And so it's begun. The march to May Sweeps, that is. It's a little early to break out all the big guns, but Salem's evil lot seems to be loading theirs with ammo. Granted, most of these sinners' schemes lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, pizzazz, perhaps, of drugging and raping a priest, but they can't all be winners. So, let's take a look at last week's nasty acts, and one really, really stupid mugger.
For starters, I didn't think for a second that Stefano was out of any loop. The man knows things. Heck, the man seems to know everything. And he told E.J. just what he knew about him. That is E.J. was "banging Abigail Deveraux."
Okay, hearing the Phoenix say "banging" was a little bit of hilarity mixed in with a little bit of "Did the Stefano DiMera really say banging!?" But I digress. We knew the man knew about the potential pregnancy. And we knew it was only a matter of time before he stopped batting around his play toys and sank his talons into his victim. What I didn't know was what he wanted. The answer -- Kate!
Yep, Steffie Bear is a sentimental guy, ya'll. He's blackmailing E.J. into helping him win back the hand of the lovely Katerina, otherwise known as one of the other chicks E.J. used to bang. On one hand, I feel that the Stefano/Kate bridge has kind of been burned beyond repair thanks to Rafe's potential peen paring and it saving Kate's soul. But I don't care. My other hand simply loved "State." If they reunite out of blackmail, that's just fine. It worked before.
However, if Stefano and Kate reunite, she may want him to go after Rafe, Jr., again. Herr Hernandez's li'l trooper may make a nice necklace to compliment Lucas' family jewels Kate is wearing as earrings again. Yep. He's back to being a whiny mama's boy. Oh, no. Sorry. Lucas said they'll only have a working relationship, and he's cutting her out of his personal life. Attaboy, Mr. Horton. I'll start the slow clap. Ugh.
Let me break this down. On the small scale, I love watching Kate pounce on her prey. It's like a National Geographic special on lioness meets a ballet meets Hannibal Lector meets Project Runway. She's a sassy ho, and I love her style. Still, that does little for the larger picture, and that is this…
One, Kate is wasting her time with Jordan when she has bigger fish to fry. If I believed Kate and Rafe's friendship was something like what he shares with Nicole, or, in fact, what Nicole and Dr. Dan have, I'd be fine. I'd buy her concern. But Rafe and Kate's romance was a one-trick pony she rode the entire way into Time-Sucking Storyline Land.
Two, Lucas just regressed about ten years. Sans the times he's reunited and disastrously broken up with Sami (and I'm graciously ignoring Chloe and his stint as Carrie's backup plan), Lucas has had one semi-healthy relationship with a girl. That was Autumn. And that was all off-screen and ended badly on-screen with little flair. So, I thought Sheryl would be it for a while. I was enjoying a happy, mature Lucas. But, nope.
Now the truth is out. Sheryl is heading to Houston, and Lucas didn't do a dang thing to stop her. Okay, he did half-heartedly tell her to wait while standing firm by Kate's side. There's that. And, of course, his testimony that Kate's out of his life. That was refreshing. We've never heard that before. I'm sure he and his flying monkey self will stick to his word. I repeat, "Ugh."
Third, and finally, this storyline on the whole has stalled. Rafe and Jordan said so in so many words. They agreed that some things should remain private. Jordan and Ben agreed to keep their distance, too. So, really, we have Kate picking on a bunch of people who want to be left alone while on a quest to save a man she used to hook up with. I guess between running corporate empires and facing off against worthy advisories like Sami and Nick, Kate enrolled in night school and took the class "Obsessed 101: Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill." I believe Liam was the instructor.
On topic, even Jeannie-T gave a tip of her hat to Liam for drugging Dr. Dan. I give him one, too. He pulled off one hell of an evil plan. And to his benefit, he has a long list of suspects to hide behind. I'd hide behind Anne's big hair. It seems safe in there. Sorry, Anne. I normally don't mind you, but don't diss my gal, Nicole. Okay. I digress. Back on topic.
Liam's mission is to…is to…well, I think Liam's mission is to seek revenge on Jennifer for dumping him. If it really is to get her back, he needs to work on his faux-sympathy. In either case, Liam's on a mission only Liam understands, and I really don't mind. Mark Collier is an entertaining psycho. I think it's the crazy grinning that's selling it. It makes me laugh.
On the whole, I'm okay with this storyline for now, especially knowing that with one call, Victor could probably shut it all down, as you don't mess with his godson. And in addition to Mark's take on Liam, I like that a large net has been cast. It's not just a Dannifer thing. Nicole, Eric, Jeannie-T, and others are in, and it incorporates their storylines, too. And I also look at it as a semi-entertaining placeholder until other storylines heat up and Kristen returns (as if you didn't think I wouldn't throw that in there). I do have a foremost gripe, though, as if you didn't think I would throw one in there, either.
I'm on the fence with Maxine right now. I love my sassy nurse of nurses, no doubt, but I may have to be careful what I wish for. "More Maxine!" has been my battle cry ever since we first fell for each other over the counter at the nurses' station. However, if "More Maxine!" means seeing her cry over Dr. Dan's plights, I may have to rethink this.
Maxine has always seemed like more of a "Let's figure out who did this and kick their ass" type lady opposed to a "let's cry about this over iced tea" type gal. That's not without saying I understand why she loves Dr. Dude. They're friends. They've been there for each other. I'd be torn up if someone hurt my loved ones, too, but I'd also get up and do something.
As Gracie Hart said in Miss Congeniality, "And if anyone, anyone -- tries to hurt one of my new friends, I would take them out. I would make them suffer so much that they'd wish they were never born. And if they ran, I would hunt them down." There! That's what I expect from Maxine. So, as most gym teachers say when you fall from the rope onto that paper-thin mat, "Walk it off."
And finally, we come to the worst baddie of the week. In this case, I mean "worst" as in worst, not as in love-to-hate. The, uh, winner is the idiot who tried to mug little Chase for his cell phone. I'm not a criminal, unless you count stealing Ben's heart which is most likely going to happen when we meet, just saying, and I apologize now, Abigail. Anyway, I'm not a criminal, but even I know not to mug someone in the middle of the town's busiest area where there are people sitting in the direction of the crime. The guy might as well have walked over to the early bird breakfasters and said, "Hey! Wanna watch me mug this kid? No, that kid. With the blond hair and gi." Idiot.
The real point of that saga was to paint Hope in a better light in Aiden's eyes. I'm okay with Hope and Aiden becoming friends. It will make more sense if friendship develops into something deeper someday, but it's getting a little forced. Father Louis McGuilt-Trip was the worst offender, but Caroline kind-of-but-not-really giving Hope encouragement to get to know Aiden didn't help, either. At this point, let Hope and Aiden work together and take it from there. Give them a legit reason to be in the same place and develop things organically. Forced couples hurt viewers' heads. Do the writers need me to break out the Brady/Madison or Taylor/E.J. flow chart again?
Methinks Liam is the one taping together the documents Nicole shredded. He's crazy and patient, which really helps in the obsessed department. Although that only makes me want him to really be Peter Blake even more. Peter would do something like that to help the family. Actually, he'd pay someone to do that, but I digress.
It's really cute that Jeannie-T said she'll only do cocaine with Brady from now on. I mean, really, what more can you ask for from a potential mate? Still, I'm kind of addicted to these two train wrecks right now, albeit over all the lectures from well-meaning kin who are right, no doubt, but still a little bit of a buzz kill.
Gabi slapped Sami! If there ever was a time to break out, "Oh, no, you didn't, girl!" this is it. And I have a feeling she'll wish she hadn't. I'd say Sami should strike her back with hopes to slap some sense into her, but Gabi's senses seemed to have set sail for Stupidville several years ago. I don't think Gabi will ever get that, yes, E.J. and Sami have done horrible things to each other, but they also realize what the other is capable of and still decided to get involved. Gabi should know how horrible Nick can be, but she seems to forget that as soon as Nick says she's pretty. Yes, Gabs, there's a difference.
Oh, Sonny! Just last week, I gave you a bunch of street cred for a being a romantic, and then you go and bring up your new hubby's archenemy on your honeymoon. Nothing spells sexy time like bringing up your husband's baby mama's crazy pants ex. Thankfully, and surprisingly, they rebounded and managed a nice, sweet little champagne toast. Cheers, fellows!
Speaking of nice and sweet, I'm mostly on board with J.J. and Paige. They have the makings of a classic teen soap love story. And Casey Moss is crushing adorable puppy love. However, that is part of my hesitation. Until recently, J.J.'s been stepping it up with the big dogs, well, wolves even, and seeing him back step into 90210-type drama is a little jarring. He does it well, no doubt. It's just going to take some time to sink in. It will sink easier, mind you, if Marybeth jumps into Nicole's handy paper shredder.
Speaking of Nicole, she's inching her way closer to happily ever after with Eric. They're good(-ish) again. I'd be less worried if I didn't know that happiness means the floor's about to drop out on them in some form. Yep, this is going to be an ugly fall from grace complete with an exasperating "I told you so" from Marlena. #marlenassmugattitudegivesmeamigraine.
Finally, I'm going to kvetch about Julie for a minute or two. Ultimately, she needs to shut it. Okay. To backtrack, I did support her about one thing. Nick needs to let Gabi go. To move on. To walk away. Amen, Sister Julie. Preach it. And with that, Julie and I stopped agreeing on anything. Any. Thing.
For a lady with more skeletons in her closet than she has flashy outfits, Julie needs to cut the "we're family, let's hug it out" thingy. For starters, Ms. Family Above All Else Julie wasn't even at Will's flipping wedding. You know, Will. That's her cousin, too. She managed to escape cruises before for lesser events, so it's apparent where Will ranks on her Horton Hierarchy Scale.
More ass-burning was when Julie croaked that Will and Sonny spit in Nick's eye because they didn't invite him to the wedding. Really, you bedazzled hag!? Call me crazy, but after blackmailing my cousin, the groom, I'd rather not be invited to the wedding. Even Nut Job Nick admitted that would be awkward. What's Julie's excuse for not realizing that?
And just as crazy was Julie stating if Will and Sonny had been through half of what Nick had gone through they'd be more compassionate. Um, half of the horrible things Will's gone through lately have been because of good ol' cousin Nick. So I'd say it's more compassionate not to invite him to the wedding than, say, having one of E.J.'s men send him back into the river with cement shoes on this time. True, what Nick went through was horrible, but it's Salem, Jules. If I had a dollar for every horrible sob story each character would share, I'd have my own Scrooge McDuck money pit, lady.
I give Julie mad props for loving her family. I do. I get that Nick is her blood, and she wants her family -- Tom and Alice's family -- at peace with one another. But, and it's a big but, until I see Julie sit down with Will and treat him with the same compassion (there's that word back in your face, Jules) as she treats Nick, then she needs to keep herself on a cruise and send Doug back to Salem for family events. Most seem to like the poor guy who's married to a windbag more, anyway.