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Is that Jake or Stefan? Who poisoned Abigail? And are Eric and Nicole the newest crime-fighting duo in Salem? Let's grab a buddy and talk about everything that happened in this week's Two Scoops.

So much on soaps is about romance. That's the cornerstone of our "stories." I love a good love story just as much as the next guy. I mean, unless the next guy is Brady, in which case he'll propose to it before I even get a chance to sit down. But you get the point.

Still, the added bonus of soaps is a good friendship. The best kinds are the ones that are unexpected yet make shockingly good sense. This week, we kicked back into a recent one I've always enjoyed -- Ben and Stefan. The town pariahs have a bromance that is quite enjoyable.

Oh, I'm sorry, I mean Ben and "Jake." Yup. That's a dude named Jake. Not Stefan. Not at all. And Gabi's sudden return to Goodfellas hair definitely means that's not Stefan. Glad we established that.

Truth be told, I'm really just glad Brandon Barash is back in Salem. I love this cat. He puts in the work. He makes others better around him. And he's cool. Really, really cool. I'm glad his first scenes were with Robert Scott Wilson. I look forward to him working again with Sal Stowers, Lamon Archey, and, of course, Camila Banus as we figure out just who Jake is.

There's no way his image is a coincidence. One possibility is this guy is Stefan brought back to life with amnesia. All things are possible with Dr. Rolf. Then again, maybe he's Stefan's twin. No one has more kids coming out of the woodwork than Stefano. Finally, he could be Stefan faking the whole thing. There was that whole FBI investigating for espionage that might make a guy want to leave town. Whoever he is, I'm excited for his return!

One friendship not repairing anytime soon is Gabi and Abigail. After being very worried DAYS was trying to turn Abigail into Celeste 2.0, we got quick proof that Abigail was drugged and hallucinated bad guys. Whew! Though this is a very specific drug because, so far, all the women she sees remain in their regular form. That's either very feminist or very backward, as all of them (including herself) were the victims in her visions. Hmmm...

Anyway, the question turned to suspects -- or rather suspect -- because Chabby can't seem to think of anyone other than Gabi. Lani's very excited to hear this because she'd "really like to get that girl." Cool.

The only problem is Gabi did not drug Abigail. That's way too easy and, quite honestly, a little too amateur for Gabi. Her schemes are bigger and have a much better payoff. Plus, Gabi's got a much better storyline going on right now, and Chabby didn't really finish their last one.

At one point a few weeks ago, I texted Tony and asked, "Are we really supposed to think Chad is better after one night of therapy??" My guess is we're seeing that payoff now. Chad could still be under some control to get Abigail out of the picture. She's the only one that could stand in the way of DiMera Enterprises, as her loyalty flips back and forth between "this is my family, too," and "this family is poison." I can see why Stefano would want her out of the picture. We will have to wait and see.

Back on the topic of friendships still going strong, Gabi and Will had a heart-to-heart, which I will never get enough of. I adore that relationship. Gabi was justified to complain that everyone in Salem has gotten their spouse back except her. She and Justin are in a rare group.

But just as I nodded in agreement with her on that point, I was in Rafe's corner when he tore into her for coming to him -- again -- after she'd done something illegal -- again. That kind of noise worked when Gabi was a kid, but she's a grown woman with her own DiMera money now. She needs to stop putting him in a tough spot.

Besides, he's got to face Salem's new Addams Family in court soon. If that's not bad enough, Justin is his lawyer! (Call Belle, my guy!) I kid. I kid. I think Rafe should win this case. But it all seems to depend on something coming out that the Orpheus clan did.

Yes, the secret known 'round the town square was mentioned again. We still don't know what it is, but Zoey is in the loop now. She's shocked, but it doesn't seem to affect her personally, or at least the part she knows doesn't. So, I have to wonder if 1) it has something to do with who was really driving the car that ran Adrienne off the road that dreadful Mother's Day and 2) if there is more to the story.

That second question is now in a race with the effort to find Sarah. Legally, I'm not certain that what Sarah did is kidnapping. She's still the parent of legal record. We'll get to see her try out that argument soon with the French police, thanks to Rex.

Sarah ran into Rex in Paris, because, of course, she did. They chatted awkwardly for a few minutes. Rex called Kate to get the skinny on Salem. And when Sarah returned to retrieve a lost blanket, Rex ended up calling the police. The least surprising news coming out of this meeting was the revelation that Rex is the kind of guy who tells a woman, "Once you calm down..." Yup. We all could have guessed that.

LOOSE ENDS:
While I love seeing Victor with his girls, Ciara was incredibly hypocritical to cry at Victor's bedside right after she damned Xander for being a bad dude.

The brief scene between Lani and Kristen made me realize how fast the show dropped that hot potato as soon as Kristen started sniffing around Brady again. It's a shame, too, because that friendship could have been very interesting if given more attention.

Marlena's not quite ready to make nice with Hope. I get it on one hand. But on the other, Hope is being very gracious that her long-time friend/mental health expert didn't notice anything could possibly be wrong. I don't like this look on Marlena.

It's similar to the look Abigail tried to pull with Jack, when she tried to claim the reason things went sour with Gabi was because Gabi didn't ever give up on Chad. I'm so glad Jack didn't buy that piece of revisionist history. Sure, there's utterly no reason Abigail needs to give Gabi the time of day now. But Gabi was not at fault for the genesis of this mess.

For two people who were married for the better part of their adult lives, Kayla and Steve sure seem to have a hard time communicating with each other. Though Kayla telling him to turn down his ego did make me chuckle. I'm sorry about his eye, but I missed the Patchman. I'm glad he's getting back to his old self.

Like most of you, I'm enjoying the Hope/Steve friendship, too! I'm not upset with her for offering him a place to stay. They are part of a very unenviable club and can help each other reacclimate to society.

HOT:
There you go, Ericole! There you go! Just when I was worried these two couldn't have a storyline that didn't involve their romantic trials, they get custody of the Salem brain and use it to see right through Bristen's Dumb Move. Good job, you two!

Sure, I wasn't surprised Nicole saw right through Kristen. Better yet, Nicole's wasn't scared to call her out on letting Brady dangle in the wind. But color me shocked to see Eric realize Brady couldn't have done this, who actually did, and why he's covering for her. Get these two an advice booth in the Salem Square right away, if not sooner.

NOT:
One of the places the time jump fell down the most was with Brady and Kristen's love. It happened during the missing year. We saw pieces of it in flashbacks. But the entirety of it feels unearned, especially since we left Brady and Kristen on such bad terms. She'd worn another woman's face to get him to sleep with her and was carrying a child as a product of that crime. That's a lot to come back from.

Unfortunately, since their love doesn't resonate with me, all of the events this week left me slapping my forehead in disbelief. Kristen confessed to stabbing a man in the heart and then offered to go back and finish the job. Yet, Brady thinks it's important for Kristen to be there when Rachel is found? He's leaving this loon in society? She finds out her baby is dead, she kills someone. She finds out her baby is alive, she kills someone. I hate to tell her, but when her kid is two, some other kid is going to bite Rachel at daycare or on the playground. Whatever happens to that poor kid is on Brady.

Additionally, Brady has another kid to worry about. What's Tate supposed to do with all of this? All I can do is shake my head. Brady putting Kristen over his kids is not just dangerous, it's criminally negligent. So, I have very little sympathy for either of them, despite them being in a very sympathetic position!

LINE OF THE WEEK:
Nicole (to Kristen) "Crazy ladies need to make big changes if they want to be good at motherhood."
Can I get an "amen"? You remember those, right, former-almost-sister Kristen? Nicole just took you to church.

EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK: Ben: "You said your name was Jake?"
Jake: "Yup. Not Stefan. Da hell kinda name is that, anyway?"

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
I laughed when Orpheus cracked, "When she calls me 'father,' she's really ticked." It's funny how it only takes a few seconds of these three being together for Jordan's murder to become the least menacing thing about them.

Gabi's hair is a feat of physics. How deep is that side part?!?

I love that Kate's most important news is all about herself and her career, not about the people Rex knows.

I'm not sure "He's crazy about you" is a compliment when talking about Ben.

I'm pretty sure Brandan Barash's character on General Hospital owned a body shop, too. Anyone else remember that?

Rex: "What's new in Salem? What have I missed?" (Cue Thomas Jefferson's number to open the second half of Hamilton)

Kristen was looking for Sarah with a ruler and Sharpies because, apparently, you need to bisect an angle to locate Sarah.

In light of Nicole's warning about leaving Rachel entirely in Kristen's hands, I'd like to propose Belle or Paul come get Rachel la Zoey.

Come to think of it, Belle would have some advice about how to deal with someone fleeing overseas with your kid because they're having a hard time dealing with the true genetics of the kid.

That breakfast sandwich sounded delicious. Is there anything the Brady Pub can't make?

That's all for this week. One of my besties, Tony, will be back next week to see if we can track down Orpheus' secret -- as well as figure out who "Jake" really is. Hope everyone is staying safe and hanging in there!

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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