wobbly bars. Speaking of which - do stop punching them, Ben). She tells him to be careful, but he explains that he can't tell Thickardo as he would only screw things up. Yep. Smart boy, is Ben. He's going off now to be Super Brooding Murder Detective. TGO with Purpose. Oh dear.


Wednesday 29/9

Gregory is delighted that Spawn chose Collagen from the police line up, thereby not fingering his own mother for murder. To celebrate he buys his son a top of the range sports car for $40,000. Spawn is less than delighted. Actually he acts nearly as obnoxious as Cruella usually does. Now see, I know Greggie is supposed to be this domineering father that Spawn is terrified of, and I know Greggie is supposed to be Not Very Nice; but he's so likeable and his family so ghastly, that it's impossible not to sympathise with him. Spawn goes off. He clearly has Anti-Dad plans to put into practice. Greggie broods. But classily.

Bubblewrap has tracked down Mysterious Source, the mother of Mysterious Source's Daughter, the odd little soap child who appears every so often in order to say something pseudo-cute. This leads to an Important Conference with Michael on the pier, where they meet Amnesia Mysterious Bad Guy, who fails to recognise them. They go off for coffee, where an old friend of Michael's turns up. He is Jo-Jo, Hero of the Hood, and he reminisces with Michael, then turns out to be a confederate of No Longer Amnesia Mysterious Bad Guy. Together they are On The Case.

Annie has apparently been having a bad dream, which Smeg and TGO interrupt when they go to visit her in the slammer. Or at least, that's what I imagine she's been doing. We don't actually see her asleep - we just see her suddenly screaming, apparently at the sight of Smeg. I can sympathise with this, having screamed at Smeg once or twice myself. Anyway, she clings to Ben, and he gives her some soap and shampoo that Smeg bought. There's no shower, but it's the thought that counts. TGO does his usual round of calming Collagen down, then says he's off to interrogate Greggie. He does just that, and the pair of them have a Bonding Moment on Greggie's sofa. Greggie knows what Ben is up to, but at that moment Spawn arrives with the rest of the family in tow, and hands over the keys of his sports car to a bloke who does meals for the homeless. Greggie is aghast. Ben seems to be giggling behind Smurf's shoulder. Cruella pouts and postures and looks pleased. TGO sneaks off unnoticed at some point, and Greggie and Spawn yell at each other for a bit about Spawn being a man now, and being independent. Then he walks out. Smurf tries to figure out why Greggie and Spawn get on so badly, and Cruella develops a personality and a brain long enough to point out Greggie's abysmal relationship with his own father, which he doesn't want to talk about. Her obnoxiousness soon resurfaces, however, as her 'understanding moment' turns into yet another snide insult. Smurf goes off to meet Not-Yet-Dimples. Greggie gazes into space. Accused of murder by his protégé, insulted by his wife, yelled at by his son, and swapped for a younger model by his daughter, he heads off to spy on Smurf. It's good to be bad.

Smeg tries to sneakily return the bit of Del's credit card statement that she accidentally borrowed from the police, but Thickardo catches her at it. He gets angry, and warns Smeg to stay away from Ben. He then goes charging off to the JavaWeb to yell at Ben some more, just in case he didn't do enough of that yesterday. TGO eggs him on, and challenges him to get out the handcuffs and start hitting, etc and so forth, but Thickardo doesn't want to jeopardise his career over Ben. He yells some more and storms out. Smeg tries to ask what the problem is between the two of them, but TGO avoids the issue. Then in comes Spawn, looking for a job. Ben is delighted, and puts him to work cleaning tables, reckoning on using him to help in the murder investigation. Thickardo goes back to the station to get an arrest warrant sworn out on Ben, on grounds of tampering with police evidence, and probably murdering Maria, Dead Boy and Jimmy Hoffa whilst he's at it. The Chief stops him and tells him Case Closed on the Douglas File. Thickardo argues. The Chief stands firm. It's all in the hands of the lawyers now. Collagen's not bothered though. Big Al has just told her that with him on the case she has nothing to fear. He goes to celebrate by spending the evening in the hot tub with Aunt Bette, and Bette later finds him covered in bubbles, and wearing a Centurion's helmet, a pair of swimming goggles and a peculiar expression. He's dead. Happy, undoubtedly, but of conspicuously less use now to Annie. Bette panics and calls Ben. Big Al bobs gently in his bubbly heaven. So long Big Al.


Thursday 30/9

Okay, admittedly I have a marked fondness for Greasy Greggie, especially when he goes all glittery-eyed and evil, but this was a cool episode.

Bette is trapped in Annie's hot tub, by the recently defunct Big Al. He hangs in the water, odd expression now fixed upon his face for eternity, the swimming goggles a work of genius. All dead people on TV should be required to wear them. Saves on annoying blinking that spoils the Dead Effect. Anyway, she's still trying to call Ben, but has hit the obstacle of Smeg on the other end of the phone. Smeg eventually manages to get into gear and goes dashing off to the office where TGO is taking a shower. Smeg is gawping at him through the glass, when he comes out wearing nowt but a faint smirk, and takes some serious time wrapping himself up in a big fluffy towel. Smeg stammers helplessly, but eventually hands him the phone. TGO instantly goes dashing off to rescue Bette, his new shadow tailing him happily. Once there Ben rediscovers his modesty, and leaves Smeg to rescue the decidedly unclad Bette from her floating paramour. I could make a really bad pun there and call him a paramort, but I won't. Anyway, TGO calls the paramedics. Bit late love, but never mind. Then he goes hurtling off to tell Collagen the less than terrific news.

Greggie is still watching Smurf. His eyes they are a-glitter. Smurf is telling Cole how swashbuckling he looks. Ahem. Well she must have grown up watching different buckle-swashing movies to me, then. Anyway, he gets all protective about the Deschanel legend, not at all making his paternity obvious, oh no. Speaking of which, Elaine of the Waffleless Waffle Shop is crying over that grave again, but this time it says "Deschanel" on it. Now either Armando was a cradle snatcher, or Elaine is a lot older than she looks, but never mind. Anyway, she's telling somebody dead called Deschanel that she misses him more every year, but is feeling his presence more closely now. Surely she's more AJ's vintage? She goes back to the Waffleless Waffle Shop, anyway, and walks smack bang into Cole, "the spitting image of Armando". She drops her tray of Not-Waffles. He looks startled. He's Up To Something, incidentally, as he's been talking on a cell phone about how everything is going fine, and there shouldn't be any problems. That's what you think, mate. Some of us have seen your future, remember.

Greggie, meanwhile, arrives at the JavaWeb. He bugs Spawn. He has his glittery-eyed I'm Evil And Loving It look on, and makes poor Spawn clean the table till his hair droops. Greggie tells him how useless he is, and then snaps and growls for a bit longer, until Smeg spoils the fun by sending Spawn away to sort out another table. She begins to weaken his resolve about having identified Annie. Greggie gets concerned. He grows about three feet in height, and glitters his eyes a bit more, just for effect. Spawn doesn't care. He's sulking because Tiff kissed Mark. Tiff's eyes are set solely upon Spawn though. Mark might be the one she fancies, but Spawn's the one with the money.

And off to the prison, where Eddie is trying it on with Collagen. She's not playing his games though, as she has faith in Big Al. Suddenly they hear Ben berating the Front Desk Man - Denzel, as Bette called him a while back, when she kept trying to get him to frisk her. TGO has his voice turned up to full volume, as Denzel won't let him in to see Annie as it's past visiting hours. TGO doesn't care. He's going in anyway. Eddie decides to go and posture a bit more, as he does so enjoy trying to Out Macho Ben. They argue. Eddie taunts. The Jangling Music Of Building Tension finally winds Ben up so much that, as it reaches its crescendo, so does he. If Eddie will allow only officers and prisoners in to see Collagen, TGO has the obvious answer. He decks Eddie. I cheer. Sorry Eddie. Well... he's cool, but Ben's cooler. Assorted members of the SBPD leap upon Ben, and escort him to Annie, where after giving her the good news he spends much of the rest of the episode hugging her through the bars, and giving her his coat. Bette comes in to confess that it was her pleasure cruise around the hot tub that killed Big Al, but neither Eddie nor Denzel seem inclined to arrest her for it. Collagen is rather upset though. Eddie takes TGO off for a bail hearing, and brings him back with a gloat. Eddie seriously enjoys pushing Ben around in handcuffs. Clearly he's got a thing for glowering Brits in chains, which might explain the later enthusiasm during the first leg of Hotel Del. No sooner has he locked TGO back up, though, than they both notice Annie sprawled on the floor. Apparently she's done something sinister with Ben's coat. Cue Dramatic Tension Music. Ben is aghast. That was an expensive coat, damn it!


Friday 1/10

Annie is draped artistically upon the floor of her cell, with bits of the lining of Ben's jacket knotted around her throat. Eddie dashes off to see what's up, and Ben smashes his way out of his own cell (I'm asuming Eddie hadn't locked it properly!) to check up on his playmate. Eddie locks them both into Collagen's cell and goes to raise the alarm, whilst TGO checks Collagen over. He's practically tearing his hair out (or would, if all the gunk in it didn't keep it so powerfully glued to his head ). The paramedics arrive and take Annie away, but Eddie makes Ben stay behind in the cell. Ben looks about ready to blast out the bars with laser bolts from his eyes, but apparently his super strength only works once per episode. He glowers and paces and broods until his bail money arrives.

Elaine talks to Cole. She tells him that he looks just like Armando, and he feigns surprise. They talk of Armando's treasure store, which quite obviously Not-Yet-Dimples is planning to find and make off with. Strictly speaking it would be his anyway, though, so if this is where the "Cole is a jewel thief" storyline originates from, it's not terribly convincing. They're his jewels! Well, AJ's, anyway. Same difference. Elaine wanders off, looking all dreamy-eyed, and chats for a bit to her photo of Armando. Outside, Cole and Caitlin chat about their relationship, and Not-Yet-Dimples warns her that he's moving on soon. Just as soon as he's dug up Grandad's jewels. Well, he doesn't say that bit, obviously.

Greggie receives the news of Annie's suicide attempt. I swear, this guy has spies everywhere! The news comes in the middle of yet another family spat, with Olivia being annoying, Spawn being annoying, and Greggie being faintly evil, it's true, but at least not annoying. Spawn flounces and worries, and finally admits that he only fingered Annie (I do wish they'd find him a different way to phrase that!) because he really believes that it was Cruella who killed Dead Boy. Cruella boggles, and then goes and drinks for a bit. Greggie paces, threatens, and goes all glittery-eyed. Spawn runs off. Greggie and Cruella argue, glower, struggle - Cruella accuses Greggie of being a paedophile, rather bizarrely, because he likes Smurf so much - they argue a bit more. Greggie does the glittery-eyed act a bit more, and Cruella finally melts into his arms and they have sex on the sofa. Which is disturbing in a house that they share with their kids and a housekeeper. Ugh. Then Greggie admits that he still suspects Cruella of murder, before stalking off looking evil. Cruella's lip wobbles.

Thickardo and Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent are on a stake out together. He's growling about how he still loves her, and she's still playing the "I'm Going To Make You Jealous" game, which quite frankly is getting extremely boring by now. Thickardo - give up. Paula - shut up. They get the call about Annie's suicide attempt and race off, just as Smeg turns up at the police station with Ben's bail money. He also races off. Collagen is connected up to monitors galore, and is beeping rhythmically. Doctor Martial Law is concerned. TGO is kicking up merry hell as he's not allowed to visit. He keeps trying to get Smeg to leave. Sadly this isn't because he's finally seen the light where she's concerned - it's because he's got his thinking cap on. He goes in to visit Annie and finds that she is, of course, faking it all and is trying to escape. She's been put in restraints, though, which is hampering the running away rather. Ben takes them off and tells her that he'll cause a distraction. He heads off to do just that, only to find that Smeg has come back. He's worried, and tells her that she has to get out of here now. Thickardo hears though. He's presumably heard the whole story from Eddie, and has put two and two together to make "Ben Is Guilty Of Every Little Thing Ever", again. Mind you, he's got a point. It does all look hellishly suspicious when you think about it. Anyway, he warns TGO that if Annie disappears he'll know exactly who to blame. Meanwhile, in her cubicle, Collagen is about to begin putting the plan into action when somebody comes in. She feigns unconsciousness, and doesn't see that the new arrival is Eddie, wearing gloves and carrying a scalpel...


Monday 4/10

Mark is at Ben's house, waiting for some faxes to arrive from a series of lawyers Ben is hoping will replace the deceased Big Al. Mark's decided to have a birthday tryst with Tiff as he waits, and before she arrives he hits Daydream Land - him in white tux, fixing vodka martinis, James Bond theme playing in the background. Tiff comes downstairs, dressed in a glittering cocktail dress, and they kiss - just as Tiff arrives with Spawn in tow. He's filched some $300 champagne from his father's wine cellar, but Mark is less than impressed. He wanted to be alone with Tiff. Strange fellow.

TGO is setting about his escape plan, having ditched Thickardo with the usual exchange of heated words and insults. He sends Smeg packing, but she overhears him whispering to Annie to get ready. Eddie's still in Annie's cubicle, so presumably overhears, but doesn't seem unduly concerned. Suspicious, Smeg sneaks out a side entrance, and watches as TGO breaks into a police car and hotwires it, then sends it off to crash into a pile of boxes. The alarm sounds, and Thickardo sends all his available forces to check up on what's happening. Eddie, who is busy wrapping Collagen's hand around a scalpel, in an attempt to make it look as though she's cut her own throat, has to dash out with his murderous deeds undone. Annie nips off the bed, completely failing to be bothered by what Eddie has just been up to, opens a window to look like she's got out that way, then hides under the gurney. Outside, Thickardo is about to walk into her cubicle when Smeg, bizarrely, given her obvious disapproval of TGO's actions, distracts him with a choking act. He and Tight Pants, who's taken to selling his plasma in order to stay in Sunset Beach, dash to her rescue. Moments later Eddie reports in with details of the cunning car deception, and Thickardo discovers Annie missing. He rallies his troops and orders them to search and destroy (well, capture) TGO and Collagen. Smeg nips off to find Ben.

Back at Surf Central, Bubblewrap is giving Martial Law the third degree about her feelings for Bungalow, whilst upstairs Michael is giving Bungalow the third degree about his feelings for Martial Law. Martial Law hums and Bungalow haws, and eventually they agree to talk to the objects of their various desires. They meet on the stairs. They panic. They scuttle off separately to bed. Bubblewrap and Michael decide to fall in love instead.

At Ben's house, Mark is getting progressively drunk, and progressively more resentful of Spawn. When Spawn goes off to get more wood for the fire, Mark and Tiff share a passionate kiss, but as soon as Spawn reappears Tiff is all over him instead. Mark gets cross and taunts Spawn about his drunken mother, then they have scuffles and fisticuffs, and Spawn headbutts the fireplace. He collapses, there's dramatic music and copious amounts of blood. His nose twitches though, so he's clearly alive. Damn. Looks like we'll be getting that rapping after all then.

Back at the hospital, Collagen nips out from under the gurney and into the air conditioning duct, which she begins to thump her way through as though determined to let everybody in the hospital know exactly where she is at all times. She's heading for the men's room on the next floor, where TGO has arranged to meet her. He's waiting there when Smeg appears, and squeaks at him about what he's doing, telling him she saw him with the police car. She accuses him of helping Collagen escape (well, she calls her Annie, but that's only 'cause she's never watched Channel 5) and he flatly denies it. Er... the real explanation being what then, Ben?! Thickardo comes along, and they dive into one of the cubicles, standing on the loo to avoid detection. Smeg somehow manages to flush it, though, and they have to give themselves up. Thickardo takes them out to the nearest squad car, with Ben in high spirits all the way, even after he's been handcuffed. Again. He seems to have spent much of the past week tied up. Still - good to stay in practice I suppose. Nearby, Collagen is making her escape from the men's room via the window, but nobody down in the carpark notices, particularly Thickardo, who's enjoying himself getting to arrest Ben at last. Gotta love Ben's general sense of merriment here. He's like a kid on a school outing, even when Smeg gets all teary. Thickardo tells them to get in the squad car, which gets a jaunty little "Front seat?" from TGO, which for some reason is hilarious. Meanwhile, up above, Annie's surgical gown gets caught on a drainpipe, and when she tries to drag it free she takes a header off the windowsill, leaving her gown behind. Oh dear.


Tuesday 5/10

Spawn isn't dying. Mark and Tiff stare manically at each other for quite some time, as the music does strange things behind them. Eventually they decide that calling an ambulance might be more practical, and follow Spawn to the hospital. Once there they stare manically at each other for quite some time, until he wakes up, and then they stare manically at each other for quite some time, until he tells the police it was all an accident. Then they stare manically at each other for a bit.

Michael and Bubblewrap cuddle Mysterious Source's Daughter. They read her bed time stories, and tell her that they'll soon be packing her off to a safe house with her oddly absent mother. The safe house arrangement falls through, though, so Michael gets on the phone to his old friend, the impossibly sinister Jo-Jo, who agrees to find somewhere safe for Mysterious Source and Mysterious Source's Daughter, before revealing (to the audience only) that he is in fact Mysterious Source's Daughter's oddly absent father. This is Not A Good Thing. It even gets some Not A Good Thing music.

At the police station, Thickardo is hauling TGO and Smeg in for questioning - or rather he's leading Smeg, and Eddie is doing the hauling. Eddie likes hauling Ben. Give Eddie a handcuffed Ben, and he's happy. He's thinking of trying to get it established as a new sport. Handcuffed Hero Hauling. But I digress. Thickardo argues, TGO argues, Eddie gets sarcastic, Smeg worries, Thickardo argues a bit more. On the other side of the room Greggie and Cruella argue too, as she's been brought in for drunk driving, having managed to knock Tight Pants for six. Tight Pants and Smeg argue. Thickardo and TGO argue. Greggie and Cruella argue a bit more. Thickardo gets Eddie to haul Ben away to the other side of the room, where they argue about Collagen and get into a fight again. Some other policemen join in with the Ben Hauling. They've seen how much fun it is, and want to have a go. Eddie gets dispatched to hospital with a bad back, and Thickardo argues with Ben some more. Eventually he lets Bonnie and Clyde go, but he details a cop to follow TGO. TGO, he's sure, will lead him straight to Annie.

Annie, meanwhile, has fallen naked from the hospital windowsill, and landed in a laundry basket. She gets wheeled straight back into the hospital by the laundry man, and spends the rest of the episode running around dressed like a nurse, and trying not to get arrested by the policemen she encounters around every bend. She finds Eddie on a gurney, but gets cross with him when, not knowing who she is, he badmouths her and TGO. When he suddenly twigs who he's talking to, she gasses him with a handy bottle of anaesthetic. Poor Eddie. He's not having a good day. The chase is soon on again, though, and after leaving a cryptic message on Ben's answerphone, Annie winds up hiding in Big Al's drawer in the hospital morgue.

And back to the Adventures Of TGO And Smeg. After finding Collagen's cryptic message on his answerphone, Ben realises that Annie is intending to meet him at the gym she used to hang out in with Maria. He dodges Smeg's question about who Maria is, and goes dashing off to Surf Central to ask Bungalow to impersonate him for a bit, in order to throw the police off the scent. Quite why Eternal Good Guy Casey would be willing to do this is unclear, but he does so, and then spends the evening sitting at TGO's place looking pensive. TGO finally ditches Smeg, and goes running off to meet Annie, not knowing that she's keeping Big Al company in his drawer, whilst the morgue staff have a poker game fuelled by corpse-cooled beer.


Wednesday 6/10

It's morning at Sunset Beach. Casey is at Ben's still, when along comes Smeg, all bouncy and manic, to see what's happened overnight. She's shocked to discover that the wandering TGO isn't yet back. Outside on the beach Thickardo is watching Ben's house, when suddenly he turns around to discover that TGO has been taking secret agent lessons. Either that or he's related to the shop owner from Mr Benn. Either way he's appeared behind Thickardo, and they have another of their heated head to heads. The usual sort of thing, about how Thickardo is on a personal vendetta against Ben because of Maria, etc and so forth. Ben gets in more insults about Ricardo's abilities as a detective during that five minute exchange than John Darvall managed in two years of chatting over the end credits. Anyway, TGO leaves Thickardo thinking about possible alternative suspects for Dead Boy's murder, and goes back to his house. Smeg has been bounding about on a complete adrenalin high, telling Bungalow that Ben is the best person ever, and that she's the happiest she's ever been ever, and that Sunset Beach is the best place she's lived in ever, and isn't confronting Thickardo on the beach just the bravest thing ever. After Bungalow has gone she calms down a fraction, and discusses the next step with TGO. He's worried because Collagen wasn't at the gym where she'd arranged to meet him.

Which is, of course, because she's still trapped in Big Al's drawer. In fact she spends the entire episode there, leaping out and stealing coats and snacks whenever the morgue staff disappear. Every attempt to scuttle out is scuppered by patrolling policemen, but eventually a coffin arrives. It's Big Al's, and he's to be shipped home to New Orleans in it. Collagen decides that she'll go along for the ride.

Cruella is still at the police station, being booked for drink driving. She's still pie-eyed, but awake enough to take a gander at the case files for Dead Boy's murder. Which of course are lying around on the nearest convenient desk. TGO's new little piece of evidence makes her begin suspecting Greggie, which is an idea she apparently rather likes. She then staggers off to have a go at Aunt Bette when she comes in to visit Annie. Aunt Bette puts her in her place, then beetles off to browbeat Ben about escape attempts, suicide attempts and other general sillinesses. TGO looks a little cross-eyed at the prospect of having to decipher the babblings of an adrenalin-high Smeg and a typically wild-eyed Bette, but is saved by Bette's phone. It's Big Al's widow, saying that she doesn't want the body sent home, and has arranged to have it cremated in Sunset Beach instead.

Greggie is desperate to prevent Tight Pants from suing after the accident, and employs him as Cruella's chauffeur, now that she's lost her license. So Tight Pants will be staying. Smeggie will be so pleased. All eager to find out what's going on with her, he beetles off to Ben's place to case the joint, and mentions that the police think Collagen may still be inside the hospital. TGO decides that Operation Rescue Annie is back in business. Annie, however, still has her sights set on New Orleans. Locked up in her drawer in the morgue, she doesn't hear the phone call about the change of plan for Big Al. She'll be getting that suntan the hard way then.


Thursday 7/10

Caitlin didn't come home last night. Greggie is out of his head with worry, calling hospitals, friends, hospitals, the local newspaper, more hospitals, and stopping just short of calling the FBI and demanding the personal services of Anthony La Paglia. Cruella taunts him, and he goes storming off, eventually finding Smurf and Not-Yet-Dimples in Elaine's Waffleless Waffle Shop. Oddly enough, given everybody elses' dropped jaws, Greggie has no response to the alleged Armando similarities, but merely launches into a wild tirade against boyfriends, dates, long conversations, and anything else that might have conspired to keep Smurf out all night. Smurf gets quite upset, and they argue about it for the rest of the show. Cruella thinks it's funny that Greggie cares, and Greggie gets all glittery-eyed and evil with her, but if I was married to 'Oh-livia', I think I'd be glittery-eyed and evil too. Caitlin decides she's not going away on holiday with him, as she'd rather stay home, sulk, and have long talks with Not-Yet-Dimples on the pier. Greggie sulks. Greggie scowls. Greggie phones his network of spies and detectives, and sets them on Cole's trail. Why don't you ask them to find out who murdered Del, whilst you're at it?!

Ben has a plan. Having decided that Collagen is still hiding at the hospital, he's setting about throwing the police off the scent. Between them he and Smeg phone up every airline, bus route and car hire firm they can think of, making bookings in the name of 'A. Douglas'. At the police station Thickardo fumes, but sees that one of the bookings is in Meg's name. Certain that this will be Annie, he and Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent set out to follow Smeg, leaving TGO free to nip off to the hospital and look for Annie. Bette arrives at his house looking for him, and tells Smeg all about how Big Al is going to be cremated, then goes running off to say her histrionic farewells. Smeg takes the opportunity of a little quiet to phone her mother for a repeat of her adrenalin fuelled rant at Bungalow yesterday: Ben is the best person ever, and she's the happiest she's ever been ever, and Sunset Beach is the best place she's lived in ever. And Tim is a pain in the neck. Her mother knows that last bit already though. After that she borrows Collagen's suitcase from her house as un-discreetly as she possibly can, then leads the police around town. Thickardo is excited, and has clearly forgotten that so far in this investigation he has got precisely nothing right. Quite why he's therefore so optimistic about this latest lead is a mystery, but then he's Thickardo. So there you go.

Collagen is hiding in Big Al's coffin. So is Big Al. They chat. Aunt Bette comes in and bids a tearful farewell to her ex ex-husband, crawling all over the coffin, crying, and remembering many nights of passion that didn't end quite so fatally as the most recent one. She enjoys the memorial service, though, and as it ends, she meets Elaine of the Not-Waffles, who's having her hand bandaged following a lethal Not-Waffle incident whilst still stunned at having seen Armando's double. She tells Bette about him, but Bette is sceptical - until she sees Cole for herself, and runs in a panic to the Deschanel grave that Elaine was chatting to a few days ago. I'm not sure quite why she goes there, unless she's expecting to find it open, and Armando's coffin empty, but obviously she's feels the need to yell at another dead person. Perhaps she hasn't quite done enough of that yet today. Cruella also drops by on a visit, and Bette tells her that it looks like Armando is back - in which case "We're all in a whole lot of trouble." Odd that she's more worried about Armando being pissed off with them all about something, than about the possibility that he could have risen from the grave.

Whilst tailing Smeg, Thickardo and Paula chat. He wants to know why she's giving him the cold shoulder (other than the obvious fact that she's Paula). She tells him (honestly!) that she's upset at the way he's been jumping all over Ben. Thickardo, really. I do hope this wasn't when he was still with Maria. No wonder poor Paula's been getting upset. He denies it, anyway, but she doesn't look convinced...

TGO arrives at the hospital. He runs here, he runs there. He probably looks under beds, and behind curtains, and in drawers, but we don't see this - and neither do we see people getting cross with him for looking. Eventually he winds up in the Chapel Of Rest, where he sees a coffin being taken away. He stands aside to let it pass, not knowing that it contains a probably now suffocated Collagen. Inside the chapel, though, he finds Big Al sitting on a chair, and by the look on his face having very much enjoyed his own memorial service. TGO accosts a member of staff, who tells him that the coffin is on its way to New Orleans, so Ben gives chase (he thinks) to the airport. He accosts a member of staff there too, who tells him that there's been no coffin get on a plane today. And she'd have noticed if one of them had walked through and shown her its boarding pass. TGO scowls and broods as only he can, then gets a call from Smeg, who tells him that she's having a jolly good wheeze leading Thickardo astray. TGO tells her where he is, and she remembers what Bette said about the change of plan for Big Al's coffin. She doesn't tell Ben though. She just stares at the phone for ages as the music does odd things.

And Collagen arrives at her destination. She thinks that she's being loaded onto a plane, but of course she isn't. The conveyor belt starts up, the staff turn on the flames, and the coffin rolls to its doom. Collagen gets all excited. New Orleans, here I come! Or not.


Friday 8/10

Smeg finally gets around to telling Ben that Annie is most definitely not on her way to New Orleans. She wants to tell Thickardo, so that he can stop the burning, but TGO won't let her lead the cops to Collagen. He panics and tries calling the crematorium, only to get no answer. They nipped off for a beer after setting the oven in motion, so the phone rings to an empty room. Inside the oven Annie is all excited about her trip to Creole Country, but the growing heat is starting to dampen even her enthusiasm. Unable to get any answer, Ben dashes off to the crem for a spot of housebreaking. Crembreaking. Well, he smashes a window, anyway.

Greggie has a heart to heart with Smurf. He wants to build bridges, and encourages her to invite Not-Yet-Dimples round for dinner. She gets all excited, even though Greggie is clearly being about as sincere as one of Cruella's compliments. In the end she skips off, and meets Cole just as he finishes a spot of housebreaking. Waffle-less Waffle Shop-breaking. Whatever. He's looking for something that "must be here", but clearly isn't. After covering his antics with an excuse about looking for a cup of coffee even though it's way past shop hours and all the lights are off, he goes to join Smurf in some research into the Legend Of Sunset Beach.

Which brings us neatly to Cruella and Bette, who are crowding around the grave of Armando Deschanel, worrying over things that they did there years ago. There's a deadly secret that Elaine must never discover, and lots of veiled references to some dastardly deed that they committed in that very spot. Cue lots of smoky black and white flashbacks to women in long black coats and hoods, doing Something Odd to Armando's grave. Suddenly up swishes Elaine (in the same hooded cape that the murderer of Dead Boy wore, incidentally, but then Cruella and Bette both have them too). She's realised who Cole must be! Oh no! Bette and Cruella are horrified! But Elaine has decided that he's Armando's grandson. AJ's son. He must have found another woman, sobs Elaine, to sighs of relief from Bette and Cruella. Clearly Elaine hasn't put all the pieces together after all, even if she is right about AJ. They talk more about the Terrible Things they did years ago, which cues the funniest flashback ever. This even beats the "We're younger now, honest" wigs in the recent flashback episode of Frasier. Elaine, Bette and Oh-livia are standing around Armando's grave, all in capes, with the most hilarious long wigs to make them look more than twenty years younger. They're brandishing spades, and swearing oaths of secrecy. The Witches Of Eastwick R US. Roald Dahl always said that witches wore bad wigs. Back to the present, they worry about secrets a bit more, and Elaine and Cruella argue about who AJ loved more. Ah, Whispering AJ! The most unlikely focus of all that passion.

Smeg has decided that she can't wait for news of Annie any longer. She dashes off to enlist Thickardo's help, neatly interrupting his make-up kiss with Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent. Damn, I have got to find that woman a shorter nickname. Hmm. I guess there's always 'Paula'. At any rate, Paula OTFA's obviously forgiven him for all that jumping on Ben that she was so upset about yesterday. Or possibly she's just hoping she can join in. Off they all dash, anyway, and burst into the crem to find TGO berating the crem-crew, who have just stopped the oven. They're all staring into it, at all the smoke rising, and the little bits of ex-coffin now floating about in the air. Are those little bits of Annie floating by?! Ben is wildly distraught, and hurls himself at Thickardo. It's fun, save that Paula and Smeg go and break it all up. Rather unbelievably the pair of them manage to haul TGO off. Yeah, well, I guess Paula has to be stronger than she looks, since she's a cop. TGO is out of his head with grief, and hear's Annie's voice, screaming for his help. Great. Ben's got another accusing dead woman living in his head. Looks like Collagen's "Help me Ben!" is going to be joining Maria's "Ben! No! Please!" Yep, TGO is going nuts. But stylishly. And in a nice dark, broody TGO way, with echo-effect and dramatic chords.


Monday 11/10

We open with Thickardo screaming blue murder at the crematorium attendant, who can't understand why he's expected to have checked the coffin before cooking it. As he rather reasonably points out, it's not usually an issue. I may be mishearing, but it sounds like his name is Mr Rabbit, so Mr Rabbit he may as well be. Anyway, he squeaks and jumps a lot as Thickardo chews him out, and he insists that generally one doesn't suspect coffins to be full of escaping prisoners. On a normal day of the week you just cook them and forget them (the coffins, not the prisoners. Usually). You don't have half of Sunset Beach beating down your door screaming about Annie on a usual day, either, and then brawling in the front room. Poor Mr Rabbit is not happy. Thickardo is unforgiving, but Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent turns up, and insists that he let Mr Rabbit go. It's not Mr Rabbit's fault, she says. Mr Rabbit flees, like a startled... well, rabbit. Thickardo says that it's all his fault, and Ben was right about him, and it's all his fault, and he's an idiot, and it's all his fault. Paula tries to tell him otherwise, but he's having none of it. It was all his fault. Etc and so forth. Paula OTFA tells him that the DA has closed the investigation now that Collagen is floating in little ashy pieces all around the crematorium - well, aside from the half of her that Ben seemed to have breathed in. Thickardo, who has finally accepted that Annie isn't guilty, gets cross. He resigns, partly in protest, and partly because it's all his fault. Etc and so forth.

Smeg has seen Ben home, but he doesn't care. He's lost it big time, which is rather entertaining. Annie is screaming blue murder inside his head, and he's seeing the Maria Death At Sea everywhere he looks. Ben's head is currently a fun place to be - though not, one would assume, if you're Ben. Smeg accidentally sets off Collagen's message on his answerphone, then fusses and squeaks when she can't turn it off. He does so the easy way, by hurling it across the room, and then nearly doing the same thing to Smeg. He bellows at her to leave, and she scuttles off, squeaking. Left alone TGO stares into shadows, stares out of windows, stares at Maria drowning in his head, and listens to Collagen screaming. He's not doing well.

Neither is Bubblewrap as it happens. Arriving back at Surf Central, expecting Michael's friend Jo-Jo to have found a new safe house for Mysterious Source and Mysterious Source's Daughter, she suddenly discovers that Jo-Jo is in fact Mysterious Source's Daughter's Mysteriously Absent Father. In other words, this bit of plot's Chief Bad Guy. Bubblewrap flees, and stashes Mysterious Source's Daughter with Mysterious Source at a handy motel, then goes to squeak at Martial Law. She's decided that Michael must be a bad guy, and that she can't possibly go back home. All her notes are there though, and as Michael gets increasingly worried about the increasingly absent Bubblewrap, he decides to look through her briefcase. Jo-Jo reaches for a gun in case the briefcase suddenly unmasks him, but a series of distractions mean Michael continually fails to find out who he is. Jo-Jo promises to find Bubblewrap, and goes off to report to his commander in chief, who sits stroking a glass of whisky behind a big desk. A big white fluffy cat is traditional, but whisky is probably preferable if you're allergic to animals, as, of course, is Greggie. Yep, Greggie is Jo-Jo's boss, which instantly makes this bit of plot several hundred percent more interesting than it has been up until now.

Thickardo sits in his house, trying to emulate the Ben Brood, but his eyebrows aren't up to the job. Paula turns up, and persuades him to investigate Dead Boy's murder on his own time. I think she's encouraging him to get TGO to help, but TGO is unlikely to be much use right now. Noticing that Bette is next door in Annie's place, he goes round to tell her of the Collagen Crematorium Conflagration. Bette refuses to believe him, and swears blind that he and Annie "do this sort of thing all the time." Really? They run away from the police and then fake each other's deaths all the time?! I know Ben's kinda shady, but still... Anyway, then she beats him up and throws him out. It's nicely done, actually, as she begins to rant and rave and rail at the universe, whilst next door Ben just sinks into himself. Smeg has run off to find a friend to sit with him, neatly forgetting that half the town thinks he's a murderer, and the other half just thinks he's weird. She settles on Mark, but he's more interested in telling The Tale Of Maria than in going to check up on his boss. Said story gets Smeg terribly upset, and she goes running back to TGO just in time to find him striding purposefully out to sea, Annie and Maria still screaming inside his head. Smeg chases him out and stops him, but he doesn't seem to have a clue who she is. After another of his "Look out, I could be dangerous" moments, he turns around and wanders back to shore. Smeg stares after him. He doesn't look back.


Tuesday 12/10

Jo-Jo is trying to convince Greggie that there'll be no problem about Vanessa. It looks like a continuation of yesterday's scene, but since it's now morning in the rest of Sunset Beach, Jo-Jo has clearly had a hell of time convincing Greggie. Either that or Casa Richards is in a different time zone, which wouldn't surprise me. Greggie's powers are pretty impressive, after all. Anyway, Cruella appears, so Jo-Jo scuttles away, as sinisterly as he can. Cruella asks who he is, and gets fobbed off with some excuse involving Dead Boy's murder, which causes Cruella to weep and wail. Spawn has disappeared! Oh no! Spawn has disappeared! What are we to do?! Greggie seems approximately as concerned as I am, but then he always was the one with the brains in that family. All he's worried about is what might happen if Spawn hears about Collagen's barbecue impression. Will he blab? Will he implicate his mother in Del's death? Will it matter? Greggie doesn't want to lose his nice house; he'd much rather lose his nice son. As he continues to complete his transmogrification into Ming The Merciless, he heads towards the phones to put out his feelers. Cruella whimpers, worries and is generally annoying. Tim, in his new rôle as chauffeur, hovers around reading today's newspaper, which shows Smeg leaving the crematorium with TGO.

Spawn has gone to the JavaWeb, where instead of waiting on tables he decides to dismantle them, hurling them left, right and centre, and sobbing that he killed Annie. Get in line behind TGO and Thickardo, Spawn. You can't all have killed her. Mark tries to stop him and they fight, then Spawn runs out just as Tiff runs in. Mark tries to make her take his side, but Tiff's eyes are always on the one with the biggest wallet, and she goes running off after Spawn. Cruella comes in looking for Spawn, but Mark doesn't tell her anything. He just glowers.

Spawn has gone to the police station. He's looking for Thickardo, to confess that he lied about having seen Annie at the hotel. With Thickardo having quit, though, he has to talk to Eddie instead, who's still twirling his imaginary moustache, and being nearly - nearly - as cool as Greggie. He takes Spawn's statement, then tells Greggie about it, who orders it destroyed. Greggie is definitely loving his newly souped-up bad guy rôle, and who can blame him?! It involves lots of grinning, and making his eyes go all glittery, and generally acting everybody else off the screen. Cruella is just bemused, and asks Tim if he thinks they're weird. Odd question to ask Tim, but then she doesn't know him very well. Tim wanders off to mope about Smeg and TGO, apparently failing to realise that there's nothing very romantic about having been at the crematorium together whilst somebody was being burnt alive. Spawn's having his own attempt at being romantic, though, down on the beach. He's telling all to Tiff, who almost manages to be nice. Later Spawn goes back home, where Greggie concusses him all over again with an attempt to be friendly. Blinking dazedly, Spawn goes off upstairs, whilst Greggie gets Cruella drunk in preparation for Collagen's memorial service.

Bubblewrap is still hiding out at the hospital. She hides here, she hides there. Actually it's not even that interesting. She just stands in a cubicle. Martial Law's attempts to deflect Michael cause Casey to think they're interested in each other, and he gets all sulky. Once Michael has actually found Bubblewrap, and is safely ensconced in hearing the full story from her, and protesting his innocence, Bungalow and Martial Law spend half an hour getting huffy with each other, and insisting that it's all over, even though 'it' hasn't actually started yet. They glare. They melt. They procrastinate. Again.

And at the very end of the episode, a mysterious, hidden figure (now gosh, I wonder who that could be!) surveys the Deep, which is set up for the memorial service for Collagen. Meanwhile, at Ben's place, Smeg stares thoughtfully at the famous painting of Maria. Ben appears behind her, and does his best "I'm a murderer, oh yes I am" look. He tells Smeg that "I killed her too." Yep, it's dangerous being in Ben's bit of plot. You could neatly transplant him to Days Of Our Lives and never notice the join; he'd do well alongside John. Hmm. Now there's an idea! Er... if you're listening NBC, can I have Clive Robertson in Days Of Our Lives, please?!


Wednesday 13/10

It's the day of Annie's memorial service. A mysterious lady clad in black is still prowling through the Deep, looking approvingly at the pictures of Collagen. Doesn't she have skinny arms?! Gregory is prowling though his house, looking reprovingly at the various members of his family. They will go to the service, whether they like it or not! And Smeg is prowling through Ben's front room, looking thoughtfully at the painting of Maria, and getting a recap of Ben's "I'm a murderer, oh yes I am" look, as he yet again insists that "I killed her too." She tells him that he didn't kill anybody, and couldn't, and that she's seen inside his soul and knows what kind of person he is deep inside. All of which makes me laugh, and TGO growl and glower and go into his "I'm a murderer, oh yes I am" mode again. He tells her that she doesn't know who he is or what he's capable of, then tells her to get out before he eats her. (I may have added the very last bit). Then he resumes prowling through various bits of his house, glowering, growling and brooding. Smeg scuttles off.

Paula Of The Fluctuating Accent arrives at Thickardo's house, and tries to make him go to the memorial service with her and Sinister And Loving It Eddie (who's waiting outside, cackling gleefully and twirling his non-existent moustaches at the thought of Collagen being dead). Thickardo refuses, saying that there's something he's got to do. The Something is going to visit TGO, who's wandering around remembering Maria's memorial service, and generally being dark and brooding. He really does never need to shave, does he. He's spent all day and all last night brooding, scowling and being driven mad by the dead people in his head, and there's not a sign of stubble, nor nary a wrinkle on his shirt. But then we already know all about Ben's amazingly stubble resistant jawline, I suppose, after the three stubble-less, razor-less months he spent chained up in that blinking warehouse. Anyway. They argue, swap blame, and discuss who'll be arresting who, when and how often. Eventually Thickardo tells him he was right about Collagen, and says he's going to investigate the murder, and Ben can help if he wants. He also acquires a glass of whisky out of nowhere, which is a little disconcerting. Possibly he brought it with him, but if so he and Ben have matching glassware. He heads off to the service, anyway, leaving TGO brooding and wondering (possibly about the glass of whisky, possibly not) and staring into the middle distance.

Bungalow and Mark head off to the service. Neither of them has ever spoken to Annie on screen before, but apparently they're going to miss her anyway. Bungalow wonders where Smeg is, and Mark growls and mutters about how she shouldn't be seeing Ben "I'm a murderer, oh yes I am" Evans, as he's a murderer, oh yes he is. Bungalow says yes, but it's okay if they're happy. Mark seems happy with this line of reasoning, and tells Bungalow who SB really is. Then off they go to sit in the Deep, with a lot of unnamed extras, and a lot of other characters who have never yet been seen to spend any time with Annie. Bette and Elaine hug each other consolingly; Cruella is a complete bitch to Bette, having only come to the service to giggle and get free drinks; and Spawn is clearly suffering aftereffects from headbutting Ben's fireplace last week. In Ben's office the woman in black - who in the least surprising surprise of the year is Collagen in full mourning dress - prepares to listen to the eulogies armed with a bottle of champagne. She's bothered by No Ben. Everybody else is there, though. Bette makes a speech first, and gets all emotional, so Smeg goes to phone up TGO and tell him to come rescue the batty lady. Collagen nips into Ben's shower to hide, and - for some completely unfathomable reason - Smeg pours her bottle of champagne down the sink. Downstairs the speeches continue, first from Casey, then Gregory, and then finally - for some completely unfathomable reason - Smeg, who says she's taking TGO's place, as he's still busy brooding. He appears, though, and despite lying about how he first met Annie, makes a speech that leaves him fighting back the tears. Aw, doesn't it make you want to give him a hug? Well actually no, it makes me want to give him a good shake, and shout "She's upstairs watching it all, you berk!" But poor TGO is lost to the moment. He's very fierce about how Collagen is no killer, though, which makes various police officers, and the entire contents of the Richards household, shift awkwardly. Then he wanders off, tearfully. Smeg follows him, throwing off a clucking Tight Pants, who wants to know if she's sleeping with the Big Bad Broodmeister. It's a comment that Collagen hears, with some shock, and she's not best pleased by Smeg's refusal to answer. Giving chase, she watches TGO and Smeg hook up on the pier, and wander off together into the sunset. Well, out of the sunset, if you want to get technical, but that didn't make such a good ending.


Thursday 14/10

It's the morning after the memorial. Ben's been out all night, wandering in the desert (and before you ask - no, he still doesn't need a shave). Meg has sat up all night at his house, wondering where he's gone, which annoys him faintly. Yep, it's annoying me too Ben. She's only just met you for goodness sakes... Anyway, she keeps telling him how worried everybody is for him (despite half the town thinking he's a murderer and the other half just thinking he's weird), and that she's worried about whether he'll make it through all the extra pain and brooding. Oh Ben! Oh Ben! Please don't do anything silly! He tells her to leave, and then bizarrely the pair of them are wearing different clothes, and are all relaxed again. When she leaves, TGO sits alone, all broody once more, until Annie pops up from behind the sofa. His utter delight is rather sweet, though it doesn't take her long to drive him potty again. They begin to make plans for investigating Dead Boy's murder, then go upstairs to take a shower. Separately, one assumes, though not if Annie has her way.

Greggie, meanwhile, is meeting with a friend of his. He's a private investigator, apparently, who's been looking into the affairs of Not-Yet-Dimples. He reports on the jewel thieving, and then comes the bombshell. The alleged jewel thieving appears to be nothing more than embellishments along the way. So Cole is not a jewel thief after all. Since that was the only thing that ever made Cole an interesting character, it could be argued that this is something of a disappointment. So TGO is the only shady member of the cast after all. Well, and Greggie of course, but then Greggie isn't so much shady as downright bloody stygian. And you gotta love him for it. Greggie clearly has Caitlin's best interests at heart, but his eyes they do a-glitter, so it's clear he has dastardly plans afoot. He phones up Tight Pants to tell him to come in for instructions, but it takes Tim barely a second to appear in the doorway, so he might just as well have called without bothering to use the phone. He tells him to bring round the car. Greggie, why didn't you just tell him that on the phone?! Never mind... Tight Pants tries to be sinister in rounding up Not-Yet-Dimples for some Greggie-chat in the back of the limo, but he doesn't pull it off very well, at least in part because he's about a foot shorter than Not-Yet-Dimples, and winds up trying to be sinister to Cole's ribcage. Which fails to quiver. Greggie warns Cole that he'll ditch Smurf or face Interpol. This rather puts the dampeners on Cole's plans for the evening, as he's been spending the whole episode sending Smurf on a treasure hunt, hopefully culminating in some canoodling in that oddly wooden sounding grotto. He agrees to the deal though.

Thickardo decides to propose to Paula, who looks shocked, terrified and ill by turn. Whether this is because of Thickardo's copious tears, or because of the revolting bit of jewellery he gives her is unclear. He tells her to keep it close to her heart, so apparently he wants her to get her nipple pierced. Or something. Anyway, she doesn't answer. Instead we speed to Mark dropping a bombshell on Smeg by suddenly telling her who SB is, for no intelligible reason since he said yesterday that he couldn't ever tell. She realises why SB stood her up the night on the pier (when he was being held at gunpoint by his best friend, his worst enemy, the entire Sunset Beach police department, a helicopter, and an LAPD SWAT team, along at the Deep) and goes dancing off to introduce herself as Dorothy. There's no answer, so she goes on into the house and bounces upstairs, only to see a woman dressed in nowt but a towel walking around in Ben's bedroom. She freezes. Realising what she's seen, so does Ben. Oh well.


Friday 15/10

It's nighttime. This makes Ben's comment to Annie yesterday that they should get a good night's sleep finally make sense. What it doesn't explain is how it was morning just a second ago. The world famous Sunset Beach Time Differential at work again, I guess. Anyway, Smeg continues gaping at the doorway into Ben's bathroom, where Woman In A Towel has now disappeared. TGO tries to explain that there's nothing going on, but in a right old flap, Smeg flees. Worrying that she's seen Annie alive and well, TGO gives chase. His worries are unfounded, though, as Smeg didn't see Annie - she just saw A Woman. Oh Ben! How could you?! Oh Ben! You're not the man I thought you were! Oh Ben! Oh Ben! She thinks he's been out picking up one night stands, with his best friend not yet cold in the grave. Or wherever they put the bits of what they thought were her, at any rate. She runs out into the night, with all her pretty dreams torn asunder, and TGO mopes for a bit. He doesn't get the chance to do so for long, however, as Collagen parades downstairs in the skimpiest robe she can find (presumably one of Maria's, unless she carries these things around with her on spec). She thanks Ben for keeping her a secret, and then goes into Seduction Mode. TGO fights back. But what about Maria? But do I really love you? But what about Meg? Will I remember how? To say that Collagen is somewhat persistent, however, would be rather like saying that Mount Everest is a little bit tall, or that the Pacific has some vaguely deep bits. Or that Tight Pants is mildly dim. Boy does Collagen persist. TGO, torn between fighting nobly and melting helplessly, is saved by the doorbell. Collagen goes upstairs, making sure that she leaves her bathrobe behind.

Thickardo continues his seduction of Paula, undeterred by Eddie trying to steal her away. Eventually she gives in to his tears, bad jewellery, and New Improved re-enactments of some of the less salubrious parts of their relationship. She agrees to marry him, and he whisks her away to the Valentine's Day Dance at the Deep, where everybody is in dodgy costumes, and gyrating to more of the Deep's truly awful music. Eddie, dressed like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, is being chatted up by the newly appeared out of nowhere Gobby, who I confess I mistake for Paula at first. Thickardo likes his women to all look the same, doesn't he! Paula and Thickardo show up, Gobby shows an unhealthy interest in the police in general, and Thickardo in particular, and Eddie slinks away with his tail between his legs. Meanwhile Smeg arrives, with her little heart in pieces, to be greeted by Tight Pants dressed as Travolta in Grease. What's with all the Travolta costumes?! They talk. They agree to be friends. Tight Pants is happy, as he's just been given a raise after being promoted by Greggie from mere chauffeur to Official Offspring Spy. Greggie wants to know what Smurf and Spawn are getting up to. He'd probably like to know what Smurf is doing right now, certainly, as Not-Yet-Dimples spends the entire episode completely failing to break up with her, and having sex with her instead. Oops. I suppose he could try to argue that he slipped whilst saying goodbye.

Anyway, the doorbell back at TGO's place was Greggie. He's coming in to see where things stand, re Ben's desire to find out who really killed Dead Boy. I like this scene. These two have chemistry, and they know how to use it. And the eyes they do a-glitter, on both sides of the conversation. Greggie is warning Ben off without uttering a word, and TGO is accepting all challenges with little more than a smile. This is Sunset Beach, so nothing will ever happen, but they set up a good scenario anyway. It's Game On in the Great Sunset Beach Murder Investigation, and if TGO can only stay out of Collagen's bed long enough to get some actual detective work done, this storyline may finally start advancing again. Our Hero is trying, and he does have The Glower and The Brood on his side. But did I mention that Annie is persistent?!


Monday 18/10

TGO is trying to persuade Collagen to leave town. At some point he's acquired a bedroom full of her clothes, which he proceeds to pack into her suitcase, whilst she squeaks in protest and attempts to seduce him. He struggles manfully against the rising tide of rampant oestrogen, but Annie doesn't give up easily. Eventually he slips away to go to work for a bit at the Deep, trying to take refuge from her hormones at the Valentine's Day costume ball. Casey has just arrived there dressed as Rhett Butler, and is immediately accosted by some woman dressed as Marilyn Monroe. He casts longing glances at Martial Law, who's turned up pretending to be Ali McGraw in Love Story. There's a man in full surgical gear accompanying her, who has either come there literally straight from work, or is in costume. Can't remember any famous lovers from history, film or TV who dressed like that, though. Anyway, they laugh uproariously whenever Bungalow is in earshot, and he sighs and scowls and whimpers. Marilyn Monroe dances with him happily, apparently delighted to listen to him moaning about Martial Law all evening. Martial Law's companion is apparently equally delighted to listen to her moaning about Bungalow all evening. Nobody seems to know who is in love with who, or who wants to be in love with who; much less Mark, who's still moping about Tiff. She turns up with Spawn, the pair of them in Bonnie and Clyde costumes, and they all argue about whether Tiff is in love with Mark, or if she prefers Spawn's money. Spawn tries to look tough. Mark glowers, a mean feat in a sparkly, Las Vegas era Elvis suit.

Smeg, meanwhile, is listening to Tight Pants, who is moaning about having lost her to TGO. Smeg whimpers about how Ben isn't the man she thought he was, remembering how she caught him with a woman in his bathroom. Tight Pants rubs his hands together, certain now that he has a chance of winning Smeg back. Smeg is having none of it, and snaps and glowers at Ben for the rest of the evening. He looks all wounded and glowery, so really nobody at all is enjoying Valentine's Day. Bette is in the cemetery, crying about Annie and coming close to telling Elaine secrets that Cruella threatens will be the death of her if they're revealed. Cole has walked out on Smurf pre-hanky-panky, and left her to wander home alone. She's still on cloud nine, though, which annoys the hell out of Greggie, whose sparkly eyes reveal new plots afoot. He tells her to invite Not-Yet-Dimples to lunch tomorrow, and Smurf, berk that she is, agrees. Elaine has accosted Not-Yet-Dimples in the grotto, anxious to discover if he really is AJ's son, but he doesn't know the name. Nonetheless, the flashing lights of Oncoming Plot Developments light up the grotto bright as day. Although that might just be all the candles.

Collagen, meanwhile, has decided that she shall go to the ball. Where she got the costume from we may never know, but she turns up at the Deep dressed as an Arabian princess. TGO is just mending some bridges with Smeg when he sees his other snuggle-buddy grinning at him over her veil. He storms over and carries her out, to her obvious delight, and they make their way home. Smeg squeaks. Tight Pants giggles. Eventually he wanders home to drink himself into oblivion whilst watching slides of his life back in Kansas with Smeg. "I'll get you back," he slurs. Well actually, Tim...


Tuesday 19/10

Hmm. You know, every other character must have had half a dozen episodes so far that they weren't in, and I never even notice that they're missing - but this was only the second Ben-less episode and I started to get bored very quickly. But then Greggie went all evil! And then Eddie went all evil! So it was a good episode after all.

Anyhoo, Michael and Vanessa argue some more over whether or not Michael is evil. Mysterious Source and Mysterious Source's Daughter hang around for a bit saying goodbye, then hopefully now get ushered off to other plots in other places. Michael goes for a showdown with Jo-Jo, unwilling to believe the stories about him, and discovers that his old playmate is now a Very Bad Man. He looks woebegone at the news. Jo-Jo tries to blackmail him with stories of Michael's past, but it's just the death of Virginia's husband that he's alluding to, so nothing greatly interesting there. Michael goes home to mope, whilst Bungalow and Martial Law again fail to become a couple. Or fail to realise that they already are a couple. One or the other. On the other side of town, Thickardo and Paula have just begun a couple again, and excitedly tell Elaine about it. She growls unhappily, then spends the rest of the meal staring at Not-Yet-Dimples, who's failing to enjoy a lunch with Greggie on the other side of the room. Greggie enjoys himself being spectacularly unpleasant to Tiff, Spawn's lunch date, and trying to set up Not-Yet-Dimples for a fall. He's evil to Cruella, too, but she deserves it. Tiff runs off in a... well, in a tiff, I suppose, and is comforted by Mark.

Cruella, meanwhile, sneaks off from the family lunch to dog Bette about the Deschanel Jewels, which were in Dead Boy's possession when he died. She thinks Collagen must have nicked them when she killed him, which makes Bette roll her eyes and scowl, and protest her niece's eternal innocence. Cruella doesn't care; she just wants the jewels, which she is afraid may turn up in the possession of Not-Yet-Dimples, and thereby alert Elaine to whatever nefarious act Cruella committed all those years ago, in the world of long-haired flashbacks in the graveyard. Bette goes with her to search for the jewels in Annie's house, but with no luck. Then they make me laugh, by standing right outside Ben's house and wondering aloud where on Earth Annie might have hidden the jewels if not in her own house. Gosh, where else could there possibly be to look?! Instead of jumping to obvious conclusions, though, they make something of a quantum leap in their reasoning. Despite still thinking that Annie is guilty, they suddenly assume that a crooked policeman must have found the attaché case in Dead Boy's hotel room and somehow snuck it out of the crowded crime scene stuffed up his shirt. Anyway, unlikely or not, they're right of course. Eddie has the case, the jewels and lots of dosh, and stands in a dark room admiring the lot, and grinning at his own cleverness. Eddie love, if you're honestly hoping to get away with this just through your own cleverness, start phoning up lawyers now.


Wednesday 20/10

Eddie is stroking his jewels again. He has them hidden in some sort of warehouse, or possibly in his loft. It's all dark and shadowy and very "Evil Lair", anyway, which is cool. He decides to get one valued, and sets off for the jewellery store, where the delighted owner tells him that his "family heirloom" is worth a packet, though more if it comes as a set. Eddie is dancing with glee when Paula comes in to talk wedding rings. She sees Eddie's jewels... well, in a manner of speaking... and shows an interest. Eddie skips off. He's getting nervous, worrying that Paula might be suspecting him of something. Eddie, if you will keeping watching her through windows, whilst gnawing on your fingernails and muttering to yourself, pretty soon everybody is going to start suspecting something. Even Thickardo.

Smeg, meanwhile, is trying to E-mail TGO again. She's decided that they got on so well together online, that they ought to give things another go before calling it a day between them. Her E-mail is intercepted by Annie, though, who chuckles merrily to herself as "SB" tells Dorothy he's not interested, as he's loved his dear friend Annie all along, and can't bear to be with anybody else now she's gone. Smeg goes dashing off to Ben's house in one of her righteous furies, whilst Annie celebrates her bad behaviour with a beer and some pizza, and some music on Ben's headphones. Consequently she doesn't hear when Smeg bursts in. Why does this woman keep running into Ben's house when he's not there?! Smeg sees Annie. Annie freezes. Smeg is delighted. There's hugging, and general happy mania, before Smeg sees TGO's laptop and realises that it was Annie who was just talking to her online. She's all wounded, but Annie spins her a line of total bull about wanting to keep Smeg away so her amazing return from the dead will stay a secret. Smeg, who of course always tells the truth, can't believe that anybody would ever lie to her, and swallows the whole story. She then flies off in a total rage at Ben, about how could he possibly have kept her in the dark. Why didn't he tell her that Annie was alive? Why did he let her go on thinking that Annie was dead? How could be so cruel? Of all people he could at least have told her! What?! Smeg, why the bloody hell should he have told you?! Annie's just admitted that even Bette doesn't know, and I think she ranks a little higher up the needing to know stakes than you do. And leave your hair alone, damn it! Eventually Annie convinces her that she's got no chance with TGO, who's dark, broody and miserable, and incapable of loving anyone except her. "Leave now Meg!" she encourages. "I'll look after Ben for you!" How very selfless of you, Annie. Then TGO arrives and finds them together. He's not best pleased.

Elsewhere Sean finds out that Tiff is homeless, and is ridden with guilt; Thickardo has his first run in with Gobby; and Eddie goes back to the jewellers only to discover Paula there. She's taking notes (about wedding rings), which makes him paranoid. She's taking notes! Argh! He thinks she's investigating him. Going back to his Evil Lair - which for some reason has a modelling agency shot of Paula in it, which makes me wonder how on Earth he came by it, not to mention when she had it done - he packs a bag with some rope. Either he's picked an odd time for some mountain-climbing, or he's decided to try a little Paula Rustling. Eddie, love, what were we saying yesterday about getting away with it all?


Thursday 21/10

Oh dear. I'd forgotten how irritating I find Eddie Cibrian. It's that "Aren't I Cute?" smile. No Eddie, you're not cute. At all. Anyway, as the impossibly butch voice of Mr Sunset Beach announces that "The rôle of Cole" is now being played by the annoying bloke with the smile and the dimples, we join the man himself looking confused and torn. This may be because he's just had a head transplant, and lost several inches in height in the process. Caitlin stops by, and he breaks up with her. It's because of Greggie threatening him of course, but he tells Smurf that he doesn't love her. She cries because of all their happy memories, but since they were with a different bloke, and she hasn't even noticed that, clearly it wasn't true love after all. She runs home, and is comforted by Greggie and Tight Pants. She sniffles. This is partly because Dimples has dumped her, and partly because he now shows up her bad acting much more than he did when he was Not-Yet-Dimples.

Elsewhere, Thickardo is excited. He and Paula are getting married. He wants to elope. Oh Paula, elope with me! We'll go to Las Vegas! Can you think of anything less romantic?! (He didn't say that last bit ). She hums and haws, and he says that he needs to marry her quickly, as he doesn't know what he'd do if anything happened to her. The Foreshadowing Alert begins to flash, but Thickardo doesn't notice. He just tells her that he's going out for a drink, and that when he gets back she'll have to have decided. He fails to notice Eddie hiding in a pot plant outside, and leaves to flirt with Gobby for an hour or two in the Deep. You know, for somebody who claims to loathe Ben with such a fiery burning passion, he spends a hell of a lot of time patronising the guy's clubs. Eddie sneaks into a closet, and watches Paula have a shower. He's rapidly turning insane. This is highly entertaining. I like Eddie.

TGO finds Collagen and Smeg together in his house, and begins to worry. This worry is certainly not unfounded, as Smeg immediately launches a violent verbal attack, blasting him for not telling her that Annie was still alive. Yes, Meg. Because you really needed to know. Stupid woman. Ben sighs and frowns a lot, and then sensibly goes upstairs to leave the pair of them to fight over him without interference. And fight they do, for the rest of the episode. Smeg can be quite a bitch when she wants to be, you know. Eventually Collagen persuades Smeg that if she tells TGO she's Dorothy, his barriers will come down and he'll shut her out. Smeg agrees, and decides that she'll just have to seduce him instead. Collagen glowers. Smug looks smeg. Or, hang on. Put that the other way around. Eventually TGO finishes doing whatever the hell he was doing upstairs, and tells them that they have to stop arguing and prove Annie innocent. Yes Ben, so you keep saying! Now start actually doing it! So far The Great Sunset Beach Murder Investigation has consisted solely of Thickardo writing "Olivia, Bette, Annie" on a piece of paper, and then frowning at it a lot. All Ben's done is share Glittery-Eyed Glares With Greggie. Which sounds like it might have featured once in a Cole Porter musical. Anyway, they argue a bit more. Meanwhile Cruella gets drunk in the grotto, watched by Dimples, and Eddie chloroforms Paula. Our first kidnapping! It's a bit like when your baby takes its first steps, isn't it.


Friday 22/10

In the strangely wooden-sounding grotto, Dimples and Cruella have their first meeting. She's typically drunk and over-wrought, he's showing off how much more sophisticated his new head is. The world's most butch voice makes the head-changing announcement again, as Cruella manages to be the first person in Sunset Beach not to recognise Cole as the spitting image of Armando Deschanel. Well, I guess both heads can't look like the guy. She just wonders why he seems weirdly familiar. He, meanwhile, claiming to be sorrowful after losing Caitlin (rather importantly to the plot he doesn't mention her name or his own), winds up showing rather too much sympathy for her drunken tales of woe. She says Greggie is hopelessly nasty, but that she loves him anyway (although again no names). Eventually Dimples takes her home, and with Cruella dreaming about Greggie (or possibly AJ, or possibly both) and Dimples thinking of Smurf, they tumble into bed. Not that Smurf would have noticed, as she's busy trying to seduce Tight Pants. She's got it into her head that she wouldn't have lost Dimples if she hadn't been a virgin, though Tight Pants actually manages to say something sensible for the first time in his life, and makes her re-think. She decides just to mope instead.

Thickardo is being thoroughly seduced by Gobby, and is failing to resist. Eventually he manages to escape her clutches more by accident than design, and goes off in search of Paula. She's not at home, largely because Eddie has her tied up in his Evil Lair, where he's attempting to find out what her latest investigation is. He threatens her, rather unconvincingly. Thickardo, meanwhile, rather hilariously rushes straight off to interrogate "Evans" about her disappearance. Yes, Thickardo. Ben is guilty of everything in Sunset Beach. TGO has other things to worry about, anyway, as Greggie is lurking in the Deep, trying to discover who the woman is that's been hiding out in Ben's house. Greggie has obvious suspicions, and after trying to hire Eddie to find out, he decides to charm secrets out of Smeg instead. She tells him she's the one that's been hiding out at TGO's, and tries to wrap up the pretence by kissing Ben. This might have worked better if he'd returned the embrace at least slightly, instead of standing there with his arms waving about all over the place like he's fighting to come up for air. Anyway, Greggie pretends to be convinced, then spends the rest of the episode lurking and smirking, and generally suspecting Ben of something. Yeah, get in line, Greggie.

Thickardo goes back home, where he receives a call from Paula. Eddie has a gun to her head so that she'll do as she's told, and tell Thickardo that she's left him, and doesn't want to go through with the marriage. Thickardo looks aghast, and Eddie's gun goes off. Well, 'go off' isn't strictly true, as he obviously pulls the trigger on purpose, but it's anybody's guess as to why. Maybe there was a spider threatening Paula, and he wanted to warn it off. Eddie, you're a big softie where she's concerned. No way did you just shoot her on purpose.


Monday 25/10

Dimples wakes up alongside Cruella, and procures her necklace. It's part of the Deschanel treasure, given to her years ago by AJ, and he's interested in it. She wakes up after he's long gone, and slopes off home to join a still moping Caitlin. Tight Pants, having a quite astonishingly nice moment, has been comforting poor little Smurf with all manner of words of encouragement, and she's feeling a little better by the time her wandering mother returns. They head off to the Waffleless Waffle Shop for some coffee, but Caitlin sees Dimples there and decides that she doesn't want to stay. I'm not surprised, for Dimples is for some reason currently attired in a beige tanktop. Beige is bad enough. A tanktop is bad enough. But a beige tanktop?! He's still doing that "Aren't I cute and irresistible?" smile, though. Cole, honey, I can't think of anybody who'd look cute and irresistible in a beige tanktop...

Thickardo meanwhile is going nuts. He runs here, he runs there, but Paula is nowhere to be found. This is because she's still being held in Eddie's Evil Lair, where he completely failed to convincingly shoot her on Friday. She quakes, she quivers, she yells at him in a rage. She's tied up on a bed, with what looks like three hundredweight of tissues shoved down her shirt. Sorry Paula, but surely you never used to be that big up top?! A chunk of the show vanishes, as we leap from her beating Eddie at his own game, to her all curled up on the bed, crying, with Eddie looking faintly bothered. Just let her go, Eddie. You look like you're hating this even more than she is.

And speaking of hating... TGO is trying to smooth relations between Collagen and Smeg. Collagen tries to apologise to Smeg, but Smeg just acts like a prima donna about it. Sadly Collagen doesn't deck her. Ben, who's doing up his sweat pants (betcha can't guess what colour his jogging outfit is! ) then goes upstairs for a shower. Huh? Either Ben jogs before he gets dressed, or he has a shower before he goes for a run. Anyway, Greggie comes visiting, and whilst Collagen lurks in previously undiscovered regions of Ben's house, Smeg and TGO put on a revised performance of their "Love Birds" act. Greggie looks about as convinced as he looked on Friday, which isn't very convinced, then tries threatening TGO to keep him from continuing his investigations. What investigations?! He hasn't done anything yet! Apparently he's been up to something over the weekend, though, as Greggie threatens to charge him with harrassment. Ben is unimpressed, and later goes off to change one entirely black outfit for another, as he heads off to disprove Greggie and Cruella's alibi for the night of Dead Boy's murder. Thickardo isn't best pleased about giving away details of the alibi, but he spits it all out in between pained looks about the possible whereabouts of Paula, whilst Eddie lurks in the shadows. It's nice how Thickardo can still spare the time to fight with TGO even in the midst of all their respective concerns. Having got the information he wanted, Ben then skips off in glee (well, relatively speaking) and Thickardo mopes alone. Or nearly alone, anyway. I think Eddie is still hiding behind the door.


Tuesday 26/10

Casey is still trying to woo Martial Law. Martial Law does not wish to be wooed. Yes she does, no she doesn't... and so it goes on. They paint their house, they hang pictures, they kiss and they don't kiss. Progressing rather more competently in his relationship is Spawn, who goes to see Tiff, armed with takeaway food, to tell her that he knows she's homeless. They argue. They discuss the size of the respective chips on their shoulders. Eventually Tiff agrees to go to another Richards family bash, largely for the fun of annoying Greggie. Spawn does the Dance Of Joy. Or not.

Thickardo, meanwhile, has used his detective skills to work out that Paula was kidnapped. He rushes round to the police station to ask for his job back. The police chief, rather than laughing at him, and telling him to go through proper channels, tells him he's the best she's got. Poor woman. She has my sympathy. She therefore takes him back, and lets him investigate Paula's disappearance just to keep him happy. Eddie sends him a video of Paula all tied up, hoping that it'll be made an official case then, and he can finally find out what Paula was working on. Did she know of his Evil Deeds? The answer is no. The notes he saw her taking at the jewellers were not case notes, but notes on wedding rings. Eddie is suitably embarrassed. Now he doesn't know what to do. Pretend you got an anonymous tip off, you berk. Have you never watched any TV?!

And Bubblewrap is happy, for her story is finished. Now she can go public, and expose Jo-Jo for the nasty man he is. Hooray! Mysterious Source and Mysterious Source's Daughter need never be seen again! Michael is worried though, as Jo-Jo will in turn expose him if the story is published. Michael decides to run away. Why is anybody's guess, as the Mysterious Secret in his past is a bit of a damp squib, but he wants to be noble. Jo-Jo stops him though, and pulls out a gun. He wants Bubblewrap taken care of. Cue Michael looking dramatic and intense.


Wednesday 27/10

Fun and games all over the beach today, so we'll begin with Bubblewrap. This may be because her bit of plot was so exciting that I can't wait to tell you about it, or it may be because I want to get it out of the way. Decide for yourselves. Anyway, Bubblewrap gets a call from the Sinister Jo-Jo, who has a gun to Michael's head. Jo-Jo tells Bubblewrap to come to his place alone, or Michael will get his head exploded. And that would be a shame, since he's one of our better actors. Bubblewrap flies to Michael's rescue, bursting into some warehouse somewhere, and Michael yells "Look out! It's a trap!" Michael... of course it's a trap! Good grief man, even Bungalow could have worked that one out! There's a fight, and Jo-Jo loses. Michael and Bubblewrap flee. One of Greggie's minions arrives to stop Jo-Jo from giving chase, and does something sinister to Sinister Jo-Jo, involving Mexico. Michael takes Bubblewrap home. Yep - home. That's certainly where I'd go when an armed madman who knows where I live has just tried to shoot me.

And meanwhile Greggie is throwing a cocktail party, to which he has rather stupidly invited his alleged alibi for the night of Dead Boy's murder, thus giving TGO and Smeg ample opportunity to trawl for information. Not that Greggie actually invited TGO, but Greggie did used to be in Knot's Landing, so he should know how these party affairs always turn out. Anyway, Greggie is still completely failing to be taken in by Ben and Meg's insistence that they're lovers, although they're increasingly enjoying their 'pretend' kissing. Oh Ben... it's not too late. Doesn't Annie look nice this evening?! Actually, speaking of Annie, she's hallucinating every which way about having blood on her hands from finding her father's body. It's Ben's house causing the problem, I swear it is. Spend more than a day there, you're hallucinating about dead people. Or even, in Ben's case, dead people who aren't actually dead.

Dimples is looking for the rest of the Deschanel Jewels, and having got one piece of the collection from Olivia, breaks into her house to look for more. Dimples, it has to be said, is the world's noisiest housebreaker, ever. Although whoever heard of a cat burglar in a beige tanktop, anyway? He prods, he pries, he snoops, he finds nothing, Cruella, however, finds him. Oh well. Meanwhile Eddie gives Paula to a serial killer, or rapist, or something. Eddie, Eddie, dear, dear Eddie. We've talked before about actually using your brain if you want to get away with this! Silly Eddie. Paula whimpers and wails and gnashes her teeth, although admittedly it's got to be painful for her lying on her back all the time like that. I'd swear she's got more weight on her chest every day. Honestly, it's growing with every episode. Oh, and Spawn spills the beans to Smeg about not really having seen Collagen the night of Dead Boy's murder, and Smeg and TGO cleverly discuss all this within Greggie's hearing. He lurks and frowns, and goes all glittery-eyed. Good old Greggie. With a bit of luck he'll try to have Ben stopped, and Smeg'll get sliced and diced and fed to the sharks instead. Well hey, it's a thought.


Thursday 28/10

Cole is lurking in bed with Cruella. He's finally taken off that ghastly beige tanktop, but sadly that's because he's taken off all his clothes. Ugh. Either he has some very peculiar bruising, or he's got some nasty varicose veins in his arms. Anyway, he and Cruella writhe and wriggle, and fantasise about various other lovers, and quite possibly conceive a little Trey. I don't know, I can't remember who the father really was. The writhing takes up most of the show, anyway, whilst Greggie sits downstairs and looks after Caitlin, and tries to divert her attention away from half overheard comments about alibis.

Thickardo and Eddie are trying to rescue Paula. Eddie is not remotely discouraged by the fact that he's the one responsible for her situation, and he mutters and plots to himself, with a sparkle of glee in his mad little eyes. Mad Ralph plans to kill her, and Eddie plans to kill Mad Ralph first. The police they search here, and the police they search there, but Mad Ralph and Paula are nowhere to be found. Eddie growls and mutters and worries that his carefully planned rescue mission isn't going to work, still without being at all worried that it's all his fault. Bless. Thickardo glares at everybody, and shouts down telephone lines at hapless police officers who are failing to find Paula. That is one hell of a revealing photo of her he has on his desk!

Along the beach, TGO is comforting Collagen. Her hallucinations about her father's murder are beginning to convince her that she's responsible. She remembers finding his body, and getting blood all over her hands, then passing out when she got back home. Said passing out has conveniently reset her memory, so that she can't remember whether or not she actually did the shooting. TGO tells her that she didn't, but Smeg, who is searching through the Lifeguards' unclaimed Lost And Found for a new coat, comes across Annie's. It has blood stains on it, and has been lying in Lost And Found since the murder. Smeg runs round to Ben's place, and waves the coat around, clearly now believing that Collagen killed her father. Annie believes it too, and now only Ben seems convinced that she's not guilty.


Friday 29/10

Oh dear. Mad Ralph is getting madder. Whispering sweet nothings into an unconscious Paula's ear, he gets her to hug him, and then lies with his head in her lap. Oblivious, she sleeps on, dreaming of highlights of her romance with Thickardo. Mad Ralph winds up dressing her in a flowery wedding dress, before preparing to get on with his Mad Work. Nearby Mad Eddie is getting desperate. He and Thickardo have burst into the place where Paula was being held, but she's gone. Mad Eddie gets madder still. His attempts to wipe the slate clean by heroically rescuing Paula from Mad Ralph are not working terribly well. Eddie, it's a plan you thought up. Of course it's not working terribly well! He and Thickardo argue and growl, and continue to fail to do anything useful. They are Sunset Beach police officers. What else do we expect?!

At Casa Richards, Greggie has a new mission for Tight Pants - to spy on Smeg. Greggie does not believe that she and TGO are an item, and wants to know what's going on; what TGO is doing in his investigation into Dead Boy's murder; who the woman is that Ben has stashed at his place; what Smeg's involvement is. Happy to find out whether or not Smeg really is seeing Ben, Tight Pants goes dashing off to do as ordered. Greggie, meanwhile, after a little more of the now habitual Smurf-comforting, goes upstairs to find out what Cruella is up to. She, of course, has been entwined in bed with Dimples since Wednesday, and manages to stuff him out of the window just in time. Beige tanktop now back in place. See the wardrobe department quickly, Dimples, please. Demand better service next time. Greggie knows that Cruella has been with somebody, and has decided that her adultery, coupled with her alcoholism, might make her a prime candidate for involuntary incarceration in a secure hospital. Cruella squeaks, Greggie glitters. Downstairs Smurf moons alone about Cole.

At TGO's place, Annie is increasingly convinced that she killed her father, the holes in her memory not helping at all. Ben is certain that she's not guilty, though, and is as determined as ever to prove that. Whilst he's trying to convince Collagen that she's innocent, Bette comes to the door, bashing furiously and crying desperately. Annie hides and Ben lets Bette in. She's finding it hard to cope with having lost Annie, and didn't know where else to turn. TGO tries to comfort her, but swamped with guilt at Bette's suffering, Annie reveals that she's still alive. TGO and Smeg leave them alone to catch up, during which time Bette tries to persuade Annie to get out of town, as she's not as convinced as Ben of her innocence. Annie confesses that she nearly fled after escaping from the crematorium, but couldn't face leaving Ben. Outside, meanwhile, Ben is trying (unsuccessfully, sadly) to persuade Smeg to get out of all of this. He's harbouring a fugitive, has helped to fake a death, and is investigating a murder, and is fairly convinced that he's going to be doing some serious prison time at the very least. They talk of how they're not really lovers, how Annie is still alive, and how certain they are that the Richards are responsible for Dead Boy's death. But what's this?! Tight Pants is hiding in the undergrowth, watching and eavesdropping! Can it be that events will begin to move forward at last? But no. As he watches them admitting to everything, Tight Pants grouses that he can't hear a word. Bugger.


Episode Guide Part Two

Episode Guide - Part Three

Episode Guide - Part Four

Episode Guide Part Five

Beach Goers' Guide

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