If you travel to downtown Europe and don’t run into another (former) Salemite within the first 24 hours, did you really travel to downtown Europe at all?
How nice to see LeAnn Hunley and Anna again! And while I love them both, I have to say that her acting seems a bit, er, rusty. Not that I blame her — this shooting schedule must be more like doing theatre than television, really — but I do hope she settles in, because it’s distracting. I’ve also seen people commenting that they don’t like that Anna is being played as “wacky” or out of her gourd, but honestly, Anna’s sort of always been that kind of heightened character. Her grief over Tony, and her blame toward Stefano, is legitimate, and I much prefer her coming in with some real energy over all the bland “Hi, I’m going to ring your doorbell in the opening act and waltz into your home and just kind of be around for two days.”
And then Carrie! And the Austin who’s even less believable as a forensic accountant than the last one!
Would you believe this is the first time Christie Clark’s Carrie has been onscreen with Anna since her first month — as a child — in 1986?! Aside from that, they’ve never been on the show at the same time. I loved that they actually backfilled their entire mother/daughter relationship for us through dialogue, with Carrie being frustrated that she’s always had to take the parental role with her own mother. Also surprisingly great: Austin rolling his eyes when Carrie mentioned Rafe’s name.
I’m finding this Prague stuff fun, and of course inserting familiar but surprising faces adds a layer of interest to it, a la Hattie turning up in prison with Hope. But I’m thinking about what it would take for this entire thing to really pop. Some of it is that this is obligatory — we’re long past the point at which Stefano turning up alive would ever be a shocker, as are the characters — but I think part of it is also that this is just plot. I’m no expert on the Stockholm story of the 80s, for example, but I believe it was actually about a hell of a lot more than Orpheus’s revenge and Britta’s tattoo or whatever. Those things were all vessels for the real character stories to play out: Kayla seeing another side of Steve, Steve allowing himself to trust Kayla, Bo processing what it meant to be a Kiriakis, etc. (I could be 100% wrong on those specific dynamics, but you know what I mean.) I wish they’d loaded some more character stuff into this arc. Like what if they’d made more of Paul’s reluctance to be with Sonny because of Will, but Marlena had caught them in a close moment right before the group left for Prague, so it was tense between them, and this whole thing was the vehicle for both Paul and Marlena to accept that Will is gone and Paul staying away from Sonny won’t bring him back. That kind of thing.
Meanwhile, Jennifer’s scenes with Thomas were absolutely pointless and plot-free, but in the absolute best way. They could seriously spend one episode a week having her or Hope or Julie tell old Horton stories, and I’d watch without blinking the entire hour. Even at its worst, Days has maintained that core and that sense of its roots better than most of the major soaps, and I think that’s how it’s managed to stick around for so damn long. There’s always that center to go back to. Also, props to Melissa Reeves for managing to look amazing in spite of that confusing mesh vest with sweatshirt sleeves and Puritan blouse getup. She’s a beautiful woman who tends to be very susceptible to whatever fuckery the wardrobe, hair, and makeup departments inflict upon her, but this time, she managed to maintain her sense from the neck up, so much so that I didn’t notice her horrible outfit until halfway through the episode.
But let’s talk about how Jennifer told Thomas that Hope is “going through a bit of a rough time right now.” Is that what we’re calling being imprisoned for murder? Sign this kid up for therapy right now — and not with his batshit crazy great-grandmother Laura! — because if that’s how this family tiptoes around serious issues, he’s gonna need it.