On the Mend

Fun fact: Laura Horton is one of only two characters to have appeared onscreen in each of the six decades in which Days has been on the air.

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The other? Julie Olson Williams. While Julie has had significant appearances in every decade, though, Laura barely squeaks out this feat: her initial run went into the first part of 1980, covering that decade, but she didn’t show up again until the 90s, and she eked out only two episodes in the 2000s (when she visited for Jennifer and Jack’s 2003 wedding). Both Alice and Mickey Horton nearly qualified for this distinction, but despite the fact that both died onscreen in 2010, neither had appeared on the show for a few years beforehand.

Source: me being a nerd and a bunch of websites with annoying popups.

This week was… well, I wouldn’t exactly call it good, but things at least feel “back to normal.” Compare any episode from this past week to one from last November or February, and you’ll see the difference. The pace has calmed down, things are actually taking place onscreen, and characters are interacting outside their immediate story circles. I appreciated that they took the time to show people mourning for Abigail; too often, when they do these fake deaths where we know the person isn’t dead, they can’t even be bothered to have the characters pretend to believe it. And I thought the ending of Wednesday’s episode, with Julie reading the poem and getting to the line, “I did not die” as they cut to a woman (presumably Abigail) crying in a bed, was great soap.

I’m still unclear as to what makes Chad such an unfit father, other than the fact that he’s cried a few times, or why Jennifer thinks it’s okay to volunteer her brother and his fiancée to take custody of an infant without even asking them first, but hey, that’s Salem. The sudden use of Lucas and Adrienne makes it pretty clear that a writer change is afoot, and we even got this:

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Will got numerous mentions! Layering Lucas’s grief over his son into Jennifer’s storyline worked well, and seeing Sonny at his grave felt necessary. (Don’t even get me started on how we of course also had to spend time at St. Daniel’s grave.)

In other crazy news, I continue to be alarmed every time I realize that I’m enjoying Belle. It’s so weird — put her in scenes with anyone but Philip and Shawn, and she exudes compassion and warmth. Her friendship with Chad is great. Her material with Jennifer and the Hortons was great. Her talk with Claire about Chloe? Also great! I loved that they had Claire reference the history of Shawn having been married to Mimi and how Chloe was once called “Ghoul Girl,” though it seemed a little weird that Belle put all the bullying on Mimi and failed to mention that the ringleader was actually a crazy woman who kept Claire’s father in a cage for months, but I guess these people have multiple family members who’ve been kept in cages, so maybe it’s old news.

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19 Comments on “On the Mend”

  1. Dan Says:

    I actually enjoyed this week.

    The natural build of Chad/Belle compared to what they did last winter is shocking. This is the first time I’ve enjoyed Martha Madison in the role and will be disappointed when she leaves. I thought Chad’s comments about John and Marlena’s daughter legitimizing Dimera Enterprises was comical. I hope they continue to play a Belle/Chad friendship as the show hasn’t had a good male/female relationship outside of Melanie / Brady and Nicole and her male friends, but even then DAYS crosses a line.

    The gathering for the memorial planning was well done. I cried as Jennifer accepted the truth and Julie read the poem. SSH has been wonderful this week and has been subtle. I think when she is used well SSH is one of the show’s best assets. It was nice to see an energized Laura; I can’t wait to see this continue on Tuesday.

    The Adrienne / Lucas situation will probably never come to fruition. I don’t have a problem with Jen not wanting Chad raising the child. When Abby and Chad first got together, the first conflict they had was Abby learning that Chad had been the father of Grace. Chad had been away in military school (for either behavior or drug issues). There was a writers switch, but I think it was suppose to be a bigger deal. Given Chad’s “illness” and his original plans for Jordan, I think Chad has a history of making questionable choices. With that said, it would be more interesting if the show had allowed Thomas to be Ben’s son. I think this would give this story more legs and make Thomas Dimera a more interesting character when he came of age (I would pair him with a bitchy Sydney Dimera when she learns that Thomas isn’t her cousin).

    Anyway, the Tate situation has led to some nice scenes with the Kiriakis men. The Justin / Adrienne scene was particular strong and not something we would have gotten under previous writers. I’ve loved the Gabi / Sonny friendship (another male/female relationship I forgot) and the Paul / Sonny retread. Paul being a PI is starting to work for me, and I kind of want them to bring back Henry, have his zealot parents lock him in a “pray the gay away” camp, and have Paul have to save him.

    Kate buying the Martin House was an interesting idea. Let’s see what happens with that.

    I’m really enjoying the set up for the baby story. Nicole confronting Chloe was well done and played their history of paternity deceptions well. I really like Phillip and Chloe’s relationship even though John Paul Lavosiers’ Phillip feels like a Lucas recast. I like JPL and LK in scenes together and I did enjoy Kate calling Deimos. And I like that they layed out what is at stake here: will Nicole tell Deimos ruin her relationship with Chloe or the potential at happiness with Deimos? And will the deception revert Deimos back to the type of man who works perfectly for Nicole, deeply flawed man with power and a penchant for revenge?

    Some parts of the show still don’t work for me. None of the teen storylines have been effective. Olivia Rose Keegan, who I usually like, was awful in those scenes with Kyler Pettis. I don’t get what characterization the actor or the writer were going for, but Claire came off as bratty and obnoxious. The Claire / Theo / Ciara triangle is a mess, and would be more effective if their parents were involved.

    I don’t think anything could make Jade and Joey work. James Lastovic has grown a little, but I’m not interested in whether or not he loses Jade.

    Speaking of Joey, the Johnson family story still doesn’t work for me. The scenes about the therapy seemed to be going on and on. If they grounded this more in Steve’s fears, being like his own father, I think I could understand this more. I would definitely flesh this story out with interactions with Adrienne and even J.J. Joey’s story is basically J.J. Part Two. For Kayla, I think it would be nice to see her react more as professional, and I think it’s a shame the show has dropped the hospital element.

    And the last of things that don’t work: Rafe and Hope. There’s little chemistry and 0 long term story. The conflict with Aiden is great, but it’s hard to feel sorry for Hope when she’s done what she did to Stefano. I’d rather they try a Rafe/Blanca/Dario triangle and give Hope and Rafe a rest. Alfonso would be better utilized in a Jen / Aiden / Hope triangle and playing a role in the younger story as Ciara’s mom and Claire’s grandmother.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I continue to be shocked by how much I’m enjoying Belle when they get her away from that Shawn/Philip triangle of doom. She and Chad have a really complicated, interesting friendship. I’m actually starting to want her to stick around, which is alarming because I generally find the character to be a black hole.

      I don’t really have a problem with Jennifer not wanting Chad to have Thomas, but underneath, it has to be about the fact that she blames Chad for Abigail’s meltdown and death because she has to blame *someone*. It would also help if they would ever have Jen reference the fact that she married into the DiMera family and it blew up in her face! The fact that he’s a DiMera should be enough for Jen to feel iffy about him raising her grandson. I think it’d also help if they played up Andre’s presence a bit — I would 100% not want my grandchild in a house where that man was swanning about.

      The teen stuff is really sloppy and unfocused. Ciara isn’t rootable, because she tossed Theo out like week-old trash the minute she saw an opening with Chad. Claire and Theo could be likable as a pair, but the approach feels off, and you’re right — Keegan tends to be decent, but she defaults to brat mode easily, and she played all that material way too petulantly. It also felt weird to me that she was so pissy with Theo for being hung up on Ciara. It’s not like he was the one pursuing Claire; she was all over him and he was hesitant from the get-go.

      I couldn’t give less of a shit about Joey/Jade. The Jade actress is fine, but it’s all so unmoored from the core of the show. And the Steve/Kayla stuff is becoming so irritating. Kayla’s felt like such a nag lately, and this separation feels false. They want to be together, so be together.

      I see some chemistry between Hope and Rafe, but it reads as a sort of friendly chemistry. You can’t build a big romance on that. If they’d paired them up and had the pairing just be a pleasant thing going on while they played supporting roles as police officers and family members, I think it would’ve worked. But they’re trying to position them as a tentpole couple. Aiden works as this sort of villainous, conflicted guy, but I also sort of don’t care?

      • ADW Says:

        I’m enjoying Belle right now as well and she’s really coming into her own as a promising lawyer and a Mother trying to make amends with Claire. I enjoy Belle’s and Chad’s friendship but, I chuckle because they messed around not so long ago and nobody knows about it except for Abigail, I think Andre, and the patrons in suites next door to them at Salem Inn.
        I think Jennifer’s reasons for wanting custody of Thomas aren’t because she finds Chad is an unfit parent but, instead it coincides more with Jennifer’s own grief/loss, insecurities, and empty nest anxiety. Most of all, it’s blantant that Jennifer still can’t completely get over the fact that Chad is a Dimera and she doesn’t want Thomas raised in that mausoleum without her daughter’s Horton influence.
        The teen scene is virtually unwatchable especially Ciara the Android. I’m glad Theo is back but, I feel sorry for him because he’s so clueless when it comes to dating. I think Joey should just run in the other direction from Jade and not look back. Well, I saw Jade’s Dad is returning so we will see more of Jade and her life. I wish some of the teens would go away to college instead of just putzing around after High School and/or just settling for Salem U.
        I’ve always adored Kayla but, she’s really getting on my nerves lately. Please fix her head, sift through Jennifer’s medicine cabinet, or text Rory for some drugs to mellow her out. Kayla needs stop being hard-headed and to give Steve some credit because he’s making a valiant effort. What does she expect Steve to do, put on a suit and work for Titan? Kayla pressing Steve to go to “marriage counseling” with Marlena was obnoxious and insipid especially since they technically have been divorced since 2009 and Steve doesn’t need no stinkin shrink. I think the writers made a mistake because they flip flopped with the terms “couples therapy” and “marriage counseling.”
        The only reason I’m looking forward to Hope/Aiden/Rafe at the moment is Aiden flexing is DA muscles to get to them and in (reluctant) cahoots with Andre. I don’t find Hope/Aiden convincing as a couple and I like them better as friends.

      • mykleraus Says:

        The couples counseling is realistic, I guess, but counseling tends to be really non-dramatic, so they’re in a tough corner here. Also, if Steve is SO willing to quit his job and do all this other shit to prove himself to Kayla, what’s so hard about just going to Marlena’s office and sitting there and saying all the stuff he’s already said to Kayla? If that’s what it will take to prove himself, then just do it.

        I actually like the potential of Aiden turning on Hope now and using his position as D.A. to lash out at her. Anything’s better than that forced, insipid triangle they just tried to feed us.

        The teens are really bad. I actually like all of them, minus Ciara, when they use them with the adults, but I have no patience for this paint-by-numbers Joey/Jade thing. And Claire/Theo could work, but they’re nowhere close to being able to lead a story.

  2. underyourwing Says:

    kayla is annoying the hell out of me with the you gotta go to therapy with me BS. give it up. she can’t accept him how he is buh bye!!

    • mykleraus Says:

      That’s the thing with this story — is there really a solution? They’ve written themselves into a corner. She tells Steve he needs to change, so he quits his “exciting” job and becomes a bartender, and she henpecks him about that. What’s he supposed to do?

  3. underyourwing Says:

    run like hell the other way!!

  4. underyourwing Says:

    PS’s : why is it i confuse MKayla with Adrienne ?

    • mykleraus Says:

      I used to, too. I think maybe because both actresses have the last name Evans? Plus they’re blonde and in the same age range.

      • ADW Says:

        I find it funny that Judi Evans and Mary Beth Evans are not sisters and I always got them mixed up. 😄
        I’m embarrassed to say that I thought Hunter Tylo and Krista Allen were the same person back on the day. HT is best known for her role as Taylor on B&B but, she portrayed Marina Toscano for a short time in the early ’90s. KA was the second Billie Reed for about 4 years or so in mid-late ’90s.

      • mykleraus Says:

        OMG, I can see that now. It takes some work, because I have to reference Hunter Tylo’s original face instead of the absolute mess she made of it in the past decade, but I can definitely see the resemblance.

  5. ADW Says:

    Wow! I never knew that about Laura’s run, even though there were 5 different recasts that’s still very interesting I only know Jamie Lyn Bauer. They need have Maree Cheatham aka Marie Horton make a visit she was the original Marie who has been on 60s-2010 with later apperences more intermittent. I would be ecstatic if we see more Hortons who we haven’t heard a peep from in years.
    I agree with you, it’s refreshing to see family bonding and nod to history which I feel the writers sometimes forget. I’m curious too see what “news” Laura has regarding Abigail. We all know that girl with the phony, forced crying in bed was Abigail and I’m glad she had time to keep all 4 paws impeccably groomed and painted. 😉

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’m irritated we didn’t get a Marie visit during Nick’s last run: when he got out of prison, his wedding to Gabi, or when he died. At least they used Jessica for his return, but still. Marie had just aired in 2010, so it’s not like it would’ve been impossible.

      Marie and Bill are both in the five-decade club. Neither one appeared in the 2000s at all, but both had that 2010 stint.

      I was dying at Abigail having such perfect nails. Guess it MUST be Andre who’s holding her!

      • Dan Says:

        I would have put money on Marie appearing in 2002 for the Kleenex sponsored Zack’s christening episode, but I guess it was Patsy Pease who returned with Lisa Trusel.

        It didn’t bother me that Marie wasn’t present during Nick’s run. I think it was great that they had Jessica there, and that she should have appeared a couple of more times. I wish they played Nick / Julie more because I think Nick’s 2012-2014 run was the kind of character that Julie would have taken under her wing. It didn’t hurt that Nick/Gabi/Will/Sonny was what I hoped would have been the new Mike / Trish / David / Valerie storyline.

        I guess Marie should have been there for the funeral, but I was so jaded by what they did to Nick in the end. If Blake Berris didn’t want to continue, they should have recast during the river murder storyline and had Nick shacked up with Jordan especially with what was coming down the pike with Chad’s return. I’m still mad we never got Nick’s revenge on Chad for ruining the wedding.

        To be fair, the rumor always goes that Dena Higley wanted to bring back Bill Horton or a Bill Horton spawn for Jennifer and Jack’s wedding. It’s really a shame they didn’t do anything longterm with him given Laura, Kate, Jen, Lucas, and Mike’s presence. Also, the show should have brought him back at least on a recurring basis after 2010 when Kate was married to Stefano and Vivian was married to Victor. I thought Bill trying to keep Maggie from Victor, for Mickey’s sake, while plotting with Kate in the process would have been fun and allowed the show to play Stefano and Vivian again.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I loved how they used Julie during Nick’s run, but I could’ve done with more of it, too. Her presence was most strongly felt at the beginning and end of his run (and in the middle when he went missing), and it worked well. I don’t think it’s a travesty that Marie wasn’t there, but I certainly wouldn’t have minded her getting a little screentime with her grandson. I hate that they killed Nick, too, just because it felt like a waste of a long-term antagonist who happened to be a Horton, and as good as Berris was, the role was not un-recastable. When Billy Flynn started, I really thought he would’ve made a great Nick, too.

        There’s still such a place for Bill on the show. John Martin fit in too seamlessly not to be used again! I can’t believe it was over six years ago that we saw him.

  6. underyourwing Says:

    i missed the whole damn Abigail died or andre has her storylline and am pissed!! guess it happened during weeks i missed shows….

    • mykleraus Says:

      Very little of it actually happened onscreen. We saw Abigail slip out of the hospital, and then Andre brought Chad a letter from her that he said he’d found in the mansion, and then Andre said he’d actually spoken with her, and then we heard that a plane had gone down and a woman who had an alias Abby would’ve likely used was on it. It just seems like Andre’s up to something now…

  7. Fluffysmom Says:

    Andre set it up to appear that Abby was on the plane. He was shown arranging the set up over the phone.

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