Oh, Auntie P. She really stepped in it. In true Salem party fashion, a big secret came out in front of all the important people. Paulina's plan this whole time has been to wreck the Horton Town Square and replace it with a mega-mart-type store called "Price Town." This particular blend of nonsense garnered her an audience with Abe Carver's mean face -- literally the scariest thing in all of soapdom.
No one was thrilled with this idea. Not the niece who knew this move would denigrate her children's legacy. Not the boyfriend/mayor (or, you know, all of us) who fully bought into the idea of more diverse business owners being a great idea for Salem. And definitely not the daughter who thought she was going to be one of those business owners.
Paulina's only saving grace was she's played by Jackée Harry, who is biologically hard to stay upset with. Paulina's story about how she survived an abusive relationship to learn that she could (and should) make her own money and way was inspiring. But, like Abe, while I found my heart going out to her, I didn't think that was an excuse for what she did. What I got from her story was that Paulina appreciates good people when she meets them -- in part because she knows evil ones and in part because she's been loved by some of the best. The way she spoke about Chanel's late father was touching. It shows Paulina has compassion. So, that leaves me wondering all the more why our fair Salemites didn't trigger that in her. I refuse to believe anything was "too far down the line" for the fabulous Paulina to stop it.
Across town, Team DiMera was a musical game of "who has the letter?" Kristen called E.J. to tell him she sent him a letter to tell him something, which is a clear indication that Kristen doesn't really understand how phones work. Gabi picked up the letter by mistake and put the kibosh on Jake's plan to use it against E.J.
We'll get to Gabi's part later, but Jake needs to step up his scheming game. His whole plan was to make E.J. feel bad. It would have, at least until Sami explained. But it wouldn't have gotten Jake any closer to getting the company back. Come on, Jake. Eye on the prize, my man.
Speaking of schemers a little off, what's up with Sami? First, she thought the only way to destroy the letter was to burn it in the fireplace in the middle of the living room. I'm a thousand percent certain there's a paper shredder in the DiMera mansion. There are probably at least seven other fireplaces that are more private, as well.
Then, she left the letter unattended! Anyone could have walked in and noticed the letter, especially since it wasn't even wadded up. It was in plain view, draped over the log.
Finally, could she stare at that match any longer? Light that sucker up, Sammers! Sheesh! All this is to say I'm not at all surprised that someone took the letter. But who has it now? The only person we know it wasn't is Johnny. Could E.J. have taken it? Did Jake change his mind and grab it? How about Lucas? Did Chad take it to get an edge on E.J.? Was it Nicole continuing her focused quest to prove Xander's hypothesis? What's your guess?
Jack questioned both Gwen and Xander about their terrible lying skills...err...their knowledge of Snyder's death. This led to Gwen and Xander in a lip-lock, which, sure. We all saw this coming. (Jack had left the room at this point, otherwise it might have been really awkward.) I'm not sold on these two, but if anyone can make me do something resembling liking Gwen, it's Xander. Still, I have a hard time accepting the fact that Xander knows Gwen hurt Jack so badly by driving Abigail out of town and is still okay with her. Bottom line, I'm more a Jander fan than I am a Gander fan.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Brady's confession of feelings came a little out of nowhere. I didn't buy his story about how he'd been pushing down his feelings for Chloe out of some sort of "duty" to the mother of his child, nor do I have any sympathy for him when it comes to this epiphany over who Kristen really is. This woman raped his brother. This is not a secret. Literally, it was caught on tape and played to a church full of people. Brady being shocked by a vandalized photo just seems standard for Brady, yet still classically head-slapping for the Bradster.
Amen to Claire's line, "I'm so damn sick of being Ciara's punching bag." Yaaassss! This attitude from Ciara is maddening. If Ciara really thought Claire to be a mortal threat, Ciara wouldn't be making mean girl jokes about matches. And, really, if you put a father in a position to pick between anyone and his child...guess which one he's going to pick?
Ben's instincts aren't wrong when it comes to fighting for Ciara. But he needs to find another gear other than "Panic Pleading/Threatening" when it comes to making his case. I loved Marlena opening up to him about being in his same position. Marlena didn't give up on RoboJohn, but she kept after him in a much more paced and, frankly, less crazy pants way. Listen to doc, Ben. She knows the way.
I loved Gabi coming to Sami with the Kristen letter. First, boo on Kristen for judging someone else's marriage. Not that I'm totally excusing Sami for straying, but the life of a caregiver is exhausting. Add on top of it, I'm here for Gabi remembering what Sami did for her as well as Will and Arianna. This is one relationship -- like Kate and Chad -- that I'd love to see turn into a family that selects each other.
Someone needs to check on Theo. First, what the hell, man? Did you think it was a cool idea to crash your sister's anniversary party with the news that you're engaged? Yeah, it's not! That's her party.
Second, as evident by everyone's tempered excitement to the news, the pace at which Theo proposed feels creepy, if not downright exploitative. Ciara literally got out of her hospital bed and into a relationship with Theo. He doesn't seem worried at all that she's missing part of her memory.
Finally, that leads me to my last point. Last we saw, he was totally cool with Claire. That time she kissed him, he treated her with kindness and respect. Why isn't Theo stepping in and telling Ciara that Claire is better? It seems like if he did that, he'd risk Ciara remembering other parts of her missing memory, and Theo doesn't want that. It feels like Claire is collateral damage in this whole thing, and Theo is just fine with that.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Roman: "You let your kids think you were blind and had amnesia!
Kate: "I said I was sorry."
I find it fitting they still have to put Alison Sweeney in wedges to match up in height to any actor playing E.J.
It's clear Rafe and Ava won't last. Any one for Ava and Lucas?
I chuckled when Sami lamented, "Who redecorates this whole place and then doesn't put matches where they belong?"
Did you know that if you mistype "Abe," it spells "Bae"? Well done, universe.
Speaking of RoboJohn, have John and Ava run into each other yet? That will be a fun one to explain to Rafe.
That's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to make sure that these schemers use proper time management skills going forward. He's got a stopwatch and a spreadsheet ready!
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