Free at last

For the Week of September 23, 2013
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Hug it out, Sami fans. Our gal is home where she belongs. And she'll still sit atop the DiMera empire. But that empire may look a bit different now that Stefano is back in control. Find out what other changes took place in this week's Two Scoops.

Can you check? Are they gone? I really want to celebrate Sami's freedom (and Johnny's new turtle!), but I don't dare show my party hat until I'm sure that Melinda Trask and Marge Bernardi are never going to infect my television set again. So, you check for any sign of them while I hold this platter of taco dip. Okay?

Is it clear?


Wahoo!! Let the happy dancing commence! Sami is free to go back to E.J. and have all of the sex, pizza, and ice cream that she desires. That's not a terrible life, now, is it? Oh sure, once she realizes that Stefano is back in control of the empire and the house, and will probably be an omnipresent force in her children's lives for the rest of ever, she might be a little miffed. But I'm not.

For one -- as James Scott and Joseph Mascolo so brilliantly demonstrated -- E.J. and Stefano scenes are pretty much dipped in soap opera goodness. And neither character is one to stay submissive for long. E.J. won't forget being forced to his literal knees anytime soon. Stefano's payback is coming.

And second, as long as Sami and E.J. have a common enemy, they won't be fighting with each other. That's good for Ejami fans. E.J. was just a smidge too weak to take on Stefano by himself but I have to wonder how it will be if Sami is helping him. And make no mistake, this is a smarter and wiser Sami. Perhaps finally being free to be her true self calmed her down, but I was a pleasantly shocked when Sami didn't blow up on E.J. when his plan backfired. She empathized with E.J. and actually looked a little flattered! That quality leaves me with hope that she'll understand the deal he made with Stefano down the line.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We need to talk about the trial. With budgets being tight, I thought it was actually quite smart of the writers to craft a reasonable excuse for a closed trial. It would have been nice to see a gallery full of Bradys in support of Sami, but those would have been some expensive scenes. Besides, this way I got to focus all of my attention on two things:

One, every actor everywhere should take notes from Alison Sweeney and James Scott on what to do when you have no lines in a scene, but still have to convey "Oh crap!" and "Everything will be okay" emotions with just your face. Standard superior job, you two!

Second, I got to soak in the awesomeness that is Justin. That guy is cool, collected, and a damn good lawyer. He got Timmy's bank account introduced. Then he forced the D.A.'s hand by spreading the rumor via social media (genius!) that there was new evidence that she was hiding from the court.

That meant Judge Walsh was none too happy and promptly gave Abe the floor to produce the razor, a Moroccan bank account, and emails between forbidden lovers Nurse Gloria Nash and "the highly honorable and decorated" Joe Bernardi. The only thing missing was the look on Marge's face when she realized that Sami had been telling the truth all along. Then again, it was probably so covered in egg that we wouldn't have recognized her. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Justin, for all of that!

There's even reason to believe that Justin will stay visible for a while because he's representing young Drug Lord Deveraux. And just how did J.J. celebrate his freedom? Oh, by stomping around in his Mickey Mouse Club jacket and proclaiming, "I'm an adult!" to anyone who would listen. I think we can all agree that those words are almost always said in defiance by someone who possesses no adequate amount of life skills to make such a claim.

I'm proud of Jennifer for sticking to her guns and not caving in to J.J.'s emotional manipulation. I cheered Hope on when she told J.J. to take his charm back home. Heck, even Theresa, Queen of the Bad Decisions, told J.J. that he should go back to Horton House to eat some humble doughnuts. But by far, my favorite was Abigail.

I love the sibling chemistry between Casey Moss and Kate Mansi, anyway, but having Abigail serve up a truth sandwich made their scene all the more awesome. Abigail admitted to royally messing up, too, and going through the process of getting forgiveness from Jennifer. It felt genuine, and I really hoped it would get through to J.J. But when it didn't, Abigail pulled out the big guns. She accused J.J. of repeating Jack's pattern of abandoning his family.

Ouch! That's way harsh. But in an honest moment, I have to admit that she's right. Jack did it when he chose to disappear and "die," leaving Jennifer set up with Frankie. He did it again when he went willingly to Afghanistan to investigate a story and didn't tell his family where he was going. I don't blame Abigail's outrage at her brother for a second. She's sick of going through this. His grief is still 100 percent justified. But it's to the point where it's manifesting itself in extreme selfishness. Neither I nor Abigail in her fabulous romper have time for that.

In other bad judgment news, Gabi really didn't understand why Will's so mad since Nick said he was sorry about everything. Well, Gabi, it's clearly because Nick didn't give Will a sticker and let him pick a carpet square first. Duh!

I joke because it's the only way I can preserve my sanity around Gabi. She threatened to take Arianna away when Sonny gave her the side-eye about knocking boots with a killer/kidnapper/blackmailer, excuse me, a killer/kidnapper/blackmailer who said he was sorry. The dude really does need to catch up on some past episodes if he has to ask Gabi if she'd really follow through with her threat. Gabi's decided to take Arianna away from Will twice already -- once with Will's buy-in and once without it -- and Arianna's only four months old. Sami didn't even move that fast back in the 90s.

I still say the solution is a proper custody agreement, not ample amounts of Gabi soothing, but I'm not the smart one here. Clearly, that's Gabi. Yup. She's got this all figured out. After all, all of that practice Gabi had with creating a stalker situation would surely qualify her to realize when she's involved in the real thing. I'm sure Nick's fine and Will is just being a drama queen.

Props to those of you smarties who called it. Chad was faking the brain tumor this whole time! I have to deduct a few points for going with this guise so soon after Lexie died from a real tumor. But the overall effect of this act ion is delightful.

First, it broke up Cameron and Abigail. That sweet but terribly boring couple was the romantic equivalent of vanilla wafers. Good riddance.

Second, it ultimately put a merciful end to Abigail's virginity storyline. I could go on about how stress over her brother's drug arrest really doesn't equate to a lifelong-held value. But at the end of the day (technically, in the middle of it -- ayoo!), this topic has been mishandled to the point where it's better put out of its misery.

And on the positive side, Abigail wasn't forced into any decision that she didn't want to make. She genuinely likes Chad. He's wasn't lying to her. And he was crazy about her. Sure, Chad was lying to Cameron, but Cameron opted to back off. He's never going to get a girl on a soap opera if he keeps that up. Better he learn now.

Whoops! Theresa got herself fired for embezzling funds from the Horton Hospital to cover her drug debts. Gee, when I put it that way, it almost sounds like Theresa is a bad person.

However, I have to say that I'm interested to see what Theresa will do next. I have a feeling she won't stay fired for very long. Considering Jennifer's current circumstances surrounding J.J., it would be a hard to imagine Jennifer not sympathizing with Kimberly's to keep her own daughter out of jail. But it may be time to move Theresa over to bedpan duty under the supervision of Nurse Maxine. Not only would Theresa get a daily match of sass, but it would give her a chance to interact with other characters that aren't J.J. or Jennifer.

Kristen and Brady moved forward with the wedding planning. Nicole hated every minute of it. Eric realized that his dream happened in the same hotel room. And, I kind of felt like Father Matt should have come clean about asking Nicole to convince Eric to leave things alone.

To close out the last official day of summer, Tony and I are thrilled to wrap up the Summer of Sinners blog series with two final lists: Top 10 Schemers We Love -- the ones that we'd really never change -- and the Top 10 Most Sinister Schemers -- the ones that truly strike fear into the hearts of all Salemites.

Eric asked Marlena about hypnosis! I hope this means that he's going to go through with it. I think that it would be even more interesting if there were some sort of hypnosis where the subject didn't know what he was saying. (That has to be a real thing in the soap world.) Then Marlena would be the one in possession of the information and have to decide which son to save*.
*Trick question. We know it's Carrie.

The underuse of Lucas Roberts Horton is starting to reach criminal status at this point. His scene with Will was touching as ever. I almost burst into applause when he appeared at Sami's cell to support her. And I can't be the only one who thinks that he may be the perfect person to help out with J.J. Uncle Lucas does know a thing or two about moody teens raised by single mothers. Tell me why it's so long between his appearances?

Will (to Gabi): "Noooooo, of course not. Nick would never lie. You know that better than anyone, Gabi." Chandler Massey's delivery was a thing of beauty.

Honorable Mention -- "Truth Bombs to the Terrible" Edition:
Justin (to J.J.): "Stop being a punk and make up with your mother."

Melinda: "Am I getting screwed by this?"
Hope: "I don't know. Do you think you deserve to be?"

I like how all the kids needed hot chocolates while wearing T-shirts.

The scene with Nick in a suit and tie and Gabi carrying a backpack really didn't really help me forget about the ten-year age difference between these two.

Ari must be the cleanest baby this side of Prince George. Gabi's always folding laundry.

I wonder why E.J. didn't use the same accountant he used to steal the Basic Black money. They still haven't traced that back to E.J.

It's funny to see characters like Nick and Kate claim that they just had to tell the truth on the stand.

If anyone is looking for an early Christmas gift for me, I would love Kristen's giant blue/green ring.

I really enjoyed Abe and Hope working together. I wouldn't mind seeing Abe come back as a special consultant and be partnered with Hope when Roman assumes the commissioner role again.

When Eric said, "...a Black/DiMera wedding," I heard, " DiMera wedding" -- which sounds utterly more entertaining.

I've already said her name twice in this column, and I don't want to wish uttering it a third for fear that she'll show up again, but the lady D.A. really needed to check her facts on DiMera men "using women like tissues." E.J., Tony, Benjy, Chad, John, and Brady would all stand as extremely good counterexamples to her point.

Who would have thought that Lucas' twin would be the tall one and E.J.'s would be the short one?

I like that Daniel periodically mentions Chloe and her relationship with Parker.

I'm glad to see that Chad moved the traffic picture into his new place.

Carrie from Homeland looks at Marge and thinks, "Girl, you really need to tone it down with the face scrunching and the hysterics."

It's official. Not even throwing Maxine at this problem can sparkle up Cameron.

Just curious, which instance was more obvious?
A. Gabi, Cameron, and Nick literally coming to a spot in the Town Square where the three of them formed a triangle.
B. Jordan saying to Rafe, "Okay, now resist me."

Based on this picture, I'm convinced that Abe Carver is my spirit animal.

And that's it for now! Tony will be back next week as soon as he finds a shirt to put on. He's been busy unpacking boxes topless, as one regularly does.

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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