It was as if a Storyline Genie came to Salem this week, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work fixing what was wrong with Salem. POOF! Chloe was relatable. POOF! Rafe made sense. POOF! Stefano and Sami wised up. POOF! New storylines for all the good little girls and boys! I had a great time in Salem, so let's have fun for this column. Everyone grab your favorite beverage and let's get this party started.
CHLOE and DANIEL
I wasn't a fan of Danloe's original storyline, but Nadia Bjorlin and Shawn Christian are starting to win me over. Sure, they've always had sexual chemistry, but this week they proved that Danloe could be more than a forbidden love-in-the-afternoon. When given sensitive material to play, they have a chemistry that is entertaining and meaningful.
I like slightly neurotic/paranoid/bitchy Chloe. A lot. She cracked me up when she was rumbling around the apartment helping Carly "settle in." And as I was amused with her then, I was equally aching for her when she confessed that she's jealous of Carly because Carly gave Daniel a child. Chloe was vulnerable and, more importantly, believable.
To top it all off, Shawn matched Nadia's good work when he played Daniel with such tenderness. It's clear that Daniel loves Chloe in a way that makes soaps, Hugh Grant movies, and the Hallmark Channel worth watching. I'm a total sucker for those things.
STEPHANIE, MELANIE, NATHAN, and PHILIP
At first I thought Stephanie was huffy because she didn't want Nathan to relapse back into that silly little habit of making his own decisions. But then I realized that she might be more interested in sticking it to Melanie. This could get interesting. Sure, the idea of Stephanie prancing around Salem and trying to run other people's lives is a little silly considering that she can't run her own. But at least Mel and Steph are proactive schemers.
Philip is starting to intrigue me too. He found out that Mel was willing to leave him on their wedding day, and that's the one thing he never bet on. After all, Melanie's always had a slight hero-worship complex when it came to Philip. Now he's in the unenviable position of being wrong and being second-choice. Philip hates both of those things.
Melanie desperately wants Philip to be the only man in her heart. But, he just isn't. Anyone who is surprised by that should be checked for the most basic comprehension skills. I have food in my refrigerator older than Phelanie's courtship. Plus, Melanie is only 19 years old. Nothing about those two facts screams, "Ready to make an important life decision!"
So now we're left with Melanie and Nathan dangling in relationship limbo (no doubt complicated by their joint trauma of losing a patient) and Stephanie and Philip emerging as the bad-guy masterminds. I'm not sure how I'd like for it to turn out, but I know I'm ready for Steph and Philip to get a little dirty.
ARIANNA, BRADY, and NICOLE
The week started out swell enough. Brady and Ari were enjoying their two favorite pastimes: having sex and talking about Nicole. Ladies, take it from Aunt Laurisa: make it a rule not to mention other women when you're naked. M'k?
Later in the week, Arianna had a job interview with Cece Chavez - the Roaming Reporter for a TV show, of course, produced by Titan. (DiMera Enterprises TV only airs Indy car racing and mobster movies.) But, faster than I could figure out how Nicole managed that hairstyle, Nicole interrupted Arianna's job interview, prompting Cece to do a live interview with Nicole about being Salem's favorite hard-luck baby-snatcher.
All of Salem, including Philip Kiriakis, saw the interview. Philip was so enamored by how Nicole looked and talked (he's seen her before, right?) that he offered her Cece's job. Cut to scene of Arianna jumping up and down because Titan hired her as the new production assistant for the show and we all know where this is going.
I don't care that this insta-storyline plopped down from the sky. I'll consider it a gift from heaven because we get to watch Lindsay Hartley and Arianne Zucker showcase their rock star chemistry. As Arianna so deliciously reminded us, she's not like all the other little girls that Nicole pushed around. She's hard-core - been in the big house - and knows how to play Nicole's game.
Side bar for all former Passions fans: Okay, I know that we all told everyone that pairing Eric Martsolf and Lindsay Hartley wasn't a Passions redux. And, we were totally right. But, am I wrong for being slightly concerned that the writers are pushing their luck? First, Eric and Lindsay's characters enter into a love triangle with a tall, pretty blonde. Second, said love triangle is made possible because Eric's character is a little on the naÔve/dense side. That sounds heckuvalot like something that happened in Harmony.
SAMI, E.J., STEFANO, and KATE
This quad is a bag of goodies. I can't get enough of them. If the early exit polls mean anything, E.J./Sami vs. Stefano/Kate could be delicious.
I'm thrilled that the writers were smart enough to have Stefano be hurt, yet proud of E.J. for masterminding the whole kidnapping. DiMera love, it's a strange thing. Of course, Stefano wasn't going to just hand over a villain merit badge without a little punishment. E.J. had to bring Sydney and Johnny around Grandpappy Steffie right away.
That news hardly went over well with Sami. But, the way she joined her kids at the mansion went over great with me. She trusts E.J. to physically protect their kids. Yet she was keen enough to question E.J.'s complete 180 about Stefano and actually did something to keep some control over the situation. That's the Sami that I know and love.
E.J. loves Sami too. He loves her as much as his little DiMera heart can handle. I enjoy watching E.J. be conflicted over his DiMera and Banks sides. No one brings that conflict out more than Sami. So, for the sake of the scenes to come, I'm happy that E.J. is in love with Sami.
HOPE and JUSTIN
Once upon a time, I decided that it would be a great idea to date one of my guy friends. I'd just been dumped and was depressed. He was nice to me. I adored the guy. And, he was easy on the eyes. The best thing that came out of it was that we didn't date long enough to complicate things, thus we're still friends to this day.
I wish the same outcome for Hope and Justin. Hope is more interested in not being lonely than she is in actually being with Justin. I don't blame Hope for that, but I am a little sad that Justin could get hurt. I like the guy. Plus, he just got clubbed in the back of the head while some hoodlum stole his iPhone. He's due for some good luck.
In case you were wondering, Steph and Nathan are back together and their relationship is better than ever. They hold hands and skip through fields of wild flowers whilst woodland fairies play the sounds of happiness on magic flutes. And, they are absolutely not trying to create a self-fulfilling prophesy by proclaiming bliss enough to make it a reality. No way, buddy. It is for REAL.
I'm really worried about Salem's judicial system. When Justin was brought into the ER, Chad was able to conclude that there might be a criminal out there targeting lawyers. And, he was nice enough to share it with Deputy Commissioner Roman Brady and the Honorable Madeline Petersen-Woods. Yup. A teenager had to point out the obvious to two public law-enforcement professionals. Sweet.
I think Rafe is the worst idea since leggings as pants. But, this week he said something that I totally agree with. He told Sami that she should have put her foot down with Will. He's absolutely right. Will is a kid. Sami's the only parent he has in this hemisphere. Rafe's intensity with Sami was right on.
Not only does Kate know Madeline, but Stefano does too. Just don't ask him to think about her right now. He's too busy. He'll tell you too.
I totally dig the blue streak in Kate's hair.
WOOT! Adrienne called one of the boys to let him know that Justin was going to be okay! I love it when the writers remember to acknowledge off-screen characters.
Why did Melanie have to reapply to nursing school? I thought she was granted a leave to go get married. Didn't Carly sign off on that?
Adrianne and Carly as roommates? Yes, please! I desperately wanted Judi Evans to stay in Salem. And, I was dying for Carly to have something to do other than duck from all the rotten fruit being hurled her way. So, I'm on board for combining the two and having the best bachelorette pad since Laverne and Shirley. I'll bring the margaritas to their housewarming party.
I could go without Hope's assessment of Bo's grieving process. I know that she is in a bad place right now, and I feel for her. All I'm saying is that I would just feel a lot more for her if she realized that Bo doesn't run to other women when something tragic happens to one of his children. He turns to other women when Hope leaves him.
LINE OF THE WEEK
The best-written line of the week was Sami saying to Rafe, "Stefano is a son-of-a-bitch, but it's not like he eats children or anything."
The best-delivered line of the week was Nicole, to an interviewer, saying, "It's me. The baby-switcher/snatcher, whatever. But I have other skills!"
And with that, we can walk happily into the sunset wearing our Days of Our Lives pins. Tony will be back next week to (hopefully) continue the love fest. In the meantime, did you remember to cast your vote for the All-Soaps Dankies? Will you miss Mia when she leaves the show? And, how many super-doctor points do you think Daniel will earn if he cures his own double vision?