Love the one you're with

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Is Belle actually the villain here? Does Allie need a dose of reality? And even if Eric stayed a priest, did Rafe and Nicole ever have a chance? Let's talk about it all in this edition of Two Scoops!

The Tripp/Allie/Chanel/Johnny storyline is a great modern-day twist on the classic love quad. And now that all four of them had a turn at being possessed, we're back to the regularly scheduled programming -- where three of these kids look good. And the other one is Allie.

Johnny wasted no time making his case to Chanel. In fact, he asked her to get married again. (Point of order -- are those divorce papers even legal now?) He never stopped loving Chanel, and for as much of a playboy as he's supposed to be, he's only had eyes for Chanel since he arrived in Salem. His case is strong here.

But Chanel rightly pumped the brakes on the nuptials. I cheered when she said the timing wasn't right. Yes, Chanel! Correct! Nothing over the last six months is Johnny's fault, but that doesn't mean Chanel didn't go through real feelings. And she has real feelings for Allie -- she always has. I like Chanel and want her to be happy. She's taking this break for herself, which I love.

Eventually, we're headed for a Chanel/Johnny/Allie triangle. This is interesting. Siblings fighting over a paramour isn't new. But unlike, say, Sami and Carrie, Johnny and Allie supposedly have a good relationship. They're so close, their twin link helped drive the devil out of Salem! So, I do have to wonder about how both of them feel about competing against each other. At the end of the day, is their connection to each other stronger than either of their connection with Chanel?

That leaves Tripp as the odd man out. I like that he and Allie made it clear he will still be a part of Henry's life, but otherwise, our guy can make a clean break from this storyline. These fun resets happen every so often on soaps. And it makes me excited for the next time Tripp meets someone new on canvas, and we can all smile with a bit of excitement. (In a completely unrelated note, how is Joy Wesley doing these days?)

Across town, Jan is playing both Shawn and Belle for fools. Someone buy these two a vowel because they are not putting this together. Shawn still thinks this is his baby, so, fine. At the very least it is a baby, and the baby doesn't deserve to suffer because his mom is besties with Satan. So, it's fine if Shawn doesn't want to jeopardize the baby's health. But there's an ocean of space between protecting the baby and promising Jan that no one is going to take her baby from her.

Jan's a criminal. She shouldn't raise this baby. In fact, I'm surprised Shawn doesn't have continuing trauma over his rapist continuing to manipulate him. At the very least, this is the woman who kept him in a cage for years! Why is he even entertaining the idea of taking a baby to visit this monster? Could he be joking? I'd love it if he was. I'd also do a happy dance if Ciara would get wind of what's going on and step in here with Jan. Or now would be an excellent time for Chelsea to come back to town and deal with Jan the way she dealt with Willow Stark! Chelsea always had Willow's number!

Someone needs to help Shawn because, despite getting the same advice from both Eric and E.J. (how many times are the two of them on the same side?!), Belle is letting Jan push all of her buttons. Belle's tendency for playing the martyr isn't something new. This goes back to her high school days. But it's infuriating here because it's the exact same storyline as high school. There can't be any part of her who thinks Shawn would actually end up with Jan. So, why is she getting caught up in the details?

Oh, because there's a tall, dark, and British gent who's giving her all the attention -- and Scotch. I'm not saying Belle set out to cheat on Shawn, but it very much feels like the attention E.J. is paying to her is somewhat payback for what Belle has twisted into Shawn's fault. You almost have to admire her. She's invented a situation where she's the victim and then gets to retaliate against that pretend crime by acting out in the real world. I almost have to slow clap for Belle here.

For his part, E.J. isn't interested in Belle. Most people have a type. I find it hard to think the man whose type is a Nicole/Sami/Kate would want a Belle. But this is a fun dalliance, especially if Belle could possibly end up with E.J.'s child! That move is deliciously soapy -- both short- and long-term!

Belle would get a slice of humble pie when it comes to understanding what Shawn is going through, only in her case, the sex would have been intentional. And I love the idea of another next-gen DiMera that comes from the John "the Pawn" Black bloodline. Also, for all of Stefano's pop-up kids, none of his children currently has children by more than one person. Furthering the Sami/Belle feud for generations could get interesting.

Finally, just when you thought Satan was really out of Salem, Rafe went and got us Duke 2.0. Oh! And put a ring in Duke's pocket, to propose to Nicole. Don't worry, folks, he said he bought the ring a while ago. Yikes. There's a lot to unpack here.

First, Rafe bought the ring a while ago? Rafe and Nicole just started officially dating. As Nicole said, they'd never even talked about getting married. When exactly did he buy this ring?

Second, Rafe all but ended the proposal with, "so you won't go back to Eric." Sure. Nicole assured Rafe that Father Eric was in her past. But the look of shock on her face when Eric told her he was no longer a priest coupled with Nicole's, "Well...um...yeah...of course we can/should get married right away. Why, uh, should we wait?" stance spells problems for Rafe. Sure, the very end of this video seems to hint that Rafe and Nicole do make it down the aisle. But I don't see it lasting. Oh, well, at least he got a new teddy bear out of the whole thing.

Loose Ends


Call me a skeptic, but I don't believe T.R.'s declaration of love. Abusers are expert manipulators, and I think this was his final devious deed. If he loved Lani, he wouldn't have shot her husband, beaten her mother, assaulted her father, threatened to sue her sister...do I need to keep going? Anyway, Lani's guilt should be over Paulina potentially going to jail, not shooting T.R.

I give Eric a lot of credit for telling Sarah the truth, and even more for telling her that she should take Xander's calls. I love Xander and Sarah, but I really didn't want to see a rehash of the story where she learns to forgive him. Hopefully, Eric got through to her.

Xander's scene with Chanel was hilarious and downright smart. These two can bond over someone who wasn't their actual someone dumping them.

Yeah! Chloe is visiting Parker! It seems very strange for him not to be in Salem now that Nancy is here, too. Maybe he'll visit for the summer and can spend time with his half-sister, Holly!

I shook my head when Eli joined the Let's All Lie to Abe tour. I really hate Abe being set up to be the fool here. Lani, Paulina, and Eli are going to be family no matter what. Abe feels a bit outside already, and I worry this will drive him further away from the family he's trying desperately to hold on to. Not cool, you guys. Not. Cool.

Leo drugged Sonny then used that super-soap strength to carry him upstairs, undress him, and pose with him for sexually suggestive photos. Leo's continuous flirtation with becoming a rapist is still not amusing. (See: getting in the shower with Will and Sonny, posing in bed with Chad.) I hope Sonny takes Victor's advice and goes to the hospital for a blood panel on what drugs are in his system. At the very least, he's going to need Victor on his side to out-scheme Leo. Sonny is no match for Leo in that department.

While we're on the topic, I still adore Leo and Gwen together! They get each other in a way no one else does. It's truly lovely for both of them and gives them an outlet for their sass that doesn't manifest itself in a harmful way. Let's have more of their scenes, all of the weeks!

Gabi and Jake both hit the sheets with other people to forget about each other. Despite Li being very charming (cookies for breakfast? Why, yes indeed, sir!), he's headed across the globe and could be virtually insignificant until the next DiMera roll call. But Ava is a different story. She is getting herself right back into the same situation where she's second choice...and she knows it. Stepping back the situation to dating instead of sleeping together is a good move. But I'm not so sure her whole mission isn't failed from launch.

The Vatican is kicking Eric out of the priesthood because he performed two unauthorized exorcisms. Guess they don't care that neither of them took? Anyway, this shuffles him nicely into the dating field again...or maybe the relapse field. I don't know which one he looked at more longingly -- Nicole or that martini. The latter has me worried.

Roman and Kate both reminded him that his life can have other possibilities now. I almost liked Kate in the role of Eric's fun conscience. But it would feel better if I thought it actually came from a place of care (See: Chad). This time, her smarm about Sarah staying in Eric's room was off-putting. Luckily, Roman stepped in to smooth things over. I am excited to see what Eric does next.

Extra Scoops

HOT
I'm a sucker for a montage, but one that ends with Steve and Kayla bringing pizza? Come on. I'm all in! It's really lovely how Steve and Kayla look after Tripp. I love how they both knew he wouldn't be fine watching TV by himself. Of course, you need to bring in pizza and soda. This is what families do.

And I loved Ava apologizing to Kayla! Under normal circumstances, I would think a grieving mother lashing out at the person who told her that her son was dead would be allowed some grace. But Ava hasn't earned that with Kayla. So, good on Ava for recognizing that she needs to still put in the extra work here.

Now, can we get Ava and Tripp a condo together?

NOT:
Years ago, Nathan Horton showed up at Melanie Layton's door, in tears, pleading with her to take him back. But instead of taking him back, she literally closed the door on his sobbing face. For a long time, that set the bar for Most Unluckiest Schmuck.

But that title has been snatched. Every single judge agrees -- getting dumped after inviting the devil in, then committing suicide to save the girl who then doesn't have enough character to dump you so you dump yourself for her -- is the new low bar. For a woman who is so incredibly brave and a survivor in other aspects of her life, I can't get over how terrible Allie is to those closest to her.

First, Sami has done a lot of things. But having a revolving door of boyfriends is not one of them. I have no idea what Allie was talking about. Sami was with two men for all of Allie's childhood -- Rafe and E.J. And she was in committed relationships with each. Sami's with Lucas now, but Allie encouraged that, so to hold that against her mom now is ridiculous.

Next, there's Chanel and Tripp. I think she really does care about both, but her weakness is reckless. If Tripp hadn't stepped up to dump himself, Allie would probably have gone forward and married him, knowing her heart wasn't truly in it. Likewise, how can she be the person Chanel deserves if she was so willing to go down the easy path with Tripp? I'm not saying she shouldn't be confused or that she should have all the answers right now. What I am saying is that she needs to realize she doesn't have answers, take a minute, and stop being Brady 2.0 and declaring a new love of her life every ten minutes.

LINE OF THE WEEK:


Eric (to Kate/all of us): "So, since I can't spend my days serving God anymore, I should get back together with my ex?"

YES! This is exactly what you should do.

Honorable mention:

E.J. (to Belle/all of us): "Tonight, we wallow and hope tomorrow is a better day!"

Over the last two-plus years in the real world, when hasn't this been the mantra?

RANDOM THOUGHTS


I give the ladies of Salem a lot of grief, so to be fair, the first thing Abe put on when he got out of the hospital was a suit? Come on. This man doesn't at least have a golf polo and some khakis?

Love that Gwen calls Leo "Matty" and he calls her "Gweniviere."

Is it physically possible/preferable for one to sit down and then zip their pants?

Justin's "I know what you did. Cut the nonsense" look is one of the best.

I don't remember Nicole's middle name being Stella.

When E.J. said, "I'm just a bored, unemployed ex-tycoon with time on his hands," I wanted to remind him not to sell himself short. He's also an ex-racecar driver! What's this "just" business, E.J.? Do I need to call Stephanie Johnson?

Whew! We established that Stefano allowed a shareholder to vote while under criminal charges. That's the DE I know. Can we now abandon all that talk about how the CEO can't be fit to serve when they're undergoing criminal charges, too? That whole plot point never made sense.

Holly would be amazing on the detective force. Besides being able to make simple observations, she has supernatural powers to bring people back from the dead.

This close to being possessed, should Johnny really be saying things like "went up in flames"?

We had the scenes of Bonnie dying Nancy's hair, as part of Nancy getting her self-esteem back. Why, then, was Nancy wearing a wig? Was it just to give Leo a scene where he could humiliate her? Disappointing.

Do people keep hot sauce in their fridges?

This is the first we've seen of Holly in years. Hi, Holly and your mostly-A's-and-one-B self. Welcome!

On second thought, I may feel sorry for Tripp's next girlfriend. "Oh, so you committed suicide to save your ex's external soul. But, sure, these flowers are nice."

Wait a minute now, DAYS. Don't just give us a throwaway line about how Kristen got Peter to change his vote and not follow through with a storyline that brings Peter back to Salem!

That's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to absolutely follow up on Peter's location and exactly what type of cookies Li serves post-date.

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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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