How are we all feeling? Do we need a hug, a tranquilizer, a straightjacket?
Let me discuss the rest of the show first, because most of it was actually … good. It felt a little less cartoonish, and more dramatic and grounded overall. More Josh, less Dena.
Deimos moving into Ben and Abby’s old place is the kind of detail that is unnecessary to the plot, but it added a layer to Deimos’s character. I enjoyed the relish with which he contemplated living in the apartment of a serial killer. And it was great to hear Ben mentioned — remember him? The guy who killed all those people?
I think Belle and Phillip have chemistry, and their scenes today were quite a bit better than the WTF-ery we saw around their trip to Vegas.
They actually discussed the nature of Belle’s attraction to Phillip (he’s like a drug to her, but she feels she should stay away from him), and Phillip played on that rather skillfully to get her back into bed. (“Don’t you deserve a little fun?”) I’m still not sure what he sees in her or how serious he is about it, but at least we got some insight into her side. And she managed to seem a little more human and sympathetic in her text-exchange with Claire.
But it was all short-lived. She went right back to being entitled and passive aggressive when she snooped in his desk and then drew that big question mark on the envelope of pictures. She acted like she caught him cheating! Phillip doesn’t owe her any explanation at all. I’m guessing these will be pictures of the girl who died in Chicago, but the whole thing was weird.
I thought Joey and Theo’s scenes were also good. At first, when Joey yelled at Theo, I thought we were in for more shallow “Joey punches random guy at party” conflict, but this was really nice. He heard Theo out about Chase, even if he didn’t offer much in the way of guidance. Then he even opened up a little himself. It felt very real, two friends who were upset about different things, trying to talk but not really succeeding.
I also enjoyed Paul, JJ, and Gabi. The corrections officer was a perfect little plot point — it gave Paul a chance to snark on his homophobia, brought up some demons for Gabi, and gave JJ a chance to be a hero (and show off some policin’ skills). Very efficient use of a day player.
All right, I guess I can’t put it off any longer. This is my take on Steve and Ava.
I got advance notice that this was going to happen today (selective spoilage), the only question was how it was going to play out. And here’s the thing … it was actually dramatic and gut-wrenching. It wasn’t asinine and cartoony like Monday and Tuesday’s scenes, where Steve stupidly put the moves on Ava as a first resort, and was ready to do the deed in his living room where his son could walk in. Here, the setup was more logical and organic. They were in Maui, far away from Salem, and Steve knew the clock was ticking for Kayla. Intercutting their scenes with Kayla looking ill and dehydrated in her little prison raised the stakes nicely. She had to get out of there, and fast. Also, it was nice that they gave Steve a smart moment, when he figured out she wasn’t dying, based on a minor slip by Ava.
And Stephen played the hell out of it all, and so did Tamara.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I hate this. It’s unimaginative, it’s been done a million times, it’s been done before with these same damn characters! Also, it makes me sick because it was rape, and I expect Days will blithely ignore that fact because Steve is a man. Ava’s blackmail was there to “justify” Steve’s actions, to give him a pass with viewers. There will be no trauma, no recovery from being violated. From here on out I expect they will treat this much like any other adultery, especially if Steve keeps it secret, which is what I expect.
But hear this. Fellow Steve and Kayla fans, we’ve always treasured that Steve and Kayla are one of the few longtime Days couples that haven’t cheated on each other. That has not changed. This was not adultery. It was rape.
And screw you, Dena.