Christmas cheer

Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit. Maybe it’s that Steve and Kayla are happy, and I’m looking forward to Greg’s return. Maybe I’m just beaten down at this point. Whatever it is, I don’t think the show is any better, but I’ve been enjoying it more.

Depth, consistency, characterization, slow burn romance … we’ll never get these things with Dena, but occasionally she will hit on a soap plot that has a interlocking geometry to it that is satisfying. The first babyswitch story was like that, and this new one is starting to shape up and cohere a little bit.

I always wanted to like the story, because it’s the one that Eric will probably be involved in, and I’m still hoping Eric will somehow turn out to be the father.  But I also appreciate how much the show is focusing on Chloe and Nicole’s friendship. Female friendships aren’t often the focus on soaps, so this is refreshing.

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Some of the dialogue today was genuinely cute and clever, like when Chloe said ruefully she hoped this time she could have her baby in a hospital, and when Nicole reassured her that she’s done this before, delivering Grace is what started her on her fabulous babyswitching career.

I actually teared up a little when Nicole held her baby. I’m delighted that the baby is a girl, and I’m even more delighted that Nicole didn’t name the baby Danielle, or Danipalooza, or whatever.

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Now that I feel more (cautiously) hopeful that Deimos and Nicole aren’t going to be the rooting couple, I’ve even been enjoying Deimos again. His blase attitude with Brady regarding Phillip was kind of amusing: “yeah, I kidnapped Phillip and drugged him, what?” I could get on board with this characterization of Deimos: he genuinely cares for (some) people, but if you’re not one of those people, he’ll squash you like a bug if it helps him reach his goals.

Still, it’s annoying that no one calls him on it for more than a minute or two, so I really enjoyed Phillip’s parting rant, which also included Victor (another character who never gets called on anything).

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Phillip’s sendoff was actually good. It was a little abrupt, but his scenes with Chloe, the Kiriakises, and Kate actually hit some emotional beats. I really liked John Paul Lavoisier. I love Jay Kenneth Johnson, but John Paul fit well in the role. I can’t figure out why they got rid of him just when they finally got him away from Belle and gave him something more interesting to do. (And yet we keep Dario and Deimos …) I suspect the departure of Jen Lilley had something to do with it — Brady is at loose ends now, and I think they might try pairing him with Chloe. But they definitely left the door wide open for Phillip’s return, and if Jay Kenneth Johnson isn’t interested, I would welcome John Paul back with open arms.

Screencaps Joanie

Double D

Sorry for my long silence. I was in Chicago for work, and it took me awhile to catch up. I actually like watching a bunch of shows in a row — I have an excuse to fast-forward.

Oh, man, that’s sad, isn’t it?

Here’s another thing that’s sad:  Steve and Kayla have had one love scene in two years, but Deimos and Nicole are having a “bed-in”:

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As close as I’m getting to posting a picture of Nicole and Deimos in bed together.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how Eric is going to factor into this. Is he just going to be a wrinkle on the path to true love that is Nicole and Deimos? I thought that Deimos was going to be written as more of a villain, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Everyone is falling over themselves to make excuses for him, he’s supposedly helping Hope because he feels “bad” about killing Bo (ugh, don’t even get me started), and his snooping around about Chloe’s baby is being presented semi-sympathetically, because he’s doing it for Nicole’s sake.

Oh, and then Daniel swooped in from heaven above to bestow his blessing on Deimos. It’s bad enough that Deimos is the new Daniel, but now the two of them are double teaming us. I keep thinking it can’t get worse, but Dena always manages to plumb new depths.

On a brighter note, even though Steve and Kayla don’t have a story going on right now, Days is being generous with adorable scenes like this:

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I loved the banter about how many times they’ve gotten married, and the album and invitation were perfect:

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A stethoscope in the form of a heart, wearing a patch. Insanely cute. ❤

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Good work, props department. Looking forward to Valentine’s Day!

Screenshots Joanie and Luckynthestrong

Retcon-apalooza

I was delighted to see Shane again, even though this whole Theresa/Mateo retcon is really terrible. Charles Shaughnessy is looking very, very good:

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Poor Charlie was essentially stuck with narrating a complicated backstory retcon, and the way Shane was … undercover? I guess? … as a priest, in Salem, where everyone knows him, makes absolutely no sense. But it was honestly thrilling to see him with Theresa and hear him calling her “Jeannie.” It was extra special for me because I just watched the storyline when he found out she was his daughter.

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My expectations of Dena are always fairly low, but I have to say this exit story for Theresa is even worse than I could have imagined. We just had a guy in town, Xander, who swore vengeance on Theresa. Using him for her exit wouldn’t require a new actor and a complicated retcon. I mean, there might be complications with how Xander’s exit was written and Deimos pretending he’s dead, but I feel like that could be worked around. It would have had to be better than this!

And if that’s not enough, we had another complicated retcon introduced today, with the (obviously recently shot) “flashbacks” of the reveal that Chloe is, indeed, carrying Nicole and Daniel’s baby. I have no way of gauging how surprised the average viewer might be at this “twist.” All I know is that I was reading the theory on message boards months ago (and I wrote about it here) and so have already worked through my rage at the idea of baby Saint Daniel and at how Daniel keeps getting storylines even though he is dead and off the show.

Putting aside the retcon aspect, it kills me how the show seems to miss every opportunity to milk the emotional drama of their own stories. We should see Chloe be completely torn up at the idea that Nicole has always wanted a baby and yet Chloe doesn’t feel the baby would be safe, because of Nicole’s involvement with Deimos. (This is really the only logical reason for keeping the baby from Nicole. They haven’t actually told us this is the reason, but I’m reading it in.) Phillips actions would make more sense if he was actually falling in love with Chloe — trying to help her, rejecting her when she lied to him, and now wanting to help her again — but I’m not getting that vibe at all.  I suppose the Nicole/Deimos breakup is full of drama but, it’s Nicole and Deimos, so … meh.

And, here’s the thing:  I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think Daniel is the father of Nicole’s baby. Here’s why. First, this reveal was done so early in the story, and it was done all at once. I know it’s a stretch to say Dena is a better storyteller than this, but if this was THE twist, the big shock, wouldn’t she have waited and teased it a little? This is Chloe’s very first day back! I think it’s a setup for another twist down the line.

And that brings me to the moment in the flashback when the nurse comes back to Daniel, Chloe, and Nicole and says, “There’s a drunk man creating a disturbance out there.” Why is that line there? A drunk man? Come on, it has to be Eric. All right, I don’t want to think about Eric drunkenly giving his “sample” and then switching the samples. And if Nicole thinks she has some miracle Daniel baby and then finds out Eric snatched that from her … ugh! Eric doesn’t need more things to feel guilty about. If this is where they are going, I hope it was the clinic making a mistake.

They also managed to dig up this shirt that Nicole wore back in July, a few weeks after the furnace room scenes, for the flashback.

Eric confesses he's in love with Nicole!

Coincidence? Or is it possible that one of her banked eggs was already fertilized from a furnace room hookup? (No idea if the science of that would work, but c’mon, Days doesn’t care.) They’d also have to retcon that Eric and Nicole actually had sex in the furnace room. Another retcon! Why not?

I know, it’s so bad. It’s terrible storytelling. It’s all so, so Dena. But I can’t help it — I’ll admit it — I’m happy. Because if there’s one thing that Days does, always, without fail, it’s give a baby to an estranged couple that are, say it with me, Meant To Be. And to me that means that they are planning on writing for them as a couple. I have no particular confidence that it will be good. As a soap fan who appreciates a well done soap plot, I’m cringing. But as an Ericole fan … hell yes, I’ll take it.

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Eric, with a baby. Need I say more?

Salem under seige

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So far, I’m afraid that Steve’s assessment of the villains as the “Three Stooges” has been all too accurate. I don’t know if it’s a writing or directing problem (I know it’s not an acting problem: I’ve seen what James Read, George DelHoyo, and Paul Telfer can do), but I’m not feeling as much menace and danger as I feel like I should be. The show seems to undercut the drama before it has a chance to grow. For instance, I think someone wanting to work outside the law could be a good conflict, but Brady’s hit on the bad guys was too rushed and was over before I even had time to worry about what might happen.

So it’s been very uneven, but there have been good moments in the midst of it all. That’s what makes these hostage situations/plane crashes/car accidents worth it in the end, the emotions and relationships and how they change and intensify under the pressure of events.  The Paul/Sonny conversation was particularly good, where Sonny denied wanting to have a relationship and they exchanged angstful looks:

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And then they discussed whether it was always possible to know if you were working for the good guys or the bad guys — just in time for Sonny to go home and hear Brady ordering that hit.

I liked JJ and Gabi’s love scene and how she told him he was a hero, and I also am open to Chad and Gabi having a momentary flirtation. I think they have a nice chemistry, and I know it won’t last. Chad’s conversation with Jennifer, when she gave him the watch, was really good, and her being the one to encourage him to move on is very soapy — given we know Abby is alive. It’s been nice to see Steve and Kayla working together, though I want to see them being more active than they have been so far. (My biggest fear is that Kayla will be a passive sufferer in all this, so I’m eager for signs that isn’t the case).

The big cliffhanger today, with Clyde shooting Abe, was more dramatic and effective than any of the other “big” moments they’ve done so far. (Line of the day: after Orpheus hijacked the press conference, Abe muttered, “How do you follow that?” James Reynolds said it perfectly.) Let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Regarding Chloe’s baby story, speculation has been running wild about whose baby this is going to be. I can put this out there because it’s not a spoiler, just speculation, but somehow it is speculation that is perfectly absurd and yet horridly logical, and I can totally see it happening: that Chloe’s baby is Daniel and Nicole’s baby. This speculation is based on the constant references to Nicole’s childlessness, and — warning, mild spoiler — Ken Corday saying in an interview that Nicole’s upcoming story was a baby story. There’s also Chloe’s genuine puzzlement that Deimos was not the father, and then the way she suddenly seemed to think of another possibility. To me, it didn’t feel like she was just remembering someone else she’d slept with.

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So, I can’t take credit for concocting this scenario (and believe me, given how much I hate Daniel, I don’t want to), but the idea is that Nicole and Daniel banked some of her eggs with the idea that they might, after marriage, arrange for a surrogate. Daniel, in order to “surprise” Nicole, went ahead and fertilized the eggs (ew!) and arranged for Chloe to be the surrogate. However, the implantation failed, and it all came to nothing. But — surprise! — the miracle embryo was just biding its time and has now implanted.

So Deimos, who now has all the blood tests in his possession, will discover the truth of the baby’s parentage, and will keep it a secret and plan to kidnap the baby when it is born. He’s weirdly obsessed with the baby already, and they could amp up his obsession with Nicole and making her a mother. But he knows Nicole wouldn’t be party to a kidnapping (not anymore, anyway) so he’ll have to produce some other baby to pawn off on Chloe.

That doesn’t explain why Chloe wouldn’t want to hand the baby over in the first place, to her good friend who she knows is devastated that she never had a child, but I think they can work around that. Maybe Deimos will kidnap Chloe and hold her hostage until the baby is born. Nadia Bjorlin has a real life maternity leave coming up, so maybe that’s how she’ll be offscreen for a bit.

It’s all very Dena. Her most successful story ever was the babyswitch storyline with Nicole, EJ, and Sami, and Dena has recycled even her worst stories.

The other question is how Eric might be involved in this — assuming he’s involved in Nicole’s story at all. He shows up in January, which is probably around when the baby is due to arrive. He might figure out what is going on and work to save her (and Chloe) from Deimos. If Ericole is in the works, I predict Deimos will go back to being an out and out villain (which I would prefer). So the baby might end up in danger too, and Eric could partly redeem his role in Daniel’s death by restoring Daniel’s child to her.

LOL. Forgive me, I’m going to be obsessing on what Eric’s story might be for the next four months. 😀

Screencaps Joanie

Happy now

So I start my work vacation with the awesome news that Greg Vaughan is returning to Days!

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Here’s a recent picture from Tamara Braun’s instagram that set off some speculation that he was back. “He shaved his beard! He looks like Eric again!” I try not to get my hopes up with vague things like that, but in this case it turns out the speculators were right! He is already filming and will be airing on January 17. Early release for good behavior? Can’t wait to find out!

(Eeeeee! Isn’t he beautiful!)

Anyway, I promised I would post about last week’s Days. I was excited to have Steve and Kayla the focus of the action of the three villains. Steve was in fine form, talking fast and cracking one liners and outsmarting the bad guys.

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I was not as thrilled with Kayla being bound and gagged and having almost no dialogue. It actually perfectly symbolized my fear of how Dena writes for Steve and Kayla: Steve being the center of attention, and Kayla a bystander, sidelined by injury. Last run it was a problem pregnancy, this time recovery from brain surgery. Also, the staging, or rather, not staging — of the climactic moment was bizarre, to say the least. We didn’t even see the shot that downed Steve. And Kayla told Steve that Orpheus said he was leaving her with Steve’s corpse like he was left with his wife’s. There is no way that chilling line should not have played on our screens.

But I will remain hopeful for better things. It’s been too long since Hope and Kayla have shared a scene, and I really enjoyed that. And Kim even sent a cactus. (That Hope didn’t seem to think much of. Hee.) With Joey being the one kidnapped (rather than Kayla), it will hopefully give Kayla a role to play in his rescue. And of course a chance for them to bond as they are doing so, and for the danger to bring them closer together.

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But imagine being Orpheus and carrying off Joey as your prize! That doesn’t make sense. I am a little disappointed that we are getting so little of the villain’s motivations. Orpheus’s reasoning and backstory especially should be explained. Their villainy, and their cooperation, is sketchily drawn at best. “We hate everyone in Salem.” Yes, and? It reminds of Andre/Tony’s reasoning for creating Melaswen. “He’s an enemy of love.”

Okay, it’s not that bad. But a little something more than what we’ve gotten would be nice.

I haven’t talked about Chloe/Deimos/Nicole/Phillip because I find Deimos and Nicole to be a complete headscratcher of a pairing. As a writer, why would you ship off Nicole’s two love interests (my Ericole love is well known, but even Danicole had fans) and pair her with a random new character? Let alone one who kidnapped and tortured Bo. I have nothing against Vincent Irizzarry — I like him, even still! — but Deimos is a train wreck of a character. He’s bad! He’s good! Everyone in town is in love with him! He’s the new patriarch of Salem! He gets more airtime than anyone else! Any one of those things would be enough to earn him with enmity of viewers, and he’s all of them. It pains me not to enjoy watching Nicole, who I have always loved. But between her constant references to Daniel THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE YES WE GET IT and this pairing, I’m hard pressed not to fast forward her scenes.

(But let’s hope Greg’s return changes this! Wheeee!)

But I have to say I kind of like Phillip and Chloe.

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I like the actor who plays Phillip — I know not everyone does — and I am enjoying seeing him get a little bit more airtime (and interacting with someone besides Belle). He was funny joking about Salem being the paternity test switching capital of the world, and the one liner about getting Caroline to do it was hilarious — since she was the one who switched Parker’s test results. More paternity test shenanigans has me rolling my eyes, but I will grudgingly admit it’s a bit of a twist to have the couple involved being the one wanting to switch the results … or however this plays out.

Screenshots Forever_SAFE and LizK ❤ SnK

 

 

 

No drama

Today’s episode was really frustrating from a storytelling perspective, but I really enjoyed it — some of it anyway — when I was watching it.

Tate’s kidnapping was the only thing on the show in the last few months that was marginally watchable — it involved a lot of players, it developed over time, there were a few twists and turns along the way. So this week Victor and Deimos figure out it was Kate for some bullshit reason, they confront her, she says “whatevs” and that’s it.

So much for that.

The other blink-and-you-miss it storyline wrap-up was Kayla’s hematoma. She collapses, has surgery over the commercial break, and wakes up with no complications. Her family didn’t have time to even hear about it, let alone visit her or express some worry. Steve and Joey got to worry for about two seconds and then it was all over.

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Matching bandages

However, I was intrigued by Kayla’s dialogue, when she said that she hated nagging Steve and Joey, but she feels so powerless she doesn’t know what else to do. And then when she woke up in the hospital and said “Are you sure that’s what you want?” when Steve said she’d be back to her old self. Part of me thinks “Arrgh they are going to make Kayla be the one in the wrong!” but another part is intrigued that they are showing her point of view — her uncertainty and insecurity. It’s too soon to see where they are going with it, but just for today, I liked it. No reason Kayla can’t be the insecure one for once.

And there was an Orpheus, Steve and Kayla flashback! What a treat. I’m so glad Orpheus is targeting them too — hopefully it will put them in the middle of this story. Clyde and Orpheus’s banter was a lot of fun, and I think Xander will be an interesting addition to the mix.

It was also great to see Eve again, but no way should they have had Theresa’s bachelorette party without Anne.

And, finally, you know I’m glad to hear about Eric, but I was honestly baffled by those scenes today. Why introduce the idea the Nicole can’t forgive Eric, unless they are bringing him back? If they were kicking off an Ericole story, I actually love the idea of Nicole not being able to forgive (even if the reason is, cough, Daniel), since what broke them up was Eric not being able to forgive her. But since Eric isn’t coming back (that I know of …), it almost felt like a gratuitous slap. “Okay, I know I’ve got a lot on my plate this first week, wrapping up old stories and kicking off new ones, but what I really want to do is stick it to Ericole fans, one last time.” “Okay, Dena.”

Goodbye Eric, part 2

I wasn’t going to post more about Eric’s departure, but his final scenes were really very good. I’m glad he got some decent goodbye scenes with (some of) his family. Brady was very busy, as we know, getting Maggie muffins and reassuring Summer about an adoption that happened more than forty years ago — super important stuff.

But I’m grateful Eric didn’t just disappear, with one line of dialogue a week later about him in prison, followed by no one ever mentioning him again. That second part will probably still happen, but at least we got some good farewell scenes first.

And they gave us a glimpse of what we haven’t seen in way too long: Greg Vaughan’s bare chest:

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It was only a glimpse, so this was the best screenshot I was able to get. So, let’s refresh our memories, shall we?

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Ah, happier times.

I’m very concerned about Jennifer too …

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… that she has such blurry memories of hooking up with Eric. Hypnosis might help.

I think it’s dumb that they have to say contrived things like, “I don’t want you in the courtroom. Let’s say our goodbyes now,” because they don’t have a courtroom set. But, all of the goodbyes at the station were very affecting. Of course Brady should have been there. Nicole wouldn’t come say goodbye, but some final scene between them, even just a silent exchange of looks, would have been wonderful (h/t friend of the blog Amber!).

Regardless, I think no other actor can top Greg Vaughan when it comes to crying. I love Stephen’s tears … it’s close! But I give the edge to Greg.

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Now I need a hug too. Sniff.

Goodbye, Eric. Come back soon.