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Nicole is the only grey character we have and, yes, she is a grey character. She's the one thing Higley has done right. The whole change from wanting lots of money to that not being all she wanted did not happen fast at all. I think it's always been there. Nicole came on the show a struggling waitress and then ended up in modeling where we began to see how she had aspirations to climb to the top. It was those aspirations that led to her marrying Lucas for money and giving up Eric, the guy she loved. In the end, she became a drunk as a result and was miserable. She soon got involved with Victor after Eric left town. I always saw that as her way of dealing with losing Eric. Pursuing Victor gave her a distraction and a way of getting more power and money to keep her warm at night. She did actually fall for Victor IMO because he offered her security, something that was especially needed when Paul showed up. Learning about her past, it was clear why she was the way she was.

Anyway, she was happy with Victor but then that got old and that wasn't really making her happy so she ended up having a fling with Colin that pissed off Victor and destroyed that relationship. Then, of course, we got Brady, who I think kind of reminded her of Eric in the sense that he was her only rescue from misery (with Eric, it was him saving her from a life of nothing and with Brady it was a life of misery with Victor). There was also Austin twice, who I feel also reminded her of Eric, and now we have EJ, who doesn't judge her and supports her. I think he's like Eric and Austin to her as well. I think Nicole feels that they are like kindred spirits and that is why I think she feels she has a chance with him and that is why she can show her vulnerability around him.

When she first returned, she was the same old Nicole but after EJ called her on putting up a front, she stopped doing it most of the time. He made her feel ok to show her softer side and that is why she's changed. That convinced her that love is what she wants more then anything else. I think Higley has done wonders with the character and Ari has done a fantastic job adding nuances to the role.

Having said that, the show needs more grey characters. Tony could be a great one when written that way. Philip still kind of is one. Victor is to an extent. EJ could've been a great one but they botched that. I think alot of fans don't like grey characters because they feel like they never know what the character is truly like. I disagree. I think they add variety to a canvas and keep things interesting.
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