We celebrated two of the true gentlemen of DAYS this week -- Abe Carver, played by James Reynolds, and Tony DiMera, played by Thaao Phenglis. They've spent 40 years with us. We have an endless amount of gratitude for them. We'll get to the actors in a bit, but their characters represent two wonderfully well-upholstered spots in DAYS history.
Abe Carver is one of my favorite DAYS characters. He's constant. He's solid. He's supportive. Tom Horton was the Abe Carver of previous years. He commands respect without dictating or demanding it. I can't think of any storyline where I thought, "You know, we really don't need Abe here. He can find something else to do." I do wish he'd gotten a chance to lead more storylines than react to them. But I'm so happy to see him on-screen. His emotions seem more measured, weighted, and perhaps that's what makes them resonate with viewers more. If Abe is angry at you, you probably done messed up.
That's why it makes me so mad they retconned history and made Lani as Paulina's daughter, which will blow up Abe's life.
Or will it?
The flashbacks chosen for Abe were interesting. I figured we'd get the flashback of Lexie's death scene -- which was still as utterly heart-wrenching as it was the first time. But they included the scene where Abe absolutely eviscerated Lexie for her role in the baby swap -- a sentiment that wasn't misguided, but definitely overshot. Lost in all that shame Abe hurled was the true compassion for a woman who had lost a baby and was scared/devastated.
This sets the table nicely for Abe to be in a position to forgive Paulina for what she did as a scared/devastated pregnant woman. Abe actively wished he'd handled that situation better with Lexie. He'll get his chance at a redo sooner than he thinks.
Then, there's Tony. My goodness, if there's ever a soap character I wanted to have a glass of wine with and have him tell me stories about his life, it's Tony. Yes, it's partially because we'd be dressed in impeccable wardrobe, at a fine establishment, and drinking the best wine. But there's something about the presence of this character that oozes class without being stuffy. Gilligan's Island had Thurston and Lovey Howell. We have Tony and Anna DiMera. And I'm so glad we do!
Tony and Anna talked about getting roles in Johnny's movie. (Okay, I still shake my head at the privilege of this whole thing -- a movie filmed on a smartphone, directed by a first-time director, starring a bunch of people who aren't actors. Literally, the most qualified thing in this production is the phone.) But their excitement in showcasing Tony's passion and heart as a man truly motivated by love was both aspirational and relatable, as Tony never looks at Anna these days with anything less than adoration.
Cheers to both of these characters for bringing us up over the last 40 years. It would have been hell without them.
Speaking of hell... (collective groan at my transition, it's warranted)
John figured out the devil stole his bae! This whole scene was equal parts ridiculous and marvelous. I loved the effect of the spinning cross, the boiling holy water, and the pop-up MarDevil all over the church. Normally, I'd wonder how a woman in heels could drag a man across town, but you know what, the devil can do this. I buy it.
It was a delicious walk through history when MarDevil outlined all the chances he thought he had to get back in -- when Marlena was the Salem Stalker and then when John "died" and came back as RoboJohn. It never quite worked out. We didn't get much explanation as to how the devil managed to possess Doug, but we got confirmation from another character that Doug was the conduit and should not be locked up in Bayview.
The confrontation scene was wonderful. Though I have to say that I don't think the devil would hurt Marlena, as he threatened. Marlena is his vessel to Ben.
I liked that Ben is remembering the main Jordan the audience knew -- the kind, protective big sister who got him away from Clyde. I wasn't a fan of the last little storyline she had in Salem. Also, if Ben is that worried about a kid getting the short end of the gene pool, he may want to go check on his nephew, David. The kid has Jordan for a mom and Christian for a dad. His grandfathers are Clyde and Orpheus.
Anyway, Ben better figure that out soon, since Ciara's got a Cin-o-bun in the oven. The timing is interesting to me. Even by soap timelines, it will be months before we meet this little sweetie. Considering John knows Marlena is possessed, how is this going to work? He can't stay chained up in the crypt for multiple trimesters, can he?
Jake told Rafe the truth about how Abe got shot. I'm not sure why he didn't do that from the beginning, but it's out there. The evidence will back him up, and he and Gabi will be off on their merry way.
Philip and Ava, on the other hand, have to deal with Carmine. I don't want Ava to go full-on mental crazy lady again, but, man, I loved seeing her back in this boss lady element. I wouldn't mind seeing her go "straight" in the same way Victor is. He has his Maggie by his side and chuckles when he sees Ciara or Claire. But cross him, and he's still got it. I also wouldn't mind seeing Philip and Ava spend more time together in general.
Nicole is no dummy. As soon as she realized E.J. got her takeout pizza and started talking about betrayal, she knew he'd figured out what had happened with his phone. I loved Nicole giving E.J. the business right back about what a hosebeast his sister is. Nicole's not sorry -- and shouldn't be -- about anything she does to help bring down Kristen. E.J. backed off fairly quickly, probably because he couldn't make a case for why Nicole should defend Kristen. And that's because there is no case. Kristen saved E.J.'s life, so he owes her. Nicole owes Kristen nothing but revenge.
I thought Brandon lived in South Africa. To my recollection, he either relocated there when Theo was recovering from getting shot, or he already lived there and that's why Theo chose the recovery facility there. So, couldn't he have gotten on that plane to Salem with Theo? Not only does Nicole need her brother right now, but it wouldn't hurt for Chloe to have a romantic option that isn't Philip or Brady.
Look, both Philip and Brady are legacy kids, so I appreciate them being on-screen. But this triangle isn't bringing out the best of either of them right now. Philip has absolutely no chill and is one step away from urinating in a circle around Chloe to mark his territory. However, Brady is very slimy when it comes to Chloe. He can claim the high ground here because he hasn't been physically intimate with Chloe. But he relishes the level of historical intimacy they have and uses it to invite her to live with him, reminisce with her about when they were married, and think nothing of accompanying her to her hotel room to carry her bags -- an establishment where they literally pay people to help others with their bags.
Oh, good. Kristen is back. Maybe it's because I deal with constant arguments in my personal life between my kids about who got more raisins or who gets to get out of the car first because (insert life grievance here) isn't fair! But Kristen and her "it's not my fault" self exhausts me. Everyone is out to get her. Everyone is trying to take away her rights. Everyone is being unfair to her!
I was so glad Steve stopped her from kidnapping Rachel. And I was thrilled when Brady didn't give in to her and showed her the door again. I was hard on Brady earlier, but I do feel bad for him being the one to have to explain to his daughter why mommy is always away. When you equate what she's done with what she's expecting other characters to feel for her, Kristen might be the most delusional character ever in Salem.
I'm all here for Abigail getting access to Synder's office. But this storyline has taken so long to come out that the stakes are different now. Gwen's life won't be ruined because, at the very least, Xander knows the truth and still adores her. It would be good for Abigail and Chad to have their consciences cleared, and no, I can't believe I typed that sentence, considering how they both have a summer home on the peak of Mt. Superior. But I wonder what Abigail will do with the truth when it comes to Jack. Will she keep the secret to protect Jack? It would be very interesting to see Jack respond to someone keeping something from him in the name of protecting him.
After the brief disappointment that Renee Jones was unable to return to her role as Lexie, we got the beautiful scene where Sir James Reynolds put on a master class on how to command a stage. While he had another actress on stage with him, we never saw her face. Thus, his entire episode was an extended monologue -- all up to James Reynold to bring it home. And boy, did he. This was such an impressive display of talent. The flashbacks reminded us of how cutting James can be with betrayal, and yet the Heaven montage showed us how tender James can be with so little action. There were no other actors, there were no other huge set pieces. It was just James, emoting to the audience at home. Bravo, my good sir. Bravo.
In equal displays of affection, I have to salute Thaao Penghlis. He exemplifies posh meets heart -- and displays them in a DiMera* we want to root for. Thaao threads that delicate needle of debutant meets misfit, which is probably why we were blessed (stay out of this, MarDevil!) with this talented thespian playing both the hero, Tony, and the villain twin, Andre.
*He's not a biological DiMera but was still raised by Stefano and is thus kind of the same DiMera as Kristen or Peter, IMO.
Oh, goodness, John Roman. Good.Ness. I read that there was a scene in the original possession storyline where John set a trap for the person vandalizing the town. MarDevil walks right into the trap. John grabs her, spins her around, looks at her, and says something like, "Marlena!? What are you doing here? We're trying to catch a criminal!" I can only assume Johnny catching MarDevil walking out of the DiMera crypt, on Halloween night, dressed like the devil, and not suspecting anything wrong was a nod to the original story's original bonehead move.
NOT Part 2
Hang on just a minute. Did Carmine hurt Henderson? If so, you won't need to look far for the person who teaches Carmine a lesson. That's me! That man works hard and gets so little respect. Back off, Carmine!
LINE OF THE WEEK:
John (in a prayer(?)): "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, knock it off!"
This line is only made better by the "put-'em-up" stance John took at the end of saying it.
LINE OF THE WEAK:
Nicole (about EJ): "Maybe I can love him again"
I loved Nicole's hair this week.
Can we get Rafe a bigger notebook?
I wish Brandon would have called Nicole to tell her about Abe. I don't like that she had to read the news in the paper and then call the hospital for details.
It was nice to see Philip out of a suit and in casual clothes.
Ha! E.J. practicing the John Black eyebrow thing was funny!
I like how the audio team makes the devil's voice still have the cadence of whoever he's possessing.
Can we talk about the pressure Abe must have been under to select an engagement ring? I mean, this woman just had one of the Peacock jewels as part of her private collection.
Parker and Tate need to come back to Salem. Holly and Rachel need to spend time with their brothers. Plus, think how fun "Take Your Kid to Work Day" would be at Basic Black!
If E.J. is so worried about Rachel, why hasn't he made any attempt to see her?
Hat tip to the makeup team. MarDevil looked creature-like this week!
I didn't mind Lucas sticking up for his brother. Brady can deflect that all he wants, but Lucas' intentions there were truly good.
I'm pretty sure Salem P.D. can't just walk into an active operating room unless that's just Eli's standard response to everything. "Sir, you're going to need to wait in line to check out your purchases." "I'm Salem P.D.!"
If Kristen was off the grid, how did she get a message? Did someone send her a raven?
Ben and Ciara are at that relationship stage where they're dressing alike.
Good for Ciara for keeping track of her cycle through all the imprisonments. They must have let her have a smartphone because no woman keeps that on a calendar. Those things go every four weeks. Months do not. Check a calendar, fellas. It will blow your mind.
Kudos to Steve for keeping cool in front of Rachel and understanding that a lot of things shouldn't be said in front of a preschooler.
How exactly did Gwen insist on seeing Xander? Can prisoners do that? If so, her second move is to insist on a bed in her cell, like the boys have. The ladies get wooden benches. The patriarchy is real.
Philip did win a few points for knowing where to get good fried chicken.
Abigail's costume was amazing. That collar!
Nicole, I love you, but is E.J. really the guy with whom you want to be pondering the improbability of someone getting shot in the park, point-blank? E.J. was shot in the park, point-blank!
What kind of magical fairy dust does Martha Madison use each morning? She looked stunning this week. I also need to know where to buy that amazing purple wrap dress.
That's it for this week, dear ghosts and goblins. Tony will be back next week to see what all goes bump in the night.
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