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Vivian is shaking things up in Salem, and I'm here for it. Sure, I call massive shenanigans (Vivianigans?!) on all this fortune just landing in her lap. I'm still holding out hope that she sabotaged the will or that divorce paperwork. But at least she hit the ground running with recruiting folks for her team.
First, she got Chad out of the way. I tend to think Stefano would be a little disappointed that his son was duped so easily and bought her story about how Titan is going to go back to selling illegal drugs. I chuckled when she said that. Of course, it was a line to get Chad out the door. It worked like a charm, too.
Then, she went to recruit John. This scene was fantastic, and he treated her with the perfect amount of contempt and respect. He told her he'd gladly take the job at Titan if she gave Maggie her house back. Ha! Well played, John!
When she couldn't accept that deal, she went on to her
second first and only choice for CEO, and she'd throw in a side of Chloe Lane to sweeten the deal. But Philip turned her down, too. Not only that, he suggested that she book a room at the nearest mental health facility -- espousing the benefits of, you know, not acting like a crazy person.
You have to be someone who loves musical stage productions to appreciate the chemistry between Louise Sorel and John Paul Lavoisier. I am, and I loved this scene to pieces. JPL perfectly matches Louise's level of camp. It's utterly delightful, and I would watch an entire hour of just scenes between these two. I don't know if we're doing Beyond Salem anymore. But if we are, and the next installment isn't a buddy comedy with these two -- there is something wrong with the universe.
Finally, Vivian went to Alex. The guy still has the "Kick me, I'm stupid" sign Theresa stuck on his back, so this should be easy for Vivian. Now that I think about it, Theresa might be the only chess piece opposite Vivian that might make a difference.
I strongly suspect Theresa is pulling off a scheme for the ages! This woman is going to run out of fingers soon with Brady wrapped around one, Shane another, and Alex the third. I adore Shane, but leaving that briefcase with Theresa was ridiculous. She's certainly going to alter any documents in there. Next, I can't believe Brady didn't bother to confirm this story with Shane, or at least ask John to.
Finally, there's Alex. The Tommy Boy quote, "He's a big dumb animal, isn't he, folks?" comes to mind here. Theresa is chewing him up and spitting him out. I guffawed with laughter when she managed to show up at his home to plead the case that she's not a stalker, and he ended up complimenting her instead! He certainly was her pawn in Greece. Something tells me she's not done toying with this fella yet.
In between Greece and Salem is London -- where Harris and Ava jetted off to search for Susan. I probably would have started with Graceland or Vegas, but sure. We're all familiar with Elvis' London tour!
I enjoy everything about this storyline outside of Harris and Ava themselves. First, Nicole gets a thousand points for seeing right through E.J.'s lies and taking him to task right away for ordering the hit on Ava.
Second, Rafe as a police officer has become so comical that he's looped back around into awesome. He decides to send Jada home because she's getting too close to actually solving a case. Then, he questions Tripp with the hubris usually reserved for Lord Farquad from Shrek.
It would be nice for Rafe to develop another tone to use when he knows that someone is lying for a good reason. In this case, Rafe knows someone tried to kill Ava; she shot them and escaped in self-defense. But if he did that, he wouldn't be our lovable Detective Know-it-All. I can't have been the only one hoping that Tripp would call Rafe's bluff and encourage Rafe to call D.A. Trask. Yes, let's see what the woman whose daughter Tripp saved from being deported would have in the tank to go after Tripp.
Next, there was Wendy. That chick has balls of steel to lie right to E.J.'s face and then act shocked when she's fired. Wendy had a promising freshmen year, but she's still on the JV team. E.J. proved it. Though telling E.J. that Susan is alive was a smart move. It's not going to get E.J. to send Ava an "I'm Sorry for Hiring an Assassin" cookie arrangement, but it may redirect E.J.'s focus for a while.
Finally, across town, we had another deception. Shawn, who usually makes smart-ish decisions, and Talia, who most definitely does not, decided that sleeping together was the kind of awesome decision they should make. So, swell.
I'm interested to see where this storyline goes. It's teetering on interesting, and we've got some good performers in play who can land this plane.
First, there's Shawn. I really feel for him. The guilt he's carrying around is massive. And while I don't blame him for this self-destruction...I'm not exactly rooting for him right now, either. He's had an army of people offering him varying levels of support, and he's pushed it all away. And as frustrated as I am with him for sleeping with Talia, at least he made that decision while drunk. However, he was stone-cold sober when he opted to lie to Belle about it. This is a case where the cover-up is going to be worse than the crime.
And the level of worse depends on which Belle we get. Belle has always had a self-righteous streak. Yet in recent years, she's shown that she can have compassion for flawed people and finally sees herself among them. But make no mistake, Belle is the wronged party here. She's done nothing to push Shawn away or give him reason to cheat on her. She can play the victim with nearly* the best of them, only this time, she truly is the victim.
*I say nearly because the utter display of hot mess nonsense that Talia put up for Jada deserved the Master Stinktastic Award for Terrible People Who Suck. Perhaps it's a tactic she picked up from Colin, but the way Talia played the victim, causing Jada to comfort Talia for being so hard was atrocious. Talia is a grown woman that the hospital board deems medically sane enough to treat patients. She can look up the word "accountability" and stop offloading her guilt on others.
Look, I get Talia's stance that she wants to find comfort (sure, that's what we'll call it) with someone she barely knows. But Talia forgot that her sister is the one cop in town who can actually solve crimes. I'm so glad Jada took Talia to task, not only for being so reckless, but also for not even thinking about Belle! This marriage wasn't a secret to Talia. And Belle kept Talia out of jail! Oof...Tink is going to regret that move.
Just when we thought our Gwennie had lost all her devious skills, we learned that she deployed the exclusive, covert tactic of "walking in on them in the act" to crack this mystery. Oh, Gwennie. At least she learned from her mistakes and didn't immediately trust Kristen -- a "friend" who has also been lying to her! Ooops. Wait. Never mind.
Dimitri is lethal. His passing remark to kill Stefan and Gabi is not one I'd take lightly. Stefan happens to have Vivian around to protect him. Gabi has Rafe. I don't love that math for Gabi.
Riddle me this -- if you were keeping a massive secret on behalf of the woman you've been trying to win back for years, would you tell this secret:
In the middle of the Horton Town square, in front of the busiest restaurant in town?
Literally anywhere else.
Of course, this is all so Chloe can be the one to find out that Xander is the father of Sarah's baby. When I saw this, there was no part of me that thought Chloe might keep that secret. Chloe's been through those years, but she's truly one of the good guys now. Also, Chloe's never been desperate for a man.
Hopefully, this is all leading up to Xander confronting Sarah and getting his daughter back to raise with Chloe. There was a time when I adored Xarah, but Sarah's really disappointing me with this latest scheme. And Xander and Chloe are just the most delightful surprise since someone decided to put sea salt on chocolate. I'm rooting for them.
I really didn't love Theresa hissing to Brady that she's been raising Tate as a single mom. It is on brand for Theresa, as she's in full-on manipulation mode, but the show is doing double time to make it seem like Theresa and Brady have an adversarial relationship. In reality, they mutually agreed that Tate would move to California with Theresa.
Well, shoot. I cringed in embarrassment and slight admiration for Stephanie when she declared "of course I want to marry Chad" just as Chad was entering the room. Good thing she's in PR and knows how to put on a brave face!
It's flat-out a great time for Julie right now. She got to dance with Dick Van Dyke a few weeks ago. This week, she got to kick Vivian out of the Horton house. Vivian vs. Julie is hilarious and an excellent use of both these divas!
I'll take a hard pass on an Ava/Harris relationship. And I'll take an even harder pass on it coming via the "oh, I didn't notice you...we can sleep in the same bed" schtick that is usually reserved for a pair without the hard life these two have each lived. Neither is the shy or inexperienced-at-life type.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Jada (to Talia, upon seeing the state of the apartment): "What the heeeeaaallll? You've got to be kidding me...You do know that I'm a detective, right???"
I love all things Jada.
LINE OF THE WEAK
Kayla: "I know it can be dicey when relatives get involved with the same person."
Does she know that she lives in Salem?
Dear Dimitri and Leo -- Fellas, if a child catches you in the act, you're not "being discreet."
Carson Boatman has feathering in his layers that many women only dream of.
Just how late was this dinner with Steve and Kayla if Thomas and Charlotte are fed and asleep in bed already?
Um...going to ask this as delicately as possible, but did Shawn and Talia use Jada's bed? Does Talia not have one of her own?
My dear boy, Johnny. You need to learn how to flip that blanket out and cover her whole torso and feet, son. Come on!
The distinguished Mr. Charles Shaughnessy brought Shane by for a visit. I love it when Shane shows up. Much like Celeste indicated decades ago, Shane is the character that when you see him show up, you know something huge is about to go down.
Are we at all shocked that Talia can scheme fast on her feet? That move where she faked coming in the front door once she heard Shawn talking to Eric was impressive.
I loved the scene where John recounted the story of his father to Steve. Obviously, Dicky Van Dyke isn't staying on as a regular cast member. But now that John found the real Timothy, the show needs to keep mentioning him and giving us updates. I look forward to hearing that John found a great apartment for Timothy close by, and Timothy enjoys playing pickleball with his neighbors and getting visits from his grandkids. (Just please, someone, keep Rach3l away from this sweet man. I don't care if he is her great-grandpa.)
That's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to find out what exactly is in that paperwork from Victor. Just remember that classic saying: Where there's a will, there's probably a Theresa.
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