It was a dark and stormy night

Very cool episode today. I love it when Days does something different, and this was definitely different — tightly focused on one story, unfolding in real time, moody, spooky, intense.

I really enjoyed not knowing if Ben is back or not. Are we watching Abby slowly losing her mind, or are we watching a very, very clever stalker? Both possibilities are ripe for drama, and I hope they keep us guessing awhile longer.

But the really burning question is, which asshole gave them this damn gorilla?

gorilla

That thing is creepy as hell.

I thought it was very clever to use Chad’s earlier lie about Ben, when he didn’t want to ruin their wedding day, to give Abby a reason not to trust his reassurances. Maybe he’s lying again, to protect her, to placate her.

JJ was much more helpful. I really loved the JJ and Abby scene, where he talked about her singing to him, and how much he trusted his big sister and felt safe with her. It was a very effective way to counter her fear, to remind her of her strength, at least for a moment. But it was only for a moment. Kate Mansi was truly excellent when she cried, “He’s gotten inside my head!”

And what a great cliffhanger! Man, I have missed Robert Scott Wilson.

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Can’t wait to find out what happens!

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Safe and sound

Whew.

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I really loved the fakeout with the shadow ominously appearing over the baby, and then this happy reunion! Look at the expression on the baby’s face! “Mommy!” Give that little guy an Emmy.

(I kind of wanted Abby run off to breastfeed the baby, like, right now. It’s been how many hours? But I suppose that would have been a little too much realism for Days. I’m actually amazed that they mentioned breastfeeding at all. When Abby was pleading for her life because she was the only one who could feed the baby … yup, that still gets me where I live.)

This episode was good but felt a little bit too jam-packed. I would have liked to see Abby’s statement about the murders put off for tomorrow. Regardless, it was very satisfying to have the truth come out and see the officers reacting. I particularly liked when Abby said, “Didn’t I tell you?” about Ben’s motives. She is really at the end of her rope.

It was a curious moment when Abby said she “always” knew there was something off about Ben. I guess we started to see it as time went on, but as you all know I spent a lot of time complaining about how happy she was with him.

This shot:

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put me in mind of this famous final shot, from Psycho:

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Complete with the blanket! Deliberate or not?

Cute guys with babies — can never get enough of this:

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I haven’t commented on Hope the past few days, mostly because I think I need a break. I think she has been on every day for about four weeks. I loved the set (or location?) where she brought Dr. Malcolm, and I kind of love how the actor looks like a bit of a schlub. Nice casting against type. I liked how he was taunting her for moving on, which of course is why she is so hellbent on this revenge kick. But I’m kind of ready for her to dial it down a little. She seems to be headed for something worse than a breakdown, and I’m not sure what.

Chase and Ciara: I am warming up to both of them, but I feel they too, have been on every day or nearly every day. I didn’t feel anything particularly new happened today, so I would rather have used the airtime to check in with a different story.

I knew Eduardo’s “international security” business was going to turn into something! This has to be connected to the ISA, or at least John’s story, in some way. Excited to see where it goes.

I’m going to pretend that Kate and Eddy aren’t happening. Such an awkward conversation … did you know your grandaughter is my great-granddaughter? Oh, and your son and I had a … connection. Nope. No thank you.

 

Alone

That was one of the most harrowing hours of television I have ever watched.

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This final shot …

When Ben started arranging those pillows around the baby, all my mom-senses started activating. And then when he walked out and closed the door, I actually said, “NO BEN YOU ARE NOT LEAVING THAT BABY ALONE.” (Yes, this definitely calls for all caps.)

When Ben and Lani showed up in Salem, I thought, this means an hour has gone by (they said last week Mammoth Falls is an hour from Salem). Then when Abby and Chad arrived too, I thought, there’s another hour. A newborn, a preemie, alone that long! I was so jumpy I could hardly concentrate on the other storylines.

I’m worried that by the time they find out where Ben left the baby, someone else will have taken him. I can’t imagine the baby will die (Days has been dark, but that would be really dark), but I can definitely see someone else finding the baby in the meantime and taking him away. I hope that doesn’t happen.

I did manage to focus on this very brief, but very welcome, Chabby moment:

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I’m glad JJ got to be the one to capture Ben. I wish it had been Rafe with him instead of Lani. Maybe they decided to make it Lani, the rookie cop, to help explain bringing Ben back to Salem without finding out where Abby and the baby were. But then I have to remember nobody knew that Ben was really much of a threat at all; it was supposed to be routine “check-in” (come to think of it, what charge was Lani arresting him for? Breaking into the midwife’s office?)

I am honestly in awe of how skillfully the show wrought my nerves up to to fever pitch. The clock ticking for the baby all alone, coupled with Ben’s apparent craziness, means there is no easy, straightforward resolution in store for us. I was honestly weeping at Abby’s distress, and then doubly so at how she pulled herself together to go talk to him. Her baby’s life depends on her being able to get through to a crazy person. Or an evil person feigning being crazy. Or a bit of both.

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(Who wanted Hope there channeling her craziness into this interrogation?)

Screencaps: Forever SAFE

Home sweet home

I am ridiculously excited that Doug and Julie are buying the Martin house and turning it into a B&B. Finally, Doug and Julie will have a place to live! And, we’ll have a place for visitors to stay other than the Salem Inn. And best of all, we’ll get to keep the Martin house set!

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Only one guest, and the police haul him away. I hope Julie got payment up front!

I want to be interested in this plot of Sami stealing all of Stefano’s money. Right now it’s too much about someone who is not on the canvas, but I think I’ll get interested in it as others get involved, like Belle today. I am cautiously liking bitchy Belle.

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Did I mishear? Did Belle say to the CPA lady she might be “disbarred”? Is she a lawyer now?

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone on a soap have extended flashbacks to herself worrying about someone, like Jen did today. That was … strange.

I am still loving Chad/Ben/Abby.

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Poor Chad lost his second fight with Ben. I am fine with Abby’s caution about confronting or attacking Ben directly, since she just gave birth and has the baby to worry about (and what a cute baby!):

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But she better knock Ben on the head tomorrow.

Go, JJ and Lani!

 

 

 

We

Steve and Kayla’s scenes were perfection today.

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When Kayla started off yelling at him, it felt like more of the same, but then it became clear that something has shifted, and I think I know what it is. Up until now, Kayla has had to struggle with the fact that Steve left her, that he was bored and craving adventure, and he deserted her. Not only is that painful, but it isn’t Steve. Did she even know him at all?

Now, she still has plenty of reasons to be angry, but she is back on familiar ground. This line summed it up for me:

Steve: You want me to be someone else.

Kayla: No, I just want to know what is going on.

This is perfectly in character for both of them. Steve was trying to do the right thing, and he has a tendency for self-sacrifice (just like Jo). I can see his reasoning perfectly: my family’s lives are more important than my happiness. Not seeing it’s not just his own happiness he’s sacrificing. And Kayla, the decision taken out of her hands, and forced to conclude that Steve didn’t love her the way she thought he did. It’s like the sacrifice for Jack all over again!

But I like that we can see Steve’s hurt too, hurt that he was trying to do the right thing and he’s getting nothing but grief for it. When Kayla got wound up at the end and said that they are a team and will deal with this together, I loved the expression on Steve’s face. He was so happy. “You want me back.” I loved when she threw the tissue box at him!

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And I was so happy when she said, you’re not getting rid of me, so why don’t you tell me everything you know … and we’ll tackle it together. It was so very Kayla!

It all feels fair and evenhanded (finally), and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

I thought Bo, Hope, Ciara and Chase scenes were all very good. Vivian Jovanni (Ciara) did especially well today. I’m not that invested in Chase, but they have to deal with the fallout from Aiden’s demise, so they were necessary scenes. I liked that Hope said they had to take him in, and Bo agreed. I noticed they didn’t actually tell Chase his father was the necktie killer, but obviously he has to find out. I hope when it’s revealed to be Ben, Chase finds some comfort in the fact that his father “only” tried to kill Hope.

The Chad, Abby, and Ben story continues to be excellent. I loved watching Rob Wilson in the scene with Chad, the look on his face when Chad told him that Aiden was the necktie killer. Watching him try to process that actually made me laugh. I also loved how he stopped himself from mentioning Chad’s accusation, when he realized Chad didn’t remember their fight. He might hate Chad with the fire of a thousand suns, but it didn’t make him lose his head.

That led naturally into Ben forcing Abby (poor Abby!) into calling Chad.

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This was such a tense, amazing scene. I loved the big soapy drama of Bo’s return and the big fight with Aiden. But I love this kind of soapy drama even more. I know it involves a serial killer and a kidnapping and a WTD story and all of that, but somehow it is more realistic, more grounded in emotion. Seeing Chad sense that Abby is in trouble, and quickly offer her a way to tell him that doesn’t put her into further danger, seeing her quickly take advantage of that chance – that’s true (soap) love.

 

 

Not giving up

This will be a quick post. I’m a little pressed for time these days, getting ready to go away for the weekend (to Day of Days — whoo hoo!)

The Abby/Ben scenes were really terrific. I love how Rob Wilson plays Ben’s craziness – he’s a murderer, sure, but he still think he’s a pretty good guy.  When he said he’s “not giving up on us,” he was obviously sincere. It’s just that, to him, “not giving up” means he’s willing to kidnap her and keep her tied up.

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And he’ll even wrap a blanket around her shoulders. What a sweet boyfriend.

Ben feels like the wronged party, and everything flows from that. The cracks are starting to show for Abby, in her attempts to keep him placated and win his trust enough so that she can escape.  When he told her today that he knew about her night with Chad, I think it really sunk in how much trouble she is in. This has been going on a lot longer than she thought, and Ben actually hasn’t trusted her for a long time.

I liked how Aiden’s apparent guilt has rippled out to affect other people. I especially liked how they used it to get Gabi to talk to Eduardo, and having JJ encourage her was a nice touch (with another Jack reference!). I guess this means Ben won’t be getting that $100,000 now.

And, of course, Chad was set free. I liked the touch of selfishness in that he didn’t tell Rafe that Andre knew about Hope’s attack. He didn’t want anything to screw up his release, understandably so. But I think he will tell him eventually. And when he went over to Abby’s apartment, and Ben was there, I was cringing for him. Because he has no idea that Ben is the killer, he is like a lamb to the slaughter. And how will Ben react to finding out his plan to frame Chad has completely fallen apart? It’s going to drive him around the bend. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I can’t wait to find out.

And then Abby going into labor! Ack!

Dead

Bo and Hope – oh my God.

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The fight scenes were incredible, especially the way they crashed through the Bope house set, destroying all the furniture. Kristian was the star of these scenes, when she woke up, hallucinated Aiden, and then realized it was Bo. When Rafe arrived and she was sitting there with that dead look in her eyes, mascara streaking down her face. And when she turned to Bo and started hitting him, yelling that he wasn’t there when she needed him. Wonderful. And then those final shots in the hospital, Bo holding her in his arms. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to melt at that ending.

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Sometimes I think the only thing grounding the serial killer story in reality is Rafe. I love his quiet, understated reaction to everything, even as he obviously takes the whole thing with deadly seriousness. When he turned to Bo, after they’d already been talking for several minutes, and said “Where the hell did you come from?” I had to laugh a little. And then pondering Aiden’s apparent guilt, saying, “How did I miss this?” It shows how heavily this is weighing on him.

I love this shot:

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I’m glad to see Chad’s memories staring to come back. I really want Rafe and Chad to work together on this case!

Abby’s scenes with Ben were tense and creepy. I am so glad to see her being smart, working to placate him and maybe win his trust, so she can escape. But it obviously made her skin crawl, as mine did when I was watching, to have to return his kisses today. I’m glad she didn’t get hold of the poker. There is no way that would have worked, and I’m scared he would hit her with it. Eee, this is killing me.

Sami: all I got is WTF?

Now, Steve and Kayla.

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With just a couple a quibbles, I thought today’s scenes were really good. We finally heard for certain that Steve’s ISA mission was explicitly about protecting Kayla and their children. But this plays right into his history of playing God and making unilateral decisions. The price of those decisions was summed up by Kayla’s line: “I divorced you because of this. I lost my trust in you.” He is not going to be able to win that trust back easily, even if he didn’t leave for “adventure.”

What I didn’t like was Steve’s line that he finally got the “respectable” job she always wanted him to have. Stephen played the line so well I almost wish it wasn’t so completely wrong. They could have kept it if Kayla had replied, “Do you really think I care about that?” Kayla never cared about his job – Steve did.

My other complaint is I thought her line about staying away from her and Joey was a little harsh. But it’s possible it was in reaction to his line that he shouldn’t have come back. I’m on the fence – I want a little bit of softness, something to encourage Steve, but I don’t want Kayla’s valid reasons to be angry to be swept aside. At any rate, I thought the scenes were very, very promising for where the storyline is headed. I’m glad Steve opened up enough to tell Kayla a little bit of what is going on. It’s all but certain that Ava is the threat Steve is talking about, and the worst thing would be for Steve to keep her a secret (again).

So, cautiously optimistic?

Loved Kayla and Bo’s hug! I want more, but at least they saw each other!