Salem under seige

abesiege

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:

paulsonsiege

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.

chloeconfused

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

Mix it up

Some encouraging signs on the cast mixing front. Today, Abby had conversations with Chad, JJ and Gabi, and Jennifer. To me, the best scene was the one with JJ and Gabi. I really like JJ’s skepticism about Chad. I think it’s a very believable conflict. But the conversation had some actual layers, when Gabi pointed out that Chad deserved the benefit of the doubt because, after all, he did save Abby’s life.

And Chad is acting a little weird. I have chalked up his desire to move into the Dimera mansion as Days’s desire to keep using the set. But Chad’s pressuring of Abby to elope is different. It’s clear to me that Abby doesn’t want to elope and let down her family, and yet Chad refuses to see that. So I thought JJ’s last line, when he muttered that he bet it wasn’t Abby’s idea to elope, was very much on point.

I’m just not sure where they are going with this. Going by this shot, is Chad going to end up taking Stefano’s place?

Chadfireplace

If so, I would like very much to be given a reason for it. Humiliating Andre has given him a case of hubris? He’s so determined to clear the Dimera name he’s throwing his weight around to do it? Give me something here, Days.

I also liked when Gabi defended Abby’s choice to put Thomas in day care, saying that moms are often judged no matter what choices they make regarding work and child care. Of course, most of us don’t have “Dimera nanny” as one of our options, but her point still stands. And JJ backed down.

Jabi

(I think they are so cute! Here’s hoping for a real story for them.)

I continue to really like Deimos, despite his interest in Kate, and there was some story movement for him Monday, turning him into the new Big Bad in town. Again, there was some nice crisscrossing that I think bodes well for the future. John told Phillip that Seth Malcolm got some calls from Greece before he died. Maggie let Brady know about Deimos’s history and Phillip’s role in helping him. Eddy and Phillip commiserated about Kate’s interest in Deimos.

PhillipEduardo

And Phillip got a haircut! Hallelujah!

Philliphaircut

Now, let’s just give him a brain and some backbone.

 

No Joy

How are we all feeling? Do we need a hug, a tranquilizer, a straightjacket?

Let me discuss the rest of the show first, because most of it was actually … good. It felt a little less cartoonish, and more dramatic and grounded overall. More Josh, less Dena.

Deimos moving into Ben and Abby’s old place is the kind of detail that is unnecessary to the plot, but it added a layer to Deimos’s character. I enjoyed the relish with which he contemplated living in the apartment of a serial killer. And it was great to hear Ben mentioned — remember him? The guy who killed all those people?

I think Belle and Phillip have chemistry, and their scenes today were quite a bit better than the WTF-ery we saw around their trip to Vegas.

BellewithPhilip

They actually discussed the nature of Belle’s attraction to Phillip (he’s like a drug to her, but she feels she should stay away from him), and Phillip played on that rather skillfully to get her back into bed. (“Don’t you deserve a little fun?”) I’m still not sure what he sees in her or how serious he is about it, but at least we got some insight into her side. And she managed to seem a little more human and sympathetic in her text-exchange with Claire.

But it was all short-lived. She went right back to being entitled and passive aggressive when she snooped in his desk and then drew that big question mark on the envelope of pictures. She acted like she caught him cheating! Phillip doesn’t owe her any explanation at all. I’m guessing these will be pictures of the girl who died in Chicago, but the whole thing was weird.

I thought Joey and Theo’s scenes were also good. At first, when Joey yelled at Theo, I thought we were in for more shallow “Joey punches random guy at party” conflict, but this was really nice. He heard Theo out about Chase, even if he didn’t offer much in the way of guidance. Then he even opened up a little himself. It felt very real, two friends who were upset about different things, trying to talk but not really succeeding.

I also enjoyed Paul, JJ, and Gabi. The corrections officer was a perfect little plot point — it gave Paul a chance to snark on his homophobia, brought up some demons for Gabi, and gave JJ a chance to be a hero (and show off some policin’ skills). Very efficient use of a day player.

All right, I guess I can’t put it off any longer. This is my take on Steve and Ava.

SteveAvaUgh

I got advance notice that this was going to happen today (selective spoilage), the only question was how it was going to play out. And here’s the thing … it was actually dramatic and gut-wrenching. It wasn’t asinine and cartoony like Monday and Tuesday’s scenes, where Steve stupidly put the moves on Ava as a first resort, and was ready to do the deed in his living room where his son could walk in. Here, the setup was more logical and organic. They were in Maui, far away from Salem, and Steve knew the clock was ticking for Kayla. Intercutting their scenes with Kayla looking ill and dehydrated in her little prison raised the stakes nicely. She had to get out of there, and fast. Also, it was nice that they gave Steve a smart moment, when he figured out she wasn’t dying, based on a minor slip by Ava.

And Stephen played the hell out of it all, and so did Tamara.

Okay.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I hate this. It’s unimaginative, it’s been done a million times, it’s been done before with these same damn characters! Also, it makes me sick because it was rape, and I expect Days will blithely ignore that fact because Steve is a man. Ava’s blackmail was there to “justify” Steve’s actions, to give him a pass with viewers. There will be no trauma, no recovery from being violated. From here on out I expect they will treat this much like any other adultery, especially if Steve keeps it secret, which is what I expect.

But hear this. Fellow Steve and Kayla fans, we’ve always treasured that Steve and Kayla are one of the few longtime Days couples that haven’t cheated on each other. That has not changed. This was not adultery. It was rape.

And screw you, Dena.

 

 

Couple time

You see what happens when you give Hope a day off? You make everyone so happy:

Gabilaughing

JJsmiling

Thrady3

Today was a really nice break from all the drama and doom and gloom. I am not much of a Thrady fan but they were cute today. But surely when someone says on a soap that everything is going right, she has a great job, a beautiful baby, and a wonderful man, that is a cue that something is about to go very wrong? I hope so, because it sticks in my craw that of all characters on the show, Theresa is the one who is “sitting pretty.” I think some angst and suffering is definitely in order.

I think I saw sparks between Belle and nuPhilip, and I definitely felt that they had a history (not always easy to convey with a recast). John Paul was more at ease in these scenes than he was earlier in the week.  I liked the way they sparred over the basketball game, and we found out a little about Belle’s state of mind — she’s feeling bitter and at loose ends — and a very, very little about Phillip’s.

Finally, some really magical scenes with Chad and Abby. I love how Billy Flynn played Chad’s protectiveness and care, fussing over her and touching her like he couldn’t help himself:

Chabbyhospital

I loved the kisses in the hotel room:

Chabbykiss

but I also loved how he pulled away and said this isn’t right, it’s too soon. His bedtime story was so adorably awkward at first, and I loved Abby needling him about the details (“with magic beans, you don’t have to plant them”). When she told him that he never gave up on her … and that moment when he held her and cried — I teared up too.

Chadcrying

And we got an end-of-the-episode music montage. My 80’s-loving heart went pitter-pat!

Then, finally, it’s the dawn of a new day. Thanks, JJabi! They apparently made the sun come up with their adorableness.

JJabikiss2

Did all these people stay up until dawn? I guess explains a little why this day lasted so damn long.

Own it

So, um, are we happy today?

Kaylalaughing

What a welcome break from all the doom and gloom! It was an inspired choice to have Kayla (and Steve) get “woozy” from the chemicals, so they had a reason to be silly. Steve’s “scientific” explanation of the air sticking to the ceiling, his singing and harmonica playing, her dancing … eeee!

I loved when he was being so protective and preventing her from helping him clean the spilled chemicals, and he pushed her over the wall and called it the “Kayla zone.”

SteveKaylacloset

I especially loved their body language. Even at the beginning, the way they were passing the packages of paper back and forth showed them working together naturally as a team. Later, I loved the way Kayla shied away at first when Steve tried to put his jacket around her, but then softened and obviously enjoyed his touch. All that led very naturally into their kiss. I loved the starry-eyed look on her face right before their kiss.

Kaylastarryeyes

They managed to throw in some meaty dialogue too, amidst the silliness. When Kayla told Steve he was a good harmonica player, and he said he had something to “fall back on,” that was the perfect opening for Kayla to needle him about his job. When he told her about Blackpatch, I loved the way she burst out laughing. And when she corrected him that it’s the “three” amigos, not two, and made him think of Bo, it was a jolting reminder of all the tragedy and sadness.

Outside, it was cute how he reassured her about the orderly and told her to “own it,” which is what she told him earlier about his harmonica playing. I love how they are showing the ice gradually melting between them, and how Stephen and Mary Beth are showing not only the tenderness but the happiness, the joy of being together.

We also saw that Joey is working with someone, and it’s gotta be Ava. I figured she was involved in all this somehow, but that was a possibility I hadn’t considered. I think it’s going to be interesting to see Ava using Joey. Didn’t Ava threaten Joey right after he was born? I know she was bitter about Kayla’s pregnancy. And now he’s sixteen and she won’t look a day older. Ha.

Let’s see, I guess there were some other storylines on today. JJ and Gabi were very cute, and actually had a normal young-person type conversation, instead of talking about their parents’ love lives.

JJGabi

I’m not sure what the conflict will be between them, but I think they have chemistry and I’m excited to see where it’s going. Brady was being a jerk haranguing Victor about Theresa when Victor was obviously grieving over Bo. Yes, Victor treated Theresa horribly, but Brady should have skipped the confrontation for another day.

He also seemed not a bit bothered by Bo’s death. He only brought up Bo to say that Bo would have been nicer to Theresa. Oh, and he mentioned that Bo was Theresa’s uncle, but neglected to mention that he was also his (Brady’s) uncle. Ew!

Catch up

I just finished watching Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday back to back to back. So excuse me if my thoughts, and my comments, are a little jumbled here.

All three episodes were very good, but a few scenes stand out.

The first is Kayla babbling to Hope about Steve’s kiss. She was so obviously thrown by what had happened, it was really adorable.

KaylaHopehospital

I think he likes me. Do you think he likes me? But I don’t know if I like him. I mean, I know I don’t like him. Not that way. I can’t believe he grabbed me at my place of work and kissed me like we were teenagers. Because I’m not acting at all like a teenage girl with a crush right now.

Hope’s knowing smile was perfect, as was her line that the kiss was “the most interesting part” of the story.

I loved Caroline and Victor bantering and teasing each other, and how Caroline called him “Kiriakis.” Showing you’re never too old to flirt. Hee!

Another scene that stood out was the scene between Sonny and Paul. I’m becoming a PaulSon shipper in retrospect. Sigh.

Paulsonhug

The dialogue was so well written, how Paul talked about “everyone” in Salem who loved him, and Sonny responded using the same language. But both of them obviously knew that they weren’t talking about “everyone,” but about Paul. Sonny’s line that he couldn’t accept even love right now from “everyone” was so bittersweet.

So, I picked this nice picture even though you all know how I feel about this couple:

DanielNicole

Part of me was jumping for joy that they set their wedding date for Valentine’s Day, because I know Shawn Christian is leaving before then. That means they will not make it to the altar, so yay. But everything else about their scenes was a big WTF. They reminded me of the Haiden scenes from the summer, so happy (and extremely cheesy and schmaltzy), but no story. I honestly can’t think of a story reason for the scenes, other than to establish their wedding date. And that a pop song at the end! Songs cost money, and I find it really odd for them to spend that money on Nicole and Daniel.

One thing that I can now say is a flaw in this new writing team is how they write for non-rooting couples. I have already talked about Abby and Hope, how infuriating it is to see them believing in their men so blindly, and how nothing seems to make them question their choice. I really liked the Chabby scenes in the hospital, but it is driving me a little crazy how Abby can’t take the next logical step: if Chad is innocent, Ben is lying. And if Ben is lying … ?

Some good movement in the Rafe, Eduardo, Gabi, and JJ stories. I wanted a little more drama with the reveal that Eddy is Gabi’s father, but I can see they are setting up her softening towards him. I’m glad she went to his room, but I’m also glad she went away without knocking. That would have been too fast. I’m not sure how I feel about JJ becoming a cop, and I definitely side with Abby on the fact that this is no time to make rash decisions. But I thought the scene between JJ and Gabi was sweet, and I liked how they used Paige’s death as something to bring them together – because I suspect that later it’s going to keep them apart. I’m cautiously optimistic about them.

And then, finally:

SteveBoprisoners

Our guys are together! I am so excited to have this story finally move forward. Seeing these smiles is a great break from all the doom and gloom, and I loved how even in this desperate situation, they are just that glad to see each other. Wonderful end to a Friday.

I was surprised (I’m doing much better avoiding spoilers now, it’s great!) by Shawn D’s appearance. Jason Cook is looking good, a little like a young Bo with that beard!

 

 

RIP Will

Those Ben/Will scenes were intense, weren’t they? Maybe a little too intense in spots, for daytime. But I’m coming down on the side of this being a good move. It’s a copout to have a serial killer story and only kill off characters people don’t care about. This raises the stakes, for everyone.

The best part, for me, was the conversation Ben and Will had, where we got to hear some of Ben’s twisted thought processes. I especially loved his reaction to Will saying Chad might not be guilty. Contemptuously – “you and Abby.” And then asking what it was going to take to make people believe in Chad’s guilt. Another bod

But it was all really well done, really horrifying. A moments stand out — the refrigerator door flying open. The overhead shot of Will’s body and Ben laying next to him, exhausted from strangling him. Ben’s phone constantly buzzing. Ben picking up the picture of Sonny and Will.

SonnyWillpic

And I had to turn away when Ben come back from moving the body, and started kissing Abby. Shudder.

Clyde’s arrest, and JJ’s role in it, has apparently unhinged Ben a little further. I am liking all the references to Clyde’s abusive past, because it suggests a troubled childhood for Ben. I hope they don’t try to make that too pat and easy, and so far they haven’t. The fact that he made up with his abuser and is now his biggest defender is interesting psychologically, to say the least.

In lighter news, it looks like JJ and Gabi — JJabi! — is definitely a possibility. I really liked how JJ confided in her about Paige today. Now, when Gabi finally finds out about Eddy, it will affect her relationship with three people. Eddy, of course. Rafe, because she’ll be mad he kept it from her. And now JJ. She’ll find out she had a sister she never knew, and she might turn to JJ to find out what she was like. And I think it will complicate any attraction between them.

JJabi

Does she like him? Or has she just been in an all-women’s prison for two years?

With Justin and Adrienne, I am getting whiplash. Let’s recap. She tells him she wants to give their marriage “one more chance.” He agrees. They go on one date, which doesn’t go so well. They go on another date, where she asks him if he ever just wants his freedom. He says, sometimes. She says, that’s it then. Huh? I would attribute this to awkward transitioning from the old writing team to the new, but in fact this was all written by Higriff. I don’t get it.

I’m glad, though. All summer I watched them trading barbs and not trusting each other, and it looked like they were setting up more of the same. I am ready for them to be apart for awhile, even permanently (love both characters, was never into them as a couple). Oh, and there was a great, casual reference to history in their conversation yesterday, when Adrienne said they met when he found her crying on a park bench and she was looking for somewhere to be safe. And then I loved her line when she said she didn’t need that anymore — telling him she is stronger now.