I went out last weekend and bought bottled water, canned fruit, batteries, blankets, and vitamins. No, I'm not starting out the year with a radical new diet. I needed to stock up on emergency supplies because this represents the first full week of interim writers material, and I had no idea what to expect. Interim writing has to be very nerve racking. Obviously, they want a chance to prove that their writing skills are good and, they want to be true to the fans. But, it's not as easy as just following Hogan's road map because Days is at some major crossroads.
Marlena and John
So, Marlena finds John (thanks to EJ) and starts down the path of rehabilitation. As much as it pains me to see another freakin' brainwashing/amnesia storyline with these two, I'll suffer through it if it means that Drake and his eyebrows are back on my screen. But, here's a warning for the writers. Please, oh please DO NOT make this storyline Steve/Kayla part 2, of John/Marlena part 4, or Bo/Hope part 7, or well.... you know what I mean. The way to make this storyline different than those others is IF the process means that John can remember all of his past.
In the meantime, I'm thoroughly enjoying the scenes with Marlena and John. I actually found a little bit of humor in these scenes. Drake is doing an exceptional job with "Nu-John". He's part Frankenstein's monster, part Jason Bourne, and part Archie Bunker. There's also an absence of the two things that drive me crazy about John and Marlena- the constant make-out sessions and Marlena's annoying crying.
Sami, Lucas, and EJ Mercifully, this week was very Sami, Lucas, and EJ light. It's a good thing because all three of them have some serious thinking to do.
Here's my advice to Sami. If she wants to protect her son from the DiMeras she can NOT testify that she drove Lucas insane. I'm all for helping Lucas, but Sami has to think about her kids too. They already have one parent in jail and they don't need another one testifying that she is an insanity catalyst. If she does that, she might as well just say, "Here you go Stefano. No need to bother with a custody hearing because I've already handed over all the evidence that I'm not capable of providing a stable environment for Johnny. Since that flip-flopper EJ is already back in your pocket (you know he will be) you might as well take Johnny with you." Then, Will certainly won't want to come back home. And Ali will probably end up with that drinking problem that we heard so much about.
Side note, why do the lawyers want Sami to testify that she drove Lucas crazy? Aren't pretty much all of the things that they're talking about public record? The rape, the paternity, the marriage... If not public record, can't Bo, Roman, Marlena, Hope, or even EJ be called to testify? And, not to be too accurate, but if Sami marries Lucas again, she can't be forced to testify at all.
Since Sami has so much on her mind, Hope tries to tell Sami that she's depending too much on EJ while Lucas is in jail. Hope is absolutely, 100% right on this one. Sami is foolish for not realizing that she is giving EJ exactly what he wants. But, the problem is that Sami has no other choice. I laughed out loud when Hope suggested that Sami tell Roman to post a guard with her and the twins at all times. Riiiight. Because that worked so well for Belle and Claire. Yep. No need to worry about anything as long as you have a police guard with you. Not like your kids could get kidnapped or anything. Sure. They will be perfectly safe. Sheesh! At least EJ has an inside track to Stefano's moves. The Salem PD can only scramble to play catch up.
As for Lucas, if he is covering for Will he needs to tell Sami, like yesterday. But at this rate Stefano will finds out that Will was actually the shooter and use that information to compromise Sami, Ali, and Johnny. It could be pretty simple since Lucas and Stefano are all of a sudden so close. Did the police really think it was a good idea to put Lucas and Stefano in the same cell? While it gave us those precious scenes between two characters who hardly ever interact, it made me think that Maggie needs to host a police fund-raiser so that the department can afford to build another cell.
Finally, there's EJ. He made some serious steps towards the good side when he ratted out Papa DiMera and even signed a statement allowing the police to get a search warrant. But, I don't think that EJ is on a road to complete redemption. Truth be told, he should never really be fully redeemed. After all, he's a DiMera and he can't deny genetics. His character will remain in limbo, much like Lexie. For the most part we'll like him. But every once in a while he'll sleep with his husband's co-worker....wait never mind....you know what I mean. For those of you who still feel that EJ has never paid for the rape, I know how you feel. It's the same way that I feel about Max and Stephanie's incest. It gets under my skin and I feel insulted that the writers don't even bother to deal with it. I mean, are they hoping that we'll all just forget? I guess so. In both cases, it seems that the writers have dealt with it as much as they care to, and now we're just going to have to accept the storyline as is. I absolutely hate it, but holding a grudge is getting me no where. If the writers do decide to deal with the rape storyline further, Sami is the key. Sami is the one who decides EJ's redemption status. She's the one who was rapped. Not Marlena, Roman, Bo, Hope, or Lucas. If Sami ever forgives EJ then, and only then, will he have a legitimate chance at redemption. (Side note, it would be helpful to this fan if EJ decided to go and find his flippin' mother and stepfather and re-establish a connection with them. I don't see that happening though.)
The Search for Claire As bad of a wife as Belle is, I do think she is a good mother. Belle begged Crystal to tell her where they are going but she keeps her voice calm so that Claire wouldn't get upset. Then, Belle pulls a super awesome John-Black-daughter move and escapes from the van with Claire. She was doing fine until she ran into Bo, Shawn, and Philip. Then, Belle gets knocked unconscious into the river and Claire gets re-kidnapped. I don't know how Shawn and Bo could have let Claire get away. There must be some police rule in Salem that while pursuing a suspect on foot, the officer must stop every five feet and perform 25 jumping jacks before continuing chase. As for Belle, that dramatic little "death scene" was just stupid. There's no other way to put it. It was like the new writers got a little to excited with the idea of "soap operas" that the just couldn't wait to throw in their first last minute gasp for air/brush with death.
But alas, Belle is in the hospital and Claire is missing. I found it really strange that Shawn didn't spend more time with Belle. Technically, she's still his wife and he admits that he still loves her. I thought that Belle going into cardiac arrest might spark Shawn to stop hanging out with Chloe and try to re-evaluate his life with Belle.
While we're on the topic, there seems to be two camps on Chloe's return. The first camp accepts the idea that it's great to have anyone who ruffles Belle's feathers. The later camp, where I am putting up my tent, is that Chloe is all-around bad news. While I adore Nadia Bjorlin's acting and I have to adjust my TV each time she's on screen to compensate for Nadia's magnify beauty, something about Chloe's attitude just doesn't seem right. I believe her story- about two guys kidnapping Brady in the middle of the night. But, I don't buy the fact that she thinks she's perfectly safe now that she's in Salem. Call me crazy but if two men broke into my house in the middle of the night and stole my husband, I certainly wouldn't be able to sleep at night for a very long time...unless of course, I was in on the kidnapping. How else can she be so sure that she's safe? She's more concerned about the police than she is about the kidnappers. Now that her Kiriakis lawyers kept the police off her tail, she's free to go on trick-dates with Shawn. Why is this chick not scared to death? Furthermore, why the holy heck isn't Chloe screaming details at the police? Two mysterious strangers broke into her house in the middle of the night. Now, two mysterious strangers swoop in and kidnap her niece and sister-in-law. AND those strangers might still be in the area!! If she was really worried about Brady, why isn't she tripping over herself to get her Prada butt down to the police station and start giving them details? If the police can catch Crystal, they just might get some information on Brady.
I hope the police do catch Crystal and throw her in jail with Patrick. I don't like her. I'm sure Ashlee Holland is a nice girl and I'm a sucker for reality TV game shows, but Crystal ranks right up there with Chloe. Right now, this character serves no purpose but to irritate the heck out of Marlena and Belle. Crystal and her little boyfriend need to be upfront about what they are doing. This whole cryptic crap of "you're with family" and "we're trying to protect you" is a real waste of time. Who are they trying to fool? Stefano? If she's going to outsmart the DiMeras, the last thing she wants to do is call police attention to herself. Mmkay? Especially when that means that Bo is going to run right to EJ DiMera and show him her pictures.
Finally, there's Philip. Yes, he is trying to scheme to get Belle to love him. He's just sitting back and waiting for Shawn to self-destruct while Belle watches. But, you know what? It worked before. Why wouldn't it work again? I don't mean to sound so pro-Philip, but let's face it. Philip is one smart little villain. (He could outsmart the Shelle brain trust in his sleep.) As long as these two are going to make it so easy for Philip to weasel his way back into Belle's life, why shouldn't he go through with his plan? I'm not putting any blame on Philip for his part- yet. Last time I checked, it was Belle and Shawn's marriage and Belle and Shawn are the only ones responsible for it not working.
But Philip's little bedside confessional was very intriguing. He'll give up on Belle if she wakes up and tells him to leave. It seems hard to believe, but it is a little reminiscent of Victor and Caroline. I have no doubt that Philip has it in him. I just think it would be easier if Philip had someone else to take his mind off Belle.
Max, Stephanie, Chelsea, and Nick I officially don't know what to do about Max and Stephanie. I'm still not a big fan of Max and Stephanie together, but I do have to say that I like this storyline much better than two crazy kids who can't control themselves around hot tubs. I'd rather see a couple get together while bonding over an actual challenge which requires love and support. So, just like my mom taught me, I sat down and made a list of the pros and cons of "Stax".
Pro#1- They have the coolest couple nick-name since "Bope".
Pro#2- Darrin and Shelly have good chemistry together.
Pro#3- Darrin and Shelly look great together.
Pro#4- Max really appears to care about Stephanie (like my counterpart Tony, I broke down a little inside when Max shed that tear) and talked her into seeing a therapist.
That's about it. Now the negatives (I'm leaving out the obvious con. That horse sent me an email that said, "Dear Laurisa- I'm dead. Love, The Incest Horse") So, here we go:
Con#1- Max helped Stephanie get herself further involved in a crime. He practically handed her another 12 years in jail for concealing a crime and abuse of a corpse. (I don't know if that sentence is accurate. My law degree came from "Law and Order" and "Matlock")
Con#2- Rather than telling Stephanie that they need to come clean about Ford's death, Max coddles Stephanie and tells her that everything will be ok once she talks about the rape. Does she need to deal with the rape? Absolutely. But, why isn't he telling her that she needs to deal with the "murder" too?
Con#3- Stephanie's feeling for Max made her so irrational that she went out looking for someone else to make Max jealous. I'm in no way saying that the rape was her fault. It wasn't. That was all Ford. But, assume for a minute that she ended up hooking up with some other guy- intentionally. Does that sound like a healthy reaction to finding out that the guy you turned down is dating someone else? This might be a Brady disease. One cousin's one-night stand is another cousin's motorcycle through a church window.
Actor wise, I love a Stax pairing. But, storyline wise, I'm not so convinced that Max and Stephanie are good for each other.
While Stephanie eared major points from me last week (good for her for deciding to start therapy), this week she took a giant step back for the way she handled the Ford situation. I found myself yelling at her, "LISTEN TO CHELSEA!!!"- a theme which has been a way to prevalent theme for little Ms. Johnson. (Remember the whole Jeremy thing?) Anyway, I can respect the fact that Stephanie is scared and confused about how to deal with the rape. But, where does Stephanie get off telling Chelsea that the decision about when to go the police belongs to her and Cordy because they are the ones who Ford raped? If I'm not mistaken, Ford attacked Morgan and Chelsea too. Furthermore, Chelsea is right. The longer they keep quiet the worse it's going to get. Ford's parents, despicable as they are, deserve to know where their son is. Stephanie is understandably not capable of looking at the big picture right now, so she needs to listen to Chelsea. I hope the other girls get back from break next week and side with Chelsea.
She'll need it because Chelsea is in a tough spot. Unlike Stephanie, Chelsea's boyfriend isn't letting her get away with anything. Nick's tough guy attitude is a great change for him. I'm glad that Nick finally mentioned the name "Willow" because it reminds Chelsea that Nick is the #1, best person to take advice from. The Willow situation is not that much different than the Ford situation. Both meetings were called to put an end to an injustice that happened. Both meetings resulted in accidental deaths. Sure, Chelsea and Co. were much more vindictive than Nick. But then again, Willow was not nearly as bad as Ford. (I consulted the bad-guy rating scale. It turns out "serial rapist" always trumps "pyro-hooker.") Bottom line is that Chelsea is showing some real maturity in wanting to go to the police and Stephanie needs to catch on.
Hot and Not Hot:
Hope without make-up. In order to keep the continuity between scenes, the writers remembered to keep Hope in her "street bum" gear while she was at the police station and at Sami's apartment. Good for them for not having Hope appear in full hair and makeup after her stakeout. (Of course, we should all be so lucky to look as "bad" without full makeup as Kristen Alfonso does.)
Chloe "top shelf martini" Lane hanging out in the Brady Pub in a fur coat. If they really were supposed to be hanging out and shooting pool, her attire seemed a bit strange.
Line of the Week Pretty much anything that Nu-John said was funny. But, my favorite line was when he assessed Roman's feeling for Marlena by saying, "Yeeeeaaah....totally hot for you". Last Minute News So Shirley Jones is set to appear as CB DiMera, I mean Colleen, and this fan is very worried. I thought that the first installment of Colleen Brady was pretty bad. I am hoping that this installment will explain some things about the horrible past summer we all spent in Gallway. But, I'm not holding my breath. It's going to take more than an Oscar winner to redeem Colleen. That surrey with the fringe on top had better be carrying a great script.
Days is getting a new cast member! Tamara Braun , of General Hospital fame, is moving to Salem. She is set to play a "mysterious woman from Steve's past". Call me crazy, but I don't really care about Steve's past. He's back with Kayla, where he belongs, and I'm more interested in his future. He's got a daughter who's dealing with rape and "murder" and a wife who wants to have another baby. I don't watch GH regularly, but I know that it is a good soap and Tamara is a talented actress. I just don't know how this storyline is going to fit in. I hope to be proven wrong.
Parting Thoughts So Days fans, what do you think of the interim writing? Are you excited to see Stefano's "saint" defense? And, hasn't poor Claire been kidnapped enough for a while?