Not another one

Someone sure loves baby stories, doesn’t she?

I really hope that Jade is lying about the baby, or there is some other twist so that Joey doesn’t end up a father before his twentieth birthday. I like James Lastovic but Joey has been written as such a dim bulb. If there was some career he was preparing for, something he was dreaming of doing, and this baby was forcing him to give up that dream, I might be able to muster up more interest. But he’s going to college (under protest), living at home, and not working. Steve is proud of him for “stepping up” but how is he stepping up? Offering Jade a place to live in a place he’s not paying for?

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There’s also the fact that he’s a murderer. I could maybe forgive that, but I can never forgive this hair:

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I will take the ring to Mordor, only I do not know the way.

Also, Jade’s smugness, and her taunting, about the baby at Thanksgiving drained any sympathy I had for the character (and I did have some). If she’s going to treat her baby like a meal ticket, why should I see it any differently? Grrr. Someone help me out here.

I am theoretically intrigued by this Abby/Chad/Gabi triangle — I like all three characters. So far, though, the best thing about it is the homophonic couple names. Chabby vs. Chabi! They sound so alike? How can we choose?? Abby’s talk about staying dead had me shouting at the TV, “What about your son??” Also, the fact that her own brother is with Gabi should put a dent in her certainty that Chad has “moved on.”

On Friday, though, they addressed the Thomas issue a little by having Abby freak out at her inability to comfort him, which added fuel to the idea that Thomas might be better off without her too.

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In general, Abby’s hysteria on Friday made her decision to stay in hiding a lot more understandable. I liked that Jennifer mentioned her pill addiction and Chad’s doubt about her ability to take care of Thomas. (Though she left out the whole custody battle — I’d like to see Abby’s reaction to that!) And I was surprisingly moved by Jennifer’s sense of betrayal that Laura kept Abby hidden from her. In general, I’ve been enjoying the Deveraux/Horton family interactions. Let’s hope the love triangle gets a little more interesting.

As for Adrienne’s big decision, again the execution of the story leaves a lot to be desired. I loved Justin’s big entrance (even without the necessary buildup) because it was soapy, and Adrienne’s collapse was fun to watch for the same reason, but the writing is so thin in between these events that it is hard to care. “I love them both,” she says. But what does she see in Lucas? What does she see in Justin? What are the stakes? Three times she has been interrupted right before she announces who she has “chosen,” and sadly this is all the suspense we have been given. Again the pleasure is coming from the family/friend interactions. Wally Kurth and Bryan Datillo have obviously been having a lot of fun with their juvenile sparring. And then there’s Steve throwing shade at Justin:

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What a look! I love Steve in protective older brother mode.

Aaaaaand … how great was this scene:

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Awwww.

Screencaps Joanie

Why?

I’ve said here many times that, for me, it’s the execution of the story that matters. I might criticize the thinking behind a story (Ava again? Really?), but I’ll still give the story a chance to win me over.

Well, I’ve found out there are limits to my tolerance, because I am completely unwilling to get on board with Ciara’s rape story.

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There have been things they’ve done right. Days doesn’t have the greatest track record in showing the lingering trauma of rape, but they have certainly shown that Ciara is upset and traumatized. We’ve seen her unable to stop thinking about it (that flashback has gotten quite a workout), but unable to tell anyone. When she finally told Claire, there was some good dialogue. When she doubted she would be believed, it was clear it was because she doubted herself. I particularly liked the line when she said she couldn’t stand the thought of telling people and having them “picture it in their minds.” That was a great detail.

But I have the same question for Days that Ciara had for Chase yesterday: why?

Why do this to a legacy character, a recently SORASed teen? I’ve avoided thinking about the fact that this was Ciara’s first time, but Ciara said it herself yesterday. Why would you think that was a good idea? And, of course, it has pretty much ruined the character of Chase. The one teen who isn’t related to everyone in town! I’m not opposed to Chase being evil, but evil in this particular way? It doesn’t resonate with anything else. When everyone was yelling at Chase in yesterday’s episode, “how could you do this?” Chase kept saying, “I don’t know.” And that’s it, there really isn’t a reason. Yes, we saw he was worried about turning into his dad, he was hurt that Ciara accused him of starting the fire. And he’s obviously been attracted to her. But there was no particular trigger that day, or any day, that explained his actions. It makes all the drama yesterday (and some of it was effective) feel cheap and unearned.

I’m guessing that Chase will see Andre again in jail, and they will team up in some way. And before all this happened, I was interested in that, how Andre might use Chase, use his insecurities and resentments to turn him against Hope and the Hortons. But now? Chase just needs to go, and so does this story.

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

Punched

I’m sure it was cathartic for many people, but I was not really a fan of Kayla attacking Ava. It felt a little over the top. I also felt that Ava succeeded in dragging Kayla down to her level. I did like it when she turned stone cold afterwards and succeeded (at least temporarily) in getting her to leave town.

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I did pause again today to marvel at how unnecessarily complicated Ava’s plan was. She schemed with Joey to get Steve and Kayla back together … just so she could have the pleasure of breaking them up again? Why did Joey need to be involved at all? He would have been a perfect tool for revenge against Kayla if she had slept with him (he would have), but what, she’s too honorable? She pretended to have leukemia to gain Steve’s sympathy, but then went straight for the crazy kidnapping, blackmail, forced sex, and then rubbing Steve and Kayla’s nose in it and generally cackling with glee. Finding out her child died could have been a reason to go off the deep end, but that only explains the last two things.

Why am I even wasting time thinking about this? Days isn’t going for character development here, except, well, bitches be crazy.

Steve and Hope’s scene were really nice. I love their friendship, and it was nice to have someone in Steve’s corner, who can be more neutral about what he felt forced to do. I also appreciated how she thanked him for bringing Bo home. I’m not sure why Hope was drinking in the middle of the day, but it was a nice scene between the two of them. It also pushed all my nostalgia buttons when he called her “sweet thing.”

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I still haven’t reconciled myself to Ciara’s storyline, so I’m not going to comment on it except to say I really didn’t like Chase and Andre’s conversation. I am glad (I guess?) that Chase recognized what he did as rape, but Andre trying to talk him out of it just made my skill crawl. Andre just isn’t the kind of villain who they should use in that way. Ben or Clyde could have had that conversation with Chase and it would have been horrible, but it would have worked because those guys are stone cold evil. Andre is more of a cartoon villain, beloved by viewers, and I just don’t want to hear him be the voice of “it wasn’t rape, she wanted it.” Ugh.

Finally, I was sorry to hear Summer say that Daniel was a wonderful man. I was hoping against hope that they were going to find out he had done something horrible to her.

Screencaps Forever Safe

Don’t do it, Days

Yesterday’s episode definitely had Josh’s stamp on it. It was dark, effective drama, good cast interaction, some meaty dialogue. The Chad/Andre scene was especially good for showing Chad’s ambivalence about Andre and his Dimera heritage, but also his genuine affection for Stefano and sorrow at the thought of his death. Billy Flynn played those layers really well.

It seems a little strange that Steve would tell Kayla a half-truth and still hold back from spitting out the rest, but honestly I’m pleasantly surprised that he admitted as much as he did.

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It makes Kayla seem less clueless at not putting two and two together when all the signs are there. I liked her line that she was relieved, because she had been afraid it was something like that. And I loved her line that Ava’s plot was “not even original!” Someone’s been reading the message boards, ha ha.

And, of course Ava has a video. Well, I can see where this is going.

I can’t believe they are doing a rape story with Ciara and Chase.

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I am fine with the idea of Chase being evil. We don’t really know that much about the grown-up Chase, so they can take the character wherever they want. He certainly has reasons to be screwed up. And the actor who plays him is good at radiating unwholesomeness and hidden depths. But it does seem a little abrupt that all it took was some free food and a couple of pep talks by Andre (“women love a strong man”), and he’s ready to go for it.

Ugh! I just don’t want to see a rape story here — I don’t want to see a teenage girl raped, I don’t think the actress who plays Ciara is up to it, and I don’t want Days to go there again. Make it stop!

I’ll just pray they’ll get interrupted — the living room couch is surely a bad place to rape someone, right?

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Mix and match

Hey, if Lani and Shawn become a couple, we can call them “Lawn” because it’s like watching grass grow!

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I kid, I kid. I have no opinion on them yet. It seems to me the past couple of days have taken some characters out of their usual orbits, and there seems to be some chem testing going on, especially with Lani and Fynn. I’m still on the fence about Lani. I feel like I could warm up to her – maybe.

But Fynn is another story. Fynn is like the Hydra, what grew in the place where we chopped off Daniel’s head. He’s a doctor, he’s a sleaze, and he’s everyone’s best friend. Why are he and Shawn best buds suddenly? And Claire is confiding in him? Ugh. I took an instant dislike to him at the beginning and now that I’ve seen him talking to Daniel’s shrine I hate him even more. Not to mention that sleazy scene about his sex tapes. Do they think we will see this and think “what a charming rogue”? Ick.

I wish I enjoyed Belle being bitchy to Shawn. I wanted to enjoy it, but she was so passive aggressive it pushed all my formerly Belle-hating buttons. He questions whether she can afford to buy an expensive ring and she turns it into “You are questioning my perfection, waaah!” But I also thought Shawn’s line about her “crossing a line” (presumably with Phillip) was patronizing and uncalled-for. Basically, I hated them both in that scene. And Phillip isn’t impressing me his smarts, either — Deimos just took him behind the woodshed and whupped him with one hand tied behind his back. He didn’t even make it a challenge.

Okay, I hate being so negative – moving on. There was some good stuff these last two days. Today, I especially liked the scenes with Andre and Chase.

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Chase is still a blank slate, so they could turn him into a bad seed, which I could totally go for.  I liked the way he said “I hurt people” so calmly, as a statement of fact. That worked a lot better for me than his pathetic explanation and apology to Ciara and Theo last week. Andre was laying it on pretty thick about how much they had in common, how they were going to meet again, and how Chase shouldn’t tell anyone. He came across as, well, a pedophile grooming his next victim. But it worked — in a really, really creepy way.

And it probably wasn’t intentional, but Ciara was reasoning like a battered wife where Chase is concerned. “Oh, I can’t even think about dating, what would it do to Chase?” He’s just crazy because he loves me so much – I’ll tiptoe around him and keep him placated at all costs.

I also liked the Hernandez clan dinner. Gabi was really cute teasing (and cheerleading) the two men for actually getting along. And Galen and A have a really nice father/son chemistry, partly hostile, but friendly too. I liked Eduardo getting a little tipsy and talking about his regrets and encouraging Rafe to go after what (or who) he wants. A is really selling me on both Eddy’s urgent desire to connect with his family, and his bittersweet knowledge that it’s all a little too late — he can never get those years back.

And finally, I found Thrady genuinely sweet and touching in their scenes with the ukelele:

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It all could have come off as way too precious and self-consciously cute (I sometimes feel that way about Jen Lilley), but it all felt natural and unforced. I like their self-deprecating jokes about singing, and how Brady played for her to cheer her up, and she turned around and played for him later. And I thought their conversation about Nicole and Theresa’s uncertainty about her was surprisingly mature.

The “they can’t have sex” angle is obviously to create a little distance so Nicole can be more of a problem. (The scenes skeeved me out a little, but I think that was Fynn’s presence. Yup, I really hate Fynn.) No doubt Daniel’s heart won’t give Brady any trouble if he tries to have sex with Nicole.

But imagine how Daniel’s heart would react if it was Melanie. Ha!

Dead baby joke

What’s dead from pneumonia and anticlimactic?

Seriously, is this the end of the baby story? A guy from an illegal orphanage hears what time period they are looking for, and he immediately reels off, apparently from memory, the five children who came through at that time. He even remembers their ethnicities, and helpfully adds that both white babies died. Oh, and he just happens to have a picture.

See ya later, dead Ava baby.

It was good to see Kayla again, and coming out swinging.

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I like that she is already suspicious and hot on the trail of why Steve is off with Ava. Joey is a terrible liar; with a little effort, she should have no trouble weaseling the truth out of him. Last week, I was having trouble connecting with Joey’s emotions with the whole roller coaster of trying to run away with Ava, then finding out she kidnapped his mom, and then immediately seeing his dad kissing her. It was too much. But James Lastovic did great today. His guilt toward his mom and anger at his father were well played. I liked how he was angry at Steve, but he instinctively covered for him too. That’s very believable (and Johnson-man-like).

The signs are there that Kayla is going to be front and center for the fallout from this whole mess, which will go a long way toward reconciling me to this storyline — ha ha, I joke! What I mean is, I refuse to let Dena ruin my couple for me, so I’m determined to salvage what I can.

As for the rest of the show, I continue to be appalled at Hope’s indifferent parenting of Chase. I am not seeing any chemistry between Ciara and either Chase or Theo. I do love Theo, though, and I’d like to see them try him with someone else. I am getting a nice family vibe from the three Carvers. Abe and Lani’s scenes were good today.

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They may not be pursuing a Lani/Rafe/Hope triangle (and I’m fine with that) but I liked how Abe was subtly prodding her about her faith in Rafe.

Awwww, Chad and Abby:

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I thought Kate Mansi did really well showing how upset she was at the idea of eloping. I liked that she pointed out that her family is worried about her because of Ben, and the last thing to give them confidence is for her to run away and get married secretly. But it makes sense that Chad is more concerned with protecting her from Andre than worrying what her family thinks of him. That was some nice organic conflict.

Screencaps Forever Safe.