Soap operas move at a (sometimes painfully) slow pace. Sure, it's frustrating because it seems like it stalls the storyline progression. And, most of the time that's bad news bears. But Days did a great job this week of using their stall time for some serious character development. Across the board, the actors were given chances to shine with some really dramatic scenes. And, viewers were treated to unlikely, but thoroughly enjoyable pairings like Lucas/Daniel, Stefano/Nicole, and Stephanie/Roman. Here's how it all played out.
WILL, MIA, CHAD, and KINSEY
I completely support Tony's opinion last week. It is refreshing to watch the teen scene actually have a believable storyline. Mia hopped in bed with Chad because she thought that he would love her forever. Now, she regrets it because he didn't turn out to be the fun Moon Doggy beach laughter guy he promised to be. I really like that the writers are making sure to point out that no matter what promises Chad made in the back seat of that car with Mia, his parents still control his life. Promises between two children can be vetoed by either one of their parents at any time and that's a tough lesson for kids to learn.
I'm glad that Mia told Will that she had an intimate relationship with Chad. But, I'm beyond ecstatic that Will didn't get all- well, Lucas like- about it and try to make the situation about him just so he could over react to it. I cheered when Will finally kissed Mia because these two are the heart of this storyline. He's an established character with roots in the town. She's a new character with a compelling back story. And together, they could blow the lid off Salem's biggest secret. What's not to like about them?
Coincidentally, this storyline has good supporting cast too. Even Kinsey, who I don't like at all, works an interesting angle. There are girls out there who "do everything with a guy they only dated for two weeks" to get attention and perhaps make up for a lack of self-esteem. And guys like "T" are all too eager to give potential suitors like Will a scouting report on Ms. Kinsey. Something tells me that hidden in this batch of promise breakers and attention seekers could be a much more effective storyline about teen relationships than anything Shawn and Belle could achieve with their purity rings.
LUCAS, KATE, DANIEL and CHLOE
Remember all that bad stuff I said about this storyline? I take it all back. Well, accept for that Danloe hate. I still mean that. But all those objections about this storyline being stupid were silenced this week. As soon as Chloe slipped into that coma, the characters were properly reshuffled into their appropriate roles and I found this storyline surprisingly captivating.
First and foremost, Lucas and Kate became the lead characters. I'm so glad. Lucas and Kate are vested characters and the audience cares what happens to them. Neither Danloe nor Luloe is strong enough to carry this storyline. But, Lucas/Kate absolutely is. Their relationship is incredibly layered. They have been partners in crime, yet have thrown each other under the bus when it would serve their own selfish purposes, only to come together again when addiction or cancer plagues one of them. But this time it is different because Kate and Lucas were both hurt. I honestly believe that Kate is more hurt by Lucas's betrayal than her own, because that's the kind of stuff that drives Kate. Sure, Kate's done the Mama Bear routine with all of her kids, but none so much as Lucas. I love that this storyline has evolved to give Bryan Dattilo some real stuff to sink his teeth into. Chloe didn't just hurt Lucas, she caused him to be in the unenviable position of explain things to Will and Ali. Bryan is taking that ball of confusion, frustration, and hurt and playing it in a way that makes me feel sorry- not pity- but genuinely sorry for Lucas. And for her part, Lauren Koslow is positively brilliant at conveying the sick, twisted pleasure that Kate gets when things go her way and the people who she's damned are suffering. I'm repulsed and intrigued with her character at the same time. I like it when that happens. She's like the sour patch kid of characters right now.
Removing Chloe from the forefront has helped Daniel too. Until now, Daniel has been unfairly expected to play the lead role in this storyline. While I have no doubt that Shawn Christian has the chops to pull off "leading man", Daniel hasn't really been established as a character yet. He's not a "one". You know, Sami's the "scheming one", Stefano is the "bad one", Roman is the "dopey one", etc. Right now Daniel is the "one who has relationships with his patients". That's not exactly a recipe for must see TV. But as I watched Daniel frantically trying to plead his case to anyone who would listen, he finally said something that could catch on as his character trait. He said that he didn't understand how he can devote his whole life to helping people all over the world and have that actually end up as a detriment to his innocence. If the writers play their cards right, they can absolutely turn Daniel into the character that has a monstrously successful professional life, but a horrid mess of a personal life. We all know people like this. They spend 18 hours at work, earning respect and promotions; but their home is empty, save for the expired milk and Chinese take-out in their fridge. Since Daniel's most successful relationship to date has been with a woman who died shortly after they were married, I'd say he qualifies as someone who needs a bit of improvement in the love life department. To do so, the writers need to really let Daniel acknowledge that he makes crazy bad decisions when it comes to the women he dates. Right now, his "I love her and I don't care what you say even if you are her husband" attitude isn't wining any points with me. It just makes Daniel sound like an ego-maniac. I suggest they try a "I know we were wrong and I can only ask for your forgiveness, especially since I've been married too and I would be crushed if someone had an affair with my wife" stance and then move onto a "I can't live without her" position.
And Chloe...well... turns out I really like it when she's seen but not heard. Don't get me wrong, I think Chloe is great as a supporting character. I loved her as Belle's geeky friend and I liked her as Philip's ugly duckling girlfriend. But ever since she's been back the writers have been trying to make her a leading lady where the storylines revolve around her and that isn't working with me. Neither the actress nor the character is suited for that sort of thing. Nadia had one line this week. ONE! And I still rolled my eyes at it. I really hope that when Craig comes back for a brief appearance, it will be enough to remind me that Chloe actually has more to her character than being a walking ball of hormones and promises to God.
SAMI and RAFE
Meredith's brief stay in Salem is over. She left Sami a tell-all letter and apparently is not available for any follow-up or cross examination questions. The only parts of the letter that we heard were things we already knew. Emily died in a car accident and Rafe is suspiciously innocent in the whole thing. I got a kick out of Rafe getting all defensive at Sami for believing the letter without even talking to him about it. Riiiiight. Because if anything Sami's done wrong it's because she hasn't given Rafe enough chances to talk about Emily. Please. He can't repeatedly withhold information from her and then get mad and leave when she hears another side of the story. In summary, nothing happened in this storyline that we haven't seen repeatedly for weeks.
I'll tell you one thing. Rafe's "secret" better be the best damn thing since Verbal Kint actually turned out to be Keyser Söze. I mean, I better see fireworks. And, Rafe better turn out to make Trent Robbins look like a boy scout. If those writers expect me to buy a BS story about Rafe making and honest mistake, but deep down is a really good guy, I will S.C.R.E.A.M. At this point, (count them with me) 1)Alison Sweeney, 2)Joseph Mascolo, 3)Arianne Zuker, AND 4)James Scott have all been robbed of storylines of their own so that they can all prop a newbie character who has no historical connection to Salem what-so-ever. Who can't think of better things for that quad of actors to be doing? That's what I thought. This secret better be worth my time. That's all I'm saying.
ARIANNA and BRADY
So she's a drug dealer, huh? I'm not sure if I believe that. Yes, I saw her with the suppliers and I saw her test the cocaine. But something about this just doesn't add up. For starters, she turned Brady down for a date when he told her that he was a recovering addict and most drug dealers don't have that good of a conscious. I'm pretty sure that's a requirement of the job to start with. Second, I keep thinking back to the scene where Arianna told Rafe that she turned Brady down because he was an addict and Rafe just nodded approvingly. I highly doubt that Arianna's FBI agent brother meant, "Yeah, it's probably best to turn Brady down especially since you're too busy with your cocaine career to start a relationship right now."
I'm in a holding pattern with Brady/Arianna pairing right now. I like where this is going, but I really am excited to see what Lindsay Hartley can bring to the role. I don't see much chemistry between Eric Martsolf and Felisha Terrell right now, but the storyline of a "drug dealer" dating a recovering addict and using his family's business as a cover for it is very soapy!
MELANIE, NATHAN, STEPHANIE, and PHILIP
Thank God for Maggie. If she wasn't making appearances in this storyline to hand out guidance, I think I might punch someone. And that someone would be Stephanie. I have no idea where she gets off lecturing Melanie for trying to "steal Philip" and then turns around and does something even worse to Melanie. Not only is Steph knowingly trying to move in on Melanie's man, but she's using Mel to help her do it. The audacity of this chick never ceases to amaze me. First off, since when is the PR person for a hospital supposed to be tallying anything in a patients file? Next, where does she get off taking all the credit from Nathan for signing him out? I didn't hear her mention that Mel actually was the one who forged his signature and thus saving his butt. Finally, why didn't she correct Philip when he assumed that Steph and Nathan were on a date? The only reason that she wouldn't have corrected him is because she wanted Philip to be hurt enough to leave her alone. Like I said, the audacity is baffling. The only thing I liked this week about Stephanie (besides her cute new extensions and her amazing periwinkle dress) was her talk with Roman. Now that Kayla, Steve, and Joey are all gone, I worry that Steph will follow down Chloe Lane (hehe! Get it?!?) and be reduced to storylines that revolve around who she is sleeping with. It's nice that Roman is there to remind us all that Steph actually still has family in Salem.
As for Nathan, I do like him, but I'm kinda starting to feel the same way about him as I do about the bachelor on The Bachelor. Sure, he's a handsome, successful, nice enough guy. But, he's getting a little too close to dating more than one girl at one time. I don't have a problem with that if the girls are on the same page. But Nathan knows that Mel isn't dating anyone else because she TOLD HIM that she was into him. And, he also knows that Steph is trying to heal from a painful break up and isn't jumping headfirst into the dating pool because she TOLD HIM that too. Nathan can't play the oblivious card for very much longer. And, I'd appreciate it if Maggie would tell him that too.
Philip has me worried. I don't know why this guy keeps getting dumped. EJ mistreats women all the time, yet they flock to him regardless of who his father is. Yet, Philip belongs to an arguably more respected family, treats his women like gold, and still manages to end up alone. I don't like it. As much as I'm not sold on a Mel/Philip pairing, I am looking forward to the day when Philip and Nathan are both competing for Melanie's attention and leaving Steph alone with her pathetic self. Maybe she can go after Lucas. She likes Horton men and he likes Philip's leftovers.
As for Mel, her character has been one that I thoroughly enjoy watching. With some characters, I really root for a certain outcome. With her, I just root for her to be on screen. It's equally entertaining to watch her be happy as it is to see her get knocked down and climb back out. Case in point: when she realized that she was hurting her chances with Nathan, she marched right up to him, hold him how she felt, and asked him out! Other characters would wallow in their self pity for days, but not Mel. She's a go-getter and I'd like to see her go get her some Nathan. The Philip thing is unhealthy for Melanie. Maybe one day when she's a little older and more independent, I can see her with Philip. But right now they've got too much individual baggage to even think about settling down together. Besides, I like watching Mel with Nathan. As far as we know, this may be the first real relationship either of them has ever had. It's nice watching puppy love happen to characters who aren't 14.
EJ, NICOLE, and STEFANO
I would say that I think Nicole is getting a little too close to letting her grief/guilt give her away. But, to state that would mean that I thought EJ had a brain. And since it took him weeks to remember that Grace's legal name was "Grace Rafaella Brady", I'm thinking Nicole is safe for a while. I get why EJ is upset, I really do. But he sat through the funeral where Grace was constantly referred to as "Grace Rafaella Brady". He read her obituary in the paper. Why was he so shocked that "DiMera" didn't appear on her tombstone? Oh well, at least I got a pleasant laugh out of the implied conversation that the cemetery care taker had with EJ when EJ called to present him with a midnight urgent tombstone emergency.
I still like Nicole and Stefano as a team, but I'd like to see more from it. If they are going to drag this baby swap story out even more, I'd like it to be because Nicole finds out something on Stefano (like say, that he was actually the one who ordered the hit on the mayor) and have these two schemers dance again. I want these two to be scheming together, not having Stefano just show up to give Nicole general updates on his process.
Abe and Lexie get good news about Theo being accepted to Kennedy Elementary where he will be mainstream in with all the other kids. It means that Theo will be in class with the other kids like Ciara- which will work out well since he is her best boyfriend. Lexie and Abe worry about how Theo will adjust, but they both know that this is a good thing. I like how this storyline keeps getting follow-up references even though the main drama has already been played out. Good stuff.
I wonder why Nicole and Brady haven't gone to the cops with their two sides of the Danile/Chloe story. Well, actually....I can see why Nicole wouldn't want to be in a police station. I'm pretty sure she turns to stone as soon as she enters the building. But Brady can come in there just fine. So I say throw some garlic around Nicole's neck and haul her into talk to Uncle Bo.
Maybe it was just me, but Bryan Dattilo and Shawn Christian are kinda magic together. That condescending, pompous-ass thing that Lucas does annoys the heck out of me when it's with Sami. But, it seems entirely appropriate with the ego-maniac control-freak, Daniel. I really thought that they balanced each other out in some strange sort of way. Besides, it's really nice to see Lucas and Daniel getting to interacting with other adult men- even if they were screaming at each other. I'd really like to see more of them together. They have so much in common after all......*wink*
Anyone else think Ari's supplier is kinda cute? Not the Kurt Cobian one. The other one. The one that Brady punched.
Who pissed Kristian Alfonso off before she did her trivia bit? Man! She seemed intense.
One of these times when some bonehead character comes up and says, "I'm sorry, did I interrupt something?" I want the other characters to say, "Yes you did. Please keep moving along."
I wished the writers would have given Daniel and Victor more scenes together prior to this storyline. It's really nice of Victor to roll out $60 Million (I didn't even know they made numbers that big) for bail. But, I don't really feel like these characters are connected so the scene seemed strange to me.
Will didn't fall for Kinsey's act. I was so prepared for Jan Spears/Shawn Brady version 2.0. Yet, Will prove that he's smarter than the average Brady. He thought it was totally weird for Kinsey to call him and ask him to help console her through her parents "divorce". I loved that he told T that Kinsey is kind of a bitch. And, I laughed out loud when Will suggested that Kinsey talk to a councilor because a professional could probably help her a lot more than he could. Bwwwahahahahahah! Nicely played, young William!
Bo Brady is one of the good guys, he really is. But he needs to cool it with the Philip hate. Bo treats Philip like absolute crap and I want to pinch his little head off for doing so. Philip is Bo's brother and it would be nice to see Bo show Philip even a tenth of the amount of respect he gives to any of his Brady siblings. I was repulsed when Bo mocked Philip's grief over Carl's death. And, what the eff was up with Bo going off on Philip for the Salem PD's inability to solve crimes? So Victor and Stefano don't step up and confess to any crime they commit. Is that really that strange? I'm pretty sure even real life cops have that problem. Why is Bo taking that out on Philip? And, while we're on the topic, why is Bo so ticked when Philip bends the rules to protect Victor, yet it's totally ok when Bo bends the rules to protect the Bradys. I specifically remember Bo helping Shawn and Belle flee the country and kidnap Claire. Where were his moral then?
LINE OF THE WEEK
Sami: "That bitch Chloe cheated on Lucas!"
Rafe: "She's in a coma."
Sami: "She cheated before the coma!"
Thank you Sami for expressing what I've been struggling with all along. Yes, it's tragic that Chloe is in a coma, but that still doesn't mean the little harlot didn't sleep around! Now I don't feel so bad for hating her and feeling sorry for her at the same time.
That's all for now, Salem fans. Tony will be back next week to fill you all in on the happenings in Salem. I really, really hope that he gets to play a crime reporter and discuss Daniel's trial. Salem hasn't had any good court room drama in a while and I'd love to see it again. Plus, it would give a perfect excuse for fabulous all cast scene since Lucas, Kate, Victor, Brady, Nicole, Nathan, Lexie, Bo, and Hope would all certainly be called to testify. I can only hope!
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