The Tripp/Allie storyline is now officially divided into two parts -- before Ava and after Ava. Never in my history of watching DAYS has one single character made such a difference in my enjoyment of a storyline. This storyline went from zero to diva with one scene. The confrontation scene in Steve and Kayla's apartment made me fall in love with this odd family -- every last one of them.
This storyline is basically an embarrassment of riches in the acting department because each character is beautifully conflicted.
Kayla hates Ava, loves Steve, and is tremendously confused over Tripp. Her medical brain can't ignore evidence that Tripp's DNA matches Henry's. She doesn't want him in her house anymore. But when she realized he would go live with Ava, she immediately resisted that idea. She wouldn't have done that if she'd just written Tripp off. Kayla can't forget how much she's suffered at Ava's hands, but she wouldn't wish that on Tripp. Mary Beth Evans is doing truly stunning work here, portraying the victim without making Kayla actually "play the victim."
Steve has done nothing but believe in his son from the beginning. Yet, he loves Kayla and doesn't want to lose her again. I also don't think Steve can truly despise Ava because she is important to Tripp. The short scene at the police station where Steve asked Tripp how he was doing meeting his mom for the first time was a wonderful, tender beat to play. Stephen Nichols is playing the usually hotheaded Steve with a budgeted amount of care and caution in this storyline. It's a different look for Steve -- and one that I quite enjoy.
Lucas Adams, you're up next, my good sir. This chap was thrown in the deep end. He's got three powerhouses playing his parents. Throw in a side of the always great Arianne Zucker and my plucky MVP of the year, Lindsay Arnold, and this guy had to show up. He does so in every scene. Tripp flat-out told Ava he wouldn't stay around if she was using mob money, and I believed him. Tripp is so careful around Kayla, which has to come from a place of great care for her. I loved him defending Kayla to Ava -- not an easy thing to do! And he was genuinely happy his brother is going to get out of jail, I can't wait to see those two together, too! So much potential there.
Finally, there is the utterly divine Tamara Braun. I have no idea how someone who probably weighs 83 pounds can take up the entirely of the stage and my screen. Even when Ava slithers around in the background of a scene, making snarky one-liners at Kayla, I just can't stop watching her. Tamara has this fantastic way of playing Ava's faux-happiness (Ava toying with Kayla) and Ava's true, unguarded happiness. I believed Ava when she described how thrilled she was to hug Tripp again. I think she's going to have that rosebud wallpaper off the wall tomorrow to make her kid happy!
Additionally, Ava seemed genuinely shocked to hear the story about Tripp and Allie. I couldn't help but notice that she didn't immediately want to go after Allie. I'm not sure if she believed Allie was raped or if she just wanted more info before she reacted. But when Tripp dropped the London detail, she knew something right away. I don't think it was that Allie was lying about being raped. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Speaking of crazy ladies I'll defend, Gwen had my sympathy for a bit this week. Anyone who nannies for toddlers all day, every day will eventually come to the point of taking a plastic bat to some inanimate objects out of frustration. I really don't think Gwen needed any further excuses beyond that. Still, I'm impressed with her ability to think on her feet. She had Jenny Bear eating right out of her hand, even joining in on the stress-release activity.
That point remains my problem with this whole storyline. Aside from Jack forgiving Abigail so quickly, Gwen hasn't encountered so much as a speedbump in her plan. Additionally, she stumbles upon massive secrets she can add to her bag of tricks. This whole thing has been too easy for her.
But Jennifer did manage to ask the million-dollar question, "Gwen, why are you so angry?" Yes, Jen. That is the correct question. We'd like an answer soon. Gwen's been on canvas since June. In 2020 terms, that's approximately 75 years. Emily O'Brien is doing well with the role, but the painfully slow pace is grating. We keep getting hints that maybe she's Jack's daughter or Abigail perhaps had something to do with why she's estranged from her parents. I'm ready for this roulette wheel to pick a number already.
Elsewhere in this storyline's web, Chad flat-out asked Abigail if she was having an affair with Jake. Abigail promptly flipped out and kicked Chad out of at least their bedroom, if not the whole house. Maybe he can live in the dog...err...carriage house with Jack.
This scene will be polarizing with fans, but I ultimately came down a bit on Chad's side here. Make no mistake, he was grossly out of line for accusing Abigail of sleeping with Stefan. That's just dirty pool, Chad. (E.J. was fair game, though.) But I had a lot of sympathy for Chad in this moment because no one has acknowledged what he's had to go through these last few years.
Chad's been Abigail's support this whole time. But who's been there for him? Nothing has ever been said about his own mental health and the emotional stress he's been under while being her caretaker. He's due a breakdown. I didn't love Abigail coming out of this as the victim once again. I think she could have handled it differently, considering this is a rare slip on his part in years he's spent holding her together.
I am very torn. I do not like Bonnie and Justin. But, I love Wally Kurth and Judi Evans. No matter who they are playing, their chemistry is charming. And this whole idea of the pressed-suit Justin being charmed by a whiskey-chugging bawdy gal has such promise. I just wish they would pair Justin with someone who was at least 80 percent less rapey.
DAYS needs to be careful drawing the parallels between Allie pulling a gun on Tripp and Sami shooting Alan. Alan brought the gun and used it to try to rape Sami again. She managed to get hold of the gun in a struggle. When he came after her, telling her to give him the gun and go back with him to his place, she shot him in self-defense. Allie stole a gun and went actively looking for Tripp because she was mad he wouldn't face charges. Some threads there are the same, but not the one the show seems to be tying this whole plot point to.
Also, while we're on the topic of Allie, I'm thinking Kate's stern "you made a bad choice" talk should have come, oh...six months ago when Allie used Kate's credit card to book an international flight without telling anyone where she was going.
I'm thrilled the show remembered Nicole and Ava were friends. It made me miss the Nicole I used to know and love. But Nicole's assessment of Ava is a bit off. Ava didn't just have a bad childhood. To keep her quiet about witnessing her father kill her mother, Ava's father drugged her well into her 30s. That's a little more than a "bad childhood." Still, it was nice to hear Nicole say nice things about someone else for a change. It was also a great bit of acting on Lucas Adams' part to play Tripp as surprised and a tad grateful to Nicole for sharing those things.
Chloe and Philip had an utterly charming conversation. I love this version of Philip. I prefer this one so much more over the McCreepy Pachino he was when he kissed Sarah and then suggested she go along with it. Ewwww, Philip. No.
Kate and Jake are still sleeping together in his garage, which is the most unbelievable thing Kate's done in years. Not the Jake part, I get that. I don't get the garage part. This thing is barely one step up from a fraternity house, and I see no way Kate didn't insist on immediately moving their rendezvous to a more "Kate" location. Also, I tend to agree with Jake here. Kate proclaiming how much she loves Chad is a little hollow when she's standing in Jake's jammies. To be clear, Kate loves Chad enough to keep him from hearing the news that would hurt him, but not enough to actually stop doing the thing that would hurt him. Oh, Katie. Never change.
Sure, I need a flow chart now because I can't keep track of who Charlie is actually spying on. But I get a kick out of Xander and Sarah's spy games. It's nice to see a soap couple get a storyline that doesn't involve their romance but keeps them on-screen and happy!
Abe was on fire a bit this week! He finally found someone to take the commissioner job, so he can check that off his to-do list. And I'm excited! Rafe is fresh off defeating the Mexican cartel, and I like the idea of Rafe having to referee Lani and Eli a bit.
Then, Nicole called Abe to hear the Ava story. I am a complete sucker for the Nicole/Abe relationship and will take any chance I can get to see it in play. His quick response to hearing about Ava's resurrection was hilarious, "Just what this town needs -- another crazy woman."
Finally, get your testify hands up and ready because this exchange with Roman might have been the best of the year:
Abe: "Eli and I thought that if we can keep Lani -- pregnant Lani -- out of jail, then it merited Kristen DiMera paying for one of her 200,000 attempted murders."
Roman: "Ugh -- you are so out of line!"
Abe: "You would have thought that we were bringing trumped-up charges against Mother Theresa! Kristen stabbed Victor. That was fine! But, Eli and I are the bad guys."
Roman: "What da hell happened in that convent?"
I've got nothing bad to say about DAYS this week. But, TEGNA and Direct TV need to work out their differences right now. I haven't been able to get NBC on my television for the better part of two weeks. I need everyone who can to see this show immediately because it is that dang good!
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Ava: "In real life, coming back from the dead is hard. It's not like it's a soap opera."
Delivery of the Week: Kate (to Rafe -- read as one long, run-on sentence): "So what was so urgent that it dragged me away from a freshly poured martini?! Welcome back, by the way."
Thomas must be a very advanced four-year old if he's doing 1,000-piece puzzles.
I love the Christmas music playing in the background of the pub and town square scenes!
Someone remind me never to make Marci Miller mad. Yikes! If looks could kill.
I'd bet money Nicole has never read Truman Capote. I'm 100 percent sure Eric has, and he told Nicole that story about going out the front door.
I can't say Julie would be my first pick of people to nurse me through a hangover.
I adore the Chloemeister, but I can't wrap my brain around her working for a fashion company. This is the woman who wore bodycon dresses and heels while taking care of her newborn at home.
Since Belle technically still works for DiMera, it's very strange she hasn't had any scenes with Chad, Gabi, or Jake.
I love seeing all the decorations up around Salem! Remember the year they did ornaments on the tree in the Town Square for people they missed who didn't live in Salem anymore? I so want them to do that again! I'd hang a Tony/Anna ornament. You?
It occurred to me this week, thanks to the time jump, DAYS managed to skip January-October 2020. They picked up in November 2020 and went forward from there. DAYS, you have no idea how smart you truly were.
That's is for this week, and that's it for regular columns for the year! Tony and I have been hard at work on the Golden Donuts and the Alex North Memorial Awards. We can't wait for you to read them! In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy this grand old show, and have a very happy holiday season!
What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.