Isn't she lovely?
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Whether you love them or loathe them, Salem sure has its share of fierce women, and they were on fire last week! Hattie was a heroic hoot! Marlena saved her man. So did Ciara! And several saucy Salemites are ready to strike. Let's celebrate the wild, wonderful, and wicked women of Salem in this week's heart-shaped Sweepstatsic DAYS Two Scoops!

Oh, February Sweeps! You never disappoint. Last week was exciting, from its hilarious Hattie-filled start to its heart-shaped Valentine's Day ceremony cliffhanger. I mean, Julie is right, "What's a Salem wedding without a little drama?" Oh, Jules. We might need to upgrade that "little" to "a boat an app load," but let's not get ahead of ourselves, as there is plenty to pick apart from week two of Sweeps.

Now, I don't need Queen B to ask, "Who run the world?" In Salem, that's easy. It's the wonderful, wicked, and wonderfully wicked women. Sorry, fellow fellas, but sometimes it's okay to be second fiddle to the fierce and the fabulous. So, let's take a look at what these legendary ladies were up to last week...

Hattie
Oops, she did it again! Hattie pulled the wool over Stefano's eyes and wasn't that afraid to call out his less than sensational scheme to seduce Marlena. Yeah. I'll give that one to Ms. Adams. Stefano's scam wasn't the greatest, considering his track record. Marlena has had some odd habits over the years, like wearing gloves indoors, but she's never been one to have grief sex to take her mind off losing the love of her life, especially if the guy is the love of her friend's life or her mortal enemy.

Also, I hope that the police let Hattie keep the throne once they're done with it. Sure, I can see Rafe hiding away in the evidence room and using it to reflect on his deep thoughts, but Hattie deserves it. So, someone get this gal a throw blanket and some bubbly. Marlena might be the "Queen of the Night," but Hattie is the "Countess of Cracking Me Up."

Marlena
Take that, Princess Gina! Doc swaggered into that dungeon like the badass she is. I clapped. A lot. Way to go, Mar Mar. Sure, she had to sacrifice herself for John, but she knew Gina's reign was about to end. Plus, she had backup and a lot of pent-up rage. Nobody drinks wine with her man. Nobody, Gina. Let's just hope that when all is said and done, Marlena and Hope can mend fences. Fancy Face will need some head-shrinking after that year-plus Princess bender.

Princess Gina
After a quick game of "catch me if you can," Princess Gina has been officially taken into custody. Whew. Still, the storyline isn't over. Despite some best efforts, the princess is staying put for now.

Though Shawn-Douglas needs to stay put, too. Aside from his general awesomeness, he managed to squeeze a single tear from Princess G, which makes me believe Hope is still somewhere in her hijacked mind, dangling above a vat of acid. I don't think Hope is gone-gone, but I'm dying to know what will free her from Gina's hold. Roman better find Dr. Rolf fast. We only have a few more weeks of Sweeps left!

I'm also curious as to what's next for Hope if and when she does reemerge. I've talked about how I'd like to see her work through her Post Traumatic Princess Disorder, but after that? That would be an opportune time to reset Hope. Perhaps return her to her former fearless glory long before shooting Stefano and some wonky romantic choices. If turning her into Gina, and turning Steve into Stefano is possible, that might be, too. I'm rooting for you, Fancy Face 1.0!

Kayla
Mary Beth Evans wins everything. Wowza. Kayla's in a precarious place right now, both emotionally and physically. She's "in love" with Justin, but all twisted up about "Steve" being back in town and needing her help. Mary Beth is crushing that simultaneous confusion, utter heartbreak, and rage that Kayla is feeling due to Steve's proximity. Dr. Brady wants answers. She wants her best friend and former love of her life back to the way he was. Will she want Justin if that happens? I'll prepare Dimples a sympathy card in case she eventually picks Steve. You know, in case. Eek.

In the meantime, Don't Call Me Sweetness means business. I loved her "That's how much you've hurt me" speech. When she shut him down by telling him to take "Sweetness" out of his vocabulary, I was like, damn. She means it. Part of me thinks that a little piece of the Patch Man broke free from Stefano's hold at that moment while another part believes the Fauxnix was impressed by her passion and rage. Could Steffie fall for Kayla? Will Kayla become his "Duchess of the Dawn" or "Marchioness of the Midday?" Oh, "Empress of the Evening"? I'd say, "Angel of the Morning," baby, but that would be silly, right? Anyway...

That precarious physical place? Yeah. Kayla doesn't know just yet that she's locked away with Stefano. Damn, Stephen Nichols lives up to his legendary reputation! He's nailing that "cat and canary" smugness that Stefano is known for. There's this underlying amusement he has, watching his prey go on about "Stefano," knowing he can strike at any given moment. Even in this wild storyline, it's adding a lot of texture and tension. I'm creeped out at times. But there's also the thought that Kayla's unleashed anger might be starting to unlock Steve within Stefano's mind. Hmm.

Gabi
Gabi's like the entirety of The Facts of Life theme song. You take the good, and you take the bad. While I'm still snickering over her "cartoon mice" and "Great Aunt Poopsy DiMera" lines, Gabi's all over the place. Thursday she was the queen of denial, spewing grandiose diva lines left and right while running Abby ragged as a Bridezilla, and Friday, she humbly reflected on her sins and love for Stefan, Eli, and Julie. Methinks once Marlena's settled back in Salem, Gabi should make an appointment. Either way, Camila Banus can certainly take us on one hell of a ride!

Though Gabi should have taken Chad and Abigail's warning more seriously. This, amongst a bunch of other things, is sure to come back to bite her hard. The writing is in bold print on the wall that Gabi is about to take a nasty fall.

Julie
Since I'm thinking about getting a sympathy card for Justin, I might get one for Jules, too. She'll need some encouragement after she finds out that Gabi isn't the wind beneath her wings. Like with Gabi, that is writing on the wall, too, but I loved Julie's sincerity while talking with Abigail, nonetheless. Let me be clear: what Gabi has done to Julie is way wrong. With that, Julie's introspection was inspiring. She took a hard look at her faults and changed them. At this point, she doesn't know what Gabi's done, just the things that she has done and wanted to change. It was a poignant moment, even if Julie's original bitterness returns (which will be more than a bit justified).

Also, the good news? Julie has a new pacemaker and is up to officiating Eli and Gabi's wedding. The bad news? Gabi still has an app for that. Though, with J.J. now privy to the info, I'm sensing something in the way of a setup is going down, especially with Lani lurking in the bushes and finally the big ta-da moment at the ceremony.

Lani
I know she eventually apologized to J.J. for being a total cranky pants arsehat (which is a shame, because her actual hat was fetch), but, my goodness, I just wanted to give Lani a big, stern Liz Lemon, "Shut it down." The dude's weeks into recovery for substance abuse after losing a second woman he loved to death, and that's not to mention Lani herself did a humdinger of a job taking a chunk out of his soul, so her gratitude for his help and letting her hide at his place is to be a jerk? Again, "Shut it down," Lanister. Then again -- potato, potahto -- maybe Lani is his best friend ever, as she's not coddling him? I'll be nice and go with that one, as I'm really burying the lead...

Lani stopped Eli and Gabi's wedding! She even shushed Julie, which is a brave thing to do. Now the big question remains: Will Lani blow Gabi out of the water with a bombshell app announcement, or has she just stopped things to blow up at J.J. some more? Come on, Monday, let's answer these questions.

LOOSE ENDS:
Valerie: Yes, please! She's back in Salem for a visit. I adore seeing Vanessa Williams again, plain and simple. She's great. Oh, how I wish Valerie would stick around Salem this time. Abe would, too, right, Abe? Right. Also, I wonder if it was Val who put in Julie's new pacemaker. Hmm.

Abigail: She's really on the top of her game right now. She's not only rocking some serious relationship highs with Chad (complete with a new necklace), but she's also still investigating Salem's shadiness. All that and she made me laugh with her reaction to Lani's appearance at the wedding. Hilarious. I kind of want to sit by Abigail and spill tea.

Kate: It's no secret that Kate stepped in it again. "It" being bad choices and shady shenanigans, but hate the game, not the player. At least this time, she did the right-ish thing by coming forward? There's that...ish. I dunno. I can't stay mad at Kate for long, especially as we're still working on exposing Evan together. Whoops. I wasn't supposed to tell anyone. I digress.

Okay. So, it's been reported that Kate was arrested and is being arraigned. Yeah, Kate could go to jail, but it's not like Statesville is hard to break out of. Plus, it's Kate. She'll strike a deal and be back to making more bad choices and shady shenaniganing in no time, especially since she has Hattie in her corner. For real, that was super sweet of Hattie to go to bat for Kate and try to explain things to Chad and Abigail. I hope they'll be able to work things out. No matter what happens, I always like Kate and Chad being on the same side. It's what Madeline would want, too. Maybe.

Sarah: I kind of love everything about Sarah and Xander right now. She's smitten with the Xanimal, but she's also well aware of who he used to be. Yeah. He still is that guy a bit, even though he's using his powers for, umm, good. We'll go with that, as I think Eric and Nicole's faces summed up every skeptic's standpoint of this romance, and, in the end, his actions with Victor will come back to bite him (and her), but in the meantime, I'll enjoy their sweet dynamics, nonetheless.

Nicole: Look at that! Eric has been smiling for nearly two weeks now. It's a February Sweeps miracle. I'm all in for this reunion, but I'm going to keep a catcher's mitt on in case another shoe falls out of the sky. It's Eric and Nicole. Their happiness shelf life tends to be only a few weeks. All the same, I'm going to sit quietly and sip my leftover Valentine's champagne and keep cheers-ing their reunion, even if it's hard to do with one hand in a mitt.

Mickey: The baby, that is. There's been no marrow match...yet! But Victor reached out to Theresa. While I'll cross my fingers for a visit from Jen Lilley to reprise the role, I'll settle for this shout-out. Well played, Victor. I mean, sneaky and detestable, but well played.

Kristen: she and Brady are living up to their pledge to "take it slow." Mm-hmm. And in front of the "Stevano" portrait no less. Tsk. Tsk.

Ciara: Victor summed up his granddaughter as "Impulsive. Hard-headed. Willing to do the wrong thing for the right reason." He's not wrong, nor was Chad when he said that Bo would have lost his mind over Ciara's choice to assist Ben on his escape.

Still, Ciara's all about the ride or die. She wasn't going to let Ben, well, die if she could give him a ride on her bike. I loved the role reversal of the entire thing, though, again, Vic and Chad are right. Ciara's not making law-abiding solid choices, but she's following her heart. I can't fault her for that, especially on Valentine's Day, when reason and logic take a backseat to romance.

If I were to fault her or Ben, I would say let romance take a backseat to reason and logic until they procure safe lodging. That is, don't go back to the scene of the crime. Literally. Jordan's body was found in the gatehouse, otherwise known as the last place Ben lived before being shipped to Statesville. Oy. That one hurt my head. They could have gone to the DiMera tunnels, to Hope's hopefully-fixed-by-now house, or to the docks and jumped onboard the Fancy Face -- or, heck, even hidden in the wreckage of Rex and Cassie's spaceship. Literally anywhere but the scene of the crime. Thank the Soap Gods they're pretty and committed to one another. Sorry, logic, I'm with "CIN."

Extra Scoops

HOT
I tried, but, nope -- I don't think I can love Hattie more than I already do. Seriously, she's not only a hoot but also a great friend to all she considers dear, even Kate. Deidre Hall not only has Hattie's comedic side down, but she manages to make a wacky character feel grounded, as well. Hattie has a heart bigger than her personality, and that's huge. Yep. I adore her. More, please!

NOT
Warning: Casting Spoilers Below!
This casting bombshell does not make me happy. It does not make me happy one bit. Not. One. Bit. That, coupled with this and this, too, has me worried about the future of some of our beloved Salemites and, perhaps, Salem as a whole.

When the emotional dust settles, we can see the show has had its share of several big names departing together before, and the show went on (and with renewal news, it is going on). I mean, Alison Sweeney and James Scott left within a short time of each other, but, on certain levels, that void is still felt. Then again, when Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall were let go once upon a time ago, the show brought them back once the picture became clear that DAYS had done them wrong and they were needed. Perhaps, at the moment, my nervousness and disappointment are still too dusty from the initial bombshells to look at what's for the greater good of the show's longevity. I'm just kind of saddened and shell-shocked that some great characters (and even better actors) are being shown the door, especially two characters who brought much-needed representation to daytime.

Still, I'm going to try to be optimistic while shaking dust out of places dust shouldn't be. Daytime, more than any other genre, has a fluidity with comings and goings. Heck, even when Corday proclaimed (and I'm paraphrasing), "All the dead from this point on shall remain dead," I knew it wouldn't stick. Look around -- Salem's pretty much like Zombieland with all the resurrections since then. Plus, if we don't know how or why some of these characters will be leaving, they might be temporary, and the door might be open for guest appearances, return arcs, or full-blown comebacks. Or, hello, a web-based follow-up series! That worked well for "Chabby" and the "Last Blast" gang. Just saying.

For now, while I'm saddened and disappointed and nervous and still a little dusty, I can see that the champagne flute is still half full, nevertheless. And, at the end of the day, I can only wish the departing actors the best and a Two Scoops-sized helping of gratitude for their incredible work over the years. Their talent and hard work have truly been a gift to fans like this one. So, with that half-filled flute, I say cheers and thank you to Chandler, Freddie, Galen, and Casey -- you're all amazing and greatly appreciated!

LINE(S) OF THE WEEK: HATTIE THE HERO EDITION
Hattie (to Stefano): "Well, if you ask me, it was a pretty bad plan to start with...I mean, really. Really. Admitting to Marlena that you're Stefano and trying to seduce her? Wow. That's a buzzkill."


Hattie (to Stefano): "Oops."


Hattie (to Chad and Abigail): "Hey! You know what a sweet-talker your dad can be, and there was a time that he almost had me knocking boots with him."


Stefano: "How did you get here in the first place?"
Hattie: "My car."

TRUE 'DAT LINE OF THE WEEK
Tech Guy Chris (to J.J.): "Maybe I have a twin I don't know about. It is Salem."

EXCHANGE(S) OF THE WEEK
Kate: "I know that it looks bad..."
Rafe: "It is bad."


Sarah (to Xander): "You are too much!"
Victor: "He certainly is."

RANDOM THOUGHTS
I love Doug sightings! So much. He's such a gent. Though it would have made more sense if Shawn-Douglas delivered the news about Hope to his grandfather, you know, Doug.

Though I'm going to hold out hope that Shawn-D, Ciara, Hope, Doug, Julie, and the Deveraux have a nice scene together before he leaves again. Unless someone puts him in a love cage and makes him stay in Salem forever. What? Those steel bars I've been amassing? Um. They're for a birdcage I'm working on. Nothing to see. Carry on.

James Reed was amazing during Clyde's "I Failed You" speech to Ben!

Stefano's "It's Always About Family" speech was also great, though Tony's 20 years on an island might disagree.

Julie going on about Eli was adorable. She's so proud! And let's just say he'll need her level of support soon enough.

Preach it, Rafe! I like him opposing the traditional "Who gives this woman away" line with, "No one tells my sister what to do. She makes her own choices." As it should be, Rafe-A-Roni.

Yikes. Statesville security is the worst. I'm sure instead of firing good old Tommy, they'll give him a promotion, since he only let one inmate escape.

Look at Clyde. He was kind of, well, human there for a second. Though if he calls Ciara "Girly" one more time, I might use my connections at Statesville to ensure a big old burly inmate will start calling Clyde that, too.

So, Arianna Grace is sick and can't go to the wedding. That means no school on Valentine's Day, either. That stinks. While I was in elementary school, I had the chicken pox one year on V-Day. Let me say, no heart-shaped folder filled with cute pun-filled affections and miniature candies does not a happy Valentine's make. And the being sick part stunk, too.

I'm shocked Chad gave Ben and Ciara an extension. Or did he just set them up? Hmm.

I kind of want a flashback of Hope vs. a Category Four Hurricane. Oh, no matter how ridiculous that sounds, I'm with Shawn-D. My money would be on Hope.

Also, "Princess Bitch" and "That Thing in There," gave me the giggles. Thanks, Shawn-D!

From intown to Prague, most hotel rooms in the Salem-verse look similar. Sure, it's a budget-saving technique, but they should create a hospitality tycoon who owns them all. Could be an interesting character with many secrets held, since she or he would be witness to many Salemites' shady behavior. Heck, maybe we already know said character from the past, or that's what one of Sonny's brothers has been doing all this time. Lots to work with.

On the topic of real estate, does Eli still own the Martin House? Whatever happened to that.

For the fashion forward peeps out there, it seems that green will be the hot color in February 2021.

If anyone wants to know what's so special about "CIN," they should skip to the end of Monday's episode and watch the look exchanged between them. That spoke volumes without a word being uttered.

Raise your hand if you want to see tech guy Chris show up again. I disagree with Gabi. I kind of liked his saucy attitude.

Finding her highness a royal pain, Rafe told Princess Gina, "This is truly worse than hell." Ha! He's not wrong, though.

Whud 'da hell, Roman? He's a little rusty now that he hasn't been part of the force in a while. One, why did he let Gina get away!? I know Mar was down and out on the floor, but she's bounced back from worse before. You always go after the bad guy. And, two, why didn't he tell Shawn-D to check on Kayla. It's okay, Big Guy. I still love you, just, you know, do better finding Dr. Rolf.

There was a time or two while watching the Stefano and Hattie scenes that I swear Stephen Nichols was trying to hold back laughter. I get it, man. Deidre Hall was cracking me up, too!

Speaking of cracking up, I certainly did when Stefano pointed his finger gun at Hattie. Her reaction was priceless. "Don't shoot!" indeed, Hattie.

But, really, Eric and Nicole's expressions to Sarah telling them about her relationship with Xander were epic. Arianne Zucker and Greg Vaughan slayed me, as did Linsey Godfrey as Sarah tried to justify things and get them on board. I'm happy for you, Sarah. There's that.

I like the interaction between Kate and Rafe. He's not afraid to call her out. She's not afraid to snark all over him.

Not that I condone Stefano yelling at Abigail, but his mind might need a little refresher. While she only "killed" one of his sons, Andre, she slept with three. Chad, Stefan, and E.J. Then again, maybe he was sparing us showery memories. Thanks, Fauxnix.

Sure, there's a glaring reason that Gabi and Eli's wedding is doomed to fall apart, but I knew as soon as Julie said, "As long as you both shall live," instead of working in, "all the days of your lives," it was a bad omen.

I hoped that Gina would say they're going to Alamainia! I hear its lovely this time of year. Alas, she didn't.

I don't know what was funnier, Hattie's line to Chad and Abigail about "nearly knocking boots with Stefano" or the looks on Chabby's faces, especially Kate Mansi. She made me chuckle.

Maybe Ben was able to escape so quickly because (even reformed) serial killers have that innate ability to walk super-fast even if they're injured, and/or even if their victims are running away from them, they can still catch up to them. For reference, see any Friday the 13th movie. Literally, any of them.

PARTING THOUGHTS
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for February 17! I hope that your Valentine's Days were special and romantical. I tend to celebrate the day after when all the heart-shaped candies go on sale. Meet my Valentine -- frozen miniature Reese's cups. What, what! With that, I'm off to return the blender I bought Gabi and Eli for their wedding, so Laurisa will be back next Monday to Two Scoop week three of February Sweeps. As always, thank you for reading, and, "That's a fact."

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