Keep an Eye on those Ashes

Leave it to Days. After a few weeks of episodes that left me alternating between a comatose state and ripping out what’s left of my hair, Tuesday and Wednesday provided back-to-back episodes that were genuinely compelling and well done.

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I was just waiting for my chance to gripe about how they never followed up on the Jennifer/Eric kiss, but when they did, they actually covered the time gap in a way that fed the story moving forward. I still don’t particularly buy Jen’s insta-addiction — though of course she’s doing that soap thing that pill addicts do, which is GOBBLING like four pills every time she’s left alone — but I find the dynamic between the characters surprisingly interesting, and I would totally invest in a pairing if there were an actual future and story there. (Sigh.) I also enjoyed the way the fallout of Ava’s murder played out, even though I stand by the belief that it was a huge mistake to have Joey do it in such a straightforward and cold-blooded way — as opposed to, say, accidentally shoving her down a flight of stairs after she tried to stop him from leaving with a piece of evidence or something. They’re playing Kayla’s reaction to everything in a nuanced way, and James Lastovic is doing surprisingly well with all the melodramatic, overwrought material (honestly, he’s better at that than he often is at the more casual stuff). There were lots of interesting character interactions, and at the risk of being struck down by lightning, I actually thought Belle worked for just about the first time in this entire stint as she played lawyer to both Eric and Steve.

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Less surprisingly, Billy Flynn turned in a very strong performance as Chad grappled with his feelings over Stefano’s demise, as depicted through an interaction with Stefano’s ghost. They really needed to ground this Stefano story in things like this, and it was honest about the complex nature of Chad’s relationship with the DiMeras. I found myself riveted. Of course, it was also a treat to see Joe Mascolo one last (?) time.

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And that leads us to Wednesday’s special episode.

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I could’ve done with 50% more flashbacks, but I appreciated what we got. Loved seeing Lexie, the worst doctor ever to work at University Hospital, again. I’ve always been curious to know what they’d do when Stefano left us; he certainly doesn’t deserve, in story, an Alice Horton-style tribute, but I think they found the right balance. These characters should be toasting to the fact that this bastard is dead, even if they’re people who would never otherwise celebrate a person’s death. He has terrorized them, their children, their lovers, and pretty much everyone else almost for sport for decades. (I’m so pleased that they did this that I’m not even going to harp on how they specifically said it was 1982 when Stefano came to Salem, even though that means Sami and Eric have to be less than 34 years older, because… look, it doesn’t matter!) The conversation was both necessary and uproariously ridiculous. I cracked up at how Peggy McCay barely managed not to collapse under the weight of that clunky, “We didn’t even know at the time that there was a DiMera/Brady feud, all because Stefano’s father had an ill-fated love affair with Shawn’s sister, Colleen Brady!” They wisely used Kate, Abe, and even Victor to assert some of Stefano’s merits without whitewashing the fact that he was a madman. And they showed Marlena with her sultry 90s hair!

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It was, all in all, a fitting and complex tribute to one of the most influential actors and characters in the history of Days of Our Lives — one who should be celebrated by his fellow actors and the audience, even though the onscreen characters should be dancing on his grave. And at the risk of sounding totally lame (which I am, because I maintain this blog), the final shot of Stefano conducting as “Ride of the Valkyries” played made me tear up.

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Rest well, you lunatic. We’ll miss you.

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19 Comments on “Keep an Eye on those Ashes”

  1. fluffysmom Says:

    Wednesday’s Stefano centered episode was the best episode in a long time. I enjoyed the veterans talking about the many facets of Stefano. The flashbacks were really good. I was hoping for more flashbacks too.

    Tuesday’s scenes with Chad and Stefano were so emotional. It was so good to see Chad’s conflict about his father and his eventual acceptance of Stefano’s love for him as Chad hugged his father.

    As a fan of Joe Mascolo and Stefano I’m thrilled that he received a well deserved tribute.

    I’d like to see more of these themed episodes.

    • mykleraus Says:

      It was a really well done tribute to a character who’s tough to memorialize because of all the havoc he’s wrought. I was impressed that they managed to give these actors a chance to say goodbye. And it was funny!

  2. kathy Says:

    Note to Days — let your vets lead.

  3. Jamie Says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Wednesday’s episode was perfect!!! They couldn’t have a funeral for him, only Chad and probably Harold would attend, but if this is truly the end for Joe Mascolo, they had to do something. And, the celebration of his death by the people he spent 30+ years torturing was perfect. And, they were using a bottle that Shawn had been saving..even better.

    And, this does truly seem to be the end, yes? For them to dedicate an entire episode to him, as many times as Stefano has died, that has never happened before. This truly seemed like a final goodbye.

    I liked that even within the episode being dedicated to Stefano, they were true to the characters. With Victor sniping at Kate. And Kate to Marlena “not to be rude, but I never understood his obsession with you.” (preach, sister!)

    Stefano has been the man I’ve loved to hate for 25+ (off and on) years now, and I’ll miss him. I’m glad there was a chance to say goodbye.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’m pretty sure this is the end, yeah. If Mascolo stays in okay health, I wouldn’t be shocked to get some kind of Ghost Stefano vision down the road or something — but I do think the character is as dead as any soap character otherwise.

      I loved a lot of the sniping, though it was a little rude of Victor to call Kate a “high-priced hooker” right there at the table… and then all those assholes snickered!

      • ADW Says:

        Well done episode…Leave it to Victor to make sure he reminds us of all the fallen women of Salem. I found it funny that w/ exception of Abe, Kate was married to or hooked up with all the men at the pub as well as Stefano. I wish there was a couple of Princess Gina flashbacks for Hope to remind us of that time and to show newer viewers.

      • mykleraus Says:

        After the way Stefano taunted Hope about how she was only interesting when she was brainwashed, you’d think we could get a damn flashback of that!

  4. Gavin Says:

    I’ve tuned out for the past couple of months, but I set my DVR for the Stefano episode since I’d read it was coming – and I figured I’d want to see it.

    Thought it was well done. The only issue was that they couldn’t show any of the good Roman/Stefano flashbacks, but I actually wouldn’t have cared seeing Wayne N in a flashback – it’s not like anyone isn’t aware there was an actor change.

    And maybe it was a bit of bad taste for John and Marlena to be rubbing Roman’s nose in it. They only had a chance at a “great love” because Stefano screwed Roman and Marlena’s great love up. And not one mention of “hey, remember how he managed to trick us all into thinking I was you, Roman?”

    Still, a good episode amidst what I understand is a real mess of a show otherwise at the moment.

    • mykleraus Says:

      The flashbacks were generally more recent than I’d have preferred. When they were talking about Marlena shooting Stefano, I thought we were going to get an actual flashback to the shooting from 1985 or whenever that was.

      You’re right about J&M! That’s awfully rude. Though they’ve never exactly been bastions of class…

  5. underyourwing Says:

    john was choking on the scenery too often…. but here’s to Joe…..he always did it like a boss.

  6. Shea Says:

    Life and work have been really getting in the way of my soap viewing the last couple of weeks and I am a week behind. I certainly can’t comment about this show directly since I haven’t seen it but I am just astounded by how Days squandered February sweeps! It seems to be on an upswing since but shows that aired during sweeps were just terrible. There was no romance, no adventure and no fun….just more darkness. I actually don’t mind some darkness but you have to have some balance.

    I kept saying Stefano’s death should have been huge not the mess of storyline they gave us. I wish we had had a big mystery storyline like “Who shot JR?” that played out over sweeps with several suspects like Hope, John, Marlena, maybe even Belle, and Andre…wouldn’t that have been fun?

    I’m ready for some fun on this show again.

    • mykleraus Says:

      The darkness is necessary, but it needs to be balanced by other stuff. This is just Days on end of murder, rape, more murder, addiction… it’s exhausting.

      They really, er, shot themselves in the foot by doing that “Who Shot Stefano?” story back in 2012. It was executed horribly overall, but the episode where he was shot and “killed” was awesome, with the rain and music and everything. I should rewatch soon.

      • Shea Says:

        They didnt hesitate to repeat the Ava storyline so they could have done it again. I think maybe Joe’s health limited a lot of things but if you had half of Salem blaming him for Bo’s death and fantasizing about killing him then it could have been a more effective story than this one.

      • mykleraus Says:

        True. Haha. It’s so strange to me that John and Marlena weren’t involved.

  7. ADW Says:

    Victor brought up Peter!!! 😂 where the heck is he anyways?

    • mykleraus Says:

      I was SHOCKED! They left him until the end, so I thought they were going to pretend he didn’t exist, and then they had Victor throw that in. Can you imagine if we had Peter coming to take over the empire instead of Andre’s campy ass?

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