Which couples made the grade?
For the Week of February 10, 2020
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Last week was a big one for love in Salem! Some couples reunited. Some took the leap for the first time. Others came clean with their truths in a final ditch to land their mate. How'd they all do? Let's check out the report in this week's Two Scoops.

As we get ready for Valentine's week, it made sense for our favorite Salemites to start coupling up. This week was one for the lovers and focused heavily on our romantic pairings. So, I thought it would be fun to see how each couple fared this week, assigning them grades based on nothing other than sheer enjoyment of them. Here's where I landed!

Xander and Sarah: A+
Like Xander, I've been waiting for this to happen for a long time. For all his faults, loyalty isn't one of them. He's worshiped Sarah and only Sarah since he met her. He saw her through two men -- neither of whom made her their first choice. He delivered her baby on the side of the road. He helped her raise a child, midnight feedings and all. And most of all, he agreed to wait it out in the friend zone until she was ready. That's kind of huge for a guy who seems to have no problems making his own luck in other aspects of his life.

That's not to say he's a choir boy. Oh, no. Not even close. But, what I mean is that when it comes to her, there's something sacred about his feelings. I'll be very interested to see how DAYS plays Sarah when the truth comes out. He committed a terrible crime...to save her and her mother. I don't know. I just don't see Sarah being done with Xander anytime soon. It wouldn't make sense for her to shut down that kind of loyalty.

Hattie and Stevano: A+
Tony pondered whether there was a switcheroo last week. Spoiler alert: Closed Captioning straight-up credits "Hattie as Marlena" if you watch DAYS on the mobile app. So, I knew the switch the whole week. Thus, I got the delicious privilege of watching the scene as a cat and mouse game. And it was amazing!

Deidre Hall's Hattie has stolen a place in my heart. But she was even more outstanding this week. Hattie drew the confession out of Stefano. She rightly berated "Steve" for being a completely shady friend. (I mean, really, who stops running from assailants to take a photo of their murdered friend?!) And she was so far ahead of Stefano that his head almost spun around when he realized he'd been completely duped by a doppelgänger. The Phoenix was beaten at his own game! Hattie just shocked the defending champ of deception.

Stephen Nichols was equally as brilliant. He was pitch perfect playing Stefano's remarkable defeat. I'm not a fan of the "Steve as Stefano" plot, so I hope there's a way to un-essence the Patch Man. But in this scene, everything was at an all-time campy high.

Abigail and Chad: A
Give me all the super-sleuthing Chabby! I'm going to make an argument here that I'll probably regret, but here goes: these two could very well be the heirs to the Bope crown.

Yup, I said it. The genders are reversed. She's the one who follows her gut. He's the one who thinks more with his head. But together, they've got this really solid intellectual chemistry that makes viewers want to root for them. I loved the scene where Chad rightly pointed out that the portrait looked posed, and it's totally possible for the DiMeras to steal some faces. (Duh, Abs!)

And Abigail's smugness (I mean that as a compliment -- Bo had a smugness about him, too) works phenomenally well opposite Kristen's sly smarm. I wasn't expecting to enjoy Stacy Haiduk and Kate Mansi that much, but they were great!

Seriously, imagine what crime fighting would be in Salem if Shawn-D took over the Salem P.D. and Chabby took over Black Patch! Mayor Abe needs to make this happen.

Ciara and Ben (with an assist from Justin and Kayla): B
I originally had this couple at a "C," mainly because of the complete and utter lack of suspense. Ben got word he's scheduled for execution at the end of February Sweeps in three weeks. You guys, there's no way they're killing off Ben.

But then Ciara went and added Justin and Kayla to the mix. Those two automatically jump you a letter grade. I will never not welcome some quality Aunt Kayla time. I want to go to Aunt Kayla with all of my problems, all of my life. And Justin, while not the best lawyer, isn't ever one to quit. I love that these two have a good storyline. I want to see them help Ciara.

The interesting part about putting Ben in jail is that it inadvertently threw a challenge in the way of DAYS' hottest new couple. Robert Scott Wilson's good looks are hindered by that orange jumpsuit. And there are no more romps in Ben's tiny toddler bed for Ciara and Ben anymore. It's a big credit to Robert Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal that they can still maintain sizzling chemistry without the traditional soap romance clichés. Heck, their characters are barely even allowed to touch!

But I still felt so bad for Ciara when she had to tell Ben that she'd wasted time chasing down the wrong lead. And I loved this couple more when Ben said that he couldn't ask Ciara to go on the run with him because he knows she deserves better.

ERIC and NICOLE: B-
Nicole told Eric that she and Brady were faking it. He told her that he kissed Sarah to get back at Nicole for "being" with Brady, but that's as far as it went. Then, they went home to live happily ever after, or until the next Sweeps -- whichever comes first.

I know as an Ericole fan, I should be thrilled. And I am. It's just that their reunion felt more like relief than a celebration. That's the problem with fantastical storylines. Nicole and Eric overcame literal death to be together. A masked impostor with all of Rolf's genius behind her couldn't break them. So, it never made sense that her keeping a secret would.

So, I'm glad they're back together. I hope they have some serious funds set aside for Holly's therapy, as Eric is suddenly back making chocolate chip pancakes again. But at the end of the day, this pair is better together than apart. Eric's less moody when he's with Nicole. So, let's hope this sticks for a minute!

Sonny and Evan: C-
Next up, Sonny and Evan decided to forgo hot chocolate and just go to Evan's room, as is customary as soon as one party hides official documentation regarding the guardianship of a minor. Again, I'm sure everything is fine here. Yup. When has Sonny's taste in men ever been wrong?

Brady and Kristen: D
Speaking of bad taste in partners, Brady told Kristen that there's a chance they could maybe not hate each other one day, which Kristen immediately took as clearance to ask him if they were getting back together, what color napkins they wanted at the wedding, and if they should go ahead and buy the adjoining gravestones.

I give Brady credit for attempting to take things slowly. But even his bagel date idea raised red flags for me. Any date that includes an offer to "meet me at my desk at work" is already a little questionable in the boundaries department. And, come on, when has Kristen ever agreed to take anything slowly? I feel like this woman screams at her Crock-Pot, "What's wrong with youuuuuu? Don't you know how long I've waited? You will not deny me my pot roast!" If Brady thinks for one second he's in control here, he's oh-so-very wrong.

John and Gina: F
Nearing the end -- both of my list and mercifully their own storyline -- are Princess Gina and John Black. One thing I've never understood about this pair is why Princes Gina wants John. She wasn't in love with John before. She was in love with the Pawn. It would make more sense if she'd spent the last year trying to brainwash him into believing he's the Pawn again. Instead, she spent her time and substantially large wine budget trying to get Mr. Marlena Evans to fall in love with her, which seems like very poor time management.

Anyway, Princess Gina had almost won. She tricked John into drinking poison, at which point I began to wonder if there's been anyone dumber than John Black over the last twelve months. He literally just said the water could be poisoned. Then, he drank it. Anyway, after some mild hallucinations, Gina confessed her identity. Then, Marlena busted down the door like she was the Terminator. She's ready to rescue her man, and I'm here for the woman saving the day! Go, Mar, GO!

Eli and Gabi: Incomplete
It's hard to grade this pair because they're a very solid "meh" of a couple. I've always seen this relationship as more of a middle finger to Lani than a genuine relationship for either one of them. Eli was on the rebound from Lani. Gabi was out for revenge on Lani. This relationship solved both of those things.

I guess somewhere along the line, Eli fell for Gabi -- or more so, the idea of a woman who wouldn't walk out on him. I know I should feel worse for Eli, but his general dopiness when it comes to women makes him a bit hard to root for. I guess I just prefer him as a top cop rather than man toy in this game.

LOOSE ENDS:
Will declined Ben's offer to break out of jail together. Then, they hugged, and Will called Ben his friend. The hug kind of got to me. However, I totally get why that moment would be infuriating to other viewers. But Will calling Ben his friend -- for me -- has less to do with Ben's acclimation back to decent society and more to do with driving home how much Will has grown as a person.

He's come a long way from the incorrigible bratty kid who complained that no one loved him. He's not the angry teenager who shot E.J. He's not the immature man who cheated on Sonny. He could have taken the easy way out. And, yes, he should figure out a way go home to his daughter and husband as soon as possible. But I like that he's taking a minute not to blow up Maggie's life. I don't think many Wills before this one would have done that. I know a lot of attention has been on Ben lately, but this moment felt more like it was about Will.

The Lani and Kristen friendship is still baffling to me. On one hand, I really enjoy Kristen having one relationship in her life that has no agenda. I think she's genuinely protective of Lani and shares Lani's hatred for Gabi. However, Lani talking with Kristen about how evil Gabi is, is kind of like Lani talking to Freddie Krueger about how scary Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is.

J.J.'s only job on the show now is to make stank face at Gabi. I can't even go into the many reasons why it's silly for J.J. to be helping Lani and Kristen. But I do know that I want all of Casey Moss's facial expressions to be made into memes right now.

Julie is getting a new pacemaker, which is just another head-slapping moment for me in the "Come on, Lani!' list. Just to think, all this time, all Lani had to do was think of a way to get Julie's pacemaker changed out. If only there was someone close to Eli and Lani who was a world-renowned cardiologist. Shoot. Well, back to trying to get this app off every device Gabi owns.

Ciara and Kayla get bonus points for finally bringing up David's father. Cue me screaming at the TV, "No one checked if Jordan was David's mother, either!!"

HOT:
The "I love you" scene between Xander and Sarah was one of the downright most endearing scenes I've seen a soap do in a while. Her rattling on about how she can be annoying had to win her a lot of self-awareness points with haters. Him stumbling through his faults, including his poor taste in cologne, was a little slice of rom-com that we so very rarely get on soaps -- least of all from a character as serious as Xander. I bought everything these two were selling last week. And when he held Sarah and Mickey and exclaimed, "This is all I've ever wanted," my heart couldn't help but love all of them.

NOT:
I see you, submarine flashback. You are not welcome here. Get. Out. No, thank you, sir.

LINE OF THE WEEK:
Anna (to Tony): "I finally have you back. You're not in a dream...or in my purse."
God love Leanne Hunley for delivering that line with the perfect blend of sincerity and kook. This woman is a national treasure.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
When Nicole went on and on about how invasive a bone marrow surgery would be for a little kid, it made me think of Joy Wesley -- Chloe's little sister who was conceived for the sheer possibility that she might be a match for Chloe. That little baby should be all grown up to a 20-something with a lot of angst. Talk about a storyline that's always been ripe for soap drama.

If I'm ever kidnapped, I hope I'm lucky enough to get a kidnapper who leaves me individually wrapped sandwiches and bottles of water, all presented on a silver tray.

I love how Anna references Tony as "my Tony."

Checking out Kayla's new place made me wonder, does anyone have and use a drop-leaf table? The way every surface in my house seems to collect clutter, I don't think I could use one.

You guys, Jordan was strangled with a scarf. Ben was the Necktie Killer. Two totally different accessories. Why is Ben even a suspect? Tim Gunn would not stand for that kind of mistake!

Anyone else hope that Justin's "contacts in California" are Shane Donovan?

When you have a long-term rental at a hotel (like the Salem Inn), do you think that you can bring in your own food and beverages? I couldn't help but think of the skyrocketing mini bar charges during the Kristen/Chad/Abigail scene.

I keep waiting for Anna to drop a sly comment to Rafe. Something along the lines of, "I'll tell Carrie you said hi." That seems very Anna.

Lani's bed is abnormally close to her fridge, no?

If DAYS doesn't put out "Essence of Stefano" as a follow-up fragrance to "Resurrection by Rolf," then what is their marketing team even doing?

That's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to see how many of these couples actually make it to Valentine's Day. Don't worry, he and I have a plan for the cake and wine sure to be left over (untouched?) from Gabi and Eli's reception. We'll share with any of you who wants in!

Laurisa

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

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