The Star Power-Up Saga

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Will the baby storyline make it to the finish line first? Or will Li's murder edge it out on the turn? Either way, both will have to compete with the search for Clyde and the Nicole vs. Holly battle. Let's discuss all the storylines in this mad dash to summer in this week's Two Scoops.

For those of you who ever played the original Super Mario Bros. Nintendo game or any Mario game after that, or perhaps just saw last year's Super Mario Bros. movie, you're familiar with the star power-up. This is when a character obtains a star, granting them temporary invincibility, thus making them able to run right through all the obstacles to make it as far as they can in the level.

It even comes with a fun theme song, which I have to admit was running through my head all week as I watched DAYS. For a genre so built on slow moving stories, it feels like we found the star, and we're super speeding to the castle!

That might be for one of two reasons. First, the regular DAYS writers' material is due to begin airing sometime this summer -- June or July-ish. That means we're in the final few weeks of the fi-core writers' material. I have to wonder if they're being directed to stop treading water and get to certain storyline points that were established before the strike began.

Second, and more likely, Arianne Zucker's abrupt firing from DAYS means that they have to get three main characters (and Sloan) repositioned for the next chapter of the show. And that means a whole lotta secrets about one little man. Let's dig into that one first.

It was decision time...err...moments for E.J. To be fair, he did acknowledge that Nicole would be happier than she's ever been if she knew the truth. However, that threat of conscience lasted just a few minutes, as Sloan was easily able to convince E.J. that their respective marriages would be over if Eric and Nicole knew that they were Jude's biological parents. Part of me wishes that E.J. would have considered just a little more, but the end game is not surprising. And this does bring about a better kind of poetic justice for Nicole, as she intentionally hid a child from E.J. before. (Remember "Daniel Rafael"?)

To her credit, Sloan also kept Melinda's name out of it. Her story was believable, too, as she could have forged all the paperwork with her mad legal eagle skills. The thing that didn't sit right was all Sloan's talk about aching to be a mother and how baby Jude means so much to her. This woman has shown hardly any mothering interest. Jude is basically an accessory for her. Kind of like a pashmina or other fashion blanket.

The wild card here is Leo. E.J. broke/snuck into Leo's hotel room and showed Leo a phone with a number on it. I guess this is the new high-tech way of writing a number down on a piece of paper and sliding it across the table. Anyway, Leo verbalized the problem with his character that we've been saying for months -- he's still a baby secret-keeping weasel. Though his success here may be his investigative skills as a whistleblower. It shouldn't make any sense to a sober Leo why E.J. would pay him to keep Nicole's baby secret. As far as Leo knows, E.J. just rejected his own son.

As for Nicole and Eric, they're blissfully working away on their project of do-goodery. It's a nice change for them. It's reminiscent of when they worked together at the Horton Center. Only this time, Nicole doesn't want to defrock the priest. Well, at least sober Nicole doesn't. That drunken kiss she planted on him probably isn't going to go over well with Eej. But at least this one is totally explainable.

And while Eric and E.J. duke it out, the real love of Nicole's life broke her heart right open. That would be Holly. I can't overstate how utterly spectacular these scenes were. Ashley Puzemis and Arianne Zucker were masterful. The pain was palpable and gutting and completely, utterly relatable at the same time. Brilliant writing here for both of these divas, as well.

I know that the instinct would be to slap Holly, ground her (more?), or otherwise obliviate her presence. But I have to say, I got Holly. She's so young. She's 16. Thinks -- no small part to the privileged life that her mom has been able to provide for her -- prom, friends, school are everything to her. She doesn't have the perspective or the frontal lobe development to see anything beyond that the biggest thing happening to her friends isn't going to happen to her. Teenage years are cruel and judgmental that way.

And if this is the way Nicole is going to leave Salem, I can't think of a better showcase of Nicole's growth than to handle this harsh assault from Holly. I'm so glad that Nicole gently reminded Holly that Nicole's own childhood was full of horrible abuse. She's making mistakes but doing her best. And I'm one hundred percent on Nicole's side here -- Holly shouldn't go to prom. Nicole's literally trying to save Holly's life here because less than six months ago, Holly made a decision that almost killed her. I actually cheered when Nicole held her ground and affirmed that Holly hasn't done enough work yet to earn back that trust. And then when Nicole went to hug Holly instead of where the usual soap slap would be?! Gah! I had tears!

Holly's retort about her dead brothers was vile. I'm so glad the show had Holly run right to Marlena and express genuine remorse. Hat tip to Marlena for not commenting, "Oh, so you just said bad things to your mom? You didn't try to sell a child on the black market? Yeah, you're good, Holls." But, in all seriousness, Marlena gave some of her best doc advice ever here. People who are closest to each other can sometimes say the harshest things. Writing a letter does give Holly a chance to think and process what she wants to say, rather than speaking out of teenage angst.

The other storyline using the star power-up magic was the search for Li's killer. If you don't know what I mean, look no further than the girls' afternoon we got with Kristen and Ava. I have to admit, I had literally no memory of Kristen and Ava ever being friends. Luckily, Tony reminded me they might have known each other when Kristen was a counselor at Rolf's Camp for the Undead in Nashville. Okay, cool. Proceed then. After a phone call with Harris, Ava tells Kristen that she knows who killed Li, and it wasn't Gabi. Job well done, ladies. Got any more hummus?

This leads a group of folks to demand that E.J. reopen the case against Gabi. Two points here -- one, reopen the case?? Did I miss something? I thought Gabi was in jail awaiting trial this whole time. Did they have the trial off-screen? Worse, did they have the trial off-screen and not mention it to us? That part baffled me.

Two, and it's not very often I get to say this, I agree with E.J. This evidence is not all that strong. A bloody fingerprint on a black book does not trump Gabi standing over a dead Li's body, holding the murder weapon! Heck, the only reason Paulina agreed to pursue the evidence was because it meant she could take E.J. down. So, while we know E.J. is being a prick here and Gabi probably is innocent, I can't really call foul on him for not taking this evidence.

However, a delightful side effect of this whole thing is Paulina firing E.J. with cause. He can't and won't challenge this. He knows it, too. That's why he vows revenge on Paulina. This better not mean Elvis J causes any problems for my Chanel. This certainly does mean that Paulina is the first woman since Sami to get the better of E.J. Well played, Auntie P.

Loose Ends

I used to be a huge Xarah fan. Sadly, I haven't found these two rootable since Sarah hid her pregnancy from Xander. Still, this proposal was extremely cute and a delightful break from the sadness elsewhere in the show. Also, don't look now, but we may have a wedding where the secret dropped is actually good for the couple! What if Xander learns he's Victor's son at the wedding?! I don't know how, but that's the only looming secret in the space of these two. And we can't have a wedding without a secret!

Holly tried to give Tate an out by suggesting they should just call the whole thing off since it's too difficult for them to be sneaking around. Tate tells her that's nonsense and that he's waited 30 years to meet a girl like her, so he's not giving up now. Or something like that... Anyway, I feel like we're headed for a very "Saved by the Bell: Zach and Kelly's Prom" for these two.

John and Marlena told Maggie they were worried about catching Konnie, since he hasn't actually committed any crimes yet. You know, besides the one he and Maggie are plotting to commit at the moment by defrauding the immigration office. But I digress. Maggie's idea was to put Konnie in charge of Victor's charitable trust, knowing that the temptation would be too much for Konnie, and he'll start embezzling money right away. Um, cool, yes. Konnie will surely take the bait. But that feels like a very long-range plan. Forensic accountants would take months/years to follow that paper trail. His visa is already set to expire in a few weeks. Why not just invite the authorities to the wedding and send him packing once Maggie says "I don't" in front of all her loved ones?

Wow. Alex dialed up the douche-o-meter to a level I didn't even know was possible. Besides going all over town, buying diamonds, drones, and horses (also the title of my next country album!), he's making plans to rendezvous with Kristen while literally still in Gweneresa's bed. Look, all three of these characters register exactly "meh" for me. In a way, I'm thrilled they're in a storyline together, as it cuts down on the number of scenes I want to fast-forward.

I don't think Stephanie or Everett are idiots -- at least not in the classic Brady/Eric way. But, sheesh, this is silly for them not to suspect anything when a random girl comes up to Everett and calls him Bobby. Everett needs to do better than brush it off and be all "Who? What? Huh?" And Stephanie seemed to have outgrown the years when she'd just giggle and accept that answer.

I'm growing tired of Mar having to stroke John's ego repeatedly about how nothing Konnie's done is his fault. No one thinks John should be held responsible for what the Pawn did. Heck, even Konnie agrees that Victor is the big bad, not John. As they say, Johnny B, find a bridge and get over it. That's a fact.

Extra Scoops

Thomas is my new favorite character. I love that he's on a mission to become a reporter like his mom. I thought Eric was adorable with him and told Thomas that he can use the spare camera to take photos for the day. Add in the fact that Thomas was the first one who actually got the proof on Konnie, and he's just making a case to be Salem's MVP.

I understand we're racing toward a baby reunion, but John and Eric both said two common parent sayings that have aged about as well as milk left out in the heat.

First, when John said, "He grows up fast, too fast. Just make sure you cherish every moment with that little boy!" to Eric, I rolled my eyes so hard they hurt. I think this statement is meant with good intent, but it's extremely hurtful to parents. Eric handled it well, but my dude admitted he's up at least twice a night. He's also dealing with a wife who's not exactly honest about their finances and a co-worker who drinks tequila for lunch. He's probably having a rough time right now! Not every stage of parenting is blissful. So, instead of telling any parent to "enjoy it" and threaten them with the reminder that time is fleeting, I'd have rather seen John say, "What a wonderful kid! You're doing a great job!"

Second, and I know it's all leading up to the storyline reveal, but I cringed when Eric said, "I couldn't love him more if he were my own flesh and blood" when referring to adopted children. What's worse, he said this to John! Eric's stepfather! This feels gross and "others" adopted kids in a way that just gives me the ick. I'd have much rather Eric just say, "I couldn't love him more." That's it.

Ava: "Prison bars are not going to keep Clyde from ruining people's lives or taking them. I know that Harris wants him captured, but for me? I'm looking for a more permanent solution.

This. Thank you, Ava, for saying this! I've been thinking this for weeks. Clyde ran a complete drug ring behind bars. Putting him back there isn't going to end his empire. They need a different solution. If E.J. wasn't involved in 87 other storylines, I'd be championing for him and Ava to team up on this one. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all.

Sloan: "You're drunk!"

Leo: "I prefer the term 'enlightened.'"

Drunk Leo is kind of my favorite version.


There's no way Eric needed to turn Leo over to realize that was Leo. One look at that patterned shirt in a men's "smedium," and they had to know who that chap was.

I do agree with Alex to an extent about the benefits of retail therapy. Granted, mine is usually browsing the clearance section at T.J. Maxx, but that's the soccer mom equivalent of a used Ferrari, right?

The idea of Alex and Leo going on shopping trips together, spending all their not-earned money, does make me chuckle a little bit. The Real Househusbands of Salem...

It makes me chuckle anytime E.J. drones on about conflict of interest. And then I step back just a bit in case the lighting strike would actually come through my TV.

I appreciate Maggie's eternal sunshine, and she did know Victor perhaps better than anyone ever did. But I'm just not so sure that sharing the inheritance is "what Victor would have wanted," since Victor literally didn't do that in his will.

Can we talk about the utter irony of Alex saying, "God, is he insufferable!"...and Alex being correct? I guess they can smell their own kind.

I loved Brady recalling the time Victor asked him to chaperone the Last Blast Dance. What a fun nod to DAYS history!

The way Leo talks about Jude is more loving than anything Sloan has ever said about him.

Mar making the statement that Alex is a changed man thanks to his therapy clearly points to her not following up with her patients. Or ever encountering Alex in the wild.

Yes, yes, please make the Steve, Kayla, Rafe, and Jada dinner party happen soon! I adore the moments the show gives to Steve and Jada. I'll take more, please!

Did they mean to color coordinate Leo and Sloan?

In part of Holly's Rant of Hate, she mentioned being kept a "prisoner" in the DiMera mansion until she's middle aged. So, I'm already middle aged, but may I raise my hand to be the kind of "prisoner" Holly is in a mansion? That room has that cool wall treatment, you have servants to bring you everything, you get to see Dan Feuerriegel and Brandan Barash from time to time, and you still get to go to the pub for chowder and French fries. Sign me up!

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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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