Soapbox

Days of Our Lives Gave Us the Perfect Pairing We Never Saw Coming — Plus, the Two Characters We *Really* Hope that Bomb Took Out!

EJ, Ava sloan and eric in bed mashup jpi days

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (3)

The show ended the week with a literal bang, leaving more than a few lives in the balance, though it still felt like there could have been a bit… more. Still, we got a few good confrontations and some surprisingly steamy new pairings — though whether they’re healthy or not is another matter!

Clowning Around

Look, longtime readers of my soapboxes know that I’ve always been a fan of Xander and Gwen, but that doesn’t mean I never liked “Xarah.” The show just really botched their reunion, and though they’ve been doing better with the newlyweds lately, they’ve also been giving me a lot to like about Xander and Gwen. They’re fun and formidable together. Heck, they got Xander out of that Bonnie mess! By… traumatizing her beyond recognition? Eek.

Surrounded by brick walls, Gwen punches Xander

Is this considered foreplay for them?

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

As for Bonnie, her PTSD makes sense and having it become worse after being kidnapped again makes sense, but tonally, Bonnie’s all over the place, bouncing between silly and outlandish to traumatized. The original kidnapping was camp with all that telepathy and the second one wasn’t that different with Xander and Leo’s farcical play-acting that Bonnie bought. It’s just not gelling for me. Comedy and drama can very much go hand-in-hand (dramadies, anyone?) but the tone of the two still needs to line up to work.

Nice Guys Finish Last

Chad, just let go and tell Stephanie how you feel! Tell her why it’s going to be difficult to work with her! Please! Alex and Stephanie are not doing it for me. Maybe they would with more character growth on his part, but despite his backing off the predatory behavior, Alex still has things to work through. Because it is not up to Stephanie to magically make him a better person. Right now, as my colleague pointed out, Alex’s most redeeming quality is how much he hates Leo for what he did to Sonny.

At the Horton House, a grinning Chad holds up a candy packet to Stephanie

“I can’t give you my heart, but I hear chocolate produces much the same feeling as love!”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

But then, judging by next week’s heartwarming Chad moment, I don’t see him moving on with Stephanie anytime soon.

Not-So Holier Than Thou?

You know things have gone terribly wrong for a couple when a dream about forgiveness and reunion doesn’t fill you with relief or excitement but annoyance. I was just impatient for Nicole’s Eric dream to be over from the moment it started They don’t belong together. And, in fact, I’m kind of loving him with Sloan — though I’m aware that may be an unpopular opinion.

Eric grins as he pulls Sloan through her apartment by the hand. Towels wrap around their otherwise naked bodies.

OK, but look at that smile! Getting to be a bad boy and having fun? What is there not to like?!

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

But she was understanding, offered Eric a place to stay (with strings attached, despite her saying otherwise, but he clearly doesn’t mind), and told him that he’s allowed to feel his emotions and not be the perfect saint. And that’s healthier than him stuffing them down until he explodes and starts punching people and pushing cops to the ground. Plus, they’re clearly having fun, to which I say: Good for you both!

His revelation at the rush folks like Nicole and Sami feel over being selfish and doing what they want made sense to me. He’s had these types of people in his life for years and tried to do better, but now that he’s hurt and lashing out, he gets why no one else seems to try that hard.

Out With a Bang

Seeing Charlie still around was far less exciting than seeing Ava. Couldn’t his ghost have died in the car too? Whatever the reason, these Charlie hallucinations need to be stopped. Maybe this explosion will knock things back in place for Ava… unless it kills her. Spoilers are a bit vague on that for next week, but are we getting the end of Ava for real this time? She was right by the bomb as it went off and her redemption won’t be easy if she survives. (Nor her staying out of jail.)

Tripp defiantly looks up at a glowering EJ in the church.

As Tripp knows, EJ really isn’t someone to look up to. Well, unless you’re shorter than him.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

As for the funeral itself, I loved Tripp’s confrontation with EJ, but it would have been more impactful for me if more folks had been at the service. Maybe that’s why the whole funeral felt a bit lackluster to me. I know Nicole was the important one there, so she could be reminded that EJ’s dangerous, but it didn’t feel like there were quite enough stakes for him. But one line in particular of Tripp’s really caught me: “You are to blame for all of this, you selfish, sadistic bastard.” Just when we might start to soften towards EJ as grieves, we’re reminded again that he is not a good person.

Brady’s kissing Sister Mary Moira was mildly amusing, but also gross. Can we please somehow have her character die in the explosion? Stacy Haiduk does such an amazing job differentiating these characters that we can’t see any of them in each other, but the only one that’s worth keeping around at this point is Kristen. Mary Moira is infuriating and not in a fun way.

Chest Thumping

I enjoyed the three-way brawl as Brady and Eric both tried knocking each other down (and then came together to bond and share what’s been going so wrong in each other’s lives) and Brady literally knocked Stefan down with a punch. But Stefan has been a bit more insufferable since coming back and sometimes Brady really is not the brightest. Like how he went off about the baby, bulldozing over Eric’s protests until the man finally snapped.

Still, there were some great lines in there, like Brady’s response to being attracted to Kristen, “I’m attracted to vodka, too, but I manage to control myself,” and Stefan’s, “You know what, Brady, you should be part of a thinktank.” It was a fun way to end the week and at least it looks like Brady will finally be telling someone about Kristen’s blackmail — something there was zero reason not to do ages ago.

On his couch, John raises a beer bottle to Kristen, who sits on the other end, holding her own bottle.

“A toast to you being unstable and gullible!”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

But Kristen really is off her rocker if she buys John’s sudden declaration of allyship. That’s all I’m saying about that.

Stray Thoughts…

• John to Marlena: “I love when you use your master of psychology to hatch a scheme.” Marlena to John: “No, no, no! It’s not a scheme! This is just good parenting.” Truth.

• I hate the fact that Sonny and Leo have chemistry. That doesn’t mean I want to see them together, but I can acknowledge that there’s something between them I wish wasn’t.

• Nicole using her own misdeeds to horrify Sister Mary Moira was far too much fun.

• I had to go back and recheck recaps because I couldn’t even remember if there was Chanel/Paulina drama this week. Something needs to pick up in that storyline if Sloan’s now my favorite part of it.

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