People struggle, people fight for the simple pleasures in their lives

by Tony
For the Week of January 30, 2012
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People struggle, people fight
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The week of January 30, 2012
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While Jack made strides in group therapy, Madison and Quinn tried to patch things up between Melanie and Abigail. Plus, Stefano urged Bo and Hope to proceed with caution, but will they listen?

There's a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks. First and foremost, I'm sure everyone is stoked about Groundhog Day! Or, maybe not, but that's okay because there's still the Super Bowl to look forward to. And if that doesn't churn your butter, maybe this will -- February Sweeps begins this week! But like any good pre-Sweeps period, last week set the wheels in motion for a lot to happen over the next few. Let's discuss!

Last week, two things happened that I absolutely loved. One was Jack dealing with his issues head-on. In truth, these scenes should have happened a long time ago, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

They were powerful, and also avoided being overly PSA-esque. The "thank you" to the U.S. military afterwards was a classy touch. It showed that the writers were trying to be as respectful as possible.

The use of vets not only provided a great source of comfort for Jack, but I also got enthralled with their stories. Leslie was super inspiring, and a strong group leader. Paco was completely endearing. Mike was a convincing mix of macho and vulnerable. And Rob's angst was very believable.

I was also left wondering about Pat. Her late entrance set her apart from the rest of the group. The description of her being more of a listener than a talker also got me wondering if she's going to be a recurring character that will play a bigger part in Jack's recovery.

The other thing I loved was watching Marlena work. Hearing about how great a character is at their job is a lot different than actually getting to see them be great while working. I've yet to see Madison do anything worthy of being asked to be Titan's CEO. I mean, really, she just walks around in hooker dresses, calls some mystery advisor, and plots against Kate. But I digress.

Marlena's tough love and compassion was exactly what Jack needed. I'm glad she called him out when he tried to walk away. Doc did an amazing thing for Jack. And in turn, Jack did an amazing thing for himself. He opened himself up to listen and learn, and then he shared his deepest, darkest thoughts. That's exactly what he (and viewers) needed.

Like her scenes with Jack, Marlena is also more likeable when she's with Will. I enjoy their time together, even if it is odd to see Marlena so doting, as that's normally reserved for John. Anyway, Marlena knows that there is more than just Sami and E.J.'s sofa shenanigans bothering Will. I believe she even knows exactly what that issue is. But Will's issues are ultimately like Jack's. He may have the best support system around, but unless he's ready to deal with his things, he's going to be miserable. Neither Marlena nor Sonny want to see Will miserable any longer, but they know enough to let him open up on his own time.

As much as I have compassion for Will, I also felt bad for Sonny last week. Part of Sonny's charm is that he has Adrienne's compassion, yet Justin's drive to face problems head-on. However, he seemed hurt by Will's reluctance to spend time with him. Sonny is understanding, but he thinks of Will as a good friend above all else. It has to string that Will's keeping his distance when all that Sonny wants is his friend to be part of his life. I like that he wants to protect Will, but I think someone needs to have his back as well.

So, they have worked out together several times since Quinn returned to Salem, but just last week Brady decided he was still miffed at Quinn? Uh-huh. I welcomed the sentiment of the scenes as the air needed to be cleared, but the entire scenario would have made sense, oh, say, last October when Quinn returned.

Ultimately, though, I welcomed the scenes. I am a big fan of honest conversations between my soap characters. Plus, we finally got to hear a little bit about Quinn's road to recovery. Part of which was writing an apology letter to the Chlomeister. He even pimped promoted her opening night signing at a club in Chicago.

Oh, oh, and Quinn and Melanie have had conversations about how he helped Carly. Of course, I would have loved to have seen those, but what can you do? I'm sure the writers weighed their options heavily, and then decided that we needed more airtime of Rafe and Carrie looking at each other longingly in lieu of spreading screen time around to other characters.

In the end, Brady decided to give Quinn another chance. Which is good. Coming from the guy who entombed a woman, Brady begrudging Quinn would have been a little laughable.

The joke may be on Quinn, though, as it seems Madison was giving him the stink eye for some reason. Too bad the old writers already used Quinn and Taylor having a secret past, because I could see Quinn and Madison in a similar storyline. I'm sure there's something between them, nonetheless. Although with her choice of dresses I'm not unconvinced that she's one of his former pay to play party gals.

I'm relieved that Madison turned down Victor's offer! Seeing her as head of Titan would have been worse than when Kraft stopped making wagon wheel-shaped macaroni and cheese. However, I am curious as to who will be named the new C.E.O. Is it too much to ask for Justin to nab the job, and for Victor to bring in Chelsea to groom as a CEO-in-training? Probably, but I will beg for that to happen anyway.

The other stumper is the identity of Madison's mystery advisor. In the interest of full disclosure, the entire advisor thing disappoints me. Madison was heralded as this amazing, rock star businesswoman, yet it seems that she can't even make her own decisions. How much of what she's accomplished is truly due to this mystery advisor? Well, so much for "girl power."

Finally, the way Madison and Quinn tried to force Abigail and Melanie to reconcile was a bit patronizing. Seriously, be friends or you can't be models. That was their tactic? I appreciate that they were trying to help, but forcing two adult women to play nice or else they won't be rewarded was kind of insulting.

And considering that Quinn is on this entire "therapy saves lives" kick, you'd think he'd want them to legitimately work things out instead of doing so because Madison believes every little girl can be a super model, but only if they're friends and hold hands and wear matching BFF wristbands. But, nah, blackmail via modeling is a much better way for them to mend fences.

Oh, how I wish Sami and Madison would have sat down Rafe and Brady together to tell them about their scheme! Why, you ask. You see, Brady expressed his concerns with valid facts, while Rafe voiced his with a rather predictable hypocritical tirade.

Let's start with Brady. He told Madison that he objected because he didn't want her, or Titan, on the DiMeras' hit list. He gave her a little history lesson about the DiMera/Kiriakis feud, and how dangerous it became. I think the entire "real bullets" comment really drove his point home, although I wish he would have mentioned Kate's special flair for toxic treats, too.

Rafe, on the other hand, scolded Sami, said he was disappointed, and told her she shouldn't lie. Riiight. Because, you know, Rafe has certainly never lied. He was open and honest about Emily Hudson and, oh, that little Sami shooting E.J. in the head thingy. Arianna can vouch for how honest he was with that one. Oh, wait. He also told the crazy cat lady the truth that he and Carrie didn't find her pet and place him on her doorstep. Yep, he's a truth-teller all right.

Ironically, Rafe has proven that he isn't above breaking bending the rules if it suits his needs. But, of course, he always does what he does for truth, justice, and the American way. So if he abuses his power by bullying someone, or hurting them, or going against direct orders, it's okay, because he was an agent, while Sami's only peddling lipstick. Ugh.

The craziest thing is that Sami brought Rafe into the loop as soon as she was allowed to, unlike all of the times Rafe disappeared on her and then explained his heroic actions afterwards. So, despite what Rafe thinks, I love where Sami is right now. I've always thought that this is the kind of storyline that would perfectly blend her schemer past and devoted mother present. Sami isn't doing this for a man. She's doing it for her family. That's actually a sign that she's grown up, but it's an added treat for fans to know there's still part of the old Sami we know and love-to-hate in there.

E.J. and Will's relationship remains fascinating to me. I like the actors' chemistry together, and Will's growing fascination with E.J.'s world. I also enjoyed Will's enjoyment over taking Nicole's bribe. It's not the Will we've always known, but I'm okay with being on this journey with him.

Another thing that has me curious is to see just how much Nicole knows. I believe she's crafty enough to suspect that Will would have gone back to E.J. Was that part of her plan, or am I just hoping for too much? Ultimately, I want to see Nicole come out on top, especially since her smart stocks took a hit when she reunited with E.J. this last time.

Jennifer's "greater good" excuse wore a little thin. I get that they believe they have to fight fire with fire, but it's a little hypocritical that they're not taking the high road when that's the basis of their entire campaign, and they are quick to point out that E.J. doesn't. I could see if they wanted to switch the questions E.J. obtained to throw him off and even the playing field at the debate, but Abe obtaining the real questions was a step too far.

Shades of gray always make characters more interesting. Yet, it's uncharacteristic for both Abe and Jennifer to be that calculated. It reminds me of when the Bradys break the law to justify combating the DiMeras. In any battle, at least one of the armies has to be the good guys or else there's really no one to root for. And as soap fans, we need someone good to root for and bad guys to love to hate. Now we're left with the "good guys" acting like the "bad guys" as well as the disappointment that beloved characters have been carelessly changed when there were other, less nefarious options for them to explore.

Dr. Dan's family and Jennifer gathered to say goodbye to him. Emotions ran high all around, but my heart broke a little for Jennifer. Breaking up sucks no matter how you spin it. And despite the love triangle annoyance, she did really love the guy. Her running up to kiss him and the leaning against the closed door after he walked out was classic soap, and I ate up every minute.

The only thing missing from Dr. Dan's goodbye scenes was Nurse Maxine. Come to think of it, she would have been the perfect person to give him the tough love he needed to snap out of his funk. But alas, Maxine is MIA, and Dr. Dan is headed to Australia for the time being. Perhaps he'll take up boxing kangaroos.

After all of this time, my curiosity is finally outweighing my skepticism of this storyline a bit. Don't get me wrong, I still wince and worry when Alice's name is used, but last week I saw something different. The writers have finally started to convince me that the secret isn't something Alice did or that she had some shady past. It's that she kept a secret to protect her family. That is more like the Mrs. H I know.

Also, with Alice, I actually believe her reason for keeping a secret was for the greater good. Like Stefano said, she was a smart, strong, and clever woman. She would have done what she thought was right to protect her family, and part of that was neutralizing Stefano to keep them safe. Besides, Alice was honest enough to judge if a secret needed to be shared or not. I believe Hope knows that, too, and so I understand her hesitance to open the safe deposit box.

Stefano being half in the dark is also intriguing. I may be crazy, but part of me actually believes Stefano doesn't want the secret he knows to be shared out of respect for Alice. The other part of me absolutely knows he doesn't want his dirty laundry aired, which is probably the bigger motivator for him to try to dissuade Hope.

But have no fear, Doug and Julie are also on the case! I only wish we could watch their adventures in Africa. I have a DAYS book, and there is an entire page of photos devoted Doug and Julie's various international travels. It would be a great nod to watch them on the go, but I'm guessing we'll get a few more scenes of Bo, Hope, and Stefano talking about the box in lieu of Doug and Julie playing detectives. Drats!

I totally forgot that Victor's secret of the stolen egg still hasn't been exposed! Hmm... viewers were reminded of it last week, and Sweeps begin this week. Was that a coincidence or a calculated move by the writers? I repeat, "Hmm!" One thing's for sure, the longer it stays a secret, the worse it will be for "Magic."

John and Brady kind of crack me up! I'm sure humor wasn't the intent of those scenes, but I enjoy the playful father/son chemistry that Drake and Eric share. The generational gap between John and Brady kept things fresh, and I liked that John was able to admit he was wrong. He really is a good guy to a fault.

Chad and Gabi's photo shoot was a little painful. They're both beautiful, no doubt, but I fail to see anything resembling chemistry between them. I think it's time for the writers to bring in another twenty-something straight boy for Gabi to swoon over.

Well, whaddya know! Rafe and Carrie actually solved a case. That's one out of two so far. Coincidentally, that makes their success rate higher than the Salem P.D.'s.

Carrie might be a great aunt, but she's kind of a sucky wife. Sure she saved Syd's birthday party by playing dress-up with Rafe, but perhaps she could have asked her husband to be her prince, since they never get to spend time together. Just saying.

Ouch! Austin basically told Abigail he still sees her as Jack and Jen's little girl and a child. That comment definitely kept Professor Reed out of Icky Old Man Land, yet from Abigail's perspective, I can see why she was upset. Then again, I also sided with Kristen Blake most of the time, so I'm probably not the best judge of sanity.

Extra Scoops

Matthew Ashford absolutely rocked Jack's group therapy scenes! I won't overly gush, as I've already done that in the "Jack" section, so I will simply say, "Bravo, Matt! Bravo!"

Okay, I know it's the week of Groundhog Day, but the writers shouldn't treat Kayla like Punxsutawney Phil. She needs to emerge from her burrow more than once a year to find out if she sees her shadow or not. It's kind of ridiculous to have the awesomeness that is Mary Beth Evans back on the show only to underutilize her. Kayla's a Brady, married to a Johnson, and is a doctor. I'm sure there's something more she could do, especially since we've only seen her two or three times since she returned, yet characters are always at the pub.

How about a Sonny and "Aunt Kayla" scene? Kayla and Jennifer are good friends, why don't they hang out? How about Kayla using some third-world medical trick she picked up to help Dr. Dan? Nope, nope, and nope.

More so, the Bradys already have Roman who is constantly MIA and only pops up on occasion. We don't really need another Brady sibling like that. So, give Sweetness a storyline already, dear writers!

Brady (while arguing with John): "What's my name, Brady Brown? I'm a Black as well!"

"Unicorn Highway" totally sounds like a YouTube video.

Nice! Doug mentioned his time in Africa with Bill Horton. It would sure be nice if John Martin's Bill was around to mention it, too!

Hmm, Kate and Sami were in Chicago. I wonder if they visited Philip and Parker, or Rex and Cassie, or at least got some deep dish at Giordano's.

Speaking of Kate in Chicago, Mrs. DiMera is looking for "fresh faces," and I know a very fresh-faced, sassy southern gal who's on the fourth year of a two-year internship that would be perfect!

It occurred to me that Jennifer has as many contacts to call for favors as Rafe does.

Sorry, Syd, but Fro-Yo makers are so last year. It's all about the Yonanas now. Let's keep up with the times, toddler.

So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of January 30! Are you ready for Sweeps? I know Laurisa is, and she'll be back next week to give everyone a play-by-play of all the action. She'll also let us know if Madison finally stopped shopping in the '80s aisle at Hookers R' Us. And, "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.

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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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