Welcome back, Scoopers! It's good to be back with a live column again. Little did our Soap Central family know that when we took a couple of weeks off for summer vacation, we'd have to say goodbye to our Zeus himself. We didn't come with weekly columns, but in a way, I'm thankful.
John Aniston passed away last November. Due to DAYS' taping schedule, his on-screen memorial started just over the past two weeks. Honestly, I needed the time. I needed a minute to process. I knew Victor's death was coming, but I wasn't ready to see it.
Victor Kiriakis died when his private jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. The ISA found both plane wreckage and Victor's remains. This is the most final of soap deaths -- we actually have a body. John and Shane both said so. We're not talking Salem P.D. here, friends. These are the real pros.
And so, we got to watch the brilliant orchestration of how Salem found out. Justin catching Maggie as she collapsed will rank up there with Hope's screech when Zach died and Sami slapping Nicole after Sydney's kidnapping as moments that my soap mind will never forget. Victor's death should and did cause ripples across Salem.
Marlena and Roman toasted Victor, saying that he always kept things interesting. That's one way of putting it! But I do like that they bring it back to Brady and Shawn, and acknowledge that Victor was close to people that they love.
Gabi finding out about Victor's death and immediately feeling horrible for Sonny and Arianna was a nice touch.
Steve wasn't at all sad to see him go. This was crucial to the show. I'm so glad they did this. Despite Victor's later charms, he was a bad dude for a long time. Feelings about our Salemites losing him should be nuanced.
Nicole joked that Victor wasn't her worst husband. (Not high praise!) She and E.J. always respected his "game."
Xander remembered how hard he once worked for Victor's approval...and then how happy he was he gave up that quest.
Brady had a similar revelation. And that bonded Xander, Brady, and Victor for one last (?) hug. Full stop, Brady owes his life to Victor. But Victor always demanded Brady's soul in payment. And that's where Brady parted ways with Victor. And...can we blame him?
Kate was perhaps the most conflicted about his death. Kate truly loved and hated the man. They share a son together. They share criminal history together. And they share pure hate for each other. It's the pure blend of this combination that made Kate's reaction truly closest to the audience's. Damn. We thought he'd live forever.
This week, Sarah came to town and provided the truest of insights. Maggie gave Victor street cred on the right side of the tracks. So many people who loved Maggie should show up here.
And this coincides well with Suzanne Rogers' 50th anniversary with the show.
Let's see Nicole and Chloe bring Holly and Parker to visit Maggie. Melanie -- who's already been mentioned-- needs to show up or call. Hope needs to show up to represent Bo, but I'll settle for supporting Maggie. Jack and Jennifer need to send a letter. Lucas needs to reach out. There are so many Hortons that need to pitch in here because our girl needs you!
The only other real news this week is that Sloan and Eric's pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. And that's the way it should be stated. I despise Sloan. I am rooting for every comeuppance she has coming to her. I will be in the front row cheering. But not for this. She didn't miscarry. The pregnancy wasn't viable.
DAYS has been very intentional about wording choice for recent storylines. I wish they would have been for this. Sloan didn't miscarry. The pregnancy miscarried. The pregnancy ended for no reason other than when people were genetically disposed to cancer. I hated watching Sloan blame herself for this. I get it; it's a common storytelling device. But it's one I wouldn't be sad to sunset. Women need to be responsible for the things in their control. An autoimmune disease she's had from birth isn't it. And Sloan branded with "she can never bear an heir" needs to go, too.
Also, the pregnancy could have very well saved Sloan's life. Sloan Peterson is a lying liar who lies. Her "love" for Eric is self-serving, at best. But she doesn't deserve to go through life with this guilt. And she needs to know what could kill her at any moment so she can prepare for that in her daily health routine. And thanks to science, we know that Sami didn't yell at Sloan enough for the pregnancy to miscarry. Imagine that!!
I'll never not love seeing Tamara Braun on my screen. She does grief, breakdown, and terror with the tops in the field. So, I'll even humor Harris around her. I do like Harris more when he has the ability to emote any kind of emotion. The further they can take him from Stone Cold, the better.
I also had to chuckle at E.J. immediately assuming that he's having nightmares again because he hadn't gotten proper revenge on Ava and Xander. In his defense, he has such a busy schedule trying to get revenge on Stefan, then dealing with Megan, who locked him in the wine cellar. His bad guy calendar has been packed. Don't blame yourself, Eeej!
Oh, but do keep blaming Ava because I love Tripp vs. E.J. For as Wally Cleaver as Tripp can be, Tripp standing up to E.J. is wonderful. I also like that Nicole genuinely believes Ava has a mental illness. That disagreement between E.J. and Ava's former bestie could prove interesting down the line, too.
I really like the Li and Melinda storyline! There's not a lot at stake with either character, so they're on pretty equal footing with the fans. They've got a truly fun cat-and-mouse game going. It's classically soapy to see which one will fall for the other one first.
Johnny needs a J.O.B. Maybe Paulina can hire him to work in her office? Maybe PR, since he knows how to work a camera? Can he pour drinks at the pub? Anything? Right now, his only job is to swim in pools where his body gets dripping wet, but his hair looks dry. If he's going to win Chanel back -- and I'm rooting for him to -- he's got to bring something other than good memories to the table. He's up against a doctor...again.
Yup, Kayla offered Talia a job as a doctor at Salem U Hospital. Is that nuts because Talia recently poisoned half the town? Yes. Yes, it is. But Kayla needs some help around this place. Also, I can see some meaty material ahead if Talia is in the position to help another woman from an abused relationship -- or even if she's faced with saving an abuser.
Leo, Gwen, and Dimitri get more painful with every scene. With Gwen being a complete idiot, Leo being a total scum, and Dimitri being an entitled airhead, there's no rooting side. Like I said before, the most interesting thing about this triangle is the money. One of the most interesting scenes of the week came when the barrister arrived to give us a lesson into the Von Leuschner crew!
First, Carly is living her life as a director (a cute nod to Crystal Chappell's real-life gig). She and her brother Frankie -- who I swear I heard is working as a chocolatier now -- gave up their claim to the Von Leuschner fortune a long time ago. That means if Dimitri doesn't claim the prize, it immediately goes to Carly's children -- Melanie Jonas and Nicholas Alamain.
Considering Nicholas Alamain used to be Kate's lover, I'd say even with reversed aging, he's got to be 40 by now. Melanie isn't 40 yet, but she's close. Do either of them have to be married? I want to know more about these rules!
Eric could have handled the situation with Shawn better in about 7,000 ways. Eric came across as horribly judgmental -- even more than normal! His prediction that Shawn will lose his wife was super harsh.
I need a spreadsheet to keep up with who all is engaged and where they are on their path to happily ever after.
Sloan accepted Eric's proposal. They have no immediate plans to get married, but she may rush that so they can be legally hitched when the truth comes out about Nicole's kiddo.
Nicole accepted E.J.'s proposal. He's picking up paperwork from the courthouse immediately, and neither has any reason to think this is a terrible idea. Quick question -- if they are legally married by the time her baby is born, does E.J.'s name immediately go on the birth certificate?
Chloe accepted Xander's proposal. But learning that their respective exes are back in town may change those plans.
Sarah accepted Rex's proposal and has plans to learn how to love him eventually. Nothing could go wrong here. But don't worry. If it does, Sarah's going to make sure it's not her fault.
We've started, and will continue, to pay tribute to Victor Kiriakis. I'm happy for the show to give me any and all moments now and in the future to share with Victor. I hope his family will make reference to him and what he'd think of various actions. I hope Maggie continues to lead his company. And I hope they continue to put his ornament on the Horton Family Christmas Tree!
But it was the unmatchable John Aniston who portrayed him for decades. Excuse the easy pun, but he was a true Titan of daytime television. If you watch any of the casts' >memories of John Aniston, you can see that this man had a presence that immediately commanded respect and a grace that made his humor accessible. Peter Reckell said that John gave him the advice to "never get caught acting." I dare say, John never did. Victor triggered real emotions from the audience -- anger, fear, rage, hope, and even love. And that's all entirely a credit to John.
In lesser hands, Victor could have been a mustache-twirling, melodramatic villain. But whether it was John's choices of pacing when delivering a line or the way Victor looked people in the eye just after he got done confessing he was wrong -- the amazing craftsman behind this Victor puppet was a true delight to watch work.
Turning things back on-screen now...and...wow. Sarah was an insufferable brat this week. How dare she scold Xander for raising his voice because "Maggie is sleeping" when he protested that Sarah
might be is pregnant with his kid?! Jesus, Sarah. Maggie is grieving her husband! You could have said, "I'll think about that," and move it along. Instead, you dragged Maggie's nose in the dirt, despite you saying that's not the right thing to do!
Then, all the penalty points go to Sarah for taking a shot at Chloe. Chloe's done nothing to Sarah. I can't remember if Chloe and Sarah ever crossed paths in a meaningful way.
Finally, there's the choice of lying about a child's paternity. Look, there are extreme cases where I'd back up one parent withholding this information. Ironically for this week, Caroline Brady was one of them. But these are the exceptions. Xander is not now, nor has he really ever been, actively dangerous. What Sarah is doing right now is selfish and cruel to her child. Even all the protests are about "her" and what version of Xander "she'll" encounter. Some people are good parents and terrible partners. She's evaluating Xander exclusively on the latter and not giving her own child a vote.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Kate (about Victor): "There will never be another one."
Yes. That about sums it up.
LINE OF THE WEAK:
Melinda (to Sloan): "Then you'll have no baby and no husband."
Yeah, Sloan. Forget that you're a successful lawyer with amazing hair. You are nothing without a child and a man! Now, get out of this hospital bed before Eric sees you in these rags, put on something nice, and prepare him a drink! He's had a rough day, and you don't want to lose him!
Nicole said Victor wasn't her least favorite ex-husband. That has to be Trent, no?
Hey! We learned Sydney is in Italy.
Anyone else watch these Bayview scenes on soaps and think, "Man, those clothes actually look really comfortable!"?
I liked how Kate said she'd watch the pub and then promptly poured herself a martini.
I don't think I'll ever get over the fact that Victor's last scene was with Leo. Ugh.
I am here for Roman's ongoing beef with Sloan over her comment about the chowder. I love that the show keeps that touch. Saying you don't like the chowder in Salem is like saying you don't like candy canes at the North Pole.
Gabi: "Speaking of schemers, we need to talk about your sister."
Stefan: "Ha! Which one?"
It was cute how happy Wendy was to see Chanel!
Nicole's hair was fabulous this week.
It would be extremely irresponsible for me to neglect mentioning Justin saying Victor's plane crashed over the Mediterranean Sea...but Bo wasn't hospitalized anywhere near there. What Titan mystery is still out there?
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.