Ah, Salem - another week, another abduction. I'm beginning to sense it's not the safest town to live in if you're under the age of five. Then again, the over-five set doesn't fare too well, either. Therefore I'm starting a petition to have the city's license plate slogan changed from "The Friendly State" to "The AMBER Alert State." But perhaps I shouldn't be picking on Salem, as Sydney was technically abducted in Cleveland. Moving on...
With Sweeps swept under the rug until February, sometimes shows seem to lose momentum, but not DAYS. Nope, this show is only getting better and better! Well, most of the show. But you take the good, you take the bad, you take - well, I'll let another '80s junkie finish that one, since we have a lot to discuss. There are blame games and head games and - Okay, let's just dive in and see where we end up.
THE KIDNAPPING CREW (formerly known as the BABY-SWAP CREW)
It's official - Sydney IS Sami's daughter. No further DNA testing is necessary. How do I know this, you ask? Because anyone who has been kidnapped three times within a year definitely has Marlena "Abductee Extraordinaire" Evans' blood running through their veins. Welcome to the Evans Clan, Syd - seven more kidnappings and you get a free trip to Melaswen Island!
However, the big question remains - who took Sydney...this time? Does she truly have a lot in common with her grandma? Is Stefano the culprit? He did have his goons looking for her, despite Roman's and E.J.'s warnings. Plus, the Phoenix kept a low profile last week. And given his tiff with E.J., he probably didn't keep his son in the intel loop. Besides, if he returned the little bundle of cuteness, he might just score some much-needed Good-Grandpa Points and get to wear his cardigan and pass out Werther's Originals again.
Other suspects would include, but are not limited to, Marge, the shady hotel manager, Bus-Station-Lady-Who-Went-Gaga-Over-Sydney, and, of course, Fay. The first is easy - Nicole ticked her off. Marge knew who Nicole was. Nicole out-bitched her by playing hardball. Perhaps Marge wants some revenge and to gain a little ransom from the DiMeras to clean up her bedbug-ridden hotel.
Second, there's Bus-Station-Lady. To explain why I think she's a suspect, I have to share that, once upon a time, I lived in "The Cleve," and I've been to the actual Cleveland Bus Station. And before I go on, it should be noted that there are some extremely nice sections of the city.
With that said, on two occasions, I had the "pleasure" of picking people up from the ultra-glamorous downtown station. The place is Shady-O-Rama. I'm talking indescribably sketchy. Therefore, Bus-Station-Lady's a suspect, and, until it's confirmed she doesn't work for U.S.-Adorable, she's staying on the list.
Finally, we come to Fay. First and foremost, it was great seeing Valerie Wildman again! But when it comes to the character, I feel confident in saying Fay is one of the most tragic figures in the history of DAYS. The lady has never caught a break. She was married to an abusive rapist and would-be murderer who forced their daughter into porn. That has to mess someone up.
Furthermore, Fay has always exuded an unstable vibe. Perhaps she finally snapped and wanted to "right the wrongs" she made with Nicole by raising Sydney. Or maybe she wanted to "rescue" Sydney from her turbulent life (since she thinks E.J. is abusive and knows Nikki is crazy). To support that theory, Fay does have connections. She works in a potentially shady restaurant with confirmed shady clientele. That all adds up to a big, inquisitive "Hmm..."
In other "KIDNAPPING CREW" news...
Now, aside from once again applauding the great performances, I applaud the writers for paying attention to detail. Hearing names like Eric, Brandon, and Taylor made me happy. Small touches like those are adding to this already interesting mystery-adventure.
Yet I do have one question - wouldn't Brandon know where Fay lives? I thought they were close, but Roman only said Brandon hadn't heard from Nicole. Okay, just curious about that possible plot hole...moving on.
I was glad to see E.J. and Brady felt the need to fill in the squabbling void left vacant when E.J. and Sami started to play nice. Actually, I don't blame E.J. for ripping into Brady. They guy truly has his head up his hourglass when it comes to Nicole. Then again, I guess they both have at one point or another. So, have at it - knock yourselves out, boys.
However, I think someone needs to get Rafe a black-and-white-striped shirt and a whistle as he spent the better part of last week refereeing the crazies. He broke up fights between Arianna and Gabi, E.J. and Brady, and then E.J. and Brady again. I give him credit - that's not an easy task. I'll also give him a pat on the back for admitting to Sami he was jealous of, and trying to play Alpha-Male with, E.J. It's an entire self-awareness thingy, and I'm a fan of it. Nicely played, Rafe.
Ironically, I believe Rafe does have a reason to be insecure. E.J. and Sami are starting to get pretty cozy again. In fact, the last time I remember seeing them that cozy is when Sydney was conceived. But I'm happy about this for two reasons.
One - and here's a sentence you don't hear me utter often - Rafe is right. E.J. and Sami need to focus on what's important, and that's working together to find Sydney. And that leads nicely into my second reason...
And I admit this reason is fairly selfish, but I'm glad there's a time-out in the screamfest which is normally "EJami." More "killer smiles" and less "fiery tempers" is a nice break. I get that they drive each other mad, and, most of the time, I can't look away from their heated confrontations. But there can be too much of a good thing. I think both James Scott and Alison Sweeney's vocal cords probably needed the break, too. And I'm sure the DAYS writers' room is rejoicing because they finally get to stop cutting and pasting the same old argument and write some fresh material. It's a win/win/win all around.
Of course, we should talk about Nicole before wrapping this up. She decided to do the right thing, but either got knocked out or passed out before she could tell Sami her whereabouts. Let me just get this out now. If this is Nicole's "penance" for the Baby-Swap, I'm going to have "NOT" material for the next three months. Albeit brilliant, Kate being cleared by marrying Stefano used up all of the Get-Out-Of-An-Evil-Act-Free Cards the writers had sitting around. With that warning given, I'll move on.
Nicole did take a baby step towards redeeming herself. I'll give her a bit of credit for that. On second thought, the fact that she conned her mom makes me decline her line of credit when swiped through the Forgive-O-Meter. Sorry, Nikki, but it's not nice to con Mama when her life savings is $1,200. I just wanted to send poor, impoverished Fay an Edible Arrangement or something.
LUCAS, CHLOE, & DR. DAN
So, Lucas is back from rehab a week early and with a spiffy new haircut. Oh, and an ax to grind with Chloe. Because of that, I have an ax to grind with him. And it's made worse because I have to side with Dr. Dan and admit that he was right - Lucas was acting like a big, old "dry drunk" jerk. And he was also acting downright dumb if he thinks Chloe's smart enough to knowingly be that vindictive. I kid, I kid - sorry, Chloe.
Okay, one more complaint - Lucas didn't "run into Chloe at the hospital," as he told Maggie. I'm pretty sure a random waiting room is off the beaten path to every destination unless that destination is, in fact, a random waiting room. I think he sought her out for a verbal beat-down.
Luckily, Lucas wised up. Surprisingly, it was Dr. Dan who gave him that first dose of reality followed by Maggie. Aw - they hugged! I hope this means they're on the road to recovery as well. I'm tired of Big Red and Little Dry Drunk not getting along.
MAGGIE AND COMPANY
First, the big question - did everyone notice when Maggie held up a picture of her and Mickey, it was John Clarke's Mickey!? What the what!? I never expected to see Mickey's picture again, unless it was on the side of a milk carton, let alone Clarke's Mickey. I guess that means, A, the last nail in Kevin Dobson's Mickey coffin is secure, and, B, Clarke's Mickey is the one we should imagine being in "the other room" or "Chicago" instead. Got it!
Here's another question. Did it surprise anyone that Maggie knows French? Of course she does! She's amazing. And, as schmaltzy as her gush fest with Mia was, I ate it up! It was nice that the show showed respect and appreciation for Maggie this year by showing her more than once, and those scenes were like icing on the sappy cake. Thank you, writers.
THE TEEN SCENE (WITH A SIDE OF ROMAN & ARI)
Roman and Will's chat was enjoyable. I'll go as far as to say I'd like to see them interact more often. No offense to Lucas, but the guy's a drama mama, and Will needs a stable father figure in his life. And I'm cringing as I admit this, but I think bland old Austin's influence is a reason Will flourished in Switzerland. He needs another influence like that, and I think Roman could be that guy while Lucas is otherwise occupied. But I will draw the line at Roman giving Will romantic advice. No offense to Ro-Ro, but his track record with the ladies is dismal, and I don't wish that on Will.
Speaking of Will and the ladies, he met Gabi last week. Actually, he verbally sucker-punched her. Yep, their first official scene was a fight. Their second scene was an awkward apology. Most soap fans know what that means - they'll probably end up hot and bothered for each other. Although I'm a Will and Mia fan, I'm interested to see things shaken up a bit. Most of the Teen Scene storylines have been well-handled this year, and, now that the Baby-Swap drama is over for them, I'm curious to see what happens next.
Fortunately, Gabi will be around to see how things play out, no thanks to Ari. Her big sis told her the truth about the drugs - good! And then Ari told her to go home - ouch. Gabi said no - bullet dodged. Call me crazy, but for some reason I enjoy Lil' Hernandez.
In other "Ari tells people things" news, she told Roman she has a new boss. And, wouldn't you know it, just as she said that *cue the dramatic organ music* E.J. walked in! This has been a slow burn, but I think it's about to get more interesting. I'd also be interested in seeing some E.J. and Ari pasta being thrown at the wall to see if they stick.
CARLY & HER KID
On the whole, I'm intrigued by this storyline. However, I'm not sure if I buy Mia's sudden change of heart. Honestly, I would have been creeped out by Carly's overzealousness from the beginning. Sure, her heart is in the right place, but, hey, strange lady, back it up a step - it's called personal space, look into it. That's all I'm saying. But perhaps Mia was too upset and is just now realizing that Carly is coming on a bit too strong. I mean, it's one thing to console a stranger, but it's another to move into their house.
However, I don't fault Carly for that. In fact, I'm glad the writers pointed out that Carly didn't know how to react to her daughter...whichever Horton House occupant that might be. And, yes, I would include Maggie in the suspected daughter list. This is Salem, after all, and stranger things have happened. Let's actually take a look at the suspects (sans Maggie for the sake of time).
Mia. An obvious choice as she's shared several scenes with Carly already. Plus, there was that misplaced, yet enjoyable, scene between her and Bo. The writers could be setting it up so that he'll be the one to give Mia a pep talk about Carly. But I think it's all too contrived, and I'm voting her daughter is...
Melanie. Like Will and Gabi, they had the first-meeting fight. That usually ends up with tons of squabbling and, eventually, a happy-ish ending. Plus, Carly met her Baby Daddy at a medical conference. Because of that, one can assume he's in the field. And which field was Mel drawn to? Right!
Although neither of them remotely looks like Carly, so the writers still have some 'splainin' to do. But, all in all, I'm enjoying Carly's journey. I also felt bad for her that Mia turned on her and decided to team up with Mel to give her the old heave-ho. But I think it's a semi-safe bet that Maggie will step in and change their minds. Stay tuned!
PHILIP, MELANIE, NATHAN, & STEPHANIE
Focusing on the positive is hard when dealing with these four knuckleheads. Besides, I couldn't describe what's wrong with them any better than Laurisa did in the last Two Scoops column. Her comments were 100% spot-on. With that said, I did find a few glimmers of hope amongst this bleak a storyline.
I'm thrilled Nathan stood up for himself! And I don't say that lightly because, after this year, I've lost a little faith in some of Salem's leading men. *cough E.J. and Brady* They bought lame excuses like they were purchased at an "everything must go" sale. Nathan didn't even remotely entertain such lame excuses from Mel or Philip, and for that I give him credit.
I also give Nate credit for trying to stand up to Philip. Yes, "technically," he did stand up to him. Yet I agree with Philip - Nathan hardly left a quaking with fear impression. Granted, Nathan is a nice guy. Threatening someone is out of character for him. But that could also be part of the problem with this storyline - the balance is off.
Laurisa perfectly pointed out in the aforementioned article that Melanie and Stephanie need to be convincible "frienemies" for this storyline to work. I totally agree. But I also think Nathan and Philip need to be convincible rivals, and, so far, they're not.
I'll take off the gloves for a second and break it down. Nathan's warnings were about as laughable as seeing Scrappy-Doo yapping puppy-barks at King Kong. We've seen Philip square off against E.J., Stefano, Tony, Owen, Bo, Shawn-Douglas, Victor, Kate, and, just last week, Vivian. Sorry, but a baby-faced medical student just makes Philip look like a bored bully whom you want to warn, "Pick on someone your own size."
Wow, I knew this "glass half full" thingy wouldn't work with this crew...here's another thing. Philip commented that he doesn't want Melanie to change - he loves her as is. That's big of him, but here's the thing - Melanie's 18 years old and needs to change (a.k.a., mature) in order to become a functioning adult.
Hard life or not, no one is fully ready to take on the world at her age. Knowing what he knows about her past, if Philip truly thinks she's "fine," he's only enabling her to carry on like she did with Ari. And her crazy muffin-demanding, all-about-me attitude with Ari, Mia, and Carly certainly didn't reek of maturity or do her character any favors.
Then there's Stephanie. Ugh. I don't have the column space or energy to list why her character is a smoldering pile of annoying hypocrisy. Let me just give her a pat on the back for confessing her feelings to Nathan - that was brave...in a self-serving manner, of course.
VICTOR, VIVIAN, PHILIP, KATE, & STEFANO
Vivian and Victor bird-watching!? Hilarious! As was Stefano's schoolgirl question, "Did she say anything about me?" when Kate returned home with the news she saw Vivian. I tell you, John Aniston and Joseph Mascolo are reason enough to watch DAYS.
Now, I have to admit, I loved the rest of the scenes...at first. Watching Vivian make Kate squirm by gushing about, and doting on, Philip was thoroughly entertaining. I totally cracked up, and, in moderation, I hope to see more of this crazy crew all together.
However, I felt the joke was stretched a little too thin. Don't get me wrong - things were still interesting, but all shades of uncomfortable. Like Carly, Viv needs to calm down, or else she'll scare "her child" away. It's probably too late for that, actually. And unfortunately for both Carly and Vivian, they're not Marlena and get can't get away with ignoring children for long periods of time without consequences. Sorry, ladies.
BO, HOPE, & CARLY
Bo needs to listen to his brother's advice - spending time with Carly isn't going to help him get Hope back. By the way, that was Philip's advice. Roman gave him similar advice, but I just couldn't take a "you're obsessed with a woman" lecture from him seriously since he was most likely mentally doodling Marlena's name on a napkin the entire time.
As for Hope and her words to Carly, I have one thing to say to her - shut up. I thought it was big of Carly to show up and try to smooth things over with Hope. After the way she's been acting, Hope doesn't really deserve that much respect. And what did Carly get for her efforts? Zilch. So, sorry, Fancy Face, but I hope Carly simply flips you the bird next time she sees you around Salem Place.
HOT & NOT:
Hot: Wow, Philip went to talk to Bo, and Bo wasn't a total prick to him! Sure, he still took his potshots and didn't treat him with the same respect as he does Roman, but he wasn't in full attack-dog mode either. And that's a start for those two. Color me crazy, but I'd love to see them team up to take on Vivian (and, you know, generally form a healthier sibling relationship). Plus, Jay Ken and Peter simply cracked me up as the pesky, cocky smart-aleck little brother and straight-laced, know-it-all big brother. It worked, and I say, "More, please!"
Not: ".... --- .--. . .-.-.- / ... .... ..- - / ..- .--. .-.-.-" That's Morse Code for, "Hope. Shut up." I've tried friendly advice, carrier pigeons, and even sky-writing, but nothing seems to get through to her. I hope that works! Or, in the very least, I hope the writers pick up on that subtle hint and stop the character assassination attempts.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Philip (to Mel, explaining his "two" mommies): "Vivian Alamain was the surrogate who gave birth to me...by virtue of having stolen me - embryo me - a few hundred cells at a time, give or take...and now incubator mom is back, and she wants to coddle me and make up for lost time." HA!
LINE OF THE WEAK:
Brady (about Nicole): "I know what she did was wrong, but she's not a monster." Brady, shut up. Thank you.
Like Sydney's location, the mysteries of Salem's whereabouts are starting to get a little clearer. Rafe mentioned Cleveland is within driving distance, and we already know Chicago is. I'm sensing it's somewhere along the Great Lakes, and everyone knows the Great Lakes are the thoroughfare to all the tropical locations easily accessible from Salem Harbor.
Dean (Ciara's kidnapper) was fired from the police force, so shouldn't there be an opening for Rafe? I mean, the original problem was budgetary, and, if the force isn't paying Dean's salary, one would think it could go to someone else. Hmm, maybe I should become the next mayor.
Mama Hernandez has been brought up several times, but what about Papa Hernandez?
I think it took less time for Philip to recover from a gunshot wound than it's taking Stephanie to recover from a sprained ankle.
Carly met Philip last week. Cougar Town, anyone!? THAT could be an interesting storyline, in my humble opinion of course.
Why doesn't Carly mention her son, Nicholas?
EXTRA SPECIAL STUFF: I urge everyone to forgo diets and have a piece of cake, or a doughnut, on Wednesday, December 9th to celebrate Frances Reid's 95th birthday!
Speaking of celebrations, while you're eating that cake, please join Laurisa and me as we evaluate the 2008 Golden Donuts Awards! Yes, we actually reviewed our reviews, and they can be found on Laurisa's blog. And next week we'll take a crack at the 2008 Alex North Memorial Awards before we unveil the winners and losers of the Third Annual Golden Donuts and Alex North Memorial Awards on Monday, December 21 and 28!
So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of December 7th. As this is my last "official" column of 2009, I want to take this time to thank everyone for their readership, support, and feedback over the year, as well as wish everyone a happy holiday season (unless you're an atheist, in which case I wish you a great December). And, "That's a fact!"
What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.