Fragments

Today was a fun episode. The highlight for me was actually the short scene between Abe and Kayla, when she told him he still had fragments of the bullet in his chest. It was just very real and heartfelt, as Kayla tried to soothe him and he demanded to know the truth about his condition.

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James Reynolds took this meatier material and ran with it like the old pro that he is, and Kayla was so warm and comforting. I liked seeing Mary Beth Evans given the chance to do something other than worry about Joey. Kyler Pettis is doing great work as Theo in this story, and all of the teens in the hospital were surprisingly good.

I also enjoyed the Steve, Kayla, John, and Marlena scenes, talking about Orpheus, reviewing the past and analyzing his character.

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Considering how so many of the women characters have been sidelined lately, it was satisfying to me to have Marlena play the role of the profiler, talking about Orpheus’s motivations.

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Criminal profiles usually end up sounding pretty facile on TV, and this was no exception, but I genuinely thought it worked well. It was effective to cut from her discussion of how Orpheus wasn’t a true sociopath because he was able to love, to Orpheus looking at pictures of his family and Joey trying to engage him.

I also appreciate that Joey (and Claire, when she was there) was actually doing, or trying to do, something. I love my 60-something heroes and I could watch Steve crouching in an alley exchanging gunfire all day long, but I want to be able to root for the younger characters too. So when Brady and Sonny act like idiots and John and Steve get the job done, I’m kind of curious what the show is trying to do. Don’t they want to give Brady and Sonny a chance to win viewers’ hearts?

Speaking of Brady and Sonny, I was torn about yesterday’s show and this Kirakis-vs.-Dimera thing they are setting up. First of all, Days shouldn’t do business storylines. Whenever they do, it’s so obvious they have no idea what they are talking about. “We have to operationalize our assets.” “It’s mission-critical to stay incentivized.” “Did you put the cover on the TPS reports?”

Also, it is so frustrating that Dena is in such a hurry to get the plot going. A feud like this should develop much more organically. I’m all for Chad being a little shady, but it should take a lot more than a couple weak arguments from Kate to get him to work with Andre again. I think Billy and Thaao have a fun brotherly chemistry and I’m all for them sharing scenes, but that was ridiculous.

Sad to see the Dimera “family” reduced to Chad, Andre, and Kate. Might as well give Thomas a VP spot.

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Awww.

The Kiriakis living room, on the other hand, is stuffed to the gills. It was fun seeing all those actors together, most of whom I like very much, all yelling at each other. I got the sense they were having a lot of fun with these scenes. And Deimos really did fit right in. I still think he could work as the new Victor, when Victor was shady and ruthless — the remaining Kiriakises are just too good right now. Deimos set my teeth on edge with his condescension towards Theresa at the beginning of the episode — he used the same “don’t bother your pretty little head” voice on Nicole on Monday and I hated it then too. But if Deimos is being set up as a villain, it works. I’m glad Theresa complained about it and barged into the meeting later to chew them out, even if it all ended up feeling a little bizarre.

Deimos seems to be buying that Phillip is the father of Chloe’s baby for now, though Phillip’s fumbling answer to his questions should have been a big red flag. Until last week, I was almost completely tuned out of the baby story and anything involving Deimos and Nicole, but Eric’s potential future involvement in it all has galvanized my investment immeasurably.

I can’t exactly say that the show is good right now, but I am enjoying each episode much more than I was, and there are definitely some things that have me interested at least. The pieces are there for some interesting and dramatic stories, if the show could just find a way to put them together.

Screencaps Joanie and Forever SAFE

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Glue

The very first scene on my Steve and Kayla DVDs, from June 1986, is a scene at Shenanigans with Abe and Chris. Abe says (paraphrasing), “Are you telling me John Black is Roman? And Kim had her baby? And Bo is Victor’s son?” (Chris’s response: “It’s been quite a week.”) It’s a heavily expository scene, obviously there to catch up any viewers who missed out on May sweeps. And he plays it perfectly, reacting with shock and concern for his friends, and tearing up at the idea Roman is alive after all.

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These scenes are so important to make us feel like these are real people in a real town, reacting to the news and events of each other’s lives. Often characters who seldom get stories of their own can be the glue that ties the stories of other people together, serve as audience surrogates, offer wisdom and advice. Tom and Alice could fill that role when they were alive, and Doug and Julie now. But Abe is perfect in this case. He knows everyone in town from his long history there, and his job as a police officer makes him a natural fit in this role. It’s nice to slow down a bit after the excitement of the last few days, and just breathe a little and show people’s reactions. The big events are exciting, but in order to feel real, we need to see everyone reacting. And if criminals hellbent on revenge are involved, people should be worried and jumpy.

The problem of characters being limited to their bubbles, hardly even aware of what is happening to other people (let alone interacting with them), seems to be something that every new headwriter initially fixes, and then falls lazily back into. I imagine intersecting stories are more difficult to write — though that’s no excuse of course. So I’m not counting on this intersection of stories to last forever, but I intend to enjoy it while it does.

I’ve enjoyed the interrupted Thrady wedding and the criminal breakout for the most part.

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I loooooove seeing Orpheus again. It’s pointless to wish for anything as good as his first run — Stockholm remains a gold standard that will never be matched, in my opinion (unfortunately). But even to hear Marlena reference being kidnapped in Stockholm made shivers run up my spine. And I could listen to George DelHoyo’s voice all day. Such gravitas. And this was a nice example of an Event — something that brings different characters togteher. The wedding and the Orpheus interruption led to Paul’s heroic rush, Sonny worrying about him and talking to Phillip about it, Phillip and Victor’s tender moment, and Eve and Nicole’s somewhat bizarre, but enjoyable, bonding session. Different characters interacting immediately raises my interest level.

Side note: I have only faint hopes that this will be explained or addressed, but let’s talk about the Roman/John issue for a minute. Back in 1986, Orpheus wanted to get revenge on Roman (played by Drake, so John-as-Roman) for killing his wife, Rebecca (accidentally) when Orpheus and Roman were ISA partners in 1979. Last week, Orpheus reiterated that¬† he wants revenge on Roman first, for his wife — but then other people are on his list for what happened later. Makes sense so far. But then he told John this week he wanted to kill everyone John loves because John killed everyone he loved. So that sounds like John killed Rebecca.

Adding to the confusion, back in 1986, didn’t we see flashbacks of John-as-Roman hiding the bonds and shooting Orpheus’s wife? Which didn’t even make sense at the time because it was supposed to be happening in 1979? If the show was smart they could fold in the John-isn’t-Roman story into this. Like: Orpheus was in league with Stefano and knew all along that John was brainwashed to think he was Roman, and it was really John that Orpheus was partners with the whole time. That would explain those flashbacks. Orpheus called him Roman in ’86 because he was involved in the long con on John and Marlena. This of course could explain how Marlena ended up with Stefano after being initially kidnapped by Orpheus. A long term Orpheus/Dimera connection could potentially bring Andre and Chad into the story today — if Orpheus was in jail because Stefano set it up for Orpheus to take the fall, the Dimeras could be on his list of targets too.

Okay, moving on. I thought it was smart that the three villains split up and are wreaking havoc separately. Xander’s confrontation with Theresa was good, mostly because of Paul Telfer — I liked using the irony of Xander being sent away for the one thing he hadn’t done, so he was able to kind-of-legitimately claim the moral high ground. I’ll be glad if it gives Nicole something different to do; maybe she’ll even have time to think about how Eric saved her from Xander. It’s all making me miss Greg Vaughan something fierce (fiercer than usual).¬† And as far as the cliffhanger with Clyde and Kate today — all I can say is, Clyde, don’t play me like that. Less talking, more shooting.

Screenshots Joanie

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.