Last week, Theo was officially diagnosed with autism, and James Reynolds and Renee Jones did a wonderful job of expressing the complicated range of emotions associated with his diagnosis.
It seemed like almost everyone in Salem played a dangerous game last week. Chloe put herself on the line by lying for Lucas. Sami attempted to buddy up to Nicole only to have that backfire - a fire which burnt her as well as Lucas and E.J. Philip risked showing his hand by giving Marlena an ace. He also went against better judgment, and his father's wishes, and continued to travel down Smittenville Road with Morgan. Hope decided to keep Chelsea's date with Dr. Dan a secret from Bo … luckily that didn't come back to smack her in her fancy face. Finally, Max nearly went ballistic, but the Brady Bunch kept him occupied enough with small talk that nothing really happened, yet! Whew! All that and an emotionally charged storyline with the Carvers and it was a heck of a week in Salem. Let's talk about it.
(Abe, Lexie and Theo)
I have to hand to Dena Higley as she is writing one powerful storyline for the Carver Family. Last week, Theo was officially diagnosed with autism and the performances were off the charts. Both James Reynolds and Renee Jones did a wonderful job of expressing the complicated range of emotions associated with his diagnosis. James, in particularly, stepped up his acting game as he went from denial to supportive. When he simply held Lexie it was very touching. Sometimes it seems that Abe gets shuffled into being simply a sidekick to the Brady Bunch's drama so it was a nice treat that he and Lexie are getting their own storyline … that doesn't involve cheating! I'm very eager to see how this plays out and hopefully we'll get a visit or two from Celeste. I miss that psychic! I have a vision, readers, me being happy if Celeste shows up. In all seriousness, though, this is a great, relevant storyline and I'm glad Days is addressing it with such taste and class - way to go Dena!
(Nicole and Trent)
I'll start this section off with a little more praise because Arianne Zuker was a complete rock star last week! I always love seeing bitchy drunk Nicole, but it's also great to see her softer vulnerable side … while she's still drunk. It's also a showing of great acting talent and writing when you can feel sorry for a sometimes nasty, diva-like character. This part of the "Mean Dean" storyline is certainly intriguing and the mystery is just starting to unravel. It seems he "took her in" from an abusive home, yet played his own twisted mind games with her. It's becoming painfully clear where all of Nicole's love insecurities stemmed from and I feel bad for her! Really, Trent needs punched … quick, someone anger Max so he becomes "Mean Max," turns green and takes out his daddy dearest. When all is said and done, I'm hooked on this part of the plot and can't wait to see how Max and Nicole will interact if they get a chance to discus things. Then again, there are the secrets both Nikki and Trent threatened each other with, so this one seems a long way from over!
(Max, Caroline and Company)
The positive thing about this storyline is that it's involving the entire Brady Family. They're unstoppable when presenting a united front. Steve and Kayla are in on it - cool. Roman and Bo are eager to lend a helping hand - also cool. And, I'm always happy to see Max and Caroline bonding - very cool. They have such good chemistry in that mother/son way. She simply adores him and wants to protect her child. Max, however, isn't making it easy on anyone, including himself. I feel for the guy, however, some of this storyline ticks me off as it's coming across as basically a plot device to keep reminding viewers that "Stax" aren't related by blood. I can totally understand Max wanting to explore his roots, especially since they casually strolled into his direct path, but I don't like the aspect of using it to justify "Stax." I've never fully warmed up to them as a couple, I'll be honest with that, but this part of the "Mean Dean" saga doesn't do anything for me but make my eyes roll. I'm rooting for Max, he's a good guy, he's a Brady after all, but I can't wait for this chapter to be over.
The Dating Game (Chelsea and Dr. Dan)
Ok, so after that rant I'm going to risk other dangerous Days territory and talk about "the" date. I'm hoping "Dansea" haters out there won't throw cyber rotten tomatoes or eggs at me, but I enjoyed it! Aside from being romantic, it was fun. Back in the day, prior to heightened security and all, I once went on a first date to an airport. Odd? Sure, but, fun and memorable? Certainly! We ate soft pretzels, watched the plans come in and out and simply talked. So, to me, the "Dansea" date ending up in the hospital was a cool twist. Well, it being in Kate's old room was a little weird, but I'll skip over that part.
From beginning to end, the date itself was fun to watch. It's obvious that these two admire each other and I loved all the butterflies and nervousness. It made it seem so real! I also loved the fact they head on, fully addressed the huge elephant in the room which is their age difference. I give Hope thumbs up for showing concern, yet respecting Chelsea's desires to see where it goes before playing the "no way - over my dead body card." I love me some Hope and Chelsea bonding time! If you would have told me a few years back they would be so dang cute together I would have laughed, but I love these two. Hope is the perfect anchor to keep a swooning Chelsea grounded with. There chats are just so natural and Hope has this maternal instinct that shines when she's around her stepdaughter. After all, Fancy Face knows a little something about dating a guy your family doesn't approve of! Speaking of him, Bo's reaction was a little less cool, but he accepted the bitter truth by saying, "He's kind of old for you … but you're an adult." A very valid point. SO, with his hesitant green light, Chelsea and Dr. Dan, Date One, began.
His compliments and the way her eyes brightened when she looked at him reminded me of how fun dates can be (good ones at least). I liked that it wasn't this cool, calm flawless date. They addressed nervousness, hesitations, there was awkwardness yet they admitted their attraction to each other and even talked about not rushing things, but happily seeing where things could go. They surprised each other with small tokens and simply enjoyed each other's company. In a town saturated with love triangles, heck love hexagons, back from the dead spouses and dating relatives, it was nice to see a couple with fresh burdens to endure yet facing them together head on. Sure she might be younger, but that sounds like a healthy, mature approach to things. And with that, I'm happy to say Chelsea seems to be back on the "mature bus" after her falter with the wanting to work at the hospital thingy. Yay to that!
The Storyline Express
(Tony and Anna)
Whereas there was a lot of good last week, there was another part that ticked me off - that being Tony and Anna's express lane storyline. I still don't get why these two awesome characters are circling Salem in their own little satellite. They both have tons of ties in town, yet we only see them once every week or so and, 99% of the time, they're together. Trust me, I LOVE seeing them, but it's always so rushed and contrived. Like the Lumberg thing. Tony asks Anna to work for him. She says no and I loved her reasoning. You go girl - stay independent! However, ten seconds later, the mysterious speaker phone voice, Mr. Lumberg, spontaneously shows up while Tony is conveniently away, tells Anna they are closing the agency and just like that she accepts her husbands offer. It was well acted, but it's just a shame they rushed a storyline like this when several others are so stagnant right now. I really hope they don't pull another Julie Pinson or Judi Evans and let two great actors go for the lack of storyline. That would be bad, very bad.
Not So Fast, Dr. Evans
(John, Marlena, Philip and Ava)
I thought it was a nice gesture that Philip gave Marelna the disk back. Sure she was peeved at him for taking it in the first place, but, like when E.J. told her John was alive, she was more happy than angry. That set everything up for her heartbreaking, frustrating chat with John. He doesn't want to know what's on the disk! This is all playing out well for the most part and I'm able to see both sides of the coin.
Heads is Marlena. More than anything, she just wants her husband back. The poor lady is at the end of a rapidly fraying rope and isn't catching a break. If it's not John's attitude, its one of his "lady friends" showing up to rub the situation in her face. I feel bad for her, yet its great material for Deidre to play with. That's a plus.
John, of course, is tails … or if the coin had a picture of a donkey's head on the front, he'd be the … rear end. Yet, I can't blame him for having reservations. His first memories are those of being strapped to a chair and tortured. Not fun. So this is a hard one. Who do you feel worse for? The man who's scared to remember or the woman who's scared he won't?
Yet if John and Marlena are the coin, Dr. Rolf and Ava are the ones tossing it. He's not that smart of an insane genius if he honestly thinks Blondie believes his lies. Had nothing to do with it - rrriiiggghhhttt. I can certainly understand her irritation and, if she were my friend, I would hightail it to her house with a bottle of wine and some ice cream. Normally, Marlena the victim is annoying, but this time I honestly sympathize with her.
Ava on the other hand is still one of my favorites, but I'm a little worried she's getting a bit too attached to John. The last time that happened didn't turn out to well for anyone involved. I have this nervous feeling they are going to box her into a corner, making her too evil and she'll end up being chased out of Salem with burning torches by the villagers.
Sweet Little Lies
(Chloe and Lucas)
I have to admit - I'm enjoying this Chloe/Lucas storyline a lot. It's sort of redeeming two so-so characters and thrusting them into new territory that's fun to watch. I also like Chloe going out on a limb for Lucas! That's pretty cool of her. Unfortunately, her secret desire to stick it to Morgan seems to be backfiring as its only pushing Morgan and Philip closer, but I'm not complaining about that either! Actually I'm jazzed to be invested in characters I was close to writing off as stale storyline road kill. Lucas just shines when he's not whining about Sami and Chloe is a lot cooler when she gets to focus on things other than her fling with Phil. I'm hoping these two start steaming up the screen soon, they both deserve to move onto greener pastures.
The Paul Hollingsworth Saga
(John, Philip, Morgan and the Salem P.D.)
This is turning out to be a cool mix of characters! It's like a mini-melting pot of Salem's finest. I love sassy Morgan going after John. Sure, Paul might have been a bit shady, but he was her father and she loved him, so good for her. It's also mixing Roman, who you can almost see smiling at the thought of sticking it to John. Yet, RoboJohn isn't making himself look innocent with his cryptic chatter, "Paul won't say a word." Wishful thinking or insider info? What if he's subconsciously slipping back into mercenary mode? That could be interesting, however, I honestly don't think John is a killer (now) or would stand for it, so this could get interesting if he finds out Ava did it (if she did that is). It would test his conscious and, if he turned his back on her, give Marlena something to be hopeful about. The big elephant in this scenario is Morgan finding out what happened. The poor girl is going to be devastated. Not only is her daddy floating in the Salem River, but, to some extent, Philip is involved and none of that equals a pretty scenario. I'm still into this and I didn't think I would be at this point, so that does equal a pretty scenario.
Hot & Not
: Lucas and E.J. finding common ground - over a pastrami sandwich? Priceless! These two semi-bonding was fun to watch. They still got to play off each other, yet it was a little lighter than there normal cut throat jabs. Lucas definitely cracked me up when he kept not so subtly hinting that, yah, maybe he'd like the sandwich. Too funny.
: This Kate hating Dr. Dan thing is starting to get a little annoying. I like that it's a budding mystery, yet I'm worried about the payoff. I hope, really hope, they didn't have an off-screen tryst as it would be so Billie/Nick 2.0. I didn't mind that twist the first time, but a sequel is seldom as good as the original.
Line of the Week
"If he can put up with Nicole, he can put up with you," Philip's response to Kate that Victor wouldn't mind her recovering at the Kiriakis Mansion.
Who else laughed when John said Rolf was off at his tango lesson!? That was hysterical! Days certainly has stepped up its balance of comedy and drama and I'm all for it.
I really think Sami should move out of the DiMera Mansion at this point. E.J. isn't going anywhere and I don't think he should - he's family and it was his home first. Lucas can't go anywhere … well, he can, but no one knows that. This leaves Sami, who should take the phrase, "you go girl" literally and get herself out of the love tug-of-war she's in.
Finally, HUGE congratulations to Alison Sweeney and her husband as they are expecting their second child together! I hope that she has a safe, easy pregnancy. I also hope the best for the viewers … meaning, please oh please, don't have "Stan" return to Salem or yet another baby daddy storyline!
Parting Thoughts …
So friends and Days fans, that's "Two Scoops" for the week of June 23rd. It seems like time is flying so I can't believe I am saying this, but I wish you all a great, very fun, very safe Fourth of July weekend! Make sure to eat grilled foods, keep hydrated and enjoy some fireworks! And, as pre-brainwashed John Black used to say, "That's a fact."
As always, thanks for reading!
Need more Two Scoops? Laurisa and I are always up to something, so make sure to check out our soapcentral.com Blogs for more ranting, raving and all-out randomness!