She's got your number: Anna the Great!

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Does Gwen have more strings left to pull? If so, how long will she be able to keep Chad on the hook? And do you think Charlie could be redeemed, or is he too far gone? Let's talk about it all in this edition of Two Scoops!

Happy 2021, everyone! I don't know about you, but there's a palpable sense of hope in the air. And on-screen, the New Year delivered a boatload of developments! Let's chat about it!

The first delivery was a literal delivery -- the Grant babies are here! They must have some amazing health plan at the Salem PD because Lani went into labor on Christmas Eve and stayed through New Year's Day. I was very jealous. This is the one time you're happy to stay in the hospital. Once they send you home, there's no button you can press for food, meds, ice packs, or someone to come watch the baby for you. It's nuts!

Anyway, I was a little annoyed with how long they drew out naming the babies. And for a second, I was honestly worried Lani would name her daughter after Kristen. But the names and scenes were worth the wait! The look of pride on Abe's face when they told him his grandson's name was Carver was perfect. And while I never pull punches when it comes to Julie, Susan Seaforth Hayes is a legend, and I love it when DAYS names kids after characters who've earned their legacy on the show. So, welcome to the world, Carver Malcom and Julia "Jules" Harriet!

Celebrating a different type of family Christmas, Charlie was still holding Ava hostage, a mission complicated by the fact that Claire's a little needy. Look, Charlie is a dirt bag, but I can't find fault with his story. I felt uncomfortable watching Claire constantly pressure him to let her stay. If I was sick with a stomach bug, I sure wouldn't want my new girlfriend watching me throw up. Also, it's a bit of a sad commentary on Claire's dating history. She thinks a guy who won't kiss her when he's sick is the pinnacle of good guys. (To be fair, her last boyfriend married another woman with Claire's wedding ring while they were together, so maybe I get it.)

We'll get to Charlie in a minute, but I have to acknowledge that Mike Manning is doing some great work here. He turned on the sinister quite well. Note -- Charlie with glasses is good, no glasses = bad. He even adds a little humor to his delivery. I chuckled when Charlie pondered, "Claire thinks I'm a good guy, so I can't exactly kill my mother." Ugh, I hate it when that happens!

As for Charlie himself, at least he's a villain with some backstory and motivation. He's clearly obsessed with and hurt by his mom's preference for Tripp. He also genuinely seems to be smitten with Claire. I don't see anything yet that's going to be enough to keep him around Salem once the truth comes out, but hey, Will just served as the best man at Ben's wedding! Stranger things have happened.

Speaking of strange things, the DiMera Mansion shenanigans were just a whole lot of fun. It almost reminded me of the movie Clue, watching different groups of people interact and sorta, kinda, maybe overhear conversations. And, of course, there's one character smarter than all the others putting pieces together.

And that, my friends, is the Lady Anna DiMera. She is the best Christmas present ever. She got Gwen's number after talking with her for all of seven seconds and continued to detonate truth bombs all over her scenes. She told Abigail to flat-out stop being an idiot when it came to Gwen. And when she marched Abigail upstairs to go through Gwen's things, declaring it "Operation Bad Nanny," I stood and applauded. Anna wins all the things.

The only thing she did wrong was not get to Chad sooner! Instead, that cat self-imploded. Watching Chad (played masterfully by Billy Flynn, no surprise) curl himself up into a softball for Gwen to easily hit out of the park was one of the stranger things I've experienced while watching DAYS. His rant and then decision to beg Gwen to sleep with him was so out of character, it didn't seem real. He accused Abigail of faking mental illness and criticized her for going back to work. This was some utter delusional nonsense but, unfortunately, completely follows the pattern of things falling into Gwen's lap. Even she herself commented that this was too easy with Chad! Yes. Yes, it was!

I hope I'm wrong, but I have a sinking feeling Chad also forgot how to use birth control, too. Please, no. The last thing Gwen needs is another excuse for her reveal to take an additional nine months to play out.

And, despite all that movement, we still don't know why Gwen is doing all of this. And in her stall time, other bad guys are taking up all of the excuses! We've got Charlie acting out because he's jealous of his sibling and furious with a parent. Vincent just got done going mad to avenge the murder of his loved one. And Philip is mixed up with the mob.

Steve's a classier person than I. When he wanted John to put aside John's personal feelings about Tripp and Allie to investigate the case, Steve presented John with a nice bottle of Scotch. I would have gone with, "Look, dude, remember when you drugged and blinded me? You owe me. We're doing this."

Lucas did not have a good week. Besides having to get the talk from Marlena about making good choices, he joined the bandwagon to peddle this story about how Allie is just like Sami because Allie pulled a gun on Tripp. Dang. I really thought Lucas watched the show!

Chloe's had custody of the Salem brain for a while, and she knows how to use it! She correctly asserted that Kristen DiMera would not be thrilled with Brady going out on New Year's Eve with her. (Ding! Ding!) Then, she overheard Philip saying he was laundering money and held his feet to the fire to get him to tell her the truth. Finally, she reminded Philip that she is the shero who managed to off a crime boss by herself. She's a good ally to have.

Poor Will didn't have a great Christmas. He missed his aunt's wedding by two minutes, Sonny couldn't travel with him, and he stopped by to hang his ornament on the Horton tree later than everyone else because...why, again?

Kate and Jake broke up, and I am heartbroken. Wait, actually, no, I'm not. I really don't care. I like Jake, more so Brandan Barash, but Jake and Kate never seemed like a real thing. I know they played it so Kate was "embarrassed" to be "slumming" it with Jake. But I honestly think she just wasn't that into him in general. I mean, he bought her diamonds for Christmas. She got him a tie.

Jack and Jen made up and are back to being the dynamic duo again! Jack's first step was to look at Gwen's not-crazy-at-all collection of Deveraux scrapbook items. I gave John a hard time in the Alex North Memorial Awards, but honestly, Jack and Jen -- two investigative reporters -- didn't spot a fake right under their noses, either.

Jen and Kate had coffee together, which was very strange. These ladies aren't friends. But the low-key powerful moment of the week was when Kate said men like Stefano and Victor could be ruthless in their attempts for power. But as a woman, she had to tread lightly. She's right. And that's not very fair.

Extra Scoops

Anna and Tony back in town is amazing. From their fashion to their morning mimosas, I love every second of them. They're single-handedly responsible for kickstarting Gwen's downfall. It was a complete joy to see Chad and Abigail thrilled to see them. And they didn't sit on their info but went right to Jack with it! These two can do no wrong!

I am starting to wonder if Brady thinks he's dating a different woman. He said Kristen would be just fine with him going to a party with and then kissing his ex-wife on New Year's Eve. Um, yeah, Kristen was the same woman who stole a fetus out of a woman Then, this fool actually said this to Sarah (about Xander): He's a sociopath, and he's a criminal. And if you consider getting back together with him, I'd think you were out of your mind.
Oh, my God, Brady. Kristen is in jail right now because she's a criminal!

Jack: If I'd just come clean from the start...
Xander: Why would anyone do that if they didn't have to?!
Jack: Said one habitual liar sticking up for another.
Xander: Hey! I'm reformed...mostly.
I continue to love Jack and Xander's friendship.

After hearing Scotch is the official drink of Black Patch, my co-writer, Tony, got his application submitted in record time.

In one scene, Abigail told Jen the party starts in an hour. In the very next scene, Sarah tells Philip that it's not too late for him to find someone else to take to the party. Time's weird in Salem.

Brady and Chloe meeting Jake was really fun.

I love how Thaao Penghlis pronounces "Deveraux."

Look, cheating on your wife is bad. But, making your wife handle the morning routine of two toddlers by herself is super unforgivable, Chadsworth.

You know those packets of "Baby's First" stickers? They say things like "Baby's First Christmas," and you put them on the kid for a photo to commemorate the occasion. I'm pretty sure Salem's collection includes "Baby's First Kidnapping."

Getting a girl a Valentine's Day date for Christmas is a very smooth move.

I enjoy the friendship chemistry between Marci Miller and Brandan Barash. Jake/Abigail scenes were a delight!

There's a tiny bit of room for Chad to not have slept with Gwen. Chad doesn't remember the entire night. Gwen's the only witness. And we all know Gwen never lies.

Since the last two columns of the year always cover the best and the worst, we didn't get a chance to scoop the Christmas celebrations! But this year was wonderful! I loved having a whole week devoted to Christmas, and I adored that almost each family got their own celebration!

DiMera: I thought it was cute that Tony and Chad went to see Kristen!

Not so cool that they photoshopped Stacey Haiduck in a photo with Billy and Joe.

Anna having Gwen's number right away was fantastic.

WT actual F was up with Kristen having a fantasy of Maggie being her maid? I'll grant her Victor and Xander, but Maggie hasn't done anything to her. That was ridiculous.

Love the through line that Philip and Sarah were equally excited about Maggie's cookies.

Love that Victor wore a Santa hat for Maggie.

I roared when Victor said, "Absolutely not!" when Chloe walked in, and Chloe just rolled with it.

Yasssss!!!! We got a Shelle wedding!!!

Charlie left to get Champagne for seven people (one who doesn't drink at the moment) and came back carrying a case of booze. I laughed. A lot.

Loved Roman throwing a party at the pub! Caroline would approve!

I thought the Allie/Sami scene was well done. I'm so glad Sami is in the loop, so she can actually drive storyline herself, rather than other people talk about her.

Oh, man, these ornament hangings will always be special. But Bill Hayes and Rob Scott Wilson broke my heart when they tried to hang Ciara's ornament.

I wish Lucas, Will, and Shawn could have joined in!

That's it for the first column of 2021. Tony will be back here next week with the first column for all-new 2021 episodes.

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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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