Yes it is that Mal Young. There are certain things that actually work on Y&R IMO so I wonder how much of it is him. That said, I can see him not wanting the top position until he learned how that show worked. He's been there long enough that maybe he'll take over, we shall see.
I think the only reason they did the flashback of Victor and his father was because they wanted to do a tribute on screen to that television legend. That being said I thought it was a classy thing to do (for a change.)
For me it depends on the show. On soaps, I consider "young" a person who can be nominated in the younger actor/actress category at the Emmys. That being said on Days, Billy is "young" in comparison to many of the stars, and before they had the teen group (just JJ and Paige), I saw Chad, Abby, and Ben as one of the young stories.
Caroline doesn't blame Thomas for them having sex. The problem is that B&B had Caroline black out and be shocked she had sex with Thomas the next morning. She mixed a pill with booze, and Thomas had no idea she would not remember. He thought she consented, but it was dubious at best. So part of the audience feels like this made Thomas into a creepy rapist.
Leslie Charleson has been off contract for years, so it isn't her. (Though we still may not see her again for months.) Jane Elliot though has a contract, that said if she was dropped wouldn't it have come out somehow. (And she'd just "retire")
With the MyNetworkTV shows, they did an omnibus, so I watched that. I didn't view it every night as no enough time, and the flashbacks. The omnibus wasn't as frustrating. Getting back lapsed viewers is very difficult. People move on and that's that. I think most people who leave a soap do so gradually and not just for one event.
They also posted a video of Steve Burton and Josh Morrow playing a game where one of them was wearing earphones while the other spoke. They had to guess what the other was saying. That is such a party game, how is that NSFD?