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For the Week of January 8, 2024
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2024 is just beginning (again), and we're already off to a spectacular, albeit sad and scary, start! Holly's overdose was hard to swallow for nearly every Salemite, and nobody's getting out unscathed. Plus, there are tidbits from the weeks gone by. So much drama, so little time. It's best to grab some snacks, as there's a lot to unpack in this week's overflowing DAYS Two Scoops!

Happy 2024, friends and fellow DAYS fans! Well. Maybe that should be Happy 2024? Things in Salem are a smidge sad and scary right this second, but it's making for some spectacular storytelling to start off the new year.

First, the cast needs a round of cyber applause for their performances! Everyone is bringing their A-plus games, and it shows. The far-reaching complexity of this umbrella storyline is rather compelling, and the entirety of Team DAYS gets snaps for that.

This storyline also mirrors many real-life tragedies, and so far, the efforts of Team DAYS to keep it respectful are paying off. It doesn't feel exploitive or preachy. I applaud that, too.

To begin in a place of optimism, I believe this storyline will have a happy-ish ending. I don't believe Holly will die. She's our "Oracular Baby," after all. When they once held her up Simba-style to Brady, it got her dad's heart inside of him to beat again. She has healing powers. I don't know who her "Simba" will be, but maybe someone can place a mirror above Holly's bed, and she'll respond like a betta fish and fight herself. I mean, "fight for herself." Either way, our gal's going to be all right. I just know it.

Though picking Holly and Tate as the victims here was perfect. She is the town's child that nearly everyone loves and is related to in some form. Tate's the baby-faced, awkward kid the rest of the town loves and is related to. Through biology, marriage, former marriages, friendships, or chosen family (like Abe and Nicole), nearly everyone has a horse, well, more like pony in this race.

The sides even overlap. Maggie is Holly's grandmother and Tate's step-great grandmother. And she loves hard, so there are really no steps in her home except the ones that lead to other floors. Though, so far, I find the lack of Maggie disturbing, but more on that later.

Chad also has brothers on both sides of the law in this mess. Johnny's related to both Holly and Tate. So is Eric, sort of. Yes, there's a lot of overlapping and layers here.

This is also a story of Holly's "My Three (Step)-Dads," Rafe, E.J., and Eric. All of them love her deeply and are fighting for her in their specific ways. Rafe is upholding the rational and legal end of the battle. An irrational E.J. is trying to avenge her in the most infuriating E.J. way possible. And Eric is a gentle, patient hand on the frontline of support, using his faith and love as a shield and anchor. Nicole's lucky to have all three fighting for Holly. Well. At least two of them, but more on that later, too.

Of course, I wouldn't put it past Holly's biological father, Dr. Dude, to make a cameo. I'm sure he can be lured from heaven, or elsewhere, with a puka shell necklace and a woman in a hospital gown. That was his chum. He might manifest like Mufasa in the ceiling tiles above her bed for encouragement...until he gets sidetracked by hitting on an inappropriate woman, but I digress.

In addition to someone telling Maggie, Sarah might also be interested to know her niece is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Doc Horton would be a great Salemite to have around right now. She's a, you know, doctor and relative, and she has a personal relationship with one member of Holly's "trinity of stepfathers." Not to mention, she knows what it feels like to lose a child.

I hope that "Auntie Chloe" also makes a cameo at some point. Oh, you know Holly would call her that. They've had a special bond since birth. Perhaps the Chlomiester could bring Parker to visit his sister. That kind of needs to happen, right?

Actual Aunt Belle needs to be on Team Tater Tot right now, too. Like, legal eagle, lawyer 'Tink. She's technically still in town, working on Gabi's case. I think. This entire storyline is starting to be a shimmering example of why Belle and Chloe should have stayed in Salem. Martha Madison and Nadia Bjorlin's exits still anger me. Right. Again, I digress, as there's more to unpack here than a wish-list of Salemites who need to visit Holly.

While some may question if Nicole needed another tragedy so soon, I say, "Yes!" That's not to say I enjoy seeing Ms. Walker suffer. That's far from the case. It's just one, Ari Zucker redefines "magnificent" each time she gets to dig deeper into Nicole's breaking heart. Her performances have always been amazing, and it's wowing to watch her entertain us with the depths of her talents each week.

Two, we all have feelings for Nicole. Some love her. Some loathe her. Some lay somewhere in between, but she's a certified part of the Salem fabric. She's family. When she suffers, we react. To have this happen to someone without such roots wouldn't have the same impact.

Of course, how it's impacting Salem is such a complex, spectacular spectacle. Everyone hates Clyde and thinks he needs to go. Ava and Stefan are fed up. E.J. is furious. Tate is terrified. Theresa is terrified, too. Brady and John are scrambling. Nicole and Eric are devastated. The Salem PD is frustrated. Everett and Chad are motivated. So is Tripp -- he's motivated and in suspicion mode. And the list could go on. I love that nearly every Salemite is impacted. It's like a huge group number in a musical right before intermission, and I can't wait to hear what they belt out in the next act.

Another positive aspect of this storyline is that it's a break from the others. I mean that respectfully, but it's a nice reprieve from the status woe, um, quo (I'm looking at you, Sloan and Konstantin). More so, this storyline supersedes the stakes of everything else going on now in a believable way. It's "life hanging in the balance" stakes. And part of me wonders if Holly will end up needing something from a relative, which would loop Jude back into the picture.

It says a lot about a storyline when one can agree with Stefan and Alex. I know. I was shocked myself. Brother DiMera's anger was just when it came to E.J. The Soap Lords and everyone else knows I rag on the character of Stefan (a lot), but let it be clear how much I admire and adore Brandon Barash. He's a fantastic actor, and last week was a prime example of why I think so fondly of him. Stefan's showdown with E.J. was a showstopper. Methinks that needs to go on Brandon's reel for submissions.

And the other shocker: Alex wasn't wrong-wrong about fighting fire with fire instead of a well-meaning, truth-driven soft flame with fire. I say that with all respect to Justin. I love that dude. And while Justin deserves more respect than Alex gave him, I can spot that "Glasses On Glasses Off" Alex-san's heart was in the right place when it came to Tater Tot. The delivery, not so much of a win.

Speaking of "heart's in the right places," I have no doubt E.J. is concerned about Holly. His delivery is typical Elvis Jr., which is to say absolutely abysmal. I get it. He's a hotbed of emotions. He feels helpless about Holly. He probably feels guilty, too. He'll hide that because acknowledging it would be admitting he could have slowed down if not stopped some of the drug dealing in Salem. And he's clearly threatened by and jealous of Eric's support of Nicole, but, surprisingly, actually knows it's not the right time or place to explode over that just yet. If he didn't have that gloating glimmer in his eyes and the general smug satisfaction when he lowered the boom on Tate and his family, I might feel a smidge bad for him. As is, not so much.

Hearing E.J. rage, "That loser Tate," was so exasperating. How old are we again, Eej? Though I guess a few comas can make one's brains a bit bonkers, and he was born in 1997, so perhaps flare-ups of SORAS-ing catch up with one sometimes.

More so, I'm not here for E.J.'s noise that Tate should have reacted sooner. He literally walked into a very traumatic situation when he stumbled upon Holly overdosing. That's tough for anyone, especially a shocked 16-year-old who was simply looking for his date. Seconds later a cop showed up. She's the trained, untraumatized one. She should have called 9-1-1 immediately. That timeline should be on record and is one of E.J.'s accusations that could be shut down based on fact, not Eej's speculation.

To end on an optimistic note or two, Jada hasn't entered the building yet. She's proven to make everything better. I believe she'll have this caper solved in no time.

And! It was the first week of the year, and a 2023 Alex North Memorial Award recipient already has a reprieve! Yes. Yes, she did! Ava finally tapped into her Vitali roots and made a call. An actual call, that is. She phoned someone named Dom and he's promised to help. Or simply "Take care of it." This is a small step for Salem's drug problems, but a big step for Ava-kind. Welcome back, Ms. Vitali. Now. I have this Stefan problem...who can we call about that?

LOOSE ENDS:

I started this column by exclaiming, "Happy 2024!" And that's what the show told us. It's 2024...again. I guess that means we're officially un-jumped? Like, the "Time Jump" never happened, or time moved very slowly the past few years. I'm not sure-sure, but I think we need Eugene Bradford to return in his time machine and tell us what happened.

Before I go on, this section will be a mix of things that happened over the last few weeks while we were celebrating the Seventeenth Annual Golden Donut and Alex North Memorial Awards. It's impossible to Two Scoop everything without needing chapter titles and designated bathroom breaks, so I'll attempt to hit some highlights and lowlights as best and briefly as possible...

I'm still sore we continue to be saddled with Konstantin, but I am intrigued by his connection to John. They had a moment of, "I know you, right!?" With John's missing years recently reflected on and a man connected to Victor, who had John during some of that time, well, the writing is on the wall, and I'm eager to read more of it. And then, can we kick this guy out of Salem for good? C'mon, Black Patch. I'll happily drive the getaway car and leave him in a park far, far away.

Also, while in town, Konstantin, don't be gross toward Mah-gee again. You might break another ankle. Or worse. I'll make sure you meet Leo -- and I'll arm him with all the blackmail he'll need to make your life a living Hades.

Ha! Sloan put Leo on a budget. These two hot messes deserve each other. I don't know how this works, but somehow, with their attention on each other, they're less tedious for the masses.

I adored Kayla's "You are important" support she showered Nicole with. Nicole needed to hear that. Well said, Sweetness! Well said. I also thought Johnny's "good kids do drugs" speech was spot-on and moving, too. And well said, Jo-Ro! Well said, indeed.

Julie's pep talk to Chad is also high on my list of things I love about 2024: Part2 already! Sure, Chad can't get journalism skills via osmosis from Abby, but he's an eager beaver and has a certain degree of business prowess. He'll do the Spectator, and everyone else, proud, especially while living at the Horton home with Julie as his life coach. Welcome back to the light side, Chad!

Considering what Stephanie did to keep Nathan and Melanie apart, I'm surprised that her Horton ornament didn't end up in the cellar. Just saying. In any event, Doug and Julie's reflection on the past after they decorated the tree made me misty-eyed, too. It was a beautiful moment.

I still find it odd that Everett had to deliver the news of Holly's overdose in person to Chad and Julie, but I'm oddly into the Chad and Everett team-up, nevertheless. I feel like Chad has the business chops, status as one of Salem's most beloved sons, and connections because of that. I feel like Everett has the passion for journalism and, clearly based on stories, a mastery of investigative reporting. Combined, they could be an unlikely but charming combo. They already have mutual respect. Besties down the road? Maybe. Just maybe.

So! Jada's ex-husband's name is "Bobby." Laurisa mentioned in the last traditional Two Scoops of 2023 that Salem "is a town of twins." That! I'm placing money on that, and I kind of love it. That gives us double the Blake Berris. One Blake to break out his brilliant baddie chops, and another Blake to be the hero.

Paulina and Abe are in a good place. Paulina's health is not. I don't like that part at all. Though it's good (great, even) that she has Abe and Chanel's support. Oh, she also has Johnny's support. When he mentioned that his family has a wing of the hospital named after them and that he'll do what it takes to make sure Paulina's properly cared for, I was like "Go get it, Chanel. He's a keeper." As it turned out, she did. It was all that with whipped cream on top.

Sarah and Xander have found themselves back in a good place, emotionally, mentally, and physically. They're scared and cautious, but they've reembraced their smitten-ness with one another and she's moving back in with him. Too soon? Perhaps. But I had to remind myself, these two are unknowingly sitting on a landmine. When the truth about his paternity comes out, they'll have plenty-o-drama -- more than you can shake skons, err, scones at. So, will they be stable and able to handle anything together, or will this be the latest blast to blow them apart again? Stay tuned!

While Sarah and Xander became "Xarah" again, Tripp and Wendy went their separate ways. Like, really separate. Continents, in fact. He sent her on to Hong Kong alone. He wants to stay in the wake of what happened to Holly and because of Ava's possible involvement. Spoiler! You're right, Tripp. Keep digging.

I give Wendy credit for loving her father enough to oblige her mother's wishes, but that was hard to swallow. The misogynistic Mr. Shin treated her like the spare, at best. Now she's expected to be a center stage superstar. Another spoiler! She already was, Mr. Shin. At least now he gets to see that for himself. Good luck, Jing-Wen.

Finally, I loved the Christmas celebration at the Brady Pub! Sometimes a simple scene with our beloved vets is all that it takes to make a DAYS fan smile. It worked! I was all in on the festivities. The toasts, the strolls down memory lane, the spotlight on each couple for a moment or two, and a little hint of a storyline to come, perhaps. The three couples declared this should be a new holiday tradition, and I seventh wheel support that suggestion.

More so, it solidified Kate, Kayla, and Marlena's "Hellfire Club" bestie bunch status. They did go through hell together, and thanks to the divine Ms. Roberts-Brady, it has an official cocktail to commemorate their combined awesomeness. Cheers to that!

Extra Scoops

HOT

There was a lot to love about last week, but Team Rafe scored big at the end. When he started by asking E.J., "What the hell is the matter with you!?" I started cheering. I got to my feet by the end of his "Reality of this tragedy" speech. They're both coming from places of concern for Holly and getting to the truth, and Rafe typically gets trounced going mano a mano with Eej, but this time, the Commish shined brightly. Way to start 2024 (again) on a high note, Rafe-A-Roni!

NOT

For the love of everything holy, Holly, and lemon bars, where the flip is Maggie in this storyline!? Her absence is deafening. She's Holly's grandmother, and pretty much loves everyone involved on both sides of their stance. She's Brady's sponsor. She's a mother who lost a child to the effects of substance abuse and another child to someone who was abusing a substance. She helped Theresa bounce back after addiction. She's flippin' Maggie! This would also be a great time to remember her friendship with Doc and have Marlena give her a ride to the hospital.

LINE OF THE WEEK

"You are important." Kayla to Nicole

Again, well said, Sweetness. I think that's a great reminder to all of us, especially this time of year. You. Are. Important.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Can someone please smack a chump every time Alex calls his father "Justin." It's so cringy. I know that Justin is a great man and won't hesitate to welcome Alex back as his full-fledged bio son, but part of me wants him to give Alex some blowback for how quickly Alex dismissed him.

I love knowing that Doug and Abby sat around discussing books.

Theresa ripping into E.J. was welcomed! I almost thought she wasn't going to speak up, which would have been off brand for Jeannie-T. Then she did. Take that, Eej!

Fashion was on point this New Year's Eve! Chanel's purple sparkly dress was fab, as was Holly's green one and gold shoes. I also loved Ava's outfit, and Stefan's jacket was splendid. It was a bad night for Salemites but a good one for its fashionistas.

With Wendy on an "open-ended leave of absence," I wonder who will fill the role of Salem PD's tech expert. This would be a great opportunity for someone like a grown Joy Wesley, JT Reiber, or Steven Hawk to return to fill the role. Or maybe even Jada's ex -- "Bobby," was it?

I adored Ava's story about spending time with a young Holly while she and Nicole caught up.

Timothy texting John will never not make me happy. I hope we get to see him again in 2024. Even if it's just for one song and dance at his new place.

Speaking of John, Agent Noir and I were totally in sync with how we said "bye, bye, bye" to 2023. That is, an accidental nap that caused us to sleep through the big moment. Whoopsie. Though I was also like Brady -- alone in a chair. Though I won't mind if this year's theme is "rest and relaxation!"

When Rafe mentioned going to Salem High to interview Holly's peers, was I the only one hoping he was going to 21 Jump Street!? I kind of want to see him be all, "I'm a senior. I just transferred here." With Galen's sense of humor, that would be comedic gold.

PARTING THOUGHTS

So, friends and fellow fans, that's it for January 8. I hope that everyone has a charmed 2024 filled with love, laughter, and good luck! Now, I must scamper away. I have a long list of asks for Ava now that she's phoning fiends -- I mean, friends -- again. Laurisa will be back next week to Two Scoops Salem back into shape! As always, thank you for reading, and, again, "That's a fact."

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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