For the record, the only person who learned something new this week was Kate. Others may have had suspicions. A few more came close to confession. But, Kate is the only one who got access to a secret, and she's okay with staying quiet. So, what do we do with all the other near-tells? Why, save them for November Sweeps, of course! Here's what you need to know to be ready for next month:
Hope was fully back into Detective Fancy Face mode and I loved every minute of it. This brilliant idea got Hope back in an element where we love her -- the strong, eyebrow-raising investigator -- without having to throw her back into a love triangle. Sure, she's still depending on Bo, but she's not dependent on him. That's always been what I liked most about Bope.
In other news that should make Bo happy, Hope is now around someone who is an even worse liar than Bo. Sheesh! Lee has as much of a poker face as a frat boy at the Playboy mansion.
Then there's the warden herself who says it really didn't matter that it took so long to get April medical care because she couldn't have been saved anyway. Not sure about that one. I'm glad Hope didn't buy it.
SAMI and RAFE
I watch Dateline and 48 Hours Mystery all the time. One thing that ticks me off is when a cop assumes that someone is guilty because they aren't acting like a normal, grieving, person. (The other is when the show ends with, "The trial will begin in April".) So, when watching Sami and Rafe this week, I was trying not to be too critical on them because everyone grieves differently. That proved to be a tall order.
Sami scolded E.J. for pressuring Rafe and proclaimed that if it were Lexie lying in the hospital bed and Lexie had information that Rafe wanted, that Rafe would back off of Lexie out of compassion. Not so fast there, Sammers. Rafe is the man who ordered doctors to pump a comatose Anna DiMera full of drugs so he could get information from her. And Rafe made three uninvited visits into E.J.'s room when E.J. was on life support just to threaten E.J. Sami loves the guy, so she can't see these things. But I don't, and I do.
Rafe kept Sami's secret even though his baby sister begged him to explain why this happened to Arianna. I don't believe that Rafe is responsible for Arianna's death at all. But, Rafe is responsible for putting Arianna in a dangerous situation, since he is the one who willingly took the reins on this whole cover-up. It was brutal to watch, not only because Rafe lost a sister who he loved, but because her death wasn't enough to make him reevaluate some of the decisions he made.
The thing most tragic about Arianna's death is that her unique spot in Salem is now vacant. She was a true friend. And the friends she chose were the misfits who needed a friend the most.
It was nice to see that in the midst of the whole shooting cover-up, the writers still remembered to let E.J., Melanie, and Brady have special moments with Arianna that were actually about Arianna, and not about anything else. E.J. remembered her lucky dollar. Brady talked about how much he genuinely loved her. And Melanie pleaded with a dying Arianna to remember that they had a shoe-shopping date coming up.
Melanie's short scene got to me the most. Sometimes when tragedies happen, we can't process the magnitude of the situation, so we focus on the little things in life that we can control. It's why we bring casseroles and cookies to families who have just lost someone. We have no idea how to get them through the day, but we can get then through dinner. It's such a true human impulse and I'm glad the writers threw that little bit into the story.
Perhaps it was another afterthought, but I liked that Rafe and Gabi discussed organ donation with Dr. Walters. Arianna was an undeveloped plot tool since she arrived in Salem, but it was surprisingly pleasant to have her stint in Salem conclude with something that was specific to her. Plus it opens up glorious storyline possibilities if the 15 year-old girl who received Ari's organs were to show up in Salem and become friends with Gabi.
Speaking of the actual soapy details, the dubious "proof" is still out there, and no one seems to know where to find it. Apparently, neither Sami nor E.J. were around last Christmas, otherwise they would know that the awesome part of a Flip camera is that it has a built-in USB drive that you can "flip" out, plug into a computer, and instantly download the video. Then, said video can be emailed or…say…burned onto a DVD and send to Justin. (Dude needs a storyline right now.) I just hope the DVD didn't go to Roman. If it did, I worry that we'll be up to our ears in shady Bradys.
Caroline is out of her damn mind. That's all I can conclude. She had a mind and now she doesn't. First, she let Kinsey watch Sydney. (Hello! DWI teen usually doesn't equal responsible babysitter!) Then, Caroline all but confessed to switching the paternity test results, thus lapping Kate in the race to win the award for "Most Random Involvement in a Major Storyline." Hopefully Caroline will hang her shiny new award over the bar at the pub next to the memorial flag, which still seems to have no owner.
I'll give the writers credit for totally fooling me. If I made a list of test switchers, Caroline would have been dead last -- right after Father Matt and never-seen-on-screen Ali. I'm not sure where they'll go with this, but if the writers can make this storyline work in a believable way, I just might fall in love with this soap all over again.
STEPH and NATHAN
Philip took over the stupid from Chloe and pranced over to Steph's apartment to dictate with whom Melanie can be friends. I LOVED seeing Stephanie tell Philip to back his threatening whack-butt down and stop accusing Nathan of making Melanie lie to her father. I don't even blame Nathan for dropping to one knee and proposing to her because he's so impressed. I would have gone that far, but the fact that I stopped wanting to throw Steph off a cliff is essentially the same thing for me.
Is it bad that I'm no longer bothered by the warp speed in which people get engaged in Salem? Normally, I'd be a little nervous that Steph and Nathan have never had a storyline between them that hasn't involved his feelings for Melanie, but I'm sorta over that now. Their engagement makes me think that Philip and Stephanie's secrets are getting closer to coming out.
I love me some Kayla, but this week, she pushed her luck. All of the Bradys are genetically prone to displaying a self-righteous streak, made all the more dangerous because the infected Brady is completely oblivious to displaying it. This week, Kayla started to show symptoms when, fresh off her assumption that Carly switched Chloe's test results, Kayla went to badmouth Carly to Bo.
Bo's response was brilliant. Not only was Kayla not around to witness Bo and Hope's breakup, but Kayla has no idea what Bo feels for Carly because, again, Kayla wasn't around. I'd add that Kayla's analogy was completely bogus. Yes, Bo and Carly had been apart for many years before they reconnected. But it's hardly the same as Kayla and Steve because Carly wasn't kidnapped by the DiMeras, brainwashed, almost married someone else, dated a third person, and had amnesia.
Let's get this out of the way first. There's no reason in the world why Kate should have been coming to visit Arianna. I'm hard-pressed to think of a scene that Kate and Ari ever had together. It's so far-fetched that I'm almost giggling at the writers for having Kate overhear Brady's confession to Ari. Whatever. Moving on.
Now that Kate knows Vivian is in the coffin (which we know is better equipped than most top-of-the-line motor homes) she's totally down with keeping her there. Poor Viv can't catch a break. Everyone who finds out that she's in there either A) thinks she deserved it, B) hates Victor and Nicole less than they hate Vivian, or C) both of the above. It's safe to assume that Vivian isn't going to be running for office, despite all her oil money.
As to what "deal" Kate and Victor will strike, I have no idea. But any terms that start over a glass of brandy sound great to me!
VIVIAN, VICTOR, and MAGGIE
The general consensus is that Maggie won't give Victor the time of day when she learns that he kept Vivian buried alive. Regretfully, I'd have to agree. So, I'm asking the writers to come up with something, anything that will make it plausibly okay for Maggie not to flip crap when she finds out. Have Maggie develop a rare allergy to one of the exotic herbs in the green cleaning spray at Chez Rouge that makes her forget anything associated with sarcophagus shenanigans. I'll buy it. I promise.
Nicole wants to get Sydney back. Umm…okay…I'm never one to turn down some quality Nicole screen time, but this seems like a big step backwards. Didn't we already see her to take Sydney from Sami twice before? Yes, we did. May I suggest that the writers redirect their energy towards this awesome news and scrap the Sydney idea?
It was short-lived, but at least we got to see the Carvers, the most successful and solid family in Salem, spend a short scene together.
Carly's known she had a daughter for almost 20 years. Melanie's known that she had a mother for a matter of months. So, when their relationship is challenged, Carly needs to remember that Melanie's side of things is much more fragile because it's new. Popping up in Melanie's face to hopefully benefit from Melanie's grief over losing her best friend was inappropriate. Throwing a temper tantrum when Melanie didn't accommodate Carly's wishes was ridiculous.
Kate anonymously sent Chad's birth certificate to him. He'll be able to read the names clearly because the document is in amazing shape considering that it's 20 years old. What kind of magic, fairy-dust covered paper do they used in Salem?
Melanie is tying herself in knots over keeping Chloe's secret, and it's making me sad. I want Melanie to be the one who tells Daniel the truth, and I want it to happen yesterday. I miss the sassy, spit-fire Melanie of the past.
Will showed the most genuine remorse for Ari's death and I credit Chandler Massey for that. Chandler was amazing, especially in scenes with Camila Banus and James Scott. Will is dealing with three emotions right now, fear, anger, and sorrow. Not only is he trying to protect his mother; but he's still angry at E.J. and he's also guilt-stricken over his part in Gabi's sister's death. Lesser actors would lump those three emotions together under the heading of "messed up teenager" and roll with it. But, I felt the different emotions from Will at the perfectly appropriate times and couldn't have been more impressed. Stefano was right. Will has got a lot of Kate in him. In my book, there aren't too many higher compliments.
Ugh. There is never a need - EVER -- for a flashback of something that happened five minutes earlier. Viewers are not stupid. We can pay attention to the show that we're watching. So, instead of wasting time and insulting our intelligence, why not replace those flashbacks with scenes that we would actually like to see? Victor mentioned that he visited Hope in jail. Bo said that Arianna came to him and expressed forgiveness for Hope. Those sound like two great ideas for scenes. Do that instead!
NOT AT ALL, NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT
It's Halloween, DAYS! You have a woman being kept in a coffin and a hit-and-run murderer on the loose! Yet, you do nothing short of a few pumpkins to mention Halloween. That's unacceptable. So, Tony and I put our brains together to come up with appropriate Halloween costumes for our favorite soap characters. Check it out and share some laughs with us!
LINE OF THE WEEK
Maggie: "One of Salem's most notorious citizens comes over to see me. My life hasn't been this exciting since the day my sump-pump broke"
I would pretty much do anything for carrot cake too.
LOVE Nicole's sassy braid and awesome earrings.
Before Henderson gets orders not to let any member of the DiMera family into the Kiriakis Mansion, someone should point out that Brady is a DiMera.
I adore that Vivian sings "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" to pass the time. It got me wondering, how long does it take for a crazy person to go mad?
Sami was so worried that E.J. would steal Sydney that she shot him in the head. Yet, she has no worries about leaving Sydney with Caroline, who is so willing to leave Sydney with Kinsey. Got it.
I keep forgetting that Will is a Horton. Any chance he and Nathan can go to the driving range or something together?
The handsome Dr. Ben has had several conversations with families about organ donations. These short but powerful scenes are excellent ways for a soap to tackle PSA issues without clubbing the audience over the head. Good job, DAYS.
Can someone please remind me when the DiMeras can bring people back from the dead? I know that I have all that information down on a spreadsheet somewhere, but I can't seem to remember where I saved it. John Black -- yes. Tony DiMera -- no. Anna DiMera -- yes. Arianna --?? I'm so confused.
So now we are set for November sweeps. Get your snacks and beverages of choice ready for the big show. Will Hope figure out the low-down with the big house? Will Victor invite Maggie over for a Kiriakis family dinner with Bo, Carly, Philip, Melanie, Daniel, Chloe, Brady, and Nicole? Will anyone remember that Justin and Adrienne are still in Salem? And, should we wonder who the hit-and-run driver was or not? I'm not pointing any fingers, but Tony's been absent for two weeks in a row. He'll be back with a column next week to explain himself!