Soap fans put up with a lot. We really do.
The majority of the show is drama. People's hopes are dashed. Loved ones die. Children grow up to torment their parents. It's not a lovely existence. Yet, fans cling to it, defending the very show full of sorrow and pain.
And why do we do this? Because every once in awhile, it's worth it. Sometimes there's a happy ending. It must be this way. We have to believe there's good in this world to put up with watching so much unpleasantness.
And that brings me to my first major beef with Ron Carlavati's writing: Nicole's exit was disappointing. To be fair, Arianne Zucker made the decision to leave DAYS before Ron took over as head writer. Arianne extended her run with DAYS so that Ron could write a proper exit storyline for Nicole. Ron has done a superb job of learning DAYS history and using it respectfully. He and his team should be commended. However, Nicole's exit storyline completely broke this unspoken agreement between soap fans and soap writers.
Watching Nicole cower and sob as Brady -- the former mayor of Candy Land -- ripped her up and down was like seeing my favorite baseball player strike out looking. Come on! At least try!
I fear Brady's going to get away with it too. What Nicole did was absolutely hurtful. But what Brady did was downright criminal. No one is going to throw you in jail for cheating on your boyfriend. It's illegal to blackmail people. Brady needs a reality check. His whole rant reeked of "spoiled little rich boy" -- which is far and away Brady's worst look.
Nothing exemplified that point better than Brady's scene with drunk Lucas. On one side, Brady's girlfriend cheated on him with his brother. On the other, recently unemployed and dumped Lucas has been seeing visions of his dead son, and his son's murderer just escaped from a mental hospital to tell everyone that said "dead" son might be alive. Oh, and Lucas' ex-son-in-law wants him to dig up his kid's grave. Oh, oh, and he woke up in bed with a dead woman. But, yeah, go ahead. Let's hear more about how wronged you were, Brady. It's riveting.
On the Eric side, I'm annoyed that Ericole's reunion was just a token night. These two have a history going back decades. Yes, I wish Nicole had broken up with Brady first. But this wasn't an ongoing fling with someone who meant nothing. This was the love of Nicole's life, and she went to tell Brady the next day. It's hard to justify the level of Brady's cruelty on this one.
I wish Nicole had told Chloe everything. Not only does Brady need to be humbled a bit and blabbermouth Chloe would do the trick, but Chloe is possibly the only gal who hates Deimos more than Nicole does. She would have made sure Nicole didn't go to prison.
While we're on that topic, I don't think for a second that anyone at that party could actually be convicted for murdering Deimos. He's the one who drugged everyone! Talk about the world's easiest defense. Brady's own recording implicates him as being an accessory after the fact, so he'd be in trouble if that recording saw daylight too. This element of the plot really didn't land.
Okay, calming down. Let's talk some of the good things.
That list starts immediately with Greg Vaughan. I did appreciate Eric seeing right through Nicole's story. He straight up asked her if Brady had threatened her, in a scene that was brutal to watch in every positive sense of the word.
Remember the lesson we all learned from Robert Scott Wilson: don't be blinded by the pretty. Give the man some material to work with. Same rule applies here with Mr. Vaughan. DAYS better do right by Eric now. Hint: revisiting Jeneric isn't the answer. Love Eric. Love Jen. But pairing these two up romantically only entices me to flip to a channel where I can watch paint dry instead.
The love list continues with the glorious return of Alison Sweeney! Welcome back, doll! Love the new hair. Love the red suit. (Please, oh please, let wide-leg pants be coming back in style.) You are a sight for sore eyes!
Sami came back to town and had nice reunion scenes with the important people. When Rafe got to the cemetery, it occurred to me that Sami and Rafe have never really been friends. They were either lovers or standing in judgment of each other. It was kind of nice to see a simple relationship between these guys!
Then, Sami and Lucas picked up that magical Lumi buddy magic. I so adore it. I even appreciated her being protective of Lucas when it came to Adrienne. I love that Sami and Lucas are past all the things they did to hurt each other and are at a place where they're finally a team.
Her scene with Marlena was right on. I adore that both women have come to a place where they understand each other. There's something beautifully evolved with Sami saying, "Mom, that's just not me," and Marlena answering, "I would expect nothing less!" This mutual respect between the two is a welcome change to their previous dynamic.
Next, Sami entered the DiMera mansion again. It's funny, Sami might be the most "DiMera" of anyone standing in that living room at that moment -- including Chad and this current version of Andre*. I had to laugh at the kiss she planted on Chad. Was is immature? Oh, yes. But Abigail's got enough people to hold her halo. Sami (and Carrie) doesn't need to be one of them.
Plus, Sami and Chad had to get on the same side regarding the Rolf search. But it would have been totally weird for Abigail and Sami to suddenly play nice like nothing happened. So the kiss was Ron's way of ripping that Band-Aid off quickly so we can get down to business. It was the right move to usher the storyline along.
Finally, Sami reuniting with Eric for a "very crappy birthday" was great. There's something about this twin power that is so enjoyable and playful. I can't really blame Sami for her attitude toward Nicole. All she knows -- all anyone knows -- is that Brady and Eric are both hurt. Pretty much any sister in her spot would feel the same way.
*Kate told Andre he should be scared of Rolf. That used to be like telling the Grim Reaper to be scared of a bee. What has this world come to?
Paul's getting a lot of hate for wanting to get proof of Will's life or death. I can see why, as Paul personally has a lot at stake, since Sonny paused their wedding vows. But I think Paul is genuinely concerned for those who think Will is alive. If Paul just wanted to move forward with Sonny, he'd manufacture evidence to prove Will is dead. He wouldn't go after the actual truth.
Ohhh! I really hope Rafe is going to be around to second-guess every step of Hope's career! I love how Rafe is all up on his high horse about people following rules, as he's never broken one. It was very gracious of Rafe to accept a command from his superior officer. Yes, Rafe totally has the power to fire Eli, so it makes perfect sense for him to threaten Eli's job. Excellent work, Hernandez!
Judi Evans is playing very well, but I want to drop-kick Bonnie into last year. This whole plot is getting ridiculous. Adrienne is the love of Justin's life. Maggie stood by Victor's side through a lot. There's no way after that bombshell of an announcement that Maggie and Justin would just walk out of the room like Victor and Bonnie were gloating because they just won a round of Scrabble. I'm so hoping they're all playing Bonnie. Maggie and Victor were in Salem when she was around before. And I find it hard to believe something this criminal could be happening in Salem without Victor getting word of it.
I'm choosing to believe those crazy mo-fos didn't just officially kill E.J. off in a side conversation between Sami and Marlena. Sami just hasn't found him yet. Or, at least, found out what really happened to him yet. If only there were someone returning soon who might be able to shed some light on what was in that needle...
There are biological mothers and sons who don't have as classy a relationship as Kayla and Tripp do. That's a testament to both of them! I have such high hopes for this family!
Ugh, I can't take more of this "the board" stuff. In between brainwashing people, stealing babies, and cloning people, Stefano ran that show for decades. I didn't hear boo about bad publicity during those times.
Theo's insecurity is going to drive Claire right to Tripp. That's okay with me.
Interesting, Adrienne's first call was to Justin, not to Lucas. Hmmmm...
Really, Brady? The lowest point in your life is Nicole cheating on you? Not getting dragged out of your bed in the middle of the night and hauled off to rehab? Not any of the times your father died? Not Arianna or Madison dying? Not your son being kidnapped? Not even your vest phase?
There just aren't enough superlatives for me to use about Arianne Zucker. She's been a true champion of the soap opera world. Her humor comes across in every interview I've read with her. And when forced into a national spotlight she didn't ask for, she couldn't have handled it with more class.
As I've stated before, Nicole shouldn't have endured as a character. She had no ties to bring her to Salem. The majority of the town tolerated her, at best. Yet she stuck around. And I think that's entirely because Arianne's performances made you want to root for Nicole. Arianne never let Nicole slip into caricature villain status, despite all the baby swapping, murder, and blackmail she committed. Instead, Arianne found ways to play in beats of vulnerability, alternating them with stomps of moxy and never losing a sense of humility. It was an intoxicating blend, and Arianne should be given all the credit in the world.
That hug between Sami and Kate was fabulous. Alison Sweeney and Lauren Koslow have a fantastic ease together. I loved seeing Sami and Kate commiserate over Lucas and Will -- two men they both love very much. If anyone is looking to counter the otherwise fairly strong argument that neither Sami nor Kate ever changes, just cite this duo and their alliance. Years ago, who would have ever thought they would be hugging it out and meaning it?!
And here's where I get on my soap box about Nicole's exit. You thought I was already there? Ha! Hold my drink.
Nicole Walker Robbins Roberts Kiriakis DiMera Walker-again is a fighter. She's a survivor. While Eric, Brandon, Brady, Chloe, and others have all been good supporters at times, she's been the only constant she could count on. Until about four seconds ago, she didn't even have a kid to fight for. The Lady Walker managed to endure so much on her own, even thrive. I didn't watch her claw and climb her way out of hell just to see her leave town a sad sack of tears.
But alas, Nicole left town a broken woman after the two men she holds dearest screamed in her face while she sat there, a pile of tears and self-loathing. Well, super.
I so hope Nicole gets a chance to make good on that Scarlet O'Hara promise and returns to Salem a stronger woman soon!
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Sami (to Andre): "I'm surprised you want to help at all, considering the wizard forgot to give you a heart."
Chloe: "There's a concept! Julie using her powers for good!"
Gabi: "Rafe's being an idiot. You saved my life."
Eli: "I also took a shot that could have killed his little sister."
Gabi: "Well, he's going to regret I'm alive, because I'm going to give him hell."
Marlena: "Hard to believe you and Eric are turning..."
Sami: "Twenty-nine! Again!"
Shelia: "...Speak now or forever hold your peace."
Brady: "I feel like I should say something."
Why is Sami flying commercial? Doesn't she still have half of Stefano's money?
Not sure about that morgue flashback. Obviously, they retaped it for
Bryan's facial hair Chandler Massey. I remember this scene, but it felt like more was added to it this time around. Maybe it was just me.
It's about time Jo came to Salem for a visit!
For all you Bristen fans, this week should help! Brady should have no problem relating to Kristen's vindictive streak now. Heck, he'll probably fist-bump her, when she returns, for what she did to Eric.
I had to chuckle at Bonnie calling Victor "Grandpa Munster."
I'm glad Nicole dropped the "I love you" to Eric in front of Brady. Jerk.
I have a laptop that is at least ten years old. I feel Hattie's pain when trying to reboot an old computer.
I want a house kimono like Claire has.
I love the small mentions like Kayla's reference to inviting Adrienne to Abigail's bachelorette party and Chad referencing the Orwell. It makes the show feel tighter.
What's up with the ring on Sami's wedding ring finger? Hmmm...
Bonnie's black and gold sequin dress in the Mommy Dearest segment was everything.
Gross, Claire and Theo. That's a community sofa.
Hattie calling him "Patchy" cracked me right up.
Who's watching Sydney, Johnny, and Allie? Did she drop the kids off for a visit with Aunt Belle and Uncle Shawn in Hong Kong?
I wish Nicole had gone to Maggie about Brady's manipulation. I'm sure Maggie would have a few choice words for him if she heard Brady banished her granddaughter from Salem and ripped away the two biggest proponents of the Horton Center.
Where can I get some Phoenix stationary?
That's all for this week. Tony will be back next week to help drink all the booze Brady didn't at Victor and Bonnie's wedding and to welcome Rolf back to Salem!
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