In these days of ever-shortening seasons for high profile primetime shows (Lost, 24), every once in awhile I like to step back and marvel at the sheer mass of airtime soap writers have to fill.

These filler episodes can be a terrific opportunity to flesh out character, showcase atypical interactions, touch on interesting (and relevant) past storylines, or just let us hang out with these characters. And I am happy to say that the show did all four of these things in Tuesday’s delightful episode (5/6).

I enjoyed John’s quiet glee at finding out that the “real” John wasn’t such a saint after all. Sami filled him in on the gory details of his adulterous encounter with Marlena on a conference table (which Sami witnessed), along with sundry other unsavory moments in his past. These reminisces were punctuated by the appropriate flashbacks.

Hee! That intense stare, I remember it well.

Who better to fill him in than Sami? Witnessing that infamous conference table sex is what started her on her path to perdition. Sami’s hatred of John probably went on too long (and then was dropped too quickly as part of Sami’s redemption). But I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that the reason she hated him so much, and sided so passionately with Roman against him, was because she felt guilty for loving the man who was no longer her father more than the man who actually was her father. Roman was already losing his wife to John—if Sami had defected also it would have been a double betrayal.

I’m guessing J&M shippers probably weren’t happy with the inclusion of the flashback to Sub!sex with “Gina”/Hope, though personally I was more appalled by John’s acid washed jeans.

11 thoughts on “Filler

  1. I kind of loved Tuesday’s episode myself, MP. I can’t say I loved the flashbacks, per se, but I did enjoy John realizing he wasn’t a superhero after all (or at least not a perfect one) and, miracles of miracles, he actually made the occassional mistake himself. It’s yet another interesting beat that I wish would have been played out in the Nick Stockton storyline (I’ll get over that disappointment eventually, I promise).

    I enjoyed Sami and John’s interaction, including Sami’s revelation of how she changed Belle’s paternity test and then kidnapped her. It provided a nice balance in that Sami wasn’t telling John about his sins and hiding hers.

    I also enjoyed the EJ and Nicole intereaction. It was nice to see sweevil EJ again and Nicole felt more real than she has since she showed up in Salem. There’s an interesting dynamic between EJ and Nicole that could be quite fun to explore.

    All in all, it was definitely a good filler day.

  2. I love your analysis on why Sami hated John so much. It was a different episode, though I’m not sure it was a good one during sweeps.

    So far though, it’s my favorite episode of the week.

  3. This was what’s typically called a “bottle” episode—two people (or in this case, two pairs of people) in one room doing nothing but developing character. It’s rare to see on any show; infinitely rare on soaps, and I thought it was very, very effective.

    It’s what quarantine for S & K should have been but wasn’t.

  4. mp, I also thought the inclusion of subsex was interesting, because out of all the billions of J & M flashbacks of them proclaiming their eternal love for each other, they elected to include a clip showing John having sex with someone else. I have to wonder too if they’re not foreshadowing a storyline that crosses Jawn with Bo and Hope somehow–not a romantic one, but something else. I really liked how the warts and all were included in the flashbacks, and I just have to hope that the fact that we saw a more complex story than “John and Marlena have always loved each other and always will” bodes well for the future. After all, it would have been easy to have this be all about J & M loving each other like no two people have ever loved before.

  5. Well I do have to admit one thing about subsex. If it had been Marlena or Belle telling John this story, it would have most definitely been left out. But I do think it with Sami telling the story and her history with him, she’s going to tell him it wasn’t perfect and John wasn’t the perfect guy he may be feeling like he is (when he just listens to Marlena).

  6. I also experienced a pang over the fact that a conversation like this would have been perfect during the NickNotSteve storyline. Sigh.

    Paxton, I loved that they explored some layers, instead of just going for a bunch of “the greatest love of all” flashbacks. I loved how the next day, John summed up his conversation with Sami by telling Marlena, “I found out I’m a bit of a jerk, and so are you.” Ha!

  7. Well, I ff’ed the subsex flashback, but I just can’t figure out why they included it. I hope it’s not any type of foreshadowing. If it was to show flaws in John’s character, I can think of so many others they could have used. To both J&M and Bope fans (and many many other viewers), subsex was an episode best forgotten. I mean, even if you’re not a fan, two popular characters on their long-awaited honeymoon, and then… that??

    The main problem I had with Tuesday’s show is that I’m not convinced that the writers are ever going to correct John’s impressions. No, I don’t think it needs to happen tomorrow, but I’d like some reasssurance that some writer didn’t just pop in a 93 DVD and assume that’s the whole story. I fully understand that this is Sami’s version of the story, and to Sami, this is valid. That’s fine. I’d just like to know that the writers understand that as well.

    As for your theory on Sami’s issues with John, that’s very interesting. So you’re saying Sami felt guilty because she would have really wanted John to be her father?

  8. Ellie, yes, I think Sami truly wanted John to be her father, at least at first. When she suddenly had to adjust to the fact that Roman was her father, her love for John didn’t go away. But she felt guilty about it, feeling it was disloyal in some way to Roman, so she overcompensated. And, perhaps, even projected her own feelings of guilt onto Marlena, punishing her for preferring John when she, too, preferred John.

    Eventually, of course, Sami grew to love Roman for real.

    I can’t imagine that the subsex will be foreshadowing of anything, I just can’t believe the show would go that direction (of course I’ve been wrong before!). It might be foreshadowing in a general way, that there have been other times that John has done some crazy stuff when under Stefano’s control.

  9. Hope you’re right about the subsex. John is still brainwashed by Stefano, even though Stefano is out of commission.

    I think you’re right about Sami. I had never thought about it in that way, but it really make a lot of sense. This clip is right after John and Marlena make love on the plane, when Marlena has walked into her own surprise anniversary party, and then John comes in. Sami treats John like her favorite uncle in this clip. A week or two later, when Sami saw John and Marlena, that all changed. I think you’re right, there was a feeling on Sami’s part that Marlena got to be with John when Sami was still relegated to the ‘favorite niece’ role. And then when Sami discovered Belle was John’s, meaning someone else would now officially replace her as John and Marlena’s child, that was probably the final blow.

  10. There’s an old saying that it’s a thin line between love and hate and I think that definitely applies to John and Sami. Her whole life she had believed that John was her father and then, in an instant, everything changed. But, you can’t change emotions that quickly and you can’t just tell yourself you are not supposed to love that man anymore, you are supposed to love this other guy because he’s really your father.

    When you have that type of mixed up emotion and guilt, then combine it with Sami seeing John and Marlena in the conference room, it’s no surprise that Sami’s emotions were all messed up. And because she could not figure out how to deal with the fact that she still loved John as her father, despite his betrayal, she took the easier route and let it turn to hate. If she could hate him, she wouldn’t have to feel guilty for loving him despite his betrayal of Roman.

    I think it’s a very intesting and complex emotional entanglement between John and Sami. And one that, in my opinion, was finally resolved a little too easily. Not that reconciliation wasn’t appropriate, it just was wrapped up way to nicely.

  11. I think that’s an excellent analysis, esp. And it’s a shame that Sami’s hatred for John went on so long, to the point of being tiresome, and then was wrapped up so fast under Hogan.

    It’s a bit like Billie’s unrequited love for Bo, that went on for such a long time, long after Bo and Billie were over. Then she suddenly fell for Steve and it was all over!

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