We'll get to Ciara in a minute, but it appears that she's not the only one with short-term amnesia. As I watched scenes that were supposed to be in the Kiriakis and DiMera "mansions," I couldn't help but wonder, "What's going on here? This isn't how they looked last time I saw them! What year is it?"
I don't mind sets being refreshed. I liked the look both Abigail and Maggie gave to the DiMera and Kiriakis mansions, respectively, a while ago. That involved some new sofas and accent pieces. But these two massive overhauls for the Kiriakis and DiMera mansions were a little jarring. The Kiriakis mansion looks like it got blasted into the past. I guess some space had to be made for Charlie's crime scene, err, apartment. But this tiny Kiriakis study looks aged, confusing, and cluttered. I hope we get the regular living room back soon.
As for the DiMera mansion, the color scheme is fresh. I do like that! I'm so glad the Stefano portrait made the move. Still, for the family with more on-screen siblings right now than any other family, it seems like their new space could use a few more of these portraits. Are you telling me Anna didn't have one of those commissioned of her and Tony? What about a painting of young master Thomas and mistress Charlotte? And Gabi must have a portrait of herself looking fierce somewhere! Let's lean into this campy family tradition, team DiMera!
Now that the décor commentary is out of the way, let's have a wedding! We got to start with one of my favorite pairs, Jack and Xander. Julie got all pearl-clutchy over a topless Xander sleeping on "her" couch and screeched him out of the room. Luckily, Jack was there to back him up. The fact that Xander's best friend is an investigative reporter who also happens to have personal experience with being held hostage is going to serve him so well in the future, if the show is smart enough to play that card. We shall have to wait and see.
Across town in a wine cellar near and dear to our hearts, Sarah was having none of Kristen's nonsense. I really enjoyed Sarah being more annoyed than anything with Kristen's behavior. I laughed when she accused Kristen of having poor impulse control. Sarah clearly has some guts to throw Haley Chen in Kristin's face. But that just pushed Kirsten to counter with a threat to send Sarah to Tony DiMera Island -- a place I'm sure is still inhabited by one if not two Tony offsprings, right? Anyway, Sarah correctly stated that Xander wouldn't stop looking for her, which made Kristen do something that sent me down to my own wine cellar for my own three bottles.
I still don't know how time works in Salem, but this feat was especially baffling. In what appeared to be just an hour or so, Kristen snatched Sarah's wedding dress, made a quick visit to Dr. Rolf, and had a Sarah mask/voice box whipped up. Or did she learn how to make these masks herself from spending time with Dr. Rolf? Or does she have masks for women in town who could slightly pass for her own body type? (Look out, Ava! You're next!)
It all makes me wonder who in the world would be dumb enough to fall for this! Oh, gawd. I forgot Rex was in town. Yes, big, dumb Rex fell for the delusions of happily ever after with "Sarah." Did the show really need to have Kristen sexually assault another victim over the threat of losing Brady? No. But we'll talk about that later.
Xander caught the two of them in bed. He did point out some very strange inconsistencies with her story. But, eventually, he returned home, heartbroken. Sarah tried to stab Kristen with the syringe, which I don't think will end well for Sarah next week. Still, I have a hard time feeling this thing is over. Lindsey Godfrey did confirm she's leaving DAYS soon. But -- but -- I can't shake the feeling that was just like how Stacy Haiduk, Galen Gering, and Camila Banus all "left DAYS" recently. There's a lot unfinished here. You don't just vanish Maggie's daughter into thin air and expect Victor to let you get away with it.
Speaking of not getting away with crimes, we got progress in the Charlie murder! First of all, Alison Sweeney and Bryan Dattilo have reached my-favorite-sweatpants level of adoration when it comes to what pairings I love to watch on DAYS. These two are so fantastic together that I never have to worry about whether I'll enjoy their scenes.
Second, we know for sure Sami didn't kill Charlie. He was dead when she got there. (Hat tip to Alison Sweeney for playing that range of emotion at Charlie's apartment with no dialogue to say at all.) Sure, it's a little dark that Sami put a bullet in a dead man, but I sorta get it. Lucas did, too. Sami is very worried that Allie may have been the real shooter and is willing to go to jail for her. I loved Sami bringing up that Lucas went to jail for Will, and she was willing to do the same for Allie. Excellent use of history there! Plus, this move would be an easy way to keep Sami on-screen for a while without the cloud of "where's E.J.?" hanging over her storyline.
And Sami isn't the only one thinking down the Allie way. Claire, Rafe, and Kate all flashed back to Allie sounding very guilty. I tend to not think it's Allie, either, mainly because there's some unexplored potential between Allie and Tripp. Although, look, if they do a storyline where an exhausted mother living with two toddlers commits murder out of a sleep-deprived stupor, I would buy every last word of it!
Finally, Rafe is so connected to every suspect here that he's netted out into a neutral position. He's got to know that his ex Kate is telling the truth because she willingly handed over the gun case and combination. He's already making decisions on Allie's behalf for what he thinks would be best for her. And he's the alibi witness for his roommate/other suspect in this story. I don't know why, but I trust Rafe to solve this case.
And why wouldn't I? It's a season for believing in miracles in Salem. Ciara is awake and alive! Okay, sure, she has a very specific type of amnesia that makes her forget everything from roughly 2018 to 2021. Who wouldn't take that deal right now? Ha! Kidding. This means Ciara is back to hating Claire, and the whole Cin thing never happened. Good think Kayla had so much experience giving Aunt Kayla speeches, because she had to give the Aunt-iest Kayla speeches ever. She had to calm Ciara down from thinking a serial killer came to pay her a visit. This is why Kayla is the best.
Also, maybe I'm just a sucker to have them playing a real scene rather than vision book clubs, but Victoria Konefal and Rob Scott Wilson were amazing in the scene where Ciara saw Ben again. Ciara's terror -- not just fear, but trembling terror -- was palpable. And then, when Ben covered his face with his left hand, which still sported a wedding ring, and sobbed, all of the eye-rolling I had about having to watch this pair fall in love again kind of went away.
Sometimes, it's okay to watch a repeat performance from a champion team. You know how at the end of the summer Olympics, the gymnasts will often do an exhibition or repeat of their same routine? The ending's already determined. We know who won. But it's still amazing to see them do the routine. That's how I feel about these two actors getting to play their original characters again.
Gabi moved back into the mansion because no one in the world has any idea who still owns that place. It's all to stir up Kate and Jake, which is the same place this storyline has been for a while. I say throw Ava or Philip into this mix to at least get things moving in a direction again. Ava said she cut all ties with her family, so she's looking for a job!
Additionally, Camila Banus owns and works the soap diva role traditionally reserved for women older than she. However, the character of Gabi was always much more nuanced, having tender scenes with Wilson, Ari, or Rafe. But now, she just seems to be one note, and it's a very, very loud one. I mean, she called Ava a mafia princess while she herself insists on carrying around the DiMera last name. She throws ageists remarks at Kate any chance she gets, which seems beneath her, if for no other reason than Gabi is more cunning than that.
Jack told Julie that Ciara was alive, but they should wait to tell Doug until Ciara was successfully out of surgery. Sure. Because if there's one thing Julie can do, it's keep her mouth shut.
When Gwen said she dropped this vendetta against Abigail, I grabbed Ben's oxygen mask so I could recover from laughing so hard. The only reason she "dropped" it was because Gwen got everything she wanted! Her plan was over! Gwen is an emotional assassin and needs to be stopped. I appreciated Chad's plea to Abigail to get help, and the irony of a DiMera pleading with a Horton to figure out a way to deal with a need for revenge and become a better person was not lost on me. Still, Gwen has gained everything she wanted (Abigail's life is crushed) and then some (Jack loves her!) for her inappropriate targeting of Abigail. That's not the way soap justice works.
There's a lot of talk about tracking down Hope. Now that Ciara is alive and back in Salem, I don't know how they keep Detective Hope Brady from finding out and coming home, even if it's just to take Ciara for help and to say a proper goodbye to Salem.
I don't know how long Victoria is staying on DAYS. (I fully support her choice to pursue whatever career options she wants.) And I don't know if the show would be open to a recast. Though I couldn't help but notice as Billy Flynn and Killer Miller tore into their brilliant scenes, nor how Martha Madison and Brandon Beemer ooze delight, that the idea of recasting one half of a budding supercouple isn't unheard of in Salem.
Marlena. Sided. With. Sami. Over. Belle. Whaaaat? I had to rewind the scene where Marlena asked Belle why she threw Sami to the dogs at least three times. Then, I texted Tony to make sure he'd seen the same thing. Sure, Belle has reason to be furious with Sami over Jan. But Belle also knows with acute precision -- literally more so than anyone else in Salem -- what it feels like to have your daughter caught in Charlie Dale's web, and I'm shocked that feeling doesn't override the Jan debacle.
Someone stop the Kristen train. I want off. You can keep the rest of my ticket money. I don't even want a refund. I just want off. The mask thing again is annoying. But the motivation is worse. Here's a woman who hangs her whole soul redemption on being a grieving mother who thought her child was gone. Yet, Sarah really was the one who lost her daughter. And Kristen taunts Sarah with the plan to use the pain of Sarah's dead child to break up with Xander. This is so utterly disgusting and profoundly sociopathic of Kristen to do. And, for me, Kristen isn't a tortured or beloved enough character to keep messing up this much and be forgiven.
No doubt, that's a very tough needle to thread. Nicole did it. Jack's done it. Sami's done it at times with certain people. But here we are on Kristen's third sexual assault victim, and all I can do is hope that maybe, just maybe, this time she's stepped too far over the line for Brady, Lani, Marlena, John, and all the other people in her corner to stop propping her and let her pay an actual consequence. I cringed when she gloated to Sarah about wearing the Nicole mask: "Brady had no clue, not even in bed." Yikes. At its worst, that's an admission of rape. At its best, that's someone pretending to brag about rape. Again, I repeat, yikes!
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Sarah: "Scruples? Meh, they're overrated. I can give up a few."
Lindsey Godfrey's rapid-fire delivery of this line made me laugh, a much-needed break in the aforementioned wave of tough Kristen lines.
It's been a minute since I watched it, but I don't know if Ciara is comparable to Alice in Wonderland. Then again, I have a feeling that may be one of those childhood movies I'll watch as an adult and wonder why in the world I never found it scary as a child. (Other options: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Return to Oz)
Marlena and Ben are becoming my new favorite "Kate and Chad," a pair that look out for each other, even though they share no blood.
I love Shawn's robe and slippers as part of his hospital get-up.
Good thing soaps have a well-established trope of calling people in the other room or other country. It comes in well during the pandemic.
Who looked more amazing -- Sami after a ten-hour plane right or Kayla after an all-night surgery?
Hey! There were a few extras in the Town Square scene! Hope for the future!
Why was Bonnie wearing Wilma Flintstone's necklace?
I giggled when Sarah yelled, "Doesn't anyone need a bottle of wine?"
Excuse me, Rafe, but we all know there will be no fingerprints on that case. Harold and Mary are way too good at their jobs.
No one does an eye-roll quite like Lindsey Godfrey.
I think Kate and Rex were wearing jackets with matching patterns.
I'm with you, Ava. Everything bagels are the best. Did you all know they make everything bagel seasoning? It's amazing on Laughing Cow Cheese or hummus. Apply to celery sticks or pretzel thins, respectively.
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