The storyline was pretty simple. (Full weeks devoted to the same storyline are bound to do that.) Personally, I was ready for the residents to get out of the hospital on Wednesday, but I would not be so lucky. For those of you who missed it: Stefano is awake, speaking, haunting, threatening, and sporting some very snappy PJ's that would make Hugh Heffner proud. He enlisted the help of a masked antagonizer to inject Marlena with the same drug cocktail that she gave to Stefano mere months ago.
Thanks to John, Anna, EJ, and Sami; Marlena ended up in the hospital in time for Kayla to try to figure out an antidote. Steve and Tony were there to booo Stefano. And, Lucas and Chloe were just innocent bystandards. Stefano shot some hallucinating smoke into the unlucky seventh floor that trapped the whole lot of them in literal lockdown and virtual reality-check. The storyline might not have been much…but the character development….that's a whole other story.
This wasn't a story about Stefano. It's a story about Marlena. And, it's a true tragedy. (I mean that in the best way!) Her main flaw: inadequate amounts of evil. Some would say that that's a good thing, but in this case, it was truly her downfall. Did Stefano have a punishment coming to him? Yes. Is Marlena a victim? Totally. But is Marlena a villain? She shouldn't be, but in this case, she was. The problem is that she's kinda crappy at it. Instead of getting rid of the threat, she just ticked off the Phoenix.
Marlena is going to have to reconcile the fact that she found it in her to torture another human being. Some may argue that Stefano had it coming. That's fine. They won't get an argument from me. But, if those same people try to tell me that Marlena isn't a completely different person, I'll have to protest.
Marlena couldn't set out to kill Stefano; that would be too easy. She wanted him to live with the pain of being trapped in his own body. If she didn't value human life so much, maybe she could have killed Stefano. But, being a psychologist, she knew that it's worse to live with pain than die a victim. So, she dug down deep and flipped on the villain switch. My guess is that everyone in Salem will forgive her long before she forgives herself.
TONY and ANNA
They were the gold standard for me this week. Great acting, excellent timing, and unlike another certain veteran supercouple on this show, Tony and Anna get better when they are in scenes together.
Comedy is certainly Leann's thing. The way she pleaded with John to call a cab, the way she worried about her helmet hair, and the way she stopped John and Tony's argument by accusing them of being five years old, made me giggle. Yet, she didn't come across as silly. This time around, she's not letting Stefano get the best of her. Anna is fearless both in defending Tony and bringing down Stefano.
Tony held his own too. It was a great choice on behalf of the writers to have Tony hear Stefano's tearful confession of what it was like to be in the coma. The only thing more real than Stefano's pain was Tony's utter disbelief. For those of you keeping score, Stefano has been in a coma for seven months. Tony was on a deserted island for 20 years. Yet, here Tony was listening to Stefano's monologue of pain, suffering, and injustice. It was kind of like complaining to a gunshot victim that you have a sunburn. Part of Tony is scared of Stefano. Part of Tony is repulsed by Stefano. Part of Tony is surprised at Marlena. But, all of Tony loves Anna. And all of Tony doesn't trust John. I hope that this storyline means that we'll get to see more of these two!
STEVE and KAYLA
Remember that supercouple that I mentioned earlier? The ones who are much better when they aren't in scenes together? It's these two. I cheered when feisty Kayla told off John. Truth be told, she is the perfect person to stand up for Marlena because who knows better than Kayla what it's like to have Stefano brainwash her husband? This is the Kayla I love. Steve also had a great scene with John. Not only did he physically stop John from killing Stefano, but he reasoned with John too. Getting John to admit that he was wrong is no small task.
But alas, as soon as they got into a scene together, they lost my interest. Their acting consisted of choreographed stumbling and intricate flailing. Their dialog was something like this: "Oh! (cough! cough!) I, I, I, can't breathe….ehhhhhh…..BABY JOE!! ARE YOU OK? YOU STAY WITH US!! ughhhh....(cough! cough!)….oh….I feel light heaaaa…..(pass out)."
They repeated this dance for three days. Vets like Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols deserve better.
Luckily there's one member of the Johnson family that entertained me this week! Joey came into Stefano's possession. Very interesting…the son of a DiMera pawn and a Brady…. The possible implications of this act are great. First, if they can prove it was Stefano who took Joey, which shouldn't be hard since all of the other people on the floor are family/friends, the cops might be able to bring charges against him. Second, if Stefano does hold onto Joey for a while…it's probably a lot easier to reprogram someone who has a few weeks of memories as opposed to whole decades....
For the first time, Stefano actually repulsed me…and I mean that in a good way. I always thought he was a little bit of a comical villain. I never really felt his plight. But, now, I totally get it. The guy is the most self-centered, stubborn, and oblivious person on the show. He's pure crazy. I'm blown away that he can be so angry about the seven months that he lost when he's taken decades away from other characters. Yet, I found myself making a strange peace with Stefano. I think Tony said it best when he stopped midsentence and said, "ohh….why do I even bother. I never could get through to you." So, Stefano's a plain ol' bad guy. His logic is flawed at best, and his plans are always sinister. This whole Marlena vs. Stefano story is an interesting twist. I never thought I'd see the day when Stefano fell out of obsession with Marlena. But it looks like he did. And, he set his sights on "the next best thing," returning John to ultimate pawn status.
His on-screen return did bring up a few questions. I don't know if the writers are going to address these issues but just for kicks, here are my theories/guesses about the return of the Phoenix.
How did Stefano know what was going on all this time? Wasn't he in a coma?
Answer/Theory -- Yes, he was in a coma. But, we don't know how long. My theory is that he's been faking being in the coma for some time. It's not beyond belief that Stefano could fool the doctors at the institution into thinking that he's incapacitated. After all, he fooled Lexie and Kayla, and they're supposed to be the elite doctors!
Why isn't Stefano under arrest? I realize that he was in a coma, but does that mean that he didn't kidnap, torture, and brainwash John Black?
Answer/Theory -- This is the one that stumped me. Puzzled, I ran as fast as I could to have a CAT scan (In the world of this scooper, CAT stands for "Consider Asking Tony"). My faithful compadre came up with three very reasonable solutions: First, despite Stefano being on-screen for days, it's only been a few hours in "Salem time." Technically, it's the same day as Bope's wedding. So, the Wonder Boys down at the Salem precinct didn't know that their Most Wanted is alive and kicking. Second, Stefano may not be considered well enough to stand trial. I'm pretty sure that the defendant has a right to be present, and Stefano clearly appeared unable to "all rise" when the honorable judge entered the courtroom. Finally, even if the cops did know that Steffie was up, out, and about to run marathons, the statute of limitations may have run out while Stefano was in his coma. In a town where the legal system allows private citizens to bring about criminal charges, it makes sense that trials can never take place, even though the crime certainly did. Personally, I like Tony's third idea best because it may also explain why Stefano waited so long to come out of the coma.
EJ and SAMI
EJ impressed me this week. Not only is he struggling with the return of his father, but unlike Tony and Lexie who have always renounced their DiMera roots, EJ is struggling with the return of his old life. The money, the fame, and the lack of accountability all sound enticing. But, he'd have to leave his career, abandon his upward-trending reputation, and most importantly, he'd have to leave Sami. I don't see that happening any time soon.
Sami made huge progress in my book this week. Don't get me wrong, she has a long way to go, but Sami did three things that really intrigued me. First, she had two flashbacks dealing with Stefano. One was of the deal she made with Stefano. The other was of Stefano breaking that deal. I know that some will argue that this means the return of "Stop this Vendetta" Sami, but I'm optimistic that this means that the light went off in Sami's head that Stefano doesn't keep his word. Second, Sami had a really honest talk with John. She told him that it might be time for them to give up on the old John and accept the new one. I see a strange alliance forming between these two. Finally, Sami acknowledged that Lucas coming back threw her for a loop, and she maybe didn't handle it in the healthiest way. (ya think?!?) I love it when characters "get it." I just hope she keeps it.
Ejami did not impress me this week. I know, I know, they shared a kiss, and Sami told EJ that anything is possible. Well, swell. But all that really does is further Ejami enough to keep them alive, but not moving forward. I'm just a teeny bit skeptical. I want more than a random kiss and a repeat storyline for James Scott and Alison Sweeney. Like Mary Beth and Steven, these two deserve more. I'm not taking the bait this time, writers! There's no way I believe you're finally giving Sami and EJ a resolution. You're not foolin' this scooper!
CHLOE and LUCAS
There were a few things this week that seemed out of place. Lucas and Chloe being involved in the Stefano/Marlena storyline was one of them. Both of them are slightly connected to Marlena, at best. In the hierarchy of family, an ex-son-in-law and ex-stepdaughter-in-law don't really amount to much. But, they did provide some comic relief for me. I had to chuckle when Lucas hopped out of his hospital bed, ripped off his monitors, and decided he'd had enough of Salem's fine medical care. Lucas is getting to be quite the expert at ditching monitoring devices, huh?
It's so strange. Everything that used to bother me about Lucas when he was with Sami, I thoroughly enjoy when he's with Chloe. He does have a little bit of a superman complex and can be a little stubborn. But, Chloe's, "Ummm….all right….yes! Let's get out of here. What can I do to help?" attitude towards Lucas is very refreshing. While Sami always seemed like her main goals in life were to either not let Lucas find out about something or prove something to Lucas, Chloe can just roll right along with the plans, no matter how harebrained they may seem. Chloe isn't always trying to stay one step ahead of Lucas, and I like that about this couple.
PHILLIP and NICOLE
Yeah, these two have no business talking to each other. But, I'll give the writers a pass since I enjoy both of these characters. So, what do you do when you have two completely unrelated characters talking to each other? Why, have them talk about their deepest personal feelings, of course!
Philip confesses that he doesn't deserve Chloe, or anyone for that matter. Hmmm….there's many ways to interpret this statement. Personally, I think it's another confession that bodes well for my favorite supercouple-in-training, Phorgan. Philip went from being a spoiled rich kid to a…well….spoiled rich man, and he's never apologized for anything. Yet, a few hours after confessing to Morgan that he threatened her father, Philip has a moment of self-reflection where he actually seemed ashamed of something that he had done. Like I said, I just love it when characters "get it."
Speaking of "getting it," Nicole needs to catch on fast. Hopefully seeing the security tape of EJ kissing Sami will be the kick in the rear that Nicole needs. Nothing against EJ or Sami, but how many times does Nicole have to be metaphorically punched in the gut before she comes to her senses and gives up on the idea of being with EJ? Yes, I think Nicole really does have feelings for EJ, and he has been there for her a lot recently. But, it's almost like she honestly thought the dude who yelled out another woman's name during their elevator romp made an honest mistake. Yeah, that's it. He's just really bad with names.
Pairing her with EJ has been a real injustice to the character of Nicole, whom I happen to enjoy and love! Nicole isn't usually one to play the victim when it comes to men (just ask Colin Murphy). Yet, there she is, making hurt puppy dog faces when she hears that EJ was with Sami. Part of me wanted to throw on my heels and take that lady out for a martini and a talk about what a fun character she can be! Everyone in Salem, including big sis Lexie, knows that EJ is not over Sami. "Desperate" is not a good look on any lady, and least of all a knockout like Nicole.
John's character development had less to do with his own feelings than it did with other characters' feelings towards him. Sami believes that he isn't going to be the "old John" again, but he still can help her mom. Tony doesn't trust John and would like to have control over some of the DiMera business ventures. EJ trusts John even less than Tony and has set a plan in motion to take John down. And, Stefano sees John as the ultimate tool he can use to get revenge on Marlena. John is really the catalyst in this whole story.
So, the ultimate question remains: who is fit to run the DiMera empire? I'm sure that we'll get to watch a JBD vs. Stefano showdown. But after this week, I'm not so sure that John has what it takes to take down Stefano. Personally, I think that the only hope to ever take over and keep control of the DiMera empire is for Lexie, Tony, and EJ to join forces. Think about it. Lexie has the proven ties to the community. Tony has the charm (with both the residents of Salem and the Days viewers). And, EJ has the all-important knowledge of how Stefano operates. I find it deliciously ironic that Stefano, the man who preaches "family," may meet his ultimate demise when his children finally start acting like family, only it's to unite against him.
Rolf went missing as soon as Stefano regained consciousness. Stefano has the disc that Marlena gave to Rolf. You do the math.
I feel like Stefano should have some sort of infatuation with Chloe. As much as he likes opera, you'd think that he would be more starstruck by this international opera singer.
I'm amazed at the lightning-fast speed the Salem Police Department took to swing into action. In just a few hours, they have the place blocked off, technicians at work, and Lexie on the case helping them look at the hospital plans.
The Queen of the Night flashbacks were awesome. Pretty Woman meets Phantom of the Opera, what's not to love?
Anna DiMera. I love this woman. I love that she saved Marlena's life. I love that she fiercely stood up for Tony when he was ready to give up on himself. And, I especially love that she promised Marlena that together, they would go after Stefano. Guts, passion, and loyalty -- where do I get my "Anna for President" pin?
Dr. Kayla Johnson. So let me get this straight. Kayla worked frantically to find an antidote. Then, Marlena told Kayla to administer the antidote because there wasn't much time left. But, when the smoke came, Kayla put the needle down, put the mask on Marlena, and then left the room to find help. Then, she went to find Steve and Joey. I know, I know, it was all for dramatic emphasis. But seriously…really...really?
Since the storyline moved slowly, it all took place in basically the same location, and it really wasn't interspersed with other storylines, I noticed a lot more continuity problems this time.
1. The week opened with Anna running to church to find Marlena. When they found Marlena, she was wearing the same clothes she had on for the wedding. Anna and John wore the same clothes all week. Thus, I assume that it was still the day of the wedding. Yet, Kayla was already on duty at the hospital, and Steve had a scheduled doctor's appointment for baby Joe. Who schedules a doctor appointment on the same day as their brother and sister-in-law's vow renewal ceremony? I guess they were going to leave the reception and then come back later?
2. Sami and EJ ended up in the stairwell, even though all of the doors were supposedly locked on the seventh floor, including those to the stairs.
3. Marlena's oxygen mask was removed three different times. The first time it happened, we were supposed to think it was Stefano. Yet, the male hand that removed the mask was not wearing the phoenix ring. Mistake? Or, was it Stefano's accomplice?
LINE OF THE WEEK:
John to Stefano: Did you enjoy your coma?
Don't tell anyone, but I've been seeing things. Mainly, I've been seeing the resemblance between some non-Days celebrities and Days' cast members. Head over to my blog to check out my visions.
Well, that's it, Days fans! One Olympic week down and one more to go! Tony will be back next week when Days pays tribute to my absolute favorite film tactic of all time, film noir. I'm green with envy that my partner gets to cover this black and white spectacular, as I am a hopeless classic movie junkie. (Are you really surprised?) I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you are too!
Need more Two Scoops? Head over to read blogs by Laurisa or Tony for more ranting, raving, and all-out randomness