Picture it, Salem, the nineteen-eights. A beautiful "princess," who wore a little too much make up at times, marries a motorcycle riding ruffian with a heart of gold. A heroic cop has his hands full with his rebellious little brother. A powerful mob boss blurs the lines of right and wrong to protect his family and his empire. A beloved heroine's life hangs in the balance! And, against all odds, a dark and twisted villain comes back to seek revenge. Sound familiar? Surely, but it worked twenty odd years ago and it's still working now!
That's the beauty of Days and that's what made last week such a good one - history! Bo and Hope are still fresh and facing challenges together. Roman, and best pal Abe, are still having trouble keeping "Bend the Rules" Brady in check. Victor's still protecting the Kiriakis Klan. Marlena, well, she's still being victimized after all these years, but this time there's at least a new twist - she threw a punch and the bad guy was just retaliating. And then there's still the bad guy himself ...
Stefano's back and scarier than ever! I don't know about anyone else, but to me Salem feels whole again now that the Phoenix has returned! Days without him is like Tanqueray without tonic. Like a Sunday morning without sleeping in. Like peanut butter without jelly. It just isn't the same! So now that he's back, this Scooper is as happy as can be! The residents of Salem, however, don't seem to share my joy.
But, before we discuss them, I'd like to try to ease a few worries that Days' fans might have - is the show on during the Olympics?! Thankfully for the Salem obsessed like myself it is, but, between swim meets and competitive thumb wrestling in Beijing, it might be preempted and shown at a different time, so make sure to check your local listings each day. If you do miss an episode or two, don't fear, you have options! You can check out Soap Central's thorough daily recaps, head on over to NBC.com for brief video recaps and/or, if it's available in your area, you can always flip on SoapNet! So, with those worries hopefully eased, let's talk a little Days!
Peek-a-BOO! (Stefano and Company)
You gotta give props to a guy who's been in a coma for seven months and still knows everything there is to know about what's going on in fine Salem. The man's unstoppable! Perhaps Julie said it the best, "I swear, that man has more lives than a dirty old alley cat." Very true, but you know what I liked about Stefano's most recent return? It was plausible! We didn't have to sit through another back from the dead caper this time, no eye rolling explanations as to how he survived getting ripped apart by angry Hammerhead sharks, nope, this time we knew it could happen and that made it a lot better in my opinion.
It also made it a lot scarier and suspenseful! It's sort of like hiking through the Everglades ... you never knew when an alligator might jump up and strike! Stefano, however, didn't even have to jump to strike as he began his vengeful attack while casually getting some rest and relaxation! Yet, even seemingly incapacitated, he had just about everyone worrying when the Phoenix will swoop down and snatch them up in his talons. His children are scared, his enemies are scared, and I don't blame them all - the guy was compared to Dracula more than once!
The only person who wasn't scared, and probably should be, is John! I cannot wait, I repeat, cannot wait for these two to finally square off! This was the fight we were robbed of back in January and it should be the battle of the century! Both scrappers are out for revenge, yet both have brass knuckles hidden in their gloves. John has sheer adrenaline and a new lack of morals stashed away, yet I don't know if that is enough to match up to Stefano's secret weapon - he created John and knows everything there is to know, and more, about his adversary. This could spell trouble for The Pawn as we don't know if Stef could easily flip some switch and have Johnny Boy back at his beck and call. Oh the drama of it all!
Yet that isn't the only battle brewing because of The Phoenix's big come back ... his children are in the ring too! Lexie is already going rounds with her brothers as she suspects they know more than they're letting on. Good call Dr. Carver - way to use those Spidey Senses! And all this time I thought her keen powers of perception were only used for scoping out inappropriate men - sorry Lexie, I was wrong! Back on track ...
Tony and E.J. are playing it coy and it's not all that convincing. Actually, their reactions to the Electroshock Therapy were pretty funny, yet, still not all that convincing. But, to back track for a second, even though we knew it was coming, who else got a twinge of terror when Stefano uttered his first low, guttural, rolling words to Tony and E.J.!? Just the man's voice gives me the heebie jeebies! It seemed to do the same thing to them, yet both decided to suddenly become daddy's boys and agree to keep his condition mum.
I'm ok with this for now as it adds another diabolical dimension to all that's going on. Among other things, I enjoyed that Tony told Anna the truth. Good for him! It's always a nice treat when it just comes out rather than lie after lie piling up as someone tries to keep something away from their spouse.
Although Anna did freak out for good reasons, I have a feeling she could have more than her father-in-law to worry about. It seemed Tony was a little tempted by the dark side as he didn't just blurt out the truth to Lexie and all the others! Why is he actually agreeing to Stefano's wishes? Hmm, very curious. I'm ok with him having inner conflict as long as he doesn't turn out to be Andre (again). Been there, done that, and no offense to creepy Andre, but no need for a ten-peat!
Another aspect I liked was that E.J. is getting a chance to prove himself to ... him! He boldly told John if asked to choose between him and Stefano that he would pick himself. You go boy! I simply hope he holds true to that, but I'm not holding my breath. E.J.'s Achilles' Heal seems to be his daddy's guilt trips so who knows what will happen as he continues to play his son's own emotions against him. To quote Elvis's mommy, Susan, "Mean, mean Stefano!"
What A Prick! (Marlena)
Unsurprisingly, number one on Stefano's hit list was none other than good old Doc! What an eerie scenario - unsuspectingly walking around your house as a masked intruder stalks you from behind! Yikes! What's worse is he didn't just stalk her, he gave a big ole' shot of revenge on Stef's behalf. Double yikes! Yes, it seems Marlena has met the same comatose, yet "aware" fate that she put her adversary in! Talk about history repeating itself with a vengeance!
This part of the storyline has a lot of potential as well and I'm eager to see where it will go. How will John react? Will he even care or will he think she got what was coming to her for turning in Ava? Will Roman swoop in to save the day without her telling him what to do? How will Sami react to all of this!? And who was that masked man? Was he a random hired thug or someone "shocking" we haven't seen in a while? I do know one thing - this is just the beginning of Stefano's Revenge Crusade so buckle your seatbelts Brady Family, it's going to be a bumpy ride!
Ouch! (Bo, Hope and Philip)
Before re-wedding bells began re-ringing for Hope and Bo, they had to rip of the bandage and discuss why she was still pretty torn up that he hid evidence to protect Philip! It wasn't all that shocking that she ultimately decided to stand by her man, these two put the super in super couple after all, but she wasn't exactly thrilled about things. She defiantly let him know she was worried about the possible ramifications it could cause on both their lives and she also let Philip know that as well. And that's where a mini-debate started ... was Hope justified or self righteous? I think it was justified with just a twist of self righteousness, here's why ...
Despite my fondness of all the characters involved, in the not too distant past Philip put Hope and Bo's son and granddaughter through hell. Sure, she broke the law to help Shawn-D, Belle and Claire yet only did that because Philip was after them. Now, because of Philip, Bo, and sequentially Hope, broke the law in order to help him. It's sort of a vicious, "no win" circular debate.
Granted, a lot of the air was cleared while Bo was sick, but I don't blame Hope for holding onto a little resentment towards her brother-in-law. A mother bear isn't all that forgiving when someone goes after her cubs and I can totally see where risking everything for Philip caused her claws to come out. Besides, and I love the guy, but I've noticed Phil does have a slight condescending streak when talking to Hope which makes her slight self righteous streak appear. Therefore, I give Hope a free pass to be peeved because, most importantly, she is standing beside Bo, and, sequentially, by Philip. Yep, a vicious circle alright.
Awe! (Bo and Hope)
First, I have to say this - if Bo and Hope's vow renewal was a pizza the toppings would consist of cheese, cheese and more cheese ... with a cheese backed into the crust and, not only Parmesan sprinkled on top, but Romano as well. But, and there is a big but to all of this and should prove to everyone that I'm not so frigid and heartless, but it was sweet. Despite the eye rolling cheesy gooiness of it all I think I might have let "awe" slip out a few times and, I may be wrong, but I think most of us would love for someone to do something as kind as what Bo did for Hope. Yep, it was pretty cool.
All in all, it was a nice, random nod to longtime Bo and Hope fans. And, get ready for this, I didn't even mind the flashbacks! They were pretty fun/funny to see ... I mean could they have caked anymore makeup on Kristian Alfonso!? God, I miss the 80s! Anyway ...
Bo might have scored some points with Fancy Face, but the writers scored some major points with me as it was one well done renewal! With the exception of lines such as, "Kimberly wanted to come, but was stuck in LA" and "Jennifer sends her love," every other base was thoroughly covered. They mentioned Addie, Tom, Shawn Sr. and Zack. Alice sent a letter as did Shawn and Belle. The past wasn't glossed over too much. Bo actually recalled having a life changing operation months earlier. All that and an outdoor carriage ride proved to be a winning wedding combo! To celebrate, I posted a little "Vow Renewal Score Card" on my blog so feel free to check that out for some more Bo and Hope fun!
Eek! (Bo and Hope)
Unfortunately, Bo and Hope's fun was short lived as crooked reporter Brad Baker showed up and dropped a bomb - he knows about Bo's cover up! Yep, the cat's out of the bag! Refreshingly, Bo owned up to everything despite the shock it inflicted on his family and friends. Yep, the Brady Bunch were pretty rocked, yet it provided some great reactions!
First, Caroline instantly turned to Victor assuming he knew something about what happened and let him have it! I've said it before and I'll say it again, she rocks! Then, Kayla seemed to follow in her mother's assuming footsteps and suspected Steve knew something as well. He just shrugged. Finally, on the flip side, it was kinda sad that everyone had to watch Salem's resident hero's cape be removed. Chelsea seemed to take it particularly hard and Roman seemed utterly shocked and as if he didn't want to accept the truth. He did, though, and arrested Bo!
Like the fallout from Stefano's return, this storyline is going to have far reaching ripple effects. Yet, as much as I'm a little concerned for the Brady Bunch, I have a hunch, more of a hope, that this might actually be what Bo wanted all along. My hunch/hope is that it was a ploy to smoke out the real bad guy, a.k.a Mr. John Black-DiMera, who seemed to cross another nasty deed off his to do list!
This leads me to agree with Laurisa's last column - isn't it about time John remembers his Brady roots too? I'm all for Robo-John vs. Stefano as that will even out the fight because, let's face it, his big half-brother isn't actually one to follow the rule books, but I think he crossed the line a bit by going after Bo. It's not cool at all and this entire "John doesn't know what he's doing" excuse is starting to wear thin. However, I will admit, it will be interesting to see how the Brady Bunch reacts to "Old John" once, ere, if, he ever returns! I have a feeling there's no clam chowda in your future, John.
The First Ripple (Philip and Morgan)
All is not well in "Phorganville!" Like his big half-brother, Philip may have gotten points for his honesty, but it was Morgan nearly slapping the dimples off his face that has me worried! Does Morgan have a right to be angry? Abso-freaking-lutely! Did Philip do the right thing by telling her the truth just under the buzzer? Again, abso-freaking-lutely! Those conclusions lead me to believe that this budding couple may still have a chance to bloom with a little TLC and a lot of Kate keeping her distance.
Dear John ... (Ava)
Speaking of distance, no if, ands, or buts about it - I'm going to miss Tamara Braun! Whereas Ava caused some moments of utter frustration and, let's face it, did some pretty nasty things, Braun delivered amazing performances throughout her short time in Salem! She effortlessly managed to rescue a character that could've easily been a jar of processed psycho ex-girlfriend Cheese Wiz and turned her into a tantalizing psycho ex-girlfriend fondue! I wish Tamara all the best and hope that she makes a speedy return!
Her crazy alter ego, however, may have a harder time venturing back to town as Ava decided to jump out of the frying pan, hurdle the fire, and flee to parts unknown after E.J. showed up baring more bad news. She was getting a harsher judge and new evidence surfaced. Not good! Now, I should admit, I found her exit to be somewhat of an anticlimactic ending to her saga. Not bad, just not that exciting. Well acted, just not that exciting. Appropriately open doored for a possible return, just not that exciting. Sure, she did get the slow motion departure shot, but I figured Ava for the going out in a blaze of glory type. I'm glad they didn't "kill" her yet I was just expecting a little more pizzazz.
But I'm not going to harp on the "could've been" and instead praise the "what was" and that was good acting! I found the scene when Ava led John upstairs was very touching. It was sort of a bittersweet shuffle to the gallows. There was this semi-lingering moment as they walked through the foyer in which both actors managed to subtly convey a feeling of, "Well, this is it." It was a poignant, powerful moment that I totally applaud Tamara and Drake for delivering in such a stealth way!
Before I wrap up this section, I'd like to play "Celeste" for a moment and give my predictions should she return. I mentioned this theory to Laurisa a while ago and recently noticed it on the message boards too, so I think it's fairly plausible. Here it is - John and Marlena finally get back together when Ms. Vitali returns to town with a Little John-John or Mini-Ava! Let's be honest, the writers played the safe card with this one as they had John and Ava go at it like rabbits the past few weeks. That leaves their options wide open as well as save their butts from yet another history re-write! Good move writers! No really, I meant that - good job.
Oh Brother! (Max, Stephanie, Mel and Nick)
Mel. Hmm. I actually don't have much to say about her yet. She's a tad annoying, a tad funny, and still a tad mysterious which all adds up to a, "Not too bad so far." Well, then again, there is this guilty pleasure aspect to it all and that is she bugs the heck out of Stephanie! Half of the time, I like Steph, but I figure it's payback as she bugs me the other half of the time. So, I guess I should say, thanks Mel?
Ironically, I don't think "thank you" is a term Money Hungry Mel is too used to saying, but I'll give her a pass - I'd be a little weirded out too if some guy showed up and claimed he was my brother. So far I like their dynamics together, yet I have a feeling she's more concerned about what he could do for her rather than simply being nice by covering up for him and telling Trent "nothing was new." I don't have many doubts that she would sell him out for the right price ... wait, she already did as she left him in jail!
As a whole, the storyline sort of just switched gears last week from Max's soul searching quest to fluff filled with clichés and stereotypes. Yet, amongst all the heavy drama right now, it's a semi-nice change of pace and providing a few laughs. I also think Nick showing up in France will help shake things up a bit as he seems pretty intrigued by the "Premiere Party Girl." Will this become another "Beauty and the Geek" pairing or will Stephanie put a kibosh to Melanie's man eating ways? Since I have a soft spot for him, I have to wonder - what will happen to poor George? Did he learn anything for the books or will history repeat itself for him and Melanie?
Hot & Not
Hot: Anna totally cracks me up! When she showed up at the hospital with the cross I nearly spit out my water! But more than being just funny, it was a great nod to Days' history because, as Anna mentioned, Stefano was never that keen on her and Tony being together and that makes this situation potentially even hotter! My hope is that this will lead to a meaty storyline for Anna and Tony - not only do they deserve it, but combing Anna and Stefano is always a surefire way to get a few laughs!
Not: I may have let Ava's not so exciting departure pass as it was well acted, but I was really disappointed that she didn't reach out to Nicole one last time! These two really formed one fun friendship for fans to watch and it was a shame we didn't get one last martini filled outing! Well, next time Nicole drinks alone, which should be in about ... now ... she can toast to a quick return for Ava! Cheers to that!
Line of the Week:
"Who am I kidding? Dracula never wakes up in a good mood," Tony commenting on Stefano possibly coming out of his coma a changed man.
Runner Up: Stefano's ominous warning, "Prepare yourselves, I will have my revenge!" Spooky, very spooky!
Odds & Ends ...
Did anyone else notice Kate giving Victor looks during Bo and Hope's ceremony? At first I thought that this old flame might reignite but then it dawned on me - Dr. Dan was sitting directly across the isle from Victor! So, what does everyone think, who was she glancing at? The doctor or the tycoon?
While on the subject of Victor, Nicole is cruising for big trouble in little Salem! Normally I wouldn't worry as she's one capable contender, but she's been a little less brave when it comes to Trent and if he Victor finds out about her marriage to the Mean Dean while she's this vulnerable nothing good can come from it. Unless, Victor knew all along and decided to help her out! That would be kinda cool, yet highly unlikely.
Ok, aside from the cliché French stuff, I thought the music on Days last week was pretty good! When Stefano was around it was particularly gothic sounding and really help to set an eerie tone to things. Not that he really needs any help in that department!
Is anyone else oddly enjoying the exterior establishing shots? The reason I say oddly is that they definitely don't seem to match up with the interiors of the buildings, especially Bo and Hope's house, yet I still kinda like them anyway. I remember they did this a few years back and I hope they keep it up, it's fun.
Remember Crawford Decker, Ford's dad? I may have figured out why he always had that mean look on his face - he was gassy! I kid, I kid, but has anyone else caught John Sanderford in the Taco Bell commercial for their new "Melts?" Just wondering.
Parting Thoughts ...
So friends and Days fans, that's "Two Scoops" for the week of August 11th! Laurisa will be back next week with an Olympic sized helping of Two Scoops and in the mean time I hope every has a great week - " That's a fact."
As always, thanks for reading!