The inspiration for this week's title came from the show-stopping Chicago. "Cell Block Tango" is a song where the refrain is a resounding, "He had it coming!" And, the only thing that would have made this week on DAYS any better was if Sami and company would have broken out in that song around E.J.'s comatose body. (With full choreography, of course.)
The same campy razzle-dazzle that draws me into musicals is the same magic that drew me to DAYS in the first place. It's been MIA for a while, but I'm thrilled to say that DAYS is back in action -- bringing back all the drama, with the perfect amount of comedy. Here's the play-by-play:
SAMI, WILL, RAFE, and LEXIE
I usually adore Sami Brady and I've loved all of her irrational kookiness. But, I have to say that she's the only thing that I am not enjoying in this storyline. My brilliant partner, Tony, hit the nail on the head last week: Sami Brady would have a plan. And, this "pleading and begging" thing that Sami described to Will wasn't a plan. For that matter, it wasn't Sami Brady either.
Seducing E.J. so that he wouldn't leave town would have been a plan. Drugging E.J. so that he couldn't go anywhere would have been a plan. Framing E.J. for a crime so that he goes to jail would have been a plan. Alas, Sami is falling far short of her normally glorious Sami self by spending the week crying and hoping that no one tattles on her.
But, I was talking about the things that I love, so let's get back on track. I am thrilled that Will is keeping both Kate's and Sami's secrets. The All-About-Me Kid is finally seeing that if you're going to be part of a soap family, sometimes, you're going to have to scheme to keep them together. Atta boy, Will!
But, this isn't going to be easy Will. Every time someone asked him about the night E.J. was shot, Will looks as though he's keeping a big secret. He is indeed keeping a big secret, only it's not THE secret that people like Rafe think he's keeping.
Speaking of Rafe, I so enjoyed seeing him in something other than super-cop mode. Surprisingly, he has no idea that Sami is the one who shot E.J. And while I strongly disagree with Rafe saying that E.J. deserved to die, I love that Rafe said it because it FINALLY proved that his feelings for Sami are starting to overshadow his cop gut. It's irrational, foolish, and it's exactly the type of love that a soap couple should have!
The supporting cast was also brilliant this week. Sami had another encounter with The Cuteness that is Johnny asking her if she still loves "daddy" and, if not, why she was going to marry "daddy." Good point, kid. I doubt Sami has a good answer for that.
Additionally I'm thrilled that someone in the writers' room remembered to dig Lexie out of cobwebs and have her stand by E.J.'s side. She's in a difficult spot because her doctor head tells her that science isn't on E.J.'s side and remembers E.J. saying that he wouldn't want to live hooked up to machines; but her sister heart wants to hold onto her baby brother. I don't know if I could have kept it together as well as Lexie did last week.
I wasn't super crazy about Kate keeping the Chad secret from Stefano because there was no reason for her to do that in the first place. Sure, now she's trying to figure out a way to use that knowledge to her advantage, but I highly doubt that when Kate found that birth certificate, she said to herself, "I better hold onto this in case E.J. ever gets shot in the head and I need to protect myself from Stefano thinking that I had anything to do with it!"
It's 150% not Kate's fault that Sami shot E.J. However, I don't think Stefano is going to see it that way. I think he's going to want a hurricane of devastation brought upon anyone who had anything to do with E.J. getting shot. He may even go find the salesmen who sold Sami the car that she drove over to the mansion in, and off him too. So, if I were Kate, I'd set a plan into motion ASAP to frame someone else who can't be traced back to me.
I'd do so because Kate has something going for her that she hasn't had in a long time. Stefano genuinely loves her. I know, I know, as much as a Stefano is capable of loving someone else. But still. The Phoenix digs Kate. I'd like to see that play into the future events.
E.J. and STEFANO
I'm just going to throw this out there -- Stefano and E.J. could be faking this whole thing. It could happen. I don't read spoilers, but my Spidey Sense is tingling about a few key things.
First, last week Sami agreed to sign over her power to Stefano to make medical decisions for E.J. All they needed was a judge. The DiMeras have a vending machine stocked with judges back at the mansion. Yet, Judge Fitzpatrick hasn't signed off on the transfer of power yet. Doesn't that seem odd?
Second, the DiMera mansion has security cameras all over it. If Will saw Sami when he was sitting by the pool, a camera HAD to have caught Sami leaving with a gun.
Third, not so long ago, Stefano faked his own coma to get revenge on Marlena. So, we know that Stefano is an expert in both fooling medical doctors (including his own daughter) AND exacting revenge on a woman who has wronged him.
Finally, play this situation out in your head: Sami chooses to "pull the plug" and E.J. "dies." Then, Stefano appears with proof that Sami was the one who shot E.J. Since E.J. "died," Sami would be convicted of murder. Rafe would be left heartbroken. As soon as Sami is safe in jail, E.J. miraculously rises from the dead and has the kids all to himself, and Stefano has full access to his grandchildren.
Arianna gave E.J. the prerequisite bedside pep talk about not giving up. We never knew much about Ari's character, but we did know that she had a pension for bad boys. If Ari's days weren't numbered, there's not a doubt in my mind that Arianna and E.J. would have been an interesting pair. Lindsay Hartley could have matched James Scott's intensity as an actor. And, Lindsay Hartley does look good with tall, gorgeous men. (Have you seen her real-life husband?)
Alas, we're left with Arianna to be the sole source of reason to confront Rafe about his "no one takes the law into his own hands" approach. She is right, of course. But now that Rafe is developing as a character, he isn't one to listen to his sister's good reasoning. That's okay by me because it's better for the storyline and wonderful for the character development.
Ahhh, Kristian Alfonso, is there anything your fabulous self can't do? I think not. She's playing Hope with such an intriguing blend of tenderness and toughness that I have no worries about Hope returning back to the Hope that I know and love.
Sure, Hope's cellmate, Thug Vitamin C (not really, I think her name is Tina), looked tough at first, but she cried like a baby when Hope, in her words, neutralized Tina just like Hope was taught at the academy. I did sympathize with Tina. I wouldn't want to sleep in a locked room with a woman who tries to kill people in her sleep, even if I did have a tattoo on my neck.
I can't wait to see more of Hope in jail. She's the most feared lady on the block and while I think that eventually Tina will come around and be on Team Hope, there's got to be someone else on Hope's side. By that, I mean someone physically in jail with Hope.
BO and CIARA
One of my biggest pet peeves is when the writers don't show the aftermath of a major storyline. So, I'm glad to see the few scenes with Ciara talking about Hope. That little girl has dealt with a lot, and it's nice to see the writers aren't forgetting to show us that she's still not okay. She shouldn't be. Neither should Bo.
Speaking of Bo, why isn't he in therapy too? His wife tried to kill him. TWICE! Wouldn't that put just a teeny bit of strain on his mental health? Would it hurt for Shawn to have a heart-to-heart phone call with Bo and express his concern for dear old dad? Shawn might have some insight into mental health considering that his mother-in-law is Salem's most respected psychiatrist ever. Better yet, what about Marlena just picking up the phone and calling Bo? He could use a friend right now.
Chloe's off the list of Test Result Changers. With each suspect eliminated, Stephanie goes a bit more insane. My problem is that it's just not insane enough to keep me interested. I can't quite wrap my head around why Stephanie cares who switched the results. I thought she just wanted to keep Melanie away from Nathan. The fact that she also wants to know who the bad guy is (even though it will serve her ultimate goal in no way, shape, or form) just continues to add to Stephanie's uber annoying self-righteous streak.
On the bright side, I liked Stephanie and Chloe's scenes. Chloe is an odd source of advice, but she was dead-right when she told Steph that all the preaching about happiness isn't normal. Truly happy people don't go around talking about how happy they are with life. They just are happy. And Chloe can speak with some authority, since she did try to make a go of it with Lucas for a hot second, only to have the truth sneak up on her and glue her to Daniel's couch. (Yes, I said "couch." Get your minds out of the gutters, people.)
MELANIE and NATHAN
I love it when Molly Burnett gets to play flustered Melanie. Molly's comedic timing is pretty rad. So, I giggled when she fell over a trashcan and mumbled her way out of the room. I wish I could perfect that type of exit and use it in my real life. Talk about a great way to get out of staff meetings!
But the writers need to up the effort in the Nathan department. Nathan confessed his love for Melanie in his sleep and then went to play pool with Philip. Oh, and just before Nathan got in his car and drove to a bar, Nathan was so tired that he fell asleep standing up.
I get that Mark Hapka is pretty, but the writers need to stop getting distracted by his smile and focus on giving him a storyline that makes a little bit of sense. Honestly, Mark is too funny of a guy to have him play such a schmucky character. (Reference the horrible line: "Was I getting freaky with the Olsen twins?") I'd like to see the writers go more of a Jack and Jennifer direction with these two.
Before you start throwing things at me, let me make is clear that Melanie and Nathan are no Jack and Jennifer. No one ever will be, thankyouverymuch. The simple point is that Jack and Jen had an endearing comedy about them that made them different from other couples. So, when the show is missing a couple with that dynamic and you happen to have two actors paired together who could pull it off, why not give them a shot?
If ONLY Jennifer was around Salem. She just might have a chat with her cousin about what it's like to fall for a charming, yet bumbling con artist. Especially, when you are a well-respected Horton dating a well-respected Brady that everyone in town is crazy about. Darn the luck! (*Smirky laugh*)
Not only can Maggie give out great advice, but she can take it too. After a few conversations with Melanie and Brady, Maggie agrees to march over to the mansion and tell Victor how she feels. Go on, Maggie!
Better yet, she told him that while she's starting to have feelings for him, she's still conflicted over her feelings about losing Mickey. It was a very, very smart move by the writers. I don't want to see Maggie move on so fast that it seems like Maggie and Mickey never existed, even if the next guy is Victor. Besides, how delicious will it be to watch Victor be patient? I mean assuming that Victor even knows what patient means.
VIVIAN and BRADY
This is why I don't read spoilers. I would have never guessed that Brady would snap and put Vivian in her own sarcophagus. I really thought the writers were going to go through with letting Vivian burry Maggie. I hereby apologize for all of my previous rants about how boring this story was going to turn out. I take it all back. So hard.
There's the glorious campiness that is Louise Sorell. I'm struggling to think of other actors who can pull off Vivian's flavor of crazy with as much heart. I adored that Viv's defense was that she picked a "nice spot" for Isabella. She's so daffy delicious that I want NBC to post a live feed of Vivian inside the sarcophagus so that viewers can watch her 24/7. Don't you wonder what kind of bedtime stories Vivian tells herself, what show tunes she can't get out of her head, or what her conversations with Lawrence must be like? I do!
And the psycho "ying" to her crazy "yang" is Brady Black. He's totally justified in his madness. Vivian has gotten away with way too much for way too long and never seems to pay for anything. So, it's about time that Auntie Viv got a taste of her own medicine. And as much as I like Viv, her shtick with Carly was getting a little old. So, thank you, Brady, for giving Vivian a new nemesis.
I'm even more impressed that Victor and Maggie didn't notice the crazy in Brady's eyes (not to mention the alcohol on his breath) during the entire day. Is Brady so nuts that he seems perfectly sane? Or, is Brady just that good at being bad? Either way, I'm in. Let me know where to sign.
This magnificent turn of events is missing just one thing. Why isn't Vivian mentioning John? Technically, Brady is Vivian's adopted nephew. All this talk about Isabella seems weird since she's not the parent that Brady and Viv share a mutual respect and love for. If Viv wants to appeal to Brady's emotion, why not bring up the parent that she didn't move into a pet cemetery?
Is Gus really gone for good? Please don't let that be so! Any character who can be bribed with a high colonic and/or Cher tickets should be kept around town by any means necessary.
Now that Chloe and Carly's secret is safe, what's the smartest thing to do? Why, talk about it in the open, where anyone can hear! Come on, ladies! At least one of you is smart. THINK!
I know Nicole likes to play the victim card when it comes to E.J., but it's total crap. Nicole played E.J. for the fool that he was for months. Sure, it didn't last forever, but she got a slice of happiness out of it. Nicole is such a rock star that she bested both E.J. and Stefano and is still alive to tell the tale. So, she seemed like a silly one to warn Arianna about E.J. Maybe Stephanie could have taken a break from playing Columbo to tell Arianna about how E.J. had a crazy man shove Steph into a box.
Chad said Will was one of the reasons to stay in Salem. I like that.
WOOT! Caroline admitted that she might have been a little too harsh on Will. Phew! Now I can stop being ticked at Caroline and we can hug it out. Yeah!
It's not like I needed any more reasons to like Eric Martsolf, but the guy delivered last week. Crazy Brady is an absolute hoot. Eric Martsolf is an insane genius. He's part Mark Wahlberg from Fear and part in Ben Stiller from Zoolander. And, he did it all without another actor to feed off of. Throw more at him, writers! The guy can handle it!
Kate, I love you to death, but you've got to develop a little bit better memory. If you don't want Will to be the one who shot E.J., then you might not want to pray that Will is like Lucas. Because, you know, LUCAS SHOT E.J. in the back just a few short years ago.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Melanie: "I didn't know that planning a baby shower would be this much work. Apparently, you can't just order a pizza and tap a keg."
In trivia answer news: Stephanie and Chloe were almost sisters-in-laws when Stephanie became engaged to Chloe's then-husband Lucas' brother, Philip.
Dr. Walters, have you met Dr. Manning? *wink*
Kudos to the makeup team for resisting the urge to give Hope perfect makeup and hair while she's in jail. Apparently you did listen to us when we complained about Chloe's perfect coma hair.
Do real hospitals have co-ed locker rooms?
Victor married Vivian to stop her from going after Carly and thereby stopping Bo from following through on his threat to kill Vivian in Carly's defense. I forgot that. Thanks for the reminder.
Getting a glimpse into Vivian's daydreams is always welcome. But, letting Nadia Bjorlin and Crystal Chappell have some goofy fun together is all the more awesome!
I LOVED that Kate stuck E.J. with a pin to make sure he wasn't faking his coma. Are we sure that Kate hasn't been a DiMera for years?
And with that, we'll start the curtain call for a great week in Salem. Tony will be back next week to cover the encore/afterparty. (The guy never turns down free appetizers and cocktails.) So, until then, do any of you share my theater dork passion and still get giddy during Phantom's Masquerade number even though you've seen the show six times? Did you think that crazy Brady was a ton of fun? And, who do you think should be Hope's cellmate? Sami? Carly? Vivian?