There's no soap better than Days of our Lives. It's one of my great loves. But, just like my favorite stiletto heels (shoes are a close second to soaps on the Laurisa Love List), sometimes my best love causes me the worst pain. And that's what happened last week. I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed, and a little scared. Good thing I have all of you to go through this with me. Let's grab a buddy and look back.
Hope got a typical Salem trial. Rather than give us days of gritty courtroom drama, powerful monologues, and group scenes; the writers opted for drive-through justice with pit stops from a few guys who used to be on-screen a lot more. Soap fans love to see a bunch of characters together, and call me crazy, but if any character on DAYS would be cause for bringing people together, it's Hope Freaking Brady.
Alas, Hope sat there for two days like some sort of judicial parrot and kept squawking, "I'm guilty! I'm guilty!" anytime someone spoke in her general direction. Despite Abe, Justin, and Bo testifying in her defense, she still wanted to avoid a trial for Ciara's sake. Because going to prison for ten years was a MUCH better option for your daughter's psyche.
Additionally, I got mad at Julie (who I love!) for picking up blaming Bo where Crazy Hope left off. Julie should know Bo better than that. I got mad at Bo for accepting the blame -- again. I want Bo and Hope back together, but I can't stomach watching Hope make herself the martyr in all of this and everyone else enabling her. Hope Brady is NOT a weak character. She's one of the big girls. She can act like it any time now.
NICOLE and RAFE
For those of you who missed any episodes this week -- SURPRISE! -- Nicole and Rafe were smooching topless! Yup, it turns out that after a few martinis, these two baby-snatchers have a lot in common!
The setup was organic and brilliant. Rafe got some super-cop points for going to Victor (the one person who wants to see Nicole in jail more than Sami does) for insight into how to break Nicole down. Victor informed Rafe that Nicole has daddy issues and if Rafe can be the man in her life, she'll gladly hand over information. Nice use of history, writers!
And, since my weekend at the Bricole party was a total bummer, I was looking for a new pairing to support. Rafe and Nicole - surprisingly -- have some mad soap cred' on paper. What's more soapy than a couple falling for each other while trying to use each other? Add in the extra ingredient that they both could end up in jail, and I'd say there's some definite storyline potential here.
But then someone aced the audience out of exploring the options and just pushed fast-forward on this storyline. In a matter of a few minutes, Nicole and Rafe went from hating each other to going at it back at Nicole's apartment/bug shack. (Side note -- I hope Nicole changed the sheets since Brady left YESTERDAY.)
Of course, Sami saw them. Of course, she ran home to E.J. and made a rash decision. Of course, Rafe and Nicole did not end up…um…sealing the deal. Of course, Rafe listened to the CD. Of course in Rafeland, the CD that was taken COMPLETELY illegally would be admissible in court. Of course, Rafe has the power to grant immunity, despite not being the Salem D.A. Of course, Rafe gets everything that he wants. I can't help but wish that one of these days he'll actually get what will make him interesting as a soap character.
CHLOE, PHILIP, DANIEL, CARLY, and STEPHANIE
No update on the baby daddy yet. Just a few more close calls. You know how it is. Just when you think you're fiancé won't find out that you slept with another man, you catch him at the bar with the one nun who can rat you out. Ugh! Story of my life.
Since it's getting down to the wire, I'm going to go ahead and guess that the baby is Philip's. If it wasn't, then it would make no sense for Stephanie to find out the big secret and go through the trouble of hiring Ian: Super Geek to help scale the hospital's firewalls. He owed her a favor from back in college. (Apparently, somewhere between racing cars, working for Touch the Sky, and hiding Ford Decker's death, Stephanie helped Ian out.)
Anyway, should the storyline go that way, I'm okay with Philip being the dad. I like how through all of this baby drama, the writers aren't trashing the Phloe friendship. Aside from Lexie and Hope, it is the most tenured and believable friendship on the show. There's part of me that would be interested in seeing a successful co-parenting situation between these two friends.
The only thing I'm not interested in seeing is Salem turning into Blame Carlysville again. Just like Carly wasn't responsible for Hope walking out on Bo. She's not responsible for Chloe sleeping with Philip. Despite the line of people that I'm sure will be queued up to hurl rotten eggs her way, Carly isn't the one who cheated. And to be fair, she's not keeping the secret for selfish reasons. She's got nothing to gain either way.
He's snapped. Hard core. He's drinking at every bar at all hours of the day -- which makes no sense to me because if I lived at the Kiriakis mansion you'd have to PAY me to get away from that mini-bar. He tried to sleep with Nicole again, but then changed his mind. He put her on the shelf for another day.
I want to make it clear that I do not approve of this kind of behavior and I think recovery -- of any kind -- is something that should be taken seriously. So, please forgive me for sounding irresponsible, but I loved Brady last week.
He still dished out advice to the troubled souls of Salem. But, instead of having that nice, Greg Brady big-brother feel, his advice now seems like it's coming from a sleep-deprived Simon Cowell. So, Brady is still "Brady," but this change is giving Eric Martsolf a chance to shine and give Brady some more layers beyond the candy-coated ones that we've seen.
STEFANO, WILL, KATE, and CHAD
Poor Chad. He is going to set the record for having the most last names without a single wedding. Pretty soon, the kid will be known as Chad Peterson Woods DiMera. Think of the expense in monograms alone!
I held out hope for as long as I could that TPTB were going to actually put some effort into this storyline and make Chad be Tony or Andre's son. But alas, my disappointment is official. Stefano DiMera has another son. Chad better live it up because that little reveal just shortened his expected lifespan by decades.
I hope that Will is the one who uncovers the secret. All his bonding with Stefano and Will's fully developed predisposition to feel superior to the maternal figures in his life, makes him the perfect candidate to reveal the truth to Chad without any concern for Kate. Well, that and the fact that Will is pretty much Chad's only friend. Plus, anything that gets Will and Chad sharing scenes is okay by me.
E.J. and SAMI
Being the good mid-western gal that I am, I grew up playing the card game, Euchre. In this card game, the jack of the trump suit is the most powerful card in the game. Smaller cards like the nine or queen will also win a hand. But, the jack is the big-time, nothing-beats-it card.
E.J. and Sami is that card. There are masses of fans who want it to happen. Then, there are a mess of fans opposed to this pair. Those few fans who don't have a particular stance on Ejami as a couple can acknowledge that the actual union of a Brady and a DiMera is monumental when it comes to DAYS history.
So, why the TPTB are playing that card now is beyond me. I have zero faith that the writers are planning anything different than a big "ta-dah!" for their new golden boy, Rafe. So, it's hard to get invested in this wedding; no matter how much E.J. genuinely does love Sami, no matter how much history is at stake, this whole thing is fake and a gross misplay of the writers' biggest game-changer.
What's worse is that it's completely unnecessary. All Rafe has to do is tell Sami that he loves her and wants to be with her. She'd drop E.J. in a second. She doesn't need all the production that Rafe put into it. And, neither do I.
Vivian's plan to "deal with Maggie" is full-steam ahead. Of course, we don't know what that plan is or how Gus is going to help. But, phase one was to tell Victor that she wanted to build some sort of monument to Isabella. Gotta hand it to Viv -- she even thinks dead people should out-do each other.
I really feel bad for Arianna. As Tony so brilliantly pointed out last week, her character has been underdeveloped from the start and now she's going to have to ride out of town on Hurricane Brat. Arianna regressed back to hating Sami. Arianna testified against Hope. It's like some bozo thought, "Let's make her talk bad about two of the most beloved characters in Salem. That way, when she leaves, no one will miss her!" Boo.
The writers are keeping Melanie and Nathan in each other's orbits by having him save her life from the junkie at the free clinic. I'm not sure if it's enough to warrant the longing glances that Molly Burnett and Mark Hapka are being required to dish out on a weekly basis. Personally, I'd rather see them hiss at each other until the Phloe bomb drops and then turn to each other. But, what do I know? (Please limit your answers to 50 words or less.)
I'll be honest. I was willing to accept almost any pseudo-believable reason why Kate would keep Chad's paternity a secret from Stefano. I adore this evil couple together and I don't want something silly like a new secret to erase their rich history together. So, I'm thrilled that the writers had Kate talk to Lexie about Stefano's health. Of course she was worried about his stress level! Of course she didn't tell him that he had a kid! If she thought the news might KILL him! That's good enough reason for me.
On another level, I adored Lexie and Kate together. They both genuinely care about Stefano, yet harbor no blind delusions about his character. (Hi E.J.!) It was insanely refreshing to watch two mature, intelligent women discussing an emotionally challenging topic without breaking down into tears or clawing each other's eyes out.
Finally, there was the always-appreciated nod to history when Kate asked Lexie how it felt to be told you're biologically related to Stefano DiMera. We often forget that Lexie was an adult when she joined Team DiMera.
I've never been a fan of listening to Will lecture Sami about her life choices. But last week, spliced in between Will's petulant complaining about what a dope Sami is, were scenes where Will was dealing with the real tragedy of Chad's mother dying. Will even said, "Chad, with his mom, I can't even imagine what he's going through." Really, because you sure acted like a twerp to your own mom! Does Will really get the reality check? Or, were those scenes just taped out of place?
LINE OF THE WEEK
Philip: "Did you see this area?!?"
Melanie: "Yes, they really should put free clinics in better neighborhoods."
Honorable mention for obvious reasons... Justin: "Salem needs Hope Brady to come back."
Anyone know where I can get a Wonder Bitch costume for Halloween?
Sami's fantasy of Rafe arresting Nicole was painfully cheesy to watch. Somewhere, a Harlequin Romance cover couple is embarrassed for them.
I LOVED Brady going to visit Isabella's grave.
Nicole's pink nightie was totally cute. I wish I looked that good after eight cosmos!
If Rafe can come clean with Victor about E.J.'s involvement in the whole Sydnapping scheme, why can't he tell Sami? Never mind, sleeping with Nicole is a better plan. Good thinking, Rafe!
Did anyone notice Ian's miraculously appearing ponytail?
Alison Sweeney is a genuine bombshell. Wowza!
So, it might not have been the best week, but I'm forever hopeful! Soaps reserve the right to morph storylines around for various reasons, and I'm hoping all that money I spend on energy-saving light bulbs bought me some good karma in Salem. If I had my way, I'd scale back the Bope, Rafe, and the baby daddy fiasco and replace it with a lot more of Brady: Interrupted, Vivian/Victor/Maggie, and Will/Chad/Stefano/Kate. Anyone with me? What storylines would you like to see more or less of in the future? After all, we've still got plenty of good DAYS ahead.