Seriously, characters on soaps should just make the local jail the first stop once they are admitted to a foreign country.
“I'm not sure who I can trust. Both of my...sons...have betrayed me.” “You made us pay handsomely for that.” Literally!
“Elvis, please, get me some water. My throat is very, very dry. Thank you. I was parched.” Hardly. Innocent request on the surface, absolute brainwashing agenda beneath. Stefano is taking EJ’s mind out for a test drive and checking to see if Sami spilled anything on the interior.
“I want to make sure I wait for just the right moment before I make my grand...re-entry.” I loved how Stefano rolled his eyes here. Flair for the dramatic, indeed. “I was unable to, uh, react, but, uh, I was aware of everything that went on around me. I heard every word that he said.” And now we also get to also hear everything John said which is so Days padding this storyline with stupid flashbacks.
“John Black was my pawn before and he will be again very soon.” Good! He annoys me. “Poor Marlena. What she must be going through.” My heart is truly breaking. Can we keep her this way?
“You comfortable? Can we get you anything?” EJ’s been designed to be a very attentive son. “Another pillow, perhaps?” Hey, Tony, EJ wasn’t being sarcastic like you are. “My sons bending over backwards to help me. Well, that certainly is an interesting turn of events, yes.” Aren’t direction changes fun, Stefano? “Contrary to what you might think, we both care about you very much.” Especially EJ.
“Mm. And I suppose that's the reason why you sold me out to Marlena and the rest of Salem, hmm?” Hey, he was being redeemed then! He had to do it! “I hoped that if I told her where John was it would win some favor with her daughter.” Yup. Sami over Stefano. “And that turned out so well for you.” Precisely. So it’s back to the dark side. “Can we just cut to the chase here, please? I mean, you're obviously very upset with both of us.” EJ wants to get the pain over with now, and I can’t blame him. He doesn’t want to have to wait. “Oh, I am. But right now my priorities lie elsewhere.” But he’ll have to as Stefano will get around to punishing him later.
“If you let us know, we could help you retaliate.” Oh, I like the sound of that. “It won't be necessary. She's already taken care of.” But EJ can help you do other evil stuff, right? Please? “Marlena Evans did this to me, and now I'm going to make sure that she pays.” In spades. “If you don't want to believe me, that's your prerogative. Marlena set out to destroy my life...and now I have the pleasure of returning the favor.” Seriously, this is her own fault. Marlena should have genuinely killed Stefano. Anything less is just making him mad.
Grade: A. What’s not to like about EJ, Stefano, and Tony? My only regret here is that it was much too short. And thank you, TPTB for showing Stefano condition EJ onscreen. It’s more than I could have ever expected from you. Continual reinforcement of EJ’s subservient place in Stefano’s world is exactly how he’s kept his son in line all this time.
“Sorry, I’m late-I couldn’t bring myself to care about this section of the plot.”
“We’re the ones who sent him away to be cared for by strangers. We all but forgot about him.” Yeah, but that was the writers’ entirely idiotic decision to get rid of Stefano permanently in the first place. For example, EJ would have gone to visit him, but because Stefano wasn’t ever supposed to wake up, he wasn’t on the show for him to do so. Now using that choice outside of the show as internal DiMera family conflict within the show totally works, but it’s really just TPTB covering their butts.
Oh, this crappy special effect better not have cost as much as I think it did.
Someone at the long term care facility decided that there was more to life than making $8.50 an hour changing bedpans.
“I think we just should let him wake up naturally. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.” As usual, I’m with EJ here, even if Stefano wasn’t already awake. I mean, sheesh, the dude just had a seizure yesterday, and Lexie wants to start experimenting on him? Are we sure Rolf isn’t her dad?
I’m starting to see why Marlena always ends up kidnapped and trapped in boxes and whatnot. Lady has no peripheral vision or spatial awareness.
“Again?!” Yes, again! Go go exposition!
The later years were less than kind to She-Ra.
“Faaaaaaaaaather, tell us the evil plan!” “Only if you stop poking my leg, Elvis.”
Door number 1, not door number 2!!
Grade: A-. Filler, but entertaining filler. Only EJ would think it’s totally appropriate for him for to poke his dad not once but twice to get him to wake up, and he’s the only person Stefano would allow to do so with no repercussions afterwards. Talk about things I’d never thought I’d see on screen. I laughed so hard.
Oh, crap, it’s Ava talk. She’s not on the show anymore! Who cares?!
“I just got the strangest feeling that he's just biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his move.” Which is going to be as soon as Lexie leaves the room. “Well, even if he was, it wouldn't be possible, at least not without help. He's been immobile for months. His muscles have atrophied. It would take weeks of physical therapy before he's mobile again.” Unlikely. This is a soap. I’m sure he’s fine.
I love how at Stefano’s mention of his name, Tony spastically ran for the door here. As if that would save him.
“Well, let me tell you something. If I have to choose between you and my father, I'm gonna choose me.” EJ talks a good game.
“I thought we might be able to stab him in his black heart if he wakes up.” Maybe if you had sharpened the stake, sure.
“How are you doing? It's always a bit hard to see you like this. I've always rather felt you were indestructible. I'm sorry that we had to send you away to that facility. The doctors here, they told me it was the right thing to do, so...anyway, I hope one day you'll be able to forgive me. You should see your grandson, though. He takes after his old man's old man. You know what I mean? Sharp as a tack, that kid. Well, hope you get to see him soon.” But EJ can’t walk the walk. His brainwashing is like riding a bike. He never forgets. Stefano’s been back at University Hospital less than a day, and EJ is already praising him, saying Johnny is like him, and asking for forgiveness from him, even before EJ learns that Stefano is actually awake. The rough awareness of his father’s impact on his life from the previous day has already been washed away by his conditioning as if it had never been.
“Father.” James nailed the delivery here. This is what EJ thinks of Stefano. Awe.
“You're awake?” Gee, you think? Argh, it’s like my mom wrote the dialogue.
“Do not tell Lexie.” Yes, she bores me. “Yes, a good doctor.” No, she’s a horrible doctor! Seriously, ask for Kayla instead people. “Her worth as a daughter, well, the jury is still out on that...as it is with you and Anthony.” And already Stefano is laying down the law.
“Tell me something, Elvis. Would you have said the same thing had you known that I could hear you?” Signs point to yes. “This is not some kind of game.” No, not between you and your father. This is serious. “That is not an answer.” He does that a lot, Stefano. Obfuscate. “I would have said exactly the same thing.” But this is an answer. EJ wants Stefano back in his life.
“Now that I am back, don't make your first act to me be one of disobedience, huh?” Threat. “No one must know that I am conscious. There are things...for you...to find out, and there are things that I need to do.” Incomplete explanation. “All in good time. But first, you must promise me that you will keep this between the two of us for now. Elvis, promise me.” Command. “All right. Okay. All right. Fine. I promise I'm not gonna tell anybody that you're awake.” Obedience. “Thank you, my son.” Praise. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Oh, EJ can’t watch! He doesn’t want his dad to be hurt.
Seriously, this was a very dumb convo with Lexie pushing a particular course of action. Whatever happened to getting a second opinion and researching dicey treatments thoroughly?
“And now that he's awake...I can't help but feel that something horrible is about to happen.” Good. This show needs a kick in the pants.
Grade: A+. Anyone who doubts how severely or intensively Stefano brainwashed EJ needs to rewatch this episode. Six months of slow mental progress by EJ evaporated in less than a day by his father’s presence. His quiet “Father” in response to Stefano calling his given name demonstrates just how tied he is to him. So on the one hand, EJ completely falling back into his previous life is somewhat of a bad thing as Stefano will take full advantage of it. On the other, it doesn’t hurt EJ to switch into solider mode. Quite the contrary as he genuinely loves his father….just as he was designed to do. Can EJ’s fair Samantha put a monkey wrench into this programming as she has in the past?
“When he wakes up, he'll bring down anyone who's displeased him, especially his children. After all, we're the ones who gave up on him and put him in a state hospital.” Hey, Tony, all you have to do is explain to Stefano here that it wasn’t you who wrote him off the show with no plan to bring him back, it was the writers. He’ll take his wrath out on them instead!
I’d complain about Kayla being Stefano’s doctor, but well, she and Max went all the way to Italy and she didn’t unplug him then either, so I guess out of the available choices, she’s the best one. Lexie can’t keep a pet rock alive.
“Well, you never know with coma victims. You know, they can wake up after a year and be perfectly normal.” Especially on soap operas. “Oh. Well, we pray for such a miracle.” *snicker* “Kayla, could you...explain a little bit more about the seizure that father had? I mean, one would imagine that a seizure was a bad thing, but everybody seems to be running around like he's about to regain consciousness” and “Could you be a little bit more specific, please?” EJ is quite the dutiful son here, wanting more information. “Told you this was too good to be true. Trust father to come back from the dead...again.” “But you're probably right. I get the strangest feeling Stefano...is up to something even as we speak.” Almost as if it were written that way!
“omg ej i luv ur dad hes so hot xx tell him 4 me plz when hes up k thx ^_^ xoxo”
“Near-death experiences can change people. Who knows? Maybe he'll wake up and have a whole new attitude on life and maybe throw a party.” Plot says otherwise, not that I wouldn’t watch Stefano throwing a party for everyone. It’d be to die for. “Oh...who am I kidding? Dracula never wakes up in a good mood. He's always on the lookout for his next victim.” Nice one, Tony. “Doesn't necessarily mean it has to be me.” Oh, self-preservation here. “Or maybe he'll be quite happy that somebody's around to keep an eye on John. You know what he said. ‘Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer.’” The old man isn’t even talking yet, and EJ is already quoting him. Someone’s programming is kicking in again. “Whether I consider john to be my enemy or not is not the point, Tony. “The point is that he has our birthright, and I'm not very happy about that.” Ah, yes. Someone wants it back. “We do agree about something.” Now, this genuinely surprised me. Tony cares about the DiEmpire? IMHO he’s being darkened. Normally he wouldn’t want anything to do with the blood money it’s built on. “You know, despite what anybody thinks of Father, it's only right that his children inherit his empire. Not John Black.” I could not agree more, EJ. I hate John. “Perhaps the reason he's struggling to wake up is because he's biding his time so he can get revenge on those who have displeased him and then take back his empire from John.” And here I thought he was going to open a DiMera’s pizza chain. 30 minute delivery or you deal with it, you impudent idiot.
“And here’s the part of his brain that hates your family.”
Personally, since I know he’s going to wake up, I just can’t take the “suspense” seriously. Your mileage may vary.
How did Nicole even know EJ was here? And I like how Nicole doesn’t react to Stefano DiMera possibly being up and around soon and isn’t exactly supportive of EJ either. I mean, this could have been anyone for this scene, and it would have played out the exact same way.
“You know, I-I really-I really don't know. You know, my father was such an imposing figure and cast such a huge shadow over my life...that, uh, you know, for the first time I felt I was finally getting away from that, that I was beginning to be more of my own man.” And here’s the entire problem. Even when EJ thinks he’s being himself, he’s who he was designed to be by Stefano. He dresses, thinks, and acts like his father, just as Stefano intended.
“Uh, well, I mean, it could mean that he's-he's waking up out of his coma. It could also-you know, I mean, it's more the beginning of the end, I think.” Oh, don’t worry, EJ! Your father is going to be just fine. Trust me. “I'll tell you something. If he wakes up, there's gonna be hell to pay.” Oh, it’s on. “If he dies, I'm gonna be devastated.” Of course you are. You love your father. And you were last time. You didn’t want to leave him.
Hillip fans, rejoice! You have been heard!
Ooooh, sneak preview aka TPTB had to give Joe something to do besides pretend to be comatized.
“How do I repay you?” What about me for watching this? “It's pretty simple. When you get the bill in the mail, you write a check and send it to me.” The only decent line of this part of the episode. Go away, Nicole!
“Do you remember what I did to you in your jail cell? I want you to know something. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Marlena, you haven’t read the spoilers, have you?
“What's happening in here? His blood pressure is going through the roof.” Well, maybe you shouldn’t let his archnemesis visit him in the hospital and leer over his bedside. Just a thought.
Grade: A-. Now we’re cooking with gas. James did a fantastic job showing EJ’s inner turmoil today. Stefano’s grip on his youngest son runs extremely deep. Where is Sami when EJ truly needs her?