What Happened in Salem: Week of August 31st

While half of Salem decided to switch careers…

Rafe rejoined the Salem PD, and Justin became the D.A. in the blink of an eye. Rafe took over the Serena Mason murder investigation and found a napkin in the park that tested positive for Chad’s DNA, and Justin pressured him to charge Chad based upon that. Stefano offered to help Chad evade the murder charges if Chad would again try to get back with Abigail (a woman who just voluntarily got engaged to another man instead of Chad) so that Stefano can get his hands on the land in Ireland that isn’t even hers yet. Chad was like, “You’ve gotta be kidding me with this,” and he hired Aiden to represent him. For their parts, Abigail and Ben spent a bunch of time talking about wedding plans, animal crackers, and whether Chad could be capable of murder. An upset Eric confronted Chad and accused him of having killed Serena.

Read the full recap to find out What Happened in Salem this week!

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16 Comments on “What Happened in Salem: Week of August 31st”

  1. Dan Says:

    This show is probably more scattered than it was when Tomsell were writing it, but for completely different reasons.

    Watching various parts of the last two weeks, I cannot believe how bad certain parts of the show are. No matter who is writing, Paige and J.J. are not compelling. The J.J. stuff is playing out a little better, but the writing for J.J. is weak and Moss is playing it at the most basic level. True O’Brien was given weak characterization and has never been able to make Paige memorable.

    We are back into Supercouple territory and I’m quickly becoming bored. I’ve fastforwarded through most of the John/Marlena love fest. I believe they spent the entire episode in bed on Thursday. If that were Ben and Abigail, the veteran viewers would have lost their minds. The Steve / Kayla / Joey stuff is not compelling. This is all coming out of nowhere. Kayla was a C-player at best and involving her with a SORASed son and an ex-husband who hasn’t been in town in over seven years. It is a mistake to have so many ‘new’ characters in one storyline. Honestly, Steve was more effective in his scenes with Hope than with Kayla.

    On the other hand, Justin and Adrienne’s integration back to contract has been less choppy because they were involved in a B-story that was significantly impacted by an A-story. Justin and Eve has been a welcome distraction and Adrienne / Lucas are light and fluffy in a very serious show. They still need a son on the canvas, but I’m praying that this issue will be resolved.

    Then, there is the Aiden / Hope mess. I have no problem with them making the decision to bring Bo back, but there was no need to sacrifice Aiden in the process. DAYS refuses to allow the show to make natural choices. I’d rather Bo came back, Hope chooses Bo, and then Aiden became D.A. putting him in constant conflict with Bo and Hope. Yet, that would mean ignoring one of DAYS classic tropes: ruining a strong leading character at the altar of a super couple.

    The writing for Clyde shows why we need a James Read type around. You can’t have Joe Mascolo or John Aniston performing those scenes. So when people complain about Clyde the heavy, I think they refuse to acknowledge why the show needs a younger heavy who is willing to get his hands dirty. Honestly, I think Clyde and Ben work well in the current version.

    For the most part, I like that the show is focusing on fewer stories and overlapping the individual arcs with a larger tale. Serena’s death has impacted Chad/Abby/Ben, Rafe/Hope/Aiden, Eric, and probably Ben/Clyde. John and Marlena’s reunion has created this new desire to go after Basic Black which threatens to be the most interesting new dynamic this show has interested in a long time. The drug storyline is effecting both the Westons and the Devereauxs.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Per usual, I agree with you on just about all of this.

      This version of Clyde works. What didn’t work for me was a) the attempts to make him another Stefano or Victor, which he isn’t and shouldn’t be, and b) the weird, indecisive way that TomSell kept trying to make him hard and edgy but then whitewash his misdeeds and maybe make people like him. I still don’t know what they were going for tonally. Ben is a dud for me, but he works in his current position; I just don’t find him compelling on his own or see life for him beyond this story.

      The JJ story is mostly working because it’s clearly building to a dramatic peak (and tragedy). Paige is basically a placeholder in this current story, something for both JJ and Eve to fixate on and strive for, so her blandness is kind of minimized. I want this to be over, but at least it’s playing into larger stuff — and the whole “don’t tell Ben it’s me” thing with Clyde finally gets this to an interesting place.

      I don’t mind the John/Marlena stuff… yet. That’s mostly because I see it as a show of good faith for the fans. The writing for them has been really weird since Kristen’s (first) return. I can’t even be pissed about them being putting back together because it’s not like they bothered to put Marlena with anyone else, so they might as well be together and in their supporting roles as parents, a psychiatrist, and an ISA agent. (TomSell actually got Marlena right a lot of the time.) I’m not interested in watching them in any more romantic triangles or turmoil, but I sort of equate these scenes with the moments of Doug/Julie togetherness the show gives us. So, whatever.

      I’ve liked the Kayla/Steve/Joey stuff so far, but I agree the shift to Kayla being a main character was a little jarring. It helped that she’d been played up in Abigail’s story lately. I think using Steve as a part of the Bo story is really smart. It integrates him more organically. I want to see him with Adrienne, too, and I’m curious to see Joey with other people.

      A lot of the potential right now is appealing, so I’m hopeful. But the waste of Aiden (when they could actually tell a MORE interesting story if he weren’t a heel) really peeves me.

      • Dan Says:

        I’ll be honest, I didn’t get the sense of either thing you mentioned in terms of Clyde, but I wasn’t watching daily. I felt like they were trying to show two sides to Clyde: one very public and one very private. I remember going back and forth with you regarding Kate and Jordan and Clyde, but I still think Kate could be blind to what Clyde was doing and not come off as dumb. I was more disappointed that they ended Clyde and Kate with little fanfare. Also, I’ve always been sympathetic to the Weston clan because of the clear intensive rewrites despite the often bland onscreen execution.

        I like Ben. He loves Abigail, he’s possessive, and he has a nasty father who threats to ruin Abigail’s family. With a child in the mix, this provides an interesting dynamic to me. Personally, I would have him involved with Gabi, which would complicate Abigail and Ben’s co-parenting when Abigail chooses Chad over Ben especially if Gabi and Chad bond prior to Chad and Abigail’s reunion. Also, given Ben’s work history with Rafe and Sonny there’s enough to play. And I sort of like Robert Scott Wilson now, but I suspect he isn’t long for this world.

        I think recasting Paige would have been a better move than writing her off permanently. Bringing her back next summer would have been smart when J.J. was in the middle of another storyline. To be fair, my latest fanfiction ideas typically had her dying. In one scenario, True O’Brien’s Paige would die in a car accident. At the hospital, Eve and Paige’s father would be tested for organ donation only to learn that the man that Eve was claiming was Paige’s father couldn’t be Paige’s father. Eve would claim she was telling the truth and she would still lose Paige. The audience would be left to wonder whether Eve was lying. Eventually, a young woman (a real hellraiser) would arrive in town claiming that she was Eve’s daughter that had been switched at birth while Frankie returned and reconnected with Jennifer and Eve. J.J. would suspect that Frankie was original flavor Paige’s father and Eve would use J.J. to undermine Frankie and Jennifer in order for Eve to reconnect with Frankie since she has nothing since Paige’s death. Again, most of this would be ambiguous so that the story could go in either direction.

        I’ve addressed Marlena/John below. I would be fine if Doug/Julie go the supercouple treatment. Wouldn’t it be nice if they renewed their vows during the anniversary episode as I think they’ve only had two onscreen weddings?

        My point regarding Steve/Kayla/Joey is that if this were Maxine/ her ex-husband/ her son there would be rioting in the streets even though its basically the same scenario. Even with Kayla involved in the Abigail story, I have yet to see any crossover yet with the Abigail/Ben story and the Joey/Steve/Kayla material. It so isolated. The integrated parts (Steve/Hope, Steve/Victor) have been much richer than the meat of the story (Steve/Kayla, Kayla/Joey, and Joey/Steve). Again, I think if we got Joey first for a few weeks, establish Kayla / Joey onscreen and the general feeling for offscreen Steve bringing Steve in a few weeks later would have been less jarring. Plopping them all down at once in the midst of crisis is a bit much.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I never, ever felt like they struck that balance with Clyde. There were weird scenes where he was crying over his daddy issues with Marlena, then he was grinning to himself, then she was tracking him down to question why he was skipping therapy. Usually it’s so clear what the show intends us to take away from a given scene (even if that takeaway is dumb or insulting), but I truly had no idea what to make of a lot of that. I’ll admit that I was biased because the Jordan reveal was so gross (and so obvious) to me — especially the way they had him taunting her about it! — that there was no way I was buying him as anything but a villain after that. It reminded me of an even more extreme version of what they did with Theresa. Having her try to kill John in cold blood was a shocking move, but instead of really paying it off, they kind of buried it and tried to move on. They’ve tended to go too far with some of these characters for the sake of a scene or short arc, and it winds up impacting the longer-range story, at least for me.

        I get why they wanted Joey and Steve onscreen ASAP, but yeah, Joey could’ve maybe come home when Caroline had the stroke, so we met him first, THEN they could’ve had him run away a few weeks later.

      • Dan Says:

        I’ll agree that at some points I had no clue what was going on with Jordan/Clyde. Clyde’s “You killed my baby!” was the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in daytime in years. It was like how much twisted backstory can we throw at these characters that just would never work.

        Also, I just always assumed “trucking business” was code for “drug operation.” The trucks were simply transplanting “product” from one state to another. I didn’t think that this was a legitimate business operation.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I had NO idea with the trucking stuff by the end. I thought it was code, but then people kept referring to it, and I thought maybe Victor actually had a hand in freight…? Point being, it was really poorly developed.

  2. underyourwing Says:

    agreed. hating clyde so much only shows what a good actor he is really and i do hate him. chad and abby together would be good. but that is because i like chad and can’t stand ben….even so chad still belongs with abby…lots of mileage with those two.

    • mykleraus Says:

      James Read is really good. I don’t think the previous writers had a good idea of what they wanted Clyde to be. He was this sleazy gangster, he was a crime lord, he was a good father (all that shit with crying during his therapy sessions was very unclear to me), and Kate wasn’t on to him at all. Making him a BAD guy is so much better. I don’t think there’s any way for them to buy back what he did to Jordan, so they need to just own it.

      • Dan Says:

        Eliminating Jordan has really helped me accept Clyde, and, to a lesser extent, Ben. After the rape reveal and the double homicide reveal, it was all just too much. I think we are finally seeing what was originally intended: the drug storyline with J.J. and Ben / Abigail with Clyde’s presence threatening the entire Devereaux clan.

        The writing for Clyde was bizarre. He was a hayseed, but that seemed to be a cover yet they still played him as homophobic in the overly accepting town of Salem. The shipping business was all vague. Grounding it in J.J.’s story should work, and occasionally it does work.

      • mykleraus Says:

        The shipping/trucking stuff never worked for me, because it was all so abstract. They could’ve remedied that pretty easily by giving it some impact upon Mad World, like Clyde screws up Victor’s shipping business, a product doesn’t get delivered, and Lucas/Kate/whoever gets in trouble as a result. Still not super-active, but at least it would’ve meant something.

        There was a scene earlier in Clyde and Kate’s relationship when he kept referring to Sonny and Will as ‘husbands’ without even blinking an eye, and I remember thinking it interesting that they made him fairly liberal in that regard, and then months later, we got those more homophobic-leaning remarks. I never understood that.

  3. kathy Says:

    I love reading everyone’s insightful comments! Now here is my two cents.

    I find Victor and Maggie to be a much more compelling senior couple than John and Marlena. I always found Marlena to be a cold character and John is sometimes a loveable idiot. Maggie, especially since Mickey’s death, has become a strong, passionate woman. Her passion and Victor’s cold intellectual view are a strong combination.

    Maggie has to traverse the history of Caroline and Victor. They all have a complicated past and the future doesn’t look any less complicated. I hope the writers can present that in a mature way. Maggie once told Victor that she can do complicated. I think they all can.

    Billy Flynn continues to amaze me. He has taken an established character, tweaked it and made it his own. He and Kate Mansi are good together.

    Clyde could have been such a great villain. As Dan said, he is hands on – not the intellectual Victor or the mafia don Stefano. He is just a good ole boy who gets it done.

    Aiden could have been a stand alone character without Hope. It would be great to see a future of Hope in a constant conflict over Bo and Aiden.

    It seems the that new writers are hurrying to appease the most vocal fanbases. Hopefully, they will get that out of their system soon and we can have ensemble stories.

    • mykleraus Says:

      They’re definitely trying to appease fanbases. That’s no way to write a strong show in the long run, so yeah, I hope that isn’t their default mode.

      I think Maggie and Victor work really well when they’re used properly. I’m so glad they are doing more than just yapping about Daniel all the time now. I actually find Marlena’s coldness sort of interesting, but it doesn’t make me want to see her in romantic situations. At this point, I would rather they just keep John and Marlena together and married, and then they can play supporting roles as they have been. I hope!

      • Dan Says:

        Maggie and Victor relationship has been more interesting in the past few weeks. Maggie does well navigating Victor and Caroline’s romantic past. She is very aware of Victor’s love for Caroline, and she isn’t threatened by it. She encourages the relationship, while seemingly disappointed when Victor lies about it. It’s a really adult relationship that we rarely see in general on soaps. Higley was always pro Victor/Caroline and pro Maggie. I think this helps to make their limited scenes so strong.

        Marlena’s coldness works given her work as a doctor. Because of what she has gone through, Marlena has given off a very clinical vibe. It’s more interesting watching Marlena failing to connect with her love ones than attempting to be Alice Horton’s successor.

        My issue with John/Marlena is, again, there story is so much about them. Marlena’s son just suffered a major loss. John has only recently accepted a gay son into his life and has a very tenuous relationship with his older son. Given the rocky history between John / Brady I would think there would be a really good opportunity to explore this as Brady enters fatherhood and John attempts to make up for lost time with his new son, Paul. Given John’s current characterization “I don’t know who I am before I was your (Marlena’s) hero and Belle, Brady (and Paul’s) father.) I think this would have been an interesting role to play. Also, given the Roman years I would have had him more involved in Caroline’s medical drama and played on the Roman/John antagonism that should be there given their lengthy history. Especially if Caroline started calling John Roman again.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I agree that there are way more interesting things to do with J&M than have them isolated in Romanceville. I hope that, once this reunion is set in stone, that’s the plan.

        It’s weird how little they play John as an ‘honorary Brady,’ given that he WAS ROMAN for like six years. I love the idea of Caroline backsliding and thinking of him as Roman. It feels organic and fresh, yet uses established history well.

  4. underyourwing Says:

    i love maggie….she is just the queen of reason and calm and when she may not be she is usually correct in her assessments…..there is just something comforting about her…..a great vibe.

    • mykleraus Says:

      One of the best things we’ve gotten out of Days in the past decade was the resurgence of Maggie. She was basically irrelevant from the early 90s through the mid-2000s (minus that stupid murder), so to have her emerge as a real tentpole in 2009-10 was fantastic.


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