Triangle troubles

One of the questions from the audience at the brunch with Stephen and Mary Beth last year was “Does Rafe smell good?”

Stephen read the question out loud and his deadpan reaction was priceless as he passed it over to Mary Beth to answer. Then she mouthed “Oh my God” and said he was so handsome and charming and smelled … so … good. It was adorable!

Rafeserious

I’ve always been neutral-to-positive on Rafe. I’ve found him to be a bit of a lunkhead sometimes, but in that he’s not very different from the rest of the Salemites. I never liked the idea of him with Hope, but I did enjoy their friendship when they were just partners. I did like him with Sami, though I never got too attached because I knew he was doomed to get chewed up by EJami. He held his own in that triangle more than I expected.

Honestly I think my favorite relationship for Rafe was the one with Chad last fall.

ChadRafe2

I think Rafe does really well as a ensemble player — a friend, a police officer, a brother. These characters are really important to have on the canvas, so I’m happy to have Rafe on the show. I am not one who resents the sudden influx of Hernandezes — I’m glad to have some new blood on the show and I like the dynamic they’ve set up, especially with Rafe and Eduardo. I’m not sure about bringing on a new character to be a romantic interest for him, as they did with Jordan once before and are now doing with Blanca.

blanca

Blanca seems … nice. The actress is appealing and brings a nice energy to the screen. I think I have been burned by how many new women they have tried to introduce in the 30-something demographic — Summer, of course, is the latest to crash and burn, following Taylor, Jordan, Madison, Serena …

They are doing one thing right with Blanca, which is to bring her on slowly instead of putting her at the focal point of a story right off the bat. But I’m not encouraged by her falling for Rafe so suddenly, and that so far it is the only thing that defines her. That, and being able to make a mean guacamole. Well, there are worse things …

The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest

So much to catch up on! Where to start?

Let’s start with Chad and Rafe. Why? Because they’re awesome.

ChadRafe

Chad was channeling “hotheaded Days hero worried about his woman” on Friday and Monday, and I must say, he wears it well. After asking Rafe’s help in finding Abby, he stomped out of the police station on Friday, yelling not to tell him to calm down, when the woman he loves is in trouble. Then on Monday he promised not to lose his temper again, but then again stomped out, yelling at Rafe to “do your job!” I think this partnership is going to be all I hoped it would be, and more.

In sadder news, we found out Bo is indeed dying. Of course his big sister Kayla is the one who has to tell him the news:

BoKaylatumor

Even Kayla’s overcoat looks like a lab coat! Why, Days costume department, why?

I feel very, very bad for Bo, but I also am dying for Kayla here. She just finished dealing with her mother’s illness, and now she has to deal with her brother’s! When Kayla started crying with Bo, I started crying too. And then this happened:

SteveBocrying

I lost it. The way they held hands, and then hugged – oh my God.

I also loved Bo’s line in this scene: “Kay never could keep a secret.” I love that Bo calls her “Kay,” and that they’ve remembered that from the 80’s. And what he says is true – Kayla is not good at keeping secrets. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to feel that these writers actually get Kayla’s character, because I never had that confidence in their last run.

And what about this scene?

KaylaStevecrying

I loved seeing Steve actually ask her what’s wrong (he didn’t do that when Caroline was sick), and be there for her as she talked about Bo. Also, Mary Beth adds a really nice touch to this scene. There is just the barest moment of hesitation before Kayla goes into his arms. She knows this is another crack in the wall she is keeping up between them.

Another great line from Bo was when he told Kayla she’s a fighter, even when the odds are impossible. It’s true, and it leads us nicely into Tuesday’s show, for some of my favorite scenes since Steve and Kayla have been back. First of all, I love that Steve is being open about what’s going on with these mysterious notes and texts (gotta be a first). He’s even telling Joey what’s happening! With Kayla, I like that he told her during a moment of softness from her, after she thanked him for rescuing Bo. He could have used that moment to press his advantage with her, and the fact that he didn’t shows he is taking this honesty (and partnership) thing seriously.

Kayla’s reply to the mysterious text, “we know who you are,” and the reason she gave for it — she wants this person out in the open, so they can fight it out — is perfectly Kayla.

Kaylatext

I loved Steve’s line about admiring her “chutzpah,” but mostly I loved his smile. He is loving having Kayla the fighter by his side, even under the circumstances. And their final exchange, Steve asking her what’s next, and her saying she thought he would figure it out, was a welcome note of humor in all the doom and gloom.

I said earlier that I wasn’t a fan of this storyline about Sami and the safe deposit box, but I really enjoyed Andre’s scenes with her and Marlena. The dialogue was really fun. Sami says Andre wouldn’t go to “all this trouble” of kidnapping her without a reason, and he says, “Oh, it’s no trouble at all.” Later, Andre says he needs to talk to Marlena, and she says crisply, “You do need a therapist, no doubt. Let me give you a few names.” Hee! I also just really enjoyed seeing both Sami and Marlena being strong and standing up to him – and realizing he is running his own game against Stefano.

And finally, Blackpatch!

SteveJohnISA

How cool is this going to be??

Dead

Bo and Hope – oh my God.

Hopeunconscious

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.

BoHopehospital

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:

AndreChadflashback

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.

KaylaStevehospital

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!

Tell me you understand

This will be a quick post, because I’m leaving in the morning for a business trip. I’ll be back by Saturday and catching up on Days then. I’ll miss you guys!

Today was James Read’s last day, so I have to say goodbye to my dear, sweet, hillbilly drug lord. Sniff.

It was an interesting choice to have Ben confess to Clyde before he left.

Benconfess

The scenes were well shot and suspenseful. Sometimes, having a scene where someone Explains It All can come off as hokey, but I liked how it all came spilling out to the one person who Ben feels is in his corner – who he is now losing. And I had thought that Clyde knew or suspected the truth, but it seemed clear from his reactions today that he didn’t. But I liked how his shock quickly morphed into a fierce desire to protect his monster of a son. Chad will go down for this. If that’s what my boy wants, that’s what my boy gets.

Clydeconfession

And then I loved the little cliffhanger of Clyde running out of time to tell Ben the truth about the incident in Florida. Clearly, this is going to turn into something, probably through Lani, and (I hope) factor into Rafe putting the pieces together about Ben.

At the same time that Ben and Clyde were reassuring themselves that Chad will be charged, Aiden was inspired by Rafe’s doubts about Chad’s guilt – and attendant suspicion that the killer is still at large – to try to “copycat” kill Hope. This is the kind of intricate plotting that I love. What will Ben’s reaction be to hearing the Necktie Killer has struck while Chad is in a coma?

I can’t stand watching Hope with Aiden and seeing how clueless she is, but I enjoyed Aiden’s scenes with Andre. And Rafe! The whole idea of Rafe being Aiden’s best man is pretty stupid, and points out how isolated Aiden’s character has been even before he was evil. But Galen Gering totally sold me on those scenes, his fake surprise and “I’m honored” reaction were such a hoot.

RafeImhonored

So was that a chem test between Rafe and Lani? I might be able to get behind it, but she seems to young for him. And Hope seems too old. Isn’t there a happy medium somewhere?

 

What happened to you?

Let’s start with Eric, because, hey! It’s Eric!

Ericbar2

I had no idea he was going to be on today, so it was a nice surprise when he popped up. And it was an even bigger bonus when it was clear he was upset and drinking because of the Basic Black photographer’s job. That shows that when he seemed so accepting of the news, it was because he was being nice and didn’t want to make Nicole feel bad, not that he didn’t care about the job.

All this drinking is interesting too. Are they setting up Eric going, very quietly, into a tailspin? Which no one will notice at first because he doesn’t scream for attention like the people around him? His lie to Sami that he was “with a friend” shows him instinctively hiding the fact that he was drinking alone. Not a good sign.

I loved his scenes with Sami. Ali and Greg have great sibling chemistry, and I loved that Sami naturally turned to him as someone she could trust. He was perfect at the voice of reason. He saw she was latching onto EJ’s letter as exactly what she wanted to hear, and as the perfect distraction from her grief about Will. It was nice that she acknowledged he was right about that, and seemed comforted by his words.

I think I like this letter from EJ as a plot point. It’s hokey, but c’mon, it’s a soap. I like how it adds a different layer to this serial killer story, something that could potentially spin off into another story in the future. I’m not holding my breath about how explosive this secret will be about Stefano (didn’t we do this a few years ago with some secret Alice had about Stefano, also in a safe-deposit box?), but it potentially gives the Bradys a play against the Dimeras, and Andre, when that story starts heating up.

Abby pulled her hair back! Yay!

Abbyponytail

Now, Ben and Abby. So much subtlety and intrigue.

The show is doing such a good job making sure we’re constantly jumpy about when Ben is going to lose it with Abby. Today when she said “Chad” and he heard her, I was so afraid for her. And then that note of warning in his voice when he said she “had” to believe in Chad’s guilt, otherwise there’s no telling what “that monster” will do.

Yes. That monster.

So then it was both good (Chabby!) and bad (what will Ben do to her?) when it became clear, at the hospital, that Abby still doesn’t believe in Chad’s guilt. So soapy, so good.

And do we think Stefano is going to kidnap Abby? Something about the way he held up that queen makes me think so. I’m not sure how he thinks it would help Chad, but it will be great if it gets her away from Ben!

When Rafe arrived to question Ben, he was awesome, as has become the usual. When he’s questioning someone, he manages to imply he knows a lot more than he’s saying. It’s perfectly calculated to make any guilty person panic and lose it, and I could see it working on Ben. When Rafe turned at the door (classic interrogation technique!) and asked Ben to explain Chad’s motivation – why now? – I could see Ben trying to avoid the trap, just leaving it be. (“I’m sure the Salem PD can figure it out.”) But he couldn’t help trying to erase Rafe’s doubts, and in searching for an explanation that would fit, groping towards his own motives. The pressure built and built … if I can’t have her, no one can.

And then, when Rafe left, and Ben looked at his face in the mirror and said “What happened to you?” and then smashed the picture of his face? So chilling. I love that they are giving Ben layers, and motivations. He really is conflicted about Will, and it’s making him lose it.

In other news, Sonny arrived in Salem.

SonnywithMarlena

I love Freddie, but I don’t see heavy drama and angst being his strong suit. He was excellent, though, in the way he mournfully took all the blame on himself for leaving. It killed me when he thought Sami was blaming him. That seems very in keeping with his character, and it’s realistic, but I hope we have some resolution for him before he leaves. Will’s death does not erase all the terrible things he did in their relationship, and Sonny was certainly justified in leaving — in fact, I would say it was overdue.

I’m glad they gave him scenes with Paul, and showed Paul does still have feelings for him. I know that it isn’t going anywhere (since Freddie is leaving), but it gives us an inkling of where Paul is emotionally if they give him a new love interest – which I hope they do.

Turn the Page

Yesterday’s episode was odd.

No offense to True O’Brien, but I don’t think Paige was really worthy of such a grand send-off. The fantasy sequences were all right, when Eve was imagining Paige’s graduation and such, but there were too many of them. And the “ghost Paige” scenes at the graveyard? Sorry, but … no.

There were some good moments, of course. I loved seeing Eve with Justin while Eddy looked on broodingly. A Martinez did a great jealous look when he came into the funeral and saw them together.

Eddy was the best part of the episode. I liked the closing scene, Eddy offering a reward for finding Chad without consulting anyone. It’s a great way to raise the stakes for Chad¬† – and for Rafe. The tension between Rafe and Eddy about Gabi was well done, Rafe saying he won’t tell her about Eddy and Eddy saying it’s not his decision to make. I think Eddy will tell her himself, and Gabi will be the reason he decides to stay in town.

This was a great opening scene, Rafe withholding the truth from Gabi about Paige:

RafeGabi

It’s a great way to show Eddy is right — Rafe shouldn’t make the decision for her. But we understand why he’s doing it.

Dimeramen

I loved Chad bickering with Andre. They sound like brothers already! The best moment was when Chad said Clyde was the only person he knew who hated him AND “had the brains” to set him up. Ha! Great indirect slam at Ben.

Honestly, I don’t think the Brady/Theresa scenes worked well at all. His scolding her while she was crying about Paige felt off, tonally, and then his turnaround when he gave her his approval was abrupt and weird. I hate the way Brady comes off with her sometimes, like a disapproving uncle. She gives him this wounded-calf look, too, when he’s scolding her, that keeps me from seeing them as equals.

EveTheresa

But I did really enjoy her scenes with Eve. On to next week!

Listening

There was some plot movement today — most notably, Marlena being strangled. They hit a little hammer of suspicion for us when they cut from the strangling, to Abby back at her apartment saying Ben’s name to an empty room, and then to Chad on the elevator (not strangling!).¬† Another development was Chad remembering being with someone the night Serena was killed — a homeless man that he fought with, who could possibly give him an alibi. (Or who is in on the plot against him?) Ben also said he was “done” with Abby — we’ll see how long that lasts.

But my favorite parts of the episode were the moments that gave our actors a chance to react, to just listen:

AdriennewithJustin

Adrienne is listening to Justin’s excitement about doing something that has “nothing to do with his last name” — and thinking he’s never sounded more like Victor.

ChadwithAbby

Poor Chad’s lip is never going to heal, but he is so beautiful here listening to Abby tell him she knows he could never kill anyone.

RafewithEve

Look at the mixture of happiness and pain on Rafe’s face, as Eve talks about how wonderful Paige was. This is the sister he will never know.

KatewithNicole

Kate, showing Nicole hit a nerve with her catalog of her misdeeds — but also that she’s not giving up, thank you very much.

And we saw our pier again! A very small, claustrophobic pier, but a pier:

Eveonpier

I love the camera angle here. Eve looks so trapped and so very, very alone.

This shot is from the music montage, which I loved because it was so perfectly old school. Little short shots of all of our characters — thinking, reacting to the events of the episode. When Adrienne picked up the picture of Justin and looked at it, I may have squealed. It was so classic.