I know the feeling quite well. Usually it's reserved for the moment that I walk out those two hour long emergency brainstorming sessions that my boss likes to call. But this time it happened Friday night when I was watching my power block of Days in preparation for this article. It was exactly 40 minutes into Thursday's episode. I actually had to pause my TiVo, get up, and pour myself a glass of wine. I was mentally exhausted from trying to keep up with all of the major revelations that happened and my brain power was spent. For those of you who missed this week's episodes, let me tell you, it is worth the $10 to download it from iTunes. No self respecting Days should go without seeing the perfect storm of acting, writing, and timing that came together in our fair city of Salem. Perhaps it is the afore mentioned wine, but I am downright giddy with excitement over what's happened to our Brady/DiMera/Kiriakis brew.
Chelsea and Daniel
Chelsea confronts Dan again in the co-ed steam room of a gym that apparently doesn't require you to show any proof of membership to enter. Chelsea accuses Daniel of hiding behind his own fear of getting hurt. I know that Daniel is definitely hiding, but I'm not sure if he's hiding from his romantic feelings for Chelsea or if he's hiding from the slightest gust of wind which might blow that gratuitously placed towel right off his size 32 waist.
Where were we? Oh yeah, Chelsea and Daniel (hmm.."Chan" "Dansea" "Chelsiel" what are the kids calling this couple? Let me know.) First, cheers to the writers for letting Chelsea confront Daniel with the information about Rebbecca. In Days past, we would have seen Chelsea mull over that bit of knowledge for weeks, talk to Steph about it, all while pretending like she doesn't know what the scoop is with the doctor's past. Thank you, writers, for not stretching this one out.
Second cheers to the writers for putting Daniel in a scene with Marlena. All Chelsea feelings aside, Daniel hasn't dealt with his wife's death and he needs to because it will make him a better doctor. I'm no expert, but a doctor who can't deal with death seems to be in the wrong profession. Furthermore, I'm beginning to see why Daniel wouldn't be good with someone closer to his own age. Maybe it was because he was with Marlena who gives the best matriarchal speeches this side of Alice Horton, but this scene really de-matured Daniel for me. Shawn Christian's acting choices- the way he talked with his hands, the way he couldn't complete a sentence, and the way he slouched in the chair- all gave Daniel a silly, child-like vibe.
But, I give a huge BOO to Chelsea. Why the heck would she ask her grandma Kate for advice about a relationship? RED LIGHT! STOP! Kate has been way to present in her children's love lives and Chelsea should not give Kate open season to move into the next generation. Trust me Chelsea, Will and Ali will thank you. I'll thank you too if I never have to hear Kate say, "I just don't want to see you get hurt" to any of her offspring again. But, Kate gives Chelsea interesting advice: run away from Daniel. I say interesting because I can't figure out what Kate wants. First, telling Chelsea to not do something pretty much guarantees that she'll go right for it. Second, Kate knows that Chelsea has to learn from her own mistakes and she's just not going to take Grandma's word for it. Has Kate figured out that when it comes to advice to Chelsea it should be permanent "opposite day"?
So there in lies the Chelsea/Dan pairing question. I know that Chelsea has a tenancy for older men. Both Nick and Max are a few years older than Chelsea. And, let's not forget that one Patrick Lockhart was once the apple of Chelsea's eye. Granted none have been as old as Daniel, but Chelsea has never been as old as she is now either. (Trust me, that sentence made sense when I wrote it.)
Additionally, Chelsea is definitely maturing. I think that the producers deliberately put Chelsea and Daniel's pub scenes between EJ and Sami's gym scenes. On one hand, we saw Chelsea tell Daniel point blank that she wants to be with him but she's not going to play games. He can give her a call when he's done figuring himself out. Then she walks away from him. On the other hand we saw Sami knocking over shelving units to spy on EJ and EJ making out with Nicole in the steam room to make Sami jealous. For further good measure we got a flashback of the entire Hope/Chelsea bonding scene in the hospital. We get it, producers. Nobody puts Swamp Baby in a corner. She's not a little girl anymore. While she definitely has more maturing to do, she is old enough to make her own decisions and, more importantly, her own mistakes. There's still a lot of storyline left here.
Sami and EJ
Sami follows EJ to the gym and spies on him with the help of her new BFF Chris, a.k.a Ross the Intern from "The Tonight Show". (Side note- I adore Ross on "The Tonight Show" so I was giddy to see him interact with Alison Sweeney. They were so funny! Plus, I have a special place in my heart for people who can make others smile just by being such a positive person themselves. Yeah, Ross!) Anyway, Chris reports that EJ and Nicole are heating up the steam room and Sami runs home in a jealous rage.
Then, EJ and Sami did it. Well, the writers made them do it. OR, as I like to believe, the writers actually listened to the roar from virtually every Days fan on the planet and had EJ and Sami talk about the night Johnny was conceived. Personally, I thought this was one of the best written, best acted, and most fan respectful scenes I've ever seen on Days.
Rationality has never been one of Sami's strong points. So, I love that the scene started out of a jealous hissy fit that Sami was throwing over Nicole. After all, I never expected Sami to broach the topic is a calm, productive manner over dinner. And, since the scene was way over due, I'm glad that Sami handled it with her usual shotgun fire attitude. Sami tore into EJ the way that I had been hoping she would tear into him forever- about how she can't look at her son without thinking about how she was rapped and about how she has so many emotional bruises from that night. Alison Sweeney has tons of practice at screaming and crying, but never has it been more appropriate than in this scene, in this storyline, at this exact point. Sami finished by saying that the worst part of the whole situation was how much of a sleaze EJ was to Sami afterwards. At first, I didn't buy this part of Sami's pain, but after I thought about it, it made perfect sense. Sami's critical character flaw is that she wants people to like her. She can't stand it when people are critical of her.
Humility has never been one of EJ's strong points. So, it was very appropriate for EJ to fumble around his excuses and justifications because he couldn't come right out and say that he made a flat out, catastrophic, narcissistic mistake. James Scott did an amazing job portraying a struggling playboy trying to move his own ego aside and grovel for forgiveness. EJ says that he honestly thought that if he got Sami to sleep with him, she would realize that they belong together. When his plan didn't work, he was so embarrassed that he took all of his emotion for Sami and turned it to hate. He rationalized that rather than putting himself out there to be hurt, his ego would rather see Sami suffer. I think EJ's excuse is ridiculous, cruel, and pathetic. Fortunately for him, the only opinion that matters is Sami's, and she's possibly the only person on the planet who should believe him. After all, Sami is no stranger to scheming someone into loving her. She pretended Will was Austin's child so that Austin would eventually come around and love her. It looks like Sami does believe EJ because she tells him that they can have a clean slate.
Finally, I'm glad that this scene happened between EJ and Sami and only EJ and Sami. As much as Lucas, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Stefano, and pretty much all of Salem had their hands on this storyline, the only two people who should resolve it are EJ and Sami. Everyone else's opinion is secondary.
Ahh...then we get the now infamous Ejami kisses. Here's the way I see it. Our lovable Ms. Brady is in a situation that she's never been in before. She's in love with two men. Here Sami spent all her time trying to get just ONE man to return her feelings and now she has genuine feelings for TWO men. Congratulations, Sami! Welcome to the Love Triangle Protagonist Club. Please take your seat right between Carrie and Belle, in front of Brady, and behind Doug.
In the other shoe news, Sami's kisses with EJ cause her to attempt contact with Lucas. I'm not sure if Sami's reaction was out of guilt or just out of habit. But, I am sure that I don't like Lucas refusing to see or talk to Sami. He'll take audience with Roman, but when it comes to Sami Gene, she has to sit in time out- like Lucas always does with her.
I hope the writers have something good planned for Lucas because I'm very upset that they continue to waste the great comedic acting talent of Bryan Dattilo on a character who is too stubborn and whinny. As my better half Tony pointed out to me, Ejami and Lumi is Days cash cow right now and because it brings in ratings, it is very unlikely that either EJ or Lucas will ride off quietly into the sunset. Once again, Tony is absolutely right. Darn it. But a girl can dream, can't she?
From the previews we know that Lucas will be back on screen May, 19. We also know that EJ has been trying to get Lucas out of jail for less than completely selfless reasons, but ultimately it is the right thing to do. So, we'll see if Lucas has EJ to thank for his freedom. Here's hoping that the writers give Lucas as good of a storyline as they've given Sami and EJ.
Steve helps out Bo and Hope with the Nusbaum case when Steve gets himself caught up in a teensey, little attempted murder plot down at the docks. Bo and Hope discovered that Steve's would-be assassin had Dr. Nusbaum's wallet in his pocket. The wallet was enough evidence for Bope to march into the Brady Pub and arrest Martino Vitali for the attempted murder of Steve Johnson. Then, the Vitali storyline warped into overdrive. (cue engine noise) Ava is furious and starts threatening to spill the family secrets. The only problem is that she's got half-truths and drug educed deductions. Angelo, on the other hand, got the whole picture. And he starts spilling it. He tells Ava that Dr. Nusbaum was on orders from Martino to keep Ava drugged. Ava says that Martino didn't want Ava to remember that he had her mother killed (whoa!). Ava starts to pound on her dad's chest. Angelo grabs Ava. Martino pulls a gun. Bo fires first. Ava is crushed. Martino's body is taken away. (end noise)
Yeah, that glass of wine that I mentioned at the top of the article happened right after Bo's gun fired. For those of you trying to keep score, Martino had been ordering Nusbaum to keep Ava drugged, partially because of her stress over loosing Steve, but mainly because Ava over heard her father confess to one of his goons that he had Ava's mother killed. Ava tried to attack her father and when he reached for a gun, Bo fired the fatal shot. And that, my friends, was the end of Joe Penny's Martino Vitali. I'm horribly sad to see him go, but I understand why he had to leave.
Actors of the caliber of Joe Penny and Shirley Jones don't come cheap. They are often brought in for a brief sweeps performance (Jones's appearance was during February sweeps), not because TPTB don't like the character, but because the show just can't afford them. It stinks that Joe Penny is gone, but I'm really glad we had him for a period of time.
On the bright side, we still have Ava and Angelo. I could see them sticking around for a little while. She's the heir to the Vitali empire now. I think it would be interesting to throw Ava up against John and Phillip in some power struggle scenes down the road. Also, I think it would be cool to see Ava fall in love- in a way for the first time- with a man who isn't brainwashed. I know that next to "male" and "breathing", "not brainwashed" is something that I always look for in a date.
Max, Stephanie, and Nick
Chelsea may be stretching some viewers' patience, but at least she isn't the snoozefest that is the rest of the Salem 20-somethings. Were I not contractually obligated to watch their scenes I might be temped by that shinny fast forward button on my TiVo remote. All apologies to the actors (who aren't half bad), but this storyline is not a keeper. But, since I had to watch the scenes, I might as well scoop them.
Nick finds out that Max sent in his half finished grant proposal. Max tries to reassure Nick that everything will be fine. Say whaa? I get that Max is a genius, but geeze! boinking his own niece sure made him dumb! Did he really think that Nick wouldn't panic over Max sending in work that Nick didn't have a chance to finish? I guess so. Stephanie confronts Max about messing with Nick's research. Part of me wanted Max to bust out with, "Look Steph, I'm wicked smaaat" complete with Bostonian accent, but he didn't.
I see this grant proposal thingy as secondary here. This storyline will get interesting if we see Nick develop into more than just "Chelsea's boyfriend". I do like Blake Berris, so I hope that Nick has some excitement in store for him.
Victor, Phillip, and Chloe
Nadia and Jay can't help but exude sexual chemistry. The two of them are quite possible the two most incredibly good looking people I've ever seen. However, Phloe 2.0 should be nothing more than a summer fling. This week showed two glaring examples why Phloe is not a good idea.
First Chloe returns to the Kiriakis mansion with the news that she's going to get revenge on Victor for causing her divorce. I don't like Chloe's damsel in distress attitude. Reality check: Brady and Chloe are the only two people responsible for her divorce. Just like Chloe isn't ultimately responsible for Brady's drug addiction, Victor isn't responsible for their divorce. I agree with Phillip. While I don't condone what Victor did to Chloe, he did absolutely 100% the right thing with Brady. Chloe needs to look at the big picture and realize that Victor hurting her feelings is not anything compared to Victor saving Brady's life.
Second, Phillip does not need to waste his time convincing any woman to be with him. (Are you with me ladies?) After finally cheering that my boy Phillip moved past the spineless Yes man and stopped throwing himself at Belle, I'm not excited to see him throw himself the same way at Chloe. When he said that he knew Chloe was into Brady but he could still be there for her, I wanted to throw up. NOOO PHILLIP!!! You're too pretty to be acting like that.
Luckily, Phillip has more on his plate than being a divorce councilor. Victor decided that Phillip should take over more of the Kiriakis empire. After reassuring Phillip that he is not officially retiring, Victor hands Phillip a folder that contains some top-secret Kiriakis papers. (Side note: what's up with all of these power families keeping their secrets in a portfolio?)
Like Tony said last week, the best part of Victor is when he shows a compassionate side towards his family. Last week it was Chelsea. This week, it was Phillip. Sure, the scene may have been more of a parting monologue for John Aniston who appears will be on some much deserved vacation time. But, the scene really got to me, especially when Victor told Phillip not to wait too long to start a family.
Steve and Kayla
Kayla went into labor this week and delivered a baby boy. She was 26 weeks along and the baby did not cry when he was born. The good news is that Lexie, a.k.a the queen of misdiagnoses, told Kayla that baby boy Johnson wasn't breathing. That pretty much guarantees that the baby is going to be just fine!
I don't mean to joke, but I'm struggling to find some sympathy for this storyline. Kayla repeatedly ignored warnings to stay in bed with a cup of Alice's ginger lemon tea (yummm!). Yet, she didn't. I know that she was in an impossible position with her husband being held captive by a crazy person and all, but she could have left the rescue to Bo, Roman, and Abe.
The real problem is that this revelation is still not an advancement of this storyline. Kayla might as well have been walking around wearing a "Problem Pregnancy On Board" sign for the last six months. Kayla's been talking about and warned of the risks associate with her pregnancy since before she and Steve hopped in that car. Even though the baby was born with problems, which is terribly sad, I wasn't exactly surprised.
Rolf and Sami's scenes were a lot of fun. Like Sami, I'm kinda growing fond of the German man servant. I just hope that his "owe you one" means that Sami may have to wait tables and John's next poker night. Anything more devious, like Sami covering up what the actual contents of the disc are, would be a little out of the fair exchange rate for putting the twins to bed.
Arianne Zucker is a rock star. She was the supporting character in so many storylines ie Sami/EJ, Phillip/Chloe and she got one of the funniest lines all week (See: "Sorry kids, step mamma's gotta bounce."). I'm constantly amazed by the depth she brings to the character of Nicole. One minute, she's a gold digging hell cat and the next minute she's a vulnerable little girl. And, it's probably the animal lover in me but I thought that Nicole using Pookie's bark as her ringer was so cute!
Steve and EJ had a very top secret meeting. EJ is a lawyer now so it could have something to do with a case. OR, Steve could be asking help of the one person he knows to be an expert at drugging and brainwashing. Steve definitely feels sorry for Ava and wants to help her get well. We shall have to wait and see on this one!
Line of the Week:
Chris (trying to console Sami): "But if it makes you feel any better, it sounded like he was really good."
Sami and EJ's talk heard round the world. It only took 1 year, 4 moths, 24 days, and a writers strike to get to it. Still, better late than never.
The lack of good girlfriends. While both Hope/Kayla and Steph/Chelsea had brief scenes together, there's not enough friendship scenes on Days. I really miss the times when Days actually used the Jennifer/Hope friendship as part of a storyline. Despite what Sami/Nicole, Chloe/Nicole, and well, pretty much anyone and Nicole are trying to tell us, not all females are catty, man-hungry beeotches.
That's it Days fans! I don't know about you all, but I am loving May Sweeps. Don't look now, but we still have two more weeks of this goodness left! I'll be back again next week to rehash it with you. Until then, let me know your thoughts on the Steve/EJ meeting, what you think Kayla and Steve will name baby boy Johnson, and the proper combination of "Daniel and Chelsea" names.