If Kate Mansi was going to handpick a time to return as Abigail, she couldn't have picked a better plot point. Not only did she get one of those amazingly soapy entrances, but unhinged Abigail is where Kate Mansi is worth triple her weight in gold. Kate Mansi won an Emmy for this particular flavor of Abigail. I'm all sorts of foam-finger-waving ready to see her tackle it again. Get it, K-Money!
As for Abigail, we know she's on her way out of Salem, so it's just a matter of whether or not she'll take Chad with her. Again, this is also why it's better to have Kate in the role, because if there's an Abigail that's going to dump Chad, it's going to be Kate Mansi's Abigail. She's judged his butt like he's a Pomeranian competing for "Best in Show" since the Cameron/Chad days.
Personally, I hope he doesn't go because he's an important nuance in the DiMera family -- a role of "good DiMera" that Lexie played before. I think we need him in Salem.
But if he does chase after Abigail, we have a good backup. This brings me to Ben. There's been a lot of talk about whether or not Ben has changed. Pretty much everyone in Salem thinks he's a menace. Even Stefan looked down his nose at him -- which was ridiculous because at least Ben falls in love with real people, unlike Chester von Dirtbag and his alterbae.
Sorry, I digress.
What I'm trying to say is that while everyone is waiting for Ben to be "redeemed," I started to wonder. Shouldn't there be an option between Necktie Killer and Boy Scout?
Ben still has a temper, but a temper by itself isn't abnormal or inappropriate. His frustration at Tripp and Claire for their schemes was warranted. We've seen him look high and low for a job in Salem with no luck. So, it makes sense that he would turn to Stefan. And for those of us who watch GH, it's hard not to see some of the similarities between Ben and Jason, so, yeah, it checks out that Ben would go work for the bad guys.
Admittedly, the biggest reason I'm not so bothered by Ben's reintroduction to polite society is because I've seen Ron Carlivati do this trick before. If the actor and the character can handle it (it does have to be both, and it absolutely is here), Ron's a pro at walking a character back from previous writing regimes' bad decisions. He did it with Todd on OLTL. He did it with Franco on GH. And since Roger Howarth isn't on DAYS (ha!), Robert Scott Wilson and Ben get a shot at carrying out this task.
Ben has something going for him that Franco and Todd did not. He's got a sizzling love story. Ben and Ciara are part beauty and the beast, part horror flick, and part every rom-com Matthew McConaughey ever made. That kiss was something both needed to get out of their systems, but I'm honestly shocked by how mature they're being about this thing. Ciara told Ben that neither of them needs to be in a relationship right now, but once he gets a job and a place to live, they can go out to dinner.
I mean it, someone check these two for alien control because this type of forward thinking is not soap behavior. It's also a very good indication that Ben's therapy has helped because he was willing to walk away from Ciara and let her be with Tripp. If you remember, it was losing Abigail that triggered Ben's mental collapse last time. The fact that he was fine to go without the girl is telling.
The last bit hanging around here is whether or not he started that fire. I couldn't help but notice that Ben said he cares about her and would never hurt her, which is not exactly "No, I didn't start the fire." But, they could be dragging this point out so that Hope can continue to do her best impression of Wile E. Coyote.
On one hand, she's obsessed with catching him for her own agenda, and it's wearing on my nerves. Hope is a better cop that this. And while I certainly understand her urge to protect her kid -- and I don't fault her for that one bit -- I'm not down with her abusing her position of power to do so.
On the other hand, is Hope and Ted. Perhaps it was my bias to see the end of Rope, but there was something there with Hope and Ted. The one thing Hope needs more than anything right now is someone to check her. We all know Rafe can't. But Ted can. I had to laugh when he straight up told her she's a cop who bends the rules from time to time. Say what you will about Ted, but he makes no secret of the fact that he deals on the lower end of the law. If just a smidge of his self-awareness could rub off on Hope, this storyline will be worth it.
Leo returned from the dead to blackmail our fair Sonny into an unholy matrimony. The blackmail marriage is an old trope, but Greg Rikaart's sassafras Leo is making this thing work. In fact, I'm glad Kate's being pulled in here because Wilson are such cerebral roadkill for this dude, he's going to need to pick on someone his own size.
And Kate needs to get back in the game, too. One of the reasons I never really rooted for her to "get hers" was because she was always kind of an underdog. Her schemes were part of her scrappy attitude to get to the top. But lately, it seems she's been saying "I can't" way too much. For all her faults, lethargy isn't one of them.
Plus, maybe once Kate is involved, it will dawn on Sonny to let Victor in, which is what he should have done the second Leo showed up on that doorstep.
The battle is brewing for custody of Holly. While I know Sarah means well -- and is obviously a bit smitten with our scrumptious ex-padre -- I don't think she can make any grand declarations about Eric's character. She's known adult Eric for all of a week.
And while I agree with Eric that Maggie and Victor probably aren't ready to raise a toddler, I don't understand the reasoning that Taylor and Brandon are out of the running because they're overseas. Yeah, I'm pretty sure there are kids in Europe. I mean, I don't know that for sure, but I'm a solid 80 percent sure of it. Oh, and Eric didn't mention Melanie at all, which is an oversight the show should fix.
I totally get Will and Sonny being dumbfounded to see Leo back from the dead. However, once we get past the initial shock, I'm going to need one of them to call Leo out on admitting he was waiting in the shadows and watching them for months. Hello, creeper!
I really didn't like Rafe sucking up to Julie for two reasons. First, and I'll repeat this as long as needed, he and Hope were broken up when he slept with Sami. Second, considering how much Rafe claims to love them, you'd think he wouldn't play nice with someone who's been a hose beast to Gabi and Will.
The madder Abigail gets at Chad, the more she validates Gabi's feelings toward Abigail. There are circumstances beyond Chad's control influencing his actions. Sound familiar, Abs? And, no, I don't buy one ounce of this "why don't you believe me?" stance. Not only does everyone not believe her, but mental health is not a matter of opinion. All Abigail had to do is take her rear to a therapist. Instead, she made this about her personal credibility, which is incredibly unfair to Chad.
Ciara finally told Hope about her relationship woes. Hope didn't take it well. I'll be honest, if Hope hadn't "killed" someone, either, I'd take her comments much more seriously. Rafe fell for a murderer. Why's it so hard to believe Ciara could do it, too, Hope? (wink)
It's a testament to Chad's character that he apologized to Jennifer. This is the same woman who tried to take his son from him and then helped Abigail hide from him and Thomas, rather than get her help. If anyone makes lousy choices when it comes to Abigail, it's Jennifer.
Stefan claimed he knew nothing about Steve's spy eye. I didn't believe him at first. But if he really doesn't know -- which is how Tyler Christopher played it -- that leaves a juicy opening in this storyline for another baddie to return. There was an "A.V." on one of those doors...there's an A.V. who's pretty ticked at Steve...
Abigail pretending (at least I think she's pretending) to be Gabby to get Stefan to let her out of the hospital is all shades of brilliant! Not only could it set her free, but it's a nice burn for Stefan, too. Good job, Abs!
Ben wasn't down with Claire's agenda. I'm not either, mainly because it comes with these extended monologues that don't have an off switch. She's become the walking personification of every afterschool special villain who tries to convince our hero to make a bad choice. Hey, there, buddy why don't you try to smoke this? You know you want to. Ugh. No.
More so, I'm sad Claire feels she has to grovel this much to earn any guy. I really need her back in scenes with Chloe again. If for no other reason, this will prove that you may spend some time as ghoul girl, but you can also grow up to be Nadia freaking Bjorlin.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Leo (about Will): "Oh, it's not the first time he's been strangled. Some guys are into that.
If there is a soap lord, Greg Rikaart's new and regressed (not an insult) Leo will get to share a scene with John Aniston's Victor. The one-liners coming from the two of them will be amazing.
Hope's judo chop was all sorts of badass.
I'll never tire of Roman calling Kate "Katie."
There was joke about briefs to be made when Ted told Hope that he knew Kate because he "did some legal work for her."
How is Ben paying for his cell phone?
I like how they call each other Mr. Weston and Mr. DiMera. If Stefan carried any ounce of humanity, this pair could be kind of interesting to watch.
Who thought it was a good idea to have a line of dialogue equating Ciara being a rape survivor with Ben being a killer? They were wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
I'd like to get all moral on Stefan and scold him for making Kayla spy, but I feel him on the missing Auntie Viv part. Me too, dude. The grief is real!
Hope is way out of line making fun of people missing red wine. That hits a little too close to home for me, Hopers.
Tripp's moving out of the loft, which makes me realize I may have my answer to the question about who's going to live in the Hortia apartment.
Any time someone starts a sentence with "Roman told me not to do this, but..." I already know it's a bad idea.
I liked how every time Leo entered a room, he went straight for a snack or a drink. He's a man after my own heart.
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