Do you believe in life after love?

For the Week of December 16, 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.
Can Lani and Kristen get their lives back? Will Nicole and Xander self-destruct without Eric and Sarah? And is there any pain Justin can't make go away? Let's see how far we each could make it alone in this week's Two Scoops.

One of the best parts of the time jump is that the actors are able to jump headfirst into some new, juicy material. The top example is Casey Moss. His work has been exceptional in this last month, playing J.J. unglued and broken. As an added benefit, the man can multitask! While holding Kristen at gunpoint, he also had time for a quick exchange that -- whether or not it was supposed to -- made me laugh. Hard.

Eli: What are you doing with a gun?
J.J.: Your gun.
Eli: Excuse me?
J.J.: I stole it from your hotel room after I stowed away on your jet. Does Gabi have any idea how much you suck as her security chief?
Eli: J.J., put the gun down.
J.J.: No, I've got a better idea. You keep being useless and get the hell out of here.
You guys, Casey Moss does not get enough credit.

And while poor, stupid Eli kinda, sorta, most definitely deserved Casey's sass, I thought Kristen and Lani were horribly unfair to Eli. Gabi blackmailed Lani. Lani made the baffling decision not to tell Eli what was really happening. All Eli did was chase Lani down and beg her for an explanation. But he got nothing. So, as far as he knows, Lani did him wrong.

Luckily, Kristen and Lani spent the last year learning and really internalizing the spirit of truth and forgiveness so Lani could come clean with Eli on the spot. Oh, wait, nope. That didn't happen. Instead, they ignored any ounce of responsibility either of them should take for their current situations and declared themselves free women! They're going back to Salem, seeing things exactly the way they've always seen them. Yay, growth!

Back in Salem, a rare quad of parents was dealing with some hard news. Baby Mickey has cancer. Eric, Sarah, and Mickey are leaving town to get her treatment, leaving Xander, Nicole, and me all completely heartbroken. This storyline is moving a bit too fast, and that's outside of the year time jump!

Not that anyone out there is a fan of it, but I'm really, really opposed to babies getting sick on soaps. And this particular move feels more like a cheap plot tactic to make Nicole's lie worse. Eric even said something to the effect of, "You cheated me out of her life up to this point, and now she might not have much life left!" Easy there, Blanche.

I get Eric's anger. I really do. It's justified at all three parties -- Nicole, Xander, and Sarah. But Eric acting cruel and myopic is out of character. Sure, Eric's always been a bit of a pout-pout fish. But even his holier-than-thou stretches at least fell back on "This is against God's plan" or something that felt bigger than Eric himself. However, screaming at the only father Mickey's ever known while Xander was holding Mickey was purely selfish. Walking out on Holly with no explanation is ridiculous, too. He's got to understand that being a father means putting your kid first. My kid had bronchitis last week, and you know how many times I listened to "Baby Shark"? There are twelve different versions, including a disco one, Eric. I did that because my sick kid needed something to make her feel better.

I will, however, back Eric up when it comes to Nicole. Eric and Sarah don't have the emotional bandwidth to deal with anything other than Mickey's cancer. I think that's fair. I applaud Xander for understanding that. As much as it pains me to say this, I was disappointed in Nicole for not getting it.

It wasn't that she was wrong -- Eric's been a champion of forgiveness; she was able to work past the Daniel thing; and sure, this was Sarah's secret too. But, Nicole, my gal, this is not the right time! It's not about you! Nicole seems to be heartbroken for herself because she doesn't have Eric. That's not a good look.

What has been good are the performances out of these four. There used to be a time when Sarah would tell off random guys who just looked like they were out of line. But now, Sarah is racked with her own guilt, terrified she'll lose her daughter, and cursed with the knowledge of a doctor. That's a difficult needle for Lindsay Godfrey to thread, but she nailed it. The Maggie/Sarah scene made me want to give Sarah a hug.

Arianne Zucker and Greg Vaughan have been playing this same scene for years. Nicole screws up and pleads for forgiveness. Eric stews in disappointment and heartbreak. They stare at each other until one of them walks away, both of them in tears. But thanks to the aforementioned shift in Eric's character and Nicole's ill-timed points, this time feels more brutal. Kudos to Ari and Eric for picking up those nuances in this storyline and running with them.

Finally, Paul Telfer is a revelation. When Xander told baby Mickey that she'd have to fight, just like his mom told him, he was able to convey both a scared little kid and a strong dad at once. I find him just as believable in this role as I did later in the week when he creepily asked Ciara if she knew anything about his swapped case. (Yikes!) The range on this cat is something truly special.

Something was off when Marlena was delivering the news about baby Mickey's cancer. Mickey is Marlena's granddaughter. Eric is her only living son. Marlena herself lost a baby when the child was very young. Of the many emotional routes open for Marlena, she turned them all down and remained stoic throughout this whole delivery. She was kind and professional, of course. But it just seemed...distant.

Ben's lawyer quit, and Justin stepped in. First, I'm not completely convinced Clyde didn't have a part in this lawyer's resignation. Swooping in and saving the day in order for Ben to be forever indebted to him seems like something right up Clyde's ally.

Second, while the scene between Justin and Ciara was touching, is Justin the best lawyer? I can't remember the last time he won a case. I wouldn't feel too great if I were Ben.

Abigail walked right into Princess Gina's trap, which bummed me out a little. A journalist should know that reopening the case would shut her access to the evidence down. I wish Abigail had thought of that. Still, we got some great Chabby scenes where he dug up a DiMera genius to analyze the footage Dr. Rolf doctored. We'll have to wait until Monday to find out who's in the photo, but I don't think it's Princess Gina. We saw her make numerous calls to Steffie to help her out. This expert is on the DiMera payroll. There's a chance Steffie got to him first.

Speaking of people Steffie got to, Kate is working with him, too! I need to see more of this development. My initial reaction was not great, but that's mainly because I'm not happy when Kate is betraying Chad. There's also a side of Kate being fooled that's always hard to handle. But Lauren Koslow and Stephen Nichols are fun together. And maybe there's another twist coming!

Ooof. Having Lani compare whatever Kristen did to J.J. shooting Theo was a tough plot point to swallow. DAYS still has to explain what actually happened the night Kristen's baby was born. But now that they compared it to one of the more complex and politically sensitive storylines DAYS has done, this one better deliver.

Waitress Kate is giving me everything I didn't know I needed. I'm saving her retort, "I don't know your name. Let's keep it that way!" for the right moment. She can wait tables in a blouse that I'm sure says "dry clean only" on the label. And she's sticking up for Wilson. Her visit with Will was great! At first glance, Kate seems like a horrible person to take relationship advice from, but sometimes, the best source is the one who's made all the mistakes and learned from them.

Maggie's totally in the tank for Xander and completely biased when it comes to Sarah. But, I'm glad someone pointed out that Sarah -- the woman who named her child after a man who wasn't her biological father -- should maybe fight a little harder for Xander to be around Mickey. Thank you, Maggie. I was yelling that very thing at my TV!

I know it won't last, but I love the current relationship between Gabi and Julie. Considering how gross Gabi acts toward Kate, it's clear Gabi doesn't spend time with people she doesn't want to be around. So, I think Gabi's grown fond of Julie. Their lunch date was very sweet.

Jennifer's home! She and Jack had a wedding night part two -- this time with less coma-causing falls and more cake! Congrats, you two!

The next time in my life when I'm afforded the opportunity for grace, I sincerely hope I act the way Justin did with Will. Will tried to apologize for killing Adrienne. He stumbled through likening her to a mother figure to him. Then, Justin interrupted him and told Will that he felt like a dad to Will, too. Justin pointed out that while you can be hurt by your son, you can't stop loving him. It was a calm, still scene with very little movement. It was almost reminiscent of that magic point in a live stage production when the air drops out of the huge theater and a few lines of dialogue linger just a bit longer. It was heartbreakingly good work out of Chandler Massey and Wally Kurth.

I'm not Catholic, but the scene where Lani and Kristen pulled off their veils and declared they were going to get their lives back was pretty tone deaf. For the women who choose it, being a nun is their life. This isn't a vocation you default into when things in life don't go your way. I think the gesture was supposed to be empowering. It came across like mockery.

Kayla: "I love you, Justin Kiriakis."
Justin: "Is it the dimples?"
Yes. It is. It's always been the dimples!

I could practically hear Sami punching the air in celebration when Eric walked out on Nicole.

I guess things are good with Noelle, since Sarah was going to take Mickey to visit her at Christmas??

I wouldn't mind hanging out with Justin and Kayla. It appears ninety percent of their time is spent drinking wine and/or eating snacks.

I wonder what Rex thinks of the news that Eric fathered Sarah's baby. Kidding. Rex doesn't think.

I'm with you, Jules. Wine is a health food.

That sleeveless jumper is crazy in the middle of winter. But, darn it if Arianne Zucker didn't rock that to pieces.

A good chunk of the outfits Jennifer wears resembles blankets with buttons. This is hardly a criticism.

BONUS SCOOP -- "The Last Blast Reunion" Digital Series
I'm not saying Kevin deserved to meet the business end of a knife. But who runs out of beer at their own party? Come on, man.

Yes, the reunion took a dark turn. I suspect either Jan or Jason was stalking outside poor Kevin-with-no-beer's café and just waited for the moment to strike. Had he/she been a few minutes earlier, they would have caught an eyeful of chemistry that lingers between Chloe and Philip, which is hot enough to melt even the coldest of hearts.

Between the flashbacks and the beer chugs, these two are hopefully working toward something. There's something about the original recipe couple that is charming.

Loose ends:
It's weird neither Philip nor Mimi has said, "Hey, you ever wonder how our kid is doing?"

If nothing else, this digital series proves once and for all how ridiculous is was for DAYS to age Chloe up to pair with Daniel, Lucas, and Deimos. (Ugh, Deimos.) Chloe lights up with this group of people. There's an ease here that is quite enjoyable.

The thing that's aged the best in that flashback is Craig having to hold Nancy back from punching teenagers.

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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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