Two major headlines from last week that warrant some discussion (and no, I’m not talking about the fact that Roman got two episodes of substantial airtime and how his scenes with “Shami” were the highlight of the week for me, even though it still sounds like someone stuffed a bunch of dirty socks in his mouth):
1) The return of Chad DiMera.
When I heard they had recast Chad, my reaction went thusly: “Meh.” I liked Casey Deidrick, who played Chad from 2009-2013, but it was only because he was likable that Chad ever got tied to the DiMeras. He never entirely gelled for me as a member of that family, and he didn’t do a ton of actual note during his tenure. But I’m impressed with the way Chad came roaring back into Salem. They’ve clearly made an effort to reposition him as The Young DiMera, as he’s spent the last year with Stefano, and I’m all for it. I think this type of character could be very useful for that generation, and the new actor, Billy Flynn, seems capable of playing it. I do kind of keep having to remind myself that this isn’t Nick Fallon, because Flynn looks so much like Blake Berris (and Martin Short — thanks to whoever said that on Twitter, because I can’t unsee it now!). He might’ve made a fitting Nick recast, too, but I’m onboard to see what they have planned for Chad 2.0.
2) Hope ending her marriage to Bo.
I’ve become a shockingly big supporter of Hope and Aiden’s budding relationship, because I like Daniel Cosgrove’s playful-but-haunted energy and think he brings out something fun in Kristian Alfonso — and also because the forbidden nature of it has forced them to really tease out each and every beat. But Hope’s decision to move on happened way too fast for my liking. I know she’s been struggling with this internally for a long time, and for her to admit her feelings for Aiden is huge, but it felt incredibly wrong for Kayla — Bo’s sister! — to be like, “Yeah, Bo sucks, LOL, go for Aiden.” They could have done a lot more with Kayla’s POV stemming from how Steve abandoned her, but it feels like they’re sidestepping all the drama here. Caroline and Ciara had better be pissed. (For what it’s worth, I fully believe Hope is making the right decision for herself given the circumstances, but someone should be opposed to it!) I’m terrified they’re going to suck all the drama out of this. I like Hope and Aiden, but I don’t want Hope and Aiden to become another JJ/Paige or Rafe/Jordan, just being all, “Cool, we like each other!” I wanted Hope to struggle with this and ultimately push Aiden away, only to try and undo her mistake — except it’s too late, because Aiden’s gotten mixed up with someone else (Nicole? Eve? Kayla? I don’t care). Torture them, not us! Alfonso played the goodbye scenes so well, but this should not be a one-day event.
Also, that entire thing felt like a bit of a middle finger to Peter Reckell, no? As Hope wrote that letter, she was basically narrating from the audience’s perspective: “Brady, we, I mean I, have loved you since 1982, and you’ve abandoned us, I mean me, by refusing to come back to the show, I mean Salem!” But maybe spite isn’t the most effective way to tell this story, ya know?