Name: Rafael Rivera (a.k.a. Rafe)
Parents: Natalia Rivera, Gus Aitorro-Spaulding (a.k.a. Nicky, a.k.a. Nicholas Augustino)
Age: Approximately 18
Romantic liaisons: Daisy Cooper (a.k.a. Susan LeMay)
Occupation: None, currently considering a career in law enforcement.
Other romantic or familial connections: Rafe is currently uninvolved with anyone, romantically. Unfortunately, his extended family is currently uninvolved with him.
This kid is a SPAULDING. You’d never know it because none of the Spauldings bother to speak his name – he doesn’t get to help plan Lizzie’s wedding to Bill. None of his extended family visited him while he was incarcerated. There’s no evidence that anyone knows that he’s been released – Well, based on the eps I’ve been watching. GL IS putting me to sleep these days. There’s no evidence that anyone cares what’s happened to him, other than his mother, Olivia Spencer, and Frank Cooper.
In the time Rafe was incarcerated, Alan Spaulding has voiced his ‘concern’ for his granddaughter, Emma; has tried to control and manipulate his granddaughter, Lizzie, to stop her from becoming romantically involved with Bill Lewis; he’s appealed to his grandson, James, to be a ‘family first’ sort of man in order to win favor with him (Alan’s true objective is to butter James up in the hopes of getting closer to Beth – James’ mother).
Not one word – that I’ve heard, has been uttered about Rafe’s care. He still has diabetes and has not received the best possible care given his financial situation. What sort of care is he getting now? Does anyone know because it was a plot point with Alan before. It seems to not matter at all now. Can’t we have a scene with Rafe running into ‘grandpa Alan’ at Cedar’s?
Given the fact that Alan has lost Beth for good, and was previously obsessed with Natalia,you would THINK that Alan might try to move in and muscle Olivia out of Natalia’s life – what a battle that could have been! Instead? Rafe may as well be dead to Alan. This glaring oversight is made WORSE by the fact that rather than incorporate the only diversity there has been in the Spaulding family lately, the writers have decided to rely on aimless plot devices that have Rafe deciding that he wants to be a police officer.
When you shoot the town’s District Attorney and then flee the country, joining the Springfield PD’s finest is hardly a realistic occupational aspiration. Why isn’t Alan trying to woo Rafe over to the Spaulding side of the family? He likes to pit his children and grandchildren against one another. Rafe was falling under the evil spell Alan was casting before he was incarcerated. He was seduced by the fancy sports car, the big house, the pockets full of money… you name it! Wouldn’t he have an even greater appetite for success, now?
Wouldn’t Rafe be the perfect foil for James? I could even <gulp> try to tolerate Daisy if the dueling cousins ended up at odds in part because of her, and not just Alan’s manipulations. That Daisy has moved on to yet another person who was ‘out to get him’ might cause Rafe a bit of conflict in deciding what kind of response he’d want to make. He respects Frank and thinks of him as a father, of sorts, but may feel a loyalty to his own grandfather and want to make the lives of the Cooper family miserable.
Once Rafe tires of Alan’s manipulations, James could play ‘favored grandson’ and Rafe would end up on the receiving end of all of Alan’s material substitutions for love. It would have been the recasting of Phillip and Alan-Michael in a new generation. Rafe could pull off the Phillip role, James as Alan-Michael. I could see Rafe growing a conscience and eventually turning on Alan to protect Frank and the Coopers. That would be enough for Alan to switch his loyalties and support to James. Rafe would have to turn to someone else in the family for help. Phillip? Beth? Lizzie? Bill Lewis?
I’m very disappointed that the writers continue to treat Rafe as the ‘disadvantaged youth’ from the wrong side of the tracks, unworthy of recognition by the Spauldings. What a missed opportunity, but then GL has been far too full of those, these past few years.