One of my favorite soap villains came to Salem last week -- the blizzard. I'm not kidding; I love it when people get snowed in, provided they have enough canned peaches and red wine to survive, of course. And I think that the pre-Thanksgiving snowfall may have been just what the show has needed to kick start a great week of shows!
Daughter Abigail is amazing. Last week, she apologized to Jack for tearing into him the way she did when he first returned. She was honest about her feelings (!) and claimed that the reason she was so hard on him was because she missed her dad so much. Good girl, Abigail!
To put a cherry on top of her rock star sundae, Abigail pointed out that it's hard to believe that a man who truly adores you would keep voluntarily leaving you. She didn't buy any of Jack's ultra lame excuses, yet she hugged him and will support him because he's her father. And she knows that she only gets one. It's not like she's Melanie or anything.
Matt Ashford broke my heart in his scenes last week! His knack for physical comedy transitioned eerily well into the torture and breakdown scenes. It was hard to watch, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. The pain that he conveyed was palpable. It made me wish for a storyline where the despicable people who tortured Jack were brought to some sort of justice.
But for now, I'm happy to focus on Jack. He has a real chance here for some character growth. I sincerely hope that Jack is embarking on a recovery mission, where he gets the help he needs, surrounded by loved ones who support him. Jack's critical character flaw has always been that he rationalized his own lies to the point that they hurt those around him. If he keeps the details of this torture a secret from someone who can help him, then he is continuing the same infuriating pattern that has made me so frustrated with Jack in the past. He must take an active role in his own recovery, and I know his family would be more than supportive if he would just be honest with them. Fingers crossed that he does it!
WILL, SONNY, and CHAD
As the boys continued to worry about their hacked web site, I continued to worry that I will never care about this storyline. Let's face it, this website was the brainchild of a bored summer day and a handful of kids who don't know what they want to do with their lives yet. If they take the site down, I'm not going to be heartbroken. It's not like Victor giving up Titan or anything.
Besides, the kids are actually interesting together! I love the friendship between the guys. Will's funny line to Sonny, "You know, Sonny, if you want to keep this quiet, maybe the middle of my Grandma's pub isn't the best place to do this" shows how great the banter can be between these three. Maybe they can have a little more fun and less website drama.
Ah, our Nicole is a layered little minx, isn't she? On one hand, she's completely aware that her past decisions have turned her into a bad guy. Yet, she's still holding out hope for the Tom and Alice style of love. And, she knows just as well as we do that she's not going to find that with E.J. because that's the one word he didn't use with her.
He called her "maddening," "bewitching," and a whole bunch of other words that sound great with an English accent. But, he never used the word "love." I worry that E.J. doesn't love her. He just finds her easy (pun intended) to be with. He doesn't have to better himself for her, and she never holds him accountable for not trying.
It's pretty realistic. How many of us have a friend who keeps going back to an ex because they make so much sense on paper, yet something's always missing? It's a never-ending cycle, and despite E.J. signing the divorce papers, I don't see this one ending soon either. Nicole's signature was not on the papers. Plus, she said she wouldn't file until after the election. So, I don't think this one is over just yet.
MADISON and BRADY
Since the writers want to make Brady and Madison happen more than anything, I have a few suggestions, based on what I saw last week from the power duo.
First, make them talk a lot more -- about anything -- movies, music, travel, parents, the NBA lockout, whatever. They have good banter with each other, and when they talk, we actually get to learn some things about Madison!
That brings me the second suggestion -- stop it with the juvenile, hormone-driven plot points. That little prank that Brady played on Madison was gross. Did he go so far as to take off all of her clothes for the sake of this prank? If not, then she voluntarily took off all her clothes in front of her boss and/or in his office before she passed out. Neither scenario goes too far in establishing her as the serious businesswoman that we want her to be.
Daniel got the official DNA results back, and Maggie is his mom. Daniel's reaction to Mama Maggie was right on. I think Shawn Christian played this role perfectly. Daniel was very careful not to disrespect Maggie, and he realized that she was just as shocked as he. Yet, his parents were, by all accounts, wonderful people who treated him like gold. He can't just negate their influence on his life because of a DNA test. Once more, they're not around to answer questions. And the one person who was around happened to be lying though his Greek teeth.
VICTOR and MAGGIE
Maggie did it. She asked Victor, point-blank, to spill any last secrets that he had before the wedding, and he balked. Of course, it can't be easy to start a sentence with, "Funny thing, you know those eggs you were missing..." and have it end well. But Maggie's got an iron-clad out of this marriage, and that does not make me very happy.
The only thing I can hope for is that Victor didn't know that Maggie was the owner of the eggs and, since finding out, he's taken steps to make up for it. Then, he may have a chance. Maggie did say, "People who make no mistakes are boring. People who learn from their mistakes are worth knowing." I really hope she means it, because I adore Maggie and Victor together.
CARRIE and RAFE
They worked together and dined together, and he's her topic of pillow-talk conversation. I don't read spoilers, but if the writers are going to go "there" with Carrie and Rafe, I need more problems between Austin and Carrie than a work problem. These two made it when her sister was pretending to have amnesia and a baby by the man, for goodness sake!
Yet, with the sudden danger that Carrie is in, and Rafe's previous experience protecting one of Roman's daughters from stray bullets, I have a feeling that Rafe's services will be put to use for Carrie. Again, I'm just pointing out that a conflict between Austin and Carrie needs to be about Austin and Carrie -- not about Rafe the Hero. That is all.
First Henderson and now E.J. took a turn at the living room confessions. The writers are sure letting us in on some secrets early! I like this tactic. Most soaps are based on the fact that the audience knows more than the characters. However, I'm still a little puzzled why E.J.'s master plan to make the DiMera name legitimate is to frame an innocent man and ruin the lives of all who love him -- including E.J.'s own children. Because that's much easier than starting a pro-bono practice or a charity division of DiMera Enterprises? Bad guys usually operate under the "work smart, not hard" mantra. This move doesn't seem to fit. There has to be more to this story.
After weeks of watching John do the strangest exercises that I've seen since my Get in Shape Girl tape days, Marlena finally remembered that she's a doctor and can shrink his scrambled brain. So she put him under hypnosis, where he remembered their 1999 wedding, but replaced their 2006 wedding with memories of killing a man and then eating a delicious French pastry. Sheesh! Men!
What we learned from all of this was that John's memories cannot be trusted. We don't know how far the corruption goes back, but the files are clearly infected with some sort of Dr. Rolf virus. Carrie should be very careful about how she uses this information. If she proves in court that John's memories are flawed, then pretty much anything he says in court -- including a declaration of innocence -- won't hold any value either.
We've got two big fish to fry here. First, there's been a lot of discussion about the appropriateness of using Alice in this storyline. I've got so many thoughts on that topic that I had to take it over to my blog.
Second, we have the on-screen stuff. So far, we know that Alice had a picture of a non-Daniel baby and that same picture is in the DiMera mansion. This week, Jen and Hope found a paperweight/clock contraption engraved with the Phoenix symbol and the message, "To Alice: A symbol of our bond." We know it's old because, really, who needs a paperweight anymore? Stefano would obviously give out thumb drives now. So the baby is probably not a small child anymore.
Couple these clues with the fact that Alice's secret bank account reflected payments to an unknown source, and I'm expecting another metaphorical baby shoe to drop here. So, who could it be? Let's speculate!
Madison's dead-beat dad who ran off with a stripper sure sounds like a Stefano thing to do. But, if Madison were a DiMera, that would make her Brady's cousin by blood, and that would not be cool.
Quinn's father has yet to be revealed, yet I don't know why Alice would care so much about Vivian's baby, accent aside.
Nathan is an interesting possibility that I'd like to throw out there, since the show never officially named Nathan's father.
Finally, what if the picture and the clock have nothing to do with each other? What if that picture belongs to Kate? It could easily be Lucas. And then the clock could lead to a totally different story.
There are so many different possibilities, and that is one element of this storyline that I just love! Applause to the writers for that!
Carrie and Austin finally got a hotel room and moved out of Sami and Rafe's suddenly crowded apartment. Funny, it was never a big deal when Dario lived there and had his own room. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I heard Carrie say that Kate had pulled the strings to get them the room. Did anyone else hear that? Is Kate going to ask for something in return?
After all the shooting at the pub, Johnny went missing. The poor kid already lost one eye and is going through life as a Cubs fan. Hasn't he suffered enough? Here's hoping that he just wandered into the back to get away from the commotion, and something more sinister hasn't come upon him.
I really like Daniel and Brady as friends. Sure, Brady's suggestion that Daniel "accidentally on purpose" run into Jennifer was very college freshmen girl of him. But the bromance redeemed itself when Brady literally allowed Daniel to treat Brady like a punching bag. I really need to get one of those for my office. If Eric Martsolf would volunteer to hold it, well, that wouldn't hurt either.
And against her gut instinct, Sami listened to Roman, Marlena, and Rafe and brought her kids to see John. Since that move put all of her kids in danger, she's more than earned a brief Mama Bear lash-out. I certainly don't think that any of them are responsible for what happened; I'm just saying that Sami has a little leeway on this one.
I love Jennifer just as much as the next fan, but Jennifer is not the prize that Jack should get for getting over the torture, nor is she the prize that Daniel should get for accepting Maggie as his mother. Lost in all this mess seems to be Jennifer's ability to decide which guy makes her happier, and that's a shame.
Melanie is right. Strong girls do not need to be protected. Melanie did the right thing by urging Chad to be honest. But, if Abigail confronts Melanie about the secret website hacker, Mel had better come clean. You know, bros before hoes and all.
Don't think that there wasn't a part of me that wanted to give this week's "Hot" to Madison's shoes. They were amazing!
But instead, I have to go with the John/Brady reunion. It took all of about four seconds for John and Brady to apologize for being judgmental and distant, respectively. Then, with a few beers, they were back to the father/son super duo that I love -- talking about women, work, and the criminal suspicion that binds all families. I think there was even a "that's a fact" worked into this reunion. I know that the trial is a big storyline right now, but it was so nice to see John involved in other dialogue that was not about his scrambled brain scams for at least a few minutes. Yeah!
Just when we were all looking forward to a good old fashion soap wedding, we get the letdown that was Maggie and Victor's wedding. Melanie, Daniel, and Justin were the only ones in attendance. The mansion (which I'm assuming has nice stuff in it since it's, you know, a mansion, looked no different than it did any other day. And the romance of a wedding in the middle of a blizzard was completely lost. Phoebe and Mike managed to pull it off on Friends. Even Bob and Phil knew the importance of whipping open that barn door at the end of White Christmas. The show could have done so much more.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
John: "But I haven't lost my last shred of dignity. I have not yet succumbed to the lure of reality television". Hmm, could that be a not-so-subtle nod to the network executives that insist that reality shows are better than soaps?
Did anyone catch Blake Berris on The Big Bang Theory this week? Notice the name of the beer in the background!
Austin mentioned Billie, Chelsea, and Max! Wahoo!
Madison told Brady that she can't have a relationship with a man who didn't like The Big Lebowski. That must really narrow down Madison's love choices to every man who's ever lived, as I have yet to meet a guy that didn't like that movie. Seriously, the main character's name is, "The Dude."
Really, Austin? Sami talked you into staying with her? Umm, no. She offered, and you said yes. I believe that you even mentioned excitement over getting to spend more time with her kids. I know Sami's an easy scapegoat, but this one's on you, big fella. Maybe you should go talk to Jack "I left Abigail because I thought she could do a lot better than me for a father" Deveraux and Nicole "I only had sex with E.J. because there was no Internet" Walker, and the three of you can write a book of ridiculous ways to avoid accountability.
Woot! Someone remembered Melanie's birthday. Good going, Maggie!
Ghostbusters and take-out food with my husband is quite possibly in my top five ways to spend an evening.
And with that, I'm off to prep my house for the next snowstorm. That junk food isn't going to just magically appear! Tony will be back next week to see how John's trial goes. In the meantime, a few questions to ponder: How cute was it that Caroline packed a lunch for John to take with him to trial? Do you think about red wine during snowstorms? I get why there's no snow inside the Horton Square because it's covered, but why does everyone wear coats inside?
I'd love to hear what you think, so click here to share your thoughts with me!