So, in case you didn't hear Julie's shrieking, Nick was shot. He's dead. And now we have the old whodunit?! It's easily a Sweeps classic, and DAYS is doing it delightfully so far. I'm stumped. But before I get into a suspect list, I'd like to point out a few reasons why DAYS is doing this one right (and maybe a few reasons I'm a little nervous, too).
For starters, I love the focus on that little blonde girl. Oh -- this just in -- that little blonde girl is Allie "No Really I Do Exist" Horton. She's usually the forgotten child in Salem, and I really thought that would end up being her big issue. As it turns out, I was wrong. Allie's a mess now because she saw Nick's bloodied body stagger into the town square. I dig it.
Okay. I should clarify. I feel horrible for Allie, but I like that the show is addressing how traumatized she was. She wasn't simply shoved into "the other room" with status reports given as throwaway lines in passing. We didn't see her chat with the child psychologist, but, A, she went, and, B, we're seeing the aftermath. I love that the family is coming together for Allie, and I look forward to seeing her road to recovery (or her growing up into a hot mess, making Sami's misdeeds look like amateur hour). Either way, I'm in.
Second, for some reason, I feel obligated to state that I feel bad I didn't do more to help Nick. Okay, not even I can believe that one. I kind of disliked Nick (yet loved the amazeball Blake Berris, of course), but the Hortons loved him. Every one of them, from Julie to Jennifer, stated that they wished they'd done more to help. I believe they're sincere. I believe they feel bad. And I also believe a lot of their statements are purely guilt-driven, but I don't mind. It's adding depth to not only Nick's character but the others who cared for him. He wasn't just a disposable bad guy like Liam. He had deep roots in Salem.
However, I hope this also serves a little humble pie for the Hortons. When sinister folks like Stefano or Kristen were believed to have died, they continued to make their snarky comments (yes, I'm looking at you, Julie). To some, Nick was just as bad as Stefano or Kristen. So, please remember that, dear Hortons, when slamming the DiMeras.
Third, the writers are keeping characters pretty true to themselves. I love Kate's candor. She couldn't care less that Nick is dead. She's worried about Allie and her missing gun. That's it. The same is true for Rafe! It's the first time his cocky 'tude didn't bother me. He resigned from the case because he's too close, which was honorable. He's not sad Nick is dead. He's just worried about his sister, much like J.J., who was worried about Abigail and also pretty honest about his feelings. He was related to Nick, but they weren't close. He never really liked him, in fact. He'd rather hang out with his girlfriend. Ha!
And finally, I don't mind Hope heading up the investigation. Sure, sure. It's a total conflict of interest, but, well, it's a soap and you can't swing a handbag in Salem without hitting someone related to a Horton or Brady. So, really, I'm fine despite the absurdity.
In fact, I love that this storyline is giving Kristian Alfonso screen time. Hope's emotional scenes with Nick reminded me what a powerful performer Kristian can be with the right material. Plus, Detective Fancy Face is just sort of badass. I like seeing her working a case. Granted, there's that slight Horton hypocritical/judgmental streak in the way she questions some suspects, but ultimately, I'm down with more Hope in 2014. In other words, yes, please!
As far as suspects go, @LaurisaDays did a fab job weeding through the suspects in last week's Two Scoops, Diary of a madman. Since it's week two, I'm going to go down the list quickly to add some of my own thoughts.
Sonny and Will: They are pledging their love and devotion to one another like it's going out of style. They'd do anything for each other. However, I think the only thing they're not doing is asking the other if they killed Nick. I think they simultaneously want to know and don't. This makes me feel pretty confident neither of them did it and that they'll have a hearty belly laugh once they find out who did.
Sami and E.J.: Let's be honest here, sans Mayor Marino's murder, DiMera hired hit men don't have the best track records at finishing the job. This makes me believe Mr. Hit Man didn't kill Nick, especially since he was still in Salem and stalking E.J. and Sami. I bet he's going to tell Sami he didn't do it, thus clearing her conscience (sort of) and deepening the mystery. And if I were E.J., I'd ask for my money back.
Kate: Oh, girlfriend has it in her to kill Nick, but she claims she didn't do it. I completely believe her. Her life is better without Nick in it for sure, but, really, Kate is a go-getter. If she wanted Nick dead (again), she would have done it when he returned and started to blackmail her. Plus, she's too jolly right now. She'd be more on edge if she'd killed Nick.
Abigail: To break it down, Abs is a horrible liar. She freaks out easily and feels guilty about everything all the time. From sleeping with E.J. to not tipping her mailman last Christmas, she wrings her hands so much, I'm surprised she has skin left on them. I'm pretty sure she'd spontaneously combust from the guilt if she was actually the trigger woman. I think she's more worried about the affair coming to light than being a legit murder suspect. I'm fairly sure she's safe to check off the list.
Lucas: Okay, we know Lucas knew where Nick was at the time of the murder. And Lucas is acting a little jumpy, but I don't see him killing Nick. True, Lucas will go to extreme measures, and jail, to protect his children (and grandchild, I assume). Still, murdering Nick seems like an out of the blue step for him to take at this point. If he did, the reason had better be mind-blowing.
Ben: So far, Ben's been depicted as a chivalrous hottie who hates lies and will stand up for someone in trouble. Sure, he jumped to Abigail's defense and knocked Nick around. Still I think that was only because he's smitten (and generally a nice guy). Granted, he doesn't seem to be the smartest guy in Salem, but I don't think even he's dim enough to think that offing Abigail's troubled cousin is a good way to get her to like him. I think he'd resort to a free coffee first.
Gabi: I don't think she's smart enough to work a gun without hurting herself, too.
That leaves me with no suspects, or does it? I have three theories. Here they are:
One, Mr. Greetings did it. It wouldn't be the first time someone was supposed to be out of town but was secretly not and able to carry out a nasty plan. He seemed a little off. By "a little off," I mean he's a complete weirdo. I think he may have been upset that Nick got him involved in such dirty deeds. I'd see him killing Nick as more of a Hannibal Lecter thingy, well, sans the eating parts of him. That is, Hannibal killed a lot of his victims because he was offended by their rudeness and bad manners. I could see Percy doing the same. Maybe.
Two, and this is a long shot (no pun intended), but what if Jessica Blake snapped and shot her own son? Granted, Jessica isn't around, either, but here is something to ponder. Jessica had a psychological disorder. Maybe she snapped again, drove to Salem, and started to shoot. Plus, maybe she believed she needed to kill Nick in order to stop his reign of terror/save her son's soul. Of course, Rafe's peen would have saved Nick's soul, but he and Nick were not on good enough terms. I digress.
Third, and finally, what about Caroline? Despite her kindness now, she once hated Nick. Given her health issues, perhaps she got confused/time-lapsed and murdered him. Honestly, I don't even like this theory, but the writers and the sensitivity of Caroline's disease haven't seemed to have met yet, so I could see them going there.
Those are just some of my thoughts after Hope's interviews, but I do have one last one. Did anyone ever end up calling Jessica and Marie? Whoops!
So, the truth is out! Sort of. Dr. Dan figured out that Nicole hid the evidence. Oh, God. I can already see Marlena's smug "I told you so" smirk in my head. Ugh. Right. Dr. Dan gave Nicole an ultimatum: she needs to tell Eric, or he will. I truly enjoyed Shawn and Arianne's performances, and I legitimately like Dr. Dude and Nicole's friendship, but, yeah, this cat isn't clawing its way out of the bag anytime soon, I fear, which is a shame. The longer this lie languishes, the worse it will be for Nicole. Come on, girl. The truth will set you free.