Once upon a time, I was a Boy Scout. And whereas I couldn't tell you the difference between sassafras and spruce trees these days, I've clung onto the motto "Be prepared!" I check weather.com each day before heading out. I set the alarm clock on my nightstand as well as the one on my cell phone before bed in case one of them doesn't go off. I always back up my documents in case of a computer crash. I try to be ready for anything, and that includes my hour a day in Salem.
In addition to a backpack full of bottled water, granola bars, and first-aid gear, I mentally geared up for the big "E.J. was behind Sydney's kidnapping" reveal. I knew last week would be rough. And I also knew at some point I'd want to reach through my TV and beat the gloating and smugness right out of Rafe with Meredith's trusty brick. Not to be smug myself, but I was right on both accounts.
Of course, the writers were also prepared last week. In addition to penning some great EJami scenes, they also made preparations for future storylines. They kicked off a new subplot and set the wheels in motion for Vivian's latest sinister scheme. One of them I'm surprisingly thrilled about, but the other has me a little worried. Let's discuss!
E.J., SAMI, RAFE, and Company
I found the best approach to tackling the big reveal was to divide and conquer. So, from an acting standpoint, I was completely blown away. Everyone did a fantastic job, but James Scott and Alison Sweeney absolutely stole the show. I actually got goose bumps from their scenes. They were brilliant and will hopefully not be overlooked by a certain Mr. Emmy next year.
The other standpoint is purely a storyline one. And as far as that goes, I think even dumb old Chlomeister could've figured out what was going to happen. Now, I'm not saying it wasn't entertaining, I'm just saying it was predictable. It was a given that Sami would discover the truth and freak. That E.J. would be devastated then want revenge against Rafe and Nicole. That Nicole would panic and Stefano would be enraged. That Rafe would be smug and gloat. That EJami fans would be left to hang black shrouds over mirrors. And that Safe fans would be left to celebrate the couple's step closer towards
driving an ice-pick of boredom into my skull reconciliation. That all happened, and I'm not surprised in the least.
Yet I'm not totally disappointed. I thought things were well-played by the writers. They managed to remain mostly focused on E.J., Sami, and their history with each other. Whereas I felt a tiny bit cheated out of a big reveal in front of a group of their family and friends who would get to "Oh-my-God" themselves into a frenzy, ultimately, I didn't mind. After all, this storyline is about Sami and E.J.'s passionate yet poisonous relationship, and watching those two battle it out made up for the shortcomings.
NICOLE and COMPANY
Nicole said of her latest blackmailing scheme gone awry, "Upon reflection, not my best decision." Probably not, but the gal isn't known to make good ones. Say, like staying in FBI protective custody instead of storming out of their offices…where she was safe. Good grief! When she later said she didn't have anyone to protect her, my chin nearly hit the floor.
Regardless, I'm very supportive of her latest decision -- to seek help from Chloe. Anything is better than her going to Brady again. That scene is brutal. Besides, I think super schemer Nicole is just the right person to get the ragtag, amateur-hour group of liars known as Chloe, Carly, Stephanie, and Philip back on track. Heck, by the time she's done with them, they'll all be convinced she's carrying Dr. Dan's baby!
IAN, STEPHANIE, NATHAN, PHILIP, CHLOE, DR. DAN, and CARLY
I need to begin this section with a question -- what exactly is Nathan's problem with Stephanie having a friend over? I thought his reaction to Ian was extreme. Ian helping her with computer problems actually comes off as a legit excuse. He questioned that, yet he totally bought her other lame covers-ups. Right.
Whereas Nathan might hate Ian, I love him! Not only is he handy to have around if a laptop crashes or if a girl needs an extra hair-tie, but he asked Stephanie the question Laurisa and I have been wondering about for almost a year. He inquired, "Why are you so worked up over a guy who's still hung up on somebody else?"
Yes, yes, and YES, Ian -- you're officially The Man for asking that. Of course, Stephanie didn't have a rational answer. But, really, how could she? Even she knows Nathan will drop her quicker than someone contracts an STD on The Jersey Shore.
With that said, I fully agreed with Stephanie on one pertinent point last week -- Chloe is WAY too dumb to switch the paternity test results. Shelley Hennig's delivery was flawlessly hilarious in that scene. Nope, Chloe's off my list of suspects, too, Not-so-Sweetness Jr. Actually, I'm surprised Chloe even knows how to use a laptop. Then again, she might just think it's a fancy Etch-A-Sketch.
Anyway, that leads us to the second big question in this storyline. The first, "Who's the Daddy?" has been somewhat of a snoozer thanks to way too many guilt trips, downright lame excuses, and contrived narrow misses. That question hasn't even been answered yet, but my care level is hovering somewhere between "Isn't it Obvious?" and "Yawn."
Yet the second question -- "Who Changed the Paternity Test Results?" -- has totally captured my interest. Not only does it have the potential to save good characters from looking uncharacteristically stupid because they don't recognize the obvious, but all of them are on the same "are they or aren't they hiding something?" page. It's classic soap stuff. It's a good mystery. And it's great to see so many characters on the suspect list.
As stated, Chloe's off mine for now. All joking about her I.Q. aside, the girl can't even talk to someone without calling Carly or Philip immediately afterwards to discuss her guilt and who may know their secret. I doubt Ms. Codependent would make that move without telling someone. The only sign of her guilt may rely on the fact Phil wanted to be a hands-on daddy. That might have given her the motive to make the switch -- well, aside from not wanting to emotionally destroy Dr. Dan.
Then there's Dimples. Did he do it? Er, pay Leonard, the Titan Tech God, to do it? Again, I'm not sold on this. Phil seems to want to be there for Chloe and the baby. Their friendship is solid. Changing the tests would only make him look like the biggest hypocrite and deadbeat dad ever. BUT he did toss Pocket to the Wilkins family, so he is capable of giving up a child. Hmm…
The wild cards seem to be Melanie, Dr. Dan, and Carly. Honestly, I believe Mel is WAY too emotionally overzealous to hide something that big. She blows up over knitting and gushes about family with the spastic flair of a puppy with a new chew toy. Granted, she does have the computer know-how, but I just don't know how she would hide that big of a secret -- especially from her confidant, Maggie.
As for Dr. Soon-to-be-Dad, I don't know. He didn't have a problem professing his love to Chloe when she was with Lucas, so his threshold for cheating seems to be high. He could simply shrug and think, "Well, we started as cheaters, so maybe this is just how the game's played." I don't think he'd be that laissez-faire about it, but I'm not sold on him as the culprit, either.
That leads us to Carly. Again, I'm not sure. She had a hard enough time lying to Dr. Dan already. A move like that would shift her from keeping a secret that could potentially hurt him to totally manipulating the situation. THAT lie would be worse than simply keeping Chloe's infidelity from him. I doubt she would go there.
Finally, I think it might end up being a clerical error. Stupid Nurse Josie has already made mistakes. Perhaps she made the switch to cover her tracks. Or perhaps the sister in charge did because she thought Josie made the mistake. I wouldn't rule out those two just yet.
All in all, I enjoyed this transition from "Who's the Daddy?" to "Who Changed the Paternity Test Results?" The only major warning sign I can spot so far is if the writers try to get Steph off the hook simply because she couldn't change the test results. She's far from an innocent party, and if they try to pull one over on us, I'll be miffed. Otherwise, these latest developments could possibly be the breath of fresh air needed to revive this storyline.
VIVIAN, VICTOR, and MAGGIE
On the other hand, I'm worried Vivian's new scheme to entomb Maggie might flatline. Since she's returned, the writers have been treating Vivian like a one-trick pony. She's kooky, she hates Carly, and she loves Victor. We get it.
The burial thingy now is just more of the same. Granted, it's well-acted "same," but it's all too reminiscent to what she did to Carly, and not even characters pointing that out is giving me that much hope for this one. Nor does the fact I can already tell they're shopping at Convenient Plot Devices R Us. I mean, really, Maggie just happens to decide to go out of town now? Props to the writers for bringing up Melissa and Sarah, but, sorry -- try again, ladies and gents of the Writers' Room.
Now, Viv wouldn't be Viv if she wasn't scheming, but I like my delusional psychopaths to show a bit more originality. Not to mention, Louise Sorel is much too talented for that rinse-and-repeat sideshow. Dear writers, I want more for three of my favorite characters and actors. Got it? Good!
I adore Maggie and Brady's relationship. It's realistic. It makes sense. It works. And both the writers and Eric Martsolf are doing a fantastic job of balancing Brady's newfound hardcore 'tude with his inherent Mr. Nice Guy charm. Then again, he has Maggie to keep him in check. She won't take crap from Victor, and she certainly won't from his grandson. And that's what I like about this relationship -- they're keeping it real, and they have a deep level of respect for each other.
I think Carly and Stephanie need to sit down and have a conversation about being second-choice gals. Yet whereas Steph seems to play along solely out of a desperate need to cling onto Nathan, I believe Carly is doing it because she's truly torn. She knows Bo's not entirely available to her, but Doc Manning also seems to approach her relationships with a "friendship first" attitude. She wants to help Bo because she not only loves him, but because they're friends, too. Then again, we've seen how Steph treats her "friends," so perhaps this proposed conversation would fall on deaf ears.
Part of me is sad that Dr. Baker is bouncing from our screens once again. But another part of me likes the way he exited. Others tried, but failed, to make him a scapegoat, and it was his choice to take on that role. He took responsibility not only because he was guilty, but because he fell for Hope. He wanted to protect her and manned up. The look on her face was pure shock and the look on Bo's face was a nice little reminder that he doesn't have the market corned on guilt. It was well played, Dick Baker -- perhaps you're not such a bad guy after all.
I bow down to the genius that is John Aniston. He's the best! Victor's delight in Nicole's latest failure were perhaps the funniest scenes I've seen in a long time. I love my gal Ms. Walker, but there's a CD player and bathtub that gives Victor full freedom to gloat, and John took that and ran with it. More, please!
A big Two Scoops congratulation is in store for Agent Rafe Hernandez! He solved the caper. And while he investigated, he treated his ladylove with dignity and respect by, you know, ignoring her, rejecting her attempts to reconcile, irrationally judging her decisions without explaining why, disappearing on her, and expecting her to understand his plight in the end. He even gloated and reveled in his victory as she was emotionally torn apart. Yep, Rafe, we're, um, proud of you!
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Victor (to Nicole): "You know, I wasn't having such a terrific day. I mean, a lot of talk about coffins and mausoleums. And then I come home and I hear Brady tell you -- in no uncertain terms -- to kiss off. [giddy chuckle] Now my day is nothing but lollipops and rainbows."
Honorable Mentions: Vivian: "You know, Gus, sometimes I think I have a little bit of a mean streak."
Stefano's eye-roll during the lovey-dovey wedding vows totally made my day.
Lauren Koslow rocks! I don't think I've said that in a while, but she does.
Does anyone else think those red candleholders/vases on Dr. Dan and Chloe's mantel look like those large red plastic kegger cups?
The skirt that Ms. Jenkins, the attorney, was wearing was interesting. I think it was called kangaroo khaki chic.
Big Red even looks beautiful in bright yellow!
It's official -- Kristian Alfonso can do anything, and that includes still looking drop-dead gorgeous in bland prison wear.
Does Nathan ever reply with, "I love you, too," when Stephanie says it to him?
And lastly, one from my better Scooping half, Laurisa: "It was awesome that Stephanie remembered to grab her purse before she rushed out of her apartment while crying over the paternity test results. I did pick her for best dressed [during the 2009 Golden Doughnut Awards]. And she proved it by not panicking unless fully accessorized."
So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of August 30th. Laurisa will be back next Monday to see if Vivian followed up on her plans and if E.J.'s decided on a new course of action to win Sami back, and pay back Nicole at the same time! I hope everyone has made preparations for a nice, long, relaxing Labor Day weekend! And, "That's a fact."
Need more Two Scoops? Head over to read blogs by Laurisa or Tony for more ranting, raving, and all-out randomness