I thought Friday’s show was the best of the week (just edging out Monday, a close second). But really, every episode was so good that it’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from. When was the last time I could say that? Not this decade.
It felt less transitional overall, looking ahead rather than wrapping up old stories. And I liked how we stayed focused on just three stories. Thursday’s show was good, but maybe too crowded. I love that anyone can pop up in an episode, but Thursday might have taken it too far.
Let’s start with Steve and Victor. I love John Aniston and Stephen Nichols, and they were in fine form, two old reprobates who have each other’s number. Steve needled Victor about not going after Bo, and Victor turned around and needled him about Kayla. It was glorious. One thing I remember from Steve and Kayla’s last run is that Stephen was upset that the first time Steve saw Victor, they didn’t write any dialogue between the two of them (it was a group scene – I believe the race where Stephanie got into her accident). That didn’t happen here!
I also liked how they made it clear that the reason Steve was upset with Victor about Bo (and not the rest of the family), is that he knows Victor has the resources and the influence to find out what happened. And then Bo’s letter, and the detail about the Merchant Marines and not going to Tahiti, was pretty damn awesome. Someone did their homework! (But then they messed up by saying Ciara’s birthday is in July, not December. Tsk, tsk.)
Kayla and Joey were also good, mostly for Mary Beth. I want them to give Joey a little more nuance in his dialogue. It’s not that I don’t think it’s realistic (having known teenage boys), but it would help us connect with him if it weren’t so one-note. But Mary Beth was so wonderful, first trying to sweet talk the headmaster (when was the last time they gave Kayla so much dialogue?), then especially in the scenes in her office. When Joey said that she was the reason Steve left, and she asked “Did your father tell you that?” – it broke my heart, hearing the hurt behind it.
And they need to start filling in some details about the breakup. The timeline will never make sense because of Joey’s SORASing, but it sounds like Joey was already a teen when Steve left, because he said today that’s when he went to Ohio. It is also clear that he knows Steve and has a relationship with him — this isn’t a man he hasn’t seen since he was a baby. That makes me feel better because it would kill me to think that Steve would miss Joey’s childhood, voluntarily, after missing Stephanie’s. It also sounds like Steve and Kayla weren’t getting along before Steve left, and I think we need to hear a little more about that. Regardless, things are taking shape, and I love it.
I think I might like this Basic Black story, though of course it’s early days yet. It gives me faith in this writing team to see that they are giving Theresa and Nicole interests and ambitions outside of landing a man. I like the fact that they recognized that this was needed.
Nicole has grown a lot over the past few years, but she’s still been extremely focused on finding a man to love her, and not much else. Without the desperate loneliness that previously drove her, and snarky front she put on to cover it, her character has lost some of her energy and zip. The last month or so, having finally landed her man, that obsession has devolved into a bland smugness, intent only on keeping what she has. (I fully admit that the fact that it’s with Daniel might be coloring my opinion.) So it was nice to see Nicole bantering with Brady today and convincing him to lend her the money for Basic Black. Their dialogue referenced some history, notably Brady’s screwups and how he’s always gotten second – and third and fourth – chances. Nicole hasn’t gotten those chances, and I loved to see her fighting for one. I disagreed with Brady when he told Theresa later that she deserves a second chance as much as Nicole. But, it looks to me like Nicole will end up being the executive and Theresa the designer – which I think will be a fun combination. I’m also picturing Theresa being jealous of Nicole’s friendship with Brady, as we already saw today. She will keep indulging in schemes to land him, which Nicole will recognize and call her on. Then, when Eric starts working with them as a photographer (WHICH IS TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN), Theresa can see Nicole’s feelings for him and tease her right back. Right, Days?
There has clearly been an attempt these last few days to introduce some layers for Theresa, with mixed success. It’s not really possible to do it this quickly, and most of her talk about her past has come off awkwardly. But, I did love the line where she said part of the reason she gave up on her dream of being a designer is she “discovered boys.” That certainly fits with what we’ve seen, and it takes some of the responsibility on herself instead of just blaming Mom and Dad. I am fine with Shane and Kim not being perfect parents (they certainly were screwed up enough as husband and wife), and I think we’ll see Kim and Shane again at some point so we can hear their side of it.
And I don’t know if they’ve forgotten, but Theresa had a stepdad for a lot of years. I saw the suggestion somewhere that they could show that the stepdad sexually abused Theresa, as an explanation for why she’s so awful, but I don’t want them to go there. They did that story with Kim, and it comes close to “rape as redemption,” which makes me queasy. This is better. Show Theresa striving for something, show everyone being skeptical and her proving them wrong. That takes advantage of Jen Lilley’s most appealing quality, her energy and spunk. My feelings for Theresa are right now perfectly poised between finding her devilishly charming or gratingly annoying. I think this story might decide it one way or the other.
Now, don’t tell me I have to wait until Tuesday for my show to be on again! Sob!