See what happens when I try to take some time off? I leave Salem in Tony's hands for two weeks and what happens? He lets Grace die. I tell ya…MEN! Sheesh! The next thing you're going to tell me is that EJ is on some BS quest to take Johnny away from Sami and Daniel managed to get even more sanctimonious. Wait….that already happened! Okay, I am kidding about Tony. He had a rough two weeks to scoop and I think my partner did an excellent job with a topic that is very, very difficult. The other two men left me searching for some sort of redeeming qualities in their characters. I realize that not all guys can be Tom Horton or Doug Williams, but a girl can dream, can't she? And here are the results of my search…
LUCAS, CHLOE, DANIEL, and KATE
Is it just me or was this storyline painfully slow this week? The two most exciting things that happed were 1) hearing Kate's awesome assistant, Chris, use the word "schlemp" and 2) watching Lucas impersonate Joan Crawford. Lauren Koslow is acting circles around the room trying to save this storyline, but I'm growing impatient.
Chloe's daydreams are getting ridiculous. When at the point where said daydreams are interfering with basic body functions- like eating- something is wrong. I don't think that Kate needs to carry out what ever she is thinking of doing with that tape recording of Daniel's voice. Just follow Chloe around for a day. When she walks down by the river, jump in front of her with a picture of Daniel. Then, she'll have a dream sequence, forget how to walk, and fall into the river. Okay, maybe I'm having my own dream sequence right now.
I know I'm in the minority, but I like Lucas and Chloe as a couple. There are levels to their relationship. They talk about the troubles with their jobs. They actively parent their blended family. They celebrate milestones like their new house together. And Chloe dug up a freakin' Horton family heirloom (mentioning both Bill and Alice - squee!) to give to Lucas as a housewarming gift. I know that Daniel is oozing lust juice, but I've gotta say that if Chloe does end up with Daniel, then she picked the wrong guy. And this is coming from someone who just last year couldn't STAND Lucas. The character of Chloe makes the character of Lucas so much better. And Bryan Datillo, the actor, brings out a much more animated and watchable side of Nadia Bjorlin. I don't think that Luloe were ever built for longevity, but they're becoming one of those brilliant accidents, at least for me.
As for Dr. Dan, I'm very disappointed that Daniel got unceremoniously chucked out of Grace's storyline and back into horrid love-triangle land. It was so nice to have a break from the repetitious daydreams and heavy breathing dialogue and get to see Daniel in his element- medicine. Like Tony said last week, I felt for Daniel when he couldn't save Grace. Daniel's redeeming quality is that he's a wonder doctor who, up until this point, has been able to save many a Salemites from disastrous diseases. So, wouldn't it have been nice to see Daniel deal with loosing a patient? Maybe go to Grace's funeral? Perhaps drown his sorrows in brandy? The guy lost a patient; and not just any patient, a baby. I find it utterly unbelievable that the most weighing thing on his mind right now is how mean Kate is being to Chloe.
I have pitched my tent firmly in the camp that believes Sami lied because she didn't trust Stefano- not EJ- Stefano. And I don't blame her. As much as I'd like to pretend that it's possible to separate EJ and Stefano, it isn't. The only reason that Sami could trust EJ in the first place was because Stefano was (supposedly) incapacitated, in an irreversible coma. As soon as Stefano came back from the dead and started ordering hits on Sami, the Ejami situation rightfully changed.
However, that doesn't mean that I'm upset by seeing her suffer for her scheme. The only good part about Sami losing custody is that it continues my favorite quality about Sami- her schemes do blow up in her face and she actually gets punished for her misdeeds. I don't know any character in Salem who's paid more than Sami has. I know that the devout Sami haters will disagree. But if you actually look back at the men she's lost (Austin, Lucas, Brandon) and the scarlet letter "T" (for "trouble") that she wears around Salem, not to mention the times she's been arrested and sentenced to death (death, people!); Sami is one of the few people who doesn't get the benefit of town-wide selective amnesia. So for that consistency, I'm okay with Sami having to deal with temporarily losing Johnny. It just better not be permanent, else I'll have to kick some people in the shins.
Nicole feels bad for Sami because Grace died and now EJ is taking Johnny. Nicole even called Sami to tell her that she's going to make sure Sami sees Johnny. I don't know if it's because Nicole feels guilty or if she's just ticked at Stefano for trying to order her around. But, I don't care. If the possibility exists that Nicole and Sami might actually team up on something, I don't need a reason. As I'm sure you all remember, Sami and Nicole did team up years and years ago to fight against Kate. The pair of them were gold. This doesn't mean that I excuse Nicole for baby swapping, kidnapping, lying, and blackmail; but as I've learned to accept the fact that the writers will continue to throw Nicole luck break after lucky break (Sister Theresa got transferred? Really?), I might as well have one element of Nicole I can enjoy. And Nicole playing Stefano to help Sami is just all kinds of win.
I have to hand it to the writers for sidestepping a lot of red flags. Sami mentioned that she called Mickey, Abe, and Roman for guidance before handing Johnny over to EJ. She also said that the DiMera family has both judges and politicians on their payroll. Finally, a number of characters (Rafe, Nicole, and Lucas) all mentioned that EJ's order is temporary. These small statements go a LONG way towards keeping me from throwing the challenge flag on this whole operation.
So, now that we've all checked our legal logic at the door, we're left to decide if EJ's grief and anger is enough to justify his actions. Sami did purposely keep him from "his" daughter and as a result kept Stefano, Lexie, Theo, and "Sydney" from their relative. I don't blame EJ for wanting to retaliate against Sami. He's angry. He has every right to be. Plus, dealing with the revelation that, despite his law degree, he is completely incapable of counting backwards from nine has to be difficult. However, that doesn't mean that I have sympathy for him. In fact, I'm growing quite sick of EJ and his mission to make every situation about himself and/or his father. I've seen three year-olds who just got their candy taken away that behave better than EJ has these last two weeks. And unlike Sami, EJ has no overwhelming reason to bring such pain and anguish upon an innocent child. This is just a knee jerk reaction centered around EJ's giganotosaurus ego. He's taking his son and he's going home.
If that last paragraph sounded rough, I apologize. It was rough to write. But the truth is that I'm worried because EJ has no redeeming qualities right now. (Personal appearance and delicious accent, excluded, of course). He doesn't love his wife. He doesn't love his kids. He just treats them like badges on his Jerk Scout Sash. The one person that I would argue he does love(ish) is Stefano and we all know how well that turns out for Stefano's kids. Bottom line, he's not even entertaining. At least back when he was black gloving and raping people, he had this calm swagger that at least made him amusing to watch. And, I'd even argue that even at his darkest, he always had some soft spot for his Samantha. A completely misguided, perverse soft spot, yes; but at least that EJ had some layers. This EJ is a frozen, one-dimensional villain. His calm swagger has been replaced by hissy fits and tantrums. That's a shame because EJ and James Scott deserve much more than to be the token bad guy.
Confession time: I'm ready for Rafe to leave Salem. He's a black hole of a character and I'm completely unaffected by him. He's been on screen for eight months. He's had a fair shot. Now, he's just wasting my time. I see no chemistry between Rafe and Sami, other than the same blend that Alison Sweeney managed to conjure up with Austin Peck. And most frustrating of all, Rafe is holding onto a storyline that should be Roman's. Maybe it's easier for an outsider to have audience with the major players in this case. I doubt Roman could get away with asking Nicole to stand up to EJ the way Rafe did. But did we really need to bring in a tertiary character to do a police type investigation when we have Roman AND Hope running around not working on any case right now? Do we really need a love interest for Sami right now when it's clear that she has more than enough storyline material? Is it really fair to expect an actor who is more suited for dry wit and sarcastic banter to match the drama intensity of Alison Sweeney, James Scott, and Arianne Zuker ? NO, I say! Sorry for the harsh words, but I have to be honest. I'm struggling to find something to like and I really need make it through his scenes because Rafe's the only current hope for cracking this baby swap egg. If you have any suggests for ways to spin this character, help a Scooper out!
MIA, WILL, and CHAD
I figured out what it is that I like about Will and Mia. They remind me Nicole and Eric when Nicole first came to town (sans the bad 90's bob and the roller blades). Mia is a bit troubled, but desperately looking for comfort and family. Will has a bit of a self-righteous streak, but deep down has a heart of gold. I love how even when Will was upset over Sami and Lucas lying to him, he still managed to see that Mia was upset over her own problems. That kind of gentlemen behavior will take young Will Horton very far- at least in my book. And Mia is going to need all the support she can get now that Chad, Mia's ex/Grace's baby daddy, is going to be working with her at Java Café.
Finally, we get to meet that father! I don't think he knows he's the father, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm still on the first impression of Chad. Perhaps it's storyline fatigue with the baby swap and Chloe stuff, but I am really interested in Chad. The writers went to great lengths to tell us that Chad looks like EJ. And he sure does! (Lucky kid!) But, that's not all there is to love about the guy. Yes, he's a conceited womanizer who follows his ego around where ever it leads him. But guess what? That's what a 17 year-old high school kid who has biblical knowledge of the opposite sex acts like when he's around his "bible teacher". This is one stereotype that the writers got right on. By the way, his t-shirt with silk screened suspenders and sunglasses puts the tuxedo t-shirt to shame. Love. It.
BO and HOPE
I am glad that Bope remembers Zach other times than at Christmas. And my heart strings were totally tugged when little Ciara put flowers on her brothers grave and told him, "You're welcome, Zach". But if I've learned anything from watching Days it's that when Bope's kids start getting a lot of screen time, it spells bad news. (Come to think of it, maybe Shawn had the right idea leaving Salem.) Bo's visions are back and this time they involved a missing Ciara. Zach is back again as Bo's medium/dream interpreter- which I like. And the same adorable little actor who played Zach before is back again- which I love.
In other Brady news, Hope was outed as the big-time- as in $500,000 (holy Horton trust fund, Batman!)- donor to Lexie's autism charity. I just hate it when I am famous for having tons of money. The unflattering black and white pictures in the paper, the kidnapping and asking for ransom….it all gets very wearing on me. That's why I prefer to keep my millions a secret and live the unassuming life of a soap opera columnist.
STEPH and PHILIP
Like Tony, I am much more invested in Stephanie now that she's not sleeping with a member of her own family. And I'm excited to see this twist on a love triangle between boy-girl-boy's father. (That really isn't as gross as it sounds.) Watching Steph pop all those pills and then put on a believable act that she was JUST FINE! was interesting to watch. It made me hope that the writers dig into the characters of Stephanie and Philip a bit more to really flesh out this storyline. On Stephanie's side, I'd like to see her mention Nick and at least acknowledge how addiction ruined his life. And it would be criminal if no one brought up Ava Vitali and how the same type of anti-anxiety drugs turned her into a family-stealing basket case. On Philip's side (and I know I sound like a broken record) the writers are stupid if they don't tie in his experience with his tours in Iraq to help him relate to the post-traumatic stress that Stephanie is going through right now. Stephanie was held hostage in a morgue drawer. Philip had his leg and FACE blown off in battle. Are you telling me these two have nothing more to bond over than Steph's new car? I think not. I'm glad that Stephanie is talking to Father Matt. I hope he encourages her to talk to Philip. And, I hope Melanie blows the whistle on Steph and tells Philip that about the pills. If you notice, Mel was careful not to promise to keep quiet, but to "have Stephanie's back". Steph and Philip need to work through this together like the awesome couple I know they can be.
Nicole questioned Arianna about Brady. Her questions were not well received. Turns out Arianna doesn't like people butting into her personal dating life. Weird.
Steve and Kayla have taken Joey to some remote country where Kayla has started a free clinic. Guess this means that EJ's old apartment is vacant again. Perhaps he can move out of his daddy's house and try actually raising his family like a grown up.
John had another surgery this week. Apparently it went well. The good news is that his eyebrows still work.
Rafe and Arianna have both visited Emily Hudson's grave. We still don't know who Emily was, but she was born September 15, 1978 and died March 28, 2007.
Steph mentioned that she talked to Abby on the phone! WOOT! I wouldn't mind seeing Abby back in Salem. Steph could use a friend right now.
Why don't soap characters drink water with their pills? Sure, I'll pop a small allergy pill, but anything bigger requires a healthy gulp of water to make the medicine go down.
Does it seem a little goofy that both Victor and Stefano talk about their "family pride" when really, they are only talking about two people in each family?
Sometimes Nathan calls Maggie "Grandma" and sometimes he calls her "Maggie". I like "Grandma" and I'd like him to stick with that.
I wonder how long it will take for someone to demand that EJ prove paternity of Sami's baby. It's a common practice when the parents of a child are not married. Otherwise, women could go around tagging any ol' millionaire with child support. I'll be a little shocked if people just fall over themselves to hand EJ paternal rights without so much as a shred of physical proof the EJ is the father.
Melanie and Nathan are bringing the hotness. I heart them. At this point, I don't care if their summer storyline is "Adventures at Mel and Nate's Lemonade Stand". I'm going to watch it and enjoy every minute of it. I've got it bad for these two. How else can I explain the fact that I wanted to whack Hope with a rolled up newspaper for letting Nathan think that Melanie was responsible for what happened to Nick? How else do I reconcile the fact that I cringed when Philip said that Mel had "changed"? What else can explain my willingness to look past Mark Hapka's cheesy "duh" look and love him for the total cutie that he is? There's something different about this pair. Their both a little "sadder but wiser" and that's a refreshing change from the starry-eyed pairs of summers past.
I never thought I'd see the day when I'd side with Stephanie over Sami, but that's exactly what I did when Sami tried to guilt-trip Stephanie into "lying" to the cops about EJ. Sami was a complete and total jerk for doing that. But, that's not what upsets me most about that scene. I'm ticked that the writers can't even remember their own history rewrites when it would serve them best. They got it right with the characters. Sami and Steph are the perfect team to bring down EJ. Why? Because I remember not so long ago when DiMeras were feuding with another family and another fair maiden took the burden all on her shoulders to make a sacrifice to end the feud. And who was that fair maiden again???? Oh THAT'S RIGHT, it was Sami. If anyone knows what Steph is feeling right now, it is Sami. Rather than having Sami come over and try to strong arm Steph into putting herself in danger, Sami should have been a unique kind of confidant.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Lucas: "Welcome to Crazy Town! The mayor of Crazy Town is washing off the eggs." As always, Bryan Datillo's stellar comedic timing was right on.
So, that's all for now Days fans! I hope that you're enjoying your summer in Salem as much as I am. Don't forget that Days will not be airing Thursday and Friday, July 2 and 3 because of Wimbledon. Do not beat your TiVos/DVRs/VCRs for not recording Days on those days. Do not beat Tony when his column only covers three days worth of episodes. He isn't slacking off. This is a planned shortened week. Personally, I'm going to use the extra time to make a list of things to like about Rafe. Hopefully I'll find it therapeutic. I'll let you all know how it goes. In the mean time, send me your suggestions and enjoy your week!