I know there were other days this week, but I’m blinded by the goodness of Friday’s episode and I can’t remember anything else. Steve … EJ … Steve … EJ! and Steve! sharing the screen! I cannot think.
I love that Steve is the first man in Salem to outsmart EJ. (Sami was the first person to outsmart him, when she went to his apartment to distract him so Kate could escape out the window.) The push-pull of their scenes was fascinating, as first Steve has the advantage from the element of surprise, then EJ with his cracks about extradition and the Keystone Kops, then Steve with his bomb about an eyewitness to John’s shooting, then EJ again with his oh-so-casual reference to the episodes Steve has been having, triggering what we think is another episode on Steve’s part as he attacks EJ and has to be pulled off of him. But then the lovely denoument, when EJ realizes his wallet and cell phone are missing, and we cut to Steve cackling in the alley with blood running out of both corners of his mouth.
I love Steve.
Poor Kayla got stuck back in Salem applauding Sami’s Good Samaritan award. Here’s hoping she gives him hell when he comes back home.
I also am enjoying the Claire custody storyline among the younger set. Did I call it or what? I swear I was spoiler-free when I wrote this. I thought they needed to go on the run without the encumbrance of a baby, but I think this will be fun. It’s refreshing to see these characters (Shawn, Belle, Mimi, Max, and Phillip) doing something, instead of just sitting around agonizing about being married to the wrong people. They’re not yet as engaging as the Bo and Hope and Steve and Kayla foursome were back in the 80s, but I give Hogan credit for making strides.
I had to laugh at Shawn punching Phillip repeatedly in his recently face-transplanted face. I had visions of Phillip clutching his features and screaming, “Not the face! Anywhere but the face!” That doctor in Montreal certainly is a wizard, able to give him a new face without leaving one scar. And what a face! (Incidentally, is this the first time in daytime history when a show went to the trouble of using the plastic surgery storyline to explain a recast when it was actually a return to the original actor? My head is spinning.) I look forward to horrible, evil, cool as ice Phillip. A great improvement over regular guy cheesehead Phillip.
Shawn and Belle are a curious couple, and I’m watching closely to see if they can be saved. I used to say that a really good couple (or character) could never be ruined—they could always bounce back from a bad storyline, an out of character action, or poor writing. I’m no longer sure this is true. Abe and Lexie, for instance. Once someone has cheated on her husband three times, it feels meaningless to listen to her professions of love and fidelity. Her faithlessness has become a character trait, for good or ill. Steve and Kayla, I would say they could never be ruined. But then I heard that JER’s plan was to put Kayla with Jack and I shuddered with horror.
But back to Shawn and Belle. Their problems were not quite so dire. Viewer antipathy seems to stem from the endless meant to be talk, Belle’s whininess and waffling between Phillip and Shawn, and Shawn’s hotheadedness and immaturity. I think all these issues are being addressed—Belle is taking control of her own life, Shawn hit bottom and is working his way back up, and the meant to be talk/longing looks are toned down or absent. Too absent? That’s the question. While I’ve detected what I think is a nice chemistry between these two actors—Brandon Beemer’s Shawn especially gets a little melting glow in his eye when he looks at Belle—the story is definitely not playing up the sexual attraction between them. That’s what I hope this on-the-run story will deliver.
I love Nick and Chelsea, but their storyline has stalled. Time to wrap up LonelySplicer, give Nick a reason to hate Chelsea, and let the fireworks fly! A Nick who calls Chelsea on her bullshit, and a Chelsea that is intrigued in spite herself about what’s under that nerdy exterior, is where the story is. Let’s have some of that lovely banter that Hogan does so well.
Okay, a few memories from earlier in the week came trickling back. By the way, I’ve been trying to pay attention to scriptwriters for the episodes I like. My favorite episodes of the week, Tuesday and (of course) Friday, were written by the same new addition to the Days writing team—Bettina Bradbury. Welcome, Bettina! Nice job!