Bird’s the Word
When I was a tutor in my college’s Writing Center, I remember my advisor telling us that there would be times when we finished reading through a paper with a student and would be gobsmacked by how bad it was, and we might need a moment to collect our thoughts, and if that happened, we could stall by saying something like, “Well… that was a paper.”
So, with regards to Monday’s episode: that was a show.
I didn’t think it was uniformly horrible. Kudos to the production team for some outside-the-box work, and to the writers for the structure. I always appreciate when they play with the form a little; we get 250-ish episodes a year, and they don’t all need to look the same just because “that’s how it’s always been done.” These standalone-type episodes could be interesting once in a while if they can find the right amount of story to fill the 38 minutes of airtime. And credit goes to Daniel Cosgrove, who delivered some very strong work even without the benefit of actual scene partners.
What I don’t understand, of course, is why Daniel Cosgrove — who played, like, a third-tier character in Days history — received a standalone episode at all, or why this wackadoo retcon was deemed necessary in the first place. Aiden still almost went through with killing Hope. He lied to her, he changed her life insurance policy, and he put the pieces in place before backing out. That alone should make him a completely unviable romantic partner for her ever again, regardless of whether they’re legally married (which is only really a hurdle if Aiden gets manipulative with her, so maybe they’ll go there). On top of that, his son is in prison for raping Hope’s daughter. There is no world in which Hope is anything but a Marlena-level mother if she ever considers bringing Aiden anywhere near Ciara again.
And then there are the actual issues in the writing. Another fucking doppelgänger? They had 38 minutes to explain how in the hell Aiden is alive, and while they took the time for scene upon scene of him in an empty corner of the soundstage talking to a dead bird (and I did think there was some interesting tension and cleverness in his escape, at least), they just glossed right over the fact that Andre enlisted someone to get reconstructive surgery and agree to commit murder as a back-up plan. Why wouldn’t he have just sent in the double in the first place? I mean, I know this is Andre, so every plan has to be 4,000 times more convoluted than it needs to be, but doesn’t this seem like a very intricate, expensive fallback? And they never, ever mention where the DiMeras get these doppelgängers. The only one I could remember that made any sense was when Stefano and EJ brought in the Fake Rafe, who had the backstory of having been an escaped sex offender who jumped at the idea of changing his face and identity to shack up with Sami rather than being on the run. And he wasn’t knowingly walking into his death! Who was this guy who basically marched into Hope’s house to kill her and then die? Who were all those people Andre planted in place of the not-dead Salemites who turned up alive on Melaswen? Are people answering Craigslist ads really that desperate?
I can keep going. Why was Aiden kept alive in the first place? Who was paying for that building and the guards and Aiden’s food, since the DiMeras went so broke that their mansion went into foreclosure shortly thereafter? If Aiden thought that Hope had been murdered, why did he go to her house? Why not go to the police station, where, yes, he’d have to defend himself, but presumably Roman and Rafe might understand, as they’re both cops who have themselves been replaced by DiMera doppelgängers? (I guess Hope is, too…) Why in the name of all that is holy does Hope — a police detective who has been repeatedly menaced by a parade of maniacs who have invaded her home and threatened the lives of both her and her daughter (but not her son, because everyone forgets they’re related) — keep a damn spare key on her porch?! And above all, why do I do this to myself?
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