Guest Author - Lynn McMonigal
I'll admit it. When I heard that the role of Todd Manning was being recast, I thought the One Life to Live writers and producers were insane. How could anyone other than Roger Howarth ever possibly be acceptable in the role? Todd is a sexy, dangerous, passionate man, characteristics that Howarth seems to embody. Finding a suitable replacement would be impossible. No matter how much fun this character might be, if a recast meant losing any of the passion and danger that is Todd, Llanview would be better off without him.
When Trevor St. John first appeared, my opinion didn't change. The storyline that brought him into town was crazy, and since the "death" of Cristian was tied to it, I knew there was no way that I would ever get used to this new Todd.
Gradually, though, the new Todd wormed his way into my heart. The danger was still there, and the passion, especially where his family was concerned, was stronger than ever. The Obsession of Margaret Cochran storyline was off-the-wall, but allowed Todd to show, in no uncertain terms, that he would do whatever he had to in order to protect his family. That he would kill Margaret to protect Starr was believable. But when Todd learned of Margaret's pregnancy, St. John showed an aspect of Todd that Howarth had never had the opportunity to show--Todd's conscience.
Killing the psychopath who had terrorized his wife and daughter was no problem. But killing an innocent child presented a problem. Killing a child the mother claimed was his made the task impossible.
The audience saw this. Todd saw this. Starr and Vicky saw this. That Blair claimed to love Todd more than life and could not see this is unforgivable.
Those final scenes of Todd in prison, preparing to die for killing a very alive Margaret and her MIA son, were gut wrenching. I'll never forget the way he was just clinging to Evangaline's arm, as she was forced out of his cell. I cried along with them both, begging for the mercy Todd had often not given to others.
It was then that I realized it had happened--not only had I accepted Trevor St. John in the role, I loved his portrayal of Todd. As he was strapped to table, saying his final words to Blair, I knew that Llanview would be a dreary place without him.