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For the Week of December 2, 2019
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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.
Is Steve back for real? Can Nicole recover from her latest lie? And any chance DAYS will let Abigail and Gabi stay away from each other? Let's dish it all in this week's post-Thanksgiving Two Scoops.

If we're keeping track of how many times I've been wrong about DAYS, add another tally to the score card. I was sure Steve would show up as Santa, just in time to reunite with Kayla and bring Adrienne home to Justin. Christmas miracles for everyone!

Instead, November Sweeps went out with a truly spectacular cliffhanger -- the man in the chair at Princess Gina's loft is someone who looks a lot like our very own Steve Johnson. He hasn't spoken yet. But I'm already invested. And I'm convinced that this guy is our beloved Patch Man, but let's unpack the evidence together.

First, Princess Gina is calling him "Steffie" and we all know she's painting with a full pallet. Clearly, we can trust her as a point-of-view character because she has complete agency and is not controlled in any way by Dr. Rolf.

Second, come on. The show can't recast Stefano DiMera. I consider myself a pretty open-minded person. But accepting someone other than the great Joseph Mascolo in this iconic role is not something I have the capacity to do. Plus, as long as Kristen is still alive and well, there's really no need to recast. She fits that villain role quite well.

Third, there's no patch on his eye. (Side note -- did you guys know Stephen Nichols was so handsome? Turns out an eye patch covers part of your face!) This would check out for Patch as, last we saw him, he had a bionic eye installed, courtesy of Visionary Bionics.

Finally, yes, that is Visionary Bionics that made Julie's pacemaker. Since Gabi has an app that could stop Julie's ticker, it's not out of the question that a few lines of code could control Steve through his eye, making him think he's Stefano DiMera.

Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled to have Stephen Nichols back. I love that he'll get to work with Kristian Alfonso and William Utay right off the bat. Throw some Billy Flynn in there soon, and I'll be one happy scooper!

That's good because my heart is in a critical spot over in the world of Ericole. Nicole coughed up the truth about baby Mickey. I was floored it happened so fast! Okay, so it's technically been a year and some change, but still. She does get credit for coming clean, which may take her from "You'll burn for all eternity" to "I'll never* forgive you." This is good news for Ericole fans because "never" has always been a very short time for these two.

Preceding their current happy time together, he was responsible for Holly's father's death. She destroyed evidence that could have cleared his name with God. Oh, and these two overcame literal death. I'm hesitant to give up on them just yet.

Besides, Eric's got a lot of anger to dish out. We didn't get his reaction to Xander and Sarah, but I suspect there'll be some fallout there. There's no love lost between Xander and Eric, but Sarah is a different story. While her intentions were noble, that doesn't mean she still wasn't willing to let Mickey grow up not knowing Eric was her dad. And Eric should be mad. Of all the fellas to be candidates for hidden kids, Eric is low on the list. Close to the male Maggie (complete with a slight judgmental side!), he's one of the least villainous people on the show.

He's nowhere near a Victor. You know, a character so sketchy a woman would allow her child to hit his Merchant Marines manhood before his paternity came out. The same type of man who could possibly...I don't know...swap a baby so his grandson wouldn't grow up tied to Kristen DiMera.

Yup, I'm still not sure baby Mickey is really Sarah's child. And if we're still (ugh) going with this narrative that Eric always wanted a child of his own, Nicole could pop up with a miracle pregnancy or another surrogate, reuniting the couple again.

Across town, Abigail continued her quest to both infuriate and inspire me. There's never been a character I'm more fire and ice about than this version of Abigail. I'm foam-finger-waving thrilled when she's investigating her mom's case. Abigail is smart, spunky, and completely entertaining in that mode. Jennifer has been there for Abigail so much in the past; I adore that Abigail is getting a turn now. When she does it well, no one does loyalty like Abigail.

Then she goes back into Gabi vs. Abby mode and says something ridiculously dumb, and I completely lose my patience with her. "Gabi tortures people when she gets her feelings hurt?" Yikes, Abs. That cruelly minimized what Gabi's been through. Gabi's feelings were hurt when Chad chose you over her. But she still sat front seat at your wedding and let her daughter be your flower girl. Getting thrown in prison for a crime you committed, beaten badly, then later having her husband die is not really "getting her feelings hurt" territory. Eek, my girl.

What Abigail should have said is "Gabi doesn't handle tragedy well." And she doesn't. Gabi acts out in disproportionally cruel ways. Sigh. The bottom line is that the wounds are deep in Gabi/Abby land. That's why I'm a fan of not revisiting this storyline. It's shouting into a void. I'm not #TeamGabi or #TeamAbby. I'm #TeamNoMoreGabivsAbby. This is my grown-up Thanksgiving wish.

Justin is "I love you" and "move in with me" serious after three months of dating, which completely, unequivocally confirms that he and Brady share DNA. I adore both of these characters, but this pairing is jarring. It feels a little like siblings dating. Of course, this is expiration-dating, as Steve is back now!

Casey Moss continues to shine, but I need a little more from this storyline. This is the second time a girlfriend of J.J.'s has been murdered. Yes, he's still not doing well a year later. Shouldn't J.J. be off for his two weeks with Granny Laura? Also, is it really safe for J.J. to be working as a first responder where he will very likely encounter death on a semi-regular basis?

Speaking of storylines where there just has to be more to it, Lani's still mad because Gabi made her break up with Eli. I mean, has Lani ever watched a soap before? This is a place where people are raped and children are ripped from their mother's wombs -- and that's just some of the things the person sitting next to her has done! I don't know what's harder to buy -- Lani's stance that her plight requires running off to join a convent or Kristen's new stance on forgiveness. All of Kristen's lines about God and goodness are laugh-out-loud ridiculous, and I'm not so sure that's supposed to be the case. I repeat my hope that Lani is in deep undercover mode, trying to put Kristen away! Super-sleuth Lani is my favorite Lani flavor.

I don't know if it's my predisposition to loving her as one of Vivian's gals on One Life to Live or just some magic that Kassie DePaiva has. But, I much prefer Eve in scenes with other women. From her awesomeness with Abigail to her comedy with Hattie, I find Eve relatable, if not downright charming, when she's playing off another woman. It was the same with Paige and Claire before. Even her adversarial scenes with Jennifer were far superior to anything she's done with Jack, Brady, or J.J.

Oh, my heart! Xander confessing his love for Sarah was bittersweet. Cut in between the scenes of Nicole telling Eric of the baby was foreboding enough. But what really struck me was Xander saying that he'll be fine just being her friend. She doesn't ever have to love him back. Aww. Excuse me while I try to send a hug through my TV. While the time jump is super cool for the most part, it does put a good amount of expectation on the audience to fill in some plot points. (Looking at you, Justin and Kayla.) But we don't have to do that with Xander and Sarah. Of course, Xander is fine staying her friend. We know from his relationship with Victor that he's willing to accept whatever love scraps someone will throw his way. And we've seen her grow increasingly fond of him prior to the jump -- or at least, less likely to slap him upon entering a room (progress!). Darn it if I'm not rooting for her to realize that he's the one for her.

Clyde and Ben are one of the more interesting pairings on the show. Played to perfection by James Reed and Robert Scott Wilson, this relationship exemplifies exactly what is so dangerous about an abusive relationship. Ben's overcome a lot of demons. But he still keeps going back to his abuser, hoping that he'll finally...fill in the blank here. Accept him? Change? Finally be capable of loving him back? The vicious cycle is one Ben can't seem to truly break, no matter how much he knows it's wrong.

It makes sense for Marlena to be gone all those months. Of all the people who should realize someone has an identity crisis, it was the psychiatrist -- which is why it took her a mere few days to promptly identify that Hope is most definitely not acting like Hope. Yes, John Black, P.I. Indeed.

Furthermore, Marlena laid the classiest smackdown ever on Princess Gina by saying, "John and I will never drink that bottle of wine. But, as long as you're leaving, why don't you take it over to Doug and Julie's?" Reading it doesn't carry the same weight as how Deidre Hall delivered it. Trust me. It was a legit burn.

While I've grown quite fond of Ron's new tradition of a special Halloween episode, I'm a little bummed that the rest of the holidays aren't met with such care. Thanksgiving was a letdown. This is a soap opera based on families. Yet, the closest we got to a dinner was the kids bringing takeout to Jen's hospital room. I wanted to see Xander, Vic, Maggie, Kayla, Justin, Sonny, and the rest have Thanksgiving dinner. I would have loved to see Brady have lunch with Jarlena, head back to the mansion for dinner with Victor, and then Facetime with Tate. I wanted to see Roman and Abe serve meals at the pub. (I made those last two up, but see where I'm going?) We spend nearly every day of our lives with these people. It's nice to get some of the happy moments, too.

Jen: "Working?! They wouldn't give him a day off? I've been in a coma for a year, and they wouldn't let him spend Thanksgiving with his family?"
Ha! This is one time when mom-guilt is legit!

Is there a more discouraging line in Salem than "The police are doing the best they can"? I think not.

Soaps do a lot of unbelievable things. But someone should have given Victoria Konefal the advice that those pumpkin seats with a child in it are extremely heavy. Those are not something you just fling over your arm and waltz out the door with. There's a fair amount of wincing and, perhaps, a grunt.

I'm probably the same weight as Ari -- just subtract about six inches of height and spread that weight out horizontally. So, obviously, I want her entire wardrobe and am convinced it will look fabulous on me.

Justin says this is their first big holiday without Adrienne. She died six month ago. In other words, Justin told you to suck it, Flag Day.

According to Ari, Evan makes good pancakes. This doesn't completely get him off my watch list. But it does give him some points back.

I felt extremely guilty eating chips when Camila Banus appeared in her jumper with a lace-up back.

Did we know the K-Mansion has 48 bedrooms? Holy cow!

I'm with you, Eve. I don't like marshmallows on my yams, either.

I was willing this to happen:
"Stefano": Happy Thanksgiving, my son.
Chad: New phone. Who dis?

Anyone else reach for a squirt bottle when Brady showed up at Nicole's door? A crying woman is catnip to the Bradster.

"What else did you become while I was gone?" is a bit of an unfair question to ask John "the Pawn" Black. This is the dude who had his memories erased and put on a disc at one point in his life.

Abigail's blush maxi dress was outstanding. I desperately want one!

Hattie's speech about having a talent to make friends is so important and right on.

Calling a Stephen Nichol's character "Steffie" was a cute inside nod to Stefan Cassidine, the character Stephen Nichols played on General Hospital.

At least someone made good use of the time jump! Ciara finally went out and took a self-defense class. Thank goodness!

It's not lost on me that this whole time jump could be a figment of Jen's imagination. We could get to the end of this, and it was all a coma dream.

BONUS SCOOP -- "The Last Blast Reunion" Digital Series

Nestled in the DOOL app is a fantastic little nugget of a show. The first episode launched over the weekend, and it. is. amazing. It's set in New York at Christmastime -- complete with amazing Broll shots of the city and happy holiday music. If it came directly with cocktails and dip, I'd swear it was made specifically for Tony and me.

Belle's work (she's still with DiMera) took her to New York City, where she's staying with Chloe for a bit. This means they can go Black Friday shopping, sip eggnog martinis, and hang out with ever-lovin' Craig and Nancy (!!!) together! So many familiar faces popped up in the first eight minutes that I practically squealed with delight. But none more than Jay Kenneth Johnson.

It could be because the dude's clearly on the no-aging plan and looks literally identical to how he did decades ago. But it's more so because the show's been missing him. It took three men to replace him. While Brady, Xander, and Sonny all have components of him, there's still nothing like Philip and Victor's relationship, not to mention the love triangle between Chloe/Belle/Shawn that never quite played out.

Make no mistake, I want Belle and Shawn to remain solid. But I wouldn't mind it if Chloe and Philip found their way back to each other. And considering how the entire Last Blast dance was the makeover moment made for Philip and Chloe in the first place, my hopes are high!

Loose Ends:
Yes, Craig and Nancy! Thank you for putting your Christmas decorations up!

Nancy's delight with Jan still being in a coma was kind of adorable. Of course, this means Jan will show up soon. My money's still on Nancy.

Teressa Liane, who plays Mimi, makes quite an entrance. Do yourself a solid and watch the cast interview on the app. She has a very charming Australian accent in real life!

What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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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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