Chris Beetem does his job very well. Mr. Beetem portrays Llanview's most recent [if i may be permitted to mix metaphors], local boy done good prodigal,Tate Harmon.
Back in the day Tate was a rising highschool star athlete who had a cup of coffee in the majors---the career was cut short when he got into a bit of trouble with steroids, and subsequently suffered a career ending injury. To make amends for his past, Tate returns to Llanview High to speak to the students and convey the message that 'roids are the road to ruin and not worth the risk. Having recently gone through steroid drama with some of their peers, the students take his message to heart. There is a healthy dose of hero worship for him from them as well as the teachers, parents, and other adults around town,
including blondelicious Rex Balsom.
An introduction to Tate is made possible via Rex' sweetie Adriana. Adriana is clueless as far as RBI's, double plays and the like, but she knows her man is a fan of Tate's and as she is about to interview him for one of the local glossies, she makes the intro. It's actually kind of sweet seeing Rex being thrilled and in awe of his hero.
But for me, there was something about this guy that seemed off from the gitgo. i couldn't put my finger on it, but something about him creeped me out. As i was watching the OLTL ep that aired on Monday 3~5~07 it became clear to me why. Not only is he clearly on the make for Adriana, but he's my prime suspect as the Llanview arsonist.
Now the being on the make part for Adriana in and of itself is understandable---she's beautiful, has a nice bod, has tons of dough, etc.
But the fact that he's duplicitous about it bugs me. i have an immediate dislike for anyone who pretends to be someone's friend, while they're sniffin' around that supposed friend's lover. i know, he's not taken it to the level that Nash and Jessica have, but that's another rant for another time.
Back to why Tate is my suspect for being a firebug. Soaps are all about exposition. However subtlely played, exposition is the thread that runs through every ep to guide the viewer. i can't recall the exact lines of dialog, but when he was about to speak at the school, there was an exchange between himself and the chancellor that the gist of which was he had been in town for weeks but had been keeping a low profile---ostensibly because he was unsure if he would be welcome after his misdeeds. i say his low profile had more to do with wanting to keep his whereabouts and activities off the radar of the firefighters and the police.
Tate's reaction when he found out that the latest arson victim is Adriana's brother seemed too intense. It was as if he was thinking to himself that if he had known that Antonio and Adriana were brother and sister he wouldn't have burned his nightclub to the ground, not to mention the other properties of Antonio's that were torched.
The circumstantial evidence that earlier pointed to Antonio's brother Cristian Vega, [who was eventually vindicated]---just a red herring.
[mp3 credit: Warner Brothers Recording Artists Talking Heads From their 1983 release Speaking in Tongues "Burning Down the House"]