And just like that...

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And just like that, DAYS delivered delicious gold medal drama as it returned from the Olympic hiatus! There were Sweeps setups and shockers and surprises galore. So, let's raise our Cosmos and celebrate being back together in Salem in this week's DAYS Two Scoops!

You know that epic embrace you give someone when you haven't seen them in what feels like forever? Sure, in actuality, it might have only been a few days or weeks, but you're jubilant to see them, nevertheless. The hug is that long-lasting, bone-cracking, tight squeeze where you can't get close enough. There are pats on the back! Some rocking back and forth, perhaps. Maybe even some spinning and happy tears while endlessly babbling happy hellos and quick catch-ups that you'll absolutely need to repeat later. That! That's exactly what I felt like while starting my DAYS binge last week.

Being back in Salem made me deliriously happy. Seeing familiar places and faces is a much-needed reprieve from the real world -- even if some of those faces think they're other faces, but we'll get to that. I simply wanted to run around town, embracing all the characters before they started their shenanigans. Heck, we just need one inclusive large group hug for fellow fans and Salemites alike.

Before we get to Salem, though, let's take a layover on "DiMera Island." I. Love. This. Storyline. Gah. I don't even know where to begin. Oh, hell. Yes, I do. Let's start with Kristen and Abigail...

They're spectacular sparring partners. Smart, snarky, strong, sasstastic Abigail is my favorite version of the character. It was clear that Marci Miller and Stacy Haiduk must have been having a blast with the material. I was certainly cracking up over their repartee. Solely, Abigail's reaction when Kristen finally succumbed to the drugs and hit the floor was worth the price of admission, but wait! There was so much more. And I ate up every diva-licious second of the two sassy sisters-in-law.

It amused me that Special K was impressed by Abigail's resourcefulness though still indignant that she was drugged. Classic Kristen. She also seemed a little smitten with her sister-in-law when she learned Abs once Gwen-napped her own sister and threatened to stab her with the syringe. It's the little things in life you find out about people that really make the most impact, you know.

Of course, Chad and Tony have teamed up to track down Ned Grainger, who will hopefully lead them to Abby. I love this, too! Billy Flynn and Thaao Penghlis are terrific. Two of the best coming together? Yes, please. That tender moment between the brothers DiMera was also a sweet start, but I'm looking forward to them jumping into action -- just as long as they both make it back to Salem safely.

In other incredible island news, most of us had been wondering what Sarah's state of mind would look like post-syringe full of crazy. As it turns out, it's a glorious train wreck. Sarah believes she's the one and only Renée DuMonde! Are you kidding me!? I abso-freakin'-lutely love this. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea or, if you're Allie, glass of Cosmo, but Renée has been and always will be one of my favorite DiMeras. I'm all in.

From the glimpses we've seen already, it's clear that DAYS has done its homework on Renée's tale. I was surprised they're not sugar-coating her sins, either. It's all in there -- the good, the bad, and the believed brother love. Ms. DuMonde wasn't in Salem for too long, but she certainly made a splash.

Back in Salem, Anna and E.J. dropped Renée's name, as well as several others who journeyed to the big soap box in the sky, like David Banning and Benjy Hawk. On the island, Neil Curtis, David, and Tom and Alice were brought up, amongst others. If someone namedrops "Alex Marshall," I think I'll do a happy dance. Okay. Continue to happy dance. This week has gotten me up on my feet a bit.

Ron Carlivati and his crew love digging into the books. They also love their divas. This storyline seems not only to pay homage to Renée (and the legendary Philece Sampler who so brilliantly brought the character to life), but it's also incorporating Abby, Kristen, and Anna. Yes, Anna, too! That all screams to me that a fun time is to be had, especially considering the likely outcome is Gwen's downfall. Um, yes, yes, and, um, yes, please. So, I'm taking said page from Allie's book, I'm pouring myself a Cosmo, and I will sip away in exultation while this fabulousness lasts.

Still, I'm jealous of Abby, Kristen, and Sarah. I want to read Renée's reflections, too! I'll bring Abby a drink if she scoots over and shares the drama-filled diary. There must be another volume, right? In any event, T.R. needs to listen to Anna, shelf Possessed, and produce Bewitched: The Anna DiMera Story. Though I would go with Anna-solutely Fabulous, but I digress.

LOOSE ENDS

Meanwhile, back in Salem, over at police headquarters, Nicole blurted out that she and Rafe had slept together, much to Ava's non-surprise surprise. She feigned shock, of course, but we all know Ms. Vitali was in the know about her bestie and boyfriend's little Halloween horizonal hoedown. Ho's down? Anyway...

They did her bad. She's done him worse. I'm just annoyed that Ava's heartbreak is being overshadowed by her crimes, while Nicole is all perched up upon Haughty Hill, looking down on "vindictive bitch she's always been" Ava. Yeah. That line drove me crazy. Nicole has done the leg work to change before. To throw Ava's past in her face is weak, especially for someone whose past is often thrown in theirs. More so, you slept with your best friend's boyfriend. Did you expect to belly laugh over it while sipping Cosmos at happy hour, Ms. Walker? For a strong character, this is all (again) weak sauce that isn't eliciting an ounce of sympathy from me.

Keep in mind, I'm not excusing Ava's actions. Instead of criminal activity, she could have confronted them outright or went all "Lemonade" on Rafe's ride, though that doesn't have the same impact as getting your ex incarcerated. So. Yep. There's that. Go on with your bad self, Ms. V.

Speaking of "incarceration," I'm in for all things E.J. and Clyde, especially as Dan Feuerriegel and James Read seem like they're going to be electric opposite one another. Still, I have to ask -- didn't E.J. get a new face since last they met? Like, it was a joke how good he looked once he was de-marshmallow-headed. Okay. Not the point at all. The point is, I'm popping corn for this showdown. Dan and James are both amazing, and the stakes between E.J. and Clyde are high. Though I'll also ask, is E.J. playing possum, or is his memory of his "murder" really that murky?

To loop back to Ava, she does get a foul for telling Allie about the engagement. Though Allie is really the one who gets the super foul for that fooling around with her bestie behind Tripp's back thingy. Yeah. Ava isn't going to like that truth one bit. At all. She's been suspicious of Allie's feelings before and you can tell she felt disrespected by her, so that's not exactly winning footing to start on. Plus, Ava's already on a revenge bender, so avenging her son's honor wouldn't be much of an effort...unless Sami steps back into town to combat her. Now that's a match I'm ready to see!

I'm putting down my Cosmo and standing up to cheer for Nancy, who went to Marlena for help dealing with Craig's coming out. This is such an important part of the story. Marlena getting Nance to realize nothing is wrong with her (or Craig, for that matter) and to recognize the loss is an important step for her. Oh, she's still rightfully mad at hell for her soon-to-be former husband's deception, but I don't think anyone can blame her for that. I'm just glad we're getting to continue with Nancy's journey!

I'm also glad we're getting to watch Craig come to terms with finally coming out. It's an important story, too, though I'm super curious as to who his new lover is. I've heard rumors, and I'm not sure I'm in love with the idea, but DAYS is known for its twist and turns, so who knows until it airs. In the meantime, has it been ruled out that T.R. was being honest when he said he's really changed? Hmm!

Poor Xanimal. Well. At least he got to spend some time with Jack. There's that tidbit. Hooray for old mates.

What do Gwen and a calendar have in common? Numbered days. I'll show myself out, but it doesn't make that less true. Enjoy Xander while you can, Rizzie-Czech.

On the topic of "numbered days," I second Laurisa's thoughts on T.R. from a few weeks back. That is, he has a target on his back. There were more threats thrown around last week, and he even has Abe worked up. That's not a good sign.

The Possession storyline can basically do whatever it wants without real consequences, as the "devil made me do it!" defense can be played. It'll assist in rebuilding relationships, I'm sure. Still, it's not a good look for several hoodwinked Salemites who are usually smarter than this. Though the opposite can be said for some...

And just like that, Julie and "CIN" restored my faith that Salemites can be smart. Thanks to Julie's story and asking, "How do we know the devil has left Salem?" CIN quickly deducted that Satan must be in Johnny. I'll give them credit for telling the difference between pre- and post-possession Johnny, but, again, I digress. I'm eager for them to call cousins Eric and Sami to send Satan back to hell (or perhaps back to Marlena, as she was far sassier and more entertaining). No. No. No more Lucifer. We need a break. Perhaps we can revisit this in 25 more years or just wait for the movie.

Extra Scoops

HOT
Welcome back, DAYS! You've been Olympically missed. Let's all raise a Cosmo to the show's spectacular return (and plot how to lock the games in the secret room next time so we don't have to take another two-week break)!

NOT
When Satan repossessed Mar Mar, it was evilness at its worst, yet entertaining. Silly and sadistic. Very sassy, of course. Retro and reminiscent. Johnny's possession? It just feels like a walking, talking thirst trap when we've already had enough to drink, combined with the VHS tape of a human resources training on sexual harassment. It's super cringe, and pre-possessed Johnny was already a (brim)stone's throw away from being cringe, so...yeah. Maybe CIN can fast-track an exorcism, please and thank you.

LINE(S) OF THE WEEK

Anna to T.R. (regarding her daughter, Carrie): "People tell us all the time we look like sisters."

Abigail (to Kristen): "What did you do? Did you put on a Tony mask and romance her?" [LATER] "You probably pumped Sarah so full of drugs, her new heartthrob could be Harry Truman."

Ben (to Julie regarding exorcisms): "Is that how these things work?"

EXCHANGE(S) OF THE WEEK

Shawn (reading Chad's text): "'I will find you, and I will kill you."
Chad: "What? Too Strong?
Shawn: "Well, I don't think it's very helpful."

Abe: "Well, now that your overprotective husband is gone, your overprotective father wants the tea."
Lani: "The tea!? Look at you! Talking like a kid."
Abe: "You know, I keep my hand in."

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Ha! I loved Belle breaking up the bickering between E.J. and Chad. They were smart enough not to give her any follow-up lip. Wise choice, gentleman.

Also, Belle and E.J. becoming besties is as bothering as it is brilliant. I love the chemistry there. Though Sami's head might literally explode, and I really don't want anything to happen to "Shelle." I'm so confused.

I'm so excited at the thought of a Tony and Anna-focused storyline with twists of Renée! Another wish list item checked off. Thanks, Team DAYS!

I got a case of the giggles at the thought of Anna being home alone with Thomas and Charlotte. As long as Harold is there to look after her, too, I'm sure the kids will have a blast with their eccentric auntie. Oh! Maybe Anna could play Little Lotte if they ever make a movie about Chad and Abigail's kids.

Really, though, that scene between T.R. and Anna had me on the floor. A lifetime ago, I worked in casting. I knew actors who believed they could play wildly younger. Spoiler: they couldn't. T.R.'s reaction was spot-on. And hilarious.

I enjoy that in Abigail's phone, Chad's listed as "Husband."

Ava telling Rafe, "Don't worry. I'm sure Nicole will wait for you," was such a slick burn.

Chloe referred to Johnny as "some young guy." Wouldn't she have recognized Johnny, even if only from a picture at the penthouse where she spends a fair amount of time? In fairness, she was a bit distracted, so I'll give the Chlomeister a pass. Love you, Ghoul Girl!

How much glee do you think Abigail got by bringing up Chloe to Kristen!?

Tripp's concern for Chanel's feelings is very sweet, but this one is going to come back to bite him big time. It's a shame. I liked their growing friendship.

Gabi said of Stefan, "God rest his soul." Oh, Yo Gabba Gabi, no. God had nothing to do with Stefan.

John's jest about him and Steve not being able to share a spa day so he'd have to go with Marlena was great. I love that Agent Black is the king of dad jokes yet a world-renowned super spy. Balance, you know.

Yes, her flame is burning bright at the moment, but why, oh, why didn't Abby tie up Kristen before she went exploring the house!? Oof. Rookie move, Abs. Rookie move.

Kate saying, "Okay, so that's not an answer," made me laugh. I also cracked up over, "'Kate, don't'? What does that mean?" Lauren Koslow's delivery is as epic as ever.

I sometimes forget that Sarah was Kayla's maid of honor. I know. Silly me. They're so close.

Kayla's captive chic look is so cute!

This week's takeaways: Gabi is not allergic to cherries, and "Gen Pop" is short for general population in prison.

Oh, I feel like Rafe is going to end up as cellmate number three along with Eej and Clyde. I wouldn't be upset with that. Maybe Lucas will eventually join them, and they can split a quad. Not awkward at all. True, Lucas in jail would mean E.J.'s free, but it's also E.J. He even knows there are real reasons for him to be behind bars.

Xander asking Jack if he could call him "Dad" was everything.

Eli is a great-grandson. I love that he went to see Julie and Doug. Or was that just a cover to take T.R. to task!? In my mind, he did both. So, great-grandson and hubby. Eli wins all.

I'm not sure what gave me more of the warm fuzzies -- Abe and Lani's scenes or when Tony embraced Chad. I'd probably go with the bro hug, just because they're rarely affectionate, but Abe and Lani always lift me up. Still, her enjoyment over his vocab was precious.

I could watch Anna writing all day long! Leann Hunley is hysterical.

Given Steve's track record of being held captive and eventually escaping, Kayla should not second-guess him for one second. He is seriously one Salemite I'd want to be locked up with. He's a pro abductee and escapee at this point.

Also, Steve probably shouldn't second-guess Kayla's warnings when working with sharp objects. Ouchie. Still, was that your run of the mill "Kayla was right" cut or is the Patch Man destined for some kind of infection -- or worse -- Jungle Madness!?

Here's another DiMera Island mystery! The compound's interior design is confusing. It seems they have modern accommodations, yet there are vines growing inside along the walls. It's very Swiss Family DiMerason. Would you love it or list it?

PARTING THOUGHTS
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for February 28. I hope you all enjoyed the "special editions" of Two Scoops the past few weeks! Laurisa and I had a blast teaming up to share them, but, like everyone else, we're glad to get back to Salem. She'll return next week to usher out Sweeps! And, as always, thank you for reading, and "That's a fact."
Tony

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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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