The One Where Nicholas Morrow proves he’s still got it: SVH #26 “HOSTAGE”

14 Jan

I recently spent an entire 22-hour plane ride engrossed in “Dancing on My Grave”, the tell-all autobiography of America’s prima ballerina Gelsey Kirkland. It’s a haunting read, depicting the mental torment of Kirkland, [who is in my opinion the greatest classical ballerina of the 20th century] and her well-publicised battle with cocaine.

So as I drifted off to sleep in that mid-afternoon, jet-lagged haze, where do you think my thoughts took me? To Baryshnikov? No! To the New York City Ballet? No!

Engrained in my conscious from a very young age is of course that ominous association between cocaine and…. Regina Morrow.

Oh,oh with white teeth

Oh, oh Regina…. [I googled this. I think it’s a Bjork song]

Now I’ve recapped Regina’s untimely end previously, so when I was wide awake at 4am the following day, I started reading this epic little piece of fiction: SVH #26 “Hostage”. It’s the story of Bruce and the twin’s secret mission to free Regina from a “mean little man” [their words, not mine] and his evil accomplice.

Regina Morrow has been away in Swizerland, undergoing a miraculous procedure to get her hearing fixed [Skye Morrow’s medication use during pregnancy left Regina deaf from birth.] Now I was in Switzerland recently, and saw none of the landmark treatment facilities that cured the likes of Isabella Ricci [from paraplegia] and Regina.

‘Twas rather pretty, though. Here’s a snap of Ticino in the south.

The story goes that Regina’s father, computer magnate Kurt Morrow, has invented a new microchip. The patent is held at his plant in Sweet Valley. He also made the mistake many years ago of pissing off a disgruntled employee, Phillip Denson, and putting him in jail for corruption. So the newly-released Denson and his girlfriend Claire hightail it to Switzerland, where they kidnap Regina at gunpoint and return her to Sweet Valley to hold her hostage at the Morrow’s estate. Mr and Mrs M are also kidnapped while holidaying in Europe, and are taken to Denson’s shack in Sweet Valley, where he lives with his attractive teenage son, Mitch. The plan is to force Regina to enter her father’s plant on Monday at seven, where she will ask for the patent to be handed over. Kurt will be forced at gunpoint to phone the security staff and ask them to release the patent to Regina, telling them he needs it Europe. [For what!?]

Let’s not get bogged down in the stupidity of Denson’s plot.

Because Regina is now being held captive in her own home [not the worst place in the world, I might add], by the woman who calls herself “Aunt Claire”.

Of course, the nosy Wakefields are on the job, wagging school with Regina’s bf Bruce to solve the mystery. They write a letter to Regina, and hide it in a magazine. Then they get Bruce to pose as the fucking grocery delivery boy and drop the package in to the Morrows. Conveniently, they have a standing grocery order.

Bruce, looking cute in his delivery boy get-up, comes tearing back down the drive, as terrified as if he’s just seen a flock of birds. He wipes his forehead, pants, and shudders:

“A woman opened the door. She must be the same one you saw, Liz. About thirty-five, with graying hair. She looks really mean.”

Oh noes! A mean woman! Ooh. On a side note, she must be pretty much the oldest person in SV.

He also complains about the woman being a lousy tipper. Turns out he only made fifty cents out of her! Only you, Bruce.

Would you like some warm wine with that order?

Regina conveniently drops a reply out her window explaining the situation.

Elizabeth sensibly calls the SVPD, who continue to live up to their reputation as the most useless beings on the planet, by deciding after a five minute visit to the Morrow mansion that the Wakefields must be pranking them. So I guess Liz and Jess have no choice but crack the case on their own! They decide not to tell their parents, because as Liz puts it:

“I don’t want Mom and Dad finding out about it, Jess. They’d never let either of us go over there again if they thought something dangerous was going on.”

Riight. Ned and Alice would never let their kids get into any danger – like when they abandon them on New Year’s Eve to let Margo move in, or let Jessica get engaged to a con-man posing as a green thumb, or take the family out on a boat in the middle of nowhere knowing John Marin is on the loose, or turning their backs long enough to let both twins be kidnapped, molested, held at gunpoint and attacked by humans, werewolves and vampires alike.

Well, Nalice are out of the picture, so the twins and Bruce pay a visit to the Denson’s place to find out what’s going on. They overhear a secret code “Money is Heaven”, which totally means “Monday at Seven!” D’oh! Our crooks are looking more and more like bumbling fools at this point. Jessica plays the vixen and seduces the kid Mitch, who is like all male species completely under the Wakefield spell. She coerces him into a date on – you guessed it, Monday at seven – and he is too starry eyed to turn her down.

This is playing far too well into the Wakefield’s hands.

But where, oh where is mysterious 18-year old hunk Nicholas, the heir to the Morrow industries and my personal long-time Sweet Valley crush? He’s staying in San Francisco, with a friend, but returns home to help balance out the awesome threesome [because we all know that Bruce cannot be trusted if left alone with the twins.] Despite being privy to the company secrets, he is really fucking useless as an investigator. I mean, what’s stopping him from going into the plant and telling the staff not to hand over the patent because his family has been, you know, kidnapped?

Nicholas is incompetent. [But he’s gorgeous, and I love him. Him and his slate-grey eyes…]

In fact, he seems more interested in hooking up with Liz than in freeing his family. While snooping around the Morrow Estate, he decides they look too suss, so his solution –

“I’m going to kiss you,” Nicolas said suddenly under his breath. “Try to act natural.” Elizabeth was too surprised to say a word. The next thing she knew, Nicholas had enfolded her in his arms, touching her lips gently with his own.

Whew! Crisis averted! Just two horny teens necking it in the woods!

Monday at seven rolls around. As planned, Kurt has been forced to phone his mate Walter to hand the chip to Regina, and she has gone in and picked it up.

Liz and Nicholas go to the plant to stall Aunty Claire and Regina, who is in possession of a BROWN PAPER BAG containing the patent. I guess that’s how Morrow Enterprises does business.

Jessica and Bruce head to Denson’s where she meets Mitch for her “date”.  Within about 20 seconds, she has a revolver pointed at her head, but somehow Bruce pulls off some superhuman moves and they get away with the Morrows in tow.

Everyone finally meets up at the company plant, where Nicholas has managed to phone the police, ‘cause they’ve been so helpful before.

Eventually, the cops polish off their meat pies and make it down to the plant, where Denson is about to shoot at Kurt’s head, cause “it wouldn’t be wise to leave town with so much unfinished business.” I guess selling the prototype for millions is not enough, huh.

But the police do their job, and lock our psychos up for good, and the prototype is returned to its rightful owner so now the Morrows can get even richer. But best of all –

Regina is safe! Huzzah! And it turns out her hearing treatment has been so successful that she’s allowed to return to Sweet Valley for good. [Maybe Elizabeth won’t talk to her now she meets the Sweet Valley definition of normal?]

Either way, Francine went to an awful lot of trouble for someone who left so early on in the piece.

And finally – Is there a reason Elizabeth and Nicholas Morrow didn’t hook up at the end of this? Todd, far away in Vermont, doesn’t even get a mention, and Jeffery French doesn’t appear for another five books. The chemistry between those two has been obvious before, when Nick falls in lurve with Lizzie at first sight in Kidnapped, not to mention something that borders on cheating in the aptly titled “Deceptions”.  Nicholas Morrow represents the most untapped, unfinished enigma in the whole of Sweet Valley.

E-book that, Francine?

18 Responses to “The One Where Nicholas Morrow proves he’s still got it: SVH #26 “HOSTAGE””

  1. annamai January 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Oh my god I loved Gelsey Kirkland! She had so many demons with her eating disorder and all her drug problems but she was so beautiful. I used to watch her in the nutcracker with Misha, it aired every year in the 80s on PBS. Such an amazing dancer. PS -nice recap. LOL@ Bruce being a delivery boy

    • winstonegbert January 15, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Wait – ballet fans actually read this? I thought that reference would’ve gone over everyone’s head. I actually only saw this version of The Nutcracker recently [grr Aussie broadcasters], and it is just gorgeous!

  2. laurajane January 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    We missed you, Winston!

    • winstonegbert January 15, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      likewise. But don’t worry, I read the evil twin on Christmas!

  3. Elle January 15, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Loved this!

    Nicholas was always my fave male character and I never understood why Liz didn’t date him, and instead dated drips like Todd and Jeffery. I hope we see him in the e-books, too.

    Wait, did I just use the word drips? *g*

    • winstonegbert January 15, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      Ha – you’ve clearly been spending too much time with Jessica. Or Enid.

      I wonder if Nicholas’ appeal was that he never dated Liz – maybe it would’ve turned him into the same kind of annoying suck.

  4. Daniella January 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Fabulous recap as always! And beautiful picture from Ticino 🙂

    This plot. Oh, wow. Everything about it is just so, SO awful. I remember reading this as a pre-teen and realizing even then that this was just so implausible…makes me like it even better as an adult though!

    • winstonegbert January 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      I feel like such an idiot sometimes, ’cause I was SUCH a gullible tween that I never realised how bad these storylines are until embarrassingly recently. Or, for example, the fact that Ned practised about 137 types of law

      • Olivia January 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

        Because of these books I didn’t know there were different types of law untill I was a teenager. I thought they could take on any type of case. Ah youth.

        • winstonegbert January 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

          Dont worry, I STILL have no idea what my lawyer friends do. Surely they track down pyromaniacs and solve divorce cases AND property management AND IP cases AND get DA jobs for their fist postings…

  5. Lindsey January 16, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    I think Nicholas and Olivia hung out for awhile towards the end before she got with Ken, but yeah, he was the hottest most under used guy in the series. Although I think you nailed it when you said we wouldn’t have liked him so much had he dated Liz cuz he would have turned into a Loser.

    • winstonegbert January 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Yes, during the “hunks” game show phase. [If they ever update SVH they should make it “The Bachelor.”] I always found that friendship a little random, and very sudden

  6. Laura Kate (@laura_kate1986) January 16, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Oh Nicholas Morrow…you never were around enough. I would’ve taken you over Jeffery any day. Great re-cap Winnie, really missed hearing from you! Hope you had a great break 🙂

    • winstonegbert January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      I always pictured Jeffery as albino for some reason, which completely turned me off!

  7. Sam January 17, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Great to have you back! “Bruce, looking cute in his delivery boy get-up, comes tearing back down the drive, as terrified as if he’s just seen a flock of birds” – genuine, bona fide laugh out loud moment!

    Also it’s apparent that Francine hates young people with grey hair just as much as “fat” (ie. not perfect size 8s) people. As both someone who is going grey in my 20s and is not a size 8, it’s hard to get through life knowing Francine loathes me.

    • winstonegbert January 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      I think she just hates grey hair full-stop! Francine’s the only person over 70 I’ve seen with a full head of “sunkissed” blonde.

  8. Samantha January 18, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Wow, I was just heading on over here to tell you to come back soon, and now I see you’ve returned! And not only that, you’ve recapped the same book that I just finished reading days ago on my own trip–what luck!

    “Hostage” was kind of a fun adventure, what with Bruce all costumed up and Jessica posing as a census worker to Mitch and asking him all kinds of non-census-related questions. I’m trying that technique with the next cute stranger I see. Also fun: the gang making Nicholas come to their beach day despite his entire family being in danger. Sun-kissed skin or bust!

    • winstonegbert January 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Yeah that beach day was so uncalled for! I mean, its okay to skip school to rescue your friend and her entire family who are in serious danger, but that was just plain rude! And Mitch was a massive tool.

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