Hey, not bad

I wanted to do a post on today’s show because I thought it was actually decent.

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I’ve been rolling my eyes for weeks at Hope’s willingness to get back together with Aiden when HIS SON RAPED HER DAUGHTER, but today was a decent payoff for that frustration. My frustration was partly with the show, and not just with Hope. I thought they were genuinely trying to sell us Haiden, round 2. An idea I find so nauseating it is making Rope look good — seriously.

(And all this happening while Rafe lay tied up with the timer ticking down was fairly suspenseful, though I think they could have stretched it out even more. Like Hope goes to his house to cry on his shoulder, but his mother tells her triumphantly that Rafe is done with her and is with Blanca. So Hope goes home, discouraged … as the clock ticks down.)

I liked that Aiden’s fudging on when he was actually replaced with the double came back to bite him. It was such a weaselly lie — he already spilled he was working for the Dimeras and was hired to kill her, but he couldn’t resist holding back that one extra fact.

But why was Roman so eager to excuse Hope for giving Aiden another chance? Why was everyone? One of my pet peeves with modern Days is how other characters on the show are so willing to excuse a supposed “good” character’s actions. You know, people don’t have to agree on things.

But I should be careful what I wish for, because when Days does disagreement it sometimes turns out like Chad and Jennifer today.

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I thought the scenes themselves were great, honestly. Billy Flynn and Missy Reeves did really well and had a really nice rhythm going. Their recriminations they were hurling at each other were nicely specific — I liked that Jen said she was wary of him from the beginning, because she was, though saying Ben only went crazy because of Chad was stretching things a bit far. And I liked how he brought up her pill popping and said she was just doing this because she was going crazy about her daughter.

But. It all came out of freaking nowhere. We needed to see Jennifer seeing something specific to set her off, to make the danger to Thomas seem urgent. And we needed a longer buildup of simmering frustration, more distrust between the two of them, before this final crack up.

Well, one takes what one can get, these days.

 

Fireworks

I thought today’s episode was excellent.

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I should have realized that Bo and Steve’s fight was fake from the beginning, but I have to admit they got me. So it was an extra treat when they both ganged up on the deputy and escaped.

And Steve played his harmonica!

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Ten years ago, during the 40th anniversary, I got the chance to watch the very first episode of Days on Soapnet. I remembered that Julie (played by a different actress – but not for long! Susan Hayes has played the part since 1968) was featured prominently. She stole a stole (ha!) from a department store and had to be picked up from the police station. But you all know that, because she told the story today. I thought they did an excellent job incorporating that story naturally, first showing Ciara offering to steal a jacket for Chase, being caught (well, overheard) by Julie so Julie could tell this story, and then breaking down and admitting the jacket reminded her of her father. As her father, unbeknownst to her, is arriving in town! Perfect, seamless storytelling.

The flashback to Alice and Tom was lovely as well. So great to see them.

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A little clunkier was the mention of Marie, when Julie said Marie mentioned 50 years ago she was planning her wedding. To me this doesn’t rise to the level of “Wow! What a coincidence!” since about a bazillion other weddings have happened in the meantime. Also, Marie never married Tony, the man she was engaged to in the debut episode (but she did marry his father, ew!) It would have been better, in this case, to have Marie herself pop in for a cameo. I know Maree Cheatham is still around, I follow her on Twitter!

I liked how they weaved in the new teen set. Today was the first day we really got to see them in action, and I think they all did pretty well. I can see they are going to continue to showcase Theo’s autism, which I think is great. I liked how Joey referred to the way Theo obsessively memorizes baseball statistics, and then when he had to tell him that when he said his mom would kill him, he didn’t mean literally.

And then Joey collapsed. As if Kayla doesn’t have enough to deal with!

Caroline and Kayla were really funny today.

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I love this “I’ve got your number” expression.

And Caroline was so unrepentant, it cracked me up. I loved how she put her dress back on over her hospital gown (the huge dress is good for something!) and headed back to the mansion. Just in time to meet Bo and Steve – but no motorcycle entrance, alas! I cannot wait for everyone to see Bo, finally! The reactions are going to be epic.

I enjoyed the scenes in the garden, when everyone was waiting for the fireworks. They actually gave people meaningful dialogue. My favorite was Eric’s reaction to Daniel and Nicole’s cooing, and then Nicole talking about her sadness over her two lost babies. I have a feeling, based on this, that Nicole might finally get her baby. The only question is are they going to do a WTD story for her?

Is water wet?

Actually, they might not, so soon after Abby’s WTD story. But, a pregnancy +  triangle? How could they resist?

I loved seeing the wedding album, all the great supercouples, finishing with Tom and Alice. Seeing Jack’s photo, and Jen’s reaction to it, gave me hope that maybe, maybe Jack is going to come back. This is the second mention in two weeks! It was nice to hear Adrienne call him her brother too. And all the kisses were sweet. I especially liked this:

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I love Gabi’s reaction.

And Eric kissed Jennifer!

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Is this going somewhere? At this point I’d take almost anything that would give Eric more airtime, but I am not sure how I would feel about this. They are both at loose ends right now, so I could see the show going there, temporarily.

It totally grossed me out that there was a Hope/Aiden sex scene today, but what a great, suspenseful ending of him standing there holding the tie. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Will Aiden attack and Hope kills him? Or Bo?  But will Days show Aiden delay, and delay, and not attack until the end of the episode – so we have to wait til Monday to find out what happens?

Is water wet?

I don’t know you at all

Abby had the Salem brain today!

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I thought the developments in this story were really well done. I’ve been frustrated with Abby’s blindness, but in some ways that made today particularly good. I liked how they built up their fight very naturally. We could see that Ben’s gleefulness over the money rubbed Abby the wrong way, and that led to her admission that she feels guilty, because she believed so fervently in Chad’s innocence (and, though Ben doesn’t know this, helped him elude the police). That in turn led Ben to challenge her on that belief, and accuse her of still believing it. And he pointed out what I’ve been wanting her to realize … if Chad is innocent, then Ben is lying. She can’t believe in both of them.

But I loved that the clincher was not about Chad – it was when he talked about one of her relatives “finally” kicking the bucket and leaving them a fortune. It was so callous (especially after Will’s death) and hinted at a twisted morality and sociopathic selfishness. It was the perfect thing to send her out the door.

And then, of course, there was this:

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Chad is awake! What a closing shot! I am so excited for their scenes tomorrow.

As for the rest of the show, of course I loved my Bo and Steve scenes.  They had some great banter today, but I am not satisfied with the way they are filling in the details of Bo’s disappearance – or rather, not filling them in. We still don’t know at what point Bo went from “choosing to leave his family” to being a fugitive and a captive. All those cancelled visits Hope keeps referring to, Bo hasn’t mentioned at all. Steve and Bo’s conversation centered on the faked letter, but from Hope’s point of view there was a quite a bit more to it than that. Steve’s apparent belief that Bo just needs to come back and all will be well with him and Hope seems naive to the extreme – but then again, Steve might have his own reasons for wanting to believe that.

I also am rolling my eyes a little at some of the contrivances that prevent them from calling home, but I’ll go with it. What I had a hard time with were the Hope/Aiden scenes. Everything about them screamed “Run away, run away! Do not marry this man!” even without a confession of his dastardly plans. The guy’s a mess! One thing I learned in my dating days is that when a guy tells you “I don’t deserve you” – believe him.

Bachelorette

The Hope/Aiden story has been the weakest of the new writers thus far, but today I was on the edge of my seat.

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At first I thought the dueling bachelor/bachelorette parties were tonally off for a wedding where the groom is planning to kill the bride, but I really liked how it all unfolded. When Aiden started drinking heavily and flashing back to his “kill Hope” fantasy, and when he started stammering to Rafe about how Hope doesn’t deserve to be hurt, I actually felt sorry for him.

Having him holding a RED TIE was a little over the top, but man, his conversation with Rafe was a tense, amazing scene. Aiden is so going down for these murders. Fantastic red herring.

On the bachelorette side, I was enjoying the fact that the stripper was someone Abby knew through Cameron (nice callback), and that Caroline seemed to recognize him. Very cute. The plot point of him stealing Hope’s jewelry was a little silly (he’s a QVC watcher, apparently), but all in all, it was decent comic relief and well played by all the actresses. I laughed when Julie muttered to Hope, “Tone it down,” when she was pretending to be surprised. Hee!

When it really got good, though, was when Caroline mentioned Bo and her dreams, and how shaken Hope obviously was by that. That was a perfect lead-in to Kayla asking her if she was really ready to marry Aiden, and we finally saw that Hope isn’t as sure as she claims. Kristian played that scene really, really well.

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I also liked the fact that Jennifer talked about Steve, and Jack, and how they might not feel worthy of their families, and that might be part of what makes them leave. I’m not sure if I believe it (early on, certainly, I’m just not sure about now), but I loved the reference to the “Johnson brothers.” It sent a shiver up my spine.

Bo and Steve’s scenes heavy on the plot today. It is all a little convenient that no one has a cell phone AND the plane’s radio is the only thing Steve couldn’t fix. We can’t let functioning communication technology mess up their dramatic entrance!

It’s only a (Salem) day away

I was shocked Aiden said he was going to kill Hope on their wedding night – shocked, that is, that he said it was tomorrow.  How the hell is their wedding “tomorrow”? Does that mean the Salem bicentennial is tomorrow too?

Hope you like the outfits everyone is wearing. I think we’ll be seeing them for a loooong time.

Steve and Bo are just too adorable, aren’t they?

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Is this what you call a rescue?

Peter and Stephen play off of each other so well. I was happy that Steve explained Hope’s point of view to Bo. After he defended Bo back in Salem, it’s a nice move to have him turn around and defend Hope too. And I loved Bo teasing him about how Kayla obviously isn’t giving him the time of day.

I am disappointed, though, in  that the letter actually was a fake, that Bo hadn’t written it. I was happy with the theory commenter Erica put forward a few weeks ago, that Bo knew he was going on the run to an uncertain future, and had deliberately written the letter in order to free Hope to move on. I think that would be a clever way to semi-justify our Salemites lack of worry about Bo, to show that it was what Bo intended. Overall, the writing is extremely slanted toward Bo, which in some ways might be unavoidable. But the show doesn’t even seem aware of how it comes off for us to watch Bo being tortured and held captive, while Hope blames him and insists he abandoned his family, all the while planning to marry a murderer.

I was a little annoyed with the writing for Kayla today too. I think her (over)reaction to Joey’s prank was believable, and it’s very human for her to lash out at Joey and then apologize. But, they keep showing Kayla in pissed-off mode, and I’d like them to dial it back a little. It seems strange for her to refer to Steve’s rescue mission as “fun” – again, the fact that she doesn’t seem concerned that her brother might be in trouble seems a major oversight by the show. I have to keep reminding myself that Steve has kept her completely in the dark about what he’s found out. But I loved how the scene ended, with Joey admitting he’s worried Steve will never come home. It’s what Kayla is worried about too.

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Andre, or Thaao really, was so funny today. I enjoyed him in the scene above, when he poked Chad in the chest to see if he was faking, and then said that he needed to make sure Daddy stopped worrying about Chad … soon. Or “seeeewn,” as he said it. Is he planning to kill Chad and Stefano and take over the Dimera empire? That was the impression I got! Whatever it is, it’s clear he has his own agenda, and I love it.

So I understand that Aiden’s character, and the Haiden relationship, was thrown under a bus and run over a couple of times, but I was bothered by Daniel Cosgrove’s performance today. In his scenes with Shawn D, he seemed utterly sweet and sincere as he made the case for Shawn to give him a chance. It seems to me that a shadow should have crossed his face, a consciousness of guilt or remorse about what he is actually planning to do.

And I appreciated this comedic moment, when Hope surprised Kayla and Julie getting ready for her bachelorette party:

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Susan Seaforth Hayes was hilarious letting the air out of the balloon and saying “surprise.”

But the unintentional comedy award goes to Hope, for the scene when she ran sobbing through the park because her son didn’t immediately accept her fiance. What is she, ten? Not even Ciara would act like that.

Change is afoot

Hello, who do I see in the credits today? Welcome, Dena Higley and Josh Griffith!

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We made it, darling! We made it to the fall!

Today’s episode (8/19) was fun, seeing the current stories kicked up a notch, and also the seeds planted for new storylines. Clyde and Aiden fought. Paige found out JJ is working for the DEA. Rafe is back on the force (and still mooning after Hope, more’s the pity — I was hoping they’d drop that). John is joining the ISA. Julie is wandering around town talking to people about love.

Speaking of Julie, she also expressed her skepticism about Aiden, that maybe he is still keeping secrets from Hope (anvil alert!). We also heard more about Bo’s exit, how the calls became less and less frequent, how he kept saying he was going to come home and didn’t. It was all definite enough to justify Hope divorcing him and moving on, and yet there are enough holes in it create a loophole for Bo. I have never been a Bo and Hope shipper — I enjoy them when they are together, but I don’t suffer when they are apart — but a thrill ran up my spine when I heard the name “Bo” in Kristian Alfonso’s accent. It’s finally here, everybody!

I haven’t posted much about Clyde and his story with Aiden, because I haven’t had much to say. It has been all been vague teases and misdirection, without anything definite to talk about. I like teases and misdirection, but it’s been hard to get into the story because I don’t care much about the characters. Today’s fight — between two middle aged guys! — was fun, though. I kind of loved Aiden with blood running down his dimpled face.

Which brings me to Haiden. I like Aiden fine but I don’t find him compelling, either as a character, or with Hope as a couple. One thing I am already sick of is the squabbling between Bope and Haiden fans on message boards, and on Twitter. Perhaps my opinion is colored by that, but I have found the writing for Hope and Aiden to be … really weird.

Since I started watching Days full time again, I’ve seen one love scene between Eric and Nicole, two between Daniel and Nicole, one between Chad and Abby, and one for Ben and Abby. In the same time period I have seen four or five Haiden love scenes. They also spent an evening waltzing and drinking champagne, another evening stargazing, and multiple encounters kissing and smiling at each other. This for a couple who is only on one or two days a week!

It feels like the type of writing they do for a couple when something Big and Awful is about to happen — which of course is certainly true. That is, I know that with the 50th anniversary coming up, with Peter Reckell coming back, Griffith and Higley were always going to go with Bope. But I would guess, based on what I’ve seen, that TomSell also probably planned for Aiden to go dark. Either something to do with Clyde, or his wife’s death, or both. Couples are never that deliriously happy unless they are headed for a big fall.

And I think I heard a collective sigh of relief and gratitude from John and Marlena fans, hearing Marlena say they are going to “put each other first.” And Drake was kind of adorable today, telling Rafe “Doc” is running late, too, so he’s off the hook.

All my least favorite characters were on today. But it was still a fun episode to watch. Here’s to Higriff!