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?

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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:

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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:

JenAbby

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!

Anticipation

Friday and Monday featured the stories I’m not as invested in, but they were both really strong episodes. You could argue that today’s episode was a little overstuffed, but after the last few months of people being stranded in their bubbles, I found it refreshing.

I am not invested in Summer as a character (at least not yet), and I’m definitely not invested in her as another long lost child for Maggie, but I’m enjoying what this story is doing for Brady. This is the first time I can remember him actively trying to help another person. It kind of amazes me that Days doesn’t seem to get that — that what makes us admire and root for people is for them to do admirable things. I also like the fact that Theresa’s suspicion of Summer isn’t crazy or unfounded, and they are playing the disagreement about her in a pretty low-key way so far.

There was a big Twitter dust-up over a picture that Vincent Irizarry tweeted of him with Judi Evans (and I really, really hope we will see Deimos and Adrienne share scenes!) In the background of that photo there was someone who looked very much like Freddie Smith. I wasn’t getting too excited about it either way —  though I like Sonny and I want Paul to have a love interest. I figured, even if he was coming back, it was months and months away. But two mentions of Sonny in two weeks? I smell a return!

John and Eduardo are a lot of fun.

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There is something about seeing two alpha males who distrust each other, and yet are forced to cooperate, that I just love. It’s what I loved about Steve and RoJohn, and Steve and Bo, back in the 80’s. (If they throw Steve into this mix too, I may faint.) Eduardo’s intense investment in Kate seems a little extreme, and not earned by the non-relationship that we saw onscreen. But, A plays that frustrated attraction so well, I kind of love it anyway. It’s a way of giving him a personal stake in his investigation of Deimos, so it’s a good idea on that score.

And, finally, the Chabby scenes with JJ and Jennifer were brief but very good. Jennifer’s defensiveness about her pills was well done. They seem to be playing her addiction as linked to a being a bit of a perfectionist and a supermom, with all her talk about how she can handle anything Abby throws at her and such. That’s not something we’ve seen, really, but it somehow fits. It plays on her past as the Horton golden girl. I’m liking this. The wedding planning scene with Chad was really subtle in its awkwardness, with Jen trying to be welcoming but maybe trying to hard. That felt very real.

JJ and Chad have great chemistry — I’ve loved all their scenes together lately. JJ had a great line when he said he was sure a few months in a psychology clinic completely cured Ben of his tendency to kill people. Casey Moss was great there. Chad’s rationale for keeping the escape a secret from Abby was a little weak, but it’s what soap men do all the time, so I fully expected him to prevail on JJ.  Abby’s suspicious look, though:

AbbyJJChad

I was very pleasantly surprised when JJ spit out the truth after all. When she then chewed them both out for keeping secrets it was, again, just very classic, old school soap, and I loved it.

All in all, things are looking very, very promising. Can’t wait to see what happens next, and when was the last time I felt this way?

Screenshots Forever Safe.

Not guilty

(Sorry to be late with this. This is about Thursday’s show. Haven’t watched Friday yet!)

Every story has a little more zing to it when they mix up the cast interaction, and I’m very happy we saw so much of that on Thursday. I particularly enjoyed JJ’s scenes with Chad and Abby at the start of the episode.

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The undercurrents were delightful in the scene where Chad told JJ to tell Abby the truth (Ben’s escape), and JJ exchanged looks with him and proceeded to lie his ass off — which is, of course, exactly what Chad wanted. JJ’s lie (that he would support their marriage) was sweet, and tied in nicely to the fact that he and Chad are now cooperating to protect Abby.

And … they are keeping secrets from her, which always turns out well.

Steve and Kayla’s scenes were as good as I hoped they would be. Really nice work by Stephen and Mary Beth in the opening scene, as they discussed how best to protect Joey.

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I am still upset that Joey is a murderer, and I think Steve and Kayla should have expressed more shock and dismay at the fact that Joey killed someone. What happened to Kayla “murder is wrong” Brady?

(Sigh. Doing my best to get past it.)

I really liked how Joey talked about Ava had succeeded in tearing them apart, and Steve was the one to pipe up and say they weren’t going to let her succeed. It was a nice show of faith on his part. I also appreciate that Steve isn’t determined to throw himself to the wolves, that he’s looking for ways to plead self defense. That makes Joey’s willingness to let Steve take the fall more palatable, and it shows growth for the character of Steve. In times past, when Steve tried to martyr himself, he often acted like the more he suffered, the more he would benefit the person he was trying to help. And this has been a great way to use Belle. More please!

And, for all of us who have been begging and begging for a Steve/Adrienne scene:

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Squeee! It was very, very brief, but very, very welcome!

And please, please, please let this turn snake thing turn into something really cool and interesting, that connects to another story on the canvas, and gives Blackpatch a chance to investigate something!

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The Summer story was the weakest part of the show, because I’m not particularly invested in Summer being Maggie’s daughter (WHY NOT BRING ON SARAH HORTON, YOU MORONS?) but they managed to intrigue me even here. What does Summer want with Nicole’s sunglasses? Or those heart-shaped earrings? (Were those Theresa’s, by the way? I lost focus for a minute.) Looks like she’s got a hidden agenda, and I just hope to God it’s more complex than “I fell instantly in love with Brady and I will make him mine at all costs.”

Of course, these scenes were drastically improved by the mesmerizing sight of Ari Zucker’s cleavage:

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Thank you, costume department!

Screencaps Joanie