Hey, not bad

I wanted to do a post on today’s show because I thought it was actually decent.

Aideninterrogation

I’ve been rolling my eyes for weeks at Hope’s willingness to get back together with Aiden when HIS SON RAPED HER DAUGHTER, but today was a decent payoff for that frustration. My frustration was partly with the show, and not just with Hope. I thought they were genuinely trying to sell us Haiden, round 2. An idea I find so nauseating it is making Rope look good — seriously.

(And all this happening while Rafe lay tied up with the timer ticking down was fairly suspenseful, though I think they could have stretched it out even more. Like Hope goes to his house to cry on his shoulder, but his mother tells her triumphantly that Rafe is done with her and is with Blanca. So Hope goes home, discouraged … as the clock ticks down.)

I liked that Aiden’s fudging on when he was actually replaced with the double came back to bite him. It was such a weaselly lie — he already spilled he was working for the Dimeras and was hired to kill her, but he couldn’t resist holding back that one extra fact.

But why was Roman so eager to excuse Hope for giving Aiden another chance? Why was everyone? One of my pet peeves with modern Days is how other characters on the show are so willing to excuse a supposed “good” character’s actions. You know, people don’t have to agree on things.

But I should be careful what I wish for, because when Days does disagreement it sometimes turns out like Chad and Jennifer today.

ChadJennifer

I thought the scenes themselves were great, honestly. Billy Flynn and Missy Reeves did really well and had a really nice rhythm going. Their recriminations they were hurling at each other were nicely specific — I liked that Jen said she was wary of him from the beginning, because she was, though saying Ben only went crazy because of Chad was stretching things a bit far. And I liked how he brought up her pill popping and said she was just doing this because she was going crazy about her daughter.

But. It all came out of freaking nowhere. We needed to see Jennifer seeing something specific to set her off, to make the danger to Thomas seem urgent. And we needed a longer buildup of simmering frustration, more distrust between the two of them, before this final crack up.

Well, one takes what one can get, these days.

 

Doubt

Great couple of episodes for Steve and Kayla!

At first I was upset that the charges against him were just going to go away. But I suspect the ISA’s “favor” to him will come with strings attached, so it’s really just a turn in the story rather than the story being dropped. And it was really what led to the crisis with Kayla.

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I loved the irony of that, that it was Steve getting out of trouble unscathed that brought things to a head. As she told Roman today, Kayla was ready to stand by Steve through the trial and everything that followed. But the fact that everything was dropped, and especially Steve’s reaction to that — that “it couldn’t have worked out any better” — was what really sent her over the edge.

This all works really well as a continuation of their conflict from last fall. They made it clear back then that Kayla was taking a leap of faith to be with Steve again, and he hadn’t necessarily earned his way back. So it would make sense that the issues that were unresolved then, would come back to haunt them now. It broke my heart when she said to him that she loved him and always would, that that wasn’t what this was about. I really appreciated that Kayla told Roman she didn’t enjoy breaking up with Steve — it showed she isn’t doing this out of anger.

I thought the Tina character was clunky, and way too convenient. But I kind of liked double Steve, serving as the voice of what Kayla’s worries, and showing Steve has taken her words to heart.

Overall, this is all a certainly a decently organic conflict for them, and who they are as characters. We remember the Steve we knew back in the 80’s, the tomcat who told her “I got nine lives, baby.” And it fits that Kayla as a grown-up professional, with a son who desperately needs help, would be risk-averse and keenly aware of her responsibilities. I do regret one thing, however. Back then, Steve kept telling her that they were too different to work as a couple, and one of the things he meant was just this difference — he lived on the edge, she was the middle class princess who wanted a settled life. One thing that became clear as their love story unfolded is that Steve wasn’t as drawn to danger as much as he pretended, and Kayla wasn’t as enamored of the settled life as he assumed of course she would be. So I do regret that their current dilemma is more of a stereotype of the bad boy/good girl difference than their original story was, which turned many of those stereotypes on their heads.

I thought the Abby/Chad/Ben scenes today were excellent.

Abbyvision

Kate Mansi is doing such a great job showing Abby losing her sanity, and yet not wanting to admit it. I like how she isn’t overplaying the “I’m fine, I’m fine” (too many actors do, to signal they’re not fine, but sometimes that makes it hard for us to believe the other characters don’t pick up on it). The moment when she saw Ben and was able to make him disappear was a perfect lead in to when the real Ben appeared. I love this twist — she’s having visions of him, AND he’s really there. It’s like that old joke:  just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Cleaning up

I’m a day behind in my Days watching — we’ve got guests coming this weekend so this has been me, frantically cleaning:

Theresaring

Just kidding. I would never clean that thoroughly.

I’ve been feeling pretty good about the show this week. The Chabby story has been really effective drama. I am loving the return of Rob Wilson (last summer, who would have thought I would ever say that?). I love that while Abby is clearly delusional, there is still the possibility that Ben is also stalking her. That keeps us (and Abby!) on edge and off balance.

I’ll catch up with y’all Sunday!

It was a dark and stormy night

Very cool episode today. I love it when Days does something different, and this was definitely different — tightly focused on one story, unfolding in real time, moody, spooky, intense.

I really enjoyed not knowing if Ben is back or not. Are we watching Abby slowly losing her mind, or are we watching a very, very clever stalker? Both possibilities are ripe for drama, and I hope they keep us guessing awhile longer.

But the really burning question is, which asshole gave them this damn gorilla?

gorilla

That thing is creepy as hell.

I thought it was very clever to use Chad’s earlier lie about Ben, when he didn’t want to ruin their wedding day, to give Abby a reason not to trust his reassurances. Maybe he’s lying again, to protect her, to placate her.

JJ was much more helpful. I really loved the JJ and Abby scene, where he talked about her singing to him, and how much he trusted his big sister and felt safe with her. It was a very effective way to counter her fear, to remind her of her strength, at least for a moment. But it was only for a moment. Kate Mansi was truly excellent when she cried, “He’s gotten inside my head!”

And what a great cliffhanger! Man, I have missed Robert Scott Wilson.

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Can’t wait to find out what happens!

The Saddest Little Wedding in the World

Remember how Jennifer was so stressed when she was planning this wedding that she was popping pills over it? Maybe she would have felt better if she knew no one was going to show up:

So many empty chairs …

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Hope, Steve, Kayla, Joey, JJ (though he did show up eventually), Maggie, Gabi, Rafe … all MIA. I know some of these people were busy with the shootout and kidnapping drama, but it felt wrong to have some of these people actually in the episode, but not at the wedding.

Of course I’m always happy to see Eric, and he was looking extremely fine, by the way:

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I liked this little scene — Eric trying to help Jennifer, getting rebuffed, and then backsliding himself. It shows Eric isn’t a saint, he’s struggling himself. It just makes me mad, though, if I think about it too much. This story is good and Greg Vaughan is doing well in it, but it feels like an afterthought. And why doesn’t anyone in his family seem to notice or care what he’s going through? This isn’t right!

Anyway. Back the wedding. The groom was handsome, the bride looked beautiful:

Chabbywedding

It felt like the scriptwriter, and certainly the actors, were doing their best, even if the overall construction of it felt rushed and anticlimactic. I really appreciated the thought that went into the dialogue. The vows were lovely, and the reading from Jack’s book. (But why was Julie reading it? Why not Adrienne, or, I don’t know, Steve?)

The drama surrounding Ben’s appearances is really good. I like that we don’t know if it’s really Ben or some kind of delusion, with the evidence pointing toward a delusion. Today’s cliffhanger throws that into doubt a bit, but I’m thinking this has to do with Abby’s upcoming exit. I’m afraid that she’s going to end up going to a mental institution. If that’s the case, though, I wish they had held off and given Chabby fans a little more time — just a week or two? a few days? — to just be happy. That doesn’t seem to be too much to ask. But that’s not the way weddings happen now. You always have to have a dramatic interruption, a big reveal, or the bride shoots the groom in the head, or something.

Grumble.

 

 

Diehard Days

What did you guys think of the big shootout at the OK warehouse? I thought it was fun, but it made me laugh too. Eduardo’s leap to take the bullet for Rafe was a great story idea, but the staging of it made me think of the Simpson’s episode where Homer trains to be a bodyguard:

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The Chad and Abby scenes with Thomas’s birth certificate were really wonderful.

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This isn’t the dress Theresa originally designed, is it?

Such a lovely gesture on Chad’s part, and I loved his explanation for not giving Thomas his last name, that it hasn’t done him any good and he doesn’t want Thomas carrying it around. I also loved that he said Abby represented the best of both of them.

The wedding itself was sad, though. I see we’re back to pathetically attended events. I liked the conversations at the beginning, as Jennifer, Julie, and Adrienne all shared something special with Abby. The “Norm de Plume” poem was an especially nice callback, and I loved having Adrienne there to represent the Johnson family. But only six people watching as Abby walks down the aisle? That is really, really pathetic.

But, what a cliffhanger – two cliffhangers! Between Ben’s (possible) appearance and John’s very, very creepy dad, color me excited for next week.

 

 

 

Shrine

What a great episode.

I loved how we started out with Steve and Kayla cooperating, working to investigate Ava and make a case for her psychosis. Then, inevitably, the tension between them came bubbling up when they tried to talk about Steve and Ava’s trip to Jakarta. I loved how Kayla said defensively that “I’m just gathering evidence” and then immediately asked him if he was drawn to Ava because she was dangerous and exciting.  I didn’t like it when Kayla said she knew she wasn’t edgy, but that was probably more my own bias than not being a believable source of insecurity. At least she didn’t say she knew she wasn’t sexy.

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Anyway, it led into the best part of the episode, when Steve said that the most dangerous, exciting moment of his life when she “let” him kiss her (which cracked me up because, mostly, it was the other way around). This is such a great callback to an essential element of their early love story — how afraid Steve was of opening up. I love hearing that acknowledged.

At the brunch with Steve and Mary Beth, Steve said to watch out for a spiral staircase — that these are the stairs from the old loft set:

Stairs

Well, take my word for it, there really are stairs there.

And what do you know? Those stairs led to my 8th grade bedroom!

shrine

This is funny, especially the poems and motivational quotes, like something out of “Chicken Soup for the Stalker’s Soul.” But it was chilling too, especially the pictures of Kayla with “Death” scrawled over her face. I imagine this will go far – ya think? – in establishing that Ava was a threat.

Joey and Kayla’s conversation was also good. It’s still not working for me that Joey is a murderer and he’s letting his dad cover for him, but I liked when Joey challenged Kayla on whether she could forgive Steve, and said that he already had. It was a good way to confirm how Kayla is feeling, that she is still hurt but is starting to forgive him.

Another good conversation was between Abby and Jennifer:

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It’s been bugging me how Abby is acquiescing so much to Chad’s wishes, so I thought it was very effective that Jen brought that up, saying Abby could have asserted herself, she could have put her foot down, and said she didn’t want to live in the Dimera mansion. Abby’s worry about Ben made the whole conversation more fraught than it would have been otherwise, and lent credence to Jen’s concerns. But Abby made a good point too, that she has her son and the man she loves, and this is something she can do for Chad. Of course it begs the question of why Chad wants to live there (because we have to use the set, Abby!), and I was glad Jen asked her that.

Good stuff for the Hernandez clan too. I loved how Ariana’s kidnapping forced Eduardo to confide in Rafe about his past, and gave Gabi and JJ some good emotional scenes. Good episode all around!