Performer Of The Week
Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R)
When Phyllis went before a judge to plead for leniency, portrayer Michelle Stafford was tasked with playing Phyllis as putting on the show of her life — and because Stafford nailed the performance, so, too, did Phyllis.
As she sat in chambers, Stafford dropped all traces of her character’s usual bravado and fierceness, almost physically shrinking as she crafted a picture of contrition, hands folded neatly in her lap, her shoulders slightly hunched. As she began her account of her involvement with Jeremy Stark, Stafford presented Phyllis as her very best attempt to remain stoic, with well-placed cracks in her voice communicating to her audience that she couldn’t entirely keep a lid on her emotions as she painted herself out to be a victim of Jeremy’s, who had intimidated and coerced her into taking part in his elaborate (and law-breaking) revenge plot.
When talking about how Daniel and Summer suffered because of their mom’s actions, Stafford knew this was Phyllis’s one chance to resonate sympathy with the judge and upped the distress level with tears and heaving breaths. “My kids were in so much pain and I realized I caused that,” she stated, her voice drenched with anguish. And when Jeremy tried to kill her, Phyllis claimed that a pair of scissors she grabbed ended the threat.
In summing up Phyllis’s account, Stafford laid hand on chest and sobbed, “I am asking you, I am begging you, please, please give me the opportunity to change.” A few hours later, the judge slapped Phyllis’s wrists with six months of community service and a year of probation and Staford feebly stood up with gobsmacked face to convey Phyllis’s own disbelief that she beat prison time.
Even though Phyllis’s redemption is most likely the next chapter, Stafford’s flawless participation in the last throes of this nightmarish arc proved once more why she is one of daytime’s most talented players.

Thumps Up!/Thumbs Down!
DAYS OF OUR LIVES – Forging Ahead
DAYS appears to be gearing up for a Johnny/Channel/Talia triangle, and while one coupling has love and momentum behind it, the other … does not. The timing is perfect to revisit Johnny and Chanel. It’s clear that Johnny has never gotten over his ex-wife and still has deep feelings for her, telling Chanel that nobody held a candle to her. Meanwhile, Chanel continues to have a soft spot for Johnny and lights up whenever he’s around, and the sweet chemistry between Carson Boatman and Raven Bowen only adds to the equation. Talia and Chanel as another viable option, however, simply doesn’t work. After everything Talia has done to Chanel and her family — practically destroyed her Sweet Bits business, toyed with her feelings, and nearly gotten both Abe and Paulina killed — she doesn’t deserve a relationship, let alone a friendship with Chanel, so it’s hard to get behind them as a duo. Chanel needs someone who has supported her and been by her side through thick and thin, knows who they are and what they want, and is committed and devoted to only her. That person appears to be Johnny, so it’s the right time for this pairing to get another shot.

Thumbs Up!/Thumbs Down!
For fans of the beloved Davis girls — sisters Sam, Kristina and Molly and their well-intentioned mother, Alexis — the uptick in screen time for the quartet has been a welcome turn … and even though the simultaneous recasts of two out of three daughters has been a lot to get used to, how beautifully Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) projects her character’s boundless love for her offspring goes a long way toward selling the family’s new look. What has been less welcome is the overall impact of Alexis’s professional shift from lawyer to newspaper editor. It’s essentially been a dead end creatively, making little storyline impact outside of bringing her into greater contact with Gregory. We should be seeing more sparks between them than we do if Gregory Harrison (Gregory) is to be Grahn’s primary scene partner (other than the ones Alexis shares DNA with). We’re unconvinced that the two share a salable romantic heat, particularly after Alexis’s passionate dealings with love interests like Julian and Neil, and his ALS diagnosis suggests that he’s not a viable romantic option for her, anyway — at least not a long-term one, given that the disease is fatal. If Alexis is going to stay single, we would love to see the show reunite her with her law license, and take advantage of Grahn’s proven excellence as a courtroom player.

Thumbs Up!
For the past decade-plus, B&B has mined storyline gold from the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle, which is why Liam rediscovering his feelings for Steffy after spying Hope and Thomas in a clinch makes sense. When “Steam” split in 2017, it was because he found out she had bedded his dad, not because they didn’t love each other anymore. Liam fell right back into a romance with Hope while Steffy ultimately found a new husband in Finn, but there were unresolved feelings between Steffy and Liam that yearned for exploration, a beat often skipped in tales like this. So once Hope turned her attention to Thomas, Liam took another look at what he had with Steffy, and realized there was still something there. The fact that Steffy and Finn’s union is on shaky ground thanks to Sheila only ups the dramatic implications, as does the fact that they share a child, Kelly. Sure, Liam has a reputation as a flip-flopper, but there should be collateral damage as result of his choices, something we are fully on board to watch play out.

DAYS’s Julie sending Gabi and Stefan bulletproof vests as a wedding present was priceless, considering the couple’s history…. GH’s Finola Hughes (Anna) was heartbreaking as her character reckoned with the loss of her home to an arsonist…. Lauralee Bell (Christine, Y&R) perfectly played her character’s quiet outrage over Phyllis skating yet again….

… But the events in court had us wondering: Why didn’t Chris bring up during Phyllis’s hearing that if the defendant was innocent, then why did she run from the law for months…. The recent scene of GH’s Finn asking Liz to be Violet’s guardian if anything were to happen to him was curious, given that Liz agreed to this when he made the same request made it back in June 2021 — and Finn even had Scott file paperwork making the agreement legally binding…. Curious choice of B&B to mark Beth’s birthday in the month she was returned to Liam and Hope (August) as opposed to the month she was actually born (January).