We are completely riveted to Father Eric's story on "Days of our Lives." As soon as hunky Greg Vaughn was cast as Eric, we knew there would be a tryst to compromise his vows. We weren't sure whom it would be with, but we knew it would come. It may be jaded to assume this, but once a man of the cloth appears on a soap, it is almost a given that he will be compromised, and the compromise is usually sexual. What we did not foresee was that the situation would involve rape.
At first, we felt the storyline was too far-fetched. Kristen's disguise was so obvious, and the convoluted narrative of the making of the drug she slipped him to erase his memories was a bit lame. Why didn't she just use "roofies" to drug him? The search for the flash drive went on way too long, as well. But the human component of the story works like gangbusters. Short of murder, is there any crime more stunning than drugging and raping a priest? We did long to see Kristen get her comeuppance. We have enjoyed watching the unlikely pairings of Marlena, Victor and Nicole and their attempts to save Brady from Kristen's clutches. It is really Eric and Nicole who have our full attention, though.
Now that the good father has remembered everything -- well, almost everything -- his pain is palpable, especially since he believed that Nicole was the one who drugged and raped him. Believing the worst about Nicole is not a stretch. She has a long history of duplicity and trickery. The two also have a long and tangled relationship. In days gone by, before he turned to the church, Eric and Nicole were lovers. Despite her being in love with him again, she has honored his calling.
We have watched Nicole pine for him while keeping her distance. Moreover, the chemistry between the two is palpable. Father Eric may push his feelings aside, but we see it every day under the surface. Her supposed betrayal has caused him to lose faith. He believed in her when no one else did. Her support of him when he dealt with the horrors he witnessed as a photographer in the Congo healed him as well. How could she taint their mutual trust? When Eric accused Nicole of defiling him, we ached for his tortured soul.
And we ached for Nicole, too, so shaken that Eric could even think she would do this. She has worked so hard to keep boundaries between them, even trying to remove herself from his presence, even though it hurts her to do so.
There are not enough words to extol the acting of both Vaughn and Arianne Zucker as Nicole. These are nuanced performances in which each movement has meaning.
Even once Eric learns the full truth, he will still have to deal with the psychological repercussions from the rape. He will also have to make amends with Nicole and his readiness to lose faith in her. November sweeps are coming up, and we cannot wait to see how things turn out.