Karma, one; Salem, zero

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Well I'm back! Thanks to Tony being the best partner ever, he's agreed to swap weeks with me so that I can have the next two weekends off to attend to some personal business. You see, I have a sex tape that I really need to edit and I have a nun whom I totally need to stash away. It's stuff I've been putting off for a while and I really need to get a handle on it. You know how that goes. So, before I take off, here's what happened this week on Days.

There's something about Roman that I've always liked. I'll be honest; it hasn't always been the actors. It's something about the character himself. Sure, he's a loser in love, not near as dashing as his brother Bo, and definitely has his fair share of misfit kids (remember, Rex and Cassie are his too!). But there's a "good ol' boy" in there that's always appealed to a mid-western gal like me. It came through in his scene with Bo this week where he urged Bo to be happy with the family that he has and it continued through to the shazam ending on Friday. So, if this week is any indication of what's to come, the writers might have found an appropriate use for my favorite Average Joe.

First, the big reveal- Arianna has been working for Roman this whole time. I KNEW IT!!! Wahhhaaaa! Those of you who read spoilers are probably thinking I'm a total nut right now. But, since I don't read them, I beg of you- please let me enjoy this moment. They are so few and far between.

This twist is makes the scene with Sami and Roman all the more juicy. Ari is working for Roman, so obviously he knows enough about her to trust her. I would think that includes whether or not her brother is a bat-crap-crazy stalker man. But the fact that Roman played the "I don't know, what do you think?" card when Sami asked him his opinion on Rafe is very interesting. I wonder if Roman knows more about Rafe than he is prepared to let on right now as well. I shall wait to see. I'm just thrilled that Roman has a storyline and didn't turn to stone the second Marlena left Salem.

Rafe is working on getting an upholstered spot on my scale of all-things-annoying. Currently, he ranks somewhere below Willow Stark and just above those automated prompts you get when you call for customer service. But, something very interesting happens when he's on screen. His presence and overall turdburglar demeanor is able to neuter any ill feelings that I had towards other characters, despite how despicable I know they are. Take, for example, all of his interaction with Nicole. I know Nicole is the bad guy and I want the secret to come out. But the way Rafe handles himself- from barging in on Nicole in the bathroom, to keeping her cell phone from her and marching her down to the convent- is too Neanderthal for me. Rafe reminds me of a big ball of horrible cop stereotypes. He's the kind of movie cop that pulls someone over for going two miles over the speed limit; then steps up to the car wearing reflective sunglasses and orders the driver not to "give 'em any lip!" At least I have some sympathy for Nicole because of her miscarriage. What's Rafe's excuse for being so crass? Oh that's right. We don't know because we don't know anything about Rafe's history what-so-ever.

This guy needs to listen to his sister. She summed up everything that is wrong with this storyline in one question, "Why don't you just tell Sami what you are investigating?" Indeed! Perhaps if Sami and Rafe teamed up and embarked on this cool adventure together, it would help me accept them more as a couple. Keeping Sami in the dark seems to be a way too prevalent theme for Agent Hernandez. For the record, he told Ari that he can't go to Sami until he has proof. Riiiight. Yet, he'll threaten people at gun point and harass women with no proof. It doesn't make sense. At least entertain me by letting Sami and Rafe go on one of those "Jack and Jennifer" type investigations.

They've broken up. Already. Yup, the writers can't even let a couple be happy together for a whole day. I know that the writers are allergic to happy couples, but this is a little too fast for drama. I would have much more preferred if Arianna, Brady, and Victor had their dinner together, Victor grew fond of Arianna and then learn that she's a "drug dealer". But alas, Victor ordered Ari to break up with Brady or else he would tattle on her.

Arianna gave a list of ridiculous reasons why she was breaking up with Brady- including accusing him of being overly concerned about a comatose Chloe and implying that just one roll in the hay with Brady was enough for her. But, Brady didn't buy it. He knows she's lying and he kicked her out. As much as I like Brady and Aria as a couple, it was a refreshing change to see a character refrain from groveling for forgiveness from a partner who is lying to them. Still, I'm sure that Brady will fight for Ari. If anyone can get close enough to Victor to find out his secrets, it's golden-boy Brady. So, I'm still holding out hope for this couple.

Hope and I are getting closer to being friends again for two reasons. One, she got a big slice of humble pie shoved in her fancy face when she realized that her new BFF, Officer Dean, is actually the psycho kidnapper who took her daughter and shot two people. Maybe this will teach her that SHOCK! her own gut feelings may be fallible too! She really shouldn't have needed a child to tell her that Dean was guilty. Not only did he show up asking for $5 million, but he was the only person in Salem who found the kidnapper's hideout, despite every cop, Brady, and Kiriakis looking for it.

Second, as much as I despise judgmental Hope, I adore stoic Hope. I wish more people could hold this lady hostage. (I can start a sign-up sheet if there are any volunteers.) I don't even care that much about all the chances that Hope had to grab Ciara and run out of her house while Dean was distracted. One of Kristian Alfonso's best talents is to play Hope with an external strength and even compassion, yet convey that Hope is panicking like crazy on the inside. It reminded me of Kristian's amazing work during the Ava Vitali storyline. And for his part, I love it when Bo comes in with a superhero cape on and saves the day. He's Bo Brady and saving Hope is what he does. Now, if we can just keep Bo and Hope from arguing about to what degree they each might have been responsible for something that DIDN'T HAPPEN, things will be peachy. Otherwise, I wouldn't blame her if Ciara hops in a boat and starts rowing to catch up with Shawn and Belle.

Just when you Stephanie lovers thought that nothing could melt my frozen margarita heart, I have to say that I felt really bad for her when she saw that tape. (Yes, it's still me. My evil twin didn't take over my keyboard.) The fact of the matter is that the girl is hysterically crushed and, more importantly, very embarrassed. In her case, all her irrational behavior and out-of-line comments were very, very normal. Plus, I can't help but remember that Stephanie started cheating on Jeremy as soon as she started to doubt their relationship. So, the fact that she has disrespected her own relationships in the past has to be rattling around in her head and playing hell with her conscious. Seeing Philip with Melanie, even if it was for just that one night, shows that part of Philip gave up on Stephanie and I don't think that she ever counted on that. Accepting the fact that your ex has moved on is never easy and Steph had to do it in such an embarrassing and public way. Dare I say it, but this situation brought out a very real Stephanie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Did you notice the girl who cried to her uncle Bo and said that even though she's furious at Philip, she'll never love anyone as much as she loved Philip? That's a girl who is honest with herself about her feelings. That's my kind of gal. Don't get me wrong, I'm not willing to let her throw herself an extended pity party. But, while she's still in shock, she gets a free pass from me. Oh, and I encourage her to complain about that cheesy music on the tape as much as possible. I'm with her on that one for as long as she wants to play that card.

I was a little upset with Philip when he lied to Stephanie about Melanie. I agree with him that there's no way she would have taken him back, but he at least could have told her that it's none of her business and then let her make the call. I was pretty mad at Philip when he called a "take back" on all those promises he made to Melanie and asked her not to say anything to his precious Stephanie. Then, I was crazy furious with him when he actually accused Melanie of releasing the tape on purpose. But my blood pressure went through the roof when he made the world's creepiest apology to her and tried to weasel his way into a kiss- AGAIN! Philip is on my schmuck list. Actually he is Schmuck President. I am so mad at that little bugger I could spit. Just who the heck does he think he is saying that he cares deeply about both Stephanie and Melanie? I believe that he cares about Stephanie since he did leave his family for her. But, he doesn't give a darn about Melanie. He only turns to her when he needs something from her. Philip and his libido need to back off.

As for Melanie, I know that the show wants to set her up as the anti-Stephanie. I get it. But, does she really need to forgive Philip so fast? What he did was S.H.A.D.Y. and as one of the few characters on the show with brain cells, she needs to realize that she needs to stay away from Philip. I'm not saying she needs to harbor any anger, but she need to learn from her mistakes. Personally, I get the heebee-geebeies when Philip looks at Melanie and I don't understand why she finds anything about his pervy flirting towards her charming. Truth be told, neither Philip nor Stephanie have done much to reciprocate a friendship with Melanie. When she's got real friends like Brady, Maggie, and Arianna, I don't know why Mel clings so much to getting Philip or Stephanie's approval.

Could the writers club us over the head anymore? Yes, EJ....what would happen if somehow Sami had a child ripped from her very loins and whisked away to be raised by another parent, denying fair Samantha the chance to bond with her very own flesh and blood thanks to the selfish actions of another. Oh life, you unfair tease! If ONLY that was the case. If ONLY he could teach Sami that lesson. After this not-so-veiled attempt at foreshadowing, I'll be shocked if EJ doesn't use Sydney's maternity to punish Sami. The only thing I'm not so sure about is if Sami is going to ever be smart enough to catch on that Nicole is hiding something from EJ. She's seems to be way more perceptive when it comes to identifying EJ's emotions that she is with anything else in her life right now.

Chad is a determined little one, isn't he? I loved the scene with Chad and Maggie. Ok, I just love anything with Maggie in it. But I'm warming to Chad and his genuine concern for Mia. Knowing that Chad didn't abandon Mia by his own choice makes me believe that Chad really is a good guy. And snooping where he doesn't belong doesn't sting as much when a teenager does it. Kids are supposed to be rebellious.

Will and Mia broke up, but it's more because Will is too....well....Will and doesn't understand why people lie. The sooner he learns that people lie because they can't deal with the reality of what happened, the better. I get the impression that he thinks people lie just to tick him off. That's hardly ever the case. Will swings back and forth with me from cheer-worthy to obnoxious. But, he did end the week with the benefit of a Maggie scene, so he's heading back towards my good side.

Mia is a hot mess. It would be nice if she had some actual friends, but right now Nicole is the only person she can talk to about the details of her problem. Call me crazy, but I don't think Nicole is going to be much help. After all, she convinced Mia that the envelope contained a restraining order and Mia didn't even ask how the heck Nicole got into the house. (For the record, Nicole still has a key from when she was married to Lucas! That guy really needs to implement a better inventory system during break-ups.)

Hehe! How great was Stefano's reaction to Nicole asking him if he killed a nun? He actually looked shocked! Mark it down. Even Stefano has limits. He won't kill nuns, he just sends them away for an indefinite amount of time. I'm jealous of Nicole. I want a Fairy Godfather who will make all of my problems disappear.

That thing that likes to crawl up Nathan's patootie and rip out any resemblance of a descent character is back. After he saw Mel and Philip's tape, he went all Johnny Judgmental on her. He asked Mel why she wasn't honest with him about it. Duh-HUH?!? One of all, not everything is about you there, Nate Dog. Two of all, I watch the show every day. I pay attention real hard and I didn't see any scene where Nathan asked Mel for a run-down of her past sexcapades. Nathan needs to seek treatment for that superior streak flare-up that he has. It's starting to give me a rash.

I wish that Stephanie would have had a bit on an uneasy reaction towards meeting Officer Dean. It would have been a neat nod to her own hostage situation with Owen that happened just a few months ago.

Molly Burnett's acting choices remind me of Jennifer Aniston on Friends. She has that nervous, comedic timing thing down pat. I enjoy it very much.

Brady Black was on an absolute roll this week and I loved everything about him. First, his response to Ari's bogus concern that he is out to save all the women of Salem was priceless. (See: "She's in a coma!!") Then, Brady and Sami's coffee date was wonderful, especially if this means that these two get to spend more time together. I love that he told her all about Ari and that she promptly gave him some feminine insight that gals don't just drop good looking Greek Gods for their junkie ex. Aside from that little fact that Brady called himself Sami's big brother (a generous exaggeration of the family tree at best), I'm all for more scenes like this one. Finally, I could kiss Brady for asking Philip and Mel respectively, "What the hell is your problem?" and "What are you thinking?" Go on, Brady! Tell 'em!

Victor. John Aniston is brilliant and regal. He has the ability to capture a scene just by being in the room. So, why the writers are insisting on making him play the male version of Kinsey (a busy-bodied immature brat) is beyond me. I enjoy the fact that Victor is getting screen time. I really do. But, it seems like every scene he is in, he's disappointing me. His blunt anger used to be funny when it was taken out on deserving targets. Now, he's giving me indigestion. I'm shocked that Victor told Bo to give into Hope. I twinged when Victor acted like he even cared that Brady was upset when Arianna broke up with him. And I was down-right repulsed that Victor was so proud of Philip for using a sex tape with Melanie to (and I quote) "show Stephanie who's boss". Victor used to be great because he said the things that no one would really say, but deep down they really meant. Now, he's the guy who says things that no one would really say, unless they really wanted to lose all of their friends.

I have to set this one up. Justin was lying motionless on the floor. Hope was pleading with Dean to let her see if Justin was okay. Dean gives a swift kick to Justin's limp lower body and as it is flopping back into place, Dean responds, "Uhh...NOPE! (kick again) It doesn't look like it!" I know I shouldn't find Dean so funny, but he's sorta great. I will miss him....

Ok, my time has come to a close. Tony will be with you for the next two weeks and I'm sure he is dying to share his opinions with you on all things Salem. I'll see you in October, when hopefully, all the skeletons will start to come out!

Happy viewing,

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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