Okay, I admit it. I have a crush on NewOldEvilPhillip.
I wasn’t around during Jay Kenneth Johnson’s first run as Phillip. I never thought much one way or the other about Kyle Brandt, except that he never seemed authentic as a rich man’s son. I got a very blue collar vibe from him.
JKJ has the bone structure and haughty snappishness that make him believable as a Kiriakis. I loved his setdown of Mimi when she went to see him right after he was awarded custody of Claire, calling her out on the hypocrisy of judging him after she kept Claire’s paternity secret in order to protect “her pathetic sham of a marriage.” His marriage was also a pathetic sham, and for the same reason, but it would too lowering for him to admit it.
Willow and Phillip are a fun combination. I like that they don’t get along and are always sneering at each other. She’s a blatant opportunist and doesn’t seem to care that he knows it. He’s content to use her and doesn’t care if she knows that. Hogan seems to get the fun of rubbing opposites against each other—Phillip and Willow, Nick and Chelsea, EJ and Steve.
But what made me succumb to my crush was Monday’s (2/12) episode, when Lucas comes to see Phillip and they have a brother to brother talk. First of all I’m delighted to see Kate’s brood starting to interact as a family (except Rex and Cassie, who have been excised from the Salem memory). Lucas asks Phillip to help him get his job back, and Phillip expresses his anger that Lucas isn’t standing by him in this Claire custody battle. Both Bryan Datillo and JKJ are surprisingly subtle and layered in this scene, expressing through their body language and line readings the resentment and also regret that they feel on finding themselves on opposite sides.
All this was great enough, but then the show adds another little twist. After Phillip tells Lucas in front of Victor that he can’t help someone who isn’t loyal to him, he sneaks out later and tells Lucas that Victor can’t last forever, and when Phillip is running Titan he’ll hire Lucas back. This ups the ante of their brotherly relationship, and points to a possible schism with Victor in the future, all in one fell swoop.
Thus my crush. Love the new face, the open collared shirts, the limp, the snarky contempt, the quiet intensity, the quest for revenge. There’s enough pain and anger, and love, here to fuel many future storylines.