Fragments

Today was a fun episode. The highlight for me was actually the short scene between Abe and Kayla, when she told him he still had fragments of the bullet in his chest. It was just very real and heartfelt, as Kayla tried to soothe him and he demanded to know the truth about his condition.

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James Reynolds took this meatier material and ran with it like the old pro that he is, and Kayla was so warm and comforting. I liked seeing Mary Beth Evans given the chance to do something other than worry about Joey. Kyler Pettis is doing great work as Theo in this story, and all of the teens in the hospital were surprisingly good.

I also enjoyed the Steve, Kayla, John, and Marlena scenes, talking about Orpheus, reviewing the past and analyzing his character.

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Considering how so many of the women characters have been sidelined lately, it was satisfying to me to have Marlena play the role of the profiler, talking about Orpheus’s motivations.

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Criminal profiles usually end up sounding pretty facile on TV, and this was no exception, but I genuinely thought it worked well. It was effective to cut from her discussion of how Orpheus wasn’t a true sociopath because he was able to love, to Orpheus looking at pictures of his family and Joey trying to engage him.

I also appreciate that Joey (and Claire, when she was there) was actually doing, or trying to do, something. I love my 60-something heroes and I could watch Steve crouching in an alley exchanging gunfire all day long, but I want to be able to root for the younger characters too. So when Brady and Sonny act like idiots and John and Steve get the job done, I’m kind of curious what the show is trying to do. Don’t they want to give Brady and Sonny a chance to win viewers’ hearts?

Speaking of Brady and Sonny, I was torn about yesterday’s show and this Kirakis-vs.-Dimera thing they are setting up. First of all, Days shouldn’t do business storylines. Whenever they do, it’s so obvious they have no idea what they are talking about. “We have to operationalize our assets.” “It’s mission-critical to stay incentivized.” “Did you put the cover on the TPS reports?”

Also, it is so frustrating that Dena is in such a hurry to get the plot going. A feud like this should develop much more organically. I’m all for Chad being a little shady, but it should take a lot more than a couple weak arguments from Kate to get him to work with Andre again. I think Billy and Thaao have a fun brotherly chemistry and I’m all for them sharing scenes, but that was ridiculous.

Sad to see the Dimera “family” reduced to Chad, Andre, and Kate. Might as well give Thomas a VP spot.

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Awww.

The Kiriakis living room, on the other hand, is stuffed to the gills. It was fun seeing all those actors together, most of whom I like very much, all yelling at each other. I got the sense they were having a lot of fun with these scenes. And Deimos really did fit right in. I still think he could work as the new Victor, when Victor was shady and ruthless — the remaining Kiriakises are just too good right now. Deimos set my teeth on edge with his condescension towards Theresa at the beginning of the episode — he used the same “don’t bother your pretty little head” voice on Nicole on Monday and I hated it then too. But if Deimos is being set up as a villain, it works. I’m glad Theresa complained about it and barged into the meeting later to chew them out, even if it all ended up feeling a little bizarre.

Deimos seems to be buying that Phillip is the father of Chloe’s baby for now, though Phillip’s fumbling answer to his questions should have been a big red flag. Until last week, I was almost completely tuned out of the baby story and anything involving Deimos and Nicole, but Eric’s potential future involvement in it all has galvanized my investment immeasurably.

I can’t exactly say that the show is good right now, but I am enjoying each episode much more than I was, and there are definitely some things that have me interested at least. The pieces are there for some interesting and dramatic stories, if the show could just find a way to put them together.

Screencaps Joanie and Forever SAFE

Apparitions

Ghosts and more ghosts!

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I thought Billy Flynn did an excellent job in the scenes with Stefano. “I don’t know who to be …” That was really amazing. And Stefano was channeling Jacob Marley when he essentially said “I wear the chain I forged in life,” and encouraged Chad to turn it around so the same thing didn’t happen to him. I loved seeing Joe Mascolo again, I love that Chad got to say goodbye, but I admit to being a little bit disappointed in the outcome. I think it would have been messier and more interesting if Stefano had asked Chad to avenge him. Telling him it was Hope who killed him would have been too much, but something to make it a little harder for Chad to move on. If Chad is totally unconcerned about Andre, and now he’s been given Stefano’s blessing to move on, where’s the conflict? Partly, I’m just so annoyed by the pitiful fallout from Stefano’s death. Seeing Chad cared about Stefano is a step in the right direction, but I want more.

We also got to see Ava again, of course, haunting Joey, leading to his anguished confession to Kayla.

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I was surprised he confessed so soon. I’m glad for the character that he doesn’t want his father taking the blame for what he did, but in terms of the story I think this is playing out too quickly. James Lastovic and Mary Beth did great in those scenes yesterday, but I think a few more days of agonizing and worry about Steve would have upped the ante. A mother could never give up her son, even to save her husband, but I think the “Sophie’s choice” aspect could have had more punch. The “fact” that Steve killed Ava would have been a wonderful beat to play with for a little while — Mary Beth would have been awesome showing the layers there. Kayla can’t be sorry she’s dead, she might even feel a little bit glad that Steve did it, but she feels guilty and ashamed for feeling that way — and maybe even guilty that Steve was possibly driven to do it for her. She’s angry at Steve, but she doesn’t want him to go to jail, but maybe she also feels angry with  him for putting himself in a position to go to jail. Meanwhile Joey could be watching all this and then finally burst out with the truth.

But, this should still be interesting stuff going forward. I’m still holding out a faint hope that something will happen to excuse Joey a little, but for Steve and Kayla this should be interesting. I really like Belle coming in and being the strong defense lawyer. It’s one sure way to get me like Belle again!

I really liked how Eric and Jennifer’s story played out. It was a great twist to have Jennifer, instead of drunk Eric, be the one who didn’t remember their argument and kiss. Missy was genuinely funny in her skepticism about his story: “We kissed, yeah, okay.” You all know I will love Ericole forever, but I am enjoying Jeneric more than I thought I would. I loved seeing Eric’s determination to bring her to a meeting, and when she didn’t show, how he turned to Marlena.

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The best part of this scene is when he talked about how he caused the accident, how Jen was addicted to pills because of him, and how he owed it to her to make this right. (Character motivation! Thank you, Josh!) I am devastated that Greg is leaving, but I am glad the character of Eric Brady is getting a good exit.

Screencaps Joanie

Punched

I’m sure it was cathartic for many people, but I was not really a fan of Kayla attacking Ava. It felt a little over the top. I also felt that Ava succeeded in dragging Kayla down to her level. I did like it when she turned stone cold afterwards and succeeded (at least temporarily) in getting her to leave town.

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I did pause again today to marvel at how unnecessarily complicated Ava’s plan was. She schemed with Joey to get Steve and Kayla back together … just so she could have the pleasure of breaking them up again? Why did Joey need to be involved at all? He would have been a perfect tool for revenge against Kayla if she had slept with him (he would have), but what, she’s too honorable? She pretended to have leukemia to gain Steve’s sympathy, but then went straight for the crazy kidnapping, blackmail, forced sex, and then rubbing Steve and Kayla’s nose in it and generally cackling with glee. Finding out her child died could have been a reason to go off the deep end, but that only explains the last two things.

Why am I even wasting time thinking about this? Days isn’t going for character development here, except, well, bitches be crazy.

Steve and Hope’s scene were really nice. I love their friendship, and it was nice to have someone in Steve’s corner, who can be more neutral about what he felt forced to do. I also appreciated how she thanked him for bringing Bo home. I’m not sure why Hope was drinking in the middle of the day, but it was a nice scene between the two of them. It also pushed all my nostalgia buttons when he called her “sweet thing.”

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I still haven’t reconciled myself to Ciara’s storyline, so I’m not going to comment on it except to say I really didn’t like Chase and Andre’s conversation. I am glad (I guess?) that Chase recognized what he did as rape, but Andre trying to talk him out of it just made my skill crawl. Andre just isn’t the kind of villain who they should use in that way. Ben or Clyde could have had that conversation with Chase and it would have been horrible, but it would have worked because those guys are stone cold evil. Andre is more of a cartoon villain, beloved by viewers, and I just don’t want to hear him be the voice of “it wasn’t rape, she wanted it.” Ugh.

Finally, I was sorry to hear Summer say that Daniel was a wonderful man. I was hoping against hope that they were going to find out he had done something horrible to her.

Screencaps Forever Safe

Failing up

Well, most of you have probably heard the latest news. Josh Griffith has left the show. Dena Higley will stay on, and breakdown and dialogue writer Ryan Quan will join her as co-headwriter. It’s not clear whether Josh left voluntarily or not. My suspicion is that this is due to a combination of the recent renewal (which probably involved budget cuts) and a power play between Dena and Josh.

I’m sick about this. I like Josh Griffith. I really do not like Dena Higley. Even when she has a decent idea the execution is always terrible. What does she have on Ken Corday, so that he keeps hiring her and supporting her?

On Daytime Royalty they are talking about organizing a fan campaign to get rid of her. Apparently this worked once before, in 2011. I’ll keep you all posted about that, if anyone is interested in participating.

As for today’s show, I thought it was quite good. Vivian Jovanni did well, better than I thought she would. And Joey and Theo were so sweet. Chase’s text “R U Okay?” was creepy, in a (sort of) good way. It shows he is going to convince himself it wasn’t rape and he’s not a bad guy. To say I’m not on board with this story is an understatement, but I’ll give it a chance if it’s executed well.

I thought the Eric/Jennifer scenes were great. When he said “I wish it was me too” – sob. Truly heartbreaking. Jen’s pill addiction happened way too fast, but I like that Eric called her out on it. Another great line: “What do you grab hold of when there’s nothing left to hold on to?” And then the kiss, which didn’t bother me. The show is obviously not going for Ericole, so let’s get Eric some action while he’s still in town. If they give me more scenes like today, I’ll take it.

My favorite part of the episode was (surprisingly) the Andre/Hope/Rafe scenes.

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I am so angry with Rafe and Hope, and their smugness, right now. I’m not sure if that’s what the show intends for me to feel, but it made me appreciate Andre’s jabs, and Lani’s suspicious looks, and Roman’s doubts. I’m actually invested in this story for the first time, because I want them to be caught. In addition to Lani’s suspicions (and clear dislike of Hope), I have a feeling that Chad is going to believe in Andre’s innocence. This might get interesting.

Sigh. Still depressed.

Mix and match

Hey, if Lani and Shawn become a couple, we can call them “Lawn” because it’s like watching grass grow!

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I kid, I kid. I have no opinion on them yet. It seems to me the past couple of days have taken some characters out of their usual orbits, and there seems to be some chem testing going on, especially with Lani and Fynn. I’m still on the fence about Lani. I feel like I could warm up to her – maybe.

But Fynn is another story. Fynn is like the Hydra, what grew in the place where we chopped off Daniel’s head. He’s a doctor, he’s a sleaze, and he’s everyone’s best friend. Why are he and Shawn best buds suddenly? And Claire is confiding in him? Ugh. I took an instant dislike to him at the beginning and now that I’ve seen him talking to Daniel’s shrine I hate him even more. Not to mention that sleazy scene about his sex tapes. Do they think we will see this and think “what a charming rogue”? Ick.

I wish I enjoyed Belle being bitchy to Shawn. I wanted to enjoy it, but she was so passive aggressive it pushed all my formerly Belle-hating buttons. He questions whether she can afford to buy an expensive ring and she turns it into “You are questioning my perfection, waaah!” But I also thought Shawn’s line about her “crossing a line” (presumably with Phillip) was patronizing and uncalled-for. Basically, I hated them both in that scene. And Phillip isn’t impressing me his smarts, either — Deimos just took him behind the woodshed and whupped him with one hand tied behind his back. He didn’t even make it a challenge.

Okay, I hate being so negative – moving on. There was some good stuff these last two days. Today, I especially liked the scenes with Andre and Chase.

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Chase is still a blank slate, so they could turn him into a bad seed, which I could totally go for.  I liked the way he said “I hurt people” so calmly, as a statement of fact. That worked a lot better for me than his pathetic explanation and apology to Ciara and Theo last week. Andre was laying it on pretty thick about how much they had in common, how they were going to meet again, and how Chase shouldn’t tell anyone. He came across as, well, a pedophile grooming his next victim. But it worked — in a really, really creepy way.

And it probably wasn’t intentional, but Ciara was reasoning like a battered wife where Chase is concerned. “Oh, I can’t even think about dating, what would it do to Chase?” He’s just crazy because he loves me so much – I’ll tiptoe around him and keep him placated at all costs.

I also liked the Hernandez clan dinner. Gabi was really cute teasing (and cheerleading) the two men for actually getting along. And Galen and A have a really nice father/son chemistry, partly hostile, but friendly too. I liked Eduardo getting a little tipsy and talking about his regrets and encouraging Rafe to go after what (or who) he wants. A is really selling me on both Eddy’s urgent desire to connect with his family, and his bittersweet knowledge that it’s all a little too late — he can never get those years back.

And finally, I found Thrady genuinely sweet and touching in their scenes with the ukelele:

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It all could have come off as way too precious and self-consciously cute (I sometimes feel that way about Jen Lilley), but it all felt natural and unforced. I like their self-deprecating jokes about singing, and how Brady played for her to cheer her up, and she turned around and played for him later. And I thought their conversation about Nicole and Theresa’s uncertainty about her was surprisingly mature.

The “they can’t have sex” angle is obviously to create a little distance so Nicole can be more of a problem. (The scenes skeeved me out a little, but I think that was Fynn’s presence. Yup, I really hate Fynn.) No doubt Daniel’s heart won’t give Brady any trouble if he tries to have sex with Nicole.

But imagine how Daniel’s heart would react if it was Melanie. Ha!

Born yesterday

I share the general feeling (among Steve and Kayla fans, anyway) that Steve should be more skeptical. This doesn’t fit his personality, to be so trusting, especially of someone like Ava.

But I actually enjoyed these scenes quite a bit:

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I love the look on Steve’s face, thinking he might have a son who was sold as a baby the black market. This is how to get Steve where he lives. And I’m actually really happy that there is a mystery here. First, I’m relieved as a shipper that this is baby from the 1990’s. Second, is there really a baby or is Ava making this up? Third, if there is a baby, what happened to him? Could be some fun twists and turns along the way here.

Andre and shirtless Chad snarking at each other? I’ll take that:

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I’m a little disappointed that Chad, Abby, and Belle won’t be conspiring to fool Andre into thinking Chad is still brainwashed. I think I would have enjoyed that. But with Stefano out of the picture, the Dimera legacy is up for grabs. I loved Chad taunting Andre that he has nothing — no money, no power. And Andre turning around and saying Chad can’t wish away the fact that he’s a Dimera. What will be their reaction to Stefano turning up “missing” and then dead? There’s a lot of potential here – Dimera vs. Dimera. Yum!

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Death of the Phoenix

Yowza! Now that, dear readers, is a Friday cliffhanger!

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They gave Stefano all the best lines today, when he called Bo “the ape you married” and told Hope the only time she was interesting is when she was brainwashed Princess Gina. He missed an opportunity to taunt her about Aiden, though. I wonder if she’ll ever find out that Aiden was working for Stefano?

It slowly dawned on me that Stefano was goading her deliberately — he wanted her to shoot him. We’ll probably find out that he was dying, and he wanted to go out with a (literal) bang. If so, I think that’s fantastic.

It’s also very, very smart on the part of the show. As far as I can tell, Joe Mascolo’s exit was kept under wraps. In these days of spoilers (and shooting five months in advance), that’s quite an achievement. And it’s been obvious for awhile now that Joe’s health prevents him from playing anything but a limited role.

But boy, he still looks amazing, doesn’t he?

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I have a lot of affection for Stefano and Joe Mascolo, even though I prefer supervillains who have at least some relationship to reality — Victor in the 80’s is the gold standard. But I loved Joe’s booming voice, and the gravitas he brought to the part even when the character was at his silliest. (If you’re feeling nostalgic about Dimera craziness, here’s a post I did reviewing Stefano’s greatest hits. Good times!)

Thaao was obviously brought back to take on the mantle of Dimera patriarch, and I hope he gets more opportunities to flex his supervillain muscles than we’ve seen so far. This has strong story potential for him and for Chad.

And I’m very curious about where they can take Hope after all this. In retrospect I kind of appreciate this dark road they’ve taken for her. Instead of her showing up and shooting him out of the blue, we’ve seen her slowly driven to further and further extremes, so I believe she would do this. The important thing going forward, though, is that she brings herself out of this dark place and recognizes it was the wrong thing to do. I don’t want the show to justify or excuse her actions. I can see Rafe covering for her, and I think that could be a good story, but only if that too is presented as the wrong choice.

Of course, if this all turns out to be a Hope dream sequence, I take it all back. 🙂

The fallout from the accident has gotten better and better as the week has gone on. Ari looked quite beautiful, with no makeup and wearing Daniel’s coat:

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And I thought the scenes with new Parker (yay!) and Chloe were a nice beat. I think what might actually work for me in all this is not Nicole losing the “love of her life” (pffft), but missing the chance to be stepmother to Parker. Another child lost.

The best part of the episode, in my opinion, was Eric finding out he killed Daniel.

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This was heartbreaking. I thought the intercutting with Brady, hearing the news about Daniel’s heart, was effective (though I’m not sure Eric Martsolf does angst as well as Greg Vaughan). I’m obviously not Daniel’s biggest fan, but I love when the show pays attention to male friendships. And Greg was fantastic showing Eric’s dawning horror of the truth. I loved the little moment when Marlena put her hand on his chest, and he put his hand on hers.

The other moment I appreciated was when John pulled Roman aside and asked if Eric was going to be arrested once he recovers. It wasn’t very tactful, maybe, but it made sense because it was framed by John’s concern for Marlena — how much she’s had to deal with, and how much more can she take. It’s been driving my crazy all week that I couldn’t tell if anyone knew, or cared, that Eric had caused the accident. This was a good way to put that thread out there, to be picked up once the medical stuff is over. I foresee some heavy angst about this, and bring it on! I’m going to try to my hardest not to let my disappointment about Ericole color my enjoyment of this story. It looks like Greg is finally going to get some major material to play, after being in the background for months, and I’m going to enjoy watching him as long as he’s on my screen.