Christmas baby, please come home!

For the Week of December 18, 2023
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Will Jude be at the right home for Christmas? And which home would that be? Who will Stephanie meet under the mistletoe? And will anyone explain things to Thomas and Charlotte? These questions and more are answered in this Two Scoops.

I'm fascinated by the entire pacing of the baby story. The fact here is that kids grow up fast -- even faster on soaps. So, if they want to settle this thing in a way that is fulfilling to the audience but doesn't mess up a kid's life, they're going to need to do it soon.

I continue to be baffled at Melinda's willingness to help Sloan with this scheme. I didn't buy her reasoning one bit that this helps her feel closer to her own daughter. I would believe that sending Dimitri to an even more secure prison would feed her drive to win. But this guardian angel act is not one that fits Melinda the beast.

As for Sloan, she continues to sink further down. I do believe that she loves the idea of a family with Eric and Jude. But her frustration is that the number of times she has to work to make this lie stick is getting exhausting. My kids' school decided to have a dress-up theme day every day the month of December. I've complained less about that than Sloan has about keeping up with this scheme.

But this week belonged to Nicole and E.J. Arianne Zucker and Dan Feuerriegel are stunningly good in this storyline. E.J. is there for Nicole in a way that I don't know he's been there for anyone before. From surprising her with a Christmas tree, to ordering that ornament, to being the one to sprinkle the ashes, to finding her in the wine cellar and just reaching out to hug her -- he's truly selfless in this storyline.

Nicole is going through it, too. Humility and accountability are not things Nicole does well -- or often. But she chatted with Eric on the bench and was sincere with giving Jude the baby gift. That makes me wonder if she actually overheard Leo talking to Sloan on the phone -- where he basically called out her whole scheme -- and that's what prompted her to take the baby. At least, I hope so. I want Nicole to retain her smarts throughout this whole thing rather than get the "hysterical woman" edit.

That's why I sincerely hope that Nicole swiped baby Jude because she heard Leo's side of the phone conversation with Sloan in the park. She'd believe him right away because she's already asking what Eric and E.J. thought Leo meant when Leo claimed Nicole's baby might not be dead.

This would also help not drag out the "I tried to tell you" stance from Leo. Sure, E.J. and Nicole were aggressive, but Leo is the least likely person to claim someone wouldn't listen to him. Aside from knowing his way from the street into the DiMera tunnels, he still has the Lady Whistleblower angle of getting information out.

Across town, we had another love quad that found a strange Jiminy Cricket. I don't quite know what to make of a universe where Alex is the person who seems to have it the most together, but this is a season for miracles, so here we are. First, he tells Chad that he's genuinely sorry Stephanie is hurt and reminds Chad that acting like a jealous neanderthal doesn't do well on the ol' Steph-o-meter. Correct! He later came over to return Steph's water bottle and didn't give off one whiff of BroDown Axe Body Spray. I'm glad that water bottle ended up being a plot point, too, because that thing was comically large. Perhaps Stephanie works out just to keep up the strength for carrying around that thing.

I even chuckled when Alex offered Chad one of Steve's beers. Alex could have passed a lot of judgment and, well, been a pretty small person. But he didn't. That's nice to see. He's still got a way to go, but at least he's facing the right direction now.

As for Chad, his life is a giant mess right now. But at least he's decided that you sleep in the bed you make, so now he's going to be a newspaper businessman. He's qualified because Abigail used to tell him how her day went each night. I'm one thousand percent sure that's not how experience works, but Chad -- and pretty much every male heir in the history of Salem -- have taken over other businesses with much less experience. So, this will be good. I'm also a huge sucker for Billy Flynn vs Blake Berris. Chad and Everett sparring over classical literature didn't hurt, either.

Everett is still a bit of an enigma. He seemed genuinely in love with Stephanie. But the fact that he did something to hurt Jada is a huge red flag. At least, that's what it seems. I don't think Jada has ever said the name "Everett" yet. She refers to him as "my ex." This is a town of twins. And I need to know more about his already questionable past.

Finally, there's our Steph. For someone professionally together, personally, she could not be more of a mess. But it's endearing in that Carrie Bradshaw kind of way (...for now). There's something ironic about the fact that the woman who makes her living finding the right words, can't seem to make too much sense of her own life. And while she is a grown woman and that comment Everett made to her was out of line, she does need to cool it a bit with the self-destructive love life decisions.

This is a woman who has proclaimed she wanted to get married. So, walking out on her live-in relationship one day, having a drunken one-night stand the next, and making a coffee date with her other ex the following day is a little much! Perhaps someone gave Steph a Bad Idea Advent Calendar this year?

Loose Ends

Kate's chat with Abe, as well as Paulina's patience and grace, is keeping this storyline moving. I'm ready to see Abe get his memory back, but these classy performances are a delight to watch. Kate also is a little right that a fresh start isn't the worst thing ever.

Lani isn't coming home for Christmas because of paperwork being backed up? Nope. No, thank you. Johnny, Paulina, ghost of Alice Horton herself -- someone whip up some holiday magic to get this adorable family home and hanging their ornaments on the Horton Christmas Tree.

I still love all things Tate/Holly/Johnny/Chanel. All four characters are likable, yet not boring! And they've done a good job of establishing storylines for each outside of this love quad that makes them full of delightful nuances.

For starters, oh lord, our man Tate did not hit the jackpot in the parent department. I kind of understand why he acted out at school. I'm guessing the father who doesn't know his pediatrician's name and the mom who doesn't invite him to go along Christmas tree shopping left the dude feeling a little ignored. I get why he's craving attention from Holly. I thought it was cute when he wanted to impress her with the world. And I wasn't mad at him for walking out on her, either.

Holly's adoration of Johnny is understandable. He is older, has that teeny-bob floppy hair, and can fence. Because, of course, the knight of her dreams knows how to slay dragons with a sword. She hasn't crossed over into bratty teen or vindictive derelict, and I like that for now.

Which is good, because if she hurts a hair on my Chanel's fabulous head, I'll have to rethink my stance. Chanel and Johnny are smarter and wiser this time around. They've always had chemistry, but they're verging on having that Lani/Eli thing, too, where we're starting to trust that they'll be there for each other.

You taking notes, Xander and Sarah? Like, detailed notes followed by some personal journaling and self-reflection?? Just putting that out there.

I'm kind of done rooting for them. I need to see that Sarah isn't going to revert to her old ways. I know she seems normal and charming here, but you never know when she's going to climb back up Mt. Holier-Than-Thou and start beating her chest and proclaiming judgments. And when she's hurt, she spews judgment everywhere, and it corrupts others...and sometimes innocent people get hurt!

Extra Scoops

This was a spectacular week for Jada. First, the scene with Steve where they talked about Marcus was beautiful. I don't know what's more heartwarming -- the fact that she still has the present she bought for him before he died or that Steve has the keychain Marcus made for him when the two were eight years old. I hope this means we're going to hear more about Marcus...and who Jada's mother is...very soon!

Then, she's taking her time to consider moving in with Rafe. And while she's being such a rational person, she's clearing out her closet and donating to the less fortunate!

Next, she found some truly nice closure with Eric. I loved her congratulating him on the baby. And if she's the one who has a part in making Sloan pay for her crimes here, that will add a little more to it. Eric and Jada are often going to find themselves on the same side of the law, so it's good to start them on the road to allies.

Finally, she sat down for some festive day drinking with Stephanie, in what turned out to be one of those truly nice, funny moments on soaps. With all the drama, Jada's proving to be one of those characters who can bring some funny moments!

Oh, Steph. No one dragged you away at gunpoint from Thomas and Charlotte. You willingly walked out. There's no reason you couldn't have handled that better.

Also, good lord, please noooooooooooooo! Stephanie and Harris? Oh, I do not like this one little bit.

Chad: "You might bet Bob Woodward a run for his money one day."

Everett: "I'm more of a Bernstein guy, but thanks."

Slightly nerd humor makes me giggle every time.


I love that Kate's in Abe's phone as "Kate Brady."

Steve's reluctance to shake Alex's hand was hilarious.

"You don't want to wake a sleeping baby" is the biggest mistake of all. Yes. Yes, you do -- and often if you want them to stay on schedule! Kid falling asleep in the back of the car at 6:00 -- reach back and gently rock their leg. You can't wait until they wake up and plan around that. Schedule, people.

"Imbitterent" should absolutely be a word.

Look, Eric, there is snow on those trees. I'm going to assume it's one of those strange midwestern weather days where it's 55 degrees the day after a snowstorm and thus okay to have a newborn out for a walk.

I didn't love Marlena suggesting that there's no way Sloan can manage having a career and taking care of an infant at the same time. I also didn't love that Marlena told Sloan no one was blaming her for leaving the baby alone in the middle of the town square. Um, speak for yourself, Mar.

I don't think there's been a job my co-writer Tony has ever wanted more than when the call went out for background actors to be on the DAYS set to all give Stefan the side-eye at one time.

Nicole's ponytail looked really cute this week!

Of course, Paulina and Chanel's holiday decorations are beautiful, high fashion. I'm actually surprised Theresa doesn't fix up her tree. Theresa has a lot of faults, but she has style to spare, and I can't believe she's done with that tree after one string of popcorn.

I love the idea of a walk around the lake during a beautiful winter morning. Cold-weather exercise feels somewhat peaceful.

I know there are many asinine clothing choices in Salem. But the idea that Sloan was up all night with a baby in a short, silky red dress, then got up in the morning, kept it on, and put on heels to take her infant out for a stroller ride may take the cake.

Anyone else want Marlena to speed-dial Roman when Sarah proclaimed there's no way one can co-parent with someone that you have so much history with?

When Lucas referred to his "ex-wife," I had to think a bit to realize he was talking about Nicole.

I'm utterly baffled by what's going on with Dimitri's hair.

I get that Theresa is nowhere near the chosen Donovan (that's Andrew), but black sheep? Has she met Eve? Plus, Caroline's adoration for Theresa alone has to push her up a few spots from the bottom.

I'll buy that growing up in Arizona, Alex never went to a Christmas tree farm. But not owning any ornaments? Sorry, this foolio was raised by Adrienne and Justin. Those boys got matching ornaments every year growing up -- probably themed to their family vacation or favorite superhero. I call Christmas shenanigans, Alex.

I do love that Leo knows the way into the DiMera tunnels from outside.

Aw! Eric calling Jude "cowboy" is the most adorable Brady dad thing to do. It reminds me of Bo and Roman.

That's it for this week, DAYS fans! Tony and I are very excited to start bringing you the Golden Donuts (best of) and Alex North Memorial (worst of) Awards over the next couple weeks. These are some of our favorite columns of the year, and we can't wait to hear what you think of them. Have a very happy holiday season, and may all your secret wine cellars be stocked with great drinks and snacks, and no missing babies.

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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