I always wonder about weeks like this. Days was preempted on Tuesday because of the Michael Jackson memorial service. Unlike Wimbeldon last week, this was not a planned interruption. And we didn't get one of those "Days of Our Lives will be shown at 3:15 AM" situations either. They just moved everything back a day. So, by my calculations, that means we were shorted exactly one cliff hanger. "Friday's" show felt like it stopped just short of delivering the goods. Monday's show seemed extremely draggy (probably not a real word- I know). But it does mean that we're set up for a good show next week and we have a trio of good couples to play with!
SAMI and RAFE
I'd like to thank you all who emailed me and helped me compile my list of reasons to like Rafe. It was fun to hear from viewers who have my exact opposite opinion about the hunky FBI guy. But honestly, I don't know if I could have picked a worst week to start trying to like Rafe. And, I'm really not trying to be mean. But seriously, Sami found the "father" of her daughter crying at another woman's grave and she's wrong for investigating it? Really? Not since Dorothy and Co. were told to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" have I heard such a bologna request. Sami knew it too. And I'm glad she found her brain cells and called Rafe out on keeping such a big secret. Sami is right. It's fine to keep little things private. For example, I don't tell my husband when I swing through McDonalds, even though we're supposed to be doing Phase 1 of South Beach. But, not telling your significant other about your dead fiancÚ whose grave you still visit is not acceptable. It's obvious that Emily is still a huge part of Rafe's life and he needs to share the story with Sami. I say "needs to" because he still hasn't. Does anyone believe that the whole story is that Rafe loved her and she "unexpectedly" died on their wedding day? I know Sami doesn't. The gal practically lies for a living, so she can spot a bad lie a mile away. And Rafe's was a horrible one.
Don't look now, but I think I might be interested in this storyline! The revelation of Emily-gate will do one of two things. It could make me actually interested in Rafe because I'll finally get to know something about him. Or, it will be the split that "Safe" desperately needs. I'm starting to think that their relationship only works under extreme levels of stress (witness protection, fake adoption, etc.) and there's no way a relationship- even a soap opera one- can exist in that world.
LUCAS, KATE, DANIEL, and CHLOE
This storyline is officially ridiculous. By "officially" I mean based on my completely unscientific BS-o-Meter.
Snow White Chloe collapsed in Daniel's arms from the poison apple that Kate made her eat. Daniel rushed her to the hospital where he saved her, despite Lexie's protests that he's too close to the case. (Ha! When has that ever stopped him before?) Unfortunately for all of us who have to watch this wretched storyline, Daniel could not identify the toxin that almost killed Chloe. That means that Kate is free to try to poison Chloe again. At this point, I highly suggest that TPTB find seven little men to join this storyline so at least they can sing some catchy songs and entertain me.
Kate's plan seems to be an overkill (no pun intended) of revenge. Why doesn't Kate just grab Maggie and walk right up to Lucas and tell him what a cheating, lying piece of trash that Chloe is? Lucas doesn't like women who cheat on him. He leaves them! See: Carrie and Sami* I 100% agree with Kate's disgust of Chloe and Daniel. And I don't think that any amount of bone marrow should obligate a parent to allow their kids to be hurt and lied to. But Kate's working way too hard on something that she could easily resolve just by telling the truth. Plus, I'm really trying to resisting the urge to put a groan-worthy spin on the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and I don't know how much longer I can last!
Then there's Chloe and Daniel. Don't get me wrong. I think killing is bad. But, the only ounce of sympathy that I have for Chloe and/or Daniel stems from the fact that I don't think people should kill each other. Chloe and Daniel seem to be living on some strange planet where once you stop doing something bad, no one is allowed to blame you for doing the bad thing in the first place. That's laughable. I'd like to see that argument tried in court. "Well you see, your honor, I used to sell drugs to kids, but I haven't done that for a long time. And despite the fact that I still walk around with this kilo of cocaine in my pocket, that doesn't give you the right to be suspicious of me!"
*Technically, Sami never cheated on Lucas. But, he assume she did- twice- with Brandon and with EJ. Both times, he left her.
Max waved goodbye to Salem this week. His departure was bitter sweet. I knew I liked looking at Darin Brooks, but I never really realized how much comedy and charm he brings to the show. His sibling chemistry with both Molly Burnett and Peter Reckell is outstanding and I'm going to miss that. It also made me realize how much I miss the divine Rachel Melvin. Peter Reckell hasn't gotten a chance to bring out that smirk since Rachel left and it's a shame. Finally, Peggy McKay's performance as the ever doting Ma Brady went right to my heart. This gal makes me wish that I was a Brady, just so I could have a firecracker lady like her in my corner.
However, Max's departure storyline was a bit of a letdown. He called Bo to ask him something important about Chelsea. I don't know about you, but in my book that usually involves a ring. But, no, no. All Max wanted to know was if Bo was "cool" with them dating. You know, since if Bo said no then Max wouldn't have moved to a different continent to be with the girl. And, Max made it clear to Mel that he and Chelsea weren't ready to make that big of a commitment yet. I'll have to dust off my dating handbook, but I'm pretty sure that the "commitment" stage comes pretty close to the "passing on medical school to move to another country and help your girlfriend take care of her invalid mother" stage. Oh well. Like Max said, he isn't gone forever. I suspect in a few years Max may return as Salem's newest doctor, ready to take on the likes of the DiMeras/Kiriakises/resident bad guys, and fight the good fight in the name of Brady. Here's hoping!
ARIANNA and BRADY
As a former Passions fan, I knew this moment was coming. I'd like to officially welcome you all to the wonderful world of Eric Martsolf chemistry! The guy oozes appeal. And it doesn't matter which female lead I've seen him with, I find myself screaming "Kiss her!" at the television when the two are in as close proximity as Ari and Brady were at that cabin. I don't care what Brady says, I'm glad that Mel meddled in his love life. And, I actually enjoyed the vaudeville schtick that she put on to get Ari in Brady's arms. It all meant that we got to see Eric play the love tortured hero that he does so well. I always root for this guy to get the girl and the funny part is that it usually doesn't matter who the girl is.
For her part, Felisha Terrell is going a great job as Ari. I love Ari and Mel's friendship. Days is missing girlfriends and I think this pair could be a winner. And it's amazing how much more I like Ari when she isn't bad mouthing Sami or telling Rafe to forget about the past. Also, I find myself wanting to know more about her, starting with what on earth possessed her to turn down a dinner with Brady. Sure, he came clean with her and told her about being an addict. But he also told her how far he's come in recovery and she knows that because she's seen what a stand-up guy he is. I'm not sure if Ari has a history with addiction, or just a problem revealing secrets, but I want to know more. I may not be ready to change my mind on Rafe leaving, but this week I started to warm up to the other Hernandez sibling. That has to count for something, right?
MELANIE and NATHAN
I. Love. These. Two. Usually, it's hard to pair two new characters together. But, if those characters are lucky enough to be given the intoxicating blend of physical comedy and playful dialogue that Mel and Nathan got this week, it's virtually impossible not to be entertained. In fact, when Tony and I have our imaginary dinner parties with Days characters, these two are now invited in place of EJ and Nicole. Even if you aren't ready to root for these two as a couple, you have to at least be entertained by the way they both try to one-up each other.
But I am ready to root for them as a couple. I can't help but notice that the writers are careful to put in little mentions of the age difference between the two. It makes their relationship seem more honest. I like that Nathan acknowledges that Mel is immature (she is) and how Mel points out that Nathan acts condescending (he does). The writers are careful not to go too far too fast with this pair, and while that move is OBVIOUSLY for other Stephanie-related reasons that we will discuss later in this column, it could actually work out in their favor. Fans would much rather see a fun, slow building romance than the random hook-up. Besides, Mel's been burnt by guys before and it would be stupid if she just hopped into bed with the next guy who flashed his dimples her way- especially considering that the owner of said dimples is also the pride-and-joy grandson of Mel's best friend in Salem.
PHILIP and STEPHANIE
I know I should be frustrated that these two broke up. But, I'm okay with it- for now. Truthfully, these two have the most realistic storyline on the show. As I mentioned before, I'm shocked at the lightning fast speed with which the DiMera/Kiriakis feud was wrapped up. Brady and Victor shook hands. EJ moved onto torturing Sami. Stefano got all of his insulin back. And even my precious Owen vanished into thin air. All of that is crazy weird. At least Steph and Philip are actually dealing with the fall out, the way one SHOULD if the feud caused a perfectly innocent person to be locked in a morgue for almost all of May Sweeps!
However, I don't want these two to stay apart forever. Like Mel said, Philip is the only one who is made for Steph. They challenge each other in ways that organically produce good storyline material. That's a fancy way of saying that they don't need other parties thrown into their storylines. She's a good girl trying to get better. He's a good guy trying to keep from going bad. As strange as that sounds, those are two very different things. I get that Steph doesn't want to be locked in a vault again. But, why can't the two of them move out on their own, keep working together, and become a powerhouse boardroom/bedroom team?
While I certainly appreciate the nod to family history, I don't like Bo and Victor's involvement in this storyline. First of all, what does Bo know about "walking away from the family"? He was never part of the family! And I really appreciated Philip's point about how hard it is to turn away from a career that he loves. What if Hope wanted Bo to quit the force? I'm sure he'd do it in the end- just like Philip offered to leave the family for Stephanie. But, there's no way Bo wouldn't have reservations about it. Second, I'm a little upset at the manic attitude towards Victor. I'm totally biased because I heart John Aniston, but why is it that when Chelsea or Bo needs a favor, it's okay to be around Victor? But other than that, the dude is a walking Brady punching bag. Not cool.
NICOLE, EJ, and STEFANO
Nicole and EJ had a lot of screen time this, but it was basically different versions of the same scene. EJ enters the room with his feathers all puffed out because he overheard Nicole saying something suspicious. He pretends that he's actually smart enough to figure out what's going on. Then, Nicole emotionally man-handles the mini-don, and EJ resorts back to gushing about how lucky he is to have Nicole, how wonderful she is, and how amazing her multi-colored sundress looked. (Ok, that last one was me.) Of course, it's all in the name of making Nicole fall even further when the truth about Sydney/Grace comes out. But what's the point? Does EJ really need more reason to be mad at Nicole? Isn't the fact that she faked her pregnancy and stole a baby because she didn't trust that he would stay with her enough for him to deal with at once? Do we really need to add on that she played him for a fool for months? I don't think so. But, apparently the writers do.
Might I suggest that instead of more EJ gushing, we get more scenes with Nicole and Stefano? Now that they are in cahoots together, yet still weary of fully trusting each other, this relationship is way far interesting. As an added bonus, we get to watch Stefano take actual delight in Nicole's skills as a schemer. It's almost like Stefano and Kristen Version 2.0: Same Great Schemes, Half the Annoying Begging. Stefano knows that Nicole took Johnny to see Sami. Yet, he doesn't tell EJ. He knows that the overall goal of keeping EJ drinking the DiMera Kool-aid is much easier attained if Nicole is on Stefano's side.
Of course to keep Nicole in the picture, the secret about Sydney can't come out. For her part, Nicole persuaded EJ not to go forward with his bogus custody case against Sami because she knew Steph's testimony would send EJ to jail. I'm glad, but it's a bit anticlimactic. I was ready for an EJ-Sami showdown. For his part, Stefano is investigating Rafe. I hope he finds something and I hope it comes out soon. I'll even volunteer to deliver the message myself.
CHAD, MIA, and WILL
I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like this storyline. All three characters are new, yet they are all developing into well rounded characters. We know that Chad didn't leave Mia. His parents sent him to military school (I'm assuming about the same time they found out he was having sex) and forbade him to have any contact with anyone from his old life. Since Chad was able to track down Mia on his own, I am guessing that he's 18 and a "free man" now. He has no idea about the baby, and it doesn't seem like Mia has any intention on telling him. She'll just be grabbing her stomach and staring off into the distance every time Chad mentions their past together. If Chad does more than just look like EJ, Mia doesn't have to realize about Chad cracking that code and realizing that they made a baby together.
I read in an interview that Casey Deidrick and Taylor Spreitler were friends before they came to work on Days. It shows because Casey and Taylor have a definite spark. Those flashbacks of the early part of Mia and Chad's relationship were really cute. And, I am very impressed with Taylor because she can seamlessly transfer that charm to Dylan Patton, turning Will and Mia into the sweet, naive relationship that we all want to think that high school kids have. I laughed when Mia rolled her eyes at her situation. Not laughing at her, but laughing because she is genuinely in a tough spot. Love triangles often make men act like teenagers, so a love triangle where the characters (and actors) actually are teenagers gives the writers a lot of clearance to show us some fun and creative things.
In an attempt to halt the impending doom of Bo's latest vision, Bo and Hope switched Ciara's Tommy Bear for a giraffe with not nearly as fun a name. These two have been cops/detectives for years and all they can come up with is swapping out the toy? It serves them right that their toddler daughter outsmarted them by trading Mr. Giraffe for Tracy's Tommy Bear. Next time, think harder, guys!
Again, Will went too far with Sami. He told her that all of her children were gone. Actually, Grace is the only one who is gone. As Captain Sensitivity pointed out, Grace died a few days ago. But, Johnny's custody situation is temporary. And Sami sees Ali all the time. It would do Will Horton, Turbo-Jerk, well to remember that Sami also has custodial rights of his cranky butt too!
Does anyone else get way too proud of themselves when you get those trivia questions right during the commercial break? Just me? I figured.
Lucas and Chloe should be the ones "summarizing" the Horton Cabin. They're the ones who left it dirty!
It's odd that Nathan suggested playing poker for beers when he had to work later- you know, at the hospital checking on patients.
I really appreciate how much more we're seeing Caroline, Maggie, Victor, and Stefano. Their physical presence on screen helps solidify the Bradys, Hortons, Kiriakises, and DiMeras. It makes me feel like all the families have a proper head.
I was glad that the writers chose to have Nathan voice how apprehensive he was about being compared to Tom Horton. Tom is a legend around Days and such a character should be given the utmost respect. But, I was tickled pink when Maggie explained that Tom wasn't some big, flashy super hero. He was just a genuinely good guy. Maggie summed it up perfectly when she said, "There was not a grandiose bone in his body." I'm glad to see that Days didn't try to buff up history with some fluffy rewrite about how Tom saved the city of Salem from the talons of an evil dictator. Tom Horton doesn't need it. His legacy is just fine the way it is.
No, no, no, no, NO!! That's exactly what I screamed at my TV when Stephanie and Nathan crashed into each other at the hospital. Not only do people need to stop meeting this way (hi Brady and Ari!), but Stephanie and Melanie do not need to be tangled in a love quad with Philip and Nathan. Melanie grew leaps and bounds the day she realized that her obsession with Philip is not a good look for her. I have no idea why the writers would set Mel back months by putting her back in the same position. Steph and Nathan both have a self-righteous streak that CAN NOT combine, else my head might explode. For real. It's would be like Ghostbusters-crossing-the-streams bad. I hope I'm wrong, but I have a horrible feeling about this.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Melanie: "Chelsea? She's cool I guess. I mean when I first met her I thought she was this total bitch who should just die, but after I stopped trying to ruin her life she was nicer to me. So, she's ok I guess."
That's all for now, soap fans! I am off to enjoy the festivities of the MLB All Star Game in my hometown (Go Cards!). Tony will be in charge of Salem while I'm gone and he has my full permission to blow the whistle on any more head on collisions between characters. Let's hope that eventually people will learn that they don't need to walk around with their head down in order to crash into their love triangle mate....They just need to make an appointment with their primary care doctor.
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