The very first scene on my Steve and Kayla DVDs, from June 1986, is a scene at Shenanigans with Abe and Chris. Abe says (paraphrasing), “Are you telling me John Black is Roman? And Kim had her baby? And Bo is Victor’s son?” (Chris’s response: “It’s been quite a week.”) It’s a heavily expository scene, obviously there to catch up any viewers who missed out on May sweeps. And he plays it perfectly, reacting with shock and concern for his friends, and tearing up at the idea Roman is alive after all.
These scenes are so important to make us feel like these are real people in a real town, reacting to the news and events of each other’s lives. Often characters who seldom get stories of their own can be the glue that ties the stories of other people together, serve as audience surrogates, offer wisdom and advice. Tom and Alice could fill that role when they were alive, and Doug and Julie now. But Abe is perfect in this case. He knows everyone in town from his long history there, and his job as a police officer makes him a natural fit in this role. It’s nice to slow down a bit after the excitement of the last few days, and just breathe a little and show people’s reactions. The big events are exciting, but in order to feel real, we need to see everyone reacting. And if criminals hellbent on revenge are involved, people should be worried and jumpy.
The problem of characters being limited to their bubbles, hardly even aware of what is happening to other people (let alone interacting with them), seems to be something that every new headwriter initially fixes, and then falls lazily back into. I imagine intersecting stories are more difficult to write — though that’s no excuse of course. So I’m not counting on this intersection of stories to last forever, but I intend to enjoy it while it does.
I’ve enjoyed the interrupted Thrady wedding and the criminal breakout for the most part.
I loooooove seeing Orpheus again. It’s pointless to wish for anything as good as his first run — Stockholm remains a gold standard that will never be matched, in my opinion (unfortunately). But even to hear Marlena reference being kidnapped in Stockholm made shivers run up my spine. And I could listen to George DelHoyo’s voice all day. Such gravitas. And this was a nice example of an Event — something that brings different characters togteher. The wedding and the Orpheus interruption led to Paul’s heroic rush, Sonny worrying about him and talking to Phillip about it, Phillip and Victor’s tender moment, and Eve and Nicole’s somewhat bizarre, but enjoyable, bonding session. Different characters interacting immediately raises my interest level.
Side note: I have only faint hopes that this will be explained or addressed, but let’s talk about the Roman/John issue for a minute. Back in 1986, Orpheus wanted to get revenge on Roman (played by Drake, so John-as-Roman) for killing his wife, Rebecca (accidentally) when Orpheus and Roman were ISA partners in 1979. Last week, Orpheus reiterated that he wants revenge on Roman first, for his wife — but then other people are on his list for what happened later. Makes sense so far. But then he told John this week he wanted to kill everyone John loves because John killed everyone he loved. So that sounds like John killed Rebecca.
Adding to the confusion, back in 1986, didn’t we see flashbacks of John-as-Roman hiding the bonds and shooting Orpheus’s wife? Which didn’t even make sense at the time because it was supposed to be happening in 1979? If the show was smart they could fold in the John-isn’t-Roman story into this. Like: Orpheus was in league with Stefano and knew all along that John was brainwashed to think he was Roman, and it was really John that Orpheus was partners with the whole time. That would explain those flashbacks. Orpheus called him Roman in ’86 because he was involved in the long con on John and Marlena. This of course could explain how Marlena ended up with Stefano after being initially kidnapped by Orpheus. A long term Orpheus/Dimera connection could potentially bring Andre and Chad into the story today — if Orpheus was in jail because Stefano set it up for Orpheus to take the fall, the Dimeras could be on his list of targets too.
Okay, moving on. I thought it was smart that the three villains split up and are wreaking havoc separately. Xander’s confrontation with Theresa was good, mostly because of Paul Telfer — I liked using the irony of Xander being sent away for the one thing he hadn’t done, so he was able to kind-of-legitimately claim the moral high ground. I’ll be glad if it gives Nicole something different to do; maybe she’ll even have time to think about how Eric saved her from Xander. It’s all making me miss Greg Vaughan something fierce (fiercer than usual). And as far as the cliffhanger with Clyde and Kate today — all I can say is, Clyde, don’t play me like that. Less talking, more shooting.