Editor's Choice: The Count's Down (SOD 10/12/99)
"The week opened with a bang. For very different reason, unlikely allies Edmund and David teamed up to examine Dimitri's corpse. Edmund wanted to prove foul play; David, as usual, wanted to play foul. They quickly discovered what All My Children fans had suspected: Dimitri's coffin was empty. But who could have guessed than an emotional roller coaster lay ahead?
Certainly not Edmund, who pegged his evasive new sister-in-law, Alex, as a black widow. 'I gave her the benefit of the doubt against every single instinct I had,' he lamented. 'And don't forget the poison,' added David, like a serpent whispering in his ear.
Cut to Alexandra, recalling the ill-fated plane ride in which Dimitri was struck down. Through flashbacks showcasing Finola Hughes (Alexandra) and Michael Nader's (Dimitri) remarkable chemistry, the cool, calculating Alex was now characterized as a jittery bride on her way to meet her hubby's family. We saw those moments through Alex's eyes, first with playful banter, then sudden tragedy as Dimitri fell ill.
When Edmund caught up with Alex for a heated face-off, he accused her of murder. Cryptic Alex was finally forced to reveal her secret: Dimitri was alive! But the news wasn't all good. Alex explained that she was treating her severely ill husband at Seaview Hospital.
AMC quickly explained details that might have distracted fans: The poison that Edmund found was part of Dimitri's experimental therapy. The last time he saw his brother at the hospital, he was in a coma, not dead. (At the time, Edmund remarked that Dimitri was still warm.) And though Alex's co-conspirator, Dr. Silbert, hasn't spelled out why he would risk his career by falsely signing a death certificate, at least the show adressed it by having Edmund confront the doc.
Though brooding, Dimitri has always been a character with a sense of humor, so it was appropriate that AMC tossed a sliver of humor into the mix. When Dr. Silbert warned Edmund that Dimitri's responses 'may seem erratic... inappropriate,' Edmund cracked, 'That's find, doc. That's the Dimitri I know.'
Ahhh, the Dimitri we know. The biggest shocker in this tale was Dimitri's devastating deterioration. John Callahan's (Edmund) grim face expressed how we felt when we got a gander at Dimitri. (A nod to the behind-the-scenes wizards who helped to effectively transform the rugged Nader into a heart-breaking shell of the count.) Then there was Nader's knock-out swan song in which proud Dimitri begged his wife to send Edmund away. The count gripped Alex and pleaded in a thick tongue, 'No, they can't see me like this!'
So hard to believe this was the Dimitri we met in 1991. The dashing hero who rescued Natalie from the well. The romantic leading man who swept Erica around a Hungarian ballroom. The arrogant raider who stole Gloria right out from under fiance Tad's nose. The passionate, complex character who could steal his brother's child, yet tenderly care for his ex-wife's anorexic daughter. How could a forceful Dimitri be rendered impotent?
Part of the beauty of this tale is that it sets the stage for many more intriguing storylines. Just what does David have against former colleague Alex? Is she as noble as she seems? Who is this Sean to whom she's placed emergency phone calls? How clever of AMC to not only tie David to Dimitri's saga, but to link it to Adam's paternity secret. With so many explosive possibilities, we're glued to our screens."
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