The cast changes continued at warp speed this week. We said goodbye to Rex, Chloe, Philip, and Shawn. I suspect Belle will soon follow, which makes me wonder what this writing team has against the Last Blast crowd.
We'll start with the good news. Rarely does the fool win the tournament, but in this case, Rex is coming out victorious. He's free from Sarah and going back to Chicago to -- if memory serves me right -- a very successful research project. That sound of joy that Kate made upon hearing the news was delightful.
I don't know if it's because I'm a mom now, but I agree with Kate more and more when it comes to her sons. She got it wrong decades ago with Austin and Lucas. She meddled way too much. But she's right about Philip and Rex when it comes to the respective objects of their affection. At least Rex listened to Kate.
That's not to say that Chloe will be as reckless with Philip as Sarah was with Rex. But Philip makes terrible choices when it comes to Chloe, and those choices often end up hurting other people. Moving to New York with her is a head-slapping move for him.
It makes sense for Chloe, though. If she's not going to be in Salem, being with her son and mom is where she should be. I just hope she doesn't stay away long.
Brady and Chloe's goodbye scene was very touching. I had to laugh at Brady's shock when he heard Chloe was moving to New York at the same time as Philip. You know it's bad when Brady "Love of My Life" Black questions the speed at which someone else moves on between relationships. But Brady was so sweet to say that Chloe is his first love and that he never will get over her. Aww!!
And that's where the good news sort of ran out because -- my, oh my -- did the writers do Shelle dirty. Shawn decided to leave for an outpatient rehab facility in the same undisclosed location where Bo is rehabbing and, apparently, Hope, Ben, Ciara, Baby Bo, and the not-yet-born daughter live. For an undisclosed location, it apparently has a robust real estate market.
I digress. Shawn opted to leave without Belle, which is downright baffling. Belle walked down her cheating past -- which Belle needs to own, and I think for the most part, she did. But this whole exit feels rushed. Shawn's core problem wasn't his marriage; it was his drinking. As selfish as Belle has been in the past, she wasn't here. And I can't say I'd blame her if she decided to move on. She's "moved on" for lesser reasons before. (Ay-oooo!)
All of those exits made room for two new faces -- welcome to Salem, SORASed Tate and Holly! We're so glad you guys landed on the mothership.
Jamie Martin Man made his debut as a teenage (sure) Tate Black. Tate's been dragged back from boarding school because he got kicked out for causing $50,000 in damage to his dorm. Whoopsie! Brady insists that Tate is going to get a job, and I hope this is true. He'll need a ton of cash and some more real-world experience if he thinks that he'll be able to keep up with one Holly Jonas.
Yes, Holly appeared from the shadows. Technically, she's been in Salem this whole time, living at the mansion, smoking pot, and falling in love with the not-age-appropriate Johnny DiMera. There's so much good stuff to unpack here with Holly in town. I can't wait.
First, Chanel took less than a second to size up Holly and is actually very gracious with her. I don't expect that to last long, as Chanel doesn't play games. She's also got to be able to smell her own, as Holly reminds me a ton of entitled, scheming Chanel when Chanel first came to Salem.
Second, my goodness, Holly here at this age and with this temperament sets up the storyline that we've been waiting to see for years. Nicole and Eric will find their way back together eventually. Holly's bonded with Eric already. So, what will happen when Holly learns that Eric killed her father?
The third character to debut in Salem this week was Konstantin. He brought Maggie a photo album of baby Victor as repayment for a debt Victor would never take actual money or free meals for. I love this note about Victor's past, and that makes me really hope that Konstantin isn't a villain.
Well, that and because Maggie doesn't need any more trouble right now. Maggie did a gracious job of relaying the news to Justin about how Alex treated her at the office. She was more than happy to welcome Justin and Bonnie back to the house and tried convincing him that nothing will ever change between him and Alex.
Now that the shock has worn off a bit from the Alex reveal, I find myself confused as to why 1) no one thought to do a DNA test and 2) no one is questioning why Victor would willingly allow another son to grow up not knowing the truth when he always regretted the time he didn't get with Bo. Then again, it's extremely plausible that Victor took one look at grown-up Alex and thought, "Meh, I'm good."
It truly does take a man as good as Justin to like Alex. Justin showed up at Alex's apartment to make sure Alex knows he's still Justin's son in every way that counts. Alex said he felt the same way and assured Justin that he wasn't turning into Scrooge McDuck, despite the abysmal way he treated Maggie. "I'm still me," Alex threatened. Godspeed, Justin.
At least the writing for Harris has been a lot better lately. The self-awareness of what he did to Hope helps a lot. I prefer him around the other Salemites more than I do around Ava. Truth is, we need to connect Ava back to the mob. I don't need her trafficking drugs or anything, but I would like her to have her money back and at least carry the threat of hurting people who cross her. Having her depend on a fella doesn't float my boat.
It's been so long since we checked in with Abe that I forgot he still has amnesia. It's really sweet how nervous Paulina was about their date. And Nicole and Abe's scene where they sort of reconnected was touching to watch. Nicole's heartbreak was palpable when she realized that he doesn't have his memory back yet. Here's hoping those pork chops do the trick!
Susan's return to Salem has been absolutely adorable. Johnny running into her arms was delightful. Her sensing that Nicole's baby isn't a Banks was right on. And her happiness for E.J.'s engagement was very sweet. I know she's got to head back to Roger, but I really did enjoy the family unit of Nicole, E.J., Johnny, and Susan.
While E.J. may have given up his quest to exact revenge on Xander and Ava (no!! E.J. in Ava's orbit is great!), he kept mentioning the man who dragged Susan into captivity. Cut to a shot of a man's arm holding a tablet. The hand is of an older man, and the arm is a standard-issue Statesville chambray shirt. This means it's either Orpheus or Clyde. Of the two, Clyde has the connection to E.J.
Stephanie and Chad had that awkward run-in a few weeks ago where he caught her saying that she wants to marry Chad. She meant it, although she's walked back that sentiment just a bit so as not to freak out a freaked-out Chad. Which will, no doubt, open the door for someone else who will give Stephanie the validation she wants.
Chad may be hesitant to get married again so soon after Abigail died. However, I'd have an easier time buying that argument if he didn't move his kids into the apartment with Stephanie. Chad saying "we haven't been together that long" is kind of weak when referencing the woman who has been putting his kids to bed every night.
How does Sloan not know what happened with Sarah keeping Mickey from Eric? That seems to be something they'd have talked about before they decided to get engaged and petition to adopt a child. It's almost like this relationship is rushed or something like that.
Kate's completely accurate take-down of the Salem P.D. was spectacular. When she got to the part about how Jada was the only competent one on the force, I stood up in my living room to applaud.
My neck still hurts from the whiplash, hearing Sarah declare that she never thought Xander was a horrible person. Really? There are a birth certificate and a marriage license that indicate otherwise.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Kate (to Paulina): "Abe lost his memory -- he didn't lose his mind!"
I loved everything about Kate's pep talk to Paulina. These two together are great!
Kayla's bird collar makes me wonder about things.
Wouldn't Theresa and Bonnie have met at Victor's funeral?
Do you think Tate will run into Kristen? Will he call her "embryo mom" the way Philip refers to Vivian?
Shouldn't Mar be concerned that Ava faked hypnosis?
I did grow up on Clueless. And it is one of the best 90s soundtracks...right after Romeo and Juliet.
I wanted someone to yell at Tate to tuck in the other half of his shirt. Is this a thing the kids are doing these days?
The job market is hot in Salem right now. Wendy, Ava, Harris, Maggie, and probably Leo are all out of a job.
Chloe's gold-tipped nails were spectacular.
Chad extended himself quite thoughtfully to Alex. Chad does know what it's like to find out that someone else is your father.
Nothing against the divine Emily O'Brien, but this recast is as utterly bananas as it was rumored to be. I hope she's getting hazard pay for this.
Kate's eye hairclip means she really does have eyes in the back of her head!
Bonnie saying Alex is "too big for his britches" was right on.
Has anyone told Tate he won the mother-lovin' lottery in the great-grandpa department?!
It's strange that Susan would ever doubt an explanation for anything as being "too unbelievable." Does she know who she is?
Victor left half to Maggie, half to "Alex," and took care of Philip via the secret trust. But what about the rest of his family? Specifically, what about Bo? Victor knew Bo was alive at the time of the new will. Why wouldn't Victor ensure that Bo (or at least Bo's medical bills) was taken care of?
Of course, Kate prefers red and Marlena prefers white.
Heaven help Holly if Sami finds out that Holly has intentions set upon Sami's son. I hope Holly saved some of the magic baby juice.
It was really big of Philip to tell Belle that Shawn is in a dark place, rather than trying to capitalize on it.
It's really cute how much Paulina adores Johnny.
It's never easy being the new kids in town, but Jamie Martin Man and Ashley Puzemis impressed me so much this week! Specifically, they are so well cast as a mini Eric Martsolf and mini Arianne Zucker. The chemistry between Jamie/Eric and Ashley/Ari was a 10/10. These young stars hit the jackpot in the parent actor department. This gives me hope for their characters, as both have wonderful possibilities in Salem!
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