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For the Week of April 20, 2020
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Do you believe Kristen has changed? Where is Sarah headed? And is there any hope left for Xarah or Stayla? Let's discuss it all in this week's Two Scoops.

We picked up right where we left off last week with Lindsey Godfrey doing werk as Sarah confronted Xander about the baby swap. Good night and good morning, this woman was flawless. She spent half the scene with very little dialogue. But every emotion was written all over her face. When Xander got to the point in his vows where he said he had a confession, Sarah looked downright desperate for any part of her life to start making sense again.

Then she got to her monologue. Her line, "It all started with a lie," was chilling. This was a woman who lost her whole future -- her husband and daughter -- in one evening. The realization that she'd been living a lie cut deep. I don't even think she got to the point where she realized her mother was partially responsible for her daughter's death. (The other part is on Summer the Bummer, who, again, is The. Worst.)

The scene also gave Paul Telfer a chance to flex a new acting muscle, as Xander experienced an emotion he doesn't often display -- genuine heartbreak. The easy joke here is that you must possess a heart for it to break. But Xander's never allowed himself to get as close to anything as he has to Sarah and Mickey.

Even his earlier disappointment over Victor not giving him a place in the family falls short of the pain he went through with Sarah. With family, there's an implied obligation for some sort of respect. But deep down, Xander knows Sarah shouldn't love him but chose to, anyway. He finally got it right. And then he got it wrong.

I've had his defense argument worked out in my head for a long time. Xander's heart was in the right place. This time, his crime wasn't one of selfish actions. He genuinely did it because he didn't want Sarah to be sad. But then the show pivoted. It was brilliant writing to base Sarah's outrage, not with the criminality of Xander's actions, but in the emotional fallout Sarah must now endure. Xander let her fall in love with a baby that wasn't hers. Now, she grieves the loss of two children.

Well, at least she will once Xander tracks her down and helps bring Rachel back home. Unsurprising to absolutely no one, Sarah shuffled down the back stairs with the baby, hopped aboard the Titan jet, and took off to lands unknown. This is obviously a mistake. I'm positive any "part unknown" has a police force more competent than the Salem P.D. She should have taken her chances and gone to hide in the DiMera living room. No one's been in there for months.

She leaves behind the three other parents involved in this story -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good was Brady. His scene was the toughest, as Brady navigated the rush of conflicting emotions. He was thrilled for his daughter but immediately heartbroken for his brother. I was so glad the show included the latter. Eric Martsolf executed it beautifully. Having Eric and Nicole be the ones to break it to Brady remined me, as well, of how much cumulative good exists among these three. Brady and Nicole are one of my favorite friendships in Salem. I adore that Eric and Brady treat each other as brothers. And when Brady looked at Nicole and asked her to take care of Eric, I may have let out an audible, "Aw!"

But that was where my goodwill for Father Eric ended. He's the bad. I did not understand his scene with Xander. At. All. He laid into Xander for switching babies and watching another woman grieve the death of a child...and then he went home to Nicole. Literally any other argument...like...say...a grieving father who just found out his child isn't his...would have worked.

And then we get to the ugly. Despite how much I've enjoyed the character over the years, I have such a hard time getting on board with the show whitewashing Kristen. Even Eric, John, and Marlena stuck up for her last week! Yet, I don't see it. This character is as selfish as ever. Unlike Brady, she showed no sympathy for Eric and Sarah. Everything -- even her declaration that this was payback for what she did to Brady and Theresa -- was all about her.

Brady had to keep giving Kristen step-by-step instructions on how to behave like a decent human being, but that fell on deaf ears. Her stance that Sarah and Eric aren't going to go through what they did because "at least they'll know their baby is alive" made me collapse my whole face into my hands. Nope, dummy, their baby is dead. And now the baby they thought was theirs is going to live with someone else. It's actually worse than what you went through.

I really couldn't even take her outrage that Sarah left with the baby, despite knowing that this is absolutely the appropriate reaction for a mother to have. Still, I couldn't help but think it's not like Sarah killed anyone or anything. *side eye* It's been so clear to me that Kristen hasn't changed. It was a bummer to watch her "win" the week by getting the baby and Brady, too.

In better news, it looks like we turned the Stevano corner and avoided the amnesia exit! That beautiful scene when Steve got his memories back was a delight! "Oh, Sweetness," indeed! Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols played that scene perfectly. Lesser actors could have been affected by the pace. But these two pros got an emotional punch out of it as if that reveal had dragged out for months.

Then, can we talk about the bro hug between Jack and Steve? Pretty much every scene between Jack and Steve was made of win. They're emotional and comedic gold. I want more of them!

In fact, I would like to politely request that instead of scenes with Steve/Kayla/Justin. You guys, this one is going to require extra snacks.

Granted, Steve came back to a lot. His wife is now with his brother-in-law. His sister is dead. His brother is back from the dead. (Though that happens with such high frequency, Steve could probably roll with that one.) The show's supervillain took over his body and spent the better part of the last year torturing people Steve loves. And my guy hasn't even heard about Hope's whack accent yet!

Still, I thought his whole behavior was a little...immature? Passive aggressive? Pouty? I think it's to further establish that Steve is the opposite of level-headed Justin. But the essence of Steve isn't quite back yet. This is not a man unfamiliar with tragedy. He's usually got a plan. Hopefully, that will change soon.

My heart already breaks for Justin. They guy was very understanding with Kayla. And I don't blame him for being a little hesitant to believe that Stefano is completely gone. Yes, he could have picked a better time to tell Steve that he tried to kill half his friends. But he's justifiably distrusting of this fella. Still, Justin went through a very similar situation with Lucas and Adrienne. He knows how this will ultimately end up. Dimples should probably reactivate his Match.com account.

LOOSE ENDS:
Ben and Ciara got a whole two weeks of happiness, so obviously, they're done with joy for the year. The second they left that magic room with the normal-sized bed, things went straight to hell. The cute playdate with David ended up with Christian showing up (whaaat?) and threatening to take David back. This led to Ben losing his temper, an understandable emotion when confronted with the man who killed your sister and kidnapped your nephew. But strangle bae should probably have his meds readjusted. I'm glad Ciara shut that down before it went too far.

I can't believe Jennifer didn't mention she was in Kayla's exact situation when Jack came back from the dead while she was dating Daniel. Remember the weird Bachelorette-esque storyline where she dated both of them before giving the final rose to Jack? I know. I wish I didn't either.

Orpheus' instant family happened at truly record pace, even for a soap But the show is missing a truly evil villain and needs to fill that role. I'm excited to see if that can happen now that this family includes Zoey Burge.

I'm instantly intrigued. I loved her facing off with Lani. I adored her sparing with Rafe. I howled when she gave Ciara crap for holding a man at gunpoint. And I was floored when she revealed Christian is her brother. That seems to imply Orpheus is her dad, but we'll have to wait until next week to see that. I sincerely hope that's the case. Good stuff!

Sonny and Will picked up the discussion about having another kid. The scene was an all-around fun one to watch this week. I hope they decide to add to their family!

HOT:
I did a double-take when I saw Kelly Thiebaud on my screen. Yes! Yes! Yaaasss! I know she was controversial, but I loved her as Britt on General Hospital. She played the daughter of a supervillain there and brought a truly fabulous slither to the role. It's a truly difficult task to craft a smart villainess you actually root for. Kelly did that with style to spare. Good to see her in Salem!

NOT:
Well, dang. Kelly isn't staying. Boo. (Note -- None of that is to disparage Alyshia Ochse. I'm just not familiar with her. If you are, let me know how you think she'll do!)

LINE OF THE WEEK:
Vintage Steve: "I'm going to spend the rest of my life living up to the faith you have in me."

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
It's amazing how much, "Hey! Amnesia's no biggie! Just look at (fill in literally any character's name here)" is a normal thing for Doug Williams to say. Ha!

I laughed way too hard when Justin said, "I don't know exactly what's going on here, but I'm pretty sure there's not going to be a wedding."

Wait, was Sonny campaigning for someone who thought they lost the love of their life to stay with the person they met in the interim? That sound you heard was Paul Narita slapping his head in shock.

Gabi swung too far into revenge, but I can't help but wonder how things would have unfolded if Abigail had done the same kind of genuine apology Hope gave to Jennifer.

As I watched Kayla try to not-answer Justin, I realize it must suck to date a lawyer. They know the specific questions to ask.

There you have it. The people who loved Adriene most were Justin, Sonny, and Steve. That's what happens when you don't visit Salem, Alexander, Joey, and Victor! You get left off the love list!

Finally, next week is my bestie's birthday. She's the one who introduced me to DAYS in the first place. So, each April, in honor of her, I invite you all to participate in "Take a Friend to Salem" Day! I know you have someone in your life with some extra free time on their hands. Call them and talk them through a DAYS episode. Send them some YouTube clips of some classic moments. Try something to share our favorite soap with a friend!

Laurisa

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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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