Let's start with the good news! Because Paulina purchased most of the gifts in Salem for Chanel and Johnny, I didn't have a chance to get them a proper wedding present. I had to settle for a heartfelt greeting card and a gift certificate to the shoppes at Horton Town Square. Well, guess who finally didn't have to wait in line at a return counter after blown-up nuptials? That's right. It's me. And by crossing out their names and replacing it with mine on the certificate, I can finally track down one of those green vases with the white handles like the one in "Jarlena's" hallway and in "Bope's" old house. No lines and a new vase? I think I'm going to like 2023 in Salem. It's treating me swell so far!
Unfortunately, the new year in Salem isn't so swell for most of the other residents. Look at Eej, for example. He's kind of dealing with a "Saskatchewan screamer" sized, um, snow storm on various fronts. His son is possessed by the devil (and was original recipe Johnny before that). He's on trial, facing some major charges. His brother and Lucas are setting him up. He's out his DiMera Enterprises stocks. He's Sami-less. And he'll have to spring for a new chandelier. Not a superstar start, old chap.
Though, with E.J.'s misfortune came an amazing treat -- 'Tink decided to take his case! Hell to the yes. This is amazing. First, the more Martha Madison, the better. There's that.
Second, Belle's no flips to give (yet fair) attitude toward E.J. is brilliant. When she told him to "do us all a favor and stop speaking," I cracked up. Not many speak to E.J. so candidly. Pouty Face needs to hear truth bombs like that, and I need those doses of comedy. It certainly doesn't hurt that Martha and Dan Feuerriegel have great frenemy chemistry.
I also admire that Belle's in it to win the case, as she believes E.J.'s innocent this time, but she's not acting like they're suddenly besties -- and she kind of likes the added perks like ticking off Sami in the process. So, I'm enjoying this trial. Like Elle Woods's crew, Serna and Margot, I'm going to go to court to cheer her on. "Look! There's like a judge and everything."
Additionally, Belle versus Melinda is my new jam. Martha and Tina Huang play off each other perfectly. You can tell they're having fun slinging snark at one another. But this is about E.J.'s bad start to the new year, so I digress.
Though Belle was right. E.J. looked like an idiot for signing over his stocks to Johnny. Normally something like that would be my "NOT," as he usually isn't easy to dupe. Instead, I'm holding out hope that the devil did his dark magic on Elvis Jr. That must be the case. Right? Though excited that Johnny wants to carpe his DiMera side, the E.J. we've always known would not do this, especially knowing his son's fickle ways. Eej never loved the film idea, and Johnny literally just dumped his days-old bride during their reception. So, E.J. must be under Satan's spell, I repeat, "Right!?"
Unfortunately, not spellbound are other ding-dongs in Salem. They're doing dirty (and in some cases dumb) all on their own. Like, Lucas can sing his best rendition of A Chorus Line's "What I Did for Love," but that doesn't make his actions any less off-key. When Kate -- Kate! -- cringes and thinks someone has gone too far, that's kind of bad, as she helped set the "Too Far" bar. Though I do like the insert of reality that she's worried about her son's (well, sons') mental health. That's an angle not normally invested in. It's amazing how Kate can simultaneously encourage bad behavior and be a concerned parent, yet both are believable due to Lauren Koslow's endless talents.
Kate's other (kinda) "kid," Chad, at least feels bad and wants to do the right wrong thing. Well. He might have wanted to do the right-ish thing before spotting his brother smooching his wife. Now, he might not be so eager. Of course, WE know it's Satan donning his best E.J. look, but neither Chad nor Abigail does. It's a hot mess (which is amazing for us; not so much for the Salemites involved). Though I worry. I love Chad, but his knee-jerk reactions sometimes don't land too well for him. Take a deep breath, buddy, before going berserk. Things will make sense someday...
There's some writing on the wall here amidst the spray-painted satanic symbols. That is, Johnny will end up with relatively clean hands when he's de-deviled and his dirty deeds are divulged. Maybe he'll feel some guilt like Marlena. Maybe. It is Johnny, after all. Either way, when this all ends and the affair is exposed, Giovanni will get a free pass. Yep. The devil made him do it. Score one for the privileged kid.
Chanel and Allie, however? They chose to sleep with one another...unless we learn that Satan set a seduction spell on them. That's possible. Anything is game when Lucifer, err, Johnnifer is in town, which is a mixed bag. The shocking shocks (like E.J. kissing on Abby) come with a Satanic safety net, meaning there's no real need for accountability in the end, as crazy uncharacteristic acts can easily be blamed on Beelzebub. So, is "The Devil Made Me Do It!" defense a good hand for the shock factor, or is DAYS overplaying their Satan card? Hmm. I'm torn.
Though anyone paying even a little attention since they ran into one another again in Salem could clearly see Chanel and Allie were likely going to explore their feelings for one another at some point. I do believe their connections comes from an earnest place, but yeah. Their hookup wasn't shocking. The timing was just awkwardly surprising. Silver lining, there'll be no "Who's the daddy?" storyline. There's that.
Honestly, I wanted more for the potential pair when they got to said exploring, and while first times can be (and usually are) a little awkward, it wasn't that kind of awkwardness that set a weird tone to it all. It felt forced, which is a paradox to the natural ease the two characters commonly have with one another. I do believe there's love there, but now it's not a love story. It's another affair plot when we're already dealing with an affair (or two) storyline. So, if the devil didn't make them do it, eventually they're going to face the music, and that music might get mighty loud. You see...
Allie should pack a to-go bag. She will want to skip town immediately after Ava discovers her affair with Chanel. La Lady Vitali will not take too kindly to someone screwing over her kid. Heck, she's already suspicious. Her Sapphic Spidey-Senses are tingling. The truth won't be any shock to an already agitated Ava, who will be even meaner and madder in mama bear mode. In fact, I'd place bets that she's already drafting up a few devious designs to avenge Tripp's honor once this bombshell blows.
Ava's obstacle will be Sami if she's around. Oh, and Paulina if Ava goes for Chanel, too. A Sami and Paulina versus Ava showdown!? Okay! The other alliances that might form because of this feud would be interesting, too. Would Nicole form an uneasy pact with Sami to protect Allie, or would Sami and Ava team up to take down common enemy Nicole!? Would Ava call in the other two Trio of Terror members, Kristen and Gwen, to help? Would Gabi jump in to assist Sami and possibly Auntie P, umm, Mama P? So many possibilities, and they all seem spectacular.
Speaking of Paulina, are we sure Satan isn't targeting her equally as much as Marlena? She's certainly caught the ire of ye old Prince of Darkness and, perhaps, it's not all because she got brazen with BeelzeDoc and laid hands on Johnnifer. I have a working theory...
Remember when Paulina and Marlena reunited in the square? Paulina had mentioned visiting Tamara and Marlena at college. My hunch is that some upper classman like Alex North bought young Mar Mar and Tammy a few bottles of Boone's Farm or a case of Natty Light. Then the coeds and li'l sis got a little tipsy and played with a Ouija board. Maybe Satan spooked them, and they tried to close the door on the devil, but it was already smitten. And, well, rulers of hell tend not to like rejection.
So, has Satan been stalking them that long? Was "Dangerous Ray" another guise of the devil? Are Jules and Carver safe, or was that Satanic static on their baby monitor? The devil does like digital devices these days. There's a lot to wonder about, but, like Susan, I certainly smell a Satan-sized rat and want to know more.
Go get 'em, Ava! I'm going to encourage bad behavior and even buy Ms. Vitali a beverage or two. Rafe and Nicole are on my last nerve. I'm all for Ava laying it on thick and making them squirm. It's such a ridiculous scenario, after all. Ava (and common courtesy) gave them both plenty of outs before they made the choice to sleep together, and poor Chloe had to Pledge their butt-prints off the conference table. The only two people not paying for this yet have been Rafe and Nicole. So, sorry, Duke, but if a little decapitation and some false charges get the ball rolling, so be it.
"Father Nichols" and "Sister Mary Elizabeth" (ha!) are setting the stage to ensnare Kristen at some Italian nunnery. Of course, Lady DiMera is one step ahead. She has already spotted them and phoned Ava. I guess this makes Steve versus Kristen a one-to-one match. The victor will be determined the next time he has to search for her. Will Patch prevail, or will Kristen come out the victor? Stay tuned for that ultimate revenge match.
On the topic of Steve and Kayla on the hunt, I kind of love this. Okay. I am scratching my head a bit about Sweetness' sudden concerns of blasphemy, but I'll bite. She's a good person raised by Caroline, who -- sans ignoring a commandment or two at times (Hi, Bo!) -- was a devout Catholic. That kind of guilt and fear doesn't go away. So, aside from that moment of reflection, I love the scope of it all and the interactions of characters who normally don't intermingle. It's all blending into this soapy stew bound to bring everyone together in a delicious yet dramatic way.
I also love everything about Abigail investigating Sarah's disappearance. The ambitious side of Abs is one of her best looks. Xander's involvement makes it even more entertaining. Their banter has been great, and it all irritates Gwen. Win meet win.
Still, I must wonder if the show is ship-testing potential new couples right now. Say, if Chad were to ruin Abigail's trust in him again if a large secret came out, and she turned to someone, say, like Xander for comfort. That's a lot of drama there, especially the Gwen factor.
In addition to "Xabby," are Belle and E.J. being tested, too? "E-Jelle,"perhaps. Her affairs were brought up sort of recently, and she's been spending time with her brother-in-law lately. Their possible pairing would blow Sami's mind amongst the other bombshells it would bring. That's not something I'm wishing for -- I don't think, though Martha and Dan are fun together...anyway -- as I adore "Shelle." They've finally hit a perfect stride the last few years, and we need some stability in Salem.
Actually, I think I do need "Shelle" to stick together, as stability in Salem has been shaken. I never would have thought I'd hear Maggie say, "And now that E.J. might be going to prison, they're vulnerable and they're distracted. Seems like it might be a good time to strike." Whatsthatnow, Mags!? It was fierce, just surprising. So, okay. Maggie's "deeply invested" in Titan now. Got it. And once the shock wears off, I'll enjoy the glorious Martha Stewart meets Kate Roberts vibe of it all.
Jake mentioned that since Justin and Sonny aren't interested in Titan, they must go outside the family. Okay. That's irritating. The line for potential Kiriakis kin that might be interested could and should start with Chelsea and continue to Justin's other sons, Alexander and twins Victor and Joseph. Tater Tot might be 30 or so by now. It's been awhile since we've seen him. Maybe he went to the same SOARS-ing boarding school as E.J. and, well, most kids in Salem. Any which way, there's more options than Jake and Gabi, who best not screw over Maggie...or else.
It was nice to see "CIN" in a lighter mood. The past few years have been so heavy for them. Though they might want Shawn to sneak a peek of that sonogram to make sure little CIN-a-Bun doesn't have cloven hooves, horns, and a crisp goatee. Just saying.
And! Nancy Wesley is back in Salem. It's so nice to see Patrika Darbo again. She surely didn't miss a beat bringing Nancy back into the fold. Her dramatic entrance was pure throwback. Though I'm a little concerned about the news she came bearing. That is Craig is having an affair!? Well, maybe. He can be a scoundrel, but a cheater? I'll need to see more evidence, Mrs. Wesley, but welcome back, nonetheless, and sorry about the possible breakup of your marriage.
2023 in Salem really is starting off smashingly! First, I totally second Laurisa's "HOT" from last week. She expressed her excitement of seeing more Tony and Anna in town this year. Number two and three really check off some items on the wish list we made a few weeks ago for the first column of the year. That is, more "Shelle" and welcoming Craig and Nancy Wesley back to Salem! Okay. We only got a brief bit of Nancy with more to come next week, and we can only cross our fingers Craig will return, too. All that, and we got to join John and Abe's poker game!? Yes, please. This all has me excited for things yet to come!
I loved the spectacle of the group of characters coming together to celebrate Johnny and Chanel and things undoubtedly falling apart, but I got a little irritated that Paulina and even Anna were shushed not to make a scene while Johnny was literally making a scene! Even if they don't know that G is the D right now, the dude was being an asshat. He should have been shushed. Stand down, Eej. Let them rip him apart. Sheesh.
LINE(S) OF THE WEEK
Paulina: "Oh, Chanel, if you don't slap this bastard, I will do it for you!"
Lani: "And so will I!"
I loved how Susan didn't totally rule out hating being the cat. Ha! Susan-Cat would break TikTok.
Paulina's delivery of "Oh, you son of a bitch" was epic, too. Personally, I would have loved to see her go further. Next time, I'm making sure Julie will be there for backup.
Sometimes it's weird to remember that Rafe was Shawn's stepfather.
If Gabi does get in the Titan door, maybe she and Ciara will work together, after all! That would be fun.
Kate and Chad scenes always make me happy, even when they're about iffy things.
I would totally offer my bestie pajamas if they stayed at my house unexpectedly, especially if I were wearing such nice nightwear.
I'll gladly help Ava set up a surprise party for Rafe! Maybe we could get someone to make a sculpture of him as a gift. I know someone who's crafty with bricks. No! I'm not snickering evilly while hiding Meredith Hudson's number in the packaging of new scissors I'm planning to give to Ava later.
You can tell the show is setting Tripp up for a heartbreak, as Lucas Adams had the adorableness cranked up to an eleven last week.
Come to think of it, Brady and Chloe are sort of in the middle of most of Salem's chaos, even if they don't know it yet.
Have Gwen and Ava actually talked about Charlie yet? That was the line she gave Xander as to how she knew Ms. Vitali, but I'd like to see that exchange. They did have a, uh, special bonkers bond there for a hot second.
Brandon Beemer and Victoria Konefal have charming sibling chemistry.
Wait! Who is the DiMera family physician!? I feel like it should be Dr. Rolf, but I suspect they have a more legitimate one, too. This seems like it would be a good job for Craig Wesley. Doctoring and power are two of his favorite things.
Do hospitals use glassware these days? I've only seen plastics used. You know, because glass shatters and such.
Also, don't hospitals use kidney dishes or bedpans to handle emergency puking situations?
We should probably pack a to-go bag for cute baby Henry, too. Perhaps purchase him a trench coat, fedora, and some shades so he can waddle away from the madness, incognito. I'm betting his first words will be, "I'm not with them."
E.J.'s impression of his mother was kind of hysterical.
Also hysterical, Shawn's exasperated expression when he stated he knew Duke.
Fancy! Harold had the morning off. I bet he's hungover from drinking all the leftover Champagne from the party to celebrate his victory on the "Wedding Ghoul Pool," as he had "Won't Last a Month" selected. Maid Mary is probably piping mad she chose "Six Months."
Raise your hand if you're shocked that Melinda leaves bad Yelp reviews immediately. Nobody. None at all. That tracks.
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for January 17. I'm off to finally unpack after an extra-long holiday season spent at the Green Mountain Lodge with a certain international businessperson whose name I can't disclose for legal reasons, but I can divulge that Laurisa will be back next week for all your Two Scooping needs! As always, thank you for reading, and "That's a fact."
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