Jack’s back

I really enjoyed yesterday’s episode.

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I like the idea of the stand-alone episodes focusing on a particular storyline,* and this was well done, letting an arc develop that culminated in Jennifer standing up at the meeting.

I could complain that we didn’t see a transition from using the pills as they were intended to abusing them. It felt like people were calling her out on taking the pills before it was realistic to think she had a problem. I would have liked a scene where Fynn refused to prescribe her more pills, and she found a shadier doctor to give her another prescription. Also, they had an opportunity to show the pills costing her more than Chad refusing to let Thomas go home with her. But, given that Days often has the subtlety of a sledgehammer, maybe this showed some admirable restraint. And it really would be embarrassing and humiliating for someone like Jen, who prides herself on fulfilling her responsibilities (as she told Jack today) to be denied that role.

I liked the details they included in today’s episode. I liked that they addressed the issue of her chronic pain — and how difficult it is to manage without creating exactly these kinds of situations. I liked that she had stashes hidden all over the house. So after flushing her pills in a moment of resolve, she was tearing the house apart hoping she had missed some. That was great visual storytelling, and I bet Missy Reeves had fun with those scenes. I loved Lucas’s role as the voice of sanity — especially when he called her on the fact that if she is going to call people who go to meetings stupid junkies, she is including Lucas, and Brady, and Maggie, in that assessment.

And of course there was Jack. It was so great to see Matt Ashford again.

I am ambivalent about bringing him back on a permanent basis, just because I think Jack is a difficult character to write for. They either make him a clown, make him beg for Jennifer’s favor, or kill him off again (usually all three). But if someone could do some research and come up with a story that fits this unique and wonderful character, I’m all for it.

But I thought this was nice. He was the perfect person to remind Jennifer of her strength and persistence, and I liked that he did it using her reporting skills as his example, rather than her pursuit of him. The flashbacks were great, especially the first one. Bickering in a romantic moment is so quintessentially Jack and Jennifer.

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And this final look – I have to say, swoon.

*Steve and Kayla Steve and Kayla Steve and Kayla

Salem bound

If you can believe it, I’m off on a business trip … to Salem. Yes, my company is sending me into a viral outbreak where the only competent doctor has come down with the disease. Thanks boss.

Okay, it’s Salem, Massachusetts. I’m still keeping my eyes peeled.

I can haz HAZMAT?

Well, we’ve always known the costume department has a sense of humor.

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She looks like the one of the Coneheads!

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Or as commenter thirddp pointed out on Twitter, like a giant sperm:

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It’s been fun watching the actors maintain their dead serious expressions as they exchange bad news in their sperm suits. Hats off to soap actors, they are such troupers. And we’ve seen some nice glimmers of conflict and emotional scenes, like the one between JJ and Gabi, and the one between John and Paul.

I’m always in favor a big disaster that brings everyone together, so I have been enjoying the show more than I have for awhile. What I am missing is good soap pacing, which Days hasn’t done well for eons. Either nothing is happening and it’s taking forever not to happen, or else a disaster like this is unfolding and it happens too freaking fast. We hadn’t seen Paul for weeks when he became Patient One of this disaster. There should have been scenes of him feeling ill, brushing it off as the flu, before collapsing in some dramatic fashion. Also, Fynn put it together awfully quickly that this is a synthetic virus and therefore maliciously spread, and then in turn the finger was pointed at Yo Ling awfully quickly. These things can be so much more dramatic if they would draw out the suspense and drama a bit more.

Meanwhile Joey and Jade seem to have stumbled on the Manson family. About ten million red flags should have already gone up for Joey, but he is still lost in a moral gray area after killing Ava — that is, that would be a good explanation for his behavior if the show was bothering to give us one. Instead he is just coming off as very, very stupid. Sorry, Joey. But his dad got the opportunity to be a little bit smart, talking to Jade’s father and tracking down Claire and getting her to spill the beans. I appreciate how this are setting up (I assume) Steve’s absence for Kayla’s health crisis, which will conveniently allow Fynn to save Kayla’s life and cement a bond between them. Not bad.

W.T.F.

Seriously, Days. What did I just watch yesterday? It was like the writers picked up some rantings from a Haiden fan board and dropped it straight into the actors laps without editing. “Wait, remember when Aiden was off camera for a minute when he went downstairs? … what if at that moment Andre came in and replaced him with an exact doppelganger … and it was the doppelganger attacked Hope! … while Aiden was kept alive because, well, because! … and then he escapes, and …

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But even a fan board rant wouldn’t have come up with that lousy dead bird. Jesus. If they want to get their ideas from fan boards, I know of a lot of much better places they could look.

The way they packed it all into one episode seems to me the height of laziness. When they brought Bo back in a similar way six months ago, they took some time to set it up. This was like an episode of Retcon of Our Lives.

Hey, maybe Chase will have been replaced by an exact doppelganger too, and it was the doppelganger who raped Ciara!! And Hope was replaced by a doppelganger when she shot Stefano! And Joey when he killed Ava! Let’s just undo everything!

This is what I want to know. Why bring back Aiden in the first place? Was he really that popular? I know he and Haiden have their fans, but my impression was they were never really a frontburner couple. If we are going to the trouble of bringing someone back from the dead with a lousy retcon, why not Jack? If we are going to bring back the other half of a popular couple, why not Eric?

I am honestly completely baffled.

On a leash

So, how about that Emmy win, eh?

It was so gratifying as a Mary Beth fan to watch her win the Emmy, after so many years! Back in the 80’s, I always felt her acting, and her character, was overshadowed by Stephen Nichols’ showier Steve. And don’t get me wrong, I love my Stephen and Steve. But I always thought about that old saying about Ginger Rogers: she had to do everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.

So it felt particularly nice to see how happy Stephen was at her win, to the point of weeping openly:

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Awww.

Today was a decent episode. I am delighted at the return of jealous Steve. I loved his “You need to keep a shorter leash on your dingo” when Fynn was being protective. Stephen plays jealous very, very well, and it’s been criminally underused. It was one of my very favorite things about their first run, with Chris, and with Jack. And as I’ve talked about, we really need to see Steve worry and wonder a little bit about Kayla. Fynn is pretty much a nonentity here so far, and it would be nice if they beefed up his character a little … but I’m not holding my breath.

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I thought their conversation about Joey was well done. It wasn’t exactly subtle, but it hit some really good points. Steve challenged her for not telling him about Joey’s arrest, and Kayla turned it around — “this is why I didn’t tell you” — when it looked like Steve just wanted to rush to the rescue again. Both of them had good reasons to be frustrated, hurt, and angry, and it felt very real.

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I also enjoyed the conversation Steve and Joey, though it would have packed more punch if we had seen Joey agonizing over the fact that he killed Ava. It would be nice for the show to connect the dots and show Joey wanting to leave town because he felt guilty for his role in the Ava mess, feeling his parents would be better off without him. That would connect nicely to Steve’s tendencies in that direction, and would make me more sympathetic to Joey. As it is, his harebrained scheme to take off to LA with Jade feels really stupid. I can’t even tell how much he is supposed to be in love with Jade. I think it’s pretty clear Jade has some secrets, and it feels like the height of idiocy for Joey to be taken in by Jade so soon after being taken in by Ava.

But, jealous Steve!! Kayla in a red dress! Mary Beth an Emmy winner!!

Gifs from the Salem Hourglass Tumblr blog

What happened?

My husband and I have a running joke about how little he knows about soaps, ever since he asked me if “Mick and Laura” were on Days of our Lives in the 80’s. (This is why he calls Steve and Kayla “Mick and McKayla.”) So imagine my surprise when he came in a few weeks ago, saw Deimos on the screen, and said “Is that Lujack?” It turns out he had a girlfriend in college who watched Guiding Light, and he watched it with her! All this time I never knew!

Ari Zucker is such a pro. I’ve seen her in some really bad storylines over the years, and she always tries to sell it and give it her all. But I wouldn’t blame her if she turned to the camera, peered through her black wig, and whispered in a Greek accent, “Please send help.” The faux flashbacks of her with two day players, one with a huge pornstache, shouting at her in subtitles, has been excruciatingly, laughingly bad. The only thing that would make it worse is John Paul Lavoisier and Eric Martsolf played Deimos and Victor. (Imagine Eric Martsolf in a huge Santos-style mustache!) Even worse was Deimos’s dream, where Helena came to him and scolded him for sleeping with Kate — although, admittedly, I do agree with her there.

Would I still rather watch Ari do this than coo over Daniel? A million times yes.

I actually genuinely like the idea of Nicole trying to get the goods on Deimos by romancing him. Has this story been told many times before? Yes, it has. Nicole/Xander comes to mind, which was just last year. But this time, everyone knows — including, so far, Deimos — that her motives are to take him down. I just hope they stretch it out longer than they did when Phillip was in a similar position (minus the seduction part) a few months ago. I can never figure out how Days will set up an intriguing premise (Phillip as a double agent) and then drop it immediately. I hope that doesn’t happen this time. In their clumsy way, they are setting up that Deimos is obsessed and haunted by Helena’s memory, which makes him ripe to be drawn to Nicole against his will. It’s not a terrible idea, Days! Don’t make it terrible!

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Yesterday, my husband came in during this scene, watched as Deimos pulled the oxygen tubes out of Victor’s nose, and said sadly, “Lujack, what happened?”

(I’m sorry I haven’t posted much lately, it’s been difficult to get inspired. I think I need to pull out my DVDs and post about Shayla again!)

Shadows

One of my my favorite storylines from Steve and Kayla’s first run is the first mini Jack triangle, when Jack was played by this adorable guy:

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It was a perfect time to introduce a rival for Steve, after Kayla tells him she loves him and he has rejected her yet again. He changes his mind and rushes over to the loft, only to have this handsome stranger answer the door. Handsome, personable, polite, wealthy Рeverything Steve is not.  Mr. Simple. And many of us Steve and Kayla fans have been hoping for another Mr. Simple character for Kayla since 2006.

Fynn would definitely not be my first choice in that role. He is such a Ken doll, and I’ve never liked him. But they seem to have toned down his “charming womanizer” side (gag) and are mostly using him as a doctor — which is good because¬†everyone has been in the hospital this year. Although every time he spouts medical terminology I think of that “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV” guy. (Remember him?) It’s pretty laughable. But if they show that Steve looks at the young, smooth, brilliant (snort) doctor colleague, and then thinks about all the ways he’s let Kayla down, it could be good.

I reserve the right to take this all back if they muck it up and start treating Fynn as a serious threat, someone Kayla could really fall for. And if she really falls for him, I’ll go light myself on fire in Ken Corday’s office.

But, oh, this is a thing of beauty:

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Sexy, angsty Steve longing for Kayla. It doesn’t get any better than that.