Archive for February 2017

What Happened in Salem: Week of February 13th

February 19, 2017

As Steve and Kayla remarried, people kept intermittently remembering that they’re all still obsessed with the Orwell…

Apparently nostalgic for the 18 hours he spent in Prague, Sonny visited the Salem alley that’s identical to the one in the Czech Republic — and was attacked and kidnapped. Paul, who was beaten while trying to save him, went with Adrienne to confront Deimos, as they were convinced Sonny’s kidnapping must be part of the war over the Orwell. Chad and Gabi remained in the meat locker, where things got dire after the motor kicked back in and threatened to freeze them to death, so of course we didn’t see them for the remainder of the week.

Read the full recap to see What Happened in Salem this week!

Mother, May I?

February 18, 2017

Here’s a screenshot I snagged of Friday’s dramatic twist, in which Julie choked on a large piece of the Horton Town Square set.

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Oh, wait, this was right after she received a phone call that her only child, David, was killed in a motorcycle accident. I truly do live for any time they let Susan Seaforth Hayes go to town with the Vaudeville-style dramatics — see also: “OH MY GOD, NICK! YOU’VE BEEN SHOT!!!!!” — and even though it was so over-the-top that it looped back around and came out on the bottom (no, I don’t even know what that means), it did feel like exactly the way Julie would react to this news.

And luckily Doug took Julie home right away, so that Hope could slip off to dance with Rafe instead of being there for her family.

Does it suck that they killed a legacy Horton offscreen? Of course. Do I think this is some crime against the fans or irrefutable proof of ineptitude? No way. David hasn’t been seen onscreen since 1983. Yes, he absolutely could’ve been brought in and used in story, but frankly, he and Mike Horton would serve most of the same purposes at this point. The characters in that rough age range who need love interests are Hope and Jennifer, neither of whom could be paired with David. And I strongly believe that a huge part of the reason that Julie’s branch of the family has been neglected for so long is because of all the SORASing confusion that took place in the 70s and 80s: David, born in 1968, was an adult by 1976, and his son, Scotty, was born in 1978 and an adult by 1989. I think subsequent writers have shied away from dealing with the absolute confusion of Julie having a grandson who should be around Jennifer’s age right now — or how the hell old David would have to be in order for that to work. If anything, this strikes me not as killing off a long-unseen character just to clean up a loose end, but a move intended to generate story.

I’ll put the rest of this behind a cut because it’s getting into spoiler territory, but they’re also the kinds of spoilers that anyone who thinks about this stuff has probably figured out, so… proceed with moderate caution.

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Mr. and Mrs. Johnson

February 18, 2017

Sure, they might’ve had to forego the elegant boat setting for a restaurant decorated by a blind person, but Steve and Kayla are finally husband and wife again.

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And I know my standards for entertainment are probably as low as Statesville’s standards for security, but there was lots to enjoy here. The vows were heartfelt. Kayla looked fantastic. Numerous people attended, and there was an actual reception instead of everyone immediately rushing off to participate in other storylines. Lots of cute little moments, too: Carrie dancing with Roman, Stephanie checking in with her Aunt Adrienne, Doug bemoaning how everyone was staring at their phones, Mary Beth Evans somehow getting away with (kind of) singing “Single Ladies” for the bouquet toss…

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And it’s nice to see that, despite how long it’s been since they were together, Steph and Joey still bother to get the same haircut. Their scene together was really cute — presumably, when Stephanie says that she’s proud of Joey, it’s because she isn’t aware that he murdered a woman in cold blood — and James Lastovic seemed less stiff than usual with Shelley Hennig. It’s strange: for a character who didn’t make much impact on me during her actual run, Hennig’s Stephanie was such a breath of fresh air during her visit. I’m pretty sure she and Carrie have never shared scenes (Christie Clark overlapped with Shayna Rose’s Stephanie for a little in 2006, and both Clark and Hennig were on for Alice’s funeral in 2010, but I don’t remember them interacting at all), so that was one of those nice touches that Days manages to remember to hit even though half the stories have holes the size of Daniel’s ego in them.

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Also loved: Kayla’s fib over the phone to Caroline (Peggy McCay really must not be well, huh? I don’t want to think about it) that of course they were having a Mass for the wedding, followed by her telling Marlena, “I’m going to Hell.” That felt so real that I was sure it had to be an ad-lib.

What a lovely palate-cleanser following that whole demented mess in Prague. Not that I’m thrilled about how that entire thing, after all the hoops they jumped through to establish that Stefano could be alive (and the fact that I went along with it!), wound up just dumping more shit on Steve and Shane, who apparently believe Hope to be so noble that they’d rather carry the guilt of this entire scheme for the remainder of their lives than let Hope rightfully believe that she shot a man dead. Do we think Hope will ever wonder whose body she and Rafe dumped in a random warehouse? (No.) But they planted that little nugget of possibility that Stefano really one-upped everyone again and that he’s still out there somewhere, which I guess is supposed to make us so confused that we just stop asking questions and bask in the glory of everyone bending over backwards to welcome Hope home, but… ugh.

Thirsty Thursday

February 17, 2017

I suppose it’s fitting that Anna got to face down Andre, the man who stole the face of her beloved dead Tony and somehow gets to walk around alive and well despite having been a serial killer on two separate occasions —

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— but given her observation about how much Andre loves martinis, maybe she should be careful where she sets down that shaker full of Tony’s ashes?

Meanwhile, I thought Jennifer, Adrienne, and Drew might be in a competition to see who could say the word “cola” the most times before the opening credits rolled.

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I can’t decide whether to applaud or throw tomatoes at the person who came up with the fake product name Flazzle, but I really wish they’d been able to line up an awkward Shasta product placement spot or something. “This refreshing RC Cola has given me just the boost of energy I need to stay in this hotel room for another 52 scenes yammering about the Orwell!”

And I’ll probably never understand why they couldn’t call it soda or pop like normal people… but this is Salem, so I guess I just answered my own question.

Kasting News

February 15, 2017

And yes, that “K” is a hint…

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What Happened in Salem: Week of February 6th

February 13, 2017

The search for Stefano took some major twists and turns. Meanwhile…

Hope, who is officially incapable of acting in her best interests in any way whatsoever, snuck out of Eric’s place again — right after recovering from the bubonic plague or typhoid fever or something — and went right to the hospital room where Hattie was being held after being attacked in prison. Hope showed her a photo of Andre and confirmed that he was the man who framed Hattie and got her tossed in Statesville. Raines showed up to question Hattie, and instead of quietly leaving the room like any sane person with a background in undercover work, Hope stood there awkwardly with her back turned for many minutes. When she did slip out, Raines realized it was her and gave chase. He fired his gun, but Hope (a petite woman who was at death’s door 12 hours earlier) managed to outrun him and made it back to Eric’s, where he had just gotten rid of the police.

Check out the full recap to catch up on What Happened in Salem last week!

The Phoenix Always Rises

February 10, 2017

In January 1982, when Joseph Mascolo arrived in Salem as crime boss Stefano DiMera, no one could have predicted the hell the man would raise, the chaos he would cause, the deaths he would fake, and the excitement he would bring viewers for years to come. Today, over 35 years later, we all say goodbye to Joe and to Stefano for the final time.

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Stefano was apprehended long enough to have his DNA and fingerprints taken — presumably exonerating Hope for his “murder” — and to allow three of his enemies (more on that in a sec) to confront him. And then, because Salemites have never learned the lesson that gloating just makes things blow up in your face, they discovered his cell empty, the Phoenix having apparently slipped out of their clutches one more time.

I read that the set photos of Mascolo were marked April 2016, while the ones from the others visiting him in prison were from August 2016. This implies that they filmed Stefano’s footage back around the time they shot the Orpheus, Clyde, and Xander material in jail (all of which aired last fall), and then shot the other characters’ sides of these scenes later on. You could tell in the editing today, because he was never in the same shot as anyone else, and I wondered a few times if they were reusing shots as he reacted silently to Anna, Marlena, and Rafe. I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity not only to wrap up Stefano’s story onscreen — as much as you can wrap up the tale of such a larger-than-life character — and to see him once more. But it was also tough to watch him in these scenes. I don’t know if the decision to keep Stefano silent was because they banked footage before they knew what the story was going to be, and they wanted to be able to fit his appearance into whatever wound up playing out, but it’s tough not to think that Joe’s Alzheimer’s also played a big role in that. I felt worried that he wasn’t able to speak by this point (or at least to recite dialogue), and at times, there was a distant look in his eyes. Yet at others, he laughed, he smirked, he expressed irritation, and he even teared up.

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I don’t know if that tear was supposed to be Stefano reacting to his apparent defeat or Joe’s own emotion coming through, but it broke me a little. How classy of him to shoot footage beyond when it was easy or comfortable for him, and how decent of the show to accommodate him in this way. Yeah, in a perfect world, Stefano would’ve been a greater onscreen presence through this final arc, and his last showdowns with his enemies would have been the verbal chess matches we knew he relished, but the show worked within the limitations it had, and I find it hard to complain about that.

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Marlena’s final “Checkmate” to him, as she set down the queen, was pretty damn perfect. I cannot figure out the decision-making process behind doing that mid-episode and then having Stefano’s final onscreen encounter be with Rafe Hernandez, of all people, especially when you had Deidre Hall’s Marlena right there. Ridiculous. I would’ve been fine if they’d devoted a major chunk of the episode to flashbacks as the folks gathered in Prague recalled everything Stefano has pulled on them over the years; they could’ve even cut to Andre in Salem, talking with Kate, and Chad locked up, recounting stories to Gabi. As it was, the tone of the episode was all over the place, with more of the Nicole/Chloe baby histrionics going on, and of course Deimos stinking up the joint.

This entire Prague thing has been all over the place, though. It seems like they sent a group of characters off on an “adventure” and then had to figure out exactly what would be going on during said adventure. Anna, Carrie, and Austin popping up — fun as it’s been — was supremely weird, and otherwise, this has been a lot of people chit-chatting in the hotel lobby and the one outdoor cafe in all of Prague. And then there was that masquerade ball.

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Hey, at least it didn’t happen offscreen, and they did manage to dedicate a set and extras to it, even if that set was a redressed St. Luke’s/Kristen’s Italian villa from 2015. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what in the world the plan was — lure Stefano out of hiding by using Marlena as bait and then hope he didn’t question why she was there or recognize Steve, Kayla, or Rafe just standing around? — or why they had to spend an entire episode standing in side-by-side pairs, yammering into their mics in the absolute most conspicuous manner possible. Nor will we ever know why it was so difficult to procure tickets for this “gala” consisting of a dozen middle-aged extras moving woozily around a living room. There were a lot of opportunities to dig deeper with the writing, to craft something suspenseful and complex even without Stefano present for most of it, but what we got was a strange mix of tepid intrigue and comic relief.

Still, though, they did try, we got a very Stefano ending, and the show had the respect to include this at the end of the hour:

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Thank you for the memories, Joe, and may we always imagine that the Phoenix is out there somewhere, ready to strike again when the quiet life grows tiresome to him.