A twisted firestarter

For the Week of March 4, 2019
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Claire stares at a lighter while Ciara roasts like a marshmallow
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A twisted February Sweeps flicked its Bic, tossed it over its shoulder, and slow-motion-style sashayed out of Salem, not even bothering to watch it smolder. Sweeps also left us with a burning answer many still have questions about -- and, not to mention, a hot topic issue that needs to be extinguished. Let's get hot in here in this week's DAYS Two Scoops!

And so, it ends! A fiery February Sweeps has peaced out of Salem. It was an exciting, bittersweet month. Some plots were extinguished while other storylines are heating up. But now we're left with that special brand of a Sweeps hangover. Symptoms often include feelings of accomplishment, defeat, excitement, nervousness, headaches, and, almost always, all-out confusion. Confusion like...

The 2018 cabin fire was set by Claire. Claire Brady. As the character Brother Boy repeatedly said in the movie Sordid Lives, "Ohhhkaayyyyyyy."

My initial reaction to this was the same reaction I had when Sami left Salem in 2014. That is, James Scott and Alison Sweeney were both leaving DAYS. Instead of a joyful jaunt out of town for EJami, E.J. died, and Sami left a little later for a fresh start in Hollywood. "Great idea!" said nobody.

The parallel is this -- Crazy Jordan just terrorized Ciara, so why not have her the original fire starter? Sure, Claire being the firebug means ongoing drama, but I'm feeling "uncertain" by the revelation and need some more time to process. It's also left me with one burning question after another.

While I suspect we're to believe Claire is undoubtedly the culprit, I'm not fully convinced. Sure, I know. We saw Claire replay the entire scenario in her head, and she has a lighter. Still, I'm not sold. We once saw Hope plunge into a vat of acid and years later bounce back swimmingly. The only certainty in Salem is uncertainty.

Solid "proof" at this point is the lighter. Unless it's uncommon or inscribed, most people have or can easily get one. Like, Tripp is getting one for his birthday from Claire! Maybe not. That's just what he found when he snooped. Not cool, Tripp, but that shows how much of a sloppy schemer Claire is for leaving alleged evidence in a public space. If she's that careless now, how did she get away with it for over a year?

As for the replay in her head, well, it could be just that at face value. Sure. Or, perhaps, it was imagined by Claire. Countless scenes often turn out to be daydreams or fantasies in a character's head. Sarah had one just last week that initially lured the audience to believe Eric was in bed with her. I remember Annie Douglas on Sunset Beach having many vivid fantasies about victimizing her enemies or how various scenarios of a storyline would play out. Maybe Claire is just a red herring and she's only imagining doing all these things because, as she said (and I'm paraphrasing), she "saw how to get Ciara out of her way for good." Am I sold on that idea? Nope. Not entirely.

One thing is for certain-ish, however! Claire does go to extremes. We've seen sneaky examples of this, but we've also seen well-meaning ones, too. When the Teen Posse had learned of Ciara's rape, it was Claire who spearheaded the gang to abduct Chase, bring him to an abandoned warehouse, and let Ciara take revenge. Claire was also steadfast to stay in jail overnight to support her friends. So, Claire going to an extreme isn't new. Though I really loved the days she used her extremeness powers for camaraderie rather than possibly roasting Ciara, but I digress.

So, that leaves the big question. Has Claire already cracked up, or is she on the verge of a breakdown?

On the other side of Salem, a political debate turned into a hot topic issue. That is, illegal immigration. Great! Just what I want from my hour of escapism a day. Sometimes a soap just needs to be a soap. I don't always need peeks into the real world via a storyline that's created just to be current and/or controversial. Sometimes I just want a good "back from the dead" or "buried alive" storyline to break up the real-life inundation of scrolling headlines on screens, lamenting the latest political bombshells and bickering. So, while I'm all for awareness and such, I'm voting hard-pass on this storyline last week.

I will say, if Haley needs a place to hide out, I know of a lovely thrice-attempted-to-be-burnt-down cabin where nobody seems to think to look, especially the Salem P.D. She should be fine there. Totally fine. Well, unless Claire gets another hankering for pyrotechnics. There's that.

Ciara and Ben kind of broke my heart last week. While she hardcore believes in him, he believes he's a threat to her. He also believes his rock (Jordan) has crumbled and that he's still a murderous animal. As such, he wants to flee so he can't hurt anyone he loves. Victoria Konefal and Robert Scott Wilson completely captivated me during those scenes. It's impressive how fine of a line Robert is able to walk Ben on -- pitiful, enigmatic, dangerous, vulnerable all in one breath. Both actors deserve a huge Stefano-like "Bravo, bravo!"

"We'll see!" said Gabi upon Brady's repeated request to team up together to take down Stefan. Keep 'em guessing, Gabs. Keep 'em guessing. Though I kind of want this to happen. Gabi may have done a lot of wrong in the not-so-distant past, but now she's doing wrong to all the right Salemites. Team up, Gabs. Take down Stefan! Just, um, Gabs, keep a spray bottle of cold water at hand, as Brady falls in love easily. You've been warned.

Meanwhile, Stefan seems to be a bit smitten while playing chess (and house) with Chloe. Guh. I'm a sucker for Tyler Christopher's charm, but I'm just not there yet with Stefan. I don't care that his imaginary girlfriend left. At all. Sorry, pal. But keep trying -- we're making progress, as my utter detest for Stefan has been upgraded to I really, really dislike him.

In a rather Shakespearean moment, Diana expressed to Victor what made her change so much since the last time they crossed paths. The dialogue and delivery were superb. As is the Diana/Victor team-up. It's full of DAYS history and zingers. Nope. I'm not mad at that at all, if only for selfish reasons, as watching a Chapman/Aniston throwdown was amazingly amusing.

Diana is a force with Leo! It's amazing how one look or crisp tone from her can make him withdraw. Respect. If it were only so easy for the rest of Salem, am I right, Wilson?

Speaking of Leo, John has embraced him as a son, sorta. I should say, ace ISA Agent John Black has embraced him as a son, you know, sorta. Why is that important? Well, John is a spy. He deals with evidence and facts. His catchphrase is, "That's a fact." So, why hasn't John "Super Spy!" Black gotten a DNA test yet? Isn't that Soap 101? Plus, it's not like he seems to entirely trust Diana, so again, why? Granted, if I were John, I'd take the samples to Brookeville, Chicago, or Bay City. Results in Salem usually vary from "Whoops! Mistakey" to "Fraudulent."

Also, Marlena is super observant. She's kind of made a career of being just that. So, how on earth has she not put the two and two together herself about John and Leo? She hasn't even suspected a thing, even when being the one to suggest that Diana must have had Leo soon after leaving Salem. Well, duh. Come on, Mar. You're better than this. So is John. But, while he should have told her sooner, I kind of dug the Marlena and Victor scene. I like when worlds collide, and I can't wait to see this one play out next week.

Oh, yeah. Rex proposed to Sarah. At work. In the lobby. That was special. Okay. In Rex's defense, he was trying to make it special. He had plans. They just got thwarted by running into Sarah and Eric, so he just did it there...at work...in the lobby. I think I might have broken a personal exasperated "Ugh" record while watching these three.

As dense as he is, Rex is the only one being honest. He's just dumb and in love. He simply wants Sarah now. He's got no eyes for any other woman now. And he wants to get engaged now. He really does need to slow his roll...now. His aggressiveness to lock things down with Sarah gives him a Veruca Salt "I want it now!" vibe. That's not at all sexy. Then again, Rex seems to be the type who can't focus on more than one thing at a time and who likes shiny objects. Maybe someone is aiming a laser pointer at Sarah to keep his attention focused on her...for now.

Then we get to Eric and Sarah. They need to be truthful to Rex. More so, she needs to gather that gusto I know she has and tell Rex she's just not that into him. He cheated on her twice, and one of those gals was her sister. I wouldn't want that back in my life -- or my bed. That's an easy excusable out. But for some reason, Sarah's up on the cross because she slept with Xander. Ugh. She was single then. Rex wasn't when he cheated. That's why it's called cheating.

Eric. Well, he needs to try a dating app or go to a "singles mingle" event at the Horton Center. Something. He's acting so lovelorn that he's about to spray-paint "Rexie's Girl" onto a brick wall in some alleyway and start crooning. And mama Mar Mar's enabling him by handing him the black spray paint and feathering his hair.

Extra Scoops

I know Groundhog Day has passed, but the real Hope Brady came out from her burrow for an appearance, and I couldn't be more thrilled! While I don't blame Hope for always having reservations about CIN, her sincerely apologizing and admitting, "I've been wrong about a lot of things," went a very long way in restoring faith that Fancy Face is still in there. From misty eyes to sincere tones of mercy and regret, Kristian Alfonso and Robert Scott Wilson did an amazing job with the material. More, please!

The schtick of Jack outing Eve's deviousness then embracing her a moment later is getting a bit redundant. It's making him appear weak and wishy-washy, which is not a good look for a guy who believes he's got what it takes to mayor an entire city. While he doesn't have to go home, he should think of expanding his group of, uh, friends.

Okay. While I stand behind all that, I'm just majorly miffed that Jack and J.J. broke up. Junior was "destroyed" by the betrayal, and Jack thought, "maybe we're better off without each other." No, Jack. No! While some of Jack's old habits being revisited are interesting, I don't want to see his abandoning ship side come back into play. Nobody has time for that noise.

Ben (to Ciara): "When I look at you and see your face, I just want to be good to you."


Diana: "Oh, Victor. You hardly changed since you tried to bilk me out of my inheritance all those years ago."
Victor: "And you've got older."

Diana: "I can't believe I'm sitting here making a deal with the almighty and powerful Victor Kiriakis."
Victor: "And I can't believe I'm pimping out my ex-son-in-law for my nephew. Yet here we are."

Can Dr. Rolf just clone Kayla so that everyone can have her as a boss and bestie? Her compassion toward Haley was just a good reminder of how awesome Kayla is when not being blackmailed. Sweetness hugs for everyone, please!

I love the coworker dynamics between Abe and Shelia. She is so hardcore Team Carver, and her support of him is infectious. I also adore that he's open enough to accept that she may not be his first choice for the job, but she might have been the best choice. They complement each other well.

I know it's probably a salty El Noodle cartel member stalking Chloe, but I would enjoy it turning out to be Quinn Hudson! Not only would Stefan meet a half-brother from the other side of the family, but anything involving Vivian is a plus in my book.

On the topic of Stefan meeting people, it would have been amazing had he met and fallen in love with Carly Manning in Europe. Maybe this happened. And maybe Carly can return and rekindle things. Maybe? Please! This especially needs to happen once Vivian is finally done at the Dr. Rolf Resurrection and Day Spa.

Never would I ever want to mess with Diana. When she asked Leo to give her and Victor a moment and he sassily replied, "Why?" her comeback was epic: "Because I asked." Judith Chapman's stern yet spooky delivery was everything.

I also loved when Diana told Leo, "I'll tell you what. You do you. I'll do me." Yep. She's fierce.

I'll take another big helping of feisty Jennifer, please! I cheered when she slyly said, "You shut up," to Eve when Eve tried to interrupt her rant on Jack. Well played, Jenny Bear. Well played. She has my vote.

Justin's straight-shooting, tough love toward "Wilson" made me cheer (and laugh aloud). He may not win this case or, well, any case, but he wins my heart each time he's on. More Justin, please.

Ha! Eric was left holding the doughnuts. At least he had something to snack on during those awkward moments.

Yes, Mayor Carver. I miss Valerie, too. A trio road trip to D.C. to visit her? I can drive, and I hear Shelia has some good jams to listen to along the way.

Um, it's been mentioned twice now that Melinda is or was married. I think it's time to know more about that. I'm morbidly curious about Mr. Melinda Trask. He has to be at least a little, uh, interesting.

I don't exactly remember when Chloe played chess with Stefano, but I love it. Totally. Stefano would be all about checkingmate with a budding opera star.

I'll vote for whichever of the candidates makes it an official law that, "When Roman gives advice, you listen." He's been on fire since he got behind that bar. Go, Ro!

J.J. was not letting go of that beer during his argument with Haley. Attaboy!

A specialist will be examining E.J. soon, but when will E.J. be visiting us?

Sarah told Eric, "My cray cray was out of control that evening." Points for self-awareness. Though I kind of asked, "Just that evening?"

I love Mar Mar helping her My Dear Boy, but, boy, oh, boy, would I love to see Sami vs. Leo and Diana. Sure, Leo would be amateur hour for Schami Gene, yet the shade being tossed back and forth would be fantastic.

I firmly believe Jennifer needs a new talk show. She's best when in plucky reporter and interviewer mode. And it would be safe for Austin to return now that Abigail's out of town, and more Carrie back in Salem wouldn't hurt, either! Win/win/win.

Did anyone else notice J.J.'s curtains were open? That bothered me, especially considering he's on the first floor. I'm surprised Jennifer didn't peek in after knocking.

Sami's picture being front and center on Marlena's desk makes me realize how far they've grown. I like it! Fallen favorite Belle might feel different, however.

Ah, Belle! Martha Madison and Brandon Beemer need to make another visit soon. I miss them.

Diana said she should have never sold Jack "her" paper. Yes. Please. I would love to see Jack vs. Diana right now.

I can't believe physical photos are considered "sweet and old-fashioned." I mean, I can, but I don't like to hear that. I still miss my answering machine! There was something fun about coming home to the surprise of a blinking red light.

He's back! He's back! The expressive extra with the beard is back! He was the guy (along with the redhead) who totally stole the scene when Sarah smacked herself a Rex at the pub. This time, he was loitering around the Horton Town Square during the Will vs. Leo tussle. I love this Salem version of "Where's Waldo!"

So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for the week of March 4. Laurisa will be back next week, as I've been tasked with ensuring Roman throws a festive St. Patrick's Day party at the Brady Pub. So, I'll be hauling decorations up from the basement for the next few days. By that, I mean telling the barbacks to do so while I drink Irish Whiskey with Roman. And, "That's a fact!"

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