It was a tough week, huh? A lot of drama and a lot of characters behaving like morons. By the end of the week, I was so traumatized by seeing so many of my favorite Salemites behaving badly, that I just nodded my head and listened to Uncle Steffie's consoling words, "You don't have to worry about anything.". And thanks to him, I managed to crawl out from under my trusty blanket and put down the glass of hot tea in order to recap this week's happenings for all of you. After all, it's times like this when us Days fans need to stick together. So, everyone grab a buddy and let's face this head-on. I've got ice packs and granola bars should anyone need to take a break.
For the most part, I was glued to this storyline. But, I need to get something out of the way first. Days writers have GOT to get it through their thick heads that organic conflict is always better than gratuitous drama. When they do that, Days will finally be elevated to that elite class of writing. Case in point: Where the heck did this Dean character come from? If he's so pissed because he should have made detective years ago, why didn't we hear from him before now? And, since when did Hope get a promotion? She was reinstated as a detective a while ago, but last time I checked "reinstated" means to restore to a previous condition or position. Hope didn't take anyone else's job. She was given back her own. Also, how did Dean, Brenda, and Kyle (especially Kyle) get together? They've got to give us more than just token bad guys for the sake of the storyline.
Ok, onto the good parts. On top of my list is Justin Kiriakis. He brought the perfect amount of balance to this storyline. He was calm, cool, and collected without seeming cold or callous. (Two Scoops is brought to you today by the letter "c".) Throughout this whole storyline, he was the one who I related to the most. He comforted Hope. He supported Bo. And, he stood up for Victor. For a character that is new to many viewers, Justin fit in seamlessly with the Days heavy weights. Well done, councilor!
Next, we have the masterfully layered mess that is Bo and Hope in panic mode. At the end of the day, I side with Bo more than with Hope. For some reason her grief seems more viscous and it makes it hard for me to empathize with her. But all week Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso took us on a wonderful ride of manic emotions. They were rockstars during this storyline. I didn't even both to wonder why Bo and Hope were even allowed to stay on the case because Peter and Kristian made is sooo worth my time.
Finally, we have a wonderful supporting cast of characters fighting alongside Bo and Hope. How great is it to see Roman and Abe team up again? So great!! I'm glad that Abe got to take off that stuffy mayor's hat and work with his "partner" again. And it is pure genius that little Theo is going to be the best witness in this whole situation. I'm very invested in Theo's character and my heart totally breaks for him because he misses his best friend, yet can't convey his grief in the same way that other kids like Tracey can. I just want to hug him and tell him that everything is going to be ok. But, I suggest that they let Roman and Abe handle questioning Theo. Hope might scare the kid to death.
EJ, NICOLE, and STEFANO
I really like that the writers keep showing EJ conditioning himself not to think about Sami. He constantly has to remind himself of "what Sami did to him" in order to keep his feelings in check. He can't just remind himself of how much he loves Nicole, one because his feelings for Nicole aren't near as strong as they ever were for Sami; but more telling because he's a DiMera and responds better to pain rather than pleasure. All this is adding up to EJ emoting again and not being such a rageaholic. Honestly, his idea to have a full genetic workup done on Sydney to see if she is predisposed to any harmful diseases or a condition isn't that bad of an idea. Even parents who didn't have a child die in infancy do this.
But, that's no consolation to Nicole. She's heard the three letters that strikes fear into her heart: DNA! But luckily, her father-in-law is the king of DNA switching. Heck, if he has people who can erase a man's complete memory and reprogram him to kill his own mother, Nicole need not worry about a silly little DNA test. But, when Stefano changes the tests (and you know he will) it will mark the first time that Stefano initiated a scheme that could put Sydney in danger. EJ will have a hard time forgiving Stefano for that.
NATHAN, STEPHANIE, PHILIP, and MELANIE
Good gravy. I don't know how it got so bad so fast! Just a few short weeks ago, Steph and Philip were having hot love in the afternoon and Mel and Nathan were trading insults over strip poker. And then, just like that, all crap broke loose. The four of them turned into weapons of mass self-destruction. I had a hard time feeling sorry for them when they get in trouble. They should. That's what happens when you act like fools.
Philip- "Technically" he didn't do anything wrong. He's single and he can sleep with any one that is willing to sleep with him. But it was unbelievably cruel for him to say all those things to Melanie about how he wanted to be with her and how it took them so long to get to that point when all he really wanted to do was forget about Stephanie for a minute. I'd like to say I'm surprised that Philip asked Mel not to say anything about their one night stand in the no-tell motel, but I'm not. Philip is hardly the first guy to do something like that. But that doesn't make Philip anything less than a butthead.
Melanie- I am a proud member of Team Mel. HOWEVER, I'm glad that Philip dropped Mel like a hot potato and jumped at the chance to get back with Stephanie. It's time for Mel to put her big girl pants on (literally and figuratively) and realize that sleeping with the good looking rich guy who needs a quick fix is NOT the cool thing to do. I get that she's been conditioned to think that sex is a way to get male approval. And just like Sami and Nicole, I'm willing to cut her a little slack for the terrible things that happened to her in her childhood. But the longer she takes to grow the heck up and grown some flippin' self respect, the harder it will be. The mistake that she made wasn't sleeping with Philip; it was believing that Philip actually wanted to be sleeping with her. It's a tough lesson to learn, but as the saying goes, 'ems the breaks, baby! Now Mel needs to pick herself up, dust herself off, and find herself a real man.
Stephanie- I really want to be Stephanie. Everything would revolve around me. I'd use my cousin's kidnapping as a way to get my ex to beg me to take him back. I'd dangle cute doctors around like they are hanging from my key chain. And, I'd blow smoke up the karma gods' behinds by acting like I cared if Melanie was mad at me, while I'm sitting in Melanie's seat, drinking beers with Mel's date, and bad mouthing Mel. Ah yes, to be as deliriously pompous as Stephanie would be such a relief for me. I'm only partially kidding. Truth be told, if Steph would lose the chip on her shoulder and embrace the fact that she can get men to do whatever she wants, she might actually be a really fun character. Think Karen Walker meets Samantha Jones. Shelley Hennig has some quality comedic timing, and I think she could pull it off. Anything is better than watching Steph climb up Mt. Superior and spread the gospel of "Stephanie Johnson: I just know better than everyone else".
Nathan- HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Steph went running back to Philip and all Nathan could do was stand there and look like he was going to cry. I have no sympathy for him. And I'm not even sorry about it. And I'm glad that Philip punched him in the face. And I'm glad that Melanie laughed at him. If Nathan was a Nintendo game, I'd be pushing the restart button faster than you can say "hurry up before this guy turns out to be worse than Rafe". Start the level over ASAP. He's a Horton. He's a doctor. He's Maggie's grandson. He should not be such a turd.
Philip and Melanie- Their love scene made me a little sick. All I could think was how sad it was that a woman, who spent her childhood being pimped out by her father, is now allowing another powerful man to use her to make himself feel better. And after the fiasco that came out of EJ/Nicole pairing, I'm done thinking that two people who are "so alike" and "both a little dark" can make a good couple. Nope, sorry. Right now all these two manage to do is bring out their worst individual traits- he's a spoiled brat who gets what he wants and she's desperate for approval and will take attention anyway she can get it.
Stephanie and Nathan- I didn't like Carrie and Austin the first time. I have no interest in seeing the sequel. Thank you.
Now, the wrench in this whole blissful love fest is the little video that Mr. Creepy Hotel Manager Guy made of Philip and Melanie's tryst. My guess is that there's money in it for Mr. CHMG when he finds out who Philip is and realizes that Philip might not want the world wide web to see the video. I just hope beyond hope that when it comes out, Steph takes her anger out on Philip and not Melanie. If Steph even tries to take it out on Mel, I might throw Steph off the nearest cliff. Besides, I don't want to listen to her babble on about how I picked the wrong cliff and how there is a much more appropriate one for this purpose somewhere else.
Ok, I think I've got it. No one, least of all the woman that Rafe claims to love, can question Rafe's business, but yet he can look into everyone else's, any time that he wants. That sounds totally fair. As much as I can't stand this guy, I have even less tolerance for this storyline. Rafe broke into Baker's clinic to search through Bakers old files, computers, and anything he can get his grubby little hands on. And he even tricks Baker's nurse into releasing patient's private information. It was all done in the name of uncovering information that anyone who is on or watches Days has known for MONTHS! Nicole made no secret of the fact that she went to the clinic for an emergency and then later "gave birth" at the clinic. No one with half a brain in Salem should be surprised that EJ was at the clinic where his daughter was born. And, Sami TOLD Rafe that she gave birth at a clinic, paid cash, and then left. So what is there for Rafe to wonder about? If Rafe gets this excited over information that all of Salem knows, I can't wait to see what he does when he realizes that Caroline actually makes the chowder and Victor is the one who owns Titan. Shazam!
KATE, DANIEL, and LUCAS
I love where this storyline is taking Kate. Her hate is consuming her and as she gets closer to accomplishing her mission she's going more and more deliciously mad. It gives Lauren Koslow some really great stuff to play. Kate's trusted very few people in her life. Two of them were Chloe and Daniel. And they both screwed her over on multiple levels. I'm still not sure what she's that shocked about Daniel. Let's face it- any guy who has no problems shacking up with and grandma, granddaughter, and then the grandma again isn't exactly high on the moral scale. But, Chloe is a different story. Kate honestly believed that she could finally rest knowing that Lucas was with a good girl, and that all blew up in her face.
I would assume that Chloe is going to wake up eventually, so no one should be charged with murder. But, Kate should surely be punished. But there's no way I'm giving up Lauren Koslow, so I think it would be very interesting if Kate was sentenced to a mental institution to work through this anger problem rather than being sent (off-screen) to jail. In a way, the woman is more drunk with power than all the DiMeras put together. I recognize the crazy look she has in her eyes. It's the same one that my dog gets when she sees a squirrel in the backyard. Like Kate, my dog goes right for their nuts.
I love Daniel's confrontations with Kate. I'm not sure how I feel about myself for finding such appeal in them. They're almost titillating. But other than that, Daniel is just a place holder in this storyline. He could be more, but he needs to stop saying such silly things like he fell in love with Chloe because she's such a kind and generous person. I guess he learned that because she was kind and generous enough allow him access to her boobs when she was technically committed to someone else. Yah, that's real big of her.
Back in the real world, Lucas found Chloe's living will which said that she does not want to have excessive care given if she has no brain activity. It seems to me that the fact that Lucas knew about her living will is yet another example of how Lucas and Chloe have a more genuine relationship than Chloe and Daniel. Bonus points to the writers for thinking to bring up the idea of a living will the first place, and then going the extra mile to point out that it's not as powerful unless it is registered with an attorney. At the end of the day, the decision still resides with Lucas. I hope TPTB give Bryan Dattilo a real chance to play out Lucas's struggle with this decision. It has character development written all over it.
I'm not crazy about seeing Bo using Ciara's kidnapping as yet another chance to rehash bad blood between Bo and Victor. I get that a long time ago, Victor did try to kill Bo and was a generally a big time meanie. But that isn't the current storyline. Heck, it isn't this current decade's storyline! If Bo really hated Victor so much, he should never have asked Victor for the money. Bo could have asked Maggie or John. But he didn't. He went to Victor. Bo's got to start giving Victor some credit for the times when it does come in handy to have Victor Kirkiakis for a father.
My beloved Dr. Baker got more money out of Nicole and immediately spent it on gambling. Silly rabbit. Doesn't he know that shoes are the only safe investment these days?!?
Brady almost discovered that his swimming partner is a drug dealer. But Ari managed to convince him that the bag of cocaine on the pub floor must have been left there by a group of cash paying suits who just escaped from Boiler Room and that they shouldn't go to the police because poor Caroline might get in trouble. I'm irritated that Brady didn't catch onto the fact that Arianna suddenly had no idea what cocaine looked like, even though she supposedly used to date an addict. Surely his own cocaine use didn't fry all of his John Black inherited brain cells.
Is anyone else wondering where they can sign up to tour the Kirkiakis complex in Greece? The people have their own island!!
How come no one realized that Melanie was wearing the same things two nights in a row? Not Ari, Nathan, or Steph seemed to remember that same blue sweater.
The kids blew me away this week. I mean the actual little kids. I give so much credit to Lauren Boles (Ciara), Harley Graham (Tracey), and Terrell Ransom Jr. (Theo) for a job well done. Usually kids on soaps are props, but these three little ones actually acted this week- and it was heavy stuff. Days has an embarrassment of riches in the acting department and these three are no exception. The whole kidnapping is enriched so much by the fact that I believed Ciara was terrified and Tracy and Theo were devastated that their friend was missing.
For what's it worth, I did read that some of you were concerned about the kids having to play such traumatizing material. I consulted my resident expert on the topic, my co-writer Tony, who has tons of real life experience working in the talent industry. Not only did he reassure me that there is a big book of strict child labor laws, but execs often go further to have professionals on set to assure that the children are protected. Additionally, there are tons of tricks through the magic of television that keeps these kids safe. For example, there are some shots of Lauren and Nikki Deloach (Brenda/female kidnapper) together in the same frame, but the majority of them are the back of Brenda's head while she's talking to Ciara. It's a pretty good guess Nikki was probably making random conversation with Lauren and the disturbing dialogue was dubbed in later. The same with Bo's vision of Ciara being shot - Lauren wasn't shown in the frames where the kidnappers were pointing their guns; she is just seen before. Afterwards, Hope is obviously clutching a doll with a fake gunshot wound in the back. Finally, nearly every time the kidnappers are screaming at each other, they are the only ones in the shot. When it's edited together, we just assume Lauren is still on the bed, which she's probably really off playing with Terrell and Harley somewhere off set.
Picking and idiot of the week out of the crap quad was difficult. But, after careful consideration and some consolation with a bottle of Savingon Blanc, I'm going with Nathan and his bragosaurus self. I couldn't even begin to follow the nonsense he spewed this week about how Mel chose to be mad and how he wasn't at all responsible for Mel's anger. Then, this loser's idea of smoothing things over with Mel is to beg her to not to give up on nursing school just because of him. Finally, he thought that a few margaritas and a taste of his awesomeness was enough to make Steph forget about the guy she just broke off an engagement with. Nathan's whole "love the one you're with" attitude is not working for me. At. All.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Dean (to Kyle): "I don't pay you to think. You suck at that." I know I shouldn't be amused by the kidnappers dialog', but I found it perfectly campy and chuckle-worthy.
Well, we've made it! This week is over and we can look forward to next week, which will be better. It just has to be. I don't know if my heart can take any more of this kidnapping and bed hopping. Tony will be back next week to help us all through it. Since we had such a rough week in Salem, I think it's only fair that Days have an awesome real life weekend at the Emmy Awards! Tony and I will be watching and making our picks for best and worst. Of course, everything Days will be best and everything not Days will be worst. But, that's just the way it is with the best soap on TV! (*wink*)