He's deadlier than the Salem Strangler. He's more sinister than the Riverfront Knifer. And, he's caused more shocking exits than the Salem Stalker. Yet, this mysterious villain has only one dark motive. No, it's not revenge - its budget cutting. His name? "The Man."
It seems like every week the list of Salem casualties is growing and the firings are being explained as "storyline dedicated." First Julie Pinson, then Judi Evans, and now the latest cost cutting extreme by "the Powers that Be" - axing Martha Madison and Brandon Beemer! Shawn and Belle!?!? Hold the phone, I might be wrong … their exits make total sense now that I think about it. They're not predominate members of core families. They're not involved in any major storylines at the moment. They're not cornerstones for the show's future. Wait! They are all those things! Silly me.
Yet more then being just angry, I'm sad to see these characters go. Whereas Martha is a very talented actress and I'm confident she'll land on her feet, I'm selfish and would much rather see her stick around Salem as I thoroughly enjoy her portrayal of Belle. I hope that "The Man" wises up and changes his mind. The same also goes for Brandon, especially now that Shawn seems to be growing up and making smarter choices. He's finally a little cool, don't nip that in the bud!
In general, this firing streak has me wondering whose next to go? Marlena? Sami? Bo? Maybe they should replace the rotating hour glass in the opening credits with a stick drawing of a clock! That should save some dough. Ugh! Ok, ok, that thud sound was me falling off my soap box in utter frustration.
And now that I'm done complaining, let's talk about Days. The beginning of the week was a little slow, but by the end things were shaking more than a bowl of Jell-O during an earthquake. It reminded me of a good old fashion "Friday Cliffhanger." I'm not sure what my favorite part was - Marlena drugging Stefano or Chelsea pulling a "stop the presses" by admitting Ford was dead! Good stuff, right? Right! So let's talk about it.
A Taste Of His Own Medicine (Marlena)
Bittersweet pretty much describes Doc's week. Sure, she has John back, but he's still a few eyebrow raises away from being the man she fell in love with. Between her battles with Dr. Carrington, whom I'm not totally convinced is on the up and up, and having to shirk off skeptical glances from Bo, Hope, and Roman who thought she was delusional, Mar-Mar had a rough one.
However the main event was Marlena vs. Stefano! And, boy, did she give it to him! And by give it to him, I not only mean the sodium pentothal, but the sleeping pills as well. Old Stef is going to soil himself when he realizes the Franken-John monster he created is nothing compared to his pawn's bride! Interestingly enough, this is just the beginning of her revenge. Fasten your seatbelt, Mr. DiMera, this is going to be a bumpy ride!
Continue Please, Mr. Black (John)
After witnessing all of John's flashbacks, ok, the same flashback of him watching that monitor with the swirling images over and over again, I'm beginning to feel not so jilted that all of Steve's deprogramming happened off screen. It was kind of … boring. Sure, I'm still glad he's back, but let's move it along interim folks. Having his memories erased and placed on a disk is very reminiscent of something James E. Reilly would do - which scares the stuffing out of me! Second helpings of a good meal, oh yeah! Second helpings of another crazy brainwashing plot, I'll pass.
At least by the end of the week some progress was made as it became fairly obvious that John's mission is to seek and destroy Colleen! Not the mother and child reunion Paul Simon wrote about I fear. His fantasy about killing Sami, the mirror image of "young" Colleen, only helps support that theory. Then again, most residents of Salem have dreamt about killing Sami at one point or another.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (E.J., Sami, and Lucas)
With a little convincing from Abe, Sami agreed to go into hiding with E.J., after setting some ground rules for him of course. Does she really think this covert exodus by the Salem P.D. will go off without a hitch? I was confused just listening to Abe explain how they are going to get to wherever they're going. First they're taking a taxi to a donkey that will carry them to the bottom of Salem Canyon. Once there, they will have to whitewater raft until they get to a fork in the river. At that point someone dressed up like Pocahontas will canoe them further down stream while singing "Just Around the Riverbend." Eventually, they'll end up in a hot air balloon, I think. I have a feeling they would be better off hiding out in the DiMera Mansion.
So amidst making her decision, Lucas stole Stefano's cell and phoned home. She found out about his cellmate. He found out about her decision and flipped out. Ok, I get him being concerned that she and Ali will be with E.J., but is he really that naïve to believe that Stefano isn't dangerous anymore just because he's in jail? The man has countless people working for him within the police department alone. He's brought people back from the dead, he's came back from the dead, yet he couldn't mess with Sami just because he's chained to a cot? Right. I'm now worried for Lucas. If he's dumb enough to believe that, who knows how long it will be before he accidentally locks himself in a refrigerator while searching for the little guy who turns off the light when the door closes.
Chico and the Man (Lucas and Stefano)
Not to Lucas bash, but what's with his budding 70's style mustache? I was waiting for him to ask one of the officers to borrow a uniform so he could sing YMCA. Anyway, so Stefano wanted to make a deal - a get out of jail free card for Lucas if he kidnaps Johnny once out of the pen! Did Stef really, I mean really, think he would agree to this? He has to have something else up his sleeve, because the Phoenix isn't that dumb or desperate. Fortunately for Lucas, it looks like his ex-mother-in-law is taking care of his roommate problems! Man, I wish I would have had Marlena around in college.
The Truth Shall Set Her Free (Chelsea and Company)
Waddago Chelsea! Despite the playing card vote and some initial reservations, she decided to do the right thing and confess! That was a smart move if you ask me and I hope the cops are a little lenient on her for coming clean. Yet, I have a feeling the Salem P.D. are going to go easier on her then her "sisters" will.
I was seriously disappointed with some of the sorority girls last week, especially Morgan which pains me to admit because I'm totally gaga over her. I think it's horribly sad that women often feel ashamed to admit they were raped, but I understand the harsh realities of society (even fictional ones). Therefore I comprehend Stephanie and Crody's reluctance to make a confession, but the other girls were being so selfish and acting very nonchalant about the entire matter (at first anyway). Sure, they're in a totally sucky situation, but they put themselves there by agreeing to a plan that had more holes in it than a pasta strainer. It wasn't fair how they quickly started to blame Chelsea when things got out of hand. Whatever happened to their promise to stick together? Sure, Chelsea went against the consensus, but she's at least trying to right a terrible wrong. Like the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right.
Oddly enough, I actually found myself rooting for Crawford this week. Sure, he's a major jerk, but his suffering (and his wife's) is devastating. The actor portraying him is doing a good job of conveying that pain. You can tell his cocky façade has been chipped away leaving a heartbroken, angry shell of a man. I'm glad Chelsea was strong enough to come forward and tell him. Her revelation should definitely set off a very interesting chain of events!
Papa Didn't Preach (Steve, Stephanie, and Kayla)
One word describes these scenes - wow! They were beautifully acted and just as gut wrenching as I expected. Shelley Hennig has been brilliant during these scenes, but her interaction with Stephen Nichols totally broke my heart, especially when he began to sob and express his regrets for not being able to protect his little girl. I'm so glad this cat is out of the bag and the Johnson family can finally begin to heal - together.
Bedside Manners (Belle and Philip)
It was nice to see Philip act like a human being again. For the first time in months, years maybe, he didn't have an angle. He was simply being a good friend by staying with Belle all week, and I do mean ALL week. He didn't try to pressure her into anything or make too many "we should be together" type comments. Ah, it was refreshing!
Then there was Belle. Justifiably, she was a hysterical mess and I felt so bad for her. Martha Madison has to be one of the best criers on daytime! Give this girl an emotional scene and she'll tear your heart out! Repeatedly, Phil tried to calm her down and even took her to see John in hopes that would help. Whoops, unfortunately, it didn't because she finally learned that her daddy doesn't remember a "Tink"-ing thing about her. At least Marlena was there to smooth things over!
Score One For The Rookie (Shawn)
Wonders never cease! Shawn was actually a super sleuth this week! First, he decided to check out Crystal's shop again. Then, he got through the door by flashing the Celtic card! I was impressed. Granted, what went down was sort of a combo of Shawn being … wow, I don't say this often … smart and Rob being stupid. I mean, really, what kind of idiot goes back to the hideout when the popo are looking for them?
Regardless, this all lead to a battle between Shawn and Rob. Again, I was impressed - this boy has fists of fury. He should look into boxing, wait that would cause more brain damage. Never mind. Anyway, Rob was arrested, but I have my doubts he'll actually confess to anything. Aside from being paid to keep quiet and his obvious devotion to the cause (he got a tattoo supporting it and all), the Salem P.D. aren't exactly the best at making suspects crack, well maybe crack up over their tactics, but that's about it. Unfortunately, this mystery seems far from being solved.
Back In The Game (Hope)
So Fancy Face is officially becoming Officer Fancy Face again! Actually, her riding shotgun with Bo the past several months had me scratching my head because I kept wondering if I'd missed something. Yet, its official now! Days has had a major surge of "girl power" lately and I think it's fantastic that the females characters on the show no longer fit into three narrow categories - victim, crazy villainess, or best friend/babysitter. We're finally beginning to see strong, smart women acting, well, strong and smart!
The Peak Zone (Steve and Kayla)
There are a few things certain to kill a romantic evening, but nothing is worse than a knock on the door followed by hearing, "It's mom!" Talk about a buzz kill! Poor Steve, first he was shot down by Kayla because she wasn't "in the zone" and then he was interrupted by his dear old mother-in-law. Well, at least it wasn't Hope this time!
Whereas their baby making attempt wasn't the most exciting part of the week, at least she wasn't questioning his sincerity on becoming a father again! That was a plus. Actually, I like how the writers are portraying a somewhat realistic approach to the situation. It's not easy for some women to conceive, so I find it socially responsible they're acknowledging that fact. However, this is Days, so I wouldn't be surprised if eventually a giant stork drops off a baby in a basket. You never know where this show will go!
Hot and Not
Hot: Bo remembered he has a daughter! Ok, technically Billie had to remind him, but, whatever, I love me some Chelsea and Bo scenes. More so, Bo left the sorority house disappointed, but he's in for a good surprise when he learns Chelsea stepped up and proved she actually did learn something over the past few years. Ok, maybe finding out she covered up a death won't be a good surprise, but at least she did the right thing. That should score her some daddy points back.
Not: Did "Dirty Uncle John" annoy anyone else this week? Considering Stefano "dry cleaned" his brain to ensure the mission goes off without a hitch, you'd think he would have erased the skirt chasing part as well. John's libido seems to be a bigger distraction than the fact he's handcuffed to a hospital bed. I miss the old John and I'm impatient, so you can see how well this brainwashing plot is working for me.
Line(s) of the Week:
Roman: (suspicious of Marlena's intentions when she arrived to see Stefano) And your bag?
Marlena: I'm a doctor. I have some medicine.
Roman: What for, Doc?
Marlena: Just incase Stefano slips into anaphylactic shock.
Roman: So you think Stefano might get bit by a bee while he's sitting in his jail cell? Is that it?
The Milk Carton:
I haven't seen Kate lately! When a week goes by and she's not there meddling in one of her children's lives I start to worry. Hmm, maybe she's spending some quality time with Cassie! That must be it.
Where was Slone during the sorority scenes? The night Ford died there were only six sisters there (Chelsea, Stephanie, Morgan, Carmen, Cordy, and Slone), so where did Ms Sassy Blonde Chick come from? Was that Ashley? If so, how did she find out? And why did she get to vote? I was confused.
Does anyone else like Detective Kenny Loggins, I mean Detective Sullivan, and wish to see more of him? There's something about him I find interesting. Maybe it's the fact that he actually seems like a good cop and Salem surely needs more of them! Too bad they're getting rid of Billie, they would have made a cute pair.
If Steve forgot his wallet at the pub, how did he pay for that huge bouquet of yellow roses he bought Kayla?
There were so many advertisements for Lipstick Jungle popping up on the screen throughout the week I thought Brooke Shields was in jail with Lucas and Stefano at one point. I get why networks have to advertise, but nothing kills a good scene more than losing half the screen to promos. Note to NBC, make your ads a little smaller. Thanks!
Parting Thoughts …
It seemed like this week had one purpose - to build momentum for the next one, yet I can't wait to see what happens! Will sorority confessions finally be made or will Stephanie stop Chelsea from talking? Will Claire be found? Will Marlena carry out her revenge? Will Colleen fill in the blanks to what's going on lately? Will John stop hitting on the nurses?
So friends and Days fans, that's "Two Scoops" for the week of January 21st, and, as Pre-Brain Erased John Black used to say, "That's a fact."
As always, thanks for reading!