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Turn and face the strain
by Tony
For the Week of September 10, 2012
Fall is officially a few weeks away, but last week was a season of change for several Salemites! Nick was paroled, and Kate, Kayla, Rafe, and Jennifer got new gigs. Plus, is Chad morphing into a genuine DiMera? Find out what's going on in this week's summery summary, otherwise known as Two Scoops.
Fall might be officially a few weeks away, but it was a season of change for several Salemites last week! Kate and Victor proved they've grown up. Nick assured everyone he is a new man. Melanie reminded everyone she had turned over a new leaf. Kate, Rafe, Kayla, and Jennifer all dealt with change-ups to their careers. Sami might just be becoming a civilized adult. And Chad seems to be gradually graduating into a full-fledged DiMera, or is he? Let's change things up, grab a Magners, and discuss all these changes!


KATE and COMPANY
I love Kate! I do. And I enjoy that she's back into the Titan fold. Her frank conversation with Victor was a nice nod to history, but also a great reminder of how far their characters have grown. They were actually civil and acknowledged their past mistakes with each other. And now that they're teamed up with their cards on the table, I can't wait to see what this means for their enemies. Kate vs. Sami is always sure to entertain (if only with catty one-liners), and with Victor in her corner, I'm sure Stefano won't be able to push Kate around as much as he'd like. Yep, this could be good!

Plus, I adore Kate's relationship with Brady. Lauren Koslow really shines when she gets to play the bitch, yet throw in those moments of pure kindness to remind us all that Kate's not all devilish diva. I'd like to see her working friendship with Brady blossom further. Something tells me they could be an interesting duo to watch.

That is to say, watch out, Sami! With Kate and Brady in charge, things could heat up in the Kate/Sami battle. Will Brady be torn between business and his step-brotherly allegiance to Sami? Who will St. Marlena side with -- her dear girl, or John's son? And what side will John take? Wouldn't it be interesting if Basic Black incorporated Countess Wilhelmina into its fold? Hmm! There are lot of possibilities to play with, writers. Don't blow it!

Finally, Kate wanted to set Will up with her intern, Scott. That was hysterical! Between being in the fashion industry so long and having her own colorful past, it's no surprise that Kate is comfortable with nearly everyone. I love that about Kate! And, hello! Scott must be a helluva catch if he comes with the Kate Roberts seal of approval. We all know she sets the bar high for her loved ones' mates. You know, just a little high. So, this Scott must be something. Let's meet him!


NICK and COMPANY
In what came as no surprise, Nick was officially paroled after a heartfelt testimony from Melanie on the power of change. I have to admit that at first I was disappointed we didn't get to see what Melanie had to say. Thankfully, the writers snuck it in via a flashback the next day. I enjoyed that.

The largest part of Melanie's decision to speak on Nick's behalf was because of her relationship with Maggie. I didn't mind this. Even before Maggie and Mel became magically related, they had a special bond. In fact, Maggie stuck by Melanie through thick and thin. It was a good showing of how far Melanie has come from her Premiere Party Girl days. So, sure, thumbs-up to that.

On the whole, I was okay with Nick's hearing. I liked the testimonials (sans Julie's! More on that later)! I also like the way Blake Berris is playing Nick. Is Nick truly reformed, or is he still a little bit of a creep? Blake is playing it close to the cuff, which is making it interesting. I could honestly see this going either way, and I'm okay with that. It's making things more exciting, and DAYS needs exciting right now.


CHAD and COMPANY
One thing is for sure, Chad is breaking out his inner DiMera with stern warnings to Nick. Truth be told, it kind of stung to see him go after Jessica. I like her. She's sweet and only wants the best for her boy. She also reminds me of my friend's mother, so seeing Chad lay into her was uncomfortable. Yet I also understand Chad's reactions.

Chad loves Melanie. He wants to protect her. I get that, but I think it's good to look at Chad as a whole before judging his reaction to Nick's parole. I don't think it's solely Nick being released that's driving him to react so un-Chad-like. I think it's Chad needing to protect Melanie at all costs because Chad feels he's constantly losing people he loves.

For starters, Chad has dealt with a lot of loss in his life. His entire home life was blown out of the water when he found out he was a DiMera. He lost Charles (who was an absolute douche, anyway, but still, he was Chad's presumed daddy douche). Madeline died. Before that, Mia left him. His baby with Mia died. Then he thought he lost Stefano, and did lose Lexie. Loss is this kid's bag, baby.

Chad also lost Gabi's friendship when blindsided by her betrayal. He thought she was a close friend. In fact, he thought of her as a good enough friend that he invited her into his home to protect her from harm. Knowing that she betrayed him and Melanie also adds to his potential nice-guy breaking point.

So, DiMere genes aside, I think it was fine that he played hardball with Gabi about modeling. Granted, he should simply go to the police. That would be the logical thing to do, but he's trying to spare Melanie's feelings and not let her know how much of a horrible friend she had in Gabs. It's not the best reasoning, but I'll bite for the moment.

Harder to swallow is Chad proposing to Melanie. I absolutely get his intentions. He loves her and wants to keep her close to protect her. But let's face it, you can only pet the rabbit so long before you end up suffocating it.

All that considered, I can see why Chad is acting the way he's acting now. I don't know if it's him really becoming a genuine DiMera, or if that's just the way he's come to react when people he loves are threatened after everything else he's been through. If nothing else, it's giving Casey Deidrick a chance to spread his acting wings, and that's not such a bad thing.


RAFE, SAMI, and E.J.
No, seriously, how many times can Sami be mugged in one year? It's getting a little ridiculous. It was a cheap ploy to get her into Rafe's arms, but can't the writers come up with something more original? I'm not saying that because I despise Safe, I'm saying that as a fan whose eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets in exasperation. Anyway…

Rafe and Sami seemed to be in each other's faces all week. That was so much fun. And by "so much fun," I meant I wanted to hit fast-forward a lot. The only reprieve was watching Sami gloat as Rafe had to admit that he was wrong about something. Ha! I consider Rafe being wrong as a little victory, and I hope that Sami holds that over him as much as he holds everything she has done wrong over her. Use the force, Sami, use the force.

Mixed in with the Safe stuff was the stuff I actually wanted to see. That is, EJami! Sorry, I don't usually wave the EJami flag so vigorously. I try to be a little fair to fans of Sami's other pairings, but I can't help it right now. In weeks past, we've been reminded of James and Ali's amazing chemistry, and I'm a glutton. I want more.

With that said, E.J. and Sami had an honest conversation about her feelings. I liked this as I did his time with the kids, but I have a bad feeling E.J. is starting to feel threatened. And that's never a good thing. Let's take a look at his chat with Lucas…


E.J. and LUCAS
Their conversation was rather curious, and I liked that! Truth be told, I always enjoy the barbs these two spew at each other. I cracked up when E.J. said, "Don't be a twit, Lucas." Lucas' cool stock is rising right now, but that line was pretty dang funny nonetheless!

I'm suspicious of Lucas right now. I hope that he is really done with Sami. I don't want to see a custody battle for Allie, that's for sure, but I suspect Lucas is going to mess with Sami's life a bit. She's messed with his, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and a little payback only seems fair, I guess. Plus, strong, savvy Lucas is bearable, while the scolding-Sami variety of Lucas is not. Any distance from the latter is a good thing.

With that said, it seems like Lucas was baiting E.J. Will he do the same with Rafe? I wouldn't be surprised if Lucas is planting seeds to cause commotion between E.J., Sami, and Rafe. Well, not that those three need extra help to stir up drama. True, it would be a good ego boost for Lucas to be able to sit back and watch things implode. You know, if he's not willing to do that "walk away gracefully" thingy. So, I'm interested in seeing where this goes. I just hope that EJami fans aren't the ones left out in the cold yet again when the dust settles, especially if we have to watch Safe reunite. If that happens, I will go after Lucas myself!


NICOLE, DR. DAN, and JENNIFER
I've supported my gal Nicole in tons of crazy schemes, but I don't know if I can stand to see her lower herself enough to keep Dr. Dan and Jennifer apart, especially if she's going to use Jack's memory to do so. Granted, Jennifer seems more absorbed with Dr. Dan than grieving for Jack, so there's that. Then again, Jennifer has a lot of practice mourning Jack. She's probably mastered moving on quickly. But I digress!

Nicole's having the baby boy she's been dreaming about. That's fine and dandy. I just hope she doesn't name him Daniel, Jr., but, knowing Nicole -- the gal who showed up at Brady and Chloe's wedding in a bridal gown of her own in case he changed his mind about marrying Chloe -- well, anything is possible. I just wish she would explore other possibilities for a soul mate. Dr. Dan just isn't good enough for Nicole. She needs someone who's completely into her and can also match her spunk and tenacity. Someone like, say, Eric Brady! Crossing fingers for that to happen come November in five, four, three, two…


LOOSE ENDS
I love Abigail these days! Kate Mansi is just flawless. And Abigail's growing into a nicely layered character. I was glad to see her sharing scenes with Sonny and Nick. Her scene with Cameron was a bit suspicious, and I hope we find out why she's playing hot and cold with Salem's newest doctor hunk. However, I don't think she needs to deal with grieving over Jack, and Nicole's neurotic shenanigans. Jen should have made better strides to tell Abs she's got a new roommate. The only reprieve is that Abigail seems to be a gal who has keen Spidey Senses. She knew Gabi was full of crap, and I hope that she's smarter than Jennifer to know that Nicole is, too.

Sonny and T had another run-in, and this time, no punches were thrown. That's progress. To be honest, I didn't totally mind their conversation, and some of it was downright funny, but on average, it did have a little bit of a cheesy "afterschool special" feel. On a positive note, I liked that Sonny pointed out that Will probably misses T's friendship. I'm sure it is hard for Will to lose a close friend and, let's face it, up until Sonny's homecoming, T was Will's fun, wisecracking sidekick. I'm still kind of bummed the writers turned him into the token bigot, but I guess there had to be one sacrificial lamb.

Speaking of Sonny, he nearly asked Will out, but before he could do so, Will once again overreacted to hearing Sonny speak to Brian. Really, Will? The boy needs to relax. More so, the writers need to come up with something else. Hearing Brian's name or seeing him can't stay the default thing to keep Will running. There has to be something else. I just hope that something isn't growing inside Gabi. Icky thought! Icky, icky, icky!

Even though they're two of my not-so-favorite characters, I enjoyed Rafe and Gabi's interactions last week. It's nice to see siblings spending time together, even if it's as simple as sharing a meal. Galen and Camille have a believable big brother/little sister vibe. In fact, when they're together, I almost don't want to smack them both. As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

I'd like to place an order for another Will/Chad scene! It's been too long since these wayward besties spent some time together. I appreciated that Chad apologized to Will for blaming him for Stefano's murder. I also thought it was classy that Will explained that he's sorry that Chad had to find out Will's gay in the papers. Dear writers, let's keep these two closer so they don't have to apologize again!

Amen! I'm thrilled that Kayla is back to being a doctor! Not that a bartender isn't important. Trust me, I support them quite often, but Kayla is a doctor, and we need more than just Dr. Dan running around University Hospital. Plus, if Kayla's new chief of staff position means we get to see her more often, I'm down with that, too! Sweetness is always a welcome sight!

Speaking of jobs, Rafe got a promotion last week. Although, and I may have missed this as I tend to nod a bit during Rafe scenes, I'm not entirely sure what said promotion was. I think he's now heading up the Cocky Cop Division. His new gig ultimately surprised me, though. He really didn't solve the last crime he was investigating, as the victim wasn't dead! Then again, Rafe can turn water into wine. He's special like that. Just ask him. So, sure, he probably does deserve props. Ugh.

Finally on the job front, Jennifer was asked to return to University Hospital as the director of communications. Kayla and Dr. Dan were happy about this. Enid from Legally Blonde was a bit upset and voiced her opinion to a nameless nurse. I like Jennifer, but it was kind of refreshing to hear someone complain about her return. After all, her departure from her last job at the hospital was a little controversial.


EXTRA SCOOPS

HOT:
If change is the topic de jour, nothing has changed more recently than Sami's relationships with Will and Marlena, and I loved it! In one week, she had civil conversations with two of her biggest sparring partners. Alison Sweeney did an amazing job with Sami and Will's conversation. The way she welled up while Sami listened to Will apologize was genuinely sweet. I can't wait to see more of these two playing nice! The same can be said for Sami and Marlena. I enjoy it when they are civil. However, I will say that Marlena being nice to Sami always seems a little disingenuous, and it's suspicious that she can be nicer to Sami now that Carrie is out of town. Hmm! But this is the "Hot" section, so let's just say, "Yeah for healthier relationships!"


NOT:
Okay, so let me get this straight. Nick's parole storyline began with Julie running to Melanie like a nosy busybody, but when it came down to crunch time, Julie was absent from Nick's parole hearing. Please explain to me how that happens, dear writers! Not only was it a huge head-scratching moment, considering Julie was a catalyst, but it also robbed us of some more Julie time, and that was a shame. In that vein, the writers also missed a chance for a Marie cameo. Boo, just boo!


LINE OF THE WEEK:
Nicole (to Dr. Dan, regarding possibly living with Victor): "How long do you think it will take for Victor to try to kill me, or for me to try to kill him. We have practice."


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
I love Hope even more for the following exchange:
Parole Board Member: "Excuse me, Ms. Brady. Please remind us what your relationship to the prisoner is."
Hope: "It's Detective Brady." HA!

Camille Banus rocked the straight hair last week! It was very Kardashian of her.

Sami calling Stefano "Satan on a stick" was priceless!

Dear, lord! Did those huge, half-screen Revolution promos annoy anyone else besides me?

I'm sorry. Backdoor, smackdoor! I still think someone in the hallway outside of the hearing room would have seen Melanie go in. Just saying.

So, there was a New York map in the hallway outside of the hearing room. Is that a hint as to where Salem could be? Hmm!

I wonder if Sonny paid Brian for those tickets? Considering Brian bought them for himself and Sonny, and Sonny planned to use them to take Will out, I hope he did. That would only be polite.

When Rafe said "Dr. Davis," I was like "Who the hell is he talking about!? Oh, right. Cameron."

I think Rafe should mix it up with Sami's short-haired lawyer! She's a cutie, and Rafe has been known to enjoy the company of someone in the legal profession. Read that as "I'd enjoy that more than Safe, Part 2!"

For a pregnant woman, Nicole sure does get from place to place in a flash!

Hot damn! Schuyler Yancey should consider working out a bit. I kid, I kid.

When Abigail walked down the stairs in that short mini she, like, totally reminded me of Cher from Clueless!

Yeah! Arianna was mentioned! I still think she should be brought back.

Exactly where "back east" does Jessica live?

Would Sami really, I mean, really need a menu at the Brady Pub? Seems like she should have that down pat by now.

Wow! I'm glad Peggy McCay got such a powerful scene last week. Thanks, writers! Watching Caroline walk over to Marlena and Will, only to be politely asked to mind her own business, was totally worth Peggy getting out of bed for. Well, almost.

I can't wait for a Nick and Will scene. That should be interesting!

Did someone forget to tell me it was flashback Friday?

Was Nicole wearing a cover-up over a pink sports bra and jeans on Friday? I wasn't sure.

Kate mentioned Intern Scott, but whatever happened to Assistant Chris!?

Did Sami's arm brace change colors with her outfit? I could have sworn that happened!

Eileen Davidson returns as Kristen in less than a month! Can. Not. Wait!


ALI'S FIT TIPS REMINDER:
Don't forget to follow Laurisa's progress as she works her way through Alison Sweeney's fitness tips that appeared in September's Health Magazine. When it comes to getting in shape, we all need a little encouragement, so feel free to share your thoughts with her. You can check out Laurisa's blog by clicking here, or follow her on Twitter @LaurisaDays!


PARTING THOUGHTS:
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of September 10! As Laurisa will be busy for the next few weeks staying fit with Ali Sweeney as well as organizing a "Welcome Home" party for Kristen, I'll be back next week as well to cover all the latest happenings in Salem. And don't forget you can follow me on Twitter @Tony_S_DAYS. And, "That's a fact!"

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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