Were it not for my frustration about Phillip being wasted, I would be wholeheartedly cheering Belle’s fall from her pedestal. As it is, it is still very satisfying to see some of the glitter washed off. I would love to believe that the show is finally embracing Belle as an entitled princess bitch who wants it both ways. They are playing Hope’s attitude just right, hope that everything will work out for her son but distrust in the probability. There are some nice layers there, instead of the standard extreme reactions of either “I know your secret and I hate you” or “If you slept with Phillip I’m sure you had an awesomely great reason!”
The show got my hopes up this week on the Phillip front, by giving him some dialogue that brings him a little out of Belle’s devoted creepy puppy dog territory. When Belle went to see him on Wednesday (11/21) because she was upset to learn that Hope told Kayla about The Incident, Phillip wasn’t laying down for anybody:
Belle: Don’t ignore me.
Philip: I’m not ignoring you. I’m busy.
Belle: You told me to call you if I needed you. I called. You told me to come here.
Philip: Not to fix your problems with Shawn’s mother. I’m not your guy friend or your go-to shoulder when things go wrong with the Bradys.
Philip: I can’t change who knows or who Hope tells next. Don’t insult me by calling us friends.
Belle: Well, I wish we could be.
Philip: Sit down. Please. When you called…I thought you were coming over to tell me the wedding was off…that you and Claire were coming home for good. I gave you that number if you needed to talk about us. Marrying Shawn is a huge mistake.
Belle: Well, thanks for the support. I appreciate it.
Philip: Oh, stop acting like a brat.
Belle: What did you just call me?
Philip: You want Shawn and you want me waiting in the wings, like a kid who can’t decide what toy she wants to play with next. I’m not playing safety to Shawn, not even for you. Now, please leave. I’ve got work to do.
Of course the next minute they were making out on the couch, but I’m hopeful that maybe Phillip is starting to wake up to the fact that Belle is no prize. But on the other hand, this could be just that familiar, infuriating soap technique, where they nod to the audience’s frustration by having some character articulate everything we’re thinking. But in the end it makes no difference in the plot.
The other thing that gives me hope for Phillip is that we’re finally seeing him in scenes with other people. Seeing him with Steve and Kayla was a treat and much too brief, but I also loved him with Kate and Lucas last week in the plot shenanigans about Kate’s gun. Phillip the Kiriakis heir came out to play at the police station, when he refused to answer any questions and contemptuously flicked his lawyer’s card on the floor.
There were also the scenes with Max at the Cheating Heart, where he was drowning his sorrows about Belle but also tossing off great one-liners like when Max told him he shouldn’t drive because he’d been drinking too much: “I got a driver outside. He’s paid to wait there. If I came out of here a week from tomorrow, he’d still be there.” There was also the hint that he wants Belle because she already knows about his prosthetic leg, and he doesn’t want to go through explaining it to someone new.
I haven’t watched today’s episode yet, but I predict that Belle will go through with the wedding, because that’s what soap heroines always do. They’ll probably refrain from having Belle flash back to her sex with Phillip during the actual wedding, unlike during everyone other conversation she’s had with Shawn since it happened. But undoubtedly there will be a scene of Phillip smoldering in the background, and at some point Belle will turn and and give him a longing look which no one else will notice.
ETA: Well, I was just joking around, but I was wrong about Belle not flashing back to Phillip sex during the wedding. Color me shocked! And no longing look from Belle, but Phillip did indeed smolder very nicely. One out of three—eh. At least we got a Chick kiss.