New Things to Complain About!
What a Tuesday in Salem!
Kayla and Steve are going to pay the rent on an apartment that Joey and his almost-babymama, White Jade, are going to share with three other college kids! How could this possibly go awry?
They did a nice job converting the old Sami/Rafe apartment into a new set, and I definitely don’t mind having something else to look at, but this plan is objectively horrible, yeah? I get that Kayla and Steve are good people who don’t want to cast Jade out into the wind, but let me get this straight: Joey hopes that by sharing a living space with Jade and having her be dependent upon his family, he’ll be able to faze her out of his life? Ooooookay. College is not looking promising for someone.
As for White Jade herself:
The actress seemed to fit right in on her first day, but what was the point of this recast? I feel like their story wrapped up pretty naturally thanks to the miscarriage, and they could’ve brought this girl in as Joy Wesley (I know, Joey/Joy is problematic name-wise) and had her connected to other people on canvas and without the weird baggage of a character who never totally made sense to begin with.
Meanwhile, Hope was awfully fortunate that her nephew-by-marriage was the person who just happened to find her conked out in the woods.
Greg Vaughan’s harder look for this return is kind of jarring (even though I’d been prepared by photos), but he’s still embodying that soulfulness Eric had when he was a priest, albeit tempered by the weight of the mistakes he’s made. I’m eager to see what they have planned for him. I’m guessing he was granted early release from prison and planned to hide out from society, but it seems really weird that his father, who is the Police Commissioner, would’ve had no clue about this. Although for all we know, Roman could’ve actually mentioned it onscreen and we just couldn’t understand what the hell he was carrying on about.
Over in Prague, a city composed entirely of three rooms and an alleyway, everyone’s just about had it with Anna.
Not me, though! I’ve seen some comments from people who are upset that none of the other characters seem to be taking her mental illness seriously, but frankly, I’m just glad there’s some energy to this. Austin’s exasperation with her has been hilarious, and they’re balancing it out with Carrie telling him not to call her mom crazy. (Though could Carrie please shoot back once with, “At least she’s not trying to kill you, which is what I’ve had to deal with with your mother for two decades!”) Anna’s question about how Carrie could possibly have fallen for Rafe — who’s at his most unbearable right now — was delightful, too.
I do have to say, though, that while I’m enjoying the scenes, it all feels a little bit like a fakeout. We follow some regular characters to Prague to solve this Stefano mystery, and it turns into this dog-leg focusing mostly on Anna, Carrie, and Austin. It’s similar to shoehorning Hattie and Eric into Hope’s story, or having Laura pop up randomly in the Abigail story, or even the way Shane and Kim were the ones to bring Theresa the news about Mateo. It’s like they realize the stories are thin, so they wave a shiny thing (“Someone you used to like!”) in front of us to keep our attention. I mean, there are worse things, but it does feel a bit like a trick meant to prevent us from noticing that there’s very little actual story going on.