Should auld acquaintances be forgot?
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It's 2021 in Salem, and everything old is new again! Stefano's after Marlena. Kristen still wants to connect with Brady. Kayla's moved on with Justin but, perhaps, hasn't moved on from Steve. And Princess Gina's royally jonesing for John! Are these storylines retro fun, or should auld plots be forgotten? Let's ponder the possibilities in this week's DAYS Two Scoops!

THE BEST AND WORST OF 2019 Before you settle in and check out the first column of 2020, check out our special two-part year-end columns looking back at The Best and Worst of Days of our Lives 2019.

Happy New Decade, fellow DAYS fans! Whew. It's been a crazy few weeks. I feel like we need to form a circle and chat. You know, see how much we can cover since our last regularly scheduled Two Scoops way back in 2019. As there's a lot to touch on, so I can't cover it all, especially since my arms are still a little weak from passing out Golden Donut and Alex North Memorial Awards with Laurisa, but I say we grab whatever non-stale holiday treats are left, the eggnog not expired, and any New Year's champagne still not swigged, and give it the old Salem try!

So, the past few weeks, Ron has been remarkable at dropping breadcrumbs yet keeping us starving for details. We still don't know who killed Jordan. Facts are murky on Adrienne's exact cause of death. Victor and Xander are harboring a bombshell. And are Maggie's Christmas cookies as good as her lemon bars? We don't know yet, and, yes, I'm eager for answers.

What we do know is that Hope is still Princess Gina-ing and Steve is still Stefano-ing. That hasn't changed, but he sprang from hiding at midnight on New Year's Eve! The Phoenix is in the wind and ended up on John and Marlena's couch. And Stefano's also been dealing with Hattie -- Hattie! -- which has been amusing.

Now, after some wowing New Year's Eve guests over the past few years, I have mixed feelings about 2021's party crashers. They were "Steve" and "Hope." And Kristen, too. Kind of. She never made it inside, but we'll get to that.

On one hand, it was anticlimactic, as we, the audience, already knew who'd be walking through the doors, and, despite Stefano and Gina's coin toss, we knew it would stagger Salemites, either way. It was great, don't get me wrong, but I missed the surprise aspect and excitement of guessing who would return in a cloak potentially with a not-so-dead "dead" character on their arm at the stroke of midnight!

On the other hand, Salemites were shocked to see "Steve" walk in, especially with "Hope." From their point of view, it was indeed wowing. Okay. Okay. John's reaction to seeing Steve cracked me up! It was part genuine affection, "Hey, buddy!" and part, "What the hourglass, man!?" But I digress as I'm getting sidetracked...

Princess Gina, and now Stefano, are continuing to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. Scratch that! Rafe is beginning to realize something's seriously sketchy with Fancy Face. That only took a year and some odd months. Welcome to the party, Rafe. Grab a doughnut and a Dixie cup of fruit punch. Your keen sense of observation is sure to snag you a solid bronze at the Detective Olympics this summer.

Sorry. I'm salty on Hope's behalf and feel, at this point, most Salemites deserve what Princess Gina dishes out, as Hope will probably be too forgiving that nobody noticed a retro storyline was inhabiting her body for so long. I mean, I'm enjoying this storyline for its flair and campiness (and wonderful performances), but, while it's been a few months our time, it's been a year and a few months Salem time, and that's hard to ignore.

But now Rafe has stepped up! He's actually been a little wary for a while, he said. He started to compile a list months ago of Commissioner Hope's odd antics. From fumbling procedures to pawing at evidence, he's noticed his ex-wife's rookie mistakes. Good on Rafe! I not only admire a man with an organized spreadsheet, but I'm glad someone is sensing something's wrong with Hope. Finally.

I hope that once this is over, we get to see the real Hope deal with the fallout. I'd assume she'd have some sort of PTSD or PTGD (Post Traumatic Gina Disorder). If I were her, I'd also be massively disappointed in my loved ones for not picking up on signs earlier. And will Hope have memory loss because of her missing year plus? That might be another clever way Ron keeps the Time Jump fresh, as we'll have new Salemite to reacclimate. Yep. Lots of questions to be answered still.

I absolutely loved that Rafe phoned a friend and called in old boss Roman to help. I also adored Roman's "What Da' Hell!?" rant to Princess Gina when she stormed out of the pub. Sure, his disclosure of concern sort of led to Rafe being fired, but Rafe isn't above bending the law when it comes to the greater good. He'll crack this case...eventually. Though I'm sort of disappointed in Mr. Roman. I thought when Rafe told him about the tiara that "Hope" had handled, it would ring a Princess Gina bell for him. I'm fairly sure he was around during her original reign. Maybe I'm wrong.

On the topic of "wrong," her royal highness has crossed the line. She's a monster, really. How dare she hurt Hattie's feelings. That was some heartbreaking Harry and the Hendersons level stuff. Poor Hattie. She didn't know what she did wrong. She thought they were pals. I'll say this: that's one, Gina. Two more, and you're going to the timeout chair that Gabi was placed in at Chabby's wedding.

Meanwhile, Stefano's Marlena crush has returned in a big way. I thought he'd moved on ages ago, but nope. He's scribbling "I *heart* Mar Mar" on the cover of his notebook filled with sinister schemes, deep thoughts, and doodles of torture devices. I'm oddly captivated by this storyline. The dynamics of watching actors interact in new ways is fascinating. It's a clever way to chemistry test some new pairings without having to commit, as, once memories are returned, all things can go back to normal-ish. Sure, it's all absurd, but that's the camptatsic fun of it all.

Though here's a question. I can see why Stefano would still love Marlena. Sans some recent busybody-ness, she hasn't changed much over the years, but -- and I mean this respectively to John, as he's generally a good guy and handsome, too -- would Princess Gina really be into 2021's John?

The John that Gina is jonesing for was a partner in crime she worked with decades ago. That brainwashed John lived on the edge. Today's John is a catch, no doubt, but I'm not sure Gina has thought this one through unless she suddenly likes movie nights on the couch, pub dinner dates, and watching him day drink with buddies between cases. It's like putting on rose-colored glasses and remembering your first true love. You quickly look them up on social media and, even quicker, discover how much they and you have changed. So, you remove the glasses and your curser from the "Send Friend Request" button and go back to life. Sometimes bullets are better dodged, Ms. Gina. Just saying.

Kayla, unfortunately, was shot through the heart by Steve's arrival. While she later assured Justin that he's her present and future, raise your hand if you believe that one. Not to sound like Jordan, but I believe she believes that now. And it would be one hell of a twist if Sweetness ultimately decided to stay with Dimples. Still, I'm not willing to invest in that one. The "Stayla" station is kind of a final destination as long as Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols are both on DAYS. If Justin needs a reference, he can ask Eve about trying to stand between Jack and Jennifer.

Of course, Justin isn't acting malicious like Wile Eve Coyote, but you know what I mean. Permanently slicing up a supercouple is nearly impossible. The only time I can recall a successful supercouple swap when all original actors were still on-screen is when Marlena chose to be with John instead of Roman, and still some fans are divided by that. They are! Laurisa's mom and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. #OGRolena

In other obsessing over old love news, Kristen's doubling down on her crusade to reunite with Brady. She even left God for him. Oh, boy. While Lani exposing Gabi has the positive outcome of removing a potential threat to Julie's life, I'm not sure if she and Kristen understand the concept of walking away. They quit. They left. They didn't even flash a peace sign and exclaim, "We out!" Nope. They just vanished. So, I can admire their chutzpah to reach their goals, but a year plus later makes their case a little weak, especially when they act aghast that their loves have moved on. Yep. It's been a year and some change, Not-Nuns. That happens.

This would be a great time to shift Kristen and Lani into different storylines. I'm far more interested in seeing Kristen vie for control of DiMera Enterprises than I am her attempting to win back Brady again. And, let's face it. Brady has already proclaimed he's totally done with Kristen, and he's steering clear of her. That's Brady Code for "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" He'll be Mr. Kristen DiMera again in no time. Let him come to you, Special K.

As far as Lani goes, how about getting her back on the force where she flourished? She can be smart and kickass again. She should be working with Rafe to figure out what's wrong with Hope, which could lead them to discovering more about brainwashing and robo eyes and, boom! It could lead them to Visionary Bionics, which could lead her back to Julie's pacemaker. And you're welcome, Lanister. Don't blow it this time. You're a champ. You got this. Just, um, stop hurling potted plants through pane glass windows, even though that was pretty epic.

LOOSE ENDS:
For the love of all things holy in Soap Land, I hope that Brady and Nicole remain besties with a small "b." While their familiarity with one another makes them an easy coupling, their chemistry works better as friends. More so, it avoids all the mistakes that happen when they get together and most of stated mistakes start and end with Eric's looming presence in their relationship. Should the pouty ex-padre end up never forgiving Nicole, I'd rather see her move on with someone completely new while Brady backs his best friend and she keeps spraying him with a squirt bottle full of cold water to stay away from Kristen.

Though, points for Brady! He did shut down Nicole when she was drunk and trying to, um, "reunite" with him. Not only did he gain a few "Good Friend Points," but he also showed that maybe he's learning to ponder instead of pounce. And that lasted almost a day. For Brady, that's decent.

I loved the scenes between J.J. and Abigail the previous week! Casey Moss and Kate Mansi have great sibling chemistry. Add in the scenes with Missy Reeves and Matthew Ashford as Jack and Jennifer dealt with J.J.'s addiction, and the Deveraux family delivered the drama over Christmas. It was all very touching, and, like Julie, I'm glad they got to make it to the annual ornament hanging.

Like Hattie, Eve got sprung from the slammer, too, this holiday season! Her first act was to give Abigail a not-at-all awkward hug. Ha! And here Abs thought Christmas Eve with Gabi would be the most uncomfortable thing.

Eve also took some stinging parting shots at Jack and Jennifer, vowed they'll pay, and then flaunted her one-way ticket out of town. Do they require tickets for broomsticks these days? Anyway. I'm kinda burying my head in the hourglass' sand, as I refuse to believe that la lady Kassie DePaiva is really gone. While Eve's antics can range from "Oh, snap!" to "Oh, no!" Kassie has always been captivating to watch. She will be missed!

Xander's surprise visit to Sarah was very charming and sweet! He even brought her homemade Christmas cookies that he helped Maggie bake. Truth, I kind of want to see that flashback now of him and Maggie making them, but, again, I digress. The Xanimal can go from Monster to Swoon-Worthy in the blink of an eye, but he certainly scored a few Sarah points that day. And maybe with me, too.

Ciara is receiving the Tammy Wynette Award for standing by her man. She is fiercely dedicated to freeing Ben. And Will's benefiting from it, too! Just the other day, Ciara was so excited to see him that she gave him a half-used tube of Chapstick, three peppermint candies from the Brady Pub, and a balled-up dry-cleaning receipt that he can bat around like a cat while he's waiting for real visitors. No! Those gifts were from her heart, not random items from her pocket. Anyway...

The drama is juicy surrounding "CIN," and I'm in. Xander is right. Ciara's playing them, but Victor refuses to believe this. I'm surprised and not surprised at the same time -- Vic loves his granddaughter, but he's usually better at diagnosing deception. And he's certainly not above disowning a relative he's deemed dumb, useless, really dumb, disloyal, or really, really dumb.

More than anything, I'm just dying to know about this big secret between Victor and Xander! They seem super tight these days. Xander must be in acceptance heaven. However, I suspect said secrets' significance to Ben is a red herring for some reason. Both Xander and Victor have been keeping the deets on the downlow even when discussing it with each other. Hmm. I mean, under the large umbrella of the Time Jump, sure, this secret will probably have some effect on Ben, but I don't think it's the "Free Ben" bombshell that we're expecting. I repeat, "Hmm!"

I think I'm on the verge of joining "Team Kate" when it comes to Evan. Something sets me off about that guy. I can't put my finger on it just yet, but if Ms. Roberts has taught us anything over the years, it's that it's better to be ruthless than sorry. Whoops. I meant, "safe than sorry." Or did I? Please excuse me for a second while I pour Kate and me a martini and we evil laugh. I even stretched my neck already, so when I throw my head back while cackling this time, I won't need a neck brace again. Eviling is hard work. Cheers, Katie!

Extra Scoops

HOT
Break it down. Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. Stop. Hattie time. Yes, please. Deidre Hall's exuberance in the role is infectious, and she manages to give Ms. Adams depth. Sure, Hattie's comic relief and not the biggest intellect about town, but she has such heart and loves hard. And I love her!

NOT
It's 2021 in Salem, and victim-shaming Nicole by bringing up "Misty Circle" is still a thing? Guh-reat. I get that the "villains" don't have much sympathy that a teenaged Nicole was drugged and forced into the porn industry by her father, but let's get creative, baddies of Salem. This is Nicole Walker. There are enough valid insults to be thrown at her for impact. How about "Baby-swapping bitch," "Brother-bouncing barracuda," or "Five-Million-Dollar Woman?"

LINE(S) OF THE WEEK
Kristen (calming down after Lani stopped her from leaving to kill Nicole): "That was just a kneejerk reaction."

TRUE 'DAT LINE OF THE WEEK
Chad (to Abigail regarding the New Year's Eve party): "These things always end up a disaster somehow. We should just get out of here before another train wreck."

COMEBACK(S) OF THE WEEK
Brady (regarding him and Nicole): "Nothing happened, and even if it did, why would you care? It looks like you are married to God at this point."
Kristen: [takes off her nun's wear, revealing red dress] "Let's just say, we broke up."


Princess Gina (regarding her breakfast): "This is not fit for a dog, let alone a --"
Kate: "A bitch?"

EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
Roman: "I have a policy not to get involved with women who work for me."
Hattie: "Yeah. That's probably a good idea because if you were to date one of them, they'd all want to start dating you."
Roman: "No. No. No. I just -- it just makes sense. It's too many problems with that. Then there's the 'Me Too' movement, which also makes sense."
Hattie: "That's what I'm talking about, you know, I mean, if you were to date one of your waitresses, they'd all be saying, 'Me, too! I want to date him. Me, too!'"

RANDOM THOUGHTS
Atta girl, Jules! I love her approach to peacekeeping. Get them a little "fortification."

And Stacy Haiduk just found her Emmy submission! Wowza. She was a force as Kristen last week. Major hat tip...tips...more than one!

Chad reading to Thomas and Charlotte was all kinds of holiday cuteness.

Arianna Grace needs to spend more time with Great Grannie Kate and Nana Sami to learn proper player procedures. Love him as I do, Sonny has "sucker" written all over his forehead, and if she can't dupe him into buying her a few more things for Christmas, that's weak. In no time, Kate and Sami will teach her to use the "My Daddy Who I Used to Think Was Dead Is in Jail Now [dramatic pause to put on a sadder face] Like Mommy Was" card. And that's how Ari will get a pony or two.

I had forgotten Kate worked with Hattie at the diner! Well played, writers. Well played.

I'm loving all the mentions of Celeste! She conjures up all sorts of warm and fuzzy DAYS memories.

Salem landscapers must make a killing, as there are so many shrubs outside of homes and planters around town to take care of.

Stefano's gift to Mar Mar was a little underwhelming, given their history. A brooch? How about a queen chess piece charm for her collection or a tiny little golden birdcage? A new armoire? He kind of still owes her one of those. A half-blown-up island that looks like a tropical version of Salem? Oh, I even know a cranky ex-priest who can whip up a quick friendship bracelet, if needed. See, Steffie, options.

Thank you, Lani! Now I kind of want a nun throwing a poinsettia through a window on my holiday cards next year. "I hope your holiday is smashing, my child!"

Abby and Gabi's catty jabs are hilarious. I mean, if we're getting another wave of war between them, it's more enjoyable not to watch Abigail play the saint. Gutsy and getting her hands dirty is much more interesting.

Speaking of catty, Kate and Princess Gina are a pairing I'd never pictured, but they are amusing sparring partners.

I'm glad that the eyepatch is back in play. "Bionic-y Eye Claus" doesn't have the same ring as "Patchy Claus."

Oh, when Gina covered her eye with Steve's patch, I instantly thought she'd break out into a Lady Gaga song. It just seemed like that would be appropriate. I mean, she had an eyepatch and a tiara right there. Eh, eh. I guess she's not a fan.

It's been a year and few months -- isn't it time for a Claire Bear update or, better yet, a visit!?

Also, if Joey Tribbiani and Kelly Bundy had a child, I'm pretty sure it would be Joey Johnson. With that said, shouldn't that loveable dope be out of prison by now? I'd enjoy it if he were to casually walk into the pub, spot Steve, and be like, "That's not Dad," then head to the bar for a drink, leaving everyone's jaws on the floor as Stefano scrambles to conceal his scam.

I chuckled when Princess Gina called Marlena "Mar."

I kind of hope that someone asks "Steve" to play the harmonica. I think a tiny, Ant-Man-like O.G. Stefano would burst from Patch's chest, Alien-style, and walk away in a huff, grumbling about what constitutes as music.

PARTING THOUGHTS
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for January 6! As there's still a lot of DAYS to catch up with, be on the lookout for a special Digital DAYS Two Scoops covering the past few chapters of the "Last Blast" reunion. With that, Laurisa will be back next week, and I can't wait! I also hope that everyone has a fantastic 2020 (or 2021 if you reside in Salem, USA), and, as always, thank you for reading! And, "That's a fact."

PARTING THOUGHTS
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans that's it for January 6! As there's still a lot of DAYS to catch up with, be on the lookout for a special Digital DAYS Two Scoops covering the past few chapters of the "Last Blast" reunion. With that, Laurisa will be back next week and I can't wait! I also hope that everyone has a fantastic 2020 (or 2021 if you reside in Salem, U.S.A) and, as always, thank you for reading! And, "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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