Every once in a while, a character will get a chance to make a speech, a mission statement, if you will. These kinds of speeches are ones that can come across painfully cheesy if handed to the wrong actors. Lucky for us, the three this week went to the exact right people to deliver them. This is very fortunate because each had to do some very heavy lifting and storyline pivoting.
The first speech went to Brandon Barash's Jake, as the mechanic-turned-CEO confessed his love for Gabi in an aw-shucks-I-love-you speech right out of a romantic comedy. Look, the pacing here is nuts. As Kate herself would point out, this seemed to happen over the course of two days. But this does feel like the direction this storyline was headed. Had Kate gone on that beach vacation, the inevitable breakup would just have been postponed. Jake's been doing right by Kate all along. But he never got Gabi out of his head. Kate was always the one to point that out, too.
And if there's ever a chance for Brandon Barash to unleash his particular brand of charisma, you just get out of his way. Jake was humble yet confident, and oh, my goodness, that tear! Additionally, the confession brought out the vulnerable side of Gabi I'd been missing since Will and Sonny left town. There's a part of Gabi that just so desperately wants to be loved. And unlike a lot of soap characters, she isn't one who gets in the way of her own relationship. I honestly expected Jake to go right back to Kate when she appeared. Good on DAYS for trying something new with Gabi.
The second speech came from Xander Kiriakis, courtesy of worldwide treasure Paul Telfer. As Xander correctly pinpointed Nicole's desire to prove herself to "good guys" (and oh, lord, XanMan, you weren't even around for the insufferable Daniel phase!), it struck me that Xander experiences a certain amount of freedom. Unlike guys like Rafe, no one expects Xander to say the right things. Thus, Xander can drop real, hard truths.
Much as I am a true Ericole fan, even I have to admit that Eric leaving for Africa and then extending his stay...twice...isn't the best thing for him to do to his wife. Nicole's in a bit of a tough spot. Understandably, she doesn't want to demand that she's more important than an entire village of people. But she should be more important than an entire village to her husband. Xander was right when he stated that Mr. Wonderful isn't so hot if he's going to leave Nicole like that.
The final, and for my money, most difficult, speech came from Ava Vitali. It's fine for Rafe and Ava to kiss in the comfort of their own kitchen. But as soon as this pair stepped out into the daylight, someone needed to drag out Ava's past. It's too much to hand-wave off at this point. Of course, it makes sense for that person to be Steve, the man she's directly or indirectly victimized for decades.
Tamara Braun had to deliver the "I want to be a better person" speech and make us believe it, or at least want to believe it. She succeeded with flying colors, and that's to say, she managed to drag Ava juuuuuust across the line into the land of the civilized.
Make no mistake, I'm with Steve. I'm not ready to forget it all. But unlike Ben, Gwen, or Kristen, DAYS didn't give Ava many outs, no big explanation for all her sins. She had to stand up there, look her victim in the face, and say she was flat-out wrong. Period. Furthermore, she's putting in the work to be better. It's not the victim's job to figure out how to deal with the trauma. Ava knows it's her job to overcome it. It's also going to be Ava's job to keep looking radiant in those spectacular red dresses. I wish her luck with it all.
Thank the soap heavens, Paulina is coming back to Salem. I can't wait to see what her real plan is. I'm also in favor of Abe and Paulina. They're where the show hinted at with Kate and Abe, only this pair feels more like it could work. But that's entirely because Paulina doesn't come with the baggage of the audience knowing all about her dating history and already slotting Abe as Roman 2.0.
Sami knows Nicole slept with Xander and is furious that Nicole cheated on Eric. However, Nicole and Sami have the same reason for cheating. Both feel left behind by their partners, yet neither one feels worthy enough to bring up their own needs. They feel the challenges of their partners dwarf their own personal objections. I'm sure once Sami realizes this, she'll embrace Nicole and help her through it. Yup. That's exactly what will happen.
I know we're building up drama for E.J.'s return, but I don't need Lumi as a romantic pair. More so, I want Lucas to have a purpose and storyline of his own that doesn't involve singing backup for Sami Gene. Nothing wrong with my gal Sami, but let's give Lucas a chance to shine on his own.
The second Gabi and Philip opened that box of miniature dresses, I thought, "I'll take that! My daughter would love it!" Then, Gabi threw out the idea that they can sell these as doll couture. I must be their target audience.
I found it odd that when Kate was helpless on the side of the road, she called for Jake, and not her millionaire son with endless resources. Likewise, Lucas told Rafe that Kate wouldn't leave town without saying goodbye to him. I can't help but ache for Kate to weigh in on Chanel's fiscal influence on Allie. This is all to say that the universe has won, and I officially miss Kate being involved with her kids' lives.
Nicole is slowly coming to terms with her feelings for Rafe. To say there are obstacles in their way is an understatement. She's married. He's dating one of her good friends. And don't both Ava and Nicole fill that "reformed bad girl" role here? I'm going to have to watch this one a little more to get a clear opinion here. What do you think?
I tolerated Allie apologizing to Tripp once. I despise Allie groveling repeatedly. To Tripp's endless credit, he doesn't let her engage in that behavior at all. This is because Tripp is the best, and Allie should engage in all the kisses she can with this stellar fella. But I'm irritated with the show for constantly having her go there. As he should have, Tripp's been made whole. He's in medical school. His mom, dad, stepmom, stepsiblings, and new nephew gave him the family he never had growing up. Allie's still a rape survivor. Allie's the victim. Tripp is not. He'd be the first to tell anyone that, too. Let's be like Tripp, DAYS.
Raise those shots of ouzo, glasses of limoncello, and Brady pub beers! DAYS got renewed for two more years!
That dolt Brady woke up from surgery, knowing Kristen had convinced Susan to go to jail, and still wanted to defend Kristen. "She's desperate. She did this for me." Yada, yada, nope. She's attacked and kidnapped five people, impersonated two of them, ruined two relationships, and has a woman in her trunk. I hope that when he sees all the evidence against her, he'll finally kick her to the curb. If not, Tony and I are throwing out the rules for the "Worst of DAYS" column at the end of the year to allow a character to win more than one award. Brady's getting a truckload.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Gabi: "I believe in making your own fairy tale. Just because the prince gets top billing, doesn't mean you only get one true love."
Gabi does a lot of shady things, but I'm here for the girl power in this statement.
Why is it so dark in Salem?! So many scenes look like they take place in a blackout.
Not DAYS related, but Nikki Taylor's ad for "simply ageless" (which airs on loop when you watch DAYS in the app) just solidifies the fact that people who are genetically blessed in their 20s experience that same privilege on their 40s.
I can see why Paulina wouldn't text or call if she's busy. She strikes me as someone who works 28 hours a day when she's on a project.
I love how Auntie P is so rich she wears the gem of the ocean around her neck.
How would you sell a diamond ring in person without seeming like you're proposing? Is there a way to present a ring to someone without it looking that way?
Jake and Gabi did some real acrobatics getting up those same stairs Gwen found so tricky. These two have some amazing balance and athletic coordination.
Is it me, or do all the phones in Salem look small?
Claire may have led a sheltered life. She mostly grew up on the Fancy Face IV. Population: 3.
Has it really been 15 years since Stan? That means Alison Sweeney's son is a teenager now, as Stan was Ali's first maternity leave storyline, and I just can't believe any of us are that old! (Myself included!)
Who is watching Rachel? She has to be having the worst birthday ever.
Sami legitimately drew the line at doing something that would cause Kate harm. She even said she liked Kate! This is something worth documenting, as 90s Sami's head is spinning. You never know what the future holds, kids.
As much as he jokes, Xander probably isn't Nicole's favorite ex-husband. But who is? Lucas?
Kayla (about Brady): "Pupils are even, so no brain injury."
Me: Are you sure, Kayla?
That's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to make sure Brady has a full report of Kristen's shenanigans -- in spreadsheet form, color coded, and itemized. Our guy is up for the challenge.
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