We could divide last week into two sections:
Despite Arianne Zucker being an absolute rock star, I just couldn't summon up any sympathy for Nicole. I certainly wasn't happy that she lost her baby. I was just utterly indifferent to her tears this time around. (Sorry!) But I honestly wasn't sure if they were for the baby, Daniel, or herself.
Plus, it was always hard for me to feel bad for someone who lost something that they so egregiously misused, and then bragged that she'd do it again. A baby isn't a means to get the life that you think you deserve, Nikki. That's what vodka and self-delusion are for!
And even though they've probably named a specific migraine after Jennifer, I also couldn't bring any legitimate blame upon her for what happened to Nicole's baby. Faulting Jennifer for Nicole's miscarriage is like blaming the sinking of the Titanic on the weight of the furniture. I didn't need to see Jennifer apologize to Nicole, but good for Jennifer for doing so. Hopefully this will count for something with the fans who are ticked at J-Rose. (That nickname isn't going to catch on, is it? Dang me and my lack of cool!)
But none of that matters anymore because...ERIC BRADY CAME BACK TO SALEM!!! (Sorry, I'll use my inside voice now.) I don't even care that Nicole got over her baby grief in record time, cancelled her trip to see Taylor, and decided to stay in Salem to Thorn Bird it up with Eric.
I adored these two together -- way back to Nicole's rollerblading, short hair days! It was the time before cynicism and doubt took up permanent residence in Nicole soul. I don't want her to completely abandon that martini-chugging spunk, but I've always held out hope that Eric would turn out to be the one who perfectly complemented her flawed character. Maybe he can be the Maggie to her Victor, the Doug to her Julie, the cranberry to her vodka.
No doubt about it, he's the one that got away from her. And she knows it too. This will be good.
Welcome to Salem, Greg Vaughan! I have to say, he did very well with a very challenging assignment.* Aside from taking over for a fan favorite and being paired with acting force Arianne Zucker, he has to figure out just the right amount of chemistry that is appropriate for a priest to have with his first true love.
Yup, priest. And I'm assuming that comes complete with a vow of celibacy. But, that's Nicole's problem now, not mine. I've got more to celebrate about Eric's return.
I loved how Roman, Marlena, John, and Sami all got a happy reunion with Eric. Sami's was my favorite as she proceeded to slug him and tell him that she's not calling him "father." Eric always supported Sami, but was never blind to her faults. Their twin banter was utterly adorable.
I can't wait to see what comes next. How will he treat his nephew Will? Can he forgive Kristen? Is he officially off Stefano's hit list? (Something tells me even Stefano wouldn't go after a priest!) And, he's a shoo-in to get the honor of reading the Christmas story to the kids at the hospital, right?
*If nothing else, Greg Vaughan's adorable dedication to his, "I wasn't exactly St. Paul on his way to Damascus" line gets him an A+ for the week.
JENNIFER and DANIEL
I really liked this pair the first time around. And I still like both characters. But I have to give them a wholehearted "no, thank you" this time.
First, Daniel seems to have graduated from the Hernandez School of Blame Avoidance because Jennifer is making goo-goo eyes at the dude who didn't have the sense to look into Nicole's story before risking everything for her. Granted, that makes him dumb, not evil. But, Jennifer's hero worship seemed crazy inappropriate.
Either that, or it was something worse. I don't think she meant it this way, but it almost seemed cruel for Jennifer to bat her eyes and ask Daniel to be her friend, knowing full well how he feels about her. I feel like Jennifer is being a little selfish by not taking Daniel's feelings into consideration. You know, especially since she keeps talking about what a spectacular slice of humankind he is.
Here's the thing, this whole storyline should have played out with E.J. in Jennifer's role. He would have been the most appropriate one to investigate Nicole's secret and keep confronting her with it. I can even see him getting into an altercation with Nicole and getting blamed for the baby's "death." Then, after the truth came out, Daniel would be crushed, ditch Nicole, and finally turn to Jennifer.
At least that way, Jennifer could have spent the last few months in mourning, perhaps having a couple sessions with Marlena and having a few scenes with Adrienne where they discuss that Jack would have wanted Jennifer to move on. (And we know he would have.)
But that's not what happened. Not even close. So, I say let Jennifer get to know Rafe and send Daniel on a little vacation to meet his half-sisters for the holidays. He can come back in January and see what the new year brings.
E.J. and SAMI
In case anyone is wondering, Sami is now the most tenured person at Countess W. Considering that she started working there back when Madison cooked up the scheme to spy on Kate, Sami has now outlasted two bosses and numerous employees. No wonder she knows a foreign language by now!
And it's only going to get better because E.J. is her boss. I guess having E.J. run a cosmetic division is about as sensible as having Brady and John run one, but I don't care. This is a new challenge for James Scott and Alison Sweeney, and I say let them at it! E.J. is never one to fail professionally, and I believe that Sami is very much invested in her job. So, this could be good!
Don't get me wrong, it won't be at all platonic. This is E.J. that we're talking about. And the thing that I always liked about Ejami is that he pursued her for a change. I've had my fill of watching Sami pine after a guy. I know I'm not getting that here, and I'm eternally grateful.
MARLENA, JOHN, and KRISTEN
Marlena has been throwing accusations at Kristen like some Super PAC paid her to do so. If my count is right, Kristen is after John, responsible for global warming, and sacrifices baby doves in the town square on Tuesdays. If showing concern for E.J. wasn't proof enough that Marlena will stop at nothing to get Kristen out of Salem (read: away from John), then I don't know what is.
But, I'm hardly mad at Marlena for that. This is John, the single most important part of Marlena's life, we're talking about here. If anything is going to cause the usually level-headed doc to crumble, this would be it.
But, as the saying goes, the only thing you can control in life is how you react to it. And that means that Marlena's decision to take John's trust for granted is really what irritated me. When she told John that if anything happened to the family it would be on him, I almost threw my remote at her. For someone who preaches the power of effective communication, she certainly didn't seem to show any interest in respecting her husband's opinion. (Wonder where Sami got that from?)
But John stepped up. He resigned from the board because he knew how much that bothered Marlena. Just as I was thinking it was Marlena's turn to compromise with him and stop accusing Kristen of following Marlena to places by getting there first, Marlena really stepped in it.
I don't care if Kristen left a sultry happy birthday singing message to John. The point is that Marlena has no right to delete his messages. And considering that this message was urgent, I hope Marlena realizes that the way she's been behaving recently is not the best course of action.
NICK, GABI, and CHAD
Ah, young love! You know the days when you're so involved with your lover that you almost don't want to get out of bed to meet with your parole officer? So sweet!
Honestly, Nick and Gabi lost all appeal to me the second they slept together. It made Gabi seem so desperate for someone to love her that she was willing to compromise way too much of herself. I don't like that for anyone, least of all a confused college gal.
I also think it's fair to sound the panic alarm on Blake Berris' return. Was it just me, or did Nick's concern for Gabi seem a bit overboard? I thought it was fine to take Gabi to the hospital when she fainted in the middle of work. But, all of the scolding when he found her talking to Will was crazy unnecessary. I have to wonder if this is really the storyline that they brought Blake back to play, especially since we already saw him play obsessed-stalker Nick in a far superior storyline.
So for those reasons, I'm not mad at Chad at all for still wanting to punish Gabi. At least this storyline is believable. Nick put himself in the middle of this cover-up and because of that, he is fair game for Chad to go after too.
And while Chad needs to own his part in pushing Melanie away, that's secondary to Gabi not paying at all for her crime. It's smart, too, because as long as viewers are preoccupied with Gabi/Nick vs. Chad, they'll have less time to realize that Gabi and Nick are not a pair of substance.
SONNY and WILL
I love that this pairing took the gradual approach to their relationship. Unlike others (not naming names -- Gabi and Nick), they didn't just jump right into bed too soon. So, the moment when Will told Sonny that he feels comfortable in his own skin was entirely believable. Better yet, it was universally relatable.
Haven't we all been in spots where we pretended to be something that we're not for a relationship that we think we want? I may or may not have gone though a phase where I thought that bad boys were it for me. When I finally decided to just be me, I was so much happier. I realize my situation is not as extreme as Will's but the underlying message here is hardly a gay one -- it's a human one.
My only slight problem with this pair is that I'm only invested in it from the Will side. I'm a Will fan. Got the t-shirt. Sport the pin. Use the ringtone. But I feel no connection to Sonny. I like a lot around Sonny (mainly his awesome family), but I don't much about him. For example, I'm glad that non-monk Sonny has had an active social life, but I must have missed it all. So, I'm left to piece together a lot of passing comments to create a backstory in my head for this character.
GABI and WILL
Have you ever seen one of those kids being dragged into the doctor's office? They make their body completely limp, and the poor, embarrassed parent is left to literally drag the kid across the floor like some sort of drunken walrus. That's pretty much my position on Gabi's pregnancy storyline. I knew it was coming. Anyone who had at least one brain cell knew it was coming. But that doesn't mean that I'll walk into it of my own free will. Nope. No way.
The good news is that I don't hate this storyline as much as I thought I would! I was pleasantly surprised that a) there was no "who's the daddy" nonsense and b) Gabi told Will the truth right away. The latter led to one of Chandler Massey's more touching performances in a while. I love that Will told Gabi that "we're pregnant," not just her. And, it drew a nice parallel between Will and Sami's compassionate sides. It's like they're related or something!
However, I'm not sure where this storyline is going. I fear that this pregnancy will be used as a plot to drive a wedge between Will/Sony and Gabi/Nick. The problem is -- as my genius partner Tony pointed out -- neither of those couples were together when Gabi and Will slept together. Dumb and desperate? Sure. But betrayal? Not at all. And I'm on record saying that neither Nick nor Sonny has any right to play that card.
Finally, didn't we just have a major bomb dropped with Nick having biblical objections to Will and Sonny? Where's the resolution to that one? Gabi has the rest of her life to have the wrong guy's baby. Let's pay attention to the storyline that is topical right now, okay, dear writers?
Side note -- since the show made a big deal about Gabi and Will using protection the first time they slept together, it's kind of hard to believe that neither of them thought to do it this time. I remember Will even saying something to Rafe like, "I'm going to make sure what happened to my mom doesn't happen to Gabi." It's not like these two were trapped in the woods and trying to "keep warm." They were in Gabi's bedroom, in the middle of town.
I pondered it in my last column, but now I'm downright sure of it now. Brady and Kristen are on a collision course right for each other. I haven't seen Brady this mad since he shoved Vivian in that sarcophagus. He's got that slight Zoolander meets Buffalo Bill look in his eye again. Yes, that is a good thing.
Brady is at his best when he's willing to get a little dirty. And while Kristen may have gotten the best of John before, she's messing with a Kiriakis now. I can't wait for Victor to find out! And he thought Nicole was bad...
KRISTEN and E.J.
I actually think that Kristen wants to help E.J. The majority of it has to do with getting E.J. to be in her debt. But, I'll admit that there's an instant bond that DiMera kids share. Stefano's impression -- good or bad-- is not easy to forget.
And these two fallen angels certainly do share a mutual respect for scheming. E.J. was impressed with Kristen's series of "strange coincidences" that cause "bizarre outbursts" from Marlena. I'm still a little cranky that Stefano is hiding behind Kristen rather than apologizing to E.J. But, the highly entertaining banter between Kristen and E.J. is well worth it.
Normally, I'm not a fan of the "it wasn't my secret to tell" excuse, but in Sami's case, she would be absolutely correct in keeping Gabi's secret from Rafe. Yes, it was ludicrous that Sami bulldozed her way into Gabi's exam room, but considering that Sami knows what it's like to be a young mother and because she could immediately calm Gabi down, I'm letting this one slide.
E.J. and Nicole met up in a dark corner of the square to talk. E.J. said a lot of words that were unquestionably cruel. But at the end of the day, they were just words. Nicole was the one to took action. And you know what they say about actions and words.
Abigail and E.J. had a very mature spontaneous conversation about death and loss. They also talked about how/if people can change. I don't know why these two shared a scene, but I didn't mind it. I like it when new characters interact. However, I didn't see any romantic chemistry between these two. I saw it more as a way for E.J. to encourage Chad to make another go at it with Abigail.
Maxine may soon have some competition for sassiest gal at Salem U Hospital!
After a tense run-in between Will and Lucas, Sami tried this new technique called, "don't fight with the other parent in front of the kid." I'm really glad that Sami called Lucas out on his bigot behavior after Will left. Yes, Lucas was being a toolbox, but he's still Will's father, and their relationship is worth working on. I also think that Lucas is more likely to take her advice when it's clear that her words weren't a show for anyone else. Finally, I love that she ended their conversation by telling Lucas that he's a good guy and can do better with Will. I simply adore these two as exes.
After the meaningful scenes between Sami and Lucas, I have even less of a desire to see Sami and Rafe. Lucas mops the floor with Rafe when it comes to knowing who Sami is. Watching Rafe try to charm (is that what that was?) Sami into confiding in him by saying that he knows when she's hiding something was weird. He knows the version of Sami she pretended to be for his benefit. And, unlike Lucas, Rafe has no lasting connection to Sami, so I feel like Rafe's concern is kind of conditional and a wee bit selfish.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Jennifer (to Kristen about being hard to get a hold of): "Well, you know... I've been in jail. I've been at the D.A. office. I've been a very busy woman."
Oh, my gosh! Chad and Johnny's fist bump was the cutest thing ever!
Why do criminal charges depend on personal testimony? Nicole's statement to Rafe should have been enough. Oh, right. It's Salem. Never mind.
What's up with random people giving information about Will and Sonny's whereabouts to any Joe who asks for them?
New life goal: Aspire to have and use something called a "breakfast tray" at home.
For someone who doesn't think that people should have to face people who tried to kill them, Brady sure does bring Nicole around Victor an awful lot.
Really, Sonny? Having the Halloween costumes delivered to your apartment is your big move? Next time, just invite your date to come over and "watch a movie" like every other person in the world does. Dude needs to get some game tips from Cousin Philip, pronto.
I loved that Nicole wondered why certain people are in her phone.
Did E.J. use the word "skedaddle"? I bet they use that term all the time on the racing circuit.
Nicole's wrap sweater thing was tremendous. I need one of those.
Is it odd that Sonny's apartment window looks out into a hallway?
For a gal who was throwing herself a huge pity party, Nicole was awfully quick to kick out Brady for saying that he cared about her. For the record, I would never treat Brady that way.
Holy family trees, Batman! Austin's and Will's babies are going to be the same age.
I really loved all of the little touches this week like Roman calling Caroline, Sami mentioning that she dropped off the kids at E.J.'s, Chad taking Theo to his appointment. Those small things make it seem like Salem is more cohesive and characters aren't stranded on their own designated islands.
And with that, I'm off to put up even more trees and get some groceries for some Thanksgiving goodies. Tony is the lucky one who gets to spend Thanksgiving in Salem next week. He's a sucker for Maggie's famous mashed potatoes. I'm looking forward to seeing the decorations in the town square soon after! Until then, let me know your thoughts on a few last-minute musings:
Was Cameron uncharacteristically short with Nick? Do you subscribe to Maxine's belief that there's nothing you won't do for baked goods? (Spoiler alert -- I do!) And, does anyone else get the strange feeling that Nicole is going to end up with Gabi's baby one way or another? Click here to let me know!
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 -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.