It's hard to believe that Days of Our Lives, a show with such humble beginnings, would someday be known as the soap opera that brought demonic possession to daytime, but that is the case and it was one man's vision that made it a reality - James E. Reilly. Be it angels or demons, vicious villainesses or Susan Banks, he managed to create unique characters and craft storylines that daytime viewers hadn't seen before. He was truly a pioneer and, even though he is gone too soon, his contributions to the soap world will certainly live on in the annals of television history. One behalf of Laurisa and myself, we send our most sincere condolences to his loved ones.
Now, with a heavy heart, I must use perhaps the most overused line in the industry and say "the show must go on." More specifically, I must go on to talk about the show and, OH, what a show it was last week! Yet, I'm still not sure if that was a good "oh" or a bad one as many things that happened last week kept the angel and devil on my shoulders bickering. Actually, at one point, they got into a fist fight! Not good. So, let's take a Dramamine and discuss the ups and downs of life in Salem.
Another One Bites the Dust (Mayor Marino, the DiMeras & Sami)
Ups: As an audience we always like to see the "bad guy" get what's coming to 'em and seeing such a nasty piece of work get it was great. Combine that with the fact it seems Stefano might have ordered the hit and we're possibly on the road to an interesting storyline! The Phoenix is at his best when he's doing the worst, but lately he's been a little dormant and it's nice to see that volcano erupting again.
More so, I like that he (possibly) did it for Lexie and Theo as sometimes I feel like he forgets about those two … especially Theo. It will also be interesting if he does turn out to be the brains behind the operation and Abe finds out. That might cause a little inner conflict in ole' Honest Abe - sure he stands up for truth, justice and the American way, but how about revenge on an enemy that hurt his family? I doubt that he'd give his pop-in-law a high five, yet he might have to admit that vigilantly justice does has its perks.
Additionally, by Sami witnessing the crime, it throws her into a new storyline that doesn't involve the emotional ping pong game that's been going on between her, E.J. and Nicole. I'm ALL for that! Granted, Sami the Schemer is usually more fun to watch than Sami the Victim, but I'm heading into this with an open mind. An open mind and hopes that we get a little "Ejamicole" break!
Downs: With Trent's murder mystery still going on, is there enough room for another whodunit in Salem? True, we know who the killer is … some guy we've never seen before killed a new character no one could stand… so I'm not sure if I'm supposed to care about that part or not. I'm interested in the Sami aspect of things, but, since the bad guy's dead, I say long live Mayor Carver!
Crazy Little Thing Called Politics (Abe & Lexie)
Ups: This entire storyline is one big up in my opinion! For starters, I'm glad the Carvers continue to be front and center in a positive way (a.k.a a non-adulterous plot). It seems like every hardship they've gone through over the years is being flung at them, yet they're facing it head on instead of letting it destroy them again. For the first time in a long time, I actually see the sparks between Abe and Lexie. That's good - no, that's great!
Second, I love Lexie's fiery attitude! It's so awesome to see her using her powers for good instead of cheating, I meant evil … good instead of evil. To further drive home the above point, I finally feel like she wants to be with Abe, not out of guilt or obligation, but because she simply loves the guy. Again, haven't noticed that one in a while and I'm glad they're back in a good place - together!
Finally, I actually liked to hate Lacey! She was a pretty good bad girl and a perfect example of a quest spot. She came, did what she had to do and didn't overstay her welcome. Well, she might have overstayed her welcome at Chez Rouge, but that scene was pretty intense in a perfectly soap opera-ish way!
Downs: There are only two minor things that bother me about this storyline and, for me, that's pretty good. First, I didn't like how Abe backed down to Lacey at the press conference. Instead of making him look principled, it made him look weak - which he's not. I wouldn't suggest he bash her back, but he should have had her escorted out sooner then fielded questions from the overzealous reporters. Sometimes by not saying anything it makes a person look mighty guilty. Not good for someone running for office.
Second, and again this is minor, but I was sort of disappointed that none of the Bradys were there for Abe's big announcement. He's always been their biggest supporter, yet none of them showed up to lend theirs during his moment in the spotlight. Lame. I at least expected Roman to be there with a button on, but I guess he was busy … umm … solving crimes? Right.
I'm Going Slightly Mad (Nicole, E.J., Sami, Lucas & Stefano)
Ups: Finding an up in this storyline had me grasping at straws, but I found some! I loved Lucas's reactions to Nicole's pregnancy - that was pretty amusing! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love when Bryan Dattilo gets to use his comedic skills. That always works for me not to mention the fact that Lucas said NO, NO, NO to Sami's suggestion that he pretend to be the father of her baby. I know Laurisa is excited about that and so am I! That makes me hopeful that Lucas is continuing down the cool path he's paved for himself over the last few months.
Also amusing were Stefano's reactions to the baby news! The guy simply cracks me up and teaming him with Nicole is just all shades of brilliant. Granted he's a ticking time bomb who only cares about an heir, but I think they're pretty funny together regardless. I also wouldn't be surprised if they form a little, somewhat dangerous bond. Whereas Sami and Nicole are alike, Ms. Walker doesn't have the Bradys keeping her moral compass pointing north so she could easily turn to the dark side should she feel threatened and it doesn't get any darker than Stefano!
Downs: I sort of cringe when I see "Ejamicole" on the screen and that saddens me as they're three of my favorite characters and three of my favorite actors. Actually, after talking to Laurisa, she thinks she's seen this storyline before so make sure to check out her blog for more details (if you're a Passions fan, you'll definitely enjoy it)! Now, I don't know what's downer than the down this storyline is, but it's there. Here's why I feel that way:
Nicole, as stated before, loses all her self respect where E.J. is concerned and it does a massive injustice to her feisty character. On finding out she was pregnant the guy demanded a paternity test, yet later that same day she was willing to move in with him! Nothing screams "I want to be with you" more than constant doubt and being blown off all the time. Nicole looks great in all sorts of designer clothes, but, sadly, she doesn't wear desperation well.
Ms. Walker also seems too wrapped up in E.J. to be nervous about the safety of her "miracle" baby. Sami might be overreacting a bit, but she's smart enough to worry about producing another DiMera heir. Nicole, not so much. As amusing as I think her and Stefano are now, he's not some cuddly grandpa wishing to give his latest grandchild Werther's Originals on a park bench. He wants a soldier, not a bouncing bundle of cuteness, yet as long as Nicole "lands" E.J. she's as happy as Max at a family reunion.
Then there's E.J. He treats Nicole like a consolation prize. Until the baby bomb was dropped he had all but dropped her. He's only creating a bigger mess by continuing to string her along. Sure he wants the baby, but I have my doubts that he wants her too and I think he shares those same doubts.
And finally it's Sami Time. She is being so non-Sami it's hard to swallow. When has she ever backed down from a fight or given up? Just because she's "Mature Sami" now doesn't mean she has to lose her gusto, but it's gone. She's feebly grasping at one bad idea after another when she should be grasping E.J. I'd much rather see her and Elvis J as a couple dealing with Nicole than keep riding on this couple-go-round. Sure, dangling couples in our faces just out of reach is a daytime standard, but at some point a fan's arm is going to get tired and stop reaching out.
Jealousy (Chloe & Lucas)
Ups: Well. Chloe looked nice when she returned home from her gig. That's an up. Right?
Downs: I've finally figured out what Chloe is - she's a pretzel. Huh? Ok, let me explain. Without failing, every time I open a bag of trail mix there're pretzels in it. Random, blah pretzels that I don't really want in my mix as I'm more excited about the Chex pieces, peanuts, raisins and chocolate bits. Therefore Chloe is a pretzel and I'm not entire sure why she's back in the mix or why she's so upset with Lucas for "cheating" that she had to see Marlena. Marlena!? That was perhaps the biggest "what the funk just happened!?" moment of last week and there was a lot of competition for that title.
I'll take the easy way out by presenting a fact - before she left for Kansas City she shared a major lip lock with Philip. Umm, if you're in a relationship with someone else I consider that cheating, yet now we're supposed to believe she is SOOO into Lucas that she's worried about him cheating on her. Right. Got it.
That turn of events is as silly as is her going to Marlena for help. Last time I checked, Chlomeister, Doc Evans doesn't like you and probably wouldn't want to talk about her ex-son-in-law possibly shacking up with her daughter. Actually, Marlena said it herself, "You came to the wrong person." Now … what could she possibly be trying to tell Chloe, hmm.
Love of My Life (John & Marlena)
Ups: Finally! Finally we're making some progress with John and Marlena! I was so happy when he read her the riot act about no matter what he did he wouldn't be good enough for her and, the thing is, I think it actually sunk into Blondie's head this time! We've spent the better part of the year listening to Marlena whine about John, some it justified, some of it nauseating, so I'm glad to see progress was made. He said he's getting his act together and taking it on the road - great, I'll buy tickets for that!
Also an up is the fact that the divorce finally went through. Why is that an up when it proved me wrong as I said I doubted it would actually happen? More so, why is a divorce a good thing? Well, John and Marlena are at their best when they're trying to get back together. Those two living a calm, domestic life of sucking face and cooing over each other never works as much as them in some sort of relationship turmoil or adventure. I'd rather see them together in an adventure, but, like a buffet near closing time, I'll take what I can get.
Downs: Even though they've made some strides, I have a feeling we're a long way from a happy ending. His headaches still haven't gotten better, there's the possibility of a "you're nothing like the Old John" relapse on Mar Mar's part and Stefano's still looming in the background. All in all, "Jarlena's" uphill battle is far from being won.
Under Pressure (Stephanie, Max, Melanie, Philip & Nick)
Ups: Mel continues to capture my heart! Molly Burnett is doing a fantastic job at adding dimension to the character. Her sly moves and subtle jabs are fun to watch and I'm very interested to see if she actually killed her father! Edge of my seat excited! Sure she's done some nasty things, but they're not as nasty as watching an uncle and niece date so I don't mind them and, surprisingly, I didn't mind Stephanie last week either! I know, a first! Let's discuss.
Normally Steph bothers me, especially when she's being "supportive" of Max. Her heart might be in the right place most of the time, but, unfortunately, you don't think with your heart. Last week, however, she did seem to use her brain to present some valid points. Granted, she needs to stop bashing Mel in front of Max all the time, but Mel actually deserved to be called to the carpet for what she did. Her wallet scheme didn't only harm Max, it was a direct slap in the face to Stephanie and I'm happy to report her inner Brady fighter came out and she slapped back. Not a fan of violence, but this time it was pretty warranted.
Downs: We had to sit through another round of "Stax" fighting. Really, if these two broke up I'd consider it a personal favor from the writers and would promise to be a little nicer to them … please note that I said a little nicer, not a lot. Individually, I don't mind either character, but together they're a waste and combine to create Mega Mess, a creature hell bent on destroying my appetite.
Speaking of wasting characters, I'm totally annoyed that Mel's a minor. That's proving to be a mayor red flag that I can't get past. I admit to supporting Dr. Dan and Chelsea despite the age difference, but they were both legal adults. Mel, not so much. She needs to turn eighteen pronto and land Nick. Or Philip? Not sure how I'd feel about that, but they do have a good chemistry. Either way, an underage girl, however mature she acts, is not the best recipe for romance with anyone of age.
Hammer to Fall (Kate, Dr. Dan and Chelsea)
Ups: Kate getting her own storyline that doesn't involve meddling in her grown children's personal affairs is always a good start. Kate being sick again, I can deal with that if it's done right (the verdict is still out on that one). Kate actually getting a love life of her own is ok as it's been a while. I think her last serious beau was John and that turned out pretty bad when Marlena pulled a "honey I'm home … and not dead."
Downs: First let's examine her chat with Chelsea. She made some great points, but, coming from Kate, those points just seemed hypocritical. As Laurisa pointed out to me during a little venting session we had, Kate isn't exactly the poster child for forgiveness … she's been angry with Sami for over a decade! Different circumstances, but very true nonetheless.
More so, she asked for forgiveness and expected it from Chelsea then, like ten minutes later, slept with Chelsea's ex - because that wouldn't hurt Swap Baby again or tick her off. I know that "Dansea" broke up and they don't owe Chelsea any explanation, but, regardless, that was pretty tacky Granny Kate. A little self restraint might go a long way when repairing bridges, repeating the act that got you into trouble in the first place, not so much.
Speaking of that, there's Kate and Dr. Dan in general. I'm kind of over him to be perfectly honest. He's gone from a sympathetic, scared to fall in love again type of nice guy to a fickle dude with a savior complex that isn't as entertaining the second time around. If he actually did love Chelsea at some point I wouldn't know it as he again slept with her grandma … on a patio … outside the Kiriakis Mansion … where Victor, Philip, Henderson or even Chelsea could have walked in on them at any moment. Ugh. Again, I know that "Dansea" is over, but a little discretion would have been considerate considering how much the both "love" Chelsea. Billie knew better than to go back for seconds with Nick, I wish Kate would have read that section of the Roberts Family Newsletter.
Finally, Kate is a major player in Salem, yet lately she seems to be orbiting town in the same spaceship Rex and Cassie arrived in. All of her storylines seem to rotate solely around the same few characters. That's not always bad, but because of that so many other things are being neglected - Stefano's proposal, her business relationship with Tony and even her rounds with Anna. Ok, those are just fun to watch. But, really, she seems to exist in a Salem where only Dr. Dan and Chelsea live with the occasional visit from her kids. Not fun. Kate is too important to shuffle into Dr. Dan Land and forget about, she needs to be more front and center. I mean, seriously, Stefano proposed to her and two of her biggest enemies are living in his house, a house that could be hers, yet that hasn't been addressed yet? What meet my friend ever.