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Matt's Musings on Days of Our Lives, 2009

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December 31, 2009

         
Up at Soaps.com!
 

December 24, 2009

         
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December 18, 2009
Nicole spent the week sitting in her jail cell. She wished for Brady to come. Her wish didn't come true. Chloe came instead. She was distracted by Nicole's new hairstyle, but Nicole managed to push through the diva's ADD to convince her to try and convince Brady to stop by. She tried but he wouldn't. Nicole had a few other visitors though. Roman dropped in and she told him about the woman who abducted Syd. He chose to ignore her. When she told Rafe the same thing, he decided to believe her and the information was enough for him to get the only useful lead they've had.

The dysfunctional romantic triangle of Rafe, Sami and EJ took on a different kind of dysfunctional shape this week. They decided to 'work together' in an attempt to corner Stefano into coming clean about where Syd was. Such a feat could only be accomplished with the help of Sami's superhuman ability to annoy most people to the point that they will confess to crimes or have heart attacks. As EJ listened to Stefano ranting at Sami, it was hard to tell how much of what his father said about her deceptions and manipulations he actually agreed with. Stefano refused to say anything. Instead, he caught Sami trying to catch him out and tore her shirt off to reveal the wire she was wearing. Roman promptly arrived and arrested Stefano for assault, which was a little rich since they had just committed entrapment, harassment and trespassing without so much as a warrant. Stefano spit on his son and left for his old familiar cell. While he was sitting in lock up gritting his teeth, Rafe administered some truth serum to him and finally got confirmation that Stefano really doesn't know where Syd is after all.

EJ, Ari and Brady bickered. She demanded that Troy introduce her to Mr. Big. EJ set things up so that he could meet her without her knowing that he is actually Salem's drug kingpin. He used to opportunity to 'spar' with her and tell her how much he enjoyed it. Brady caught them and threw a fit. It's unclear whether EJ really enjoys his little moments with her as much as he enjoys sticking it to Brady and Rafe, but it's rather telling that he compares flirting to punching someone in the face. Brady and Ari then fought and flit apart before getting together for some sex. Just to be complete about it, Rafe and Sami also had sex this week. They exchanged their usual candles for Christmas lights. Once more, they did it on the couch. She kept all of her clothes on and he took his shirt off, which leads me to believe that old Catholic myth and assume that Sami's ears are actually her sex organs and Rafe's nipples are his.

Carly got belligerent with Justin when he continued rubbing her apparent romantic inclinations for Bo in her face. At least it was snapping her out of her usual exhausted expression. She even began sporting a  broad smirk and pumped up the childishness when she was at the hospital for her job interview. Justin went there to convince Daniel not to hire her but it turns out that she and the doctor go way back. Daniel was happy to hire her, but he seems to be the only one happy to have her around. Even Maggie had to agree with Justin that having Carly in town is seriously ruining things for Bo. Carly would have a hard time denying that she is there for purely non-romantic reasons after the Mayan scroll she read at their wedding popped out of her purse and into Bo's hand. Beauregard, grand detective that he is, even managed to pick up the clue about what this meant when it happened. Maybe he should have dug around in her purse a little more to see if she had a voodoo doll of Hope as well... Hope came back for the holidays, which led to an argument with Bo in which she admitted that she doesn't have much faith in their future. They kissed anyway, but she walked out with a family photo and some beard burn, saying that love is not enough.

Victor kept his sunglasses on all week. It was his way of trying to stay invisible from the hell of the holidays that visits the Kiriakis family every year. Vivian continued settling into the mansion and setting up Carly from some grim revenge. Even Victor got excited about that. It was enough to keep him sober after imbibing Vivian's infamous eggnog. They played domestic, though the rest of the family was less convinced. Vivian set out on the town with a bundle of flowers and soon left a corpse in her wake. The corpse just happened to belong to one of Carly's newest patients. Not a very impressive way to start a new job...

Philip's problems with women became a little clearer this week when he was forced to deal with his two mommies. He did his best to avoid their vicious sniping, but they've all lived with Victor so they know how to give as good as they get. Philip was more interested in licking frosting off of Melanie's face. They flirted and he asked her to spend the holidays doing un-Christmas things like watching "The Exorcist" and throwing watermelons at nuns. She was up for that, but the romantic vibe was a little more off-kilter elsewhere. Steph and Nate decided to trim the tree together and maybe go caroling or watch the porpoise fights in the harbor during the Christmas clam bake. Mia stopped being mousy and just moped. Will had no will and was totally indecisive. His mother had to prod him to go to the non-denominational snowflake dance. Unfortunately, it looks like taking Mia to the shindig could hit a snag since Chad asked her to go too. Mind you, he was panting over Gabi after meeting her so we'll see how that turns out.

Sydney hung out with her kidnapper, perfectly oblivious, but then again, ever since she left Salem she's seemed pretty jovial. Her kidnapper (Anna) fell over while hanging a wreath and Syd giggled a bit. She's proving to be a real DiMera - comfortable in captivity, laughing at other people's misfortunes. What's more perplexing is the fact that the show's minions very publicly declared who the kidnapper was even though they still refused to show who she is to the audience until the end of the week.

Anyway, now on to the spoilers. If you don't want to know about the merry happenings in Salem next week, avert your gaze now and make some snow angels, or eat some shortbread, or build a gingerbread replica of the DiMera mansion and let EJ and Sami be gingerbread men so that when they bicker too much and you can bite their heads off. Elvis "I like to spar" DiMera wants to hold a special candlelight vigil for Sydney just to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. The plan could pay off since he receives a note from the kidnapper. Plans are going a little differently for Philip. It looks like he and Mel aren't going to watch "The Exorcist" but they will do something shocking. He pops the question to her, and it's not the question about how they are going to split the royalties for their sex tape. Could this possibly pull them out of the romantic quagmire they've been sinking into? Meanwhile, Carly could be sinking Bo even further into one after she confesses that she really does have feelings for him. Brady finds that he can't shed his feelings for Nicole easily and ends up going to her side after Ari alienates him and Gabi makes Mia uncomfortable when she dances with Chad (she's from the bad side of the tracks so she knows the Lambada).

Lines of the week:
Bo: You move out and I ask you to move back and you tell me it's up to me. It's not. We're stuck in a pattern so tell me how we get out of it because it's driving me crazy.

Vivian: My goodness, what happened to your fashion sense. You almost look like a student nurse.

Rafe: It has a big long Latin name I can't pronounce, but suffice it to say it's truth serum.

Philip: Whatever you do, don't sit on the lap of the guy playing Santa.

Kate: Tis the season to kick your butt to the curb.

Philip: Someone just told me I'm lucky to have a family. I'm lucky they haven't killed each other or buried someone alive...

Stefano: Samantha and that pimp of a boyfriend and even Elvis are behind this.

Vivian: You're a poster boy for sanity compared to the Botox bitch.

That's all I got for this week. I'll be back next week for more of my take on Days, but in the meantime, check out Christine's Days Of Our Lives Weekly Blog on Soaps.com this week and Lori's Last Word (DOOL Weekly Thoughts).


December 4, 2009
Elvis raged. He ranted at his father to stay out of things and vowed to do things with the help of the Salem PD instead. Nicole called. He kept her on the line for half an episode but the Salem PD still couldn't trace the call. Stefano thought his son was making a stupid mistake. EJ threatened to never let him see his grandchildren again if he didn't back off. Stefano felt bad, after all, the babysitters EJ and Sami constantly leave the children with need a break once and awhile. EJ raged some more. Sami and Rafe worried, paced, cuddled, worried, paced, she screamed hysterically, he calmed her down, worried, paced, screamed, he calmed her down, worried, expected the worst, then got hopeful, then pessimistic, then hopeful, then worried and screamed and he calmed her down some more. To jazz it up, she also worried to the other two men involved this week -- Brady and EJ. She slapped Brady for bailing Nicole out. He felt bad and tried to help out, which led EJ to scream and bellow and pout. Rafe calmed him down and then there was more pouting and screaming. Elvis didn't want any help from a man who loves his wife more than he does.

Nicole made it all the way to Cleveland, where she promptly gave herself a makeover, going from blond to raven, for a moment becoming eerily reminiscent of Beth on "Passions." She hung out at a flea bitten, bed bug ridden motel and Syd chuckled the whole time. Fay made a return appearance. Nicole gave her a sob story about being in a dangerous and abusive relationship, which was mildly accurate, and spun it for maximum pity points. Her mom gave her all the tips she'd saved up from the diner and even arranged for Nicole to get a fake passport. Bus tickets, however, were enough to break Nicole's budget. She had a crises of faith about what to do next when the bus conductor announced that they were preparing to leave for Toronto (I know that's how I feel whenever I go back there). She decided not to run with the baby and tried calling Sami. Before she could speak, she passed out and was dragged into a hospital. In the fracas, Syd vanished. Elvis, Brady, Rafe and Sami flew over to Cleveland, bringing their hilariously awkward tension with them. They were shocked to find Nicole alone and no sign of a baby anywhere.

Vivian settled into town some more. She even did some bird watching with Victor, who has been sneering a little less than usual. While they shared some amusing banter, which was surprisingly full of less venom than either of them are normally known for, things went less smoothly with Philip. He didn't appreciate having Viv swan back into his life again and ordered her to stay away. Nonetheless, he did rub her presence into Kate's face.

Carly began the move to Maggie's. Bo was still skeptical about the move. Hope thought it was a good move, but she still doubted that Carly and Bo would be able to stay out of each other's pockets. Beauregard did nothing to dissuade her. Hope was scarce after that. Carly dragged her hobo sack across town and started moving in. On the way, she spilled scalding coffee on Mel, who was rather furious to find out that they would be bunk mates now. Of course, Mel had other things to worry about this week, like her inability to make up her mind or control herself. Melanie's facial expressions continued to run away from her. It's like she's not even sure what they are communicating anymore. Watching her is like seeing someone try to match their emotions to whatever look randomly appears on their face. But this fascinating inversion of emotional reality had consequences when it led to her nearly kissing Philly K. Nate walked in on cue, blew up and broke up with her. Philip wanted to pick up the pieces with her. He's been trying to do that for awhile. He even told her a sob story about being a stolen embryo. "I had a tough childhood too," was all she could say in response. She pushed Philip away, who skulked off to scowl at Bo over beer. Meanwhile, Steph made a pass at Nate.

Anyway, now on to the spoilers. If you would rather stay in the dark about the upcoming events in Salem, avert your eyes now and enjoy a happy weekend stamp collecting, Christmas shopping, gum chewing, boxing, box socializing, baby stealing or whatever else warms the cockles of your heart. Otherwise, Carly better check if there is a bomb shelter under Maggie's and stock up on oxygen masks because Vivian is going to be teaming up with Victor to extract her revenge. Making things more awkward, she's just moved into the dysfunctional version of 'The Fact of Life' and isn't being made to feel entirely welcome. Adding to her misery, no doubt, will be her admission that she really does have feelings for Bo. Now that she's gotten over the loss of his mullet, she can share some more tenderness with him, which is exactly what Justin walks in on. Will he spill this to hopeless Hope? News will be just as bad for the rest of Salem as Syd continues to go missing. Nicole isn't much help and gets bundled off to jail while EJ becomes convinced that she knows exactly where the clever like tyke is.

Lines of the week:
Bo: All kids think their parents are idiots. 

Carly: All my life I thought I was a pretty tough cookie, but the last few years with Lawrence scared me.

Philip: I guess I just need someone to tell me the sun will come out tomorrow and everything's coming up roses. I also need to hear it's darkest before the dawn.

Arianna: But Phillip is what you want.
Melanie: No, and if he is, I'm wrong.
Arianna: This isn't about right and wrong, it's about what is and what isn't.

Philip: Now 'Incubator Mom' is back and she wants to coddle me. How can I be a success if I started out as a stolen embryo?
 

November 20, 2009
Now that the truth is out, Salem will never be quite the same again. Each day brought new torment for the poor people of the little town as they endured all the pain and penury that's been held in reserve for the nation's capital of fish guts, fishy births and gut-wrenching screams. 

Poor Nicole. All of her dreams have been smashed again. Even the porn industry might be hesitant to take her back now. On the bright side, she did share a truly beautiful and highly nuanced confessional scene with EJ on the pier. It was the kind of scene that soaps only do at their best. Now that she is looking at the end to her life in crime, Nicole has to prepare for a life with the 'biotches' and 'hos' in orange who she used to mock so endearingly. But all is not lost for Nicole. She still has hope, and not Hope Brady, just Brady. He showed up to pay her bail because she's so poor.

Poor Sami. She finally found out the whole truth about Grace and Sydney. Well informed is never where Sami is most comfortable, and this was no exception. She kept losing her footing. To her credit,  even if she bitch slapped Nicole and sadistically ordered her to admit that Syd was her daughter, she still let her say goodbye to the little tyke. The brief period of co-parental bliss with EJ was short-lived and he soon exploded in paranoia, assuming that she was trying to swipe away the child he had recently put out on the curb like trash.  

Poor EJ. Not only did he find out the vast extent to which he has been hideously duped by Nicole, he's discovered that he now has to be stuck in a parental triangle with Rafe and Sami, possibly for decades to come. It's amazing he's still willing to leave the house considering how out of touch with reality he must be feeling. But he braved it anyway, spending much of the week raving and ranting at the pier when he wasn't swilling booze and ranting at whoever stumbled into his mansion. He had it out with virtually everyone, from Nicole to Roman to Stefano, and, after a brief moment of sensitivity, Sami and Rafe.

Poor Mia. She's ruined her whole life to save someone whose life just got ruined. That applies to Nicole in the short run and, very likely, Sydney in the long. Maybe now that the truth is out, Will will forgive her for her lies, or maybe she has just made things even worse. At least she's proven to Maggie that she can be every bit as prone to trouble as Melanie. She's also proven that when she gets angry, she can be pretty nasty, which bodes well for her future in Salem.

Poor Miss Melanie. Doomed to be adored by two attractive men. If that wasn't bad enough, no matter who she chooses, she seems destined to be stuck in a triangle with Stephanie. Actually, three men were interested in little Mel this week. Mark flew all the way over an ocean of Eurotrash to find her for a little afternoon delight. Well, actually he just wanted some money she owed him for an Arabian horse which never materialized. Philly came to her rescue, which resulted in kisses. With her past randomly coming back to haunt her, however, does this mean Trent can come back? Roscoe Born usually comes back as a ghost at some point after his character has been killed. Please?

Poor Philly K. Without his mother around to fuss over him, he's been left to his own devices. He seems particular fond of one in particular – his cell phone. In addition to, no doubt, storing his own copy of his infamous video escapades on it, it's also what he has been using to wage an unceasing war of seduction on poor Melanie. He's called her so many times that she finally went to see him and asked him to stop. He took this delayed reaction as meaning that she didn't want him to stop. Even Maggie told him to stop but he wouldn't listen. How could he though? His smile has been so broad that it's practically muffling his ears.

Poor Victor. Without any drugs to deal, all he wants is love, but he's getting the cold shoulder everywhere he goes. He dropped by to see Caroline, who hasn't been well. Even her clam chowder can not keep away the swine flu. He didn't hesitate to make a pass at her but she thinks his business is a big no no. Little does she know what Brady learned this week, that his grandfather sold off his nasty business to some other sordid soul. Brady was not at all pleased, especially after all the high and mighty chit chat his grandfather spewed about Ari. Poor Victor wasn't getting any love from his grandson either.

Poor Vivian. She's traveled all the way across the world only to have to endure not only Hope's abysmal design sense, but also the truly wretched coffee proffered by the Java Cafe. At least she seems to be enjoying the prospect of making Carly suffer. So far, they've only traded barbs, mostly about hatchets rather than about being buried alive, but her arrival has finally brought this story to life. It was starting to get so grim that the thought of Justin jumping Hope's bones was the only thing to suggest it had any life in it at all.

Poor Stefano. He didn't show up until the end of the week and only wasted a few minutes playing dumb before admitting what he knew and saying that Nicole had, more or less, the right idea. After all, EJ still got to raise his baby and he didn't have to have Salem's most frequent preggo around for it. In his own way he meant well. But then again, didn't everyone? That's part of what makes the whole thing so brutal. Good intentions often lead to bad consequences. The big question left was, how did Stefano not know what went down while he was away? How lazy is that? In the end, after Stefano told him he feared the truth would send poor Elvis back to Sami, EJ tried strangling his father.

Of course, the person to feel really badly for is poor Sydney. Either way, she has to be raised by one or two of the most inappropriate parents in the world. She can either be raised by a burbling, neurotic, women who lives in a shoe with so many children she barely knows what to do, or by the head of the town's drug cartel. Being half Brady and half DiMera also leaves her with a rich genetic inheritance that will give her a penchant for maniacal abuses of power, perpetual lying, loud fits of rage, radical leaps in age and explosive bouts of amnesia.

And now on to the spoilers for next week's Tom Turkey truncated edition of the show. If you don't want to know, leave now and have a pleasant weekend. Otherwise... she just got to town but she's already seen enough to make her worried about what her sister has been up to. Gabi quickly stumbles on some of her jailbird big sister's drugs and suspects the worst. Tension in the family isn't getting relieved from the outside either. Arianna is starting to suspect the worst of Brady thanks to his ongoing involvement with the walking disaster known as Nicole. He tries to add a little scope to his good deeds by reaching out to Sami but she slaps his hand away. It didn't help that he bailed Nicole out. Meanwhile, Chad and Mia join hands to mourn the child who they never really got to know. Vivian tries to get over her grieving by bonding a little with Victor over their mutual hatred on Carly. While they plot her demise, Carly finally comes clean with Bo about more details concerning Lawrence's untimely death. His further involvement only manages to fuel the fires of his ongoing fight with Hope.

Lines of the week:
Stephanie: It's just a dumb shoe.

Stefano. (on having Rafe killed) Insects annoy me.

Justin: (to Bo) You're acting like a complete jerk.

Mia: Everything makes sense now except... why... why would she switch babies?

Bo: Would he be so sympathetic if you weren't drop dead gorgeous and fun to be around?

Vivian: You, Bo and Hope together -- menage a trois. Do you darn his socks together... plan his special meals?"

 

November 6, 2009
Carly paced around Bo's house and worried between flashbacks and nightmares. Bo paced around and furrowed his brow to try and calm her down. She said they should bring in Justin for help. When Justin arrived, she refused to tell him anything so he refused to help her. When she went to bed, Hope dropped by, at Victor's prompting, only to find Carly in her bed. Hope freaked out in a 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' kind of way and threatened to call the cops. She gave Carly 24 hours to clear off. Bo assured Carly that Hope would keep her word but, apparently, as soon as she went back to the Kiriakis compound, she called the Feds and Carly was arrested. That actually seemed to calm her down a bit. Whatever happened to her to put her in this awkward place? This isn't exactly the Carly that I remember. Either, she is a hapless victim or she is just playing everyone. Victor thinks she's a psycho. Even considering his dubious take on most women, he may have a point. When she killed Lawrence, she looked cold blooded enough and she had willfully married a man who had always been pretty far gone. Or she may just be a victim after all, which is a far more boring option. The fact that this entire issue is unclear is the only thing that's actually making the plot interesting at the moment, with the exception of Vivian's smattering of slight appearances. From the way she talks, this is going to be drawn out for awhile so she can get maximum pleasure out of afflicting her old enemy with as much damage as possible. In 'Days' speak that can only mean two things: It will either be rushed through quickly and farcically, or it will never go anywhere. Then again, they could surprise us... Fingers crossed.

Victor also stuck his oar into another relationship this week. He told Brady that Ari is a drug dealer. Brady blew up, ran across town and confronted her. Their secret relationship ended rather publicly. He angrily walked around town, drinking cappuccino after cappuccino. He bumped into Nicole and dropped the hint that things are dead in the water between he and the raven haired one. Nicole had other fish to fry and told him they are 'good friends'. Since she's about to leave town, who will be keeping Brady warm at night?

Could it be Ari after all? Even though he said that she'd be sleeping alone from now on, she may have already found someone to take Brady's place. EJ and Ari had the first encounter in their 'new' relationship. Now that he knows she's a drug dealer, he's paddling over to her. She has no idea that he's her boss, of course. Can you sue for sexual harassment in the underworld? I'm actually looking forward to this a lot, basically because Ari isn't Nicole or Sami. EJ and Nicole were fun at first, but he changed her a lot, and, though they're well matched in many ways, they've gotten kind of annoying. He had a few cold run ins with Nicole and then one with Sami this week. They bonded a bit at Grace's grave. But before the Irish flutes could start playing, I had a traumatic flash. Didn't Santo go to South America and start a cocoa plantation after he left Colleen? And wasn't he then haunted by Aztec spirits after he stole some of their sacred jewels which were then passed down to Stefano? He could have had an affair with one of the local novices there, a woman who just happened to be Ari's grandmother? No, I'm kidding. They don't have to get that desperate selling any romance that doesn't involved Sami. If I have to listen to poor James imitating Chico Marx as he gushes about the virtues of olive oil for five minutes again my head will explode.

Meanwhile, Mel tossed and turned but couldn't get Philip out of her mind, even when Nate was in bed with her. They didn't consummate their relationship as she'd hoped. Even though she jumped into his comfy new bed, his phone vibrated in a way that made him know that saving the lives of Salem's citizens was more important than saving his sex life. She turned to Brady about her libidinal conundrum. "Dump them both and go it alone," he advised, in what may have been the best advice she's ever been given. Across town, someone else could have used some solid advice. Poor little Mia had to tell everyone what a slut she was so that Chad wouldn't think that he was the father of her child. She even had to lie to woolly Will about it. But not everyone was convinced by the stories which the young blond had lifted from a Larry Clark movie. Rafe stumbled back into town to steal Syd's teething ring and Sami's toothbrush for a DNA test. Sami caught him at her place and they pushed the penguin out of the way to swap some DNA of their own on her couch. Then he ran back into the night to find the truth and fantasize about how he'd like to kill Nicole.

And now the spoilers. If you don't want to know, now is the time to run. Rafe's plans to wreak havoc by revealing the truth could be railroaded when Stefano takes out a hit on the guy. Considering how incompetent DiMera henchmen are, this could go anywhere. Anywhere, or at least, somewhere else, is where Nicole wants to be. She leaves Syd with Chloe as she runs off just as the proverbial hits the fan. Although the wide eyed diva has been wanting a baby, this isn't exactly what she had in mind. With Nicole leaving the picture, EJ's eyes are already gravitating on Ari. But he may have competition from the same man who has been helping Nicole deceive him for so long. Arianna won't let go of Brady easily and tells him that she's a lot more than a drug dealer, she's an undercover operator too. Brady isn't the only one getting in the way. Victor worries that Carly is the worst thing in the world for Bo and Hope right now. The fact that Justin is trying to get her out of jail doesn't help the old tycoon feel any better.

Lines of the week:
Chad: (to Nicole) Your film work makes me think you can fake things, you know, like loving her.

EJ: I'm not pressing charges against Nicole, but I will never forgive her. I think she's suffered enough.

Sami: I didn't want dueling headstones.

Nicole: It's scary to think his decision not to throw me in jail is an improvement in our relationship.


 

October 23, 2009
Nicole's downfall continued this week, moving from one desperate step to another. Each day things seemed to crumble a little more for Misty Circle, the faded star of "Locker Room Lolita." She turned to Brady with a desperate plea to run away to no man's land with her. They admitted that they love each other and really seemed to mean it. He wouldn't run though, wouldn't give her money and told her that he was seeing someone else. Nicole was devastated, even I was kind of sad, but worse things happened to her this week.

Chad Peterson Woods, the only unmarried Salemite to have a name that long, continued trying to ruin the lives of the blond women of the town. He berated Mia and Will, who clung to each other lovingly. He berated Nicole, who got really desperate and tried to bargain with the only thing she had left: her body. Although Chad was a big fan of her glittering past in the gutter cinema, he wasn't keen to take on a part in "Lays of Our Lives: Salem MILFs." Instead, he threatened to use her porn past against her in court to get his daughter back. Sami tried to talk some sense into him next by nakedly telling him what a grossly incompetent mother she was and what a terrible person she is for trying to raise children she obviously can't raise. After Maggie bumped into him and revealed that Sami was Will's mom, her little chat collapsed on itself and only made him more determined to get his daughter back. He turned to his father, DA Woods, for advice, and Woods sent him to Justin to arbitrate things. The meeting between Mia, Will and Chad was a flop.

Meanwhile, Nicole turned to Sami so she could listen to someone else crying for a change. Sami told her all about how being a mother entitles you to do anything, good or evil and, even if you're awful, as long as you love your kid, anything goes. Nicole choked on her tears the whole time because the flood of irony was large enough to fill an ocean. Sami then pulled out a surprise: since Nicole couldn't get cash from anyone else, Sami decided to give her some. She's been living off of money John left behind and decided to hand it all over so her former enemy, now best friend, could leave town forever.

Stefano finally woke up and started talking, too fast for his own good as it turned out. The Phoneix might never die but that doesn't mean his wits are as lively as they used to be. He made several slip ups in as many minutes to make his little EJ wonder if he's known about Nicole's penchant for fibs.

Kate made a perfunctory pop up to see if she could get away with meddling in the life of the only son she has in Salem right now. She hunted Stephanie down to try and urge her to get back with the bullet riddled billionaire but she continued to insist that they don't fit together. Kate was mostly doing it to prevent her son from continuing his porn star antics with Melanie. Philip chewed her out for sticking her finely carved nose into his life. He spent the rest of the time trying to pretend he wasn't flirting with Mel, who spent the week leaping from pouting to biting her lip as she flirted with Nathan. They kissed a few times until Maggs caught them in the kitchen and tried to put the kibosh on their romance.

Victor started selling his drug operations to EJ. This could be because he's tired of the trade, or he may be setting things up so Elvis will take the fall for being the pusher of more than just prams. Hope came back to pack up and leave. Before she could, Victor cornered her and begged her not to go, even offering her a room of her own in the Kiriakis compound. She reluctantly agreed to take it. While she was moving out on Bo, it looked like someone else could be moving in. Carly's boat pulled up in the harbor. Omar wanted to drop Rafe on the dock so he could become food for the sea gulls or longshoremen, but Carly chose to be more ethical and snuck into town to rob the hospital. After she grabbed some antibiotics, she shot him up and he continued to mutter.

Chloe and Daniel had sex followed by cake and then he told her it looks like she can't have children. Brady and Arianna made out quite a bit and decided to keep their relationship a secret, much to Roman's chagrin. He even threatened to have her thrown back in prison, where she was known as 'Lock Down Lolita'.

And now onto the spoilers, if you don't want to know, have a happy weekend preparing for Halloween. It doesn't look like anyone in Salem will be in the mood to go trick or treating. Sami's half-brother bumps into her and tells her the half of the story which Nicole has already been telling her. This leads Sami to wonder what else he knows and just how involved he was in all of the child swapping going on. She may have to prepare herself for some other ghastly news though. No matter what Mia says, even if she promises to play Locker Room Lolita with Chad, he still won't back down on his determination to get his daughter back. Unfortunately, he may regret being so easy going about rejecting women when it turns out that the DNA test isn't going to come back the way he'd hoped. While Nicole is trying to avoid being poked, Sami is busy ranting at Stefano and accusing him of turning on Nicole.

Lines of the week:
Stefano: Where is Sydney?
EJ: With her mother.
Stefano: Oh my God! She is with Sami?

Kate: (to Nicole) Will you be leaving a forwarding address for your hate mail?

Roman: I'm not so old I don't remember doing things that were stupid and dangerous.

Chad: (to Nicole) Thanks, but no thanks. As much fun as it would be to brag to my friends about about bagging a hot old nymphomaniac, I'm not doing anything to screw up getting my kid back.

 

October 9, 2009
So now EJ finally knows the truth... more or less. He exploded at Nicole all week. He even opened up to his sister about the mess. Lexi had to stop herself short of saying that he must be the world's biggest dope. More surprisingly, he opened up to Sami about it. Of course, the real reason he's angry has to do with blood and what it means to his, basically feudal, feelings of love. Sydney isn't his biological child. That was the real shocker. He admitted that without the child, he couldn't have loved Nicole. He only claimed he truly loved Sami after she had his child. As he told Lexi, he loved Syd because he saw himself in her. As soon as he discovered that they don't share DNA, it ended. That's because, as Tony once observed, his 'love' is really all about Stefano. Women are a warped way that he can consummate his relationship with his long estranged father by giving him heirs and proving his sometimes dubious masculinity. The incestuous overtones are even weirder now that Stefano is married to EJ's former sex partner.

Nicole didn't handle the mess well either. She's determined to stick around and fight for her family. That's what she's been doing all along, after all, so why she thinks it will suddenly work it out well now is anyone's guess. She had the nerve to rant at Brady, blaming him for her lies coming out. Admittedly, he slipped up but this is still her handiwork. Aside from Syd, he's the only one in the mess I really feel bad for.

Stefano and Kate's wedded bliss continued for a few days and quickly turned comatose. Most of the town gathered around to sneer at them. Kate, who should be used to it by now, was really annoyed, likely because even she is appalled by the situation. Stefano, meanwhile, completely glutted himself at Chez Rouge. It was almost like he was trying to, very publicly, put himself into a diabetic coma. You have to wonder how deliberate it was on his part and why he would do this. He was carted off after having a heart attack. Everyone stared at Kate, assuming she'd just poisoned him. She seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing and took it in stride, rubbing EJ's face in the fact that this could mean she'll be not only his new mommy, but also his new boss.

Nathan and Mel finally had a date. They had plenty of hand on hand action and even some kisses. Philip made another pass at her, but she's busy with Nate now. Maggie worried about the potential threesome. She should have worried even more when Steph voiced her interest in Nathan. That's just what Salem needs - another square romance. Things went even less well for Will, Mia and Chad. All three are miserable. Mia is the most miserable of all, having lost her baby and now Will. She's set to lose even more and Chad just comes off like an assbag more every day. Daniel and Chloe still haven't re-consummated their relationship. They just have lip on lip action. He's back at work and she's wandering around town as clueless about everything as she would have been if she hadn't been in a coma.

The other big news of the week was that Carly is finally back, even if we still have little idea what's up with her. So far, we've been teased with a splintered glimpse of her final days with Lawrence. Their, always odd, romance apparently went very sour over the last while and she wound up stabbing him in the gut. Sure that he was dead, she ran off and jumped on a jet headed for Salem. Although she tried calling Justin and Bo, there were phone troubles thanks to turbulence and the apparent inability of Salemites to answer in-flight calls. So far, I'm really intrigued to know what's going on with her, though I'm afraid it will be less than surprising. It is nice to see her again, Crystal Chapell seems to have sunk right back into the character.

The most shocking thing this week was seeing Sami look for a job. She searched high and low. Well, she checked out an animal daycare and asked Maggie for work. I guess she can't really work at the pub with Arianna. Rafe was curiously absent all week after Meredith rolled him into the Salem harbor, which brings us to the spoilers. Next week, everyone is Salem begins answering questions in monosyllables and buying paintings of dogs playing poker. It turns out that this strange change coincides with a large fresh batch of Caroline's infamous fish soup. A DNA analysis of the soup reveals that the fish had been feeding on Rafe for a good few days. No, I'm joking. That doesn't happen, but this does... Word spreads that Nicole's deceptions have been revealed and this means a few more people could be caught in the crossfire. Mia and Nicole try to look for a way to shield themselves while Elvis goes after Brady. Meanwhile, Carly left violence and trouble behind so she may be disappointed to find that there is plenty more of it in Salem. She'll have more than phantoms to deal with soon. She winds up having a gun shoved in her face. Over at the Kiriakis compound, the news of Lawrence's death seeps in. How will Victor and the family handle it and what could this mean for Carly when she arrives? And Lucas completes the world's fastest course of rehab. A Salem day usually runs long enough to brew a vat of wine in real time, but not this time. He returns to town to make amends and take his twelve steps, one of which will be to Chloe to make things right between them.

Lines of the week:
Kate: (to Daniel) Wow, you figured it out. He's a diabetic, his health isn't great, he sat there gorging himself and had a heart attack. You should alert the Nobel Prize committee. I didn't hurt the man.

Philip: (to Victor) You are a cynical bastard... A flaming misogynist. I could date Joan of Arc and you would think I was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

EJ: I seem to be drawn to women who lie.

Lexi: (to EJ) Y'know, for a smart guy, you are a total idiot.

Nathan: (to Steph) I'm having dinner with Melanie, so tonight is a bad night.

Melanie: Thanks for defending my honor.
Philip: It was nothing.

Maggie: (to Sami) Gee, I've never seen a job application with death row on it. 

September 25, 2009
It was a week of bad news for the mama's boys of Salem. Luckily, it was actually a very good week for viewers of the show. There was a seriously different whiff in the air that one can only hope lasts into the future. Long-standing roles were inverted or reversed or mocked. Sami managed to be strategically vindictive and an extraordinary bimbo in the same episode. Kate was pathetic enough that she was almost pitiable and Stefano and Victor managed to be cruel but cheerful and funny all at the same time.

The week started out a bit solemn and then turned into a weird nightmare. After weeks of agitation, Hope left Bo and took Ciara with her. They had the same argument they've been having for weeks. He was miserable, she was distant and a bit righteous. Everyone saw this coming. Even Bo probably saw this coming but couldn't be sure. After all, he hasn't had visions since he was knocked on the noggin during Ciara's rescue.

Although Ciara is safe and sound, the same cannot be said for Rafe. Meredith, the perfunctory loony redhead, returned to town to wage her war of revenge on Salem's busiest unemployed man. She tracked him down at Sami's and conked him on the head. Before she could drag him off, the blonde one returned. She kept trying to call Rafe, who just happened to be slumped on the floor unconscious behind her. She didn't notice and ran off to look for him while Meredith whisked him away to a basement somewhere. Does this mean that we're in for a lengthy torture session? The last time Galen Gering was imprisoned in a basement he was forced to have sex with his girlfriend's sister while her grandfather watched. Can "Days" out-kink "Passions"? I doubt it. Sami ran off to chat to Brady, who was in a bad mood all week. So was Sami until the end of the week. I guess it was only threatening to take Lucas' children away, without having to resort to her usual bag of deceptions, that helped her blow off steam and put a smile back on her face.

While Bo and Hope's marriage crumbled and disappeared early in the week, the rest of the week was concerned with Stefano finally get an answer to the question he popped to Kate long, long ago. She came around and agreed to marry him, though she let out a truly horrifying shriek when she did. This was thanks to Chloe returning from her coma and brushing the cobwebs off her brain. She quickly cleared Daniel's name and they spent the week being cuddly. Even Father Matt dropped by to bless her, though she insists on staying 'faithful' to Lucas until the divorce comes through. The priest was cool with that, even if it doesn't make much sense from a Catholic point of view. Then again, Daniel did ask her to marry him... Lucas was less cool with the whole thing, but then, news that his mother was marrying one of the men he hates the most in the world probably didn't help either. Since he's already disowned her enough times, he didn't have to bother this time around. That task fell to his brother, Philip. Although Philip was initially in denial that his mother could do such ghastly things, that didn't last. Even Lucas managed to deny it to himself longer, but neither of them were stubborn enough to keep it up. Philly begged his mommy dearest not to go through with the wedding but Kate decided to be totally fatalistic, which is a strange pose to take when you are trying to save your life. After singing to her son that she is a survivor, he disowned her, though he showed up at the wedding to watch the deed be done. Lucas was too busy falling off the wagon, landing on Maggie's floor and then having his stomach pumped, to attend.

Kate's wedding was a small affair at Chez Rouge. She wore a rather ghastly red dress and a long bead of pearls which resembled a noose. The ceremony was quick, but the before and after was packed full of a lengthy series of one liners from Victor. It was almost as if the writers had been saving them up for the occasion. After the callous hilarity, Kate actually shared an almost tender moment with Theo after he spilled her champagne all over her gown. Everyone took digs at Kate this week, and really enjoyed doing it, which was enough reason to watch in itself.

One odd thing which has started to stand out was that since Stefano has, more or less, handed over the business to Elvis, they've sort of reversed roles. Stefano has actually become like the young one in the relationship, getting the older one out of town so he can get up to mischief. He's also smart mouthed, sarcastic and so on. When he called his son, who was vacationing in Paris, to tell him the wedding news, Elvis' reaction was almost like that of an irate father in an old sitcom who was outraged that his son was throwing a party at his house. Elvis has been left to be a senile crank, completely out of touch with reality. Of course, Elvis never actually had an adolescence. He was sent to law school when he was barely out of diapers and came out a man. Maybe that's why whenever Nicole is walking around him in a negligee he seems to be a mixture of leering schoolboy and a pervy old man.

The darker side of Elvis, however, will return next week... Now on to the spoilers. For those who do not want to know, look away now and have a fruitful weekend. That's one thing that Nicole and EJ won't be having. They'll return from their brief and sticky honeymoon to the now over-crowded Casa DiMera. While he's staring daggers at her, his former flame, Kate, can't help but notice. It will be even more obvious when Elvis nearly gets violent as he confronts Nicole over her lies. Is this the end for the couple? If it is, she may already have someone waiting to comfort her. Melanie realizes that Brady still has pretty profound feelings for Nicole, no matter how much he likes to deny it or how big and soulful Ari's eyes can be. Melanie won't spend much time arguing about this with him since Nathan drags her attention away when he asks her out. Is she interested, or will the moping 'motherless' Philip hold her attention? He may be distracted by what's going on in his family's mansion, namely Victor blowing his top after Daniel declares his plans to marry the diva of his dreams. While he's trying to fulfill his dreams, Sami gets bored looking for Rafe and decides it's time to get over him. She might not have given up so easily if she'd known he was trapped in Meredith's arms.

Lines of the week:
Brady: Well, I guess Copernicus was wrong - the earth doesn't revolve around the sun, but around you instead.


Brady: Most imaginary boyfriends tend to be fickle.

Victor: You want to smell nice on your trip to skid row?

Maggie: I think they are going to honeymoon in North Korea.


September 11, 2009
The kidnapping story continued to unravel this week. Bo spent most of the week sitting in the pub pouting about his fight with Hope. He complained to anyone who would lend him an ear and fueled a remarkable degree of enmity against Justin. Hope hung out at home with her remarkably untraumatized daughter until Dean stopped by to bite his fingernails and act concerned. His nerves soon turned to be his undoing. As he anxiously played with his lighter, Ciara recognized the sound and tipped her mom off that he was the kidnapper. She tried to play it cool but....

...read the rest of this musing on the blog!
 

August 28, 2009
Most of the week picked up where last week left off - with the kidnapping. Ciara sat in her blindfold, ear plugs and blanket while Brenda, Kyle and Dean argued over what to do. Since the little girl was sense deprived for most of the event, she seemed virtually undisturbed by everything. Theo wound up being the one to point the cops in the right direction. He identified the tattoo which Kyle had and that led the cops to him. Dean caught wind that things were about to fall apart and ended up shooting his two accomplices before shooting himself in the shoulder to make it look like he was in a gun battle with them. He got all of the commendations for rescuing Ciara, but his desire for revenge still lingered.

The kidnapping seemed to annoy more people than it thrilled. Between the bad dialogue, the extreme, angst ridden facial expressions and the lack of any real tension, the plot quickly fizzled. I did laugh uncontrollably several times, though that likely wasn't the intention. Salem has a long history of dopey criminals, which only serves to make the town's cops look even stupider. Now, in Dean, they have a character who manages to do both. Nick Stabile, who plays Dean and has been bouncing around Daytime since the early 90s, at least managed to evince something of a personality through the debacle, though the reason for his revenge, professional jealousy, are almost impossible to take seriously. While Dean sticks around for awhile, waiting for his plot to rot, Hope and Bo seem to have opened a wound between them which is likely to fester. Tongues are already wagging that the couple will split, thanks to Justin popping up and Carly creeping in around the corner. As a couple, they've been fizzling for years. A split up may be exactly what both characters require to become interesting again.

Then again, splitting up has never worked for Philip and Stephanie. They actually manage to become more boring each time it happens. To cap it all, they keep making my Philly harder to like. It's bad enough that he keeps going back to that laundry cycle of a relationship with that non-entity Stephanie, but he has to break little Melanie's heart too. Romance didn't exactly seem in the air for anyone else either. Chad threw a lot of longing looks at Mia. She flits between longing and confusion. Even if she reads her journal entries aloud, it still isn't entirely clear what she wants. Chad tried to make another move on her during some dance for teens at the Cheatin' Heart. She danced with Will instead and Chad had to stop her from driving off with a drunken Kinsey. Salem's obligatory teen bitch only got whiplash and a neck brace but her face was still intact enough to bicker with Chad about what to do next. Since the adult characters on the show are all so immature, it's actually really strange to watch the teenagers interact. There's something remarkably weird and staid about it, like they've hired random children to imitate old people trying to pretend to be young people. Then again, I guess that's what it is.

Brady caught Ari with her friend Troy again. Troy is a drug dealer with designs on her. The last time Brady saw him, he punched him out. Now Ari wants Troy to get her in to see their bosses. At the end of the week, Lindsay Hartley arrived to take over the role. She's already shared scenes with both of her former "Passions" co-stars. One of the things, perhaps the key thing that I've come to appreciate about Ari is that, unlike the rest of the town's women, she doesn't constantly break into tears. Now that one of the few actresses who can cry as much as Alison Sweeney has come to town, how long can this last? I still don't know what to make of her so I'll leave it alone.

Dr. Baker continued to threaten Nicole. She fretted. Stefano groaned and offered to take care of it. Rafe dug into it. Sami cried and tried not to cry. Rafe tracked Dr. Baker to the Dominican and went after him. Sami followed. Lucas doled out advice to everyone although he has no idea what to do himself. Chloe stayed comatose. Her father dropped into town to check and see if there was anything he could do. There wasn't. But the highlight of the week was probably Kate and Daniel. He's obviously been going stir crazy in the Kiriakis compound and, between the random hallucinations of Chloe and the binge drinking, he's managed to form a crazy plan. He's using Kate's lust for him to try and get one over on her, or, at least, get into her apartment for a snoop. All of their lewd stares, tawdry comments and panting were a real sight to behold.

Anyway, onto the spoilers. Please look away now if you do not wish to be spoiled. Go and have a happy weekend instead where you can imagine what you'd actually like to see happen. Next week Kate continues pushing Lucas to hurry up and do what Chloe asked him to do in her living will. While she's busy bossing him around, Daniel is digging around in her apartment looking for a way to take her down. Across town, Rafe continues to dig. His job is a little easier since Dr. Dick is dead and his lawyer  holds all of the information that Rafe could need. Things aren't running quite as smoothly for his sister. She is trying to get a meeting with her drug masters while Salem's other crime families prepare for a shakeup. Stefano wants to hand the family business over to EJ but, as usual, he's a bit distracted. Philip's left his criminal past behind him for now and jumps into Stephanie's loving arms. Meanwhile, Chad continues trying to get Mia to welcome him back and recruits Kinsey to steal her diary so he can get the dirt on what's really going on with her.

Lines of the week:

EJ: Football... involves a foot... and a ball... That's why they call it football.

Daniel: Whatever it takes. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Philip: I need to tell you something. I promise - The past is over.

Lucas: Mia is a sweetheart, but with a past. I'm trying to protect him. It could end up in heartbreak.

Kinsey: I just committed social suicide!


August 14, 2009
Will tried to move ahead with Mia, even if she isn't a virgin. I was baffled about how this was a big deal but I guess I didn't go to Salem High. Anyway, they kissed and made up then he got to have his mother blubber to him about her love life. I guess if seeing what relationships do to his mom isn't a turn off, nothing can be. Meanwhile, Kinsey and Chad continued trying to do the lightweight version of "Cruel Intentions" to break up the couple.

Things weren't much more sophisticated among the slightly older Salemites. Melanie and Nathan continued to bungle hanging out together, which is a real accomplishment considering the fact that they are roommates. They tried going to the Cheatin' Heart, but when Mel returned to him after running to the bathroom to figure out how to button her shirt properly, she spotted his cheatin' heart with Steph and blew up. After Mel sulked away, Nate and Steph apologized to each other and hung out.

Things went a little better for Brady and Arianna, who both managed to take off most of their clothes this week for some poolside flirtation before the summer is over. I guess they were trying to prove that neither of them were hiding any drugs. But it wasn't all light. The other major couples in town were in various versions of misery. Sami and Rafe broke up again. I've lost track of how many times this has happened. I always thought it was just for the make up sex, but Sami's feelings for him now run so deep that she likes his painting of dogs playing poker. She whimpered to her son and then to Lucas, who was hardly the right guy to open up to. He was gruff. He was ready to condemn her and just as ready to condemn Rafe as a murderer.

Of course, Lucas has has other things on his mind, like his wife being in a coma. After last week's skeptical version of Lucas, the one who was bright enough to realize that his mother is a psycho, this week saw him return to his far dumber self. While Lucas wailed, Daniel seemed to be getting exhausted from repeating his accusations against Kate over and over again. This time he got to repeat them to Justin when he returned to Salem to be his lawyer. Victor hired him because he's family, though he's never actually tried a criminal case before. He didn't do much but give and 'aw shucks' look and say that Kate may be too smart for him to beat.

He wasn't the only return this week. Dr. Dick Baker also reared his head, calling in from a tropical location to blackmail Nicole again. She turned to Stefano to sort it out. She's still insecure about everything and Dick is making it worse. The only time she and EJ seem secure is when they're having sex. The rest of the time, they're a mess. He hung out at Grace's grave and did some bonding with his sister.   

Bo's visions returned to haunt him this week. This time, they came back to warn him a little late. After he'd stuffed them away for awhile, they resurfaced just as Ciara was being abducted at the carnival only a few feet from the mayor and numerous parents. She gave the kidnapper the same eerily blank stare that Rafe is always giving Sami. I guess you really shouldn't take candy from strangers. So why take Ciara? For money probably, unless we're in for a real surprise and this is tied to the Alamains. But wasn't this the same guy who was stalking Hope and looking for a cash grab after hearing about her big charity donation? Since he's going to want millions, does this mean that Bo will have to turn to Victor for help? Victor may be looking for more of a father-son relationship since his with Philip is rapidly disintegrating. Since Carlo was abruptly introduced and killed, Philip has been drifting around town. His father tried to snap him out of the moping and told him to get some backbone. This only made him more alienated from the family business. He moped straight into Melanie, who offered to make him feel better. Can you guess where this is going?

Now onto the spoilers. If you don't want to know, then look away now and enjoy your weekend. The kidnapping gets into full swing. We haven't had one of these for a couple of months and this one actually involves kids. Hope freaks out and Justin tries to comfort her as Bo get bullheaded and refuses to give up a penny. As usual, the Salem PD is next to useless, which may be why Brady doesn't run it them right away after finding cocaine at the pub. It didn't fall out of an old pair of his pants either. Will he have the brains to figure out that Ari is Salem's biggest drug dealer? Daniel and Kate ran into each other in her fantasy this week, but next week they'll run into each other for real. Since she still has the hots for him in her own weird way, will he be smart enough to exploit that to his advantage?

Lines of the week:

Sami (to Stephanie): Tomorrow is another day. You'll get another happily ever after... uh...

Brady: Swimsuits are prohibited in this pool.

Victor: This is business. It's dirty sometimes. If you don't like it, teach kindergarten.

Sami (of Rafe): He just gave me a blank stare.
 

July 31, 2009
M
aybe it's because it's so bloody hot and I haven't been sleeping well, but I was feeling really disengaged as I watched the show this week. It's been sort of like Philip's hair - strangely limp but with too much body at the same time. There were a few highlights. Victor laying into Kate and her pretending that she cared was nicely over the top, if predictable. And then there were odd things, like  one of Abe's infrequent appearances. How come every time he shows up to berate Bo about how he's doing his job, he tells him that things are coming after his ass? Has he been moonlighting as a prison warden or something? Nicole did a lot more heartfelt crying, which is now ceasing to be sad and just become disturbing. It wasn't really a week where things happened but where people argued about what happened.

Sami badgered and issued ultimatums to Rafe all week. He even caught her sending her father out to investigate him. He finally broke down and told her about Emily... sort of. It was only after she regaled him with the, arguably quite incomplete, list of the crimes she's committed and others have committed against her that he opened his mouth. After he promised that was everything, she told him about her little run-in with Meredith, Emily's sister, so he tried telling her 'everything' again. This time, he blamed himself for Emily's death. She died in a car accident and he thinks he could have saved her, but the details are still sketchy. Rafe also made the trip to the Salem Inn to chat with Meredith, who wasn't at all happy to see him. She's convinced that he's the one who killed her sister. Unfortunately for Rafe, it turned out that Stefano is the one who brought the redhead to town. He gave her a whole lot of money and she told him the entire, hole-ridden story of Rafe's wedding day. Stefano promised to get her justice.

His son was having a quieter week. EJ seemed extraordinarily quiet, his stiff upper lip a definite pout as he lounged around the mansion, talking under his breath. He and his wife had sex and then talked about how they aren't themselves anymore. She ran around town trying to do her usual round of damage control before learning about what happened to her friend. Nicole turned to coma Chloe and cried at her bedside, confessing every bad deed she's done in the last year. Brady also showed up to weep for the dying diva... when he wasn't busy following Arianna around. They tried to clear things up between them some more and then he followed her to the park where she was accosted by a man. Brady beat the guy into the ground until Ari pulled him off. She seemed pretty unphased by it. They kissed and agreed to a date later. The bloody man crawled out of the bushes. She handed him cash and he handed her a bag of stuff. Is she drugging the clam chowder, selling dope to Salem's teens, or is this something else?

Poor Daniel. I don't know who I feel worse for - him, or the guy who plays him. All of the protestations of innocence and love for Chloe punctuated his words. It was like those two things were commas in all of his sentences. Anyway, Kate's plan finally started to pay off for her. Chloe's big eyes closed and Maggie opened her big mouth to the cops, helping to back up Kate's fibs. Unfortunately, she opened her mouth a little too wide and suspicions was cast not only on Daniel, but on Lucas as well. As Kate paced around, urging Chloe to die under her breath, Victor arrived. He was happy to hear that the divas was in demise but his tune changed when he figured out that Kate was hanging his godson out to dry for it. He took a break from threatening Kate when Lucas bumbled back into town. They broke the news to him one piece at a time. He didn't take it well. But audiences finally got the opportunity to see him and Daniel in fight, in a jail cell no less. Surprisingly, they kept their shirts on for it. The doctor didn't mince any words and told him everything that a cuckold wants to hear - like that his wife only stayed with him to keep God happy and then his mother tried to kill her.

Then there was big news off camera. Louise Sorel and Michael Sabatino will be returning this fall to make up the Alamain contingent. This could be good, but I'm always skeptical about bringing back old characters. Not only does it tend to be ratings poison, they often seem out of place when they've been absent and unmentioned for more than a decade. I like the characters, but this really isn't the same show anymore. There was some other casting news as well. Salem is getting a new Arianna. Lindsay Hartley, best known as teary eyed Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald Crane Winthrop, will be taking over the role. I have mixed feelings about it. As much as I loved "Passions," and I did, this seems like a little much. I've been impressed by how successfully Eric Martsolf has managed to carve out a character who is nothing like Ethan, so I can only hope that they don't try and return to the Ethan-Theresa dynamic. Thankfully, so far, Ari doesn't seem remotely like Theresa, but will it last?

Anyway, now the spoilers. Look away if you don't want to know. EJ's grieving process takes an unusual turn when he shows up in the graveyard to replace Grace's gravestone with one bearing the DiMera name. His paranoia continues to simmer when it comes to Nicole. As her own paranoia continues to bubble away, Stefano tries to sabotage Rafe some more by digging deep into the mystery of his 'murderous' wedding day. These aren't the only people grieving in Salem. Philip gets a shock when one of his guards is killed and then begins to grieve for him. Lucas is grieving for his dying marriage but Daniel seems more confident than ever that when Chloe wakes up, she'll be going home with him. He better hope that she doesn't pick up a case of amnesia, Salem's answer to the common cold. Also optimistic -- Lexi and Abe get some good news about Theo. But the disappointment of the week will come for Will who finally learns that mousy Mia isn't a virgin after all.

Lines of the week:

Stefano: (to Nicole) Your optimism is firing on all cylinders. You're a joy to be around.

Sami: (to Ari) Rafe and I broke up... or something. We're not together any more.

Victor: (to Kate) Isn't it ironic for you to be outraged about infidelity?

Victor: (to Kate) Your concern is touching... and a little bit scary.
 

July 17, 2009
Chloe wandered around town feeling doomed. That's pretty much how Daniel felt as well. That's how we know they really love each other. He tried to jog his longing away but only ended up with cramps. They pushed their way through the torture which was shooting the pilot episode of 'Heart and Home'. After it crashed, they were determined never to see each other again. Kate continued her diabolical plan and snuck around town planting evidence in Daniel's apartment and buying off various goons to do her bidding. If you're going to be paying people to do illegal stuff, why she is resorting to all the breaking and entering herself is beyond me. I guess she has to get her kicks somewhere and she was certainly giddy as the week progressed. As Kate licked her lips thinking of Chloe kicking the bucket, the diva swooned and collapsed, only to be rushed to the hospital. As she veered in and out of consciousness (it is an unusually thin line for her) she fantasized about Daniel while the doctor prepared to leave town. Running off is working right into Kate's scheme.

Rafe and Sami moved in together. She's still determined to get to the bottom of what was up with Emily, the dead woman who is haunting his life. He wants to keep his past in the past. Considering how much baggage Sami carries, I don't know how they would have room for any of his. They barely have room for any of his belongings either. He moved his box of odds and ends in, though his taste in decor filled her with dread. Most of his belongings seems to be mementos of Emily and broken kitchen equipment. As he settled in, he burned them or hid them in the couch. But it wasn't all about trying to disappear into Sami's sense of interior design. He also tries to mend fences between her and Will, which went a long way.

Nicole re-convinced EJ to drop the custody suit. He was jumpy but agreed, though finding out that Rafe was moving in with Sami and onto his paternal turf made him seriously angry. After catching Nicole and Sami together in the park, he sent his wife home so he could berate Sami, though he did agree to back off and let her see Johnny. Nicole spent most of the week worrying about what was next. Elvis could go back on his promises at any minute and Rafe is still digging around. Stefano assured her that Mr. Hernandez wouldn't be a problem for much longer. He's got the dirt on former FBI agent and he's confident that it will cause some serious trouble for Sami and maybe someone else...

Melanie continued trying to play matchmaker. Brady and Ari went bust quickly. After finding out that he was a recovering addict, she told him that they didn't have a chance. The barrista claims that her ex was an addict and she couldn't go through that again. Brady moped around town, bumping into Salem's other miserable single people here and there. Melanie continued trying and failing to distribute joy in the lives of the people who are sort of her friends. She used an old scheme to trap Philip and Steph in the cabin to sort out their problems. It didn't work, although it did give the show its perfunctory shirtless Philip sequence. She left again in tears and soon wound up crying on the shoulder of a scantily clad Nathan. Brady returned to the mansion and took a swim. As he wandered around glistening and shirtless, he got a lot of unwelcome advice from Victor about women. Meanwhile, Ari made a mysterious phone call.

A stranger showed up with candy at Ciara's birthday. He waited until she was alone to offer it to her. He claimed that he had all sorts of other colors too. Then he vanished. Unbeknown to Bo, his daughter has a new Tommy Bear that she's been hiding from him. Her new 'friend' could also prove to be a problem. He's been snooping around town for information on Hope for weeks. And now, on to the spoilers. If you do not wish to know, look away now and enjoy your weekend. Before Doctor Dan can leave town, a woozy Chloe makes a confession to him. Will it be enough to keep him around? He might not have much choice since Bo and Hope are taking him as prime suspect when it comes to Chloe's poisoning. While Chloe dreams of Daniel and his life turns into a nightmare, EJ dreams of Sami and they aren't the kinds of dreams a married man should be having. Nicole is wide awake and more paranoid than ever. She dashes around town doing her best to keep everything under check. Since Mia also seems on the verge of a breakdown, Nicole tells Chad to back off on her. He's not the only person who should back off either. Sami continues to dig into Rafe's past and probes Meredith all about it. While she's headed for more chaos in the romance department, quite a few other Salemites are already there. Stephanie and Mel seem to be ending their brief truce and begin fighting over Philip.

Lines of the week:

Nicole: (hugging Sami) People seeing that would think it was a sign of the apocalypse.

Victor: Any woman with half a brain would want to get her claws into you.

Melanie: Maybe the Pope is Catholic... oh, he is.

Rafe: Thinking isn't my strong suit.

Bo: Yeah. Maybe you and I can head over there later and see if we can have a little action in the bouncy house.

 

July 3, 2009
It was a short week so I'll keep things short. There was more weeping in Salem, though it felt a bit different than it did before. A weight is gone and the temperature in town seems to have changed. The Chloe and Daniel affair has quickly turned into Daytime's version of "Sleeping Beauty." Kate was licking her lips and arching her eyebrows all week as she doped up Chloe's basket of Granny Smiths. After a few false starts, the diva ended up taking a bite. It tasted bad so she almost threw it away. Luckily, Kate was around to convince her it was supposed to taste that way. Chloe soon dropped to the ground. I keep expecting them to cut away from this plot and reveal that it was just Caroline reading a book to Allie. The big question is: Does this mean Kate can turn into a dragon at the end, or, at least, a vicious cougar?

I always thought part of what made Sami so crazy was that she had to put up with Kate for all those years. Now I think it might have been the other way around. Sami caught Rafe in the graveyard and began grilling him about who Emily was. He wasn't forthcoming and got defensive in a way we've rarely seen. He may be sweet on top but there's a brooding violence underneath. If he's got dark secrets, he better have them well hidden because Sami wasn't relenting in her snooping. This led to them fighting and her admitting that going back on her promises and sticking her nose where it doesn't belong is about the sum total of her personality. All of her self-diagnosing turned him on so he promised more fights in the future and then they had some makeup sex, after which, she started looking through his wallet.

EJ liked seeing Nicole bonding with Johnny. He told her that he wasn't asking her to replace Sami, which is odd because that's basically what she's been doing. In addition to making women pregnant nearly every time he takes off his shirt, EJ also has the power to turn them into prodigious whiners. She's become so empathetic to Sami that she's been smuggling little Johnny out of the mansion to visit her. Next thing you know, she'll be smuggling Sami food as well since she realized this week that she can't afford any. I just hope she also smuggled over some prophylactics because Sami really doesn't need any more mouths to feed. Nicole is coming apart at the seams and suffering a real identity crisis. Stefano isn't helping much, even if he is offering to take an interest in Rafe, which usually means sending incompetent hit men to try and kill him.

Nicole isn't the only miserable mob woman of course. Stephanie has also been coming apart at the seams. She went to see Father Matt for advice. He didn't give much. Instead, he sat there and she gave advice to herself, telling herself what she has already told herself many times before -- that she loves Philip but shouldn't be with him. She, abruptly, dumped the dimpled mob heir. It was quick and may have been one of the least drawn out weepy scenes in recent memory, which leads one to wonder if this is really the end at all.

Not everyone was miserable of course. Melanie was as pouty as usual but she had a plan this week. She's decided to try and set up Brady and Arianna as a way of getting good karma. No doubt this is part of her long term goal of winning over Nathan, who was curiously absent this week. Anyway, now onto the spoilers. If you don't want to know, leave now and have a nice weekend. You can look forward to more of Melanie and her sexy summer antics as the youth section of libidinally challenged Salemites travel out to the Horton cabin for a little cleaning and other things. It won't all be romance though. Bo advises Nathan to stay far away from Melanie and Chad informs Will that he is Mia's boyfriend. Meanwhile, Chloe falls into Daniel's arms and is rushed to the hospital. While she's getting her stomach pumped, Sami is asking Rafe to move in with her. But will it work without the danger they had haunting them in the safe house. He still has plenty of secrets he's hiding from her which could cause problems. Across town, Nicole is keeping her secret alliance with Sami from EJ and starting to fall apart under the pressure of being a DiMera wife. All the while, Philip and his father are left arguing about how things went wrong with Stephanie.

Lines of the week:
Arianna: I appreciate what you're trying to do... aside from the creepy stalker thing.

Brady: Why do I feel like you're Tom Sawyer getting me to paint the fence?

Stephanie: With all your wealth, there is one thing you can't give me: Peace of mind.

 

June 19, 2009
After the grimness of the past few weeks, things got marginally lighter on the show. Thankfully, the show is still managing to keep a fair degree of continuity, even when that doesn't mean that every second scene is someone crying. The break in the tension was largely thanks to melodramatic Melanie. Max has decided to ditch town and go with Chelsea to London. His sister was not pleased and pouted around town before deciding to take him up on his offer to move in with he and Chelsea... and then came Nathan. Salem has yet another Horton in its orbit. It's been awhile since a new member of the clan popped his head in. The last few didn't fare so well either. Jeremy, while easy on the eyes, was hard on everything else and things barely went well for Nick. Will the vain and sarcastic medical intern turn out to be a weird hybrid of those two departed characters? He obviously has a brain, as well as a lot of attitude and a propensity for taking his shirt off. Time will tell. Anyway, he's moved in with the three Ms, Mel, Maggie and Mia, which could lead to all sorts of shenanigans...

...find the rest of Matt's Musings for this week on our blog!
 

June 5, 2009
It was kind of a curious week. After lots of consistency, and consistent build up, there was a small explosion and then things seemed to turn back to where they were before this entire Kiriakis-DiMera war began. Philip was zipped into a body bag and smuggled into the morgue with Melanie's help. He managed to kick his way out of the body drawer with his special shock-absorbing legs and struggle with Owen before beating him to a pulp. The kidnapping story abruptly (although I may kick myself for saying that) came to a close, but what was gained in all of this? We were teased with the various possibilities of a new character. The loopy, and buff, gardener Owen certainly had some possibilities, added to by his clearly difficult and angst filled relationship with his father. They were a couple of characters who could have fit well into the canvas of eccentric and incompetent creeps in Salem and added a lot of macabre and darkly humorous details to the show. Unfortunately, and bafflingly, it looks like they're gone.

As the kidnapping faded away, the baby switching returned to prominence. I don't know, maybe all of this body switching, body bartering, half dead bodies and living bodies in the drawers for the dead has some symbolic significance I'm not aware of. Then again, Dena Higley is not James E. Reilly. The knot this story is tied in may soon unravel though. Baby Grace wound up in the hospital this week and Daniel was desperate to get some information on her biological parents so he can treat her bacterial meningitis. Sami decided it's finally time to come clean. Unfortunately, the truth as she understands it, isn't exactly true. Nicole stood on the sidelines to fret. She watched the sight of EJ comforting Sami with hardly a word and then went down to the chapel to pray for God's help. She isn't Chloe so God didn't offer her anything; instead, she got Stefano. He confronted her about the entire scam. He knows everything, but he doesn't want to lose the baby any more than she does so he wants to keep her secret. Strangely enough, she and Mia teamed up to let the cat out of the bag together. They went to see nurse Maxine and informed her that Mia is the mother of the seriously ill child.

We were treated to a few fantasy sequences from Chloe and Daniel. He had his shirt off a lot and tried to suppress his desires for her. No more writhing around in his underwear like last week, this time he was in the shower. Meanwhile, she fantasized about telling Lucas the truth. The first time around, he didn't care. The second time, he did. Chloe seems to be having some serious issues with reality these days, although I guess she always has. Kate popped up to tell her that all is forgiven and the diva swallowed it without thinking. Of course, Kate really is not the forgiving sort. Chloe isn't the only one having a hard time with reality either. Stephanie seems to be turning more delusional by the day. Considering the stuff she's been through, that makes perfect sense. Only a few weeks ago she was dumping Philip because she thought his lifestyle was too dangerous, not she's marrying him and assuring Roman that he'll keep her safe and she was wants the dark life. There is something really missing there. I also consistently have the nagging suspicion that something is seriously askew with Rafe. He enthusiastically filled out reams of paperwork this week to get the adoption underway. After much Sami sex, he bumped into his sister and she warned him that "it" is happening again.

Another interesting development for the week was that we were treated to a glance into Brady's past. Trapped in the mausoleum, he was surrounded by the ghosts of his family and showed a bit of pathos. The way he kept staring at his mother's grave hinted that something from his past could be coming back. How? I have no idea. Meanwhile, Melanie provided the comic relief while he tried to act like MacGyver. He even borrowed her bra wire to try and rig up some cell phone reception. Bo and Hope tracked them down by screaming and then opened the massive vault door with a credit card. In other Melanie news, it looks like she is about to get a new house mate at big Red's. Following her cousin moving away, Mia has been left homeless. In spite of harangues from his father about getting involved with a former addict, Will decided to ignore that former addicts advice and move Mia into the home of another former addict, Maggie. Now the three Ms can spend their time re-enacting scenes from "The Facts of Life" Salem style.

Anyway, now on to the spoilers. Look away if you don't want to know. It's time to break out the 'bon voyage' banners for Max and Chelsea. She'll be returning to say goodbye. She's decided to make a life for herself in England. Since Uncle Max has realized that he doesn't have much of a life in Salem, it looks like he will be departing as well. Luckily for him, there are Irish pubs almost everywhere in the world. Meanwhile, former Euro-trash and now reformed good guy, Brady, gets invited back into the bosom of the Kiriakis family. Will he be running into Victor's open arms, or is he having another of his moral dilemmas?  His ex-wife is having a dilemma of her own. She still doesn't know what to tell Lucas, but it looks like he actually has a secret to tell her. At least she'll be telling herself the truth: that she still loves Daniel. Not to be outdone, Sami comes out and tells EJ the truth about the baby, no doubt complicating things for both Stefano and Nicole.

Lines of the week:
Stephanie: This is nice without you getting shot.
Philip: That always helps improve my day too.

Sami: What? You don't want her to have teeth?

Nicole: That makes me all warm and runny inside.
 

May 22, 2009
This week picked up where the last left off. The momentum has been good, which is odd since so little actually happened. For the most part: Stephanie was captive and repeatedly went nowhere and the Kiriakis and DiMeras kept wondering what would happen next. The real action of the week, aside from Owen and Stephanie knocking each other around like a pair of cross-dressers on absinthe, was Sami and Rafe's bedroom romp, complete with candles. They didn't have any Kenny G. records, so they just amped up the baby monitor. With few distractions, everything has focused on the kidnapping and on the Sami-Rafe (or Rafi, as I like to call them) romance. It's an interesting juxtaposition. The kidnapping played out like a nightmare, the romance like a fantasy, allowing for an odd emotional balance. 

Philip and EJ continue set themselves up as rivals, ironic since little over a month ago Tony was configuring himself as a sort of double to both of them. It's almost as if his death spawned their change in personalities. Both crime family heirs are now haunted by the heir who never really came to power. Each man has entered into a duel of styles with their father while they attempt to find themselves. Strangely, Philip's hot temper and penchant for outbursts seems reminiscent of Stefano's ruling style while EJ's cold and calculated viciousness is far closer to Victor's. But, aside from the psychodynamic which they have going on, Philip and EJ have both been delicious. It's also interesting to look at how the full blown mob story has actually played out in comparison to the fantasy one which preceded it a few months ago. For those who don't recall, Nicole had an elaborate black and white film noise fantasy that spanned several episodes. It seemed utterly superfluous at the time but in retrospect it's actually more interesting. The 'real' thing is remarkably different from the smooth-talking, snappily dressed imaginary one. Instead of everyone being conniving, everyone is distraught and off their game. Everything is being bungled all the time. Most of those involved seem to have no idea what they are doing. Even Victor seemed to come to the realization this week that the whole thing is less a game than a chaotic series of events with little real logic, fueled by the ghosts of the past and minimal capacity to see what's right in front of them (such as Owen).

Owen has proven to be another intriguing addition to the odd characters that the show sporadically invents. There are a few distinct types of criminals on the show -- those who have large, often quite crazy plans, like Stefano, and those who just seem to bumble around behind the scenes, occasionally spilling into sight and embarrassing their masters. The former see themselves as grand tragic figures, the latter simply as people, though they often come off as clowns. The late DiMera henchman Bart would be an ideal example, though there are plenty of others. Owen falls into the same mold. He's an odd character, and not just because he's been forced into a situation which is completely abnormal for him; he'd still be odd if he was just a gardener. Whether he's simply extraordinarily naive or has some kind of mental illness, it's far from clear. What is really interesting about the kidnapping story, to me anyway, isn't so much how Stephanie will react through the ordeal, since that likely won't hold many surprises, but what this will mean for Owen's character and how this will turn out. After all, he seems like a completely doomed person at this point. Neither family will want him alive after this, and it's doubtful any of the other townspeople would want him around either, so what will happen?

Another intriguing development this week was Arianna and Brady's flirtation. Was it forced? Kind of, but it was cute and they both pulled out interesting angles of each other's personalities. She's new and still an enigma, but he has a history and remains somewhat enigmatic. Like a lot of people, I'm dying for Brady to really get a plot of his own. He also flirted a little with Melanie, who wandered around the periphery of things, bickering with one of Philip's bodyguards and thinking about selling Stephanie's giant gold earring. It looks like next week might end up being rather different than this one. Spoilers to follow... please avert your gaze if you don't want to know. Stephanie continues to channel her old feistiness and fights back between pouts and bouts of unconsciousness. Although she uses all of her womanly charms to try and distract the easily distracted Owen, she still winds up winded and finds it impossible to breathe. Meanwhile, Daniel and Chloe have been taking a breather from their mutual obsession but it looks like they could finally be coming back for more. They'll be panting, if not pantsless, again next week. The diva will even admit that she's not exactly happy living cooped up in the cabin with Lucas. Kate gets a glimpse of them together again. Will she keep her mouth shut this time? She might not have to since Lucas memories of the night he discovered the affair, before being blown up and saved by God, are starting to percolate back into his brain. Across town, Nicole stops worrying about EJ and goes back to worrying about herself when she discovers that Mia and Will are now getting a little too close for her comfort.

Lines of the Week:
Victor: I'm still in charge of this family. My men won't let you near Stefano.
Philip: I have my own men. I'll get my men to go up against your men.

Philip: Thinking like that gets people killed. 

Sami: Did you just say smokin' hot pain in the ass?
Rafe: Yeah, but I meant it as a compliment. I cherish every inch of you.

Brady: Thanks for the grievous bodily harm.

Stefano: The man you work for is an amoral swine. You could do better.
Nurse: Not in this job market.

Melanie: It's Stephanie's. Who else wears earrings the size of a tennis racket?

Arianna: (to Brady) I don't give a damn about your money or your looks. I don't care if you have something huge packed away in your pants.
 

May 8, 2009
It was a week of romance, goodbyes and mob violence in Salem.

Sami and Rafe bumped into Nicole at the Java Cafe. Insults ensued. Then the couple went to the fair with the kids. Turning up the romantic gestures, he asked her out to the forbidden woods on the bad side of town to have a nighttime picnic by the polluted river. Shocked by the newfound knowledge that fish splash when they are in the water, Sami slipped and fell. Rafe fished her out and then managed to use one of the standard soap opera sex techniques -- getting naked to avoid freezing. Philip did this with Chloe after the jet crash. As Luis, Galen Gering did it on "Passions" at least once to save Sheridan and she tried to do it right back to him. Anyway, their naked picnic party was interrupted by a roving cop. Since he liked the look of them, he gave them a break. They went back to her place to fret over Grace and they made out some more, then played Scrabble and made out again.

Chelsea has left town. Max could hardly say goodbye. Bo and his daughter shared a nice hug. Hope and Chelsea said their tear laced farewells. She even said goodbye to Theo. Chelsea didn't say much of a goodbye to her grandmother though. Of course, Kate was a little busy this week. She finally confronted Daniel about his affair with Chloe. After months, and after deciding that she wouldn't bother with revenge, she decided it was time to stick the knife in just a little. The doctor was nonchalant and didn't show any signs of feeling guilty. Instead, he tried to make Kate feel guilty for turning on the woman who saved her life. Kate abruptly turned around and confronted Chloe, firing her right in front of Lucas. She fed him some excuses and he swallowed. Meanwhile, his son, Will, was being fed some lies as well. Will and Mia ran into one of her old friends, some "Gossip Girl" reject named Kenzie, who gabbed all about Mia's past, suggesting that she was a meth addicted bulimic. Will found this hard to believe but, not wanting to tell him the truth, Mia went along with the lie. Pouting followed.

Philip had his shirt back on this week while Steph mollycoddled him. His father slipped in sporadically to say that their plan were going ahead. Steph would bicker with Victor, then with Philip. This was interrupted by another assassin. This time a woman dressed as a nurse attempted to kill Philip with a pillow. That flunked and she was arrested, but Hope remained clueless. Brady dropped by to lecture his family on the perils of violence. Philip and Stephanie then went home and bickered some more. He managed to pacify her by asking her to move in and then dropping to his good knee. "Stephanie Johnson. You are beautiful, witty, wise..." he said before popping the question. She agreed, but with that kind of spin, what else was she going to say? While Stephanie starts down the road to becoming Salem's next mob wife, maybe she should stop and ask Nicole how it's going for her.

Nicole worried about the fact that EJ and Stefano are investigating Dr. Baker. All that they found was that he was a gambler but Elvis assumed he was working for the Kiriakis clan. Nicole tried convincing him to drop it. He coldly told her he would and then didn't. While he went off to deal with Victor, discovering that old man Kiriakis had abducted Stefano, she panicked all week and ran around like a chicken with her head cut off. Baker refuses to take her worries seriously. She offered to take him upstairs and pay him off. As they argued about cash, he fell down the stairs. She ended up giving the good doctor mouth to mouth and saving his life, but the doctor's doctor wondered if the doctor might now have memory problems. Maybe... but when she went to see him at the hospital, he accused her of trying to kill him.

The show has continued to be strong and has been embracing its more volcanic side lately. As things have become more focused over the past few months, one is left wondering why they were so messy in the past. Could it have been that they had to cut so many veteran characters, not just for budgetary reasons, but just to get a little focus back into things? It certainly feels that way. They've also abandoned, or at least crystallized the reformation of, a few other things. Ejami are no more. Even if the two characters admitted, more openly than ever, what their feelings may have been for each other, there's clearly nothing much there. Instead, there are three couples. Rafe and Sami, EJ and Nicole and EJ and Stefano. EJ and Stefano, I would argue, were always the real couple behind Ejami and Sami was just the confusing surrogate for his love for his father. But now that his father knows how much he loves him, the love is coming out in a different way. Before it was through sexual blackmail, organ stealing and a baby, now it's a gang war. James Scott continues to prove that he's actually remarkably good at being cold, brutal and vicious. He's managed to be genuinely disturbing to watch, displaying a naked psychopathic streak which couldn't be more foreign to Stefano's operatic swagger.

A question many may have been asking by the end of the week was: Who designs the stairs in Salem? I guess this is what happens when everything is done by mob contract. I'm not sure what it means when carpenters end up accidentally killing people with more efficiency than professional killers. Tony and Ford Decker died falling down the stairs, Theo got close -- now they just need to start making people slip in the shower. That could be Sami and Rafe's next date.

And now... the spoilers. Stephanie and Philip won't be enjoying their new engagement for very long. Not long after he's popped the question, Melanie hears about it and starts to pout. Perhaps more worrying, the gardener drugs and kidnaps the bride-to-be and carries her off. This could give EJ the bargaining chip he needs. Although Junior's been calling in favors and trying to get his own team of talented goons together (it's not easy with the recession and all of the out-sourcing), he's still arse over face when it comes to negotiating with Victor, who is now demanding that he sign over everything. Meanwhile, Bo has another vision. Since Chelsea is gone, his unconscious must be refocusing on his frequently forgotten other spawn, Ciara. And adding to the complications in Salem, Rafe's sister, Arianna, starts to get in the way of him and Sami because she thinks that little blondie is trouble.

Lines of the Week:

Stephanie: I've been a potential casualty ever since I fell in love with you.

Philip: It's hard to reason from underneath a pillow.

Kenzie: It's not gossip. I'm 95 percent sure.
Will: You're 95 percent bitch.

Nicole: They will find out and they will hand you a shovel so you can dig your own grave.

 

April 24, 2009
It was a steady, active week so my thoughts are kind of all over the place. Please bear with me -- I haven't had enough coffee yet. This week gave everyone plenty of excitement... or at least it had its male leads take off their shirts even more than usual. After months of speculation, Eric Martsolf (Brady Black), famous for his near perpetual semi-nudity on "Passions," actually took off his shirt. It wasn't purely gratuitous either, which is, arguably, a good thing. Melanie found him at Salem's favorite meeting place, the pier. Tony's blood had barely dried on its crusty fish gut covered surface when the DiMeras decided to shed a little Kiriakis blood in revenge. Since Brady is on Elvis' bad side, a thug was sent out to pound on him after he nearly interrupted EJ and Nicole's wedding. Melanie used her recently acquired capacity for compassion to help him over to the hospital where she disinfected his muscular torso and tried to be charming, perhaps to make up for that rather abrupt kiss she disturbed him with the other day. He was remarkably calm and Zen about the whole thing and remained so as the week unfurled.

Philip had his shirt off pretty much all week. There's been a lot of suggestions that he's magically gotten back the body parts he left in Iraq. He's certainly moving a lot more nimbly. But his new body parts and his bare chest only gave the DiMera's hit man an easier target. He and Stephanie finally made love this week... several times for good measure, but this left him vulnerable in more ways than one. After professional killer, Signor Masi, the man with a face made for mug shots, earned his money and put a new hole in "billionaire playboy Philip Kiriakis," he was ready to give the world a freebie and put a bullet in Steph too. The maintenance guys walked in while she was screaming and Masi ran off. Philip was rushed to the hospital. His family arrived to pace, pray and worry. Of course, Daniel was the  only surgeon in Salem with the wherewithal to save his life, leading to many awkward moments between him and the family he can't keep his medical instruments out of. Kate was against it and then changed her tune. She seems to have suddenly found religion, or something close to it. She isn't talking to God the way that Chloe was, but she is promising not to seek vengeance anymore... not against the doctor and the diva anyway. Considering the wallop she gave Stefano, he could be on her list now. Meanwhile, Victor was his old self. Watching him spit out insults and threats is always fun. He also had the chance to be warm with his son after Philip recovered from a close call with death.

Rafe escaped his usual duty of gratuitously revealing his chest this week. Instead, he hummed and hawed and hung out at the Salem airport until Sami came to collect him. She spent the first half of the week humming and hawing at at the wedding. She sped over but her car broke down. She asked Max to fix it and he noticed her baby was sick. She said she would take her to the hospital instead of breaking up the wedding but then took her to break up the wedding with her. It didn't work. Although she disrupted it, after hearing about Philip's dangerous misadventure with room service, she decided that staying away from the DiMeras was a good idea. She and Junior talked about how they used to love each other (which really isn't as straightforward as they left it last time they had that conversation) and then she flounced off. Mia also showed up to almost ruin the wedding. Dr. Baker stopped her but his explanations weren't quite enough. She had to see her baby one last time. Nicole let her but mother and baby didn't click. Dr. Baker popped up again and offered to explain why the maternal bond had vanished.

It wasn't all about men's chiseled abs though, with or without wounds. Poor EJ. He barely even had a bachelor party. It was just him and his father having liqueurs and planning to kill people. I guess if you're marrying a former porn star that makes a perverse kind of sense though. Nicole and EJ had the briefest and most perfunctory wedding nights in memory. That was only after having a wedding ceremony that spanned several episodes. The Oxford educated mafioso wrote his own vows, telling Nicole that he couldn't resist her in her orange jumpsuit and then they went through many sacraments and blessings. I guess they needed extra protection.

Anyway, here comes a peak into next week... The Salem PD decides to do things right and by the book when they're investigating Philip's shooting, but since they've had so many cutbacks, they just send Hope to take care of things instead. Will she notice that Stefano isn't his usual bright and clear eyed self? Is that because he thinks he's being poisoned, or is it because he has diabetes? That's what Lexi will be unraveling for her increasingly addle-brained papa. While he continues trying to wipe out his enemies, Sami continues trying to hide the truth about her baby, or, at least, what she thinks is the truth. Unfortunately for her, it looks like someone else may be hiding something as well. It isn't EJ or Nicole either, it's Rafe. Sami catches him telling another woman that he loves her. Meanwhile, Brady is insisting to Chloe that he doesn't love Nicole but she should probably be more worried that Kate is confronting Daniel about the affair. Maybe she doesn't want any trouble though? After all, her family already has plenty. Just to add to it, Billie is in a serious accident in London and Chelsea leaves to see her.

Lines of the Week:
Stefano: Shot but not dead. That is the problem.

Nicole: You mean I can't go anywhere without a creepy thug?

Mia: I babysat this other baby. I felt more connected to her than my own baby.

Nicole: If Phillip is dead, I guess there won't be a party. I wonder what your daddy is doing that is more important than out wedding.

EJ: We don't want it to look like we're dancing on Phillip's grave.

Victor: What happened to you? You look like you got put through a meat grinder. Did a DiMera thug do this? Face the facts. Get some spine or leave me alone. Today the DiMeras tried to kill my son and beat up my grandson!

Melanie: What if you're not handsome anymore like Mickey Rourke or something?


April 10, 2009
Tony is dead and the aftermath lingers. Philip was so sad about it even his hair seemed to pout. His father kicked him to the curb. He was so lost that he let Stephanie lead him home to her new apartment.  They made out. She took off his shirt. They tried making out on different pieces of furniture. He perked up a little, in spite of the frightening blouse she was wearing. It's hard to run away when you only have one leg. Victor interrupted and apologized. Both men know they're jerks most of the time. Philip decided to go back to the family. Steph threw a fit and broke up with Philly. He didn't blink and even pointed out how often she dumps him. After he went home, she ran after him and told him that she still wants him. He seemed distracted. She went out, thanked God and then went home and told Chelsea and

Max all about her day. Max acted jealous. Chelsea is not amused to see that he still cares about his niece/former flame. It's not clear what Chelsea sees in him either. They spent the week making out and arguing about how to assemble cheap furniture, at least, when they weren't giving EJ advice about grieving.

EJ was miserable all week. Surprisingly, he didn't pout. Instead, he growled and groaned and grimaced. Sometimes he yelled, but when he wasn't doing that, he was vowing revenge. His father wept and vowed revenge. In either accent, it rings the same way. It's been really delightful to see Elvis return to form. He's not the pushover he was for Nicole and he's not the noxious Hugh Grant reject who was with Sami. Now he's just nasty, mean, irrational and cold. He's smart enough to realize the absurdity of his situation and the futility of this spiraling war with the Kiriakis family and everyone else, but he seems to be following in his father's footsteps. But isn't this because of his vulnerability, so often masked by his casual arrogance? There's doom in Elvis' eyes. Tony was one of the few people who actually understood him and Tony died trying to do what Elvis must have recently been tempted to do – betray his father and go out on his own. As with everything else, he's so repressed he could hardly admit that to himself, but he did admit that he was slightly happy with his brother's downfall, a slip that now seems to have sent him into a guilt ridden mode of grieving.

Nicole's marriage plans are a train wreck. Elvis doesn't seem to care if the marriage goes ahead or not. When he's not giving her the cold shoulder, she's crying on Brady's. Even he is starting to feel the strain of trying to be her conscience. Her life only gets worse. Dr. Baker's job offer out of town fell through so he's returned to Salem, America's refuge for unethical physicians. And, of course, Mia has been bumbling around town, befriending Will and, unwittingly, becoming the babysitter-in-waiting to her own baby.

Sami showed up at the mansion to talk about what was good for her children. She didn't come clean with EJ but was tempted. After seeing the way that he's been treating Nicole, when she's actually done something honest, Sami finally pulled up her cleavage and walked away. She went to Caroline to talk about her problems. Caroline didn't exactly tell her anything she wanted to hear. Meanwhile, Rafe stood around, trying to scope out the situation, get information from the sarcastic lips of Will and hurl half-baked ultimatums at Sami. They're getting closer, but how well can things work when you get most of your relationship advice from nuns? Rafe is obviously hiding some skeletons in his closet. Maybe the priest version of John Black had to perform an exorcism on him when he was a troubled teen.

One nice thing to see lately has been the increased use of ludicrous fantasy sequences. Kate's been dishing out gruesome scenarios for Chloe's death and Nicole's been having wedding nightmares. I know they are tacky, but that's part of what makes them fun. While most of the week was actually well-measured and consistent, there were a few things which were simply painful. Maggie playing matchmaker for Daniel comes to mind. I actually felt bad for the guy. He already has to watch Lucas and Chloe make goo-goo eyes all the time. I'm not in love with her and the spectacle is still gag inducing for me. Now that Melanie is working at the hospital and checking him out, he could be in for even more trouble. But the most painful thing of the week was the blouse that Stephanie wore. I literally had to keep looking away from the screen. What was the purpose of this inordinate level of torture?

Now on to the spoilers... We'll find out if Mia is as naïve and innocent as she seems to be as her old friends start crawling out of the woodwork. Max's intelligence starts to reappear and he is using it to apply for med school. She's already had one doomed relationship with a medical man so how will Chelsea feel about that? She might have more to worry about when the pub gets a sexy new waitress. Meanwhile, after spending a day with shirtless Philip this week, Stephanie finally gets to find out what's going on downstairs. While their two bodies get better acquainted, Hope and Roman's do likewise, but all may not be as it seems. Bo's vision of them in a motel room may be coming true, but it turns out that they are there on a stakeout. Across town, Brady is staking out the wedding and trying to stop Nicole from lurching further into disaster. Just to make things worse, Mia starts asking for her kid back.

Lines of the week:
Brady: No more self flagellation. Just tell me what happened.

Kate: Daniel gets around... Think of him as the gift that keeps on giving. I am not a stranger to his bedside manner.

Lucas: We were thinking...
Kate: That was your first mistake.

Maggie: Do not confuse the Hippocratic oath with celibacy vows.

Stephanie: Hey God, sorry I haven't been here in a while.

 

March 27, 2009
In spite of the dreary fact that Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera) is departing from the show, "Days" has felt stronger in the past few weeks than it has in a long time. Though the week was not exactly action packed, the actions it did contain were filled with an unusual sense of determination. It wasn't that the week flowed all that differently: It was still a series of delayed and repeated actions. Kate flew back from Vegas with Lucas and Chloe. She repeatedly fantasized about killing her new daughter-in-law. At least watching her kill Chloe was less torturous than watching Chloe tongue wrestle with Lucas. Kate showed up at the hospital to rub the elopement in Daniel's face and scope the place out for dangerous drugs. A nurse with a big mouth told her everything she needs to know. This will no doubt be complicated by the fact that Chloe suddenly noticed she's pregnant.

Chelsea decided to move out of Bo's since he feels awkward that she is sleeping with his brother. She's going to move in with Stephanie, which is also awkward since she used to sleep with Uncle Max as well. And if all of this familial awkwardness weren't enough, Bo also came to the realization that it is his other brother, Roman, who has been haunting his visions of Hope's infidelity. Despite Hope's many protests that she would never, ever, ever be unfaithful, he still can't shake the certainty that this vision is about to come true. It horrifies him so much that he's practically begun hibernating. Hope can't even get him to open up with promises of a hot date. Now we only need to find out how the dirty deed will come about. It's an intriguing twist on things to show the conclusion and then walk through the events that lead up to it. It's just unfortunate that Bo's mental processes are mostly illustrated through the rate of his facial hair growth rather than more intricate character development.

Another character who could use some more development also had a busy week. Brady was being pulled between the Kiriakis family and Nicole just as much as usual. I guess that's enough to keep anyone in shape. His motives don't shift much. He wants to be good. But he's in Salem so it's not that easy and even he knows it's pretty boring. Despite that, he's actually come to be an important character and his presence on the show has made a positive, if subtle, difference. He's always drifting around, pulled into everyone's problems and relationships but never really involved. Brady has become what the town rarely seemed to have: A conscience, albeit a flawed one. And, as a "Passions" fan, it's nice to see that Eric Martsolf can play someone who isn't a total dim wit. He can provide a casual likability to his scenes with Daniel and give Nicole's selfishness more of a context. It was also nice to see him interact with Galen Gering again this week, though it was brief.

Rafe is sticking around town for Sami's sake. She spent the first half of the week flying off at the DiMeras. After breaking the news that she was "adopting" another child, Elvis doubted how much she cared about her children if she's bringing more in. She slapped him for that and then flounced away, telling EJ that she never wanted to speak to him again unless it involved their son. We all know that won't last, but it was a nice thought. She pouted around town until she bumped into Rafe. Since she refuses to listen to his advice, he tried to give her the silent treatment. That didn't last. She ran after him. They kissed and kissed and then ran over to the convent to pick up the baby... Okay, I give in. As much as I can't stand Sami, I have to admit that she seemed genuinely cute and sweet in her scenes with Rafe, at least when she wasn't talking. Now she wants to know about his past. The only thing we've been told so far is that it's tragic. That's so vague I don't want to speculate.

The real highlight of the week, however, was watching Philip and Tony kick off at each other. They set the confrontation up rather crudely by having the two alienated heirs of Salem's big crime families discuss how similar they are. While that's certainly true, it's a complex relationship that could have benefited from being extended over time and illustrated with more events rather than simply Tony's sage quips. That said, it was still nice to watch the two actors working at what they do best: Intense verbal sparring and sarcasm. But it wasn't long until the physical aspect overcame that. Tony and Philip struggled at the pier and Tony wound up falling onto a stake below. I guess that makes sense since he's felt more like a character who wandered in off the set of "Dark Shadows" lately than he has like his old self. He hasn't taken his final breath yet. Nicole showed up at his hospital bed and he flashed her the evil eye. She had a crummy week all around. After her plan to steal the blueprints with Brady's help failed, she was stuck in a loop with Mia. One woman saying she was doomed, the other saying that she was sorry.

And now, onto the spoilers. Look away if you don't want to know. Tony clings to life for a little while, just long enough to scribble a note for his younger brother. Is he outing Nicole, or will this just be another piece in his revenge on his sibling? Whatever he ends up writing, that same week Elvis will agree to call off the wedding. Meanwhile, adding to the misery in Casa DiMera, Anna shows up to give Stefano a slap around. Across town, Kate plans to add to everyone's misery by asking Chloe to host a talk show. But while she pushes the self-conscious diva into the limelight with one hand and fills her other hand with poison, Bo has his hands full trying to keep Hope and Roman apart. Adding to chaos in the Brady family, Sami shows Grace around and Lucas begins asking some awkward questions.

Lines of the Week:

Lucas: I think things really worked out well with us eloping. I'm sorry my mom missed the ceremony, though.

Daniel: Yeah, she was looking forward to a big affair... uh, I mean event.
 

March 13, 2009
The week began with a sizable event before slowing to a crawl. Circuitously, EJ managed to have a worm implanted in Titan's computer system. It abruptly erased all of the data, much to Philip's chagrin. He instantly knew that EJ was behind it and decided it was high time that he killed him. Before that could happen, Philip vanished until Friday to make airtime for everything else... like Chelsea dumping Max. She found out he wanted children (at some point before he dies) so she decided their relationship was impossible. She was so desperate, she even went to Dr. Dan and begged him to operate on her so she could have some false hope. He doesn't perform operations that are quite that dangerous, so she moped back to Max to explain it was over. He didn't understand and it isn't over.

Meanwhile, Max's brother was having emotional issues of his own, and this week they weren't about his brother sleeping with his daughter. Once again they were about Hope and he is getting pretty jealous. Then again, she's been confiding in Dr. Sex and being friendly with Salem's newest tall dark and handsome man, Rafe. Could either of these men be the man he sees in his visions of his wife? Maybe, or perhaps it's someone much closer to home... He was uncomfortable enough that he told Roman to put the kibosh on hiring Rafe to work at the Salem PD. He and Roman both liked him because he doesn't know how to obey the law and they already have a 'secret fund' to pay him with, but Bo was still too worried.

Sami ran around town trying to get Rafe a job. He didn't appreciate it, but they had a lot of moments together talking about how important they are to each other. She only made up one 'Agent ___' nickname for him this week, which is something of a record. Now that she's out in the fresh air - relatively speaking, since she seems to spend her time hanging out at the pier, y'know, the place where bodies wash up - she's suddenly hatched an idea to try and adopt Grace with Rafe's help. She worried about not being around for Grace, but couldn't help admitting to Will that she isn't around for him even when he is standing right there. Will already assumes that Rafe's her new boy toy. Actually, he seemed to assume a lot of things and cover it over with sarcasm. He gets that from his father, but with Will it's more out of bitterness than self-loathing. The young Horton/Roberts even had a conversation with Chloe. She tried to confide in him so she could get him to speak sympathetically about her to Lucas. He pretended to be interested, and then told her that he was only pretending, and she could barely tell the difference. While Chloe prayed a lot less this week, she talked to herself a great deal more. I guess that's what happens when you've been living with Lucas (Sami seems to have the same affliction). Or maybe it just happens when you live in Salem, after all, Nicole does it all the time too.

Across town, Daniel started talking to God and looking for signs. He lit candles and everything. It didn't take long for him to become Salem's latest sage and he rolled around town drinking and doling out advice, encouraging Lucas to run off and elope with Chloe (God told him to say that). Meanwhile, Kate made a thankful return to form. She would have been licking her lips if she wasn't busy using them to manipulate Chloe and Daniel all week. She made a pass at the doctor and tried to turn him to do her dirty work. He walked away and she decided she'd have to do things all alone. She hunted after the fractious couple only to discover Will. He told her that they'd already flown off to Vegas, although the plane is actually on delay.

Nicole and EJ had a blissful Thursday. It went from lingerie and a suit to instant nudity. He didn't even notice that she hadn't popped out a kid recently. You'd think when his other romances were Sami and Kate, he'd have a clue about the difference. Fans of the couple were cheated out of the usual softcore footage; not even much of a gratuitously shirtless EJ, just his back. They cooed about their love until he passed out and Philip called to start threatening her again. He returned to exactly where he left off on Friday, but the momentum was sadly lost by that point. Nicole turned to Brady in a panic again. He spent most of the week comforting Melanie before turning on her, and revealing a little more of the intriguing personality he always seems to hide under a veneer of self-help rhetoric. Spoilers to follow. All those who wish to avoid them should know look away.

Next week, Brady will cast aside his nice guy routine and start to verge on dangerous. Sick of the string of threats and innuendo flowing out of Philip's mouth, he threatens to shut him up. Philip already has other fish to fry though. In addition to raging at EJ and Nicole, he now has Tony to take his tantrums out on. Tony stops lurking and comes out to fight. This is likely to lead to some deadly consequences. Not only will he be fighting with Philip, he'll also be holding his own against Nicole. He knows what she's been up to and isn't afraid to use it against her. Her problems could quickly double since Stefano will continue to dig into what the very unholy woman has been doing hanging out in convents. It doesn't help that she talks to herself in public either. Talking loudly and unwisely is a talent shared by many Salemites, though few do it quite as well as Sami. It could come back to bite her next week when EJ hears her talking about Grace. While that might infuriate him, Kate has already run out of town, thoroughly infuriated, in a bid to chase down Lucas and Chloe and stop the marriage. Daniel is left behind in Salem, but his wandering hands will quickly find their way to Hope. Is he just comforting her, or is this part of Bo's vision?

Lines of the week:
Philip: Say ta-ta to your Euro-trash lover boy, because I'm gonna tell him everything I know about your sleazy affair with Brady.

Chloe: You almost died.
Lucas: That's a reason to get insurance, not married.

Daniel: I really got to know part of Chloe when she was my patient.
 

February 27, 2009
At least the week started off well... After last week's string of strong shows, the first few episodes of this week were still fun. Why? Strangely enough, it was because everyone was angry, jealous and confused. Monday even gave us a literal explosion. So what was all the feuding and finagling about? The same things as usual. Lucas does and doesn't want Chloe. Chloe wants Lucas and Daniel. Nicole wants EJ but threatens to leave. Philip wants Steph and Mel and her project. Victor's a grouch. Sami and Nicole are compulsive liars. EJ now yells more often than he blinks. The show also, and I could be wrong about this, seemed to hit a new record for how many times they could squeeze the word 'bitch' into the dialogue this week.

We've been catching glimpses on EJ's darker side lately. This week, it exploded. Of course, underneath his 'cordiality', Elvis has always been a nasty nelly and he's so much more fun when he lets it show. Watching him battling with Melanie was a delight. They clearly come across as two people from radically different worlds and the contrast, and their convoluted dialogue, is always amusing. Of course, Philip isn't amused by it and still tried to use his powers of seduction to get her to renege on her flirtations with the DiMeras. This blew up in his face so he had to do something more desperate. He spotted Nicole with Brady together and proceeded to blackmail her with his non-knowledge of what it was about. He knows that making EJ paranoid is easy. EJ is so insecure that if a woman so much as kisses his cheek, he wants to marry her and knock her up. It's only out of a sense of class, apparently gleaned from Hugh Grant movies, that he doesn't bring a U-Haul with him on his second dates. Nicole, uncharacteristically, let herself be bullied by peg leg. After he hobbled off, she stuck her nose in Elvis' business and he proceeded to try and bite it off. Nicole haters must have been thrilled to see him laying into her in scenes which were virtually plagiarized from "The Godfather Part II." She threatened to take her baby away if he didn't end his war with the Kirkiakis family. He warned her that would never happen. She gave in. She accused him of still being in love with Sami and threatened to take her baby. He gave in and ripped up the project (which was a somewhat meaningless gesture since there are copies). Is he just changing tactics for variety or is there more to it? The battles between Sami, Nicole and EJ picked up more or less where they left off. Now, I'm not taking sides. All three of them are mentally unbalanced criminals and shouldn't be allowed around other adults, let alone children. There are differences of course. Sami and Nicole are accomplished liars while EJ is just underhanded, but they're all too insecure to be in a healthy relationship with anything.

But as the week wore on, things stopped blowing up. In fact, Thursday and Friday's episodes were all about not blowing up. The entire episode centered around repressing things. Sami lied and told Lucas her baby was stillborn. Nobody told Lucas why he was at Daniel's. Bo and Hope still don't know how to communicate. Even Ciara had to mediate for them. But there was one little blow up at the week's end. Bo actually argued back to Hope. A few days alone seemed to give him the power to stand up to Fancy Face's death ray eyes, but it didn't last. They might end up back together, but it's not looking pretty.

Meanwhile, Chloe has suddenly found religion. Well, not exactly. You can't really do that on network TV, so she's suddenly had a spiritual awakening, which is similar, but potentially far more annoying. After telling Papa Walton, er, I mean Father Matt, all about her sexual escapades, the priest had told her that Daniel was her soul mate. She prayed for a sign from the Almighty. When she went to the doctor's digs, a fire ball came out and hit Lucas. Assuming he was dead, she prayed for his recovery and he popped up with a highly specific form of amnesia that blocks out his knowledge of her affair. Daniel still wants her but she pushed him away because she has to be true to God. He gave her a scientific explanation for what happened, but she rejected his logic. While she may not have much use for logic in Salem, she should have been working harder to keep up appearances because Kate caught the doctor examining her tonsils with his tongue a few minutes later. Mama Bear tried to tell Lucas, but he was impervious. The explosion didn't knock any sense into him.

And now, onto the spoilers. Please look away if you don't want a hint of what's in store next week. Rafe comes to Salem and becomes protective of Samantha. Maybe a little too protective since Elvis is soon threatening to report him to his superiors at the Bureau. A desperate Sami attempts to enlist Nicole to keep EJ away. They aren't the only people who are having trouble with who to focus on in their love lives either. Bo has another vision, this time of Hope and another man, but it's so out of focus, he's not entirely sure what's happening. Meanwhile, Philip plants a kiss on Steph, Lucas and Chloe decide to get back together and Max and Chelsea leap into bed.

Lines of the week:

Victor: (romantic advice for Philip) That's hardly attractive for a man. Throw her out on her ass.

Lucas: (to Sami) The last time I saw you, you were pregnant. Obviously, you're not pregnant any more.

Nicole: (to Sami) You seem to have packed on the pounds. What? You thought a bigger target would make it easier for the killer?

EJ: The time for thinking is over.

EJ: You don't play games with me, not unless you wish to lose... I believe the expression is 'big-time'.


February 13, 2009
While it wasn't the most eventful week, it managed to be more amusing than not. Victor received some precious air time and used it for his usual charming string of nasty quips. Hope, still irate about shooting her sister-in-law, left Bo so she can go clear her head. Kayla, who was obviously pumped full of morphine, spent an episode teasing Daniel about his romantic life. He had his hands full. Chloe dumped Lucas, claiming that he is too good for her but not elaborating. He was, understandably, at a loss. His mother showed up to berate him, assuming this is all his fault. She has romantic problems of her own. Aside from lingering feels for Dr. Dan, she also has Stefano still sniffing around her. He even showed up at Chez Rouge dressed as one of The Hives and asked her out. Meanwhile, Brady gave his ex-wife a little comforting. Chloe pondered whether you have to be stupid to be happy. It doesn't seem to help in Salem...

...Read the rest of this week's Musings here! 

January 30, 2009
It was baby week. Two popped out, almost simultaneously. Just to make sure that this wasn't lost on anyone in the audience, they used split screen for most of the action. I'm not objecting. I've always been fond of the technique and it was used appropriately. If it was JER making this, I would know they were making a joke, but this is Dena Higley, so I'm not so sure. The entire "24" style of the episode was added to by Rafe and the killer playing mind games and exchanging all sorts of pop psychobabble and caustic remarks. The baby broker Baker got Sami's kid out while a nun forced her to concentrate. Meanwhile, Nicole delivered Mia's baby. She had an easier time than Dr. Baker and merely whipped out some old sheets to lay by the bed, telling the young woman to think about 'rainbows and kittens'. She promptly placed the baby in a drawer, no doubt to make Mia more comfortable since she grew up in one too. After putting the newborn in a picnic basket, she hurried over to the clinic and discovered that Sami's baby was having trouble. After building up some momentum for the plot this way, they quickly threw it away and everyone involved spent the rest of the week arguing and screaming, or, if you're Nicole, saying that something is too long and difficult to explain and then spending a great deal of time explaining it. Nicole prayed for a miracle and got one. Apparently God was impressed by her idea to beat Sami to death with a statue of the Virgin Mary. After Dr. Baker finally managed to make Sami's baby cry, Nicole told him that they were going to swap the children. Nicole suddenly decided that Sami was a capable mother and could look after Mia's baby while she looked after EJ's.

It's been awhile since Melanie had much airplay but she was back this week and larger than life. She's positively giddy at the opportunity to make the Kiriakis and DiMera families go to war over her patent. Although she told her brother all about her plan, when Philip showed up to talk to her she ran away. He already knows what she's up to and he tipped Brady off about it. Brady, apparently, doesn't know much about what's going on; he's been too busy playing basketball with clients. Melanie ran into him and told him her sob story and he seemed quite sympathetic. Is she going to try and use her bedroom eyes on Philip, Brady and Elvis all at once?

Of course, her love life, or lack thereof, isn't nearly as curious as Dr. Daniel's. He and Chloe played break-up phone tag most of the week, dumping each other in voice messages before meeting in person to share some truly odd dialog. They can't stay away from each other and have been meeting up every couple of hours to talk about how they can never meet up again. He also had a few peculiar scenes with Kate, who seems to have no clue about what is going on inside of his head. He kept trying to avoid her questions by ordering pizza melodramatically. Victor cornered him outside of the pub as he watched Lucas and Chloe play with children. Daniel admitted to his Godfather that all of the women he seems to want are already taken. Perhaps that's the key to his psychology – he wants what he can't have, whether it's because of death, disease or marriage. That's an appalling romantic cliché, but maybe it's not even that deep. After all, there was a food fight following directly after his little revelation.

Bo told Patch all about his visions. Now he's having visions of Hope and Kayla getting hurt. Which leads us to the spoilers for next week. Please look away now if you do not wish to be spoiled. In the coming week, Bo will find his visions coming true again. Kayla is shot and chaos breaks out across Salem. Since Marlena is gone, Daniel is the only real doctor left at the hospital and his hands are already busy. No, just kidding. Rafe and the killer battle it out and Bo lends his trigger finger to the action. Nicole and EJ bring them Ejami baby home. This quickly gives her something to freak out about and she's as sure as Sami was that there is something wrong with the child. Meanwhile, Maggie can hardly keep her mouth shut about Chloe's unbuttoned exit from Daniel's love shack and Steph and Philip finally get it on.

Lines of the week:

Daniel: I meant what I said. It's over. We can't be together.
Chloe: That's why I'm here.

Chloe: When I listened to your message the first time, I understood. When I listened again I wanted to kill you.

Baker: So the nun is lying too?

Maggie: You know he can be a jerk and he knows you can be a bitch, but in time you will love each other more.

Nicole: Sami may be a despicable person, but she is a responsible mother.

Melanie: The more greedy hands, the more money in the pot.
Max: I think it was Karl Marx that said that.

Daniel: I belong in Salem, but sometimes I think all the right women are taken.
 

January 16, 2008
There's been some sort of vague change at "Days" over the past few weeks. It might have something to do with the pacing, which has picked up. It might have something to do with the lack of a daily dose of Sami... or Melanie, but things are moving differently. For the most part, this sounds like a good thing. It's like someone flipped a switch and noticed all of the plot holes and dead ends and is now hopping around to fix them. Or maybe that's hoping for too much. But it would explain why Stefano and Kate finally discussed his marriage proposal. For those who were baffled by their scene this week, the aging master criminal proposed to the aging mistress of seduction early last fall... before both of them nearly died. They didn't bring up her miracle revival, or his, and acted like he asked her last week. Maybe, given those conditions, that makes sense, but it didn't feel like it made sense. "Days" isn't "Passions" --  time actually passes in Salem. Anyway, she needs more time to think about it, whatever that means. If a day is a grain of sand in an hourglass, I guess half a year is about equal to the sand that Daniel gets in his wet suit when he surfs.

Kate's former flame, Dr. Daniel, has already started thinking about other things, or Chloe at any rate. He showed up at her engagement party. She was wearing green; he was jealous of Lucas. She tried to resist his talk of them being perfect together, but then the zippers fell and the door magically locked itself. Lucas still managed to interrupt, though he didn't see anything. Viewers had to wait until the next day for the drawn out sex scene. Maybe I'm superficial, but it was hot. It brought to mind what I remember soaps being about -- awkward and slightly disturbing romantic pairings and long softcore porn scenes. I've complained about this before, but, for whatever strange reason, this sort of thing is rare these days in Daytime. That could be the real reason the ratings are dropping. I'm not going to argue that Chloe and Daniel are a great couple. They're both shells of characters, but they have potential. Most of hers is in her past, most of his comes from the fact that we know nothing about him. Do people care about them? Probably not. But they look good and listening to him whispering romantic cliches while they tear off their clothes is a nice way to spend an afternoon. They even had a fire going to show everyone how hot it was. Did anyone see if the doctor had a bearskin rug? The other highlight of the week was Victor, who dispenses insults with the grace that can only come from years of experience at it.

Across town, Nicole continued trying to get her baby. Over and over, she told Mia her sob story. Over and over, Mia demanded to meet her fiancé. Finally, Nicole broke down and took her to the mansion. The young woman looked at the crib Stefano had flown over from Italy and said she used to sleep in a drawer. Tony, who has spent the last few weeks haunting the mansion, popped up to find out who she was. Nicole told him they met while she was trying to help girls in trouble. He ran off and told his little brother, who tried to imagine that Nicole is turning into a saint.

Nick finally had his hearing and has been sentenced to two to five years. Melanie spoke up for him to get him some leniency. He begged his friends not to let his project fall into the wrong hands. What does this mean? Could it mean that the Alternative Fuels Project could be exploited to make WMDs or something. Maybe that's why the DiMeras are so interested all of a sudden, after all, they used to be in that business. Meanwhile, Philip and Stephanie made kissy faces and kissed for most of the week, but Melanie ended up impressing him with her 'magnanimity' in the courtroom. So, for anyone who wants to see a triangle between Mel, Steph and Philip, there is still hope. I don't. I hope she drops Philip for now and he can run after her later when he gets bored with Stephanie the way everyone else does. For now, Melanie should set her eyes on EJ. He's bound to get frustrated with Nicole sooner or later and, whatever Mel's drawbacks, at least she isn't Sami.

The thing that's bothered me lately has been that so much seems rushed. I'm sure that some welcome the change of pace, but there's a difference between leaping through hoops and pacing things well. Right now the show feels like it is following an arbitrary deadline instead of any internal logic. I don't know if it would seem this way if we didn't know so much about what goes on behind the scenes, and in the actor's contracts, but we do and it does. John and Marlena are being pushed back together. He's started to regain some of his old mannerisms even if he doesn't have his memories back. Dr. Taylor quickly got him under hypnosis and remembering his love of Marlena. This made her freak out so she lied, telling him there is no chance he can get him memory back. In more of a surprise, she pushed him to leave town with her. Marlena is desperate too; she kissed him but it didn't jog his memory. Even more desperately, she went to Kayla for a second opinion. Since Kayla lives with Patch, I guess she's qualified to give psychiatric advice. While they bumbled around and Charlotte started acting crazy, Brady snuck into her office, found the video of John's hypnosis session and sent it to Marlena. So what's up with Dr. Charlotte and why does she hate the Jarlena reunion? I shudder to think.

The real surprise of the week was that they suddenly killed off Hilda, and in a completely lame and undramatic way at that. It was bad enough that we were teased with a female character that didn't whine constantly, or sleep with Lucas, or flirt with Daniel, but they had to make her go down without a fight. Making it even worse -- she died for the sake of Sami. The blond terror quickly ran away on Rafe, while he was suffering from the wound he received protecting her, so she could try and pawn her kid off on some nuns. 

Now, onto the spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please look away. Continuing the freak out, Charlotte goes to see Marlena with a syringe. I guess she read her rival's file and is trying to be ironic. Either that or she has no imagination. Of course, by the end of the week, the couple will be back together. Maybe a little more trauma is all they need to be on the same page. And speaking of traumatic experiences, we get to watch Nicole and Sami talk to each other last week after Nicole hunts her enemy down. Meanwhile, Rafe battles the killer once more and Chloe runs away to Canada to escape from the men in her life for awhile.

Lines of the Week:

John: I can be negative and pessimistic on my own. Why pay a psychiatrist?

Nicole: Stefano is just one of the sweetest goofs you'll ever meet.

John: I want my memories back because Blondie is in my mind somewhere.

Nicole: But we were invited. Chloe is my best friend.
Victor: That's a frightening thought. I'm uninviting you.

Victor: (to EJ) You're not just an idiot, you're a damn masochist

January 2, 2009
It was New Year's week on 'Days'. I don't think much more than a single day, or night, of story time actually passed over the course of the four episodes. Since it was a shortened week, and many of us are still recovering from our holiday indulgences, I'll keep this brief.

The week didn't hold a great deal of surprises. While Sami spent the week dropping hints and trying to get Rafe to open up to her some more, he managed to stay relatively quiet. Of course, it's easy not to talk much when you have Sami to fill up the vacuum… However, he did admit that he didn't mind being stuck with her for New Year's.  She was baffled. Maybe it slips her mind that he is an orphan. Their relationship dichotomy modified somewhat. She's become slightly less aggressive and a bit quieter. She's also showing a little less cleavage and he's flashing more biceps. For a Sami Brady relationship, that's pretty deep.

Lucas continued to be puppy-eyed about Chloe. Her anime style eyes were busy checking out Daniel. They keep trying to avoid each other and end up together over and over again. Not only was she terminally ill once, she is also the donator of major bodily fluids. Those are two things the doctor can't resist. The week even opened with a big softcore sex fantasy for the not-yet-lovers. It was nice to see a brief return to 'sex in the afternoon'. Kate, meanwhile, has lost her libido. Daniel keeps offering to stick around so they can spoon but she keeps sending him away. She also clearly suspects that there may be something between Chloe and the doctor. Perhaps she actually wants them together as a way of saying 'thank you'? Can Kate really be that generous, or is she planning something? Her support of the Chloe-Lucas pairing is truly suspicious.

Elvis spent much of the week being frustrated. I mean, more frustrated than usual. And this time it wasn't just because he was being denied sex. He wanted everything to be just right so he could pop the question to Nicole. Stefano kept pushing him to get a pre-nup and filled his time with endless conference calls. When EJ wasn't busy with that, Tony would show up to berate him about how dangerous their father is. EJ clearly doesn't care. It's hard to know if he is naive, distracted, or if he really is more of a knock off the old block than is often hinted at. He could easily turn in any of those directions. His bigger problem is one that he isn't even very aware of -- Nicole. She finally figured out that Dr. Baker is a baby broker. She repeated this little tongue twister many times while attempting to enlist the help of Brady, or to blackmail the baby broker into giving her the child that she's sure she deserves. He hasn't been terribly helpful and none of the two facial expressions the doctor has were offering her much comfort. In the end, there was much weeping and she decided to come clean with Elvis. Before she could, he dropped on a knee and proposed.

Salem's other burgeoning romances escalated this week. Max and Chelsea continued to flirt and they even managed to kiss. Melanie kept flirting with Philip. He can't help but flirt with anyone who happens to be female. He ended up kissing Steph at 12 o'clock sharp. They both admitted that they'd been playing games just to annoy Melanie. That seemed to endear them to each other even more. They made out some more and will quickly take it further. And John and Marlena accidentally, sort of, had a date.

And now...  on to the spoilers. For anyone who doesn't want to risk having their dreams of the future shattered (or prematurely fulfilled), please look away. Kate is out and on the loose, but, without any libido to speak of, she doesn't have much use for Dr. Dan. She'll continue to push him away and into the arms of someone who has an operatic level of libido. The doctor may have even more problems though. Lucas is going to use all the talents (okay, not all) he learned in prison to smack the doctor in the jaw. Chloe nearly busting Daniel's million dollar hands didn't seem to bother him much so a little damage to ten-dollar jaw shouldn't be worse. The only question is: Which reason is Lucas using to do the deed? Maybe he's in need of a vacation. Bo seems to be. That's why Hope will convince him to run off with her for a while to rekindle the romance in their lives. Will this stop his visions? Maybe he could ask John for some advice on head injuries? Apparently, Mr. Black-DiMera is finally recovering from his and will start to jog his memories of Marlena.  

More Musings: 
Matt's current Musings on Days of Our Lives
Matt's Musings on Days of Our Lives from 2010
Matt's Musings on Days of our Lives from 2008

All photographs are courtesy of Soapoperafan.com.

 

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