The fabulous tribute to our Alice wrapped up this week and Salem got back to normal. Well, as normal as Salem can be considering that Salem exists in soapland. The second half of the summer is set up for a ton of secrets to come out. No word on whether or not one of them is where they've been hiding Roman, but I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything.
SHANE and KIMBERLY
If these two aren't a pair made in soap opera heaven, I don't know who is. He couldn't be at her bedside when she was battling leukemia because he was being held in a foreign prison because he's really a secret agent for the US government! Hello! They cover 80% of soap clichés in that one sentence!!
To make their return even better, they departed Salem together to try again. Quite honestly, to have them fall back into each other's arms and dance away into the sunset just wouldn't be appropriate for a pair that's had 15 years of bad blood between them. So, I adored the screaming, the honestly, and the realization that while they both want to end up in the same place, they have a lot of work to do to get there.
DANIEL, CHLOE, CARLY, MELANIE, and PHILIP
Carly's decision not to tell Daniel about Chloe's fling isn't right. But, it does make a lot of sense. Carly has been looking for reasons not to tell Daniel since she found out Chloe cheated. And, I don't really blame Carly. No matter how much it may seem like the right thing to do, it doesn't mean that it's easy, or that one should be excited about doing it.
If Daniel isn't the father of Chloe's baby, it makes Carly's decision a heck of a lot easier. It's one thing to cheat, but it's a whole other monster to try to pass off someone else's kid as Daniel's. The ironic part here is that Daniel could go through the exact same emotional pain Philip went through when Philip lost Claire.
At least no one can take Melanie away from Daniel. If they tried, I'd have to threaten to kick a puppy or something because Melanie and Daniel are fabulous together. Molly Burnett and Shawn Christian bring out the absolute best in each other. Maybe it's because I know this relationship is permanent and I know they're going to need each other when the Phloe bomb drops. But in the meantime, I just love the way Melanie was so thrilled with her baby book and big sister shirt.
Philip, on the other hand, is terrified of the shirt because there's a real chance the shirt should say, "I'm the Stepmom." I know that I've harped about this before- ad nauseam -- but of the five players in this storyline, Philip is the most tenured and the one with the juiciest history. So, if they don't delve into the fact that he's been nearly a father two times before, I'll have to raise my hands and scream.
BO, HOPE, and CARLY
This storyline is sad. I feel so bad for all three of them that I'm past my anger at Hope for her lack of accountability here and I'm onto the stage where I just want it all to be over.
Hope obviously doesn't want the divorce, but she can't bring herself to admit that she was wrong. Bo obviously doesn't want Hope to be sad, but can't bring himself to trust her to not walk out on him again. And Carly obviously knows that she's second choice, but she's waited so long for someone to be nice to her that she doesn't want to give up Bo. Can I find fault with all three? Absolutely. But, do any of them deserve this kind of misery? Absolutely not.
In my dream world, Carly would find someone else (Rafe?) to save her, and Hope could save Bo for once. A girl can dream, can't she?
SAMI and E.J.
Sami really impresses me right now. I have no idea why on God's green earth she gives Agent Crabapple the time of day after his pout-fest over her not putting him before her children, but I know that Sami does have feelings for Rafe. And, I appreciate that Sami is acknowledging how confusing things are for her right now when she mixes those feelings with her feeling for E.J. Most other soap women just fall into bed with the next guy that comes along. Sami is actually taking the time to think. I like the change of pace.
E.J. is so sure about his feelings that he's ready to declare everyday Samantha Day. He loves the chick, loose screws and all. He told her, too, which is another thing I'm thrilled about because it means even more self-awareness in Salem. I even love the self-torture that E.J. inflicts when talking about his Sydnapping plot.
Some will say that I'm blinded by James Scott (and, let's face it, who isn't?), but any argument I have on why E.J. should pay for the Sydnapping meets a stronger rebuttal. Too mean to do to Sami? Well, she pretty much did the same (if not worse) thing to him by not telling him he had a daughter until Sami knew that the daughter actually was dead. Heartless to do to Nicole? Please, if she was so worried about E.J. being separated from his daughter, she could have just told him that Sami was pregnant. Disrespectful to Stefano? Okay, that one doesn't need a rebuttal. But, you get my point.
TPTB have E.J. set up to be the villain de jour who takes the massive fall for the big secret and I am not excited to watch it at all. The person in E.J.'s spot isn't supposed to have this much plausible innocence. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic, but if E.J. came clean with Sami using the same words he did with Stefano, I think she'd forgive him. Now, if only someone had a tape of that conversation…
Arianne Zucker may have been robbed of an Emmy this year. But, she's definitely been rewarded by the writers, who have smartly blessed her with the duties of being the puppet master in TWO major storylines at once. Arianne totally deserves it. The problem is, Nicole does not.
I love Nicole as much as a half-price happy hour, but it's way too soon for Nicole to luck into the upper hand again. Yet, that's exactly what happened. She just happened to be hiding in the DiMera mansion with a tape recorder that she stole two seconds before when she overheard Stefano and E.J. discuss their involvement in the Sydnapping and cover-up. And I guess I'm just supposed to believe that EJ never had an alarm put on the patio door since Nicole was able to break in that way and kidnap Sydney before. What luck!
Anyway, now Nicole's going to blackmail E.J. because he never really loved her and she's still ticked about it. Spin it anyway you want to, but that's what is boils down to. And that's my problem with this storyline.
Unlike Kate, Vivian, or Sami, Nicole isn't a revenge type of schemer. She schemes to get ahead in life. More money, more power, or better arm candy, is the type of stuff that drives Nicole's schemes. So, while I could totally buy that Nicole is going to use this info to further her plot to get Arianna out of the Brady picture so there's more Black for Nicole, I don't buy any of this malarkey about Nicole punishing E.J. for being a big ol' evil bastard. She doesn't care if you're evil. She only cares if you're in her way.
CRAZY HOPE and BAKER
Crazy Hope must have been ticked that the Alice tribute kept her off the show for a few weeks because now she's trying to sneak her way into Hope: Original Recipe's daily life. I got angry when Hope started ranting on about what a sicko Arianna is, but then I realized it was just a cover to let Crazy Hope talk. I got chills when Hope said that Bo could be "Arianna's" next victim.
Crazy Hope is back in business and Baker is more than happy to be around her again. (Aww…Little Richard has a crush!!) That is, until she handed him a shopping list, which I'm guessing looked something like this: knife, candlestick, revolver, rope, lead pipe, and wrench.
Someone needs to put the pieces together about Hope's behavior fast, or I am worried that Bo may be in trouble. It's a shame that Baker doesn't have any medical experience to recognize the adverse effects of drug abuse.
STEFANO, KATE, MADELINE, WILL, and CHAD
I really need to keep reminding myself that this storyline has potential. I really need to concentrate on how much I adore Stefano and Kate together. And, I really need to give credit to the writers for actually giving the teen scene a neat-o summer plot that doesn't involve airplanes and hot tubs.
Because while all of that is swell and dandy, the fact is that Jessica Tuck appeared on-screen over three months ago and we still don't know what the big freaking deal is with her character. Quite frankly, when she comes on-screen I have to brace myself because I know all I'm getting is a bunch of empty dialogue cumulating in some sort of bogus threat. Move. On. NOW.
VICTOR, VIVIAN, MAGGIE, and CAROLINE
Someone needs to tell Vivian that in order for Maggie to be her romantic rival, there must first exist an element of romance between Vivian and Victor. There's never been anything more than a business arrangement. Of course, I'm not going to be the one to tell her that. I like breathing too much. But someone definitely needs to tell her.
If there is a romantic rival for Victor's heart, it is, and always will be, Caroline. Now, the true hypocrisy of Caroline lecturing Sami about getting too close to E.J. and then turning right around and giving Maggie the business about sharing an intimate booth with Victor was not lost on me. I'm onto you, Caroline! But, seeing Caroline show her feisty side is entirely entertaining.
As much as I despise love quads I like the situation Victor's gotten himself in with these three ladies. Since there's no chance of a pregnancy complicating things (*wink*) the writers actually have a chance here to do something new and creative. I hope they stick with it.
It looks like Will and Chad are going to be fighting over Gabi. If I were her, I'd let them both dangle since I wasn't good enough for either when Mia was around.
Stefano bonded with Theo. It annoyed Abe and cautiously pleased Lexie. In addition to seeing the fabulous Renee Jones more, I wish the writers would do more with the Lexie/E.J. relationship. No one knows how to be a DiMera kid and still have friends in town better than Lexie.
I didn't care for the way Rafe spoke to Arianna. She's a grown woman and can make her own decisions, including selecting her own lawyer. Maybe Rafe should go yell at someone else, like the salesman down at Salem Place who sold him an entire wardrobe of slate blue/green shirts.
Jennifer is the first person to genuinely worry that Carly is going to get hurt. It's because Jennifer oozes awesomeness.
Arianna is out of jail. If she's smart, she'll get a roommate or something so that the she has an alibi for every single minute of the day.
Stephanie is worried about
Melanie being single again and getting too much of Nathan's attention Philip. Someone is going to find out that Philip cheated on Melanie. The most logical person is Stephanie, since she's the only person who would keep it a secret.
Adrienne made an appearance just in time to see Crazy Hope kissing Justin. Judi Evans and her fantastic new hairstyle deserve better than that. I wish that Ciara would have told Aunt Adrienne that Hope had Justin's wallet. Maybe Adrienne would have taken Ciara seriously.
Sami admitted that she and Rafe fell in love at a time when she was separated from everything in her life and now that their relationship is in the real world, it doesn't work. Aside from the fact that I've been screaming that at my TV every time TPTB waived the "Safe" banner, I completely ADORE how aware Sami is of the situation. Plus, it proves that she actually can think for herself and is much better off, in my humble opinion, when she does so.
Listen Chloe, I 100% believe that you regret cheating on Daniel and I don't think you'd do it again. But, YOU chose to sleep with Philip. I don't care what Viv did or didn't make you think. You could have handled the situation any way you wanted. You could have crawled into a pint of Ben and Jerry's while listening to Alanis Morissette and watching French Kiss like the rest of us gals do when we get our hearts broken. Instead, YOU made the knee-jerk decision to shack up with Philly. So, I will not tolerate any of this "Auntie Viv tricked me" nonsense.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Melanie: "I got you something."
Daniel: "Why are you always getting me things?"
Melanie: "I married a rich husband, don't worry about it."
Chandler Massey is over the age of 18. Just thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone happened to catch his topless scene.
Baker was reading a book called Bad Girls Have More Fun. HA!
The E.J. hate is coming on a tad thick. I had to chuckle when Brady warned Arianna that E.J. was the devil and would want her soul someday. Seems to me that E.J. and Nicole are two-of-a-kind and yet Brady's this close to letting Nicole get her hands on more than just his soul.
Ari's ring is gorgeous. Brady may be a doofus, but he's got good taste in jewelry.
And now, I'll leave Salem for another week in the capable hands of my partner, Tony. He's been amazing covering for me while I was away on vacation. Everyone needs a great partner like that. Until next week, a few questions to ponder: Does Bo actually work at the station anymore? Any takers on Stephanie and Arianna bunking up together? (Where does Stephanie live anyway?) And, how awesome does rocky road with mint chip ice cream sound? Yum!