Perhaps it was Nicole who summed up last week the best. She said, "It's sad. It's way too sad." True - very, very true. I think the only people happy about it are those who own stock in Kleenex.
In fact, the entire week was, to put it mildly, utterly heartbreaking. I don't know who I felt worse for as there were a lot of contenders for my sympathy. It seemed like nearly everyone competed to see who could tear out my heartstrings. That was mostly due to the powerful performances given by the actors involved. Really, the entire cast deserves a gold star for their efforts. So, let's grab a much-deserved drink, the remaining tissues and play Wheel of Misfortune ...
CONTENDER 1: GRACE
Obviously, Grace scores off the charts on the sympathy scale. Sadly, the little bundle of cuteness just couldn't beat the Bacterial Meningitis she was diagnosed with. While it was tear-jerking to watch her family and friends trying to cope, it was even harder to watch a baby hooked up to those machines. I'm kind of surprised they used the actual actress as opposed to a doll or simply blocking her out of the shots like they did when Zach died. Regardless, it made for some disturbingly powerful scenes. And, when Father Matt read her Last Rights, forget about it - I was a blubbering idiot.
CONTENDER 2: SAMI
Sami, of course, also scored highly on the sympathy scale. Alison Sweeney completely wowed me with her performance! In addition to her hysterical tearful outbursts, she seemed in utter shock, which to me was spot-on as to how one would react to the situation. It was that "punched in the gut" expression etched on her face all week that drove me to drown my sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry's Half Baked after watching the entire week's episodes in one sitting. I smell an Emmy Nod for this gal next year.
Actually, credit for her scenes should be applauded as a combination of great acting and writing. It was the small touches that really got to me. It reminded me of when John "died" and Marlena was grieving because the writers are actually letting it play out. Marlena packed John's clothes, dealt with waking up alone, heck, dealt with being alone in general and that's what made her grief believable. To me, that's more powerful than a death scene, a quick funeral then the occasional mention of the deceased when it's relevant to the plot. With Sami, they seem to be on the same course as they were with her mother. And, if they stay on that course, her road to recovery is going to be a long, interesting journey.
Yet, despite the mourning scenes, Sami finally told E.J. about Grace! Those were some pretty powerful scenes, too. They were raw and gritty. The disbelief, shock, rage and misery all lumped together and proved to be exactly what they should have been - a shocking revelation for E.J. (and Sami) to deal with.
However, as an audience, we know this is just the tip of the iceberg for these two. I suspect a lot of us thought the entire baby swap and subsequent drama would come out all at once in some grand spectacular, but now it seems that only pieces of the puzzle are going to be put into place one at a time. Yep, there's sure to be more disbelief, shock, rage, misery and perhaps a little bit of joy when E.J. and Sami find out that their biological baby is actually alive and well. Whereas one child certainly can't ever replace another, I have a feeling that Sami's sorrow will ease a little ... and her blood pressure will skyrocket off the charts! Yep, she's sure to go more ballistic than we've ever seen her before when she confronts Nicole on that one. Stay tuned!
CONTENDER 3: E.J.
The thing is, I actually felt horrible for the guy despite the fact he's been a total *insert a slander of your choice here* lately. Losing a child is one of those instances where past misdeeds can be swept under the rug for a moment or two and compassion can be given. Therefore, he certainly scored high on the sympathy scale, too.
And, given the circumstances, I felt his reactions were pretty warranted. Although it took him a little while to catch on (which shouldn't be all too shocking as E.J.'s been a little on the dense side lately), the guy was blindsided with news that not only does he have a daughter, but she's dead. Those outbursts made sense ... as opposed to the ones he's been having every other day as Laurisa wisely pointed out recently.
Now, I know Sami wanted to keep her daughter safe from the big, bad DiMera Famiglia, but that excuse seemed a little flimsy when E.J.'s heart was being ripped out. I also can't help but agree that he's been a good father to Johnny (sans plotting murder schemes while he's in the house). Yet, I can't totally blame Sami for not telling him, either. Really, it's a no-win situation since sympathy points and bad deed marks can easily be given to both parties. For the sake of argument, let's chalk this one up to a draw - a very sad draw.
CONTENDER 4: RAFE
I do have sympathy for Rafe as I honestly believe he loved Grace. I'll also give him credit as he stepped up to help Sami with the preparations, gave her the space she needed without hesitation, and even acted as the voice of reason when she and E.J. were trying to inflict as much pain on each other as they could. Again without any hesitation, he stepped right in the middle of Hurricane "Ejami" to remind them it was about Grace, not them. Yes, he did well.
He was also alert enough to pick up that Nicole wasn't acting solely out of sympathy for him or Sami when she helped him. He grilled her to find out why she was so upset. She made up a flimsy excuse ... imagine that. So, yes, I also give him credit for that.
But - and there is a big but - there is this little skeptical streak in me that thinks that now that Grace is gone, distancing himself from Sami wouldn't be that hard for him. He seemed to be in it for the baby to some extent. I wish I didn't feel that way and maybe I'll eventually change my mind, but between Arianna's ominous warnings and Rafe's avoidance of talking about the past, I have a hard time shedding too many tears for him. Not to sound heartless, but it goes back to a simple theory - if we knew more about him and I cared about what I knew, I'd care more than I do.
CONTENDER 5: NICOLE
Ms. Walker - excuse me, Mrs. DiMera scored moderately on my sympathy scale. Yes, Arianne Zuker's performance was amazing. Yet even her superb acting couldn't make me forget what Nicole has done to Sami, E.J., Mia, etc. Nicole's tearful pleas to God for Grace's life did tug on my heart strings as did her guilt-ridden sympathy towards Mia and Rafe, yet it was her words to her new BFF Stefano that balanced that out.
Nicole seemed to basically breathe a sigh of relief and say, "Well, if I hadn't switched the babies, it would have been Sydney who died." That is totally ridiculous. No one, not even Stefano or Nicole, could've predicted Grace would contract a deadly disease and there's no way to say that Sydney would've instead if she hadn't switched the babies. Maybe Stefano and Nicole are a perfect fit - they both live in Delusional Land!
And, that's exactly why I have little sympathy for Nicole. Or any sympathy for Stefano, you know, the guy who shipped his son away to a deserted island for twenty years and now grieves for him like they were the closest father/son duo since Andy and Opie. In fact, Stefano giving Nicole the gold star for doing the right wrong thing only cements the fact they're both on a one-way path towards Unredeemable Land. Yet, it will be interesting to see how much they squirm from guilt when they find out Sami told E.J. the "truth." Nicole and Stefano, please meet my friend karma! She's a bitch.
Side note ... how quickly do you think Stefano will throw Nicole under the bus and claim he's innocent when the entire baby swap comes to light? Agreed, I think it will be that fast too!
CONTENDER 6: MIA
Mia scored about as high as Sami did on my scale. Not only was she distraught herself, she still managed to be supportive for Will's sake (they even held hands - awe)! Yet, the poor gal's journey is only beginning. Well, it will begin when she finds out the truth about the baby swap. Perhaps that's why she scored so highly and Nicole scored so poorly - Mia has no idea what she's in store for thanks to Nicole's need to land E.J. And there's no amount of guilt-induced sympathy that will make Nicole any less of a selfish baby swapper! Yep, that revelation is bond to be rough ... be sure to have the Kleenex on standby for that one.
CONTENDER 7: WILL
Will also scored high on the sympathy scale. I was also proud of the way he handled things. He really stepped in and became the "man of the family." He gathered the Bradys, delivered them to the hospital, and, later, took over reading the book to Johnny and Ali when his mother broke down. Yep, I was impressed.
It was also great to see Lucas and Kate show up to support him. Well, technically Kate accidentally stumbled upon him, but let's not nitpick. She was there when he needed her. Actually, touches like that are what's making this storyline so poignant - characters are remembering they're family and helping each other. Um, most of them anyway. Moving on ...
Will's talk with Lucas was moving. He told his son he needs to be strong for Sami, but he could lean on him for strength. Awe! What a good father/son moment. That's the Lucas I love to see ... well, that and the humorous Lucas who has a clue.
But Will's life was rocked by the end of the week when Sami confirmed his initial fears - she lied to him about Grace! Although we're going to have to wait until Monday to see what happens, I have a feeling things are going to get ugly. Very ugly, in fact. Emotions are high and raw at the moment. This little reveal could certainly push the lad over the edge, and I don't even think Sami's "logical reasoning" will make him agree with her decision.
CONTENDERS 8 & 9: ROMAN & CAROLINE
Thankfully, the Brady Bunch showed up in force to support Sami. Well, only two of them showed up ... Roman and Caroline. Although I was a bit ... a lot ... disappointed the likes of Bo, Hope, Max, Stephanie, etc. weren't there, I'll move on and say I was glad Sami's father and grandmother arrived. And, heck, they even mentioned Marlena - twice! That has to count for something. All in all, the Bradys were distraught over the news, and Roman was there to hold Sami. Given they have such a strong bond, I'm glad the writers managed to pencil him in.
CONTENDER 10: DR. DAN
Finally, the list ends at Dr. Dan. You know, I never thought I would, but I did feel for the guy. And for a moment, I even forgot about his skeevy hospital-bed-hopping and focused on what he does - he tries to save lives. Normally, he's a miracle worker, but he couldn't save Grace. The scene that really got me is when he shed that single tear behind closed doors. Yep, the jerk got to me ... but, in my defense, I was already a sobbing mess and in a very vulnerable state. Sure, um, I'll go with that excuse. But now let's move on to why I normally don't have too much sympathy for Dr. STDan ...
LUCAS, CHLOE, DR. DAN & KATE
I wish I had a dollar for every long, drawn out fantasy that Chloe and Dr. Dan have about one another. If I did, I could afford to buy earplugs and a blindfold when they're on and smooching. Note to the writers: The dream trick is pretty tired.
Also tired is Chloe's self-righteous kick. Did she pick that up via osmosis from sleeping next to Lucas? It was laughable when she yelled at him for his lack of effort in ensuring their relationship works. Sure, he didn't tell her the truth, but, hello, I'm pretty sure she's keeping an STD-laden secret from him. Not only that, but the last time Lucas told her one of Sami's secrets, she let it slip to Nicole. I'd tread lightly too if I were Lucas.
Anyway, because of the fight they had, Chloe left to "be alone" and ended up at the lake. At the lake she found Dr. Dan ... because everyone swims after losing a patient ... and they had another conversation about their faux-lationship. She even admitted she loves him more than Lucas. I really didn't see that one coming. Ugh.
What happened next mildly surprised me - Dr. Dan told her to take a hike. Ok, he didn't actually say that, there was some long snooze fest about feelings, true love and all that stuff that didn't totally capture my attention. He told her to work it out with Lucas; she's made her choice. Chloe then used the GPS tracking device she had implanted in the area of Lucas's skull where his brain used to be to find him at the Kiriakis Mansion, and they kissed and made up. For the love of all things holy in Soapland, this secret needs to come out ... pronto!
Unfortunately, I don't see that happening because, in related news, the Bad Girls Club president, Kate Roberts, has decided to seek revenge after all. She even hired a blond version of Dr. Dan to do her dirty work. He picked up a prescription for her ... a prescription she illegally obtained when she stole a blank page from Dr. Dan's pad and forged his name. Whoops! I hate when I accidentally forge a prescription then call a hired thug impersonating a doctor to pick it up for me so I can drug my daughter-in-law because she had an affair. But, really, I think that happens all the time, so why am I so surprised?
STEPHANIE & PHILIP
Let's sum this up short and sweet - they spent the week in bed. They had sex, talked about their harrowing experiences, she had some nightmares, and then they had some more sex. Am I missing anything?
MAX & CHELSEA
It was great seeing Chelsea/Rachel! And Chelsea used Victor's private jet - you go girl! Seeing her was a happy surprise during such a drab week, but Max decided to skip on a free ride to medical school just like that? I was a tad disappointed. But I'll be even more disappointed if he's not back next week for a farewell to Caroline, a see-ya-later to Stephanie and perhaps a bye-bye to Bo. A warning to Higs if I don't get at least one tearful goodbye for Ole Maxie expect that to make my "Not" of the week!
VICTOR & BRADY
Not unlike when Lucas disowns his mother only to invite her back into his life a day later, Victor tried to lure Brady back into the Kiriakis Clan with an apology, some praise and pastry. Personally, I would have taken the apple turnover then left, but that's just me.
Overall, Victor's plan worked. He and Brady shook hands. All was forgiven. That speedy makeup pretty much cements the fact Laurisa was right in her last column - the events of May Sweeps were nothing more than little storyline detours. Although with Victor and Brady, we're bound to see a lot more of Grandpa K being disappointed in Brady's un-Kiriakis-like actions and Brady spewing rehab gobbledygook to justify them. Therefore we probably shouldn't get too comfortable with them playing nice. But that's just a hunch.
BRADY & ARIANNA
Wow! I'm shocked - Brady and Arianna literally ran into each other again. I mean, gee-golly-wiz, I didn't expect that to happen. Shucks, what a coincidence!
Ok, really, that needs to stop. I believe that was like the fifth(?) collision they've had within a month's worth of episodes. And that's way too much of
a good an OK thing. In other words, that horse is dead ... a goner ... he's not coming back, Higs, so stop beating him.
Despite my annoyance, Brady and Arianna did combine their brain cells ... the ones of Ari's that aren't corrupted by bitchiness and those of Brady's that weren't fried on cocaine ... and they came up with the notion that things aren't all they appear to be in Rafe and Sami Land. Hmm, you don't say!? "She and my brother - something seems off," she said. "A little too convenient." Agreed and agreed. We've been saying that for a while now, Ari, glad you caught up.
Ironically, the points they came up with are about to prove moot. Since Sami told E.J. about the baby and is in the process of telling Will, I figure it's only a matter of time before everyone in Salem jumps on their high horses to storm Sami's penthouse with moral rotten tomatoes and self-righteous rotten eggs. Again, just a hunch.
HOT & NOT
Hot: Finding something "Hot" last week took some work. However, I found it. Sure, it wasn't "hot" in the traditional sense of being great, fabulous or downright amazing, but, and I've used this quote before, as Dolly Parton's character Truvy said in Steel Magnolias, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." And my laughter erupted when E.J. punched Rafe! I mean, seriously, was that the lamest, most staged punch in the history of television or what!? I rewound it several times just for kicks! I even made my roommate watch it and she cracked up, too. Yep, it's sure to be a YouTube sensation soon! And, I'm convinced the writers threw that in there just to add some levity. If they did, it worked! If not, well, better luck next time guys, but thanks for the laughs regardless.
Not: Most of Dr. Dan and Chloe's "relationship" irks me, but for him to say she made him feel that he could love again after his wife Rebecca's death is just sloppy, oh so very sloppy writing. Um, didn't he give that same speech to Chelsea? Just checking!
Line of the Week:
"You know, perhaps I should be punished for my sins ... but cottage cheese and eleven-year-old toast ... really?" Stefano's reaction to his new healthy diet.
I like the new trivia questions during the commercial breaks! Actually, it's simply nice to see NBC promoting Days! I wonder if it has anything to do with those wacky 13 Emmy nominations? Hmm ...
Did anyone else earn their '80's trivia badges this week? The nurse who Nicole had to convince that Rafe was Grace's father was none other than Mary Jo Catlett, AKA Pearl the housekeeper from Diff'rent Strokes!
Speaking of "blasts from the past," hold onto your seats Days' fans! Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but Bo and Hope's life might get a little more interesting due to some recent casting news! If you're curious, check out which former star is returning to Salem!
Parting Thoughts ...
So friends and Days' fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of June 15th! I'll be back next week with another Scoop and some summer predictions! As much as I'm looking forward to the baby swap to be wrapped up, I need a major break from all the waterworks, so let's just hope that we'll have a little more laughter and intrigue and lot less crying and carrying on. And, that, well, "That's a fact!"
What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.