Salem strikes back

The adventure continues …

stevekaylassummit

Lots of fun scenes with our Fab Four. I love that the Salemites are working together in an active plan to strike back at the three villains. Marlena the profiler was particularly fun to watch. She also had a great moment with Deimos and Nicole, when Deimos was loudly (and obnoxiously) insisting Nicole not be involved. “You’re a very intuitive man, Deimos…” I gotta say, not one does shade like Dee.

I’m still baffled as to what is supposed to be going on with Nicole and Deimos. I keep waiting for a sure signal that he is a villain in this, and that their relationship isn’t something we’re supposed to be rooting for. I don’t get the sense that it is, but I don’t get the sense that it isn’t either. I mean, to me he comes across to me as condescending, overbearing, and controlling … but I guess I don’t have quite enough faith in Dena’s feminist bona fides to think that this is deliberate. Sigh. It would be nice to enjoy Nicole again. Right now, she’s coming across as a weak, easily manipulated mess. And what’s with all the making out on the couch? Make it stop.

I remember from her previous run that Dena’s Days can be difficult to blog about, because sometimes it feels like cotton candy — it can be fun to watch, but there’s no there there. But the Sonny/Paul/Chad scenes were a nice exception today. The conflict between Sonny and Chad was introduced too quickly and is now being resolved too quickly, but Sonny and Chad’s argument and subsequent hug was still fun to watch. I like it when Days focuses on friendships.

chonny

And I thought the conversation with Paul afterwards was very well done, when Paul apologized for his role in breaking up Will and Sonny and said maybe, if that hadn’t happened, Will wouldn’t have died. Sonny’s pain at Will’s death is obviously still fresh, but he is drawn to Paul all the same, and Freddie and Christopher Sean played that tension really nicely. I also think it is refreshing — after Will was the focus of the WilSon, at least the part I saw — to have Sonny be the one pursued. And Freddie was looking sharp in his Elvis pompadour and black leather jacket.

And to think I used to laugh at people who asked for more screen time for babies …

chadbabythomas

Get that kid a daytime Emmy.

Screencaps Joanie

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

Worth the wait*

*Just kidding. How long has it been? Three, four weeks? Too long.

Today’s show was really good, though, and not just for Steve and Kayla. Paul and Sonny’s scenes were stellar – I loved that Sonny talked about how he’d changed, become more cynical, more determined to go after what he wants. One thing that bothered me about the Sonny I saw (which was his late storyline) was his passivity, how he was always so Nice and Understanding that nothing got resolved. And I found Paul’s reasons for not wanting to be a detective surprisingly effective and moving.

paulson2

It was a nice character moment for Christopher Sean. I’m ready for a new romance on the show (one NOT involving Deimos) and I’m on board for PaulSon.

But let’s get to Steve and Kayla! Their scenes actually felt like a shift in direction. Stephen and Mary Beth have gotten some strong stuff over the last few months, and they’ve made the most of it. But there’s not denying the story felt stalled — Steve would profess his love and his desire to prove she can trust him, she would be obviously tempted but turn him away. That plus the fact of their disappearance for days and weeks at a time added up to a frustrating experience.

KaylaStevecouplestherapy

Today, though, it started with Kayla reaching out. (I would have liked to have seen the setup that Kayla alluded to, that Joey was the one who suggested couples therapy, especially given what happened with Joey later. But anyway.) I was surprised, but intrigued, at Steve’s reluctance. On the one hand, given how eager he has been to prove himself in any way he can, it doesn’t make sense for him to turn down the one thing she has asked of him. But on the other, his reluctance fits his character. He likes big, grand gestures, not the slow slog of getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other to solve a problem. His arguments against therapy rang true – a lot of people see it as just sitting around and “complaining,” and his unwillingness to dredge up old demons is certainly believable.

The most interesting moment was when Steve got genuinely angry and threw the fact that he quit his job in her face. This goes back to the root of the problem — if Kayla can’t stand to be around the chaos and danger that seems to swirl around him, how much can he, or should he, change? Is that even what she wants? This is an actual, grown up, complex problem, and I think it’s fascinating. What I am hoping, though it might be too much to hope for, is that can be an actual both right/both wrong situation. Kayla could realize that it’s not the danger itself that bothers her, but his reaction to danger (he tries to hide it from her, to shut her out, to make decisions without her input). And Steve could realize that there is no big, grand gesture that will make everything all right, there are no shortcuts to winning back Kayla’s trust.

Personally, the last person I would want to see as a couples counselor is an old friend I had known for years, especially one who was possessed by the devil and was a serial killer and so on … but the pickings are generally slim in Salem when it comes to professional help. 😀

Joey’s scenes with Jade were interesting, although (as with many things lately) a bit lacking in setup. We don’t know what Marlena told him, but it seems plausible that it was something like “How can you be ready for a relationship — especially with someone troubled — until you figure out your own issues?” But Joey’s take on it can be read, possibly, as what Steve is afraid of. Would a therapist tell Kayla that what she really needs to do is cut Steve out of her life? If that’s what Marlena told Joey regarding Jade, maybe that’s what she’ll tell Kayla regarding Steve.

The other moment that jumped out at me was when Steve told Joey to “be true to yourself.” This seemed an echo of his anger at Kayla from earlier — I quit my job for you, I changed who I am, and it wasn’t enough. Is he wondering if he should have done it? Is he proving Kayla right when she said, “You’ll resent me”? When Steve was late to the appointment, that was my first take.

But then the show threw me a curveball, when Steve remembered Kayla’s words about being afraid of what he would uncover in therapy. Was that a clue that there is something specific, a buried memory, perhaps? Or a general admission that he’s got more demons and problems than he wants to admit?  I have no idea, but I hope they pick it back up again.

PaulSon screencap Forever SAFE

Here comes the Son

I wanted to take a moment to post because I’m heading out of town tomorrow for a family bar mitzvah. I am behind in my Days watching — I haven’t watched this week’s episodes yet, but I figure I’ll have plenty of time during the Olympics to get all caught up.

It was a very nice surprise to see Sonny again!

SonnyJustin

I had heard the rumors he was coming back, but didn’t know when it would happen. I am excited to see what they do with Paulson. One thing this show desperately needs is a new romance worth rooting for. Rafe and Hope, Dario and Nicole, Deimos and … everyone? No thank you. I like JJ and Gabi, but we never see them. I detected sparks between Sonny and Paul before Freddie left, so I’m interested to see where they take them this time.

I liked that they first showed him with his family. I missed that with Belle and Shawn, for instance, when they came back — especially Brandon Beemer’s Shawn. They were just so eager to reintroduce the Shellip triangle, which was the worst idea ever … actually it’s nowhere near the worst idea Days has had, but still, it wasn’t good. It was like the show forgot he was related to everyone in town. Too bad too, because even in this stale, sketchy, underdeveloped story, I actually enjoyed what I saw of Brandon Beemer this time.

But back to Sonny. I think it’s a bit silly for him to come bearing a big check for Victor to rescue him from his financial woes — a crisis this is not (Victor might have lost a lot of his money, but he seems to be doing just fine). But I like that Sonny is plunging into the fray with Deimos, and I hope that he and Justin (whose evidence tampering seems to be coming back to haunt him) will continue to be involved in this story. I also really appreciated the scene at TBD with Adrienne and Justin, family members just catching up. I was glad to hear him talk about Will and how much he needed to be away from Salem, where everything reminded him of him.

So I’m very glad he is back, but I have an uneasy feeling about this latest round of firings and hirings. Can’t we keep a stable cast for more than six months, or is that too much to ask?