Posted tagged ‘Story Recap’

Lyin’ and Tigers

August 17, 2017

Well, this is certainly a bold wardrobe choice for a man who was once mauled to “death” by a tiger.

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What’s next? Maggie shows up in a blouse decorated with broken liquor bottles? Cassie Brady makes her return to Salem dressed up as a piñata?

At least he’s finally acting a bit like a deranged maniac. Those scenes of him threatening Kate were way more interesting than the forced food fight nonsense. This woman is an idiot who married a serial killer — now let’s see her deal with the reality of that.

I will say that, moron or not, I unapologetically love her blouse.

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It’s nuts, but Kate Roberts can pull it off. I would’ve said “her outfit,” but she’s wearing leather pants, which are completely inappropriate… not because of her age, but because it is the middle of August.

I also would like to talk about Abe, but not in a sartorial sense, because his style could best be described as “this man has maybe been wearing the exact same outfit every day since 1997 and I have barely noticed.”

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I love how they played the suspicion about whether he could be Dario’s secret partner. Without anyone saying, “I wonder what Abe’s up to!!!”, there were layers in various scenes hinting at it, and if you were paying attention, you could piece together what they were building toward. I still think that Abe is in on this — the very public arrest felt like it was done for show — and they’re all trying to trap the real partner (Raines? He seems more likely to me), but it’s a fun use of a supporting character, and there are layers to the scriptwriting that weren’t there a month ago.

Raise Your Glass

August 12, 2017

I’m having a lot of conflicting emotions over Friday’s episode.

Like… I hate seeing Lucas and Brady fall off the wagon (okay, mostly Lucas, because Brady has worn me down by doing this every time something goes moderately wrong in his life, like they forget to hold the cilantro on his lunch order), but it was also so interesting to see the two of them commiserating. We get so few scenes of friends, especially men, actually talking about all the insane shit that goes on in their lives.

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I also loved the scenes of Lucas and John earlier in the week, as well as Brady and Paul acting like brothers. I know a lot of it comes from a plot-driven place, but if the plots put characters in one another’s orbits in ways that make sense, then, well… good on the plots!

On the flip side, we had Bonnie and Hattie, who… someone get me an Ibuprofen, okay? These two are funny in their own ways, but it really helps to have a ‘straight man’ around to play off them. Otherwise, it’s just Deidre Hall and Judi Evans — who, by the way, clearly appear to be having a blast, which does bring some needed energy to the screen — cackling and shimmying and doing all this other stuff that, while it might be amusing in small doses, just takes up scene after scene without advancing the story or telling us anything meaningful about these characters or the people whose lives they are stealing. The phrase “a little goes a long way” was invented for these two. There’s a whole wish list of things I would love to see on Days, and “trashy versions of Marlena and Adrienne watching porn while wearing leftover Melaswen costumes” ain’t one of them.

The Cover-up

August 11, 2017

Well, that only took six damn months.

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(Just FYI, many, if not all, of my posts for the foreseeable future will begin with a shirtless man.)

I’m not so sure that the tattoos read “Eli Grant, FBI agent” so much as “Lamon Archey, actor,” but if saving on the make-up to conceal them means we get to see more extras or less of the Blue Room, I’ll go with it. Also ‘loved’ Rafe being his usual, charming self and just barging into the room to demand that Eli reveal specifics of an FBI investigation to him solely so that he can help his idiot brother. Raines doing the same to Lani — at least for ostensibly professional reasons — was rather curious, too. He keeps jumping out at me as the obvious rat in all this. Also, does it seem weird to anyone that they’ve now made a point, twice in three weeks, of Abe giving Valerie expensive gifts? I can’t imagine they’ll make Good Old Abe the big bad in all this, but it sure is curious…

Not that anyone in Salem takes note of very strange things going on right under their noses.

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I know Roman doesn’t have much background in the restaurant industry, but if business is down so sharply since he took over that no one even walked by the Pub for the entire time that Anjelica was standing out there with Adrienne’s passed-out ass, that place has got problems. Yikes. And of course, Anjelica and Hattie were able to drag Adrienne around in broad daylight without raising so much as an eyebrow. Why didn’t whoever stabbed Deimos just do it in the middle of the Town Square during the lunch rush? It’s not like anybody would have spoken up!

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I’m already over Bonnie and Hattie hooting and hollering together, but they’re amusing enough to watch when they’re playing off ‘regular’ characters (even Anjelica, who is an absolute nutjob). Judi Evans did a really interesting job of portraying Bonnie settling into Adrienne’s skin, and as much as I hate seeing Lucas get his heart broken again, Bryan Dattilo plays it so well. I was a little thrown by how Bonnie didn’t seem to know who Lucas was — she interacted with him plenty from 2003-06, most notably when he tended bar (shirtless!) at her honky-tonk joint and when she married his aunt’s “widower.”

BTW, Ron Carlivati tweeted the following yesterday:

Kind of irritated they cut that, because it comes across as a huge hole in the storyline. Once Adrienne is lucid again, what’s to stop her from showing the guards that she just had a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, and calling Justin down there as an attorney to vouch for her? I really hope they address that, but maybe this will all move really quickly and they can just stall.

In more reality-based news — well, relatively speaking — that fight between Steve and Kayla on Thursday’s episode was what I’ve been waiting to see for, oh, as long as I’ve been waiting to see Eli shirtless.

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Finally, Kayla gets a real point-of-view here! And this is solid drama for them, as opposed to just facing one outside obstacle after another. I thought the climax, with Tripp threatening Kayla’s life and Joey confessing to Ava’s murder, felt strangely downbeat and off, and I was irritated that they didn’t build out Tripp framing Kayla into something much larger and dramatic, but now I can see that Carlivati wanted to get to this material instead, which works for me. They said things that needed to be said back at the very beginning of the Tripp arc, and there are some interesting echoes of how Steve said that he abandoned Kayla and Joey for all those years to protect them and what it looks like to be an active parent and “protect” a child. I wish the rest of the story had been written with this sort of passion and conflict, but at least these two finally got something to dig into. The way they’ve set it up, I can actually see how they manage to redeem Joey and Tripp, which is no small feat. But I don’t want them to sweep all this under the rug — wring the drama out of it, milk story out of it. That’s what this format is for. The initial story might’ve been a dog, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a crappy setup paved the way for worthwhile fallout.

You Blue It

August 7, 2017

Oh dear. You know things are grim when even GOD has to live in the Blue Room.

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Yes, I’m praying for the Set Dec department, too.

You’d think I would just accept this and stop caring eventually, but they always have to one-up themselves, so we were blessed on Friday with an incredibly awkward cut from Tripp trying to kill Kayla in a blue on-call room to Gabi wailing about Chad in a blue chapel. Eventually this entire show is just going to be St. Daniel sitting in that room, telling us what’s going on with various Salemites offscreen, huh?

I guess these two didn’t get the memo that they could double-book the Blue Room, though.

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For someone who spends so much time telling Hattie how stupid she is, Anjelica isn’t exactly proving to be a genius herself. Maybe don’t conduct all your shady business, discussing your various and sundry kidnapping and life-stealing plots, out in the open where anyone could come upon you? I’m no criminal mastermind, but that seems like a good rule of thumb.

The Hits Keep Coming

August 2, 2017

No wonder that car plowed Abigail down. It appears to have been driving down the damn sidewalk!

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I actually thought they did a nice job of creating the car accident through editing. I know we aren’t going to see an actual car racing through the set and a body flying all over the place, but the combination of fast cuts, lights, and sound sold this for me. The pacing was a little weird, in that it felt like Chad and then Abigail stood there waiting to be hit forever, but some of that was the slo-mo and some of it was just TV People Being Stupid.

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I did find the staging sort of ridiculous, though. Spatially, this accident made no sense. I’ve watched that scene in flashback two or three times, and I have no idea where the car was coming from, where Dario dove off to, how Abigail got hit where she was, or where the car wound up. Inside the wall behind them? That said, there’s definitely an increased sense of urgency to things, and without some kind of insane hard reset on the show, you can feel that we’ve moved on to a new era. There have been lots of small touches in the dialogue that I’ve enjoyed, like Hope remembering Zack’s death and fearing Jennifer wouldn’t want to be reminded of that right now, or Jennifer referencing Abigail’s aplastic anemia from back in the day. I still have no idea why Kate is such a Gabi/Chad ‘shipper, but I thought the references to how Gabi annoyed the hell out of her back when they covered up Nick’s “death” were a fun use of history and very Kate (as was her glibness about Abigail’s mental illness — look at how she’s talked about and to Laura for 20+ years).

And considering that this is also a town in which a woman — who looks exactly like a very prominent resident! — can drag a body bag through town without being noticed, maybe the physics of that car accident aren’t our biggest issue.

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If Hattie can barely lug Marlena along the ground, how in the hell did she get her downstairs and out of the townhouse, let alone with John there?! This show is so weird.

Thirsty Thursday

July 28, 2017

Finally, a Salem style trend I can get behind.

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If we needed any more proof that Ron Carlivati was officially in control, these scenes — plus Chad keeping his shirt off to argue with Gabi the other day — are it. I really have no idea why all these guys have been fully clothed all the time. Did anyone even take off their shirts on that damn island?!

This entire Tripp/Kayla revenge plot is probably the biggest snooze on the show, partly because it’s happening in such a vacuum. I know lots of people loathe the continued mentions of Ava, but that part, I don’t mind; she sucked, but using her specter as a villain is fine by me, especially since it motivates Tripp in a fairly believable way. I just wish there were… more to this. I want to know more about what medicine means to Kayla and what losing her career would mean. I wish they’d shown us this “Nurse Shelly” a few times earlier in the story so that we’d seen some of these red herrings planted and might actually care if she goes down for framing Kayla. Imagine if Hope really had suffered some adverse effects from Tripp manipulating the charts, and there were an actual board hearing where she had to testify against Kayla. And I get what they’re going for with Steve being Kayla’s hero, but can she be a little proactive in wanting to salvage her career and reputation? She’s just kind of going along with this. Give me some meat here!

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I get that they’re basically just re-establishing everything and clarifying motivations and stakes before what I assume is a big blowup coming soon, but… meh. For what this story could be, it’s so limp. I did think the anniversary celebration between Steve and Kayla was well done (and a nice love letter to their longtime fans), but that more or less existed outside this story completely.

Gabi looks cute, though!

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With the lipsticks and the mascara brushes, this dress could be corny, and it would be a bit silly on a woman in her 40s or 50s, but I think it works here. Plus it isn’t another skintight, midriff-baring number, so… things are looking up until the next time Nicole befouls our screens!

Quad Goals

July 26, 2017

A week into Ron Carlivati’s tenure as head writer, the big, noisy headline is obviously the tale of Anjelica and the Doppelgängers. And while I’ve expressed, er, reservations about that story potentially not making a lick of sense — Anjelica had three decades and this is the clearest plot she could conjure up?! — it’s definitely bold and injecting a fresh energy into the episodes. But there were other stories already more solidly in motion before Carlivati’s arrival, and I’m genuinely impressed with what he’s doing with two of them. It just so happens that those are two quadrangles: Jennifer/Eric/Nicole/Brady and Dario/Abigail/Chad/Gabi.

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First of all, how charming were Eric and Jen together? Even if you think Jennifer should only ever be with Jack or Eric needs to wind up with Nicole or just that it’s a mismatch in terms of life experience, it’s tough to deny that there was real chemistry there. I was so delighted by them that I almost managed not to lose my shit at how Victor’s old sofa is now in the Martin mansion; meanwhile, I’m pretty sure the black leather couch at Club TBD is from Daniel’s old apartment. Can we not sell this shit on Craigslist to fund an IKEA run? It’s beyond distracting.

Anyway, I thought it was wonderful how they let Eric and Jen crackle together, but their conversation also pushed her to confront Brady over what she viewed as manipulating her in order to keep Nicole for himself. And while she wasn’t totally in the wrong, she was then slapped in the face with the news that Eric and Nicole kissed. It was a very smart way to break down those scenes and keep twists coming via characters receiving information that would mean something to them. If this is the sort of storytelling structure that Ron is going to bring, great. It actually felt like someone was taking care with how information came out and what it would mean in the context of those scenes.

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I was also prepared to praise the show and Nicole for having her come back from playing in the garden with Tate looking like she does above, because that’s how normal people dress while at home playing with their (lover’s neglected) children, but then she went upstairs to get ready for “work” and came down looking like this:

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Where is she doing community service again? The Hoochie Center? I have no interest in shaming anyone for being “sexy” or being confident in her body, but everything about “body-hugging, purple, off-the-shoulder dress” sounds 1000% inappropriate for community service, especially in a location that works with the underprivileged.

The other mess of a storyline that has quickly taken on an actual shape is, as I mentioned above, the Gabi/Chad/Abigail/Dario quad. The big problem with this story hasn’t been that “Chabby” can NEVER be apart — it’s that the focus was all over the place. Chad and Gabi suddenly had this retconned history that made them seem “meant-to-be” even though there was real, substantial onscreen stuff that they could’ve worked through. We watched Chad and Abigail get the supercouple build for a year, only to have Abby come back and seem like the interloper in a new relationship. She should’ve felt that way, but we shouldn’t have. I’ve been more of a defender of Higley than most (especially in 2009-11), but one thing she always struggled with was the “math” of soap writing. She would create a couple, tell one story with them, and then completely shift to another pairing when that secondary coupling should’ve been an obstacle in the larger story. I thought it was interesting when she went for Lucas/Chloe, but as soon as they got together, they changed the root-for couple to Chloe/Daniel, and then not long after they settled in, Chloe had an affair and we were moving on to Daniel/Jennifer. It’s a really strange way to tell soap stories, and I don’t think it works. It felt like that was what was happening here. Over the past week, it’s become very clear that Gabi is the “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” chick, and Dario is now clearly an obstacle to Abigail/Chad, and one that’s going to force Abigail to make some tough decisions and face her feelings for Chad. That’s much more streamlined storytelling.

And on top of all that, I watched Tuesday’s episode at 11 pm and managed to stay awake until it was over! Things are definitely looking up.