Without a doubt, Blake Berris is a tremendous talent. He managed to craft some of the most beautifully layered, complicated performances in Salem, maneuvering Nick between villain, genius, psycho, and a scared geek with a precision that lesser actors can only dream of possessing. No doubt, the show is worse without him on it.
But Nick was a not as easy to figure out.
On one side, the dude is a complete and utter whacko, via the Andrea DiMera School of Soap Loons. He can justify aiming his crazy at anyone. In his mind, I think he actually believed that adultery and drug sales are on the same level as kidnapping and murder. The "whores get paid" line was really low but rolled off his tongue like it was nothing. And he even went and brought up Alice Horton, cuing rounds of, "Oh, no he didn't!" in living rooms around the world.
On the other hand, there's the boy on the bench who cried into Julie's arms. There's the young man who fell in love with Chelsea but was too scared to talk to her. The reason I take issue with the "same old Nick" comments is because the old Nick was a socially awkward loveable geek. Prison and a brutal rape crushed that boy, but from time to time, there were still glimpses of that kid. And like Jules, I wanted to hug him too.
But Nick's luck had to run out eventually. Sure, he seemed to have every advantage a villain could garner. He came up with the win time after time. But he was missing one thing -- independence. He wasn't independently powerful and wealthy like Victor, Stefano, or Vivian. He got all of his spoils through trickery and blackmail. And that kind of luck can't last forever. Just ask Sami.
The show did a stellar job of setting up our suspect list. Basically, everyone not named Julie is on it. Let's take a look!
(Coincidentally, the last time I did a breakdown like this one was for the Trent Robbins murder -- when Nick ended up being the killer! Also, I was totally wrong in my pick that time. So, yeah, this should be totally accurate.)
Sonny had a gun (and a silencer -- obviously, he is a Kiriakis, after all) and a knack for protecting Will. But while I love all the Kiriakis bravado that he's been throwing around lately, Sonny just seems way too peace, love, and hugs to commit murder. His conscience -- at least right now -- couldn't handle that.
Will uttered the infamous words, "I will kill you," to Nick just in time for Rafe to hear. And Will has shot a bad guy before. But that was, like, three Wills ago, and it seems as though this Will just doesn't have it in him. Especially since he made Sonny pinky swear not to shoot him. It's kind of a shame because he figured out that Abigail's being blackmailed, too, in record time.
Sami is the one who has the most tenured beef with Nick. He used her as his scapegoat last year while trying to further his homophobic agenda. And now he seems to enjoy torturing her the most. He'll dangle her children in front of her the way that I taunt my dog with the leftover pieces of bacon. (Okay, that's a lie. Everyone knows there's no such thing as leftover bacon.)
Still, she seems like a bit too obvious of a choice. Plus, we already had Sami stand trial for murdering someone. It's too soon to do that dance again. *
E.J. ordered the hit, which can pretty much guarantee that the DiMera hit man didn't actually shoot Nick. Those dudes are notoriously ineffective. See: Philip Kiriakis, Colleen Brady, Anna DiMera, Sami Brady, etc. So, he's not high on my suspect list.
However, can we just talk for a minute about how badass it is that the DiMeras have the proper amount of cash packaged with their hit man's phone number? It's kind of like those perfectly portioned-out freezer meals, only with much more street cred'.
Kate has street cred' for days as well. But she usually resorts to less messy methods of getting rid of her prey. Had Nick stumbled onto the square with chocolate on his shirt, I'd have been more suspicious of Ms. Roberts Ifyourenasty.
Abigail's place on the suspect list is the one I like the least. Specifically, the feud between Nick and Abigail seemed instantly manufactured to make it okay for Nick to throw her under the bus. Two things really bother me about that.
One, if the E.J./Abigail fling was just a plot point for Nick's revenge, rather than an actual lasting part of E.J.'s or Abigail's characters, I'm seriously miffed. Nick's crazy enough. He doesn't need Ejami sacrificed to prove that. Heck, it is not appropriate to pass up the idea of a Horton/DiMera baby just because Nick needs to seem more powerful either! There are a lot of places the E.J./Abigail fling could have landed, and this is the least desirable one.
Two, Abigail was right behind Julie in line to celebrate Nick's transformation. She was so concerned about him when he was "in New York" that she was one step away from getting Hope involved before Nick showed up at Arianna's baptism. There's no reason for him not to consider her an ally.
Lucas is a wild card. He has a history of doing whatever it takes to protect his children. And he is especially sensitive to someone playing dirty in a custody battle. Still, I don't know that he'd put Allie in danger like that.
Ben would be the cheap out. He's a bit supporting player at best right now, and even though he's had a violent outburst in Nick's direction, a storyline this big needs to come with a better payoff than Ben being the shooter.
Stefano makes the list because Nick was holding onto blackmail intel on Kate. He landed her once by covering up her attempt to murder someone. If he does it again, at least it would lead us nicely into another storyline.
Rafe sure has reason for wanting Nick gone. And he's not above breaking the law to get what he wants out of a situation. I can totally see him justifying vigilante justice as long as he's the vigilante. However, he's not the Hernandez I suspect.
Gabi is left. Ugh. I'm pretty sure it's impossible for me to have any less sympathy for this girl. She put everyone she claims to love through hell for months, shoving Nick and his changed soul in their faces. The fact that she's just now realizing that Nick is dangerous does nothing to redeem her. All it does is re-categorize exactly what flavor of nitwit she is.
However, her pattern of "Oh eemmm geeee! I didn't mean to commit a crime!!" would actually play nicely here. And Sonny did leave a gun in their closet.
It's just a shame that we're (okay, I'm) not going to get to see the scene where Nick tells her that he really doesn't like her. It would have finally brought some credit to their whole storyline.
You see, I never bought Gabi and Nick as a couple They're so far apart in age, intellect, maturity, history with the show, etc. Sure, couples have overcome any one of those things, but the sum total of them all prevented me from getting behind Nabi. So it finally made sense to hear Nick admit that he loves the idea of Gabi being submissive, rather than actually loving Gabi for the person that she is. (Which, let's be honest here, is kinda weak and sucky.)
Besides, with Camila Banus leaving the show soon and no whispers of a recast coming, Gabi's going to need a believable exit storyline. This could be it. But again, I totally thought that Liam was Peter Blake, so what do I know?
It's come to the point where I'm tired of seeing Daniel's face. Considering how handsome Shawn Christian is, that's quite a feat. But when Daniel found the shredded evidence and gave that "Oh, I can't believe she did this" expression, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I hope that he cuts her some slack. I mean, he did pursue a married woman. Scratch that, he got busy with the woman upstairs while her engagement party was going on downstairs. He can't judge that much.
Ugh. Okay. I realize that Nicole needs to get caught. I can't really champion Gabi's sins coming out into the sunlight without conceding that my gal Nicole should meet the same fate. But maybe, just maybe, Eric will forgive her. Hear me out.
First, forgiveness is kinda his bag. Just because he's not wearing the collar anymore doesn't mean that he's a completely different person. Aside -- Greg Vaughan has been doing a masterful job of keeping the calm, priest-like characteristics part of Eric's character.
Second, Eric didn't get tricked into making this decision. His feelings for Nicole are real. He told her in no uncertain terms that she wasn't a consolation prize. I hope the show doesn't go all the way back on that when the truth comes out.
Finally, the fangirl in me loves all the callbacks to Eric and Nicole's first relationship. The proposal was so cute, as was her engagement gift to him. Photography is to them what boats and motorcycles are to Bope.
Text from my mom: "I'm ready to begin the Let's Send Ciara to Boarding School campaign." I'm more than happy to send in my donation. If Ciara's going to play the "my dad is gone" card as a way to get her hands on chocolate, then she needs to be aged to at least a teenager where a suitable rival can throw shade right back at her. I hear soap boarding schools can get that done.
Gee, Jen, when you say out loud all of the bad things that Liam did when you broke up, it almost seems like you should have suspected him earlier.
This might be somewhat controversial to say, but I flipping love Aiden. He's smart, funny, self-deprecating, and has a real job. I think he and Hope would be wonderful together. I love me some Bope, but Haiden might be too good of a story to pass up on. Either way, Hope doesn't deserve to be put on hold any longer.
E.J. wanted to protect Sami from feeling like she ordered the hit and then made sure that she had an alibi. Yes, they are horrible, vile people at times. But the wonderfully twisted Ejami magic is that they are the exact same level of horrible. And isn't that what this journey called love is all about? Finding someone our exact same level of horrible!