Catch up

I’m back from Chicago (the fabric stores were a bust), and am now all caught up on my Days watching.

I liked the way they shot the scenes of Ciara, obviously doing all she could to forget Chase, and yet there he was, always in the background (I couldn’t decide if that was a manifestation of her thoughts or the real Chase, but it works either way). Claire having a crush on Chase is a good complication, because I feel that it might be the one thing that will get Ciara to fess up. But, overall, I feel the teen storylines are still a mess, and not likely to be improved by the introduction of Jade — though good for Joey that he now has someone in town he’s not related to.

Belle’s story is a mess, too. Not because she keeps screwing up with Claire, but because I can’t see how anyone could be so dense. Claire was disgusted by Belle keeping the Dimera money, so naturally Belle tries to impress Claire by throwing around some cash and purchasing her a nightclub. And Belle breaking up with Phillip and then sleeping with him anyway is getting really, really old. I do like where they seem to be going with Phillip, however.

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When he was weaseling his way into Deimos’s good graces, we thought he was just following Victor’s orders. But then he actually tells Deimos that Victor asked him to do it – so is that just an elaborate double bluff, or is he really turning on Victor? I hope they keep us guessing for a little while.

I love the revelation that Deimos was probably the one to shoot Seth Malcolm. By the way, watching the Oscars last night made me realize who Dr. Malcolm reminds me of — Louis C.K.!

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I love that Caroline had a vision of Deimos with Malcolm, though I wish she had been a little smarter about coming out and accusing him. But I love that they are bringing her into this, and that her vision of him connects to the serum he’s dying to get his hands on. Deimos being the one behind Bo’s kidnapping is a great way to give Hope something to think about. Now, I’m sure Rafe — and now Roman! — will bend over backwards to tell her she’s justified, justified, justified no matter what she does. (Roman’s “no biggie” reaction to Hope killing Stefano was the very worst thing that happened this week. If the good guys don’t even care about murder and framing an innocent man, what the heck makes them good guys?) But this at least complicated things a little bit.

Finally, of course, we have Ava’s death and its aftermath. This is good stuff.

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I knew Ava was going to die, but they did a good job making me think Kayla would be the one wrongfully accused. This is quite a twist. I wish there had been an element of self-defense or something accidental to Joey killing Ava, but I love, love, love Steve giving himself up and taking the rap. It is very Steve, shades of how he gave himself up for Adrienne when she killed Duke. Of course, Adrienne blocked out the memory of what happened, which made it easier for Steve to take the blame. I have a hard time believing Joey will really let his father go off to prison for something he did, but for now, while he’s still in shock, I believe it.

Earlier, I loved the layers in the scenes where Steve was touching Ava while she was unconscious. Kayla looking at that, and then flashing back to the video, was a great way to show how much that bothers her, and gave weight to what she told Roman earlier — that she can’t look at Steve without seeing Ava’s hands all over him. I really loved the scene where she told Steve he could say, but on the couch. Stephen and Mary Beth did really well with the subtleties in that scene — Kayla seeming almost apologetic at certain points, like when she said she’s slept on the couch before. And Steve looking at her with a kind of hopelessness, unsure of how they will ever be able to bridge this gap. That scene, showing his desperation and hopelessness, laid the groundwork for his self-sacrifice — we know exactly where he’s coming from.

Screencaps Forever Safe

Sex, lies, and videotape

Yesterday’s show was really good.

I’m mildly intrigued by this story with Summer.

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I’m fully prepared for this to be really cheesy and a big letdown, but I always like a little mystery. And I think Nicole’s growing attachment to Brady has been played in a fairly natural way. Theresa’s insecurity was overplayed, but at least they brought it to life in a vivid way, with those two nightmare fantasy sequences. I was tickled they made a reference to Daniel’s heart letting him make love to Nicole, because I joked about that last week.

Similarly, I really like the idea of Phillip pretending to work for Deimos. First, it gives Phillip a chance to show he has a brain (fingers crossed), and creates some complications for Deimos as he pursues his plans – which I’m guessing are a lot more complicated than just getting revenge on Victor.

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Belle finally showed a little introspection, though they are not using her history nearly as much as they could. Her explanation that she is sick of always having to be the mature one would have been better if they had connected it to the fact that she found her “soulmate” and got married and had a baby so young. Or rather … she got pregnant, got married, had a baby, had an affair, got a divorce, got married again, and had another affair … actually, two affairs.

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Okay, so maybe her claim to being the “mature” one doesn’t bear too much scrutiny, but I won’t quibble.

Of course the standouts of the show were Steve and Kayla. I have a suspicion that this reveal is happening sooner than was planned. Just a guess, but usually soap secrets last longer than this. But, I’m not complaining. I’m glad they showed Steve with John, deciding to come clean, just as Kayla was getting the video from Ava. Typical soap gambit there, deciding to tell the truth just when it’s too late, but effective. (And nice to see Steve and John share a scene. Aren’t they supposed to be running a business together?) Some really great lines in this scene. Steve “I didn’t want to hurt you.” Kayla: “It’s too late.” Stephen and Mary Beth added some great touches, like when Kayla was twisting her ring like she was going to take it off, maybe throw it in his face, but she didn’t.

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I also really liked Kayla’s line that she spend so many years being angry with him, he came back into her life and pushed and pushed, and said things will be different, and look what happened. It wasn’t exactly fair, but it was a perfect way to use the fact that Kayla did take him back on faith, and maybe he didn’t have to earn his way back quite as much as we — or at least I — would have liked. Since we just saw a story where Steve earned back Kayla’s trust, and now he has to do again, I hope we’ll see this play out differently somehow. I’m not sure how to reinvent it, but I hope they mix it up. Silent Bob, where are you? 🙂

Screencaps Joanie

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Shellipalooza

I’ve been struggling to come up with something to say about the show these last two episodes.

Not that there haven’t been things to enjoy. I really liked Rafe and Eduardo’s conversation yesterday. But even with that, I have to ask, where did it come from? Rafe has been freezing Eddy out for months, and now suddenly he says, “Oh, I guess Gabi thinks you’re all right,” and sits down and has a heart to heart. I thought it was interesting that Eddy didn’t offer the “I had to leave to protect you” excuse, and instead said that he was caught up in living up to some masculine code. That was refreshing, actually. And I thought Galen did well showing Rafe’s vulnerability and hurt.

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I wasn’t so crazy about the Rope almost-kiss that preceded it. I can’t get over the fact that her attraction to him seems to have kicked off once he helped her hide a body. Apparently that is the the way to Hope’s heart, who knew?

Chad and Abby were adorable in their scenes with Jennifer, but tonally it felt completely off. “My mom is in terrible pain, but it makes her like Chad more, so hurray!”

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Now here is my biggest complaint. Ever since I found out Brandon Beemer is coming back to the show, I have dreaded the return of the Shawn/Phillip/Belle triangle. I grew especially to hate Brandon Beemer’s Shawn, so much so that I kind of forgot how good looking the guy is:

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His re-introduction is doing nothing to soothe my worries about Shellip, round two. What I hated about that triangle is that both Shawn and Phillip were gaga over Belle, without seeing any reason why they would be so into her. She treated them both horribly, wavering limply back and forth, back and forth, while they both eagerly lapped up any affection she threw their way. Shawn suddenly being willing to “fight” for Belle, after sending her divorce papers like three days ago, makes no sense at all. What changed?

I love that Belle has a spine now, is a little bit bitchy. Martha plays that aspect really well. And I can accept Phillip being willing to let bygones be bygones (though I wish they would explain that too), but Shawn? There is no reason he should be eager to fight for the woman who cheated on him twice and now looks to be cheating on him again. Aaargh!

And Belle? When your husband calls when you are postcoital with another man, you let it go to voicemail.

 

 

Bad Boys

A Kiriakis so loathsome that even Victor disowned him thirty years ago? Bring it on.

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Glad to see Vincent hasn’t lost any of his charisma. I rarely watched any other soaps, but I loved bad boy Lujack and Beth (played by Vincent and Judi Evans) so much that in sixth grade I switched to recording Guiding Light, instead of Days, during the school year.

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I hope we’ll see Judi and Vincent sharing scenes!

I thought the reveal at the end, showing Phillip has already been colluding with Deimos, was a great twist. I think that Deimos must be the one chasing this miracle drug, and hence is responsible for Bo’s imprisonment and torture. I assume Phillip was unaware of that, but I like that he’s flirting with the dark side. We’ll see how this all falls out for him.

They might finally be giving Lani something interesting to do:

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She’s obviously interested in Rafe, and that has fueled a suspicion about Hope and the lengths that he will go to for her. I like that we’ve seen this unfold gradually. Lani also served as a (slight) counterbalance to the rest of the police force, who were all falling over themselves to excuse Hope. I did like the final exchange between Roman and Justin, showing they hadn’t bought her lame story, but overall I feel this should have been a lot more dramatic and suspenseful.

Belle isn’t going to be winning any mother of the year awards, is she? I wish they would give us an explanation for her willingness to be wooed by Phillip (and Chad). I’m willing to fanwank to a certain point, but I’d like to see what the show has in mind with this. Claire’s phone call is making me dread the return of Shawn (in the form of Brandon Beemer) and the return of the love triangle that ate the show in the 2000’s.

Oh, and a child scheming to get her parents back together? Wow, I’ve never seen that plot before!

Couple time

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

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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:

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I loved the kisses in the hotel room:

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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.

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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.

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

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I don’t have much to say about Monday’s episode (still Hope’d out), but I did really enjoy the Brady/Belle scenes.

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This is what I want for Brady, some definition outside of his love life. Developing his sibling relationships is one great way to do that. And the same goes for Belle. She really had no particular identity in her last run other than “golden girl.” This time, she has an edge, but it’s not over the top. I liked how she made a snippy comment about Sami, and then apologized and said that was bitchy.

I also enjoyed the brief reference to Paul, just because it was so casual. Oh, I’ve got a new brother. Huh.

(And hey, I heard a rumor that these two had yet another brother in town. Wow, it would be cool to see him too!)

I liked that Belle mentioned Will, and Sami’s loss, finally. I have come to the conclusion that it was a bad idea to kill off Will. As far as I can see, there is no particular fallout from his death that couldn’t have been accomplished in other ways. Sami’s quest for revenge didn’t have anything to do with Will, because it wasn’t Stefano who killed him. Sami could have come back for Bo’s funeral and had the exact same story. As it is, it was clearly just a way to get rid of a bad recast, and that could have been done by sending him out of town. Heck, since Freddie was leaving too, give Will and Sonny a happy ending and send them off together.

So, as was rumored, it looks like Phelle are getting a revisit. I am open to this, I think. So far nuPhillip is pretty one-note, but I hope to hear more about why he’s turned into such a raging asshole. John Paul Lavoisier has a way of randomly hitting a WORD really HARD when he’s speaking. But I like his look:

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And Belle seems to like it too:

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I liked her bitter comment that he’s had 63 girlfriends since their divorce. I always like a love story that starts with a bit of conflict, and between Belle’s newfound bitchiness and Phillip’s calculating greed, there seems to be plenty of opportunity for it. I am going to guess that Phillip will also be bitter about how Belle strung him along for years (he certainly has reason to be!)

With Brandon Beemer coming back next month, I have been dreading “Shellip” round 1000, but these are encouraging signs.