Grace under fire

For the Week of June 8, 2009
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Grace under fire
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Daniel looks like a schmuck when he tries to take on Kate. It's like watching one of those toy dogs try to act big and tough in front of a coyote.

This was a tough week for me. On Thursday something happened with my cable and the middle 30 minutes of Days suddenly turned into men's synchronized diving. Then on Friday, the French Open moved Days back a full hour, causing havoc for my TiVo! Perhaps I should have taken it as a sign that Days was going to go a bit schizo this week, ushering some storylines out without much follow-up and picking up other storylines a few steps from where we left off. By the end of the week, we were transported back to a time before May Sweeps, when baby swaps and love in the afternoon ruled Salem. It's like we woke up back in bed with Suzanne Pleshette and May Sweeps was nothing more than an inn in Vermont. (Bonus pop culture points to you if you actually followed that metaphor.)

Since May sweeps has left the building, someone had to sweep the remaining storylines off the floor. In a matter of minutes, Bope rescued Brady and Mel from the Kiriakis crypt, Philip kicked his way out of the drawer (and subsequently kicked Owen's butt), and Stephanie sat it a corner and cried rather than running to call the police.

All's well that ends well. Almost.... Unfortunately, it looks like Wes Ramsey and I have to break up. My poor, lovable head case has been hauled off to jail. Darn. We were just getting to know each other too. What's more stinky is that I bet Owen will follow Patrick Lockhart Road and be the only one to go down for this whole kidnapping thing. Sure, Steph will testify that Owen kept saying that he was working for "Mr. DiMera". But, since Steph never actually saw a DiMera, I'm pretty sure a lawyer can blame this on Owen. Then there's the Kiriakis. When it comes down to hard proof, I don't think Steph has anything more than suspicions. Does she even know that Stefano was missing?

Loved how both of them thanked Melanie for her part in rescuing Stephanie. Didn't love how they both returned to the scene of the crime and claimed that they felt safe. The problem here isn't that Steph was kidnapped. The problem is that the HR manager over at Casa Kirkiakis needs to be fired for allowing Owen to work there for two year without so much as a physical address or one of those "in case of emergency" papers in his file. The DiMeras were able to get very deep into the Kiriakis compound. Who's next? Et tu, Henderson?

But the good news is that if your week starts out in a morgue drawer, it usually gets better from there. Once back at the Kiriakis mansion, Kate came over and congratulated them on their engagement. I'm actually excited at the possibility of Kate helping to plan Philip and Stephanie's wedding. I so hope the vendors kept her deposits for Lucas and Chloe's wedding and just let Kate switch dates. Plus since Stephanie is now the sole heir to the "Hope Brady Sweetheart" throne, I'm sure that Maggie and the rest of Salem would fall over each other to make Stephanie's day special. Even Roman, who came by to repeat the same speech Caroline gave a few weeks ago, reluctantly came around. (I wish that all these Brady peeps would remember that Steph's aunt, Adrianne, married into the Kiriakis family.)

After Kate and Roman left, Steph and Philip hopped upstairs and hopped into bed, meaning that Philip finally got out of the same clothes he's been wearing for ten episodes. Whew! But Steph started to have nightmares. I do hope that Steph follows through on her promise to talk to a councilor, hopefully the same one who helped her deal with being raped. Come to think of it, Philip could use a couch session too. He's been the target of two botched hits and held at gun point all in one week. Hopefully Titan has good health insurance.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A tall, dark, and handsome man comes to the door wearing a construction belt and carrying a hammer. ("Hammer? I hardly know her!" Duh-dum-CHING!) A busty looking blonde opens the door. The man smirks, "Does anyone need a construction worker?" The busty blond heaves, "I do....badly!" Then the two passionately make out on every piece of furniture in the living room on their way to the bedroom. The bedroom has been visited by the porn fairy, who snuck in before them to light tons of candles and play a saxophone solo while the construction worker and the busty blond roll around under satin sheets. Wait....what's that? This is the plot of nearly every adult move? Huh. Strange. It felt soooo original when Sami and Rafe played out those scenes!!

After Sami and Rafe finished their love fest, he presented her with a gift. Flowers? Jewelry? A star named after her? Nope! He gave her copies of the papers that he had ALREADY FILLED OUT and FILED WITH THE STATE to adopt Grace. A few questions:
1. Don't those require Sami's signature? I would think so. So, I guess Rafe forged Sami's signature on a legal document. No biggie!
2. Since Grace's birth certificate was also forged (again, thanks to good ol' Rafe), isn't Rafe up to his eyeballs in fraud crimes when it comes to the state?
3. Does any of this bother Sami?

Whatdaknow? Arianna made reference to "what happened before" AGAIN this week. And just like all the previous times, she didn't elaborate on what the flip that means. But, she does state that it's because of Sami that Rafe lost his job at the FBI. Arianna would know since she was there and all. And it must have been Sami's fault because Rafe is incapable of making his own decisions. It's not like he's a grown man or anything. In fact, being mentally feeble and emotionally immature are the two main requirements to get a job as a federal agent so it just has to be big bad Sami's fault Rafe had his job taken from him.

When she came on screen, Arianna had a lot of potential. I mean, it lasted for almost a full minute. But now even her own brother is suggesting that her constant hen-pecking is just a result of the fact that she is a lonely, miserable shrew. And, that's so not what Salem needs right now.

I'm convinced that Nicole has that same condition that Guy Pearce had in Memento, where he was unable to retain short term memories. She did so many things that had me worried that my favorite villainess was starting to go a little coo-coo for coca puffs. She brought up Rafe adopting Grace and then got mad when EJ flipped out about it. She insists on dictating every aspect of Mia's life, but then gets mad when Mia talks to her. She insists that EJ is first guy to show her real love, although I'm pretty sure that Eric, Brady, and Lucas all worshiped her scheming behind. And finally, she seems genuinely dumbfounded that she still has to compete for EJ's attention even though it required an intricate plan of fake pregnancies and baby swapping to get EJ in a relationship with her in the first place. I blame the lack of martinis. I'm trying my hardest to drink enough for both of us, but it doesn't appear to be working. Nicole seemed a lot sharper when she had vodka for breakfast everyday. At least then she had an excuse for forgetting what she did over the last fifteen minutes.

Chloe and Daniel got to showcase their always steamy chemistry through daydream run-ins. On the plus side, Daniel and Chloe's shower scene was way less porny than Safe scenes. And I was impressed that Chloe could spend so much time in a shower and not get her hair wet. But unfortunately, these two do eventually have to have some dialogue. And when they open their mouths, absolute foolishness falls out.

For example, Daniel looks like a schmuck when he tries to take on Kate. It's like watching one of those toy dogs try to act big and tough in front of a coyote. I can't decide which one of Daniel's excuses is my personal favorite. First he played the "I save your/Lucas/Philip's life" card. Excuse me, isn't that his job? Or, does he require IOU's from all of his patients? Then when that didn't work, he told Kate that she is jealous of Chloe (hehehe *snort*). I giggled when Kate told Daniel that he is the most disgusting man she's ever been with. That's saying a lot. Kate is a former hooker who slept with Stefano. Finally, Daniel told Kate that she needs to back off and let her kids live their own lives, as if Kate is the only parent who would be upset when they discover that their child's significant other has been unfaithful. I'm not buying it.

If you peel away all the twisted logic and superficial truths, what he's really telling Kate to do is just get over the fact that her ex-boyfriend hopped into bed with her son's fiancé. Furthermore, she has no right losing her cool when she finds the two cheaters hugging because they insist that nothing is going on. And, according to Daniel, when Kate can't do all that, he deems it a character flaw on her part. Does anyone else see a problem with that? (Raise my hand) I do! I do!

Now, I am not sure if I agree with the extent to which Kate is going to lash out at Chloe. Hiring Chloe back to the talk show and calling it a "rat trap" does seem a bit ominous. I still think Kate should just march up to Lucas and tell him what she knows. But, Chloe and Daniel are the ones who created this whole mess. It's hard for me to blame the reaction- especially since Chloe could take away all Kate's power by just coming clean with Lucas, but instead chooses to keep lying.

Speaking of Lucas, isn't it funny how Chloe's two fantasies of Lucas's reaction to the news pretty much sum up the two only two roles that the writers know how to give Lucas? He's either the sympathetic sap, or the fit throwing tyrant. There's never any middle ground for Lucas, and I think that's kind of a shame.

Things do not look good for Grace. Not even Daniel the Great feels confident that he can cure her bacterial meningitis. I can't help but worry that all those shots of adorable Grace hooked up to tons of wires and monitors are all for the sake of pulling at my heart strings. And, it's working too. Parts of this storyline are very touching. I love how EJ was ready to throw the entire power of the DiMera family behind finding the birth parents if Sami just said the word. I love how Lucas promised to stand behind Sami if she decided to tell EJ the truth. I love how Will comforts Mia when she "inexplicitly" feels a deep sorrow that Grace is sick. And, I even love that Nicole is genuinely empathizing with Sami and Mia, even enough to do minimal things to help like sneak Mia into see Grace.

But then there are things about this storyline that make me want to scream. Where the heck are all the Bradys? That family lives for this kind of drama! I don't care that the recent cast cuts left us a few Bradys down. Caroline, Bo, Hope, Max, Stephanie, Brady, and especially Roman need to get their tuchises to the hospital and be with Sami. It's entirely unfair to longtime viewers that Sami Brady has to depend on a few ex-husbands, her teenage son, and a newbie character during a time of crisis.

Yeah, that brings me to Rafe. I know he's Sami's boyfriend and all but he's not Grace's father- legally or biologically- and I have a hard time watching him comfort Sami. He doesn't know Sami. He doesn't know her history when it comes to losing her children. I know he means well, but it just seems to push their already forced relationship even faster.

But most infuriating of all is that if Grace (and her easily accessible DNA) isn't around, a big chunk of proof in Nicole's baby caper leaves too. If baby Grace has to die just so Nicole can keep this monstrous secret longer, I'll storm right into the Days production studios and start cracking some skulls. I'm not even kidding.

Continuing with the "movement in this storyline that isn't really movement at all" theme, Stefano knows Nicole's secret - Mia, Dr. Baker, the baby swap- everything. We don't know how he knows, just that he does. My guess is that he has a top-secret spy device called "ears" and heard Nicole one of the bazillion times she blabbed her secret out loud while standing in the middle of the DiMera Mansion.

But I'm less concerned with how he found out. I am far too busy being disappointed by this reveal. Not only do I knot believe that Stefano has known for months and did nothing to punish Sami, but I firmly believe that Stefano is going to keep- even help Nicole protect- this secret. It's like walking into Johnnie Cochran's law office and confessing to a crime. If you've only got one person on your side, this is an extremely fortunate pick. Stefano is pretty impressed with Nicole. I knew he would be. All those things she said- about EJ raising his own daughter because of her, about standing by EJ's side during Stefano's kidnapping- was all pretty much right up Stefano's ally. I actually think it is sample exercise #3 in Stefano's Scoundrel Workbook. And now, not only does Stefano have his biological granddaughter living in his house, but he has a valuable tool in controlling EJ, and more importantly, he could use Nicole's relationship with Brady to keep this DiMera/Kiriakis feud going. Double bonus for the big guy, huge loss for those of us who want to see this baby swap storyline end.

The only thing that does keep me happy is that intoxicating spark of magic that I saw between Arianne Zuker and Joesph Mascolo. Dare I say that the power chemistry between Nicole and Stefano was the stuff that I expected, but have completely missed, between Nicole and EJ.

Nicole got way too confident that her secret would stay put when she tried to buddy-buddy up to Rafe and congratulate him on the new baby. Why not rent one of those planes and fly a banner over Salem? That would be less subtle.

I liked that Brady talked a little bit about his mother. But the producers sure went to great lengths not to show her year of death. First Brady's thumb, then the rose covered the plaque in the perfect position so that I couldn't read the date. Weird.

Mia is going to move in with Maggie. (yeah!) And, Mia is insisting on getting a job to pay rent. Who wants to bet that where ever she gets a job, Nicole won't approve? Mia could go sell flashlights on the moon and Nicole would argue that Mia is too close to Sydney.

Extra Scoops:

Don't you love how Sami's hair looks perfect right after she gets out of bed?

I thought it was so strange that Chloe offered her condolences to EJ over Stefano's illness. Apparently Chloe doesn't know that Stefano ordered a hit on Philip and EJ had Brady beaten up. And why would EJ want Chloe's condolences anyway? Her husband tried to shoot him!

When Lucas found Mia's 12-step brochure, I braced myself to write a huge rant about hypocrisy and double standards- two of Lucas's best friends. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised that such a raw conversation was handled with such care. Kudos to Bryan Dattilo for making me equally believe what superficially appears to be two sides of the same story. Lucas came right out and told Mia that he was a recovering addict himself and encouraged her to stay strong. And, I believed him. Then he warned Will to stay away from Mia. And, I believed him too. Can you really blame him? Being in rehab when you're 16 is a heck of a lot different than being in rehab when you are an adult. Between Lucas, Maggie, and Brady, Salem is crawling with addicts who have managed to turn themselves into productive members of society. But for every one of them, there's a Nick Fallon who wasn't so lucky. I don't think that Lucas warning Will to stay away from Mia, and subsequently lamenting about being too harsh with Will, makes him a hypocrite. I think it makes him an honest parent. And, I for one am loving this new, layered Lucas.

Steph and Philip couldn't give their statements to the police just because Bo and Hope weren't there. Really? Really?! Just where were Bo and Hope?!? Bo just rescued his niece and brother from being held captive by a crazy man with a gun, and he doesn't stick around to hear how it all happened? And even if Bope wasn't there, can't someone else take their statement? How about one of those extras who are always walking around in the background of the station? Or, couldn't Roman have taken her statement when he CAME TO TALK TO STEPHANIE? And, not to be too technical, but shouldn't Philip still be facing assault charges from that rumble with EJ (you remember- the one EJ already got arrested for)? Just what was so important that Bope couldn't be at work? I don't buy it. It's not like they have another storyline to get to or anything.

Kate (to Chloe) "Just because you're a lying slut doesn't mean that you have a moment of truth every once in a while" I know, I know. It's immature and it's starting to get old. But Chloe was in Daniel's arms when she was trying to convince Kate that nothing is going on between them. Chloe sorta deserved it.

Fear not, Days fans. Tony will be back next week to offer his shinning insights on Salem's finest. We'll all find out together if Sami will come clean with EJ, how Stefano will manipulate Nicole, and, most importantly, what Nicole will do to fight back! Enjoy the show and please feel free to leave me some feedback. I'm accepting both suggestions for the column and martini recipes.

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