I should know better by now. Shipping a couple on Days today leads inevitably to frustration and heartbreak. And not the good kind of heartbreak, that feels painful but real, and stokes my anticipation of how it will all be resolved. It’s the kind of heartbreak that makes me think as I’m watching, another promising couple bites the dust.
From an EJ fan perspective, the EJami scenes yesterday were cathartic and wonderful. He said everything that we’ve wanted him to say to her for months. Every charge he leveled at her seemed right on the money—she was hysterical, irrational, blind, possessive, unfair, hypocritical, and incapable of taking responsibility for her own actions.
From an EJami fan perspective, however—or even just a fan of two sided arguments—the scenes were frustrating and disappointing. There was no attempt to soften Sami’s breathtakingly unfair treatment of EJ by presenting her point of view. Instead, we saw that Sami’s reaction to EJ sleeping with Nicole was to blame EJ, and her reaction to Lucas sleeping with Chloe was to … blame EJ. We saw that it is perfectly okay for Sami to take Johnny from EJ, but not the other way around. And on, and on, and on. I honestly don’t know how Sami truly feels. Was she covering up her feelings for EJ with that over-the-top anger? Or is she just pissed that he’s interfering with her happily-ever-after with Lucas? Sami keeps saying Lucas is the love of her life, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary I guess I have to believe her—though it seems to me that Sami is choosing Lucas because he is Not EJ, rather than for anything positive about Lucas himself.
I loved seeing youngSami taunting youngLucas. Ah, if only.
I do have to lay some of the blame at Ali Sweeney’s feet. James Scott’s magical ability to bring out layers and nuance in his costars was not in evidence yesterday. Some of EJ’s lines to Sami were nearly as hateful as hers to him, but he played the whole thing with sadness, resignation, and half-buried pain and love. Ali, on the other hand, took a page from Bryan Datillo’s acting handbook and went for over-the-top hysteria and judgment. I think Ali might be suffering from the show neglecting Sami’s point of view, and clearly not knowing which couples are the planned endgame. There were repeated references to Sami’s “feelings” for EJ, but those feelings were not shown in Ali’s performance. She did have a few nice moments, though, that showed when EJ hit a nerve.
With my other newly-shipping couple, Phorgan, things were no better. Morgan’s sudden and unstinting trust in Phillip was presented without any nuance or—and this is assuredly a theme—explanation of her point of view. It got to the point that my mom and I were saying her lines before she did: “Phillip, I can’t open it, will you do it for me?” And it was frustrating too, because it was all so unnecessary. Phillip could easily have come along with her to the post office after they ran into each other by accident. And the tension about Phillip seeing The Package would have been heightened, not lessened, if Morgan were more distrustful. We could have seen Phillip attempt to smooth talk her into it without trying to be too obvious. As it was, Morgan made it so easy for him it was pathetic.