...Baby one more time

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Does Kristen have any ties to reality anymore? Will Xander find a way to ruin her plot without hurting his chances with Sarah? Does someone need to referee everyone vs. Gabi? Let's chat about it all in this week's Two Scoops.

Recently, we had a full moon on Friday the 13th. According to the news, that happens about once every two or three decades. Coincidentally, that's exactly how often Eric and Nicole are allowed to be happy. I have no idea what the odds are if all three things happen at the same time, but that's exactly what happened last week!

Cue the confetti guns and drop the "Congratulations" banner. Eric and Nicole got to have two whole days of happiness! There were declarations of soul mates and promises of a lifetime together. I can't lie, I swooned when Eric looked at Nicole and said, "You're my miracle." Gah! These two! But then, just as I was about to hope that maybe one of DAYS' more tortured fan bases wouldn't get kicked in the shins yet again, Eric looked at his beloved and said, "Nothing will ever come between us again."

Damn it. I could hear the record screech to silence in my head.

That statement sunk them. Well, that and the fact that their love-making scene was literally spliced in between scenes with Sarah admitting to Xander that she was pregnant, and later that she'd decided to end the pregnancy. It was another surprisingly great scene between the fire and ice pair. Xander and Sarah create something different with each other that they don't have with anyone else. I enjoy them together. I'd rather see them share a secret a little less tired than a surprise pregnancy in a love triangle. Xander helping Sarah find out what happened to her patient Kate may have been a decent idea. But I'll take what I can get. I'm rooting for these two!

I definitely can't say the same about Kristen and Brady. Sigh. Here's the thing -- this Kristen and Brady storyline makes me realize my own unconscious biases. I just painted my face and spent a paragraph waving my Xarah foam finger. Yet Brady and Kristen annoy me to the point where I wanted to crawl through my TV and flick Brady right between the eyes for even considering going back to Kristen. Kristen may have more layers of villainy, but she and Xander are generally the same flavor of cake. So, why do I root for one couple, but when the genders are reversed, they repulse me?

Part of it is because that's what we're conditioned to do. The bad boy falls for the good girl, changes his ways, and we all cheer. Not that it can't work the other way (Roman and Kate were a delightful match); we just rarely see it. The patriarchy is real.

But the big chunk of my problem is that the "changing of ways" has to garner some level of self-awareness. Xander has that with Sarah. He even stopped mid-crime a few weeks ago because he realized he wanted to be a better man for Sarah. But Kristen? She's deeply living in her own version of reality with no signs she'll ever change it. At least, not under this current writing regime.

For better or worse -- and I could make arguments for both -- Ron's plunged this Kristen into a darker place than ever before. Stacey Haiduk's perfectly executed performance as a woman completely unglued solidified this character transition. Where Stefano, E.J., and even Brady once stood, Kristen no longer has any ties to reality. I just shook my head as Kristen campaigned last week to get credit for reuniting couples she'd kept apart for so long or bringing back a child whose death she'd faked. I can't wait to see Kristen talk her way out of a speeding ticket. "You see, officer, I was speeding, but then I saw you, wanted to be a better person, and I applied the brakes! Me! I did that! For you!!"

Whereas Xander still has ties to humanity (Maggie and Victor) and actually is a better person around Sarah, Kristen is the mayor of Narcissism Town and gets exponentially worse when she's around Brady. For example, when Kristen was in love with John, she simply locked Marlena in a room with a bunch of wine -- a.k.a. Laurisa's Dream Vacation. Yet under the Brady spell, Kristen's raped two men, kidnapped a child, and worn a fake face. It's no longer fun to watch the lengths to which Kristen will go to claim Brady's soul win Brady's heart.

Don't get me wrong -- this version of Kristen still has a grand place on the soap landscape. It's just not with a love interest. It's cackling atop a DiMera throne. Get her a cauldron and a black crow, and let's do this thing. But, by all means, get Brady away from her. I can't express how out I am on seeing her replay one of her greatest hits -- steal a fetus and pass it off as Brady's baby. Please, Xander. Please, please stop this, my dude.

Another lady I think we should stay away from is Jordan. Sure, just like in real life, each case is different. And, Abigail's two-week DID recovery opened the door to playing fast and loose with mental health in Salem. But I need to see more to believe Jordan's not still cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. So far, we got an off-screen hearing where a judge -- not a doctor -- allowed her to be with her son, but only under supervision. That doesn't exactly sound like a clean bill of health. Couple that with her not-at-all veiled threat to hurt Ciara again, and I'm not so sure Jordan's on the up and up.

Why? Two reasons.

First, Victor's made a hobby of paying off judges. He just failed to threaten Ben into breaking up with Ciara. He's certainly not going to take defeat and walk away. I can see him bribing Jordan's way out of the hospital so she can wreak havoc on Cin again.

Second, I think Ron looked at Chrishell Hartley's previous body of work and wondered why in the world she wasn't playing more of an unstable schemer. I have no problems with Chrishell playing that person. She does so with aplomb. But, but, Jordan is not that person. At least, the Jordan we spent years watching was not that person. So, I have to push back on the total rewrite of Jordan's character for this storyline.

However, I am thrilled to see Ben and Jordan interact again. These are two very established characters, who rather quickly managed to root themselves in a deep mix of sorrow, terror, and then hope. They have a wavelength between them that's similar to the Jack/Adrienne/Steve Johnson siblings. They had an "us against the world" thing going for them. I'm excited to see how that manifests itself this time around.

Lucas is home, guys! He came back to support Kate and be there for Will. His "I know that, Austin" was dripping with the exact right amount of sibling sarcasm. Welcome back, Bryan Datillo. We missed you.

I cheered for Maggie's reality check on Victor when it came to interfering in people's love lives. Glass house, Victor. Glass. House. Also, since when, exactly, has Victor "always" seen Ciara as Titan's hope for survival? I've rarely heard him even mention Titan to Ciara.

On the surface, I can see Rafe's argument regarding Ciara's wrath toward Jordan. On one hand, Ciara's been saying to anyone who will listen that Ben was sick and is now a changed man. She also forgave Claire for trying to set her on fire because Claire was ill and apologized, as well. It's the height of hypocrisy for Ciara to hold the actions of the mentally ill against them.

However, dig a little deeper, and you realize Jordan believed Ben to be so dangerous, she was willing to let Ciara die to send him back to jail. And now, Jordan is back, showing zero indication that she's changed her stance on Ben or that she's not the same judgmental vigilante. I mean, really, is there a statement more patronizing than, "I know you think you believe that."? No, there is not. So, Rafe is essentially asking Ciara to trust that while Jordan still thinks Ben will hurt people, she's just not going to light Ciara on fire this time. I can see why Ciara would push back against that.

There are not enough heart emojis in all the world to sum up how I felt about that hug between Abe and Nicole. Once of my favorite things on soaps are the people who share no blood yet treat each other like family. Abe and Nicole have that special kind of bond. It's charmingly splendid.

This Julie/Gabi thing has gone a wee bit too far. I dunno, I draw the line at Julie threatening to join up with the man who abused Gabi mentally, sexually, and financially in the afterlife and haunt Gabi for the rest of her life. The only part of that idea that makes me happy is the prospect of seeing Blake Berris again. The rest is a hard no. Ghost Julie won't have Doug to temper her. Oh, that's right. We're keeping Doug.

Additionally, Hope thinks that arguments cause heart attacks, Eli told Gabi to stay away from his family like Gabi's daughter isn't a member of that very family, and I have to head out to Ikea yet again to get more seats for Lani to have. This storyline is exhausting. Yes, Gabi should have called 9-1-1. Of course, I understand why Julie's family would be taking their anger out on the easy scapegoat. And, sure, Gabi did herself no favors by going to see Julie. But someone has to be the level head here. Paging Maggie! Maggie, please report to the hospital!

Tony won the week! First, Marlena smuggled snacks to him at the police station. Any court date is better with French pastries! Good on you, Mar! Better yet, the charges against Tony were dropped! He's free to make delightfully quirky music again with Anna. Hat tip to you, sir!

Frustrated that she swiped left twice on him...a year apart...Dr. Shah kidnapped Jen and...I don't know...threatened her with a shark with frickin' laser beams, or something like that. Bless Missy Reeves's heart for hanging in there with a storyline this random. And at least we got some cool vintage flashbacks of Jack and Jen. But this villain should have been Peter Blake. I don't know if I could have gift-wrapped a better entrance for Kristen's brother/Jennifer's ex who would definitely know all about the contents of Rolf's journal.

Eve: "If I were going to kidnap Jennifer, I certainly wouldn't feed her scrawny ass, especially my favorite brownies from the Square."
I don't often agree with Eve, but getting double helpings of brownies and not sharing them with your enemies is the exact type of behavior I support.

I didn't peg Xander for a guy who says "jammies."

I want pep talks from Doug in every episode. This is my Christmas wish.

Once again, I was completely jealous of Sarah's jumpsuit. Only this time, she topped it off with an oh-so-comfy-looking cardigan.

Things may be looking down for Gabi, but at least she wasn't the Salemite kidnapped for once!

The look of horror on John's face when he thought Brady might have slept with Kristen was hilarious. Well done, Drake Hogestyn. I want a meme of that.

For those keeping score, Eve, Nicole and possibly Abe are all in the market for a new job. Hmm...

Vivian sneaked in to try to kill Kate. Jen was abducted from the lab at scalpel-point. Salem U Hospital needs to have a bake sale or something for some security cameras.

I guess the K mansion is made with sound-absorbing floors. Ericole walked up on Sarah. Sarah walked up on Xander.

When J.J. talked about finding a psycho who could think like Rolf, I thought they'd go to Vivian. It's a testament to the show that it could be so many characters.

Eve looked positively chic in that plaid dress!

Wait a minute, Hope. You mean Ciara never napped as an infant?! How on earth did you function, mama? You're a gosh darn superhero. Boo, baby Ciara! Boo!

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

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