Later that day, after the twins have been put to sleep, EJ and Sami are both lying underneath the covers of their bed. EJ is resting on his side as Sami is quietly reading Allure and surreptitiously watching her husband. Unable to stand it any longer, EJ finally relents and turns back towards his wife.
EJ (drawing out the syllables as he pushes a pillow away): “Sa-man-tha.”
Sami (pretending): “I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”
EJ (scoffing): “I wish. How am I possibly supposed to fall asleep with you staring at me?”
Sami (holding up her visual aid): “No, I wasn’t. I was reading.”
EJ (dryly): “Of course you were, which is why you haven’t moved on from that photo spread for the last twenty minutes. Sweetheart, what ever happened to not making me do anything?”
Sami (tossing the magazine onto the nightstand): “I haven’t done anything.”
EJ (raising an eyebrow): “Studying me like some sort of science experiment isn’t anything?”
Sami (insulted): “I’m waiting, EJ.”
EJ (disagreeing): “No, you are prompting. You want me to react to you.”
Sami (resolute): “No, I am waiting. For you to want to tell me, just like we agreed.”
Hearing her words, EJ considers Sami.
EJ (moving his hand to play with her hair): “Okay.”
Sami (confused): “Okay?”
EJ (smiling): “You win.”
Sami (surprised): “I do?”
EJ (confirming): “Yes.”
Sami (excited): “Really?”
EJ (chuckling): “Yes, really. You know how hard it is for me to say no to you.”
Sami (proud): “Because I’m irresistible.”
EJ (agreeing): “You are. But talking about my childhood is very difficult for me, and I would appreciate if you kept that in mind, eh?”
Sami (sincerely): “I understand, EJ.”
Her agreement obtained, EJ sinks back into the bed and closes his eyes for a moment before opening them again.
EJ (looking at her for guidance): “I’m not sure where to start, really.”
Sami (taking his hand): “Anything is fine.”
EJ (nodding slightly): “All right.”
EJ (seriously): “This was when I was younger. We were sitting in my room. My father, and I, I mean. Anyway, we were on the floor, and it was my turn. He kept looking at me, watching me. There was so much pressure. I knew I couldn’t disappoint him. So I made my decision and took action. Unfortunately, it was for naught. The result was clear, and there was no avoiding it. I was stuck in the molasses swamp.”
Realizing what he is talking about, Sami’s jaw drops, and she hits EJ with a nearby pillow.
Sami (laughing): “You ingrate!”
EJ (mock seriously): “And even now every time I pour syrup, I flashback to that horrifying afternoon.”
Sami (shaking her head): “You did not play Candy Land with Stefano.”
EJ (pretending to wonder): “Did I? You’ll never know.”
Sami (giggling): “Oh, come on! Tell me something that really happened.”
EJ (propping himself up with one elbow as he points): “Samantha, you don’t want something. You want the ghastly tale of how innocent young Elvis was tortured by his wicked father. And not only was it not like that, but it’d take years to explain to you what being raised as a DiMera actually means.”
Sami (annoyed): “It’s not like I was planning on going anywhere.”
EJ (wryly): “Of course not. But you have a very creative mind, darling. So why don’t you amuse yourself? I’m certain whatever you could imagine would be better than anything I could tell you.”
Sami (agreeing): “I’m sure it would be better. That’s the problem.”
EJ (irritated): “Only because you insist on making it one. You keep nagging me about this, and I’ll fake some more memories.”
Knowing that EJ would make good on his threat, Sami moves closer to him.
Sami (stroking his arm): “Why can’t you talk about it?”
EJ (throwing up his hands): “Why would I talk about it?”
Sami (imploring): “We can go slowly. You need to share this with me, EJ.”
EJ (gesturing broadly): “Why?”
Sami (worried): “So you feel better.”
EJ (exasperated): “I already do.”
Still stalemated, husband and wife stare at each other.
EJ (declaring): “My dear, I’ll do you a deal. How about we skip the reminiscing and go right to the comforting part, eh?”
Seizing the initiative, EJ moves closer to Sami and, before she can object, places his hands on her chest and thigh.
Sami (enjoying the attention): “I can see right through this transparent plan to distract me, EJ.”
EJ (nuzzling the back of her neck): “Yet it’s still working.”
Sami (seeing she’s getting nowhere with him): “All right, all right. No more prompting.”
EJ (moving his head to kiss her on the side of hers): “Damn right no more prompting.”
Sami (laughing as she returns his affection): “Just let me know when you’re ready, okay?”
EJ (certain): “I will…because that day is never going to come.”
“She couldn't sleep. I sing to her.” You know, show, if you’re just going to tell me about this instead of showing me, you really don’t need to bother. I can imagine stuff like this just fine. And Sami, you selfish bitch. EJ’s the one with the job, yet you pawn caring for your daughter off to him and then berate him loving her? Seriously.
“And then I'm still living in this creepy house with the next generation of the evilest family to ever hit Salem.” Isn’t it great? I’ve wanted this for you for years. And it’s a mansion, Sami.
“Elvis and I may be evil DiMeras,” I still don’t like you, John, but do I admit you suck less as Jawn, and major props for getting on the “Let’s call EJ Elvis” bandwagon. See who else you can convince for me.
“She definitely is a low-life slut who's never met a man or a wallet she didn't like. What? It's true.” I heartily endorse the disapproving look EJ gives Sami here. See, Sami, you are Mrs. Elvis DiMera now, and she’s a classy woman. Refined ladies insult with more finesse. Did you see how Gray EJ degraded Nicole twice yesterday? Do it like that.
“You're a resourceful attorney.” Jawn, we already have one incest couple on the show. No more hitting on Intellectual EJ please.
Wake the sleeping giant Wake the beast
“Samantha, we are through talking about this. I am taking the case” and “I'm the head of my family.” Oh, yeah. You put your woman in her place, EJ. I also liked how you wanted to take off with your wife and kids, and Sami actually cares about you providing for your family and not living off of her imaginary savings like with all her other loser significant others since she fought you on it.
All is not as it seems…aka fill in the holes in the story yourself, kiddies. I know I do. You want to read into the chess moves; be my guest. All I know is that neither Stefano’s nor EJ’s playing with that thing amounted to jack.
“I'd really rather you stop messing with my head.” No, that’s you, Sami. You like being married to the next generation of evil DiMera, don’t you?
“Never say I don't look out for my family.” I thought this entire EJ and John exchange was worded poorly except for this line, but hey, it establishes that Sami doesn’t want to share EJ with anyone, so whatever.
Grade: Nice. The structure could use a little work, but I loved the evil tone of this episode with the insensitive Ejami interaction over Nicole, and we even got a decent pop culture reference joke. But hands down the best part of this was basking in the harsh glow of the Evil EJ glares. He’s still in there. I hope he comes out to play. Evil EJ/Gray EJ A, Sami A-, Jawn B+.
Hey, Days? This is the exact opposite of what I want to see on the show.
Why don’t we see EJ’s side of the convo like we normally do? Because they’d actually have to show his bedroom in the DiMansion and with the set crunch, he doesn’t have one. Yet another lost opportunity.
“ I still can't believe he's even a real lawyer.” Actually as far as retcons go, this is a very reasonable one. “He's real all right. I checked him out online. He graduated from Cambridge with top honors.” Of course he did. So it’s decided then. EJ majored in history at Oxford for his undergrad and then went to Cambridge Law School. “Was that before or after he was a famous racecar driver?” Look, Philip, TPTB wanted EJ as the new Stefano. Originally there was never any intent to develop his character beyond being the Son of the Phoenix. Just go with it.
“It seems to be a bit of a trend with you, doesn't it?” “Whether or not this woman is or is not the biggest pain that any man had the misfortune to ever stumble across does not affect her rights.” Insults? And calling Philip “Big Man” and “my boy” dismissively? Someone needs to wake you up in the middle of the night more often, EJ. And I approve of the dark gray outfit.
Grade: Gray EJ A-, Phicole B+. I’m still a Phloer, but Phicole is officially my Philip backup plan over Phorgan now. And Days gets an F for no Sleepy Bedhead EJ.
After finishing her coffee and giving herself plenty of time to calm down, Sami gets up from the kitchen table and slowly makes her way to the sitting room, fully expecting her husband to be engaged in one of his favorite activities. She is not disappointed as EJ is sitting on the couch, pouring over both the Salem Spectator and The Wall Street Journal. He puts down the section he’s been reading as Sami enters the room.
EJ (frustrated as he sees the look on her face): “You didn’t come to apologize, did you, darling?”
Sami (honestly as she stands in the doorway): “I don’t think I should be the one saying I’m sorry.”
Sami (relinquishing): “If you don’t want to talk to me, EJ, you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I’m trained to handle this sort of thing anyway. You can see a specialist.”
EJ (rolling his eyes): “I am not talking about my childhood to your mother.”
Sami (walking over to him): “I didn’t mean my mother, and you know that.”
EJ (harshly as he gestures): “Indeed. Well, the world of professional help is vast, sweetheart, so which school of thought should we go with, eh? Freud? Jung? How about the pop psychology route that’s so popular? ‘I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay?’ Or ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me?’ Better yet, we could save ourselves both some time and just watch ‘Good Will Hunting.’”
Sami (shaking her head at him): “Be serious, EJ.”
EJ (folding his arms across his chest): “Fine. If I contented to this, you’d speak to your mother. She would refer me to a specialist who, after evaluating me and considering the nature of the trauma, could conceivably send me to a child psychologist regardless of my actual age. And after years of sobbing while diagramming with blocks and play acting with puppets what happened to me, I’d finally be deemed recovered after wasting countless hours of my life, not to mention thousands upon thousands of dollars.”
Outmatched by his bluntness, Sami stares EJ in disgust.
Sami (annoyed): “Why do you have to be so intelligent?”
EJ (smirking): “To better combat you, my dear.”
Before she can come back with a retort, EJ abruptly takes Sami’s left arm and gently pulls her down to sit beside him.
EJ (quietly as he changes his tone): “Look, Samantha, I know what you’re trying to do here, but it’s not that simple.”
Sami (imploring): “No, you don’t. I’m trying to help you.”
EJ (furrowing his brow): “I know that.”
Sami (pressing): “No, you don’t. You don’t want to talk about how Stefano raised you because you don’t want to think about it.”
EJ (completely disagreeing): “No, because it’s irrelevant.”
EJ (staring down at the floor): “I know what my father did to me, Samantha. I spent most of my life trying to be the son he wanted, trying to make him happy. But that’s all in the past. It’s all over.”
EJ (moving his head back to look at her again): “And now I have you and our children. I can make them happy. I can make you happy.”
Sami (asking the obvious): “And what about you?”
EJ (confused): “Making you happy makes me happy.”
Sami (exasperated): “That can’t be it, EJ.”
EJ (annoyed): “Why would it be anything else?”
Sami (insistent): “You have to want more than that. More for yourself.”
EJ (waving his hand): “And that would be what, exactly? You are what I want. This is what I want. This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
Sami waits for her husband to see the fallacy in his declaration. When he merely watches her instead, she shakes her head again at EJ.
Sami (purposefully): “Just because you’re not cooperating doesn’t mean I’m giving up.”
EJ (just as firmly): “There is no way I am seeing a specialist or psychiatrist or a psychologist or any other kind of therapist.”
Sami (accepting): “Fine. But you need to talk about it, EJ. About everything.”
With the imperative given, Sami surprises herself with her resolve. Could he handle it if she forced him to further delve into what he should have never had to endure? Could she?
EJ (simply): “I don’t need to do anything. I’m fine.”
Sami (uncomfortably): “No, you aren’t.”
EJ (surprising her): “Okay, I’m not.”
EJ (tilting his head): “Because I am my father’s son…whether I want to be or not.”
Sami (puzzled): “But you aren’t. You’re nothing like him.”
EJ (smiling halfheartedly): “That’s a nice story. Sometimes I like to believe it myself. But I am. And I’m not. Both at the same time…which is understandable because this is not normal in any sense.”
EJ swallows hard and looks at Sami apologetically.
EJ (cautiously): “In…asking me to tell you about my past, there’s something you’ve overlooked.”
Sami (wondering): “Which is?”
EJ (sadly): “Samantha…you presume I want to be fixed.”
Sami’s eyes widen as complete and utter surprise ripples across her face.
EJ (continuing): “Remember not so long ago when you called me strange? I told you then that I preferred unique. I know I’m not normal, sweetheart.”
Sami (not liking where this is going): “What do you mean you’re not normal? Of course you are.”
EJ (dryly as he shakes his head): “I hate to break it you, darling, but being raised as a weapon in order to carry out a decades old vendetta against an opposing lineage is not exactly a typical background.”
Sami (defending him): “So? It’s not that weird compared to everything else in this town. Everyone has problems.”
EJ (agreeing): “Exactly. Everyone has issues. Mine are different than most. And they define me. If I hadn’t been raised by my father, I wouldn’t be who I am. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, which you know better than anyone, but I am that man. And I like who I am.”
Sami (trying to understand his position): “You’re afraid? Of remembering your past?”
EJ (narrowing his eyes at her): “Hardly.”
Sami (challenging): “I know your nightmares scare you, EJ.”
EJ (pointing dismissively): “Bad dreams are exactly that, bad dreams. Don’t tell me you’ve never been terrified by anything you’ve dreamt.’
Sami (raising an eyebrow): “That’s not a good comparison.”
EJ (not accepting): “No, it is. So as for my actual memories, and not the utter nonsense my unconscious mind comes up with, I think about them the same way I think about the capital of Spain and the square root of two. I know what they are, but I don’t dwell on them. Remembering living under my father doesn’t hurt me. What…frightens me is trying to make any more sense out of those memories than I already have. To find some sort of meaning beyond…to come that epiphany you want me to have. Because if I do, I’ll cease to be who I am.”
EJ takes Sami’s right hand in his and leans forward.
EJ (softly): “I don’t want to be anyone else, sweetheart. I know you want me to find some sort of internal healing through all of this, and that’s fine for regular people, but I…I cannot be them. I don’t want to be.”
Sami (taken aback by his reasoning): “What do you mean by regular people? What does that have to do with anything?”
EJ (worried): “It has everything to do with it. That’s why you asked me to talk about what it meant to be raised as a DiMera in the first place. You want to rearrange the puzzle pieces of my psyche into something else, something social norms consider healthier, whatever that supposedly is. You want me to fit your definition of better, and then I’ll be changed.”
Sami (encouraging): “You’ll still be you, EJ. You just won’t have to carry all that pain around inside you anymore. How can you being happy possibly be a bad thing?”
EJ (anxious): “I’m already blissfully happy with you, Samantha. But clearly you’re not if you need me to change.”
Sami (reassuring): “I chose you, EJ. I don’t want to be with anyone else.”
EJ (pleading): “But that’s what you’re asking of me.”
EJ (openly): “I’ll do anything for you, Samantha. I’ll even do this if I have to…but I don’t want to. Please don’t make me.”
As EJ tightens his grip on her hand, Sami wavers at the dread in his eyes.
Sami (instantly): “Okay.”
EJ (endlessly grateful): “Thank you.”
The matter resolved, EJ leans backward and visibly relaxes. Sami waits until he is comfortable before speaking again.
Sami (deciding): “I’ll wait until you want to.”
EJ (surprised and irritated): “I’m never going to want to.”
Sami (smiling): “I don’t think so.”
EJ (chuckling in spite of himself): “I know so.”
Sami (slyly): “Well, I guess we’ll just have to see who’s right then.”
EJ (amused): “Yes, shall we?”
Sami (equally amused): “Let’s.”
As they sit side by side, EJ and Sami regard each other and wonder which one of them will break first.