We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Justin and his place as the nicest guy ever. We start with a classic -- the Justin/Sonny scene. Both of these fellas are pretty solid gentlemen. I love their support for each other, as well as their good humor. Sonny referencing "my stupid brothers" even played more endearing than snarky. And I love how Justin is always willing to accept advice from his son.
Then, Justin ran into Steve. Lesser men would have gloated, or at least ignored. But Justin listened to Steve. And when Steve told Justin that Adrienne would have given her blessing, too, Justin was genuinely touched. For what it's worth, I think Steve truly meant it, too.
And just when Justin was happier than he'd been in a while, he overheard the news that Steve was still in love with Kayla. In that moment, I knew he'd be the one to tell Kayla. Because, of course, he would. When Kayla's friends and family didn't step up, Justin did. He objected to his own wedding because he knew Kayla deserved to know.
In fairness, Justin needed to know, too. Lesser Salemites deceive people into marrying them all the time. But Justin couldn't stay married to a woman he'd made live a lie. And deep down, he'd known it all along.
We all knew this wedding wasn't going to happen. But, if you missed all the other signs (read, the last three decades of watching Patch and Kayla as a DAYS supercouple), then the flashbacks were an absolute anvil. It's not a good sign when, on your wedding day, you have flashbacks to the time you told another man he reaches inside your soul.
But in the end, maybe Kayla and Justin were never supposed to be that couple. They're the adults in the room. While, sure, it would have been helpful for the audience to see their concert dates and dancing in the moonlight, the bigger part of their relationship was the acknowledgement of Steve and Adrienne. Justin and Kayla knew what they were and what they weren't.
However, that revelation didn't make it any easier to see Justin tearfully walk away from the altar -- his guitar still on the stand, never getting a chance to sing the song he wrote for Kayla as a wedding gift. Nor was it easy to watch this mensch of a man pack up his happily ever after into cardboard boxes and carry it out of the home he shared with Kayla. I felt so bad for Justin. In life, it shouldn't hurt to do the right thing. My only hope is that his life and love story aren't over. There's still time for this stand-up pillar of a man to find happiness. I'm rooting for you, Justin. Hold your dimples high, my guy!
As for Steve and Kayla, I'm glad they're back together. They belong together. But in light of the display of grace on Justin's part, I found Steve and his friends a little rough this week. I did not love it at all when Hope said, "Maybe Justin's conscience got the better of him" while sitting around a table with four people who were also keeping this secret from Kayla.
As for Steve, the guy tried to run. Again. Isn't this the problem with Steve and Kayla? I guess he didn't go through with his instinct, but the fact that it was still there is concerning. I was glad that Kayla read him the riot act a bit, but I felt she got over everything in lightning speed. I adore these two together, I really do. But I wanted a bit more of a fresh start from them. Or, at least, maybe I wanted Kayla to change out of her wedding dress before jumping on a plane with anyone else.
Still, any objections I have are far dwarfed by the glorious work out of Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols. There's something delightfully vintage about the feeling this pair gives. They manage to infuse all of their scenes with a nod to who their characters were in their earliest days -- a kid from the wrong side of the tracks and the girl with a heart of gold. Maybe Steve and Kayla haven't learned from their history. But it's a joy to see Stephen and Mary Beth never forget it.
And with that, Steve and Kayla left Salem to reconnect. Probably for the best, because Salem has a lot of drama going on in other places.
Look, I'm supportive of Allie wanting to do whatever she wants with her life. But if she wanted to keep her pregnancy a secret, why come to the one place where she can't go five steps without running into a family member? The whole "zip coat and reveal bump" followed by immediate judgment of people is wearing a little thin. I'm glad Marlena knows, though, because Allie does need some guidance. And I agree with both Lucas and Marlena -- Allie asking Sami's ex-husband to raise this baby does verge on making this Sami's business.
Also, it was a miss not to have Victor speak up more about a father's rights when talking with Wilson. He didn't find out Bo was his son until Bo was an adult. While Bo held a special place in Victor's heart, he was always sad about the lost time. This got me thinking about the baby's father. What if the reason Allie isn't saying anything is because, like with Carolyn, the baby's father is in another relationship? Could it be that Allie doesn't want it to come out that she had an affair with a married man?
Speaking of couple drama, you know that couple you never want to hang out with because they fight all the time? That couple is Jake and Gwen, times a thousand. When together, they're walking embodiments of every annoying stereotype about their respective genders. Gwen is every needy, crazy girlfriend in every movie, book, or TV show. I don't like how she resorts to sex every time to get him to compliment her. I understand Jake looks like Brandan Barash, but pull back and have some respect, lady.
As for Jake, he's been very generous and cool with Ben, Ciara, and now Gabi. But that dude is cruel to Gwen. He humiliated her when he handed Gwen her clothes, putting her on the spot to strip down and get dressed again in front of Gabi. That was a gross bro move.
And like those couples, these people are generally enjoyable when not around each other! I love Gwen and Claire. I'm here for Ben and Jake. I can't wait to see Jake vs. Chad or Gwen vs Gabi. Let's use these characters to their strengths!
I howled when Kate squirted Vivian with a water gun. Just think about the commitment to that prank. I don't think Kate has squirt guns lying around her house. She had to go out and purchase that thing just for this occasion. Her investment in the bit was impressive. Also, I'll never not love Viv and Kate scenes.
Sarah got some perspective on love from Victor. It was odd. Basically, it's better to be with someone who's kind of crappy than be alone. Hmm...I'm a Xarah fan, but not sure about that one. I'd argue that Sarah should be with him because he always puts her happiness first. And I'm still sticking by that comment because I seriously doubt that woman entering his room was a hooker. Despite his looks and lifestyle, that's never been Xander's thing. I'm hoping this gal is either there about a massage or some sort of style fitting, or is perhaps even a business associate. Those diamonds don't smuggle themselves.
Ben and Ciara's wedding is sort of shaping up okay. She may have a dress again, and she has a ring box. What more do they need? I'm almost certain Claire isn't the one pulling all the strings here. Olivia Rose Keegan is playing Claire even more desperate than ever, making Claire an all-too-obvious choice. There's no shortage of people who wish to see Ben unhappy. I have to wonder if that person might be sabotaging the wedding. Eve? Zoey? Abigail? The guy who owned the necktie shop in Salem? Anyone who sells carbs?
I love the possibility of Chad and Jack sharing more scenes. If anyone can give advice about stepping out of the shadow, if not outright control, of a villain father, it's our Jack. Plus, someone -- say, I dunno, an experienced investigative reporter -- needs to figure out what's going on with Chad. That dude still doesn't seem right in the head.
If this week was an extended love letter to Justin, it was set to music by Wally Kurth. This masterclass showcase from one of our vets was truly something special. Wally didn't have a lot of fireworks to play. Justin didn't throw one glass, get slapped in the face, struggle with any addiction, or discover an evil twin. Justin's storyline -- not being enough for the one you love -- was actually very pedestrian as far as soap storylines go. So, in the absence of drama, Wally had to bring the heart. He did so with every sparkling smile, heartbreaking tear, and humbling delivery. I'm calling Kate now. Give this guy the key to Salem.
Talk about a kick in the nuts, Justin did not deserve that fake-out! While I welcome Judi Evans back with a thousand kisses, I just can't make myself wish for any more Bonnie. Last time was too much. I'm going to need more snacks if she's really sticking around to campaign for (ugh) Lucas' heart.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Victor: "You're a lucky man. At the end of your life, you will have had two wonderful wives. You deserve this happiness. Yamas!"
For all his smarminess, he can deliver a genuine compliment. I thought it was very respectful to both Adrienne and Kayla. Perhaps it's my sincere respect for Justin, but I hope this is foreshadowing. Could there still be one other great wife out there for our Justin?
Victor: "Between the two of them, the bride and groom have at least six marriages. I'm sure they've got it down cold. The important thing is to do it fast, so we all can start drinking."
Come on, Victor can't be too sentimental! Also, in true Victor fashion, he's rude but not wrong.
Jack dancing was everything!
Will: "Your dad is marrying one of my favorite aunts!" The other one has to be Carrie, right? She spent so much time with Will at ski camp.
I didn't remember Steve referencing Hope as "Sweet Thing." I'm not a big fan. It cheapens "Sweetness" a bit for me.
Allie's kind of a jerk for making fun of Eric not wanting to spend the night with Nicole.
Does Jake have an eye chart in his apartment?
I love Kate, but I have to throw a flag on her saying Sami doesn't forgive people. Exhibit A: Kate herself! After decades of trying to destroy each other, Sami and Kate teamed up and became legitimate friends. Exhibit B: Sami blamed John for her parents' divorce and spent years scheming to get John out of Marlena's life. Yet, who is Sami's son named after?
I'm making "Don't be horrible, not today," a part of my regular vernacular.
Wait, Will had to ask for someone to cover for him at the paper? Wouldn't he already have the day off for his father-in-law's wedding?
Joey called! Man, I miss that moppet. Is his sentence up yet?
Maybe it's just me, but I think Ciara has a real ring! I say save your money for something else, Ben. Maybe a bed big enough for two adult humans?
I liked how Hope held her purse during the whole key ceremony. Such a mom thing to do!
Chad may not be totally right in the head, but darn it if I don't enjoy Billy Flynn's slightly villainous take on Chad when in scenes with Gabi. Sure, sometimes I get annoyed with Chad's attitude. But Billy's portrayal is low-key captivating.
Yay for Jack and Xander scenes! More, please!
Kate did not have a 36-page spreadsheet, because that is not a thing. Spreadsheets have tabs, not pages. The only caveat is if Abe printed it out before reading it, which I really hope he didn't do because he seems more tech savvy than that. (Yes, I knew a woman who made her assistant print off all her emails and set them on her desk each morning. Please, don't be that boss. That's your PSA for the column.)
I couldn't end this column without giving a huge thanks, congratulations, and well wishes to Kristian Alfonso, who announced that after nearly four decades, she's leaving DAYS. More specifically, she won't be returning to DAYS when they start taping in September. That means she's already filmed her last scene. It's hard to imagine the book is already closed on Hope. So, I won't. Instead, I will raise my glass to the fantastic Lady Alfonso. She's given us so many memories. Judging from the outpouring of love from her coworkers, it's clear that they fancied her as much as we did.
And with that, I'll turn wedding duties back over to Tony. He has a much better track record than I, which bodes well for the Ericole nuptials. Hope to see you all there!
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