No, you can't read my poker face

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Two Scoops is an opinion column and the opinions expressed are solely those of the author. The views expressed do not represent the opinions of Soap Central, its partners, or its advertisers.
Does Gabi have Eli fooled? Will Nicole, Sarah, or Xander crack first? And just what is going on with Hope? Try to call everyone's bluff in in this week's Two Scoops.

If you need me for the next few weeks, I'll be constructing a very nice case for Camila Banus' Emmy. Holy cow. At the risk of making myself sound super old, I've watched Camilia since she was a green little schemer on One Life to Live. To see the absolute tour de force she turned in over the last two weeks has been nothing short of stellar.

I feel like she's one of us -- a card-carrying member of this crazy soap community. As much as I've praised break-out performances by folks like Chandler Massey, Blake Berris, Robert Scott Wilson, and Marci Miller, there's something extra special about seeing a performer you've watched for years finally get to deliver material like they gave Camila in this storyline. With apologies to Doug, it's Camila who's been the heart of this one. Bravo, lady.

Now, let's talk about that storyline, shall we? We're at an interesting point because, while the buildup was well acted and delivered, there really was no suspense. No one thought Julie would die. We all knew Brandon Barash's stay was short-term. Thus, we all figured that Gabi would give Stefan's heart to Julie.

All of the complaints about Lani humiliating herself and Gabi being over the top we're absolutely correct. However, that's missing the forest for the trees. At the end of the day, Gabi saved Julie's life. I really, really hope they're not going the route of Lani believing that she "earned" the heart for Julie. That makes as much sense as saying Lani's responsible for Stefan's death. Sure, she was there and did some things at the last minute. But other people get the credit for the outcome. It's Vivian's fault Stefan was shot. Gabi's the one who gave Stefan's heart to Julie.

The irony here, of course, is that the wrong thing finally pushed Gabi over the Lani edge. Lani shooting Stefan was an accident. However, Lani has a long list of misdeeds against Gabi. I was shocked we had this strange Gabi vs. Abigail rivalry when we always should have had Gabi vs. Lani.

Lani had inappropriate relationships with both J.J. and Eli while they were each with Gabi. Lani will bang the drum about Gabi wanting Julie to die and throwing Julie down the stairs any chance she'll get. And, sure, everyone else's world doesn't stop for Gabi's grief, I felt for her when she walked up on Lani celebrating with Eli. Lani did just shoot a man and, I would think, would need more than a few hours to be declaring how utterly wonderful life is. That whole scene seemed a little tone deaf.

I guess while I don't like the car we're taking to get there, this is the logical place for us to end up with these two. I just hope it's worth the journey. The biggest issue is DAYS hasn't given Lani the screen time to develop nuances the way Gabi has. So, right now, all of her asides to Eli that they talk in private seem to come more from a condescending place than one of concern. I have my worries that Lani vs. Gabi is going to require a lot of propping on the Lani side for this thing to stand up.

As for Julie, well, the old gray mare awoke and spoke! I had to laugh at Julie when she woke up with a joke. There's never a dull moment with her.

We'll have to wait until next week to see how or if Julie gets to thank Gabi. Though, come on, Jules, you thank Gabi on the phone. Summoning her back to the place where she just left her husband's dead body is, again, a little myopic.

Julie has to have surgery because -- shocker -- she has a complication that is common to older people, which might explain why she wasn't eligible for the heart transplant list in the first place. I actually get why Gabi would want to know how Stefan's heart is doing. That's the last* thing she has left of him.

Also, I'm all in on the idea of Gabi investigating Visionary Bionics (a.k.a. the company that gave Steve back his eyesight) to potentially controlling Julie on some level through this pacemaker. That storyline is amazingly soapy, and I'd take that ten times a day over Lani giving Gabi the side eye.

*Yup, I'm not quite ready to let go of the idea that Gabi could be pregnant. Speaking of babies...

Xander sent Dr. Rolf to tell Eric that Sarah's pregnant. Again, I'm shocked by Xander's complete inability to handle small schemes. International kidnapping? Nails it. Figuring out what to do with a personal secret? He falls flat on his face. He's the PhD who can't figure out how to order at a drive-through.

I'm torn about him divulging the news. On one hand, he promised Sarah not to say anything. I really wanted his actions toward her to remain pure -- or at least the Xander version of pure. That's part of the charm of this pairing.

On the other hand, this is a stupid secret to keep. This is no bombshell. Eric and Sarah were in a brief, but true, relationship. It ended with absolutely no malice among any of the three parties. There's nothing to suggest Nicole, Eric, and Sarah wouldn't all support each other and this child.

But now the storyline isn't about a baby anymore. Nope, it's about two women lying to Eric. Grooooaaaan. Look, you probably won't find a bigger fan of the ex-padre than me. I've loved him for years. But even I know that the last thing Eric needs is something to act sanctimonious about. It doesn't matter that he'll be right this time. We don't need to see Eric crying, sulking, and being heartbroken. Been there. Done way too much of that.

And make no mistake, both of these women are doing Eric equally wrong. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter their reasons. The result is still the same. Both women are purposely keeping him from his child.

Sarah's been a bit of an airhead since her return (a side effect of spending too much time with Rex, I'm sure), so her betrayal doesn't surprise me. But Nicole? If this storyline goes forward with Nicole keeping this secret, it will be infuriating. Nicole tried this -- literally every angle of this. She's been every person in this storyline before.

She's been "the Sarah" when she tried to keep baby Daniel Rafael's paternity a secret from E.J. She's been "the Xander" when she found a pregnant Mia and schemed to use that pregnancy to her advantage. She's been "the Nicole" when she found out Sami was pregnant with E.J.'s baby and didn't tell him because she was worried he'd go back to her! Hell, she's even been "the Eric" when she found out that Chloe gave birth to her child and didn't tell her about it! There's nothing new here for audiences. This is the most repetitive storyline for a character since Stefano rising from the ashes!

Worst of all, DAYS trotted out one of the more repulsive societal clichés to stand up this storyline -- a woman is not a "real" woman if she can't carry a man's seed. They didn't go the route of Nicole struggling with her own infertility, which would have been absolutely valid. Nope. Instead, they had Xander directly say, "She can give him the family you never can." Wowzers. That is some especially putrid misogynistic nonsense. Women are more than just vessels to make sure men get the right flavored baby. Stand down, Xanimal.

And it goes without saying, but Nicole and Eric could have biological children, if they wanted, via surrogate. They could also adopt if they felt called to do so. Or, they could decide that having more kids isn't for them and spend their lives living off Holly's pile of magic baby money. So many options!

Okay, Salem, you just went through this with Nicole. You thought that it was the grief/stress that was making her act so strange. You let it go on past the point of logical. Don't make that same mistake with Hope. If you see something, say something.

Step right up and spin the CEO wheel, folks! Both Titan and DiMera Enterprises are up for grabs! Well, technically, I think DiMera is the only one up for grabs. I tend to think Kate's initial instinct to turn down Victor's offer was wise. She's the wrong gender for that company. Victor will always go back to one of his boys.

You know the look you give your friend when they've had too much to drink but insist they're fine to call their ex just to say hi? That's the look Jarlena gave Brady when he announced Kristen was living with him, but nothing is going to happen. That was the absolutely correct look to give him.

Having said that, John and Marlena know there's a difference between "not turning your back on the mother of your child" and "marrying her, forsaking all others, all the days of your lives." Both John and Marlena have multiple children with people who aren't each other. Why do they suddenly assume a child means you must marry that person?

Ben confronted Jordan about hurting Ciara and ended up looking like a crazy person, which absolutely means that he's perfectly sane. Jordan's got Rafe fully in her web of lies. I just wonder who this black widow will trap next.

Lucas' stays are far too short. I desperately want more of Kate, Will, and Lucas together. With Chad gone, Kate doesn't really have any "family" in Salem. That maternal side of the character was such an integral part of Kate's makeup that Kate misses something when she can't flex that muscle.

Case in point? The scene between Kate and Gabi where Gabi lashed out and then Kate hugged her was spectacular. It was also quite cathartic for viewers. Good lord, someone just support this woman. The contrast between the Horton clan rallying around Julie, and Gabi being left alone scene after scene was hard to watch. Thank goodness Kate finally stepped up and said what a lot of us were thinking -- what Gabi had to go through in the last 36 hours was not fair.

And, make no mistake, that doesn't give her a blank check to be a complete lunatic for the rest of her life. But, dealing with her husband's death and then being pressured/threatened to donate his heart to a woman who hates Gabi is a tough beat for anyone to endure.

I can't say for sure what's happening with Hope. Still, I'm kind of loving what Kristian Alfonso is doing with this role. Is she 100% a different personality? Did Rolf give her some slow-release version of the drug where she goes in and out of herself? Is there some sort of trigger that will cause the swap? The way Kristian is playing this makes me want to see more!

Jesus Johnny Walkin, what in the world is wrong with Marlena?! I'm a fan of snacks myself, but they are not spare-key worthy! Also, I cannot fathom in any stretch of my soap brain why in the world Marlena would be so pro-Sarah. Hey Marlena, I wonder what it's like when your real love of your life comes back from the dead and then you have to break the heart of the very-nice-but-not-your-soul-mate person? Can't relate to that at all, huh, Mar? Sheesh. The misuse of character history in that scene was almost criminally negligent.

Kate (about Julie): "If she's such a go-getter, why was she just lying in her bed, waiting for a miracle? Why wasn't she proactive like I was?"

Another week, another PJ set that makes me green with envy. Kate's ensemble was beautiful!

Sarah fainted at the hospital. If the blood test was at all in question, this officially confirms a soap pregnancy.

Gabi was in that denim jumper for so long! I'm thinking she would have handed over that heart sooner if someone would have come at her with yoga pants and a comfy wrap. Think, Hortons! Think!

Soap relationships are on the same plan as children's ages. Gabi is heartbroken over Stefan. But, to be fair, they were truly in love for maybe a few months. Additionally, Nicole thinks Eric and Sarah we planning a life together when they actually dated for all of about six days.

Kayla doesn't have a great track record with the results of kicking people out of the lab. Perhaps she should turn that control over to someone else. Is Maxine still around?

Also, did Kayla seem slightly cranky with people this week? Maybe Sarah really should stay around, if for no other reason than to let Dr. Sweetness get a nap in.

Runner-up to Marlena's character gaffe was Kate hand-waving off the idea of marrying a DiMera under dishonorable circumstances and then legitimately growing to love him. Come on. That's exactly what happened with Kate and Stefano.

Now that Hope's acting strange because of Rolf's injection, we all know Princess Gina might be on the table. Thus, I get very, very nervous any time she and John share a scene. Nope. No, thank you. I still have nightmares about that love boat of horrors.

Victor can pick up a phone and order someone dead. Man, I want a phone like that. Maybe not to order hits, but to get people to shut up in meetings. That would be amazing.

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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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