I've been skeptical about Claire and Ciara's relationship since they were SORASed. The two talked about being close, but we knew they didn't grow up together. But last week, their entire relationship clicked for me when they talked about the tulips. I got it. And I lost it.
I had a cousin who always lived far away. But for holidays or those wonderful few weeks in the summer, we'd get to visit. Our whole relationship was made up of adventures -- as vacations tend to be -- both big and small. They add up to make this magical, perfect experience that accounts for the best part of my childhood. Few relationships are that special. But that's what Ciara and Claire had.
That scene, coupled with pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday, made Claire's exit an out-of-the-stadium home run. But to enjoy it, you had to see the shades of gray.
Frist, yes, every Brady/Horton/Kiriakis/Black/Evans -- you guys sucked as family members! You should feel terrible. No one seemed to make time for Claire. Yeah, Belle and Shawn, maybe moving to the other side of the planet and leaving your 18-year-old behind wasn't the most stellar parenting decision.
Agreed, Hope, when you looked up from your own love life, you realized people have much bigger problems than you. Indeed, Marlena and John, I can't remember the last scene you had with Claire. Correct, Vic, you should have picked up the phone. And OMG, duh, Ciara, you came back to Salem with the sole goal of ruining Claire's life, and you made good on that threat every chance you got. It's about time you owned that. For a group of folks who seem to champion family like it's their true north star, you all really dropped the ball.
And they weren't alone! Newsflash, Trippster, you shouldn't have treated any girlfriend the way you treated Claire. You married someone else and literally expected Claire to give you the ring. You made a fool of her. You, too, Haley. Much like Eve, your own needs superseded the consequences to anyone but you. Not cool, lady. Apologies all around from the lot of you were necessary and appropriate if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you don't have complete lack of self-awareness.
However, however... Claire absolutely owns her part in hurting every one of those people, as well. The pain Ciara, Tripp, Ben, and Haley endured at Claire's hand doesn't just go away because she's mentally ill. Ask Gabi about that short straw. Even sending her to Bayview -- while that's clearly the right move -- doesn't feel like enough payback for attempting to murder three people. Claire was wrong. Full stop.
And while I just spent two paragraphs scolding her family and friends, they are in no way, shape, or form to blame for Claire's mental illness. Carry guilt for not helping sooner? Sure, I can see that, mainly because they're all good people. Carry any ounce of blame for Claire's actions? Nope. They shouldn't, at all. Not one bit. And to her credit, Claire didn't let any of them do it. Heck, she even tried to lie to absolve Eve of any blame.
And that's where I step in and call a full time-out on the field.
Eve -- whose impressive teleportation skills allowed her to beam herself into Claire's room without Shawn and Belle noticing -- showed up to give her version of Eve sympathy. Look, Claire is an adult. She's over 18. But there's nothing in Eve and Claire's relationship that resembles one between two adults. Even Eve admitted her initial draw toward Claire was because Claire reminded her of her child. And that's exactly the problem. Eve loves Claire just like she loved her own kid -- which is to say abysmally and way less than Eve would like to give herself credit for.
Perhaps it's Kassie DePaiva's amazingly nuanced performance, but Eve is an absolute piece of work. Despite knowing all of the words and identifying the emotions, I don't believe Eve can truly love. And people (Eduardo, J.J., Jack, Claire) seemed to be drawn to this woman at the distinct time they feel like self-destructing. There's just something about Eve. She's missing a sensitivity chip. It's fascinating in its bafflement.
Eve lied to Jack's face that she "just looked the other way" when she knew Claire was crazy. I also wouldn't characterize Eve's action as "trying to get Claire help." At one point, Eve joked, "Try not to set any more fires." The woman used Claire as a chaos catalyst and then snatched the narrative she wanted from the rubble.
Now, none of that is to say that she's responsible for Claire's mental breakdown. She wasn't, and anyone who says she was is objectively wrong. But, it is absolutely fair to think she's partially (not all, but partially) responsible for what happened to Ciara, Tripp, and Haley. Eve's the bartender who saw a drunk patron, poured him three more shots, and handed him his keys. Eve needs to face consequences for that.
And yet, she's so far getting away with it. She escaped unscathed, despite so many people knowing she's guilty. There's nothing more dangerous than an indecent person in an untouchable position of power.
Elsewhere in Salem, Stefan tried to keep all the elephants dancing in the same directions in his three-ring circus.
Ted and Kate are downstairs, drinking all his Champagne and eating his one raisin. Kristen offered the two of them something so enticing, they lied to Hope and told her Stefan has been working with Xander this whole time. I hope Kristen also offers up some evidence to get that lie off the ground because it seems super flimsy now.
Kristen, who got herself fired from her job by missing her first and second day of work, is on a warpath to take over DiMera. She'll have to go through Abe, who keeps getting in her way with his obnoxious kindness and stupid good heart. (Ugh! What, next is he going to call Brandon to come comfort his grieving sister? Could you even imagine?) But she's adamant that Stefan needs to get out of her way.
Finally, Gabi and Stefan had to have the conversation about their relationship suddenly becoming real because we didn't see any of that play out on-screen. This is not good for Gabi. Now that Chloe knows Gabi was playing Stefan, and is willing to help out, it will only be a matter of time before Stefan finds out Gabi was trying to seduce him to take away his company.
I would truly love to be wrong about this, but the fact that Gabi literally got down on her knees to tell Stefan that she isn't deceiving him doesn't make me confident that this storyline is headed anywhere other than Stefan claiming the moral high ground and Gabi ending up in the time-out chair...again.
The only way to avoid that might be if Gabi is the one to expose Kristen as fake-Nicole and help Stefan save DiMera from Kristen. Now would be a great time for another one of those Sonny/Gabi conversations where we get an update on where Gabi's heart is in this whole thing.
Where Claire's story missed the mark was the social media angle. And, man, it was right there. Claire's storyline fell short of being the cautionary tale about growing up in an era where your self-worth is dependent on a gaggle of strangers who can bully people with no consequences or build them up to the highest highs. That's the "ripped-from-the-headlines" story DAYS should have done.
Belle and Shawn are going to stay in town while Claire gets treatment. Thankfully, Lani just got engaged, so Shawn should be safe! I wonder if Belle and Stefan are finally going to have a scene together, since I think she's still a lawyer for DiMera.
Yet another problem with the Rex/Sarah/Eric triangle is Sarah only seems conflicted about marrying Rex when Eric is around. When Sarah and Rex are alone, she doesn't seem to have any hesitation about being with him. Oh, and when Xander is around, she doesn't seem to give either one of them a second thought. Just pointing that out.
With Claire gone, Tripp's looking for someone to help cover her part of the rent. (Maybe he should have kept some of that Vitali fortune, after all!) Sonny and Will politely decline, which makes sense with Arianna. Those dangerous stairs are no place for a young kid. That leaves J.J. and Haley to move into Claire's room. Cool. Of course, this brings up the age-old question -- if a couple shares a room, do they account for two shares of the rent or one?
This whole week was amazing, wonderful, vintage Detective Brady! From talking Claire down at the cabin, to her interrogation of Xander, to her conversation with Eli, where Hope connected the dots between Eve, Xander, and the diary -- I'm all in! This is the Hope I fell in love with and the one I want to see more of.
Here's another hot take -- I think I like Eve vs. Hope more than Eve vs. Jennifer. Hope seems more equipped for the task, since Eve is in Hope's old job. And, you know, these grown women aren't fighting over a guy. Eve and Jennifer seem to be having different variations of the same fight they've had since high school. Hope brings something new to the table.
Top to bottom, the cast brought their A+ game to send Olivia Rose Keegan off-screen. ORK has been setting the screen on fire (wink) in this storyline. It was lovely to see Brandon Beemer, Martha Madison, Deidre Hall, Kristian Alfonso, John Aniston, Kassie DePaiva, Drake Hogestyn, Victoria Konefal, Robert Scott Wilson, and Lucas Adams turn in beautiful, supportive performances. DAYS stuck the landing on this one, thanks in no small part to the stellar cast.
Eric needs a confidant that is not his mother. Like, right now. Can he and Rafe hang out? How about coffee with Eli? Maybe Gabi needs someone to help watch Arianna? Not only does Marlena give terrible advice when it comes to Eric, but I'm worried it won't be long until Eric and "Mother" are going out to early dinners at Denny's in matching plaid jumpers.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Julie: "Eli, it's your grandmother calling. I assume that you're out pursuing all the malefactors of Salem. The malefactors who prey upon the very weak, the very helpless, the vulnerable. At the moment, that is your grandmother! Two intruders have broken into my office at Doug's Place, and they are thrashing around in it as we speak!"
This speech was using all of Julie's charm and powers for good. Susan Seaforth Hayes's delivery was pitch-perfect.
Also, I don't say this often, so I hope I'm phrasing it correctly...I agree with Julie. (Did I do it right? That feels so weird!) Renting a restaurant for a party does not entitle you to get busy on the owner's office desk! Gross, you guys. Gross!
AMEN! LINE OF THE WEEK:
Chloe: "So, you thought that if you could get Stefan away from me, I would instantly fall back in love with you? (Huge laugh and look of disbelief)"
Word. This. I've argued this for years to soap characters. High-five to the Chloemeister for pointing out the absurdity of this line of thinking.
Sorry, diamond necklace. Nadia Bjorlin and that amazing red jumpsuit made you look good.
Rex shouldn't have given away the necklace. He should have sold it, so he and his doctor wife could afford to move out of his brother's guest room.
It's a huge credit to Arianne Zucker's acting skills that I don't even see Nicole anymore when she's on-screen.
There's no way, if trapped for a long time, Kate -- or any woman -- wouldn't have kicked off those heels.
The side eye I threw at Marlena when she suggested to Eric that Rex deserved better was massive. Oh, Mar. That's not not true, but so, so disingenuous coming from the woman actively cheering for her son to break up someone else's marriage. No one here believes you care about Rex, Marlena.
Gabi's outfit was far less "Cher Horowitz" and way more "I got in a fight with a sofa."
I wonder if Chloe passed on any of that triple rental rate to the kitchen or wait staff who now have to work an event at the last minute? I have a feeling she did. She seems like a cool boss.
I may have laughed a little too hard when Victor responded to the news about Haley and Tripp almost dying with, "Who? Oh, never mind. It doesn't matter."
Kristen referencing Xander as "the patron saint of three percent body fat" was hilarious.
Not only are there tunnels under the DiMera mansion, but those cellar doors are magic enough to be thin one minute and sound-proof the next! I'm pretty sure Xander and Kristen had a conversation right outside the same door "Nicole" was just talking through to Kate and Ted.
For real, why hasn't Ciara taken a self-defense class yet? Perhaps she and Gabi could take one together? Between the two of them, they've been kidnapped approximately 173 times. If not a class, at least get some tricks from Kate, Claire, or Kristen -- all of whom managed to whip up Wonder Woman strength and render men twice their size helpless with a small, sharp object.
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