My daughter's current favorite book is The Cookie Fiasco. The last line of it is "Good books make me feel big things." Well, I'm applying that book's mantra here because Theo and J.J.'s current storyline is making me feel a lot of emotions -- sorrow, disgust, discomfort, empathy, and a whole ton of anxiety. I can't say it's all pleasant. But I can say that it's big. This one lingers with you. And that's a very good thing.
The elephant in the room here is that a white police officer shot an unarmed black man. The immediate aftermath of the shooting is not the place for our beloved characters to play out that beat. However, I think DAYS will eventually get there. The writers have taken extreme care with this storyline so far. The goal seems to be to take this monstrous societal issue and try to humanize it by making it smaller than we usually see it in real life. That is, show the individual characters as real people instead of predetermined roles. This cop isn't a bully with a racial bias. The shooting victim was literally in the process of committing a crime. Neither action existed in a vacuum. It's a heavy load to hand to the actors, but they are doing a tremendous job with it so far.
For starters, Casey Moss is turning in his best work in years. J.J.'s pain and remorse was real. Hope made the right move by taking J.J.'s badge. Part of me wouldn't mind if that was permanent. I never really bought J.J. as a cop. And Abe did bring up the main point that I find myself pondering a lot in these situations -- J.J. is a trained police officer. Was his action in line with the training he received? If so, is there something systemically wrong with the training? Do perps have to be shot in the chest? Should police have an elite skillset in de-escalating these types of situations? Is it okay to hold our police officers to a higher standard, or does that compromise their authority? J.J. is obviously distraught over shooting Theo, but would he feel the same way if he didn't know the unarmed suspect? Casey's praiseworthy performances are nuanced enough to tackle these questions if the storyline goes that way. He's flat-out tremendous right now.
On the soap front, this storyline is riveting for our characters. When Abe properly pointed out that Jennifer came to the hospital to get immediate absolution for her son, I stood up and cheered. Oh, Jenny Bear! So not the time or place! Theo wasn't even out of surgery, and Jennifer's all, "You know J.J. is so sorry!" I'm so glad Hope showed up to drag her out of there. I can appreciate that no matter how old your kids are, they're still your babies. However, read the room, Jenifer. Not the time! J.J. will still be sorry after Theo is out of surgery!
Next is Kate, who is totally spinning her own noose. I can defend her a tiny bit on the Theo front. I believe her when she says she wants to protect Chad and DiMera Enterprises. Sure, there's a self-serving element, as well, since that will keep her in the CEO spot, too, but those two motives aren't mutually exclusive. She certainly tried to call off the break-in, but it was too little, too late. I doubt Chad will give her any credit for that at all, nor should he.
But I can't defend her when it comes to Tripp. Taking that phone was completely to cover her own arse. (Also, hey Hope, maybe take possession of evidence the second it's handed to you?) I was screaming at my TV for Tripp to go right to Steve, do not pass "Go," and tell papa Patch exactly what Kate did. Deleting the messages and calls from the phone itself doesn't delete it from the phone records. Steve will know that. And because Theo is one of Joey's best friends, Steve will want to get to the bottom of what happened with Theo.
And that brings me to Theo himself. I feel like he needs to own at least a sliver of responsibility here too. I totally understand Abe and Chad being protective of him. I'm not mad at them for blaming other people. And this isn't to say he deserved to be shot, by any stretch of the imagination! But I worry this storyline might be writing him into a tough corner if it's universally accepted that he can't make decisions or follow police instructions on his own.
Now for the soap questions: Are there cameras at any of those businesses at the square? Should Val really have done that surgery, since she'd just been drinking? If Theo does everything literally, why did he run in the first place when told to stop? Anybody want to call Brandon and let him know his brother was shot? Will someone please at least call Celeste? Give me the phone, and I'll do it!
Like I said, I get big feelings from this storyline!
And it's not the only one! While Theo and J.J. are rooted in an all-too-real-life situation, over in Will land, things are plain ol' cray. And I love it just as much! It is a testament to DAYS that these two storylines can sit right alongside each other and the show can be so cohesive.
In Memphis, people are lining up to take a swat at Paul the piñata, and I get it...to an extent. Paul made a bad mistake by keeping the Will secret for any amount of time. He should be scolded for it. However, his time in the doghouse should be short. His own conscience made him come clean. He didn't get caught. Hell, he could have gotten away with it and just played surprised along with everyone else. But he didn't. For the record, the longer Sami waits to call Lucas, the less sympathy I have for her beef with Paul over not telling Will's mother that he's alive. But for now, yes, everyone should get their one chance to yell at him. Then, they need to focus on the real villain in this story, because Paul isn't it.
Crazy "Susan" (Yup, still not convinced that's Susan) brainwashed Will to think he's E.J. She did so because she...you know what, it really doesn't matter because this lets Chandler Massey and Eileen Davidson work together. Yes. Yes. And yes. Mr. Massey does his best work opposite some of DAYS' great divas. I'm so here for this part of the storyline.
The level of talent is a good thing because there's a wee bit to overlook here. For starters, Susan isn't a bad guy. She doesn't hurt people. As one of Stefano's victims, she usually sides with the Bradys, even Sami. Again, making her Kristen would solve this wrinkle.
Next, there's Google. Even if I buy that Will doesn't touch computers because Susan told him not to (which I don't), E.J. was an international figure -- not only as a DiMera but also as a star racecar driver. Will works in a bar. You mean to tell me not a single person ever brought this up to him when he introduced himself? Then again, the guy hasn't picked up on how loony his home life is. If nothing else, the fact that he's a grown man sleeping in a twin bed with his name in giant letters on his wall should make him realize something may not be right.
I'm so glad Sami stopped Susan from leaving with him. I have no idea why Sami and Marlena couldn't go see Will together, but hopefully Jarlena won't be far behind next week. I'm loving the Sami/Marlena relationship right now, and I want more of it. Sami needs some balance too. Though this is the third time someone has lied to her about whether her child is alive or not. I can see why she's kinda had it.
I have no doubt that Will will regain his memories eventually. However, the Will/Paul/Sonny triangle will still need to be settled. And that will come down to Sonny, who, quite honestly, needs to smarten up just a bit. My jaw hit the floor when Sonny wondered why Paul would be so insecure about their relationship. Really, Sonny? You don't understand why the guy you literally left standing at the altar to march into the middle of the church and declare your love for another man wouldn't be 1000 percent sure of your commitment level? You've been hanging around Brady too long, my friend. You're starting to catch the stupid.
At the end of the day, I think Sonny wants both men. He wants Will. But, he wants Will to love him the way Paul does. That's not going to happen. Will loved Sonny with all his heart last time and still found his way into two other men's beds. (Which, now that I think about it, makes Paul lying to Sonny for 24 hours seems a little light in comparison, but whatever.) The point is, Paul and Will are very different people, so Sonny's going to have to pick. I genuinely like all three characters here, so I hope that all of them wind up happy.
Rafe and Susan were surprisingly delightful together. His passive-aggressive nature was totally lost on her, and that made their scene quite charming.
Wow. Abe told Jen that if Theo dies, the Horton/Carver alliance is over. That's no small statement! Those Hortons love them some Carvers! Two-thirds of Abe's kids are dating Hortons. Lexie was Hope and Jennifer's best friend. And Julie was ready to take back a whole hotel when Eli made Abe look bad!
I adore Tripp and Claire. As @Tony_S_Days pointed out to me, Claire's reminiscent of a young Goldie Hawn with Tripp. Yes! That's it! It's nice to see them both happy. I love that Claire gets the mind screw Tripp went through learning about Ava and doesn't hold his actions against Kayla as indicative of his whole character. I love that he doesn't see her creativity as a detriment. Most of all, I love that he doesn't judge her every move.
Of course, she doesn't realize that she's hard-core flirting with him. That's because she is and always has been 100% sure of her feelings for Theo, so she doesn't think twice about telling another guy that she's captivated by him because it doesn't mean anything to her. She's sure of it. I've been there. I totally get it. But, oh, that look in Tripp's eye when she does it is aww-worthy.
Is Andre innocent here? Probably. Was Chad wrong to yell at him? I guess. But I'd feel a lot worse for Andre if he hadn't, you know, murdered the whole town and gotten away with it. Sometimes karma is a hot, blue-eyed guy yelling in your face. Shouldn't we all be so unlucky?
I don't quite understand why DAYS continues to focus on the least flattering part of Jennifer's character. I get loving your kids. But having Jennifer fight battles on behalf of her grown children is not a good look. Have we learned nothing from Kate? Jennifer is a bang-up investigative reporter. Her scenes with Drew during the prison break were delightful! Let's see more of that Jennifer!
Marci Miller has brought such a quiet strength to Abigail. I adore it so much! The small scene when Abigail told Chad that Theo had been shot was beautiful. And I found it so poignant when Abigail tried to tell J.J. she knows what it's like to see things because of trauma. So well done!
Kate had to resort to her backup blackmail plan on her first run-in with Tripp. That bodes well for his future tolerance in a soap world!
The only thing that kept me awake during Jen and Eric's scenes was the stress rash I broke out in at the thought of them being paired romantically. They're great as friends. That is all. Leave it there.
James Reynolds' raw and powerful show-stopping performance is the best thing on DAYS right now. You guys, this man is an absolute beast. I couldn't adore him more if I tried. Also, James properly defended his place atop my list of People I Never Want to Yell at Me.
Just like I'm not a fan of making it seem like Nicole elected to have a porn past, I'm not down with making fun of Sami for having twins by two fathers. Nicole was abused as a child. Sami was raped. The fact that either of these gets twisted into insults toward either woman is gross.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Smarmy Memphis cop: "Well, I'm very sorry, but it looks like you're on your own."
Marlena: "No, she's not!"
Like I said before, the Sami/Marlena relationship has never been better.
Susan (about dealing with Sami): "It makes you kinda want to throw up in your mouth, I know. She has that effect on people."
Part of me wanted to give my "Hot" this week to Chandler Massey for not breaking out laughing in every scene with Eileen.
It occurred to me that in a Will/Susan/Sonny/Sami scene, Alison Sweeney is the only one without an Emmy. When Ali is the "weakest link," you've got yourself one hell of an on-screen team.
I've been a bartender trying to get out of there at the end of the night. Will was nicer to Sonny and Sami than I would have been!
Man, I'd love to see ghost Jack show up to have a conversation with his son about the process of self-forgiveness after you've done something horrible. While I don't specifically recall Matt Ashford and Casey Moss working together before, something tells me those two would have great chemistry.
At first I was irritated with Hope for telling Abe so much about the investigation. Then I remembered he is the mayor, so technically, he's her boss. Carry on.
I'm a huge fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Susan may be nuts, but that plate of French toast she made looked delicious.
I could only laugh when my husband glanced at the TV to see Susan and said, "What is that?"
Poor Eli is still frantically trying to understand the Horton family history. Maybe he and Will can form a study group when Will needs to start regaining his memories!
Someone is definitely going to tell Arianna about Will before Gabi does.
When Sami said, "Can you imagine him being so selfish?" I wanted to reach through my TV and move Marlena away a few steps just to avoid the lightning strike I was sure was headed Sami's way.
Seriously, why doesn't Susan have a lock on her door?
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