The Young and the Restless viewers have had a sense for months there’s more to Ashland Locke’s story – and last week, the complicated and dramatic truth was revealed. For sharing Ashland’s origins, Soap Hub bestows Performer of the Week honors for Y&R on Ash’s portrayer, Richard Burgi.
Richard Burgi – Performer of the Week
Ironically, it wasn’t Ashland’s (Richard Burgi) bride’s jealous ex-husband Billy (Jason Thompson), who unearthed what Ashland’s been hiding for decades. It was actually Victoria’s (Amelia Heinle) brother Nicholas (Joshua Morrow), apparently using reporting skills he acquired while running Restless Style magazine, who discovered that Ashland actually was born Bobby DeFranco and assumed the real Ashland’s identity following a car crash they were in so that Bobby could escape his abusive father and start a new life.
“Bobby DeFranco – that’s a name I never wanted to hear again – especially from anyone in Victoria’s family,” Burgi’s Ashland sighed.
Ashland calmly confirmed to Victoria that yes, his real name is indeed Bobby DeFranco, almost relieved that the truth was finally out. Ashland hastened to point out that everything he’d told her was true about having an abusive father, an enabling mother, and that he’d run away from home. Now, Ashland shared that he had a good friend named Ashland Locke whose name he took following a car accident that claimed the real Ashland’s life.
Because the two teens – Bobby and Ashland – had gotten matching tattoos, Ashland (Bobby) was able to make it appear that it was Bobby who had died when it was really Ashland.
Ashland says that the real Ashland had always wanted to work in media. He’d arranged for an interview with a woman, Camilla Rhodes, who was going to help him realize his dream. After the car accident, Bobby took Ashland’s identity and kept the meeting, and has lived the life his late buddy had intended to live.
Ashland explained how he made a “fight or flight” decision to leave his dead friend in the burning wreckage, having switched wallets with the real Ashland. This tragedy occurred decades ago but Burgi had Ashland recount the story with a present, raw emotion given its magnitude.
“I jumped in hook, line, and sinker into the identity of Ashland Locke,” the former Bobby DeFranco explained. Fortunately, Burgi’s a daytime vet of multiple Y&R episodes. Exploring a character’s backstory after a player’s been on the canvas isn’t unfamiliar territory to the actor. He handled these challenging scenes like a pro, bringing a vulnerable believability to them.
Nick expressed a bit of cautious disbelief at Ashland’s story. Pressed for details, Ashland grew angry. “I don’t care if you’re skeptical…” Ashland barked at his future brother-in-law. “I just hope to God you never find yourself in a similar situation.” Ashland maintains that his late namesake inadvertently saved his life thanks to the identity switch.
Ashland grimly admitted to Vicki it was wrong of him not to tell the truth. He hadn’t because he was ashamed of his behavior – both then and now. Victoria, disgusted by her dirt-digging brother, exited the meeting, leaving Ashland (Richard Burgi) to tell off Nicholas in his own way. He told the Newman heir that he got his hands dirty when he was in a tragic situation, adding that that was something Nick would never understand.
Time will tell if there’s more to the mystery of Bobby DeFranco and the origins of Ashland Locke than we’ve been told. We do know that the talented Richard Burgi delivered the goods as Ashland becomes more multi-faceted and complex.
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.