Damnit! I was going to guess "Ava with the candlestick in the hallway" because "Hope with the revolver in the study" was already taken. Though, in both cases, I didn't see either of those crazy trains coming. And since we a have a lot of jaw-dropping dirty details to discuss in this week's Two Scoops, let's start off the biggest bang of them all -- Hope did in fact kill Stefano! Or, well, as much as Stefano can die…
Though part of me will ever cling to a delusional hope that Stefano isn't gone forever, mostly because I adore Joseph Mascolo and his epic performances, I think Hope might have been right when she said, "The Phoenix shall rise no more." After all, he was shot several times, wrapped up in a tarp, and tossed amongst some debris in a building that's scheduled for demolition. Tsk, tsk, Hope and Rafe. Hello! There was clearly a "No Dumping" sign. Geez, you two. I mean!
So, that leaves Stefano no more, Hope a murderer, Rafe an accomplice, and one suspicious Andre. That's a lot to handle. Let's break this down…
Life in Salem without Stefano is a hard pill to swallow. Sure, his diminished screen time over the years may make it a little easier, but still, a No Stefano Salem is almost unimaginable. He's the ultimate guy you love to hate. Sure, there will be other baddies, but none like Stefano. And whereas Tom and Alice Horton created a legacy of love, Stefano created a legacy of chaos and that will continue to be felt until the final DiMera takes a breath. The scars Stefano has left over the years will not fade, so in a way, the Phoenix's talons will always be wrapped around Salem. There's, uh, comfort in that.
However, I'm finding little comfort in Hope's actions. They're making me downright uncomfortable. Fancy Face is one of our leading ladies. She's a Horton heiress and a Brady by marriage. Oh, and she's made a career out of upholding the law, you know, when not breaking it by either being brainwashed by Stefano, or high on pills and dark lipstick. Right. I think I just proved part of a case. Even while shooting Stefano, Hope exclaimed he wouldn't hurt her family anymore -- ever again. She's right, though she's also right to be worried about Andre, but we'll get to that later.
Having our leading lady lay lead into the bad guy is shocking, for sure, but if Stefano was going to die, this is the way. He shouldn't be plugged by some turncoat henchman like E.J. was or fade away into the background. He should go out and leave a trail of destruction behind him, and his death has totally destroyed Hope, in more ways than one.
At first Hope was in shock, like most viewers. Yet by the time she lamented that "this is exactly where this monster belongs, buried in garbage," I think she was coming to embrace her deadly decision, or at least learning to deal with it. I'm torn.
On one hand (and we'll get to the "other hand" in a second), Hope is a murderer who's covering up a crime. The murder itself I can almost justify via temporary insanity. She was pushed to the breaking point beforehand by a bastard who attempted to ruin her life time and again -- a bastard who basically didn't admit to anything yet clearly was guilty of the crimes she confronted him with. She didn't even recall doing it immediately afterwards and was completely zoned out. I'm okay with that. It's the covering it up part I have issues with…
By the time Hope decided to accept Rafe's help in covering things up, it became deliberate. Eventually, Hope decided to confess to killing Dr. Malcolm, which she didn't do, by using the story of how she killed Stefano, which she did do. Why not cut out the dead middleman and call it a day? I'm sure Stefano's death would trump Malcolm's, and that case could disappear much like Cassie, Rex, and anyone caring about how the doctors screwed up Abigail's paternity test in the first place. But I'm getting off track.
On the other hand, Hope and her family have been victims of Stefano's for decades. Was she right to kill him? Eh, she was cray-cray at the time, so there's that, but she did go there with a loaded gun and a notion to end things once and for all earlier that day, so…right. Hope's gone from waving the "Truth, Justice, and American Way" banner to Sally Field in Eye for an Eye. I can't say I blame-her blame her, but it may take some time to get used to this new version of Hope.
Ultimately, I kind of feel this debate is the old chicken and egg runaround. Rafe's "You're just a woman who was pushed too far" theory does hold merit, but the events after are totally subject to debate. Even after all this rambling, I'm still not sure which side I'm on.
As for Rafe, he said it himself. Helping Hope is exactly where he wanted to be. Really, Rafe? Exactly where, not in some cozy booth at Club TBD, sipping a beer? You wanted to help cover up a murder? But I digress again…
Rafe has a long track record of helping/totally doing illegal things for those he loves (from Sami to Nicole to Gabi and everyone else in between), so his actions aren't surprising. At all. Though I like that about Rafe. As much as he's a lawman, he doesn't see things as simply black and white. He spots the gray. He knows that the bad guys don't follow the rules. Is he right to break the law? Of course not, but it does make for a more captivating character, and I'll take that over Rafe 1.0 who used to scold Sami all the time.
One thing's for sure, Hope and Rafe really should have reached out to Sami, Kate, and Gabi -- okay, not Gabi -- to Sami and Kate about how to hide a body. Sure, Nick turned out to be alive, but having a body washed away in a river with a strong current is a wee more secure than tucking one in a building that's about to be blown up in two days. First, in Salem time, two days could mean, like, six months from now. And secondly, what happens when the rubble from the building is scooped up by a crane, poured into dumpsters, and sent to a junkyard? Even Clyde knew to dispose of a body in the middle of a field in the middle of Nowhere, Hicksville.
In fact, Hope and Rafe were already sloppy. They missed a bloodstain on a statue. What is this? Amateur Hour? It made Rafe's claim of seeing enough crime scenes to know what to do feel a little shaky. Chad found that bloody statue while walking down memory lane in the DiMera mansion in about ten seconds. Yeah, he might want to point that out, considering Andre was expressing how Stefano left under mysterious circumstances. Then again, Chad claimed his family is dead to him, so I guess Hope did him a solid?
And, of course, there's Andre. He knows something is up. He's not going to give up. Every worry Hope has about him is valid and should be multiplied by ten. Though that's the delicious part of this storyline. It's like a standard one flipped on its head. Now we have the bad guy searching for his even badder father's killer who, as it turns out, is one of the good guys gone bad. Confused? Me, too, so let's ride out this storyline together and see where we land!
Gulp! Ava knocked Kayla with a candlestick and dragged her away. Not Sweetness, too, writers. My heart couldn't handle that.
Though prior to the non-love tap Ava delivered, I was so cheering on Kayla. Whoever decided to give Mary Beth Evans more screen time deserves a medal. She's a powerhouse. And while Kayla's sweet side is at the core of her character, I love her fight and intelligence just as much. When she told Steve that Ava was probably just using the alleged baby to get close to him in hopes they would fall in love again, I laughed hard. Kayla simply outed years of soap storylines.
Speaking of which, I'm on board to see where this Ava/Steve/Kayla storyline is going. Ava's a loon, no doubt, but I'm not exactly sure what her end game is. One thing's for sure, she needs a spray bottle of cold water to spritz on Joey every time he gets too handsy. Though Tamara Braun is playing this part perfectly. You can almost sense a little pity in Ava's eyes after seeing what using Joey is doing to his impressionable teen mind. He's a blubbering, heartbroken mess. I'm not sure-sure if it's legit pity, but there's just another thing to debate.
Oh, and while on the never-ending subject of debates, does anyone believe Ava's baby tale she told Steve, or was it just a red herring to get him out of the way for a while? If they did have a child together, I'm going to put this out there now -- let's not change the paternity of a kid already on the show (i.e. Chase). If handled correctly, I could almost believe that Joey was the kid in question, since he was stolen from Steve and Kayla for a minute when he was born (and injected with something mysterious). Could Ava have baby swapped them? Maybe. We'll see…
I'm loving this new teen posse. They're compelling characters who interact nicely together. Their scenes are peppered in appropriately and aren't overwhelming. I adore Theo. Chase is a (justifiable) hot mess who's struggling to find his place. Claire is kind of a sweet, loveable oddball. Ciara has both of her parents' best qualities, and I simply adore her, too. And, well, Joey is in love with a woman old enough to be his mother. There's that. But overall, I still love them so far.
Speaking of teens, the original Last Blast gang had a little reunion. A snarky Chloe saw Belle and Philip together and claimed it was "just like old times." I surely hope the Chlomiester is wrong. I really don't want another Philip/Belle/Shawn/Chloe quad happening.
Hey, Eve! Where you been? How you been doing?
So Eduardo gave John his alleged bio-mom's phone number. He also said he bought himself and John some more time. Okay. I'm still a little hesitant about all of this, especially John's mother. The last time he got parents, they were Santo DiMera, Santo's mustache, and Shirley Partridge. I hope this time it sticks.
Congratulations to Chad and Abigail! They're standing firmly together and planning to tie to knot. Just not on Valentine's Day because the spot that opened up belonged to Dr. Dead and Nicole. Not so good karma there. But I'm actually excited for this. Chad was swoon-worthy romantic, and Abigail's newfound decisiveness has made me cheer for her again. I'm eager to watch them united and taking on Salem.
Finally, if you're wondering why I haven't gone on about Dr. Dan's death, don't worry! You can read all about it in Part 2 of this week's Two Scoops. As they say, to be continued…
Happy New Year, Two Scoopers! It's been an especially happy one for me and my family as we welcomed our first daughter earlier this month. She's beautiful, happy and I know who the father is! So, I'll be taking a few weeks off from scooping while I navigate the sleep-deprived world of being a new mom to the tyke that Uncle Tony has nicknamed "Kristen Vivian." It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
In my stead will be some special guest writers who will provide excellent commentary and opinions on the fabulous world of Salem. I'll keep watching DAYS and tweeting...probably in the middle of the night during those vampire hour feedings. So, keep in touch!