Bad Tripp

Mixed bag this week.

I thought the hospital scenes with Abby were well done. Missy Reeves was particularly good, and I teared up when she mentioned holding Abby’s fingers as a baby. I appreciated how we saw most characters in town being told the news of the accident and expressing their concern — think about how Dena handled Kayla’s brain surgery as a sad contrast.

I am still a little fuzzy on Chad’s reaction and what it means for the Chabby/Chabi relationships.

He is clearly overcome with grief and guilt for Abby, and feels keenly that the last words he said to her where “stay dead” (Billy Flynn is hitting all the beats there), but I’m not getting (yet) a sense of “It’s really you I’ve loved all along” — the dialogue feels a little more ambiguous. Even when he said tearfully to Abby “I love you,” it still didn’t come across as an epiphany, at least to me, and the camera went to Gabi’s reaction. I really don’t want to see more of him being torn between the two women — it is damaging the character. However, I might be reading this all wrong. I’m content to watch for now and see how it goes.

I am very curious what they are planning with Eric, Nicole, and Brady. They’ve cleared turned a page here and I’m waiting to see how it all shakes out.

I’ve seen some complaints that Nicole keeping her forgiveness of Eric a secret doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t bother me. People often put off uncomfortable conversations, and that’s the kind of secret I think this is — though taken to an extreme. Also, her instinct to keep this a secret could be telling, that she knows deep down that her forgiveness of Eric means other walls are coming down between them too. All I know is that the scene of them together in Eric’s room was played by both Greg and Ari with a lot of sexual tension, and the moment when she said, “Of course there is nothing between us,” as she turned away, was Soap Denial 101.

From a character (not just shipper) perspective, it was a lovely scene. We saw how much it meant to Eric that she had forgiven him, when he was worried that she had changed her mind. That gave him a reason to go along with her wishes, even though he knows it’s not a good idea. I loved that he tried to talk her out of keeping this a secret by quoting scripture, and the touch of sarcasm with “And you think this is a good idea?” was perfect.

Why is Brady suddenly gripped with irrational jealousy regarding Nicole? Who knows? They could give us any number of reasons that connected with his history with women, but they haven’t. Brady as a character has suffered from bad, or nonexistent, characterization, but he has certainly jumped from woman to woman, convinced each time that this is True Love. This could be explored, or even acknowledged, by the show, but instead the show presents each relationship with a straight face — including his current one. It would be fascinating for Brady to realize that he and Nicole have a similar history of jumping from relationship to relationship, which could give him a reason to doubt what they have now … especially in contrast to Eric’s steady constancy.

Speaking of whom, they need to do more with the fact that this is Brady’s brother he’s jealous of, who he has always been close to, and who has recently been to hell and back…. and who he was recently urging Nicole to forgive.

That brings me to Steve and Kayla. I talked last time about how this story didn’t have to be so crummy, but the fact is that it was, and Ron didn’t really do anything to fix it before heading to this big showdown. I have no sense of Tripp as a person; his characterization is so paper-thin, his reasons for blaming Kayla so laughable, that it sucked a lot of the drama out of the scenes on Friday. I know the Dena portion of the story cannot be unwritten, but how hard would it be to have Tripp overhear Kayla saying to Steve, “I just hope Tripp never finds out the truth about how his mother died” or something else to send him over the edge right now?

Kayla was written well during the scenes themselves — I liked how, after her initial shock, she went to compassion first, and then (finally!) anger when the extent of Tripp’s hatred and delusion became clear. (I’m assuming Ron knows that Steve didn’t actually “leave” Kayla for Ava.) And Steve and Joey talking about Tripp at the same time and putting the pieces together was reasonably well put together.

But, I have to admit the whole thing depressed me, and it’s going to take some pretty damn amazing writing for me to accept Tripp as a viable character after this. Also (and it really pains me to say this), but I feel a little bit like that with Joey as well. Having Joey kill Ava was a major, major mistake, and no matter how many times Steve tries to say it was “sort of” self-defense, that’s not what happened. I don’t know how Joey is exiting the canvas, but I hope it’s something that redeems him a little and gives the character some strength and independence (but doesn’t kill him off). Then, down the road, maybe we can get a recast and a fresh start for him.

In the meantime, give us a Stephanie.

Screencaps Joanie

Glimmers

I swear, this show gives me whiplash. Every week or so, along will come an episode that zips along in an enjoyable fashion, and I think “You know what, these stories are fun. Maybe I’m too hard on Dena.” And then … another episode, same characters, some stories, and it’s back to watching paint dry. Badly.

At any rate, the last few weeks, I have found glimmers to enjoy. The premise to the Orwell story is dumb, but it has provided a framework for some interesting interactions. The writing for Jennifer has been better than it has in years, getting her back to her investigative reporter roots. And, while Drew’s return is the most baffling return since … Hattie, his scenes with Jennifer have been tons of fun.  I’ve also enjoyed Gabi and Abby teaming up, though the supposed triangle with Chad/Abby/Gabi has mostly been underwhelming. Note to Days, it’s not romantic to show Chad “working on his marriage” like it’s a chore. The show is clearly setting up for something to happen with Chabi during this kidnapping, and it just makes Chad look fickle. At the moment I’m not rooting for either Chabi or Chabby — which I often find is the case with Dena’s “romances.”

In Prague, since Anna, Carrie, and Austin’s departure, we’ve had all the excitement that sitting around in the lobby can provide. Whew! But, this masquerade has at least given us some awesome eye candy:

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And Marlena throwing shade at Rafe as he fretted about the plan was comedy gold. I also liked the Paul/Sonny scenes — Sonny was adorable with all his spy talk — but I’m waiting for the show to actually give them some kind of conflict, some journey to be together. They are starting to remind me of how JJ/Gabi started — promising chemistry but no story.

As for the other big story, the baby Holly saga — I haven’t been as down on this story as so many people have, but I have to admit the last couple of weeks have been pretty bad. Chloe’s reservations about Deimos were certainly well-founded, but now it seems clear she was only using him as a convenient excuse. Which is fine, and in fact it should make the story better, but it doesn’t. It all feels slapped together for the sake of the plot.”Shit, we’re running out of reasons for Chloe to keep Holly from Nicole, come up with another one, quick!”

The only bright spot (for me, anyway) is Nicole finally getting a clue about Deimos. I know she hasn’t broken up with him yet, but that seems to be where the story is going. In his eagerness to prove he’s the man for her, he rushes out and does something stupid and violent (to the judge, to Chloe) and it ends up rebounding on Nicole. I hope that will inspire a little self-reflection on her part as to how she could be so wrong about him, but we’ll see how it shakes out.

At the moment it’s looking like I might not be getting my Ericole, since they seem to be busy setting up Brady and Nicole (and possibly Eric and Jennifer) instead. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy Eric’s return and take it as it comes. Eric’s scenes with Jennifer were surprisingly bittersweet, especially the moment when she called herself his friend. Greg Vaughan did so well conveying how touched Eric was by that, showing how isolated he has been. This was another bittersweet moment, from today:

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I’m ready for him to have scenes with people other than Hope. I’m curious what will bring him back to Salem, if he’ll come back with Hope when she is cleared or if it’s something else. I was intrigued to find out that these Hope/Eric scenes were probably originally planned for a new character – a casting call went out for a former doctor who lived off the grid, who would be interacting with Hope. It will be interesting to see if we can pinpoint when the main story for Eric kicks in.

Screencaps Forever_SAFE

Sex, lies, and videotape

Yesterday’s show was really good.

I’m mildly intrigued by this story with Summer.

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I’m fully prepared for this to be really cheesy and a big letdown, but I always like a little mystery. And I think Nicole’s growing attachment to Brady has been played in a fairly natural way. Theresa’s insecurity was overplayed, but at least they brought it to life in a vivid way, with those two nightmare fantasy sequences. I was tickled they made a reference to Daniel’s heart letting him make love to Nicole, because I joked about that last week.

Similarly, I really like the idea of Phillip pretending to work for Deimos. First, it gives Phillip a chance to show he has a brain (fingers crossed), and creates some complications for Deimos as he pursues his plans – which I’m guessing are a lot more complicated than just getting revenge on Victor.

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Belle finally showed a little introspection, though they are not using her history nearly as much as they could. Her explanation that she is sick of always having to be the mature one would have been better if they had connected it to the fact that she found her “soulmate” and got married and had a baby so young. Or rather … she got pregnant, got married, had a baby, had an affair, got a divorce, got married again, and had another affair … actually, two affairs.

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Okay, so maybe her claim to being the “mature” one doesn’t bear too much scrutiny, but I won’t quibble.

Of course the standouts of the show were Steve and Kayla. I have a suspicion that this reveal is happening sooner than was planned. Just a guess, but usually soap secrets last longer than this. But, I’m not complaining. I’m glad they showed Steve with John, deciding to come clean, just as Kayla was getting the video from Ava. Typical soap gambit there, deciding to tell the truth just when it’s too late, but effective. (And nice to see Steve and John share a scene. Aren’t they supposed to be running a business together?) Some really great lines in this scene. Steve “I didn’t want to hurt you.” Kayla: “It’s too late.” Stephen and Mary Beth added some great touches, like when Kayla was twisting her ring like she was going to take it off, maybe throw it in his face, but she didn’t.

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I also really liked Kayla’s line that she spend so many years being angry with him, he came back into her life and pushed and pushed, and said things will be different, and look what happened. It wasn’t exactly fair, but it was a perfect way to use the fact that Kayla did take him back on faith, and maybe he didn’t have to earn his way back quite as much as we — or at least I — would have liked. Since we just saw a story where Steve earned back Kayla’s trust, and now he has to do again, I hope we’ll see this play out differently somehow. I’m not sure how to reinvent it, but I hope they mix it up. Silent Bob, where are you? 🙂

Screencaps Joanie

Dreamy

Don’t judge me, but I’m kind of enjoying this story of Brady’s dreams.

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The premise is pretty dopey, but what is making it work is the way Nicole is eagerly latching onto Brady as her last link to Daniel (I know, I know, but if I put that aside). In turn, it seems clear that Brady himself is sympathetic to her pain — it’s not just because he is channeling Daniel’s feelings. That grounds this all in something real. Plus, Ari and Eric Martsolf have always had chemistry. I can’t get behind them as an endgame, rootable couple, but for something like this I enjoy their scenes together.

I thought it was stupid at first that the Basic Black story was being so hastily abandoned. Not that I thought it was really working that well, but it seemed like a strange left turn. Nicole and Theresa are going to be business rivals of Kate instead of business partners who act like rivals. Yawn. But now it makes sense. Bringing Brady into the DJ Designs company should put the three of them — Nicole, Theresa, Brady — in a nice pressure cooker of tension and temptation.

In other news, I was pretty underwhelmed by Chad’s reaction to Stefano’s death. Maybe he didn’t fully believe Andre, or maybe finding out Hope really did do it will change his attitude. I hope so, because if he’s not conflicted about any of this, where’s the story?

Here’s Jen hopped up on pills, raving about Abby’s wedding dress:

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Hee! More please.