Lucas Horton and Brady Black both falling off the wagon this last week was one of my favorite moments on DAYS in a while. After being dumped by Bonnie masquerading as Adrienne and suspecting Nicole Walker of cheating with Eric Brady, both Lucas and Brady nursed broken hearts with the alcohol they’d sworn off for years. Bryan Datillo and Eric Martsolf played drunk like seasoned sitcom actors with the right inflections and mannerisms that were just goofy enough to keep things light and enjoyable – even though the subject matter was particularly dark. These two men fought the sobriety battle for years and their regressing should not be a laughing matter, and even though it was funny, the story actually wasn’t treated like a joke or after thought for once. I love a show that knows how to follow up and show the gravity of situations like this one.
I saw some DAYS viewers on Twitter really feel conflicted as Brady and Lucas tossed back drink after drink, lamenting over the women who’ve wronged them over the years and throwing away all their progress. Many weren’t sure if it was okay to laugh until scenes played out later in the week with the return of Chloe Lane – being written once again as Chloe Lane – who became a support for the two alcoholics, Lucas in particular. Over the years Chloe has been written as selfish, conniving, overly catty and downright nonsensical but in just a few episodes, her big heart was back in play and she felt like the woman we all once knew. Even though she’d broken Lucas’ heart before, she was there by his side at that bar, talking him through the pain and reminding him why he fought so hard to keep sober. I really loved that they finally touched upon Will Horton’s death, a fact that’s so often forgotten by all of his family members in Salem. Immediately quieting nitpicking fans, Lucas explained that after Will’s death he fought hard not to drink but with “Adrienne” leaving him, it was just another heart break to add to the pile that eventually broke him. While we all know that the past writers zoomed on by the nuclear fallout that should have occurred with the passing of such a big legacy character, it was a simple and effective touch for Lucas to mention that he had in fact struggled at that time, but he did his best to keep it together. But sometimes one really can’t take everything life throws one’s way.
Because of these scenes, Lucas’ new inner battle really became one of my favorite moments in this last week. Not only is it great to see Bryan Datillo in a story of his own but it’s even better to see the character being used accordingly and with depth. It’s so easy to forget that for as long as we’ve known him, Lucas has had problems with alcohol and while he hasn’t been in major stories in recent years, many things that happened in Salem have or should have tested his sobriety. I’m sad to see that he finally broke down but I truly hope Chloe will be there for him – as a friend! – so that he can get over this hurdle. Brady on the other hand? Well, we’ll get into that.
The Mess I Made
Another family drama heated up this last week as the Johnsons struggled to piece themselves back together after so many bombshells. Tripp Dalton, Steve Johnson’s long lost son, was ready to pack up and go after overhearing Kayla Johnson give his father an ultimatum of choosing to protect only one of his two sons with very violent tendencies. Although the turnaround was lightning quick, after a very real conversation with Claire Brady, Tripp decided to stay and try to make this work. Kayla’s initial apprehension to Tripp’s apology was warranted considering he’d just held a scalpel to her neck over some misinformation – however, I don’t think she was warranted in behaving the way she did later on. I’m happy she eventually saw the light.
James Lastovic’s Joey Johnson was one of my favorite new characters on the show. I thought he truly had a promising start, however I feel like he wasn’t really given time to grow as an actor as the writers through him into storylines he couldn’t really handle. From then on, he fell off my list. While it was really great to see Joey want to own up to the murder her committed, the emotion on his end really wasn’t there which was so unfortunate, because the writing was! Steve and Kayla’s battling viewpoints brought about some of the most realistic, relatable conflict on DAYS in recent years. We haven’t all had family members who committed murder and attempted murder, but we’ve all been caught in between family members who have done the wrong things to varying degrees. I was so happy to see Steve finally accept that his youngest child was a grown up now, that he had to make his own decisions and that it was time to loosen the reins on Joey. They made an extremely poor decision in covering up his crime as just another way to infantilize a young man in some of the prime developmental years of his life – it’s no wonder he grew depressed as he couldn’t live his own life. The only way to live life is to be honest and own up to mistakes, so Joey made the very grown up decision to turn himself in for killing Ava Vitalli.
However, Kayla couldn’t move past wanting to baby Joey as easily as Steve did. I sort of wish the writers had included a little note about how Kayla was extremely protective of Joey because he was her miracle baby. Her desperation was palpable in these Johnson family scenes. It wasn’t until Joey and Kayla reflected upon a time where Joey stole from the pub and Caroline Brady gave him some tough love after admitting his theft that the mother began to understand. She’d raised her son to be respectful, truthful but she was instead forcing him to be deceitful by covering up his crime. Mary Beth Evans held nothing back this last week and the show would be foolish not to enter these scenes for her next Emmy reel.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Johnson family will rally together when Joey turns himself in (for probably a quick prison sentence and a recast). While Tripp’s position in town is a bit shaky right now, I think they have the perfect character and actor in Lucas Adams to showcase a troubled guy’s journey of redemption. Just don’t make him too soft and don’t make Kayla so easily forgive him either! There needs to be some resentment boiling under the sweetness surface. I also really liked when Steve made a point to remind Tripp that he too was his flesh and blood, and he’d do anything to protect him as well. That said, wouldn’t this be a great time to reintroduce some more flesh and blood in the form of Stephanie Johnson?