Dev's arrival reminds me that "dark-haired teen/early-twenties wannabe-protégé" has been almost as much of a recurring male presence in Sonny's life as "dark-haired, 'complicated' love interest" has been a female one. Those scenes in which Sonny encouraged Dev to go to school but Dev was so insistent on coming to work for the organization, reminded me a lot of the days of VH-Juan and later Zander. Stone preceded those two, of course. Were there others?
It reminded me most specifically of Juan. I may be influenced by knowledge that this actor sings and plays.
I do think Ashton Arbab has more potential than the young man who played Oscar, and so far I'm enjoying Dev the character more (or minding him less, if we want to put it that way). I think when Arbab is more used to the soap grind, he might actually be good. If I'm going to have to put up with as much Josslyn as they're going to give us, I like the idea of a character who challenges her.
I remember when Genie Francis came back this last time, she said she wasn't going to do it just for an anniversary walk-on, and she had made a favorable deal for herself story-wise. And she must have, because she's really been getting the Sonny/Carly treatment of being connected to everyone, everyone's talk-to. I wish she had also negotiated for better clothes.
I liked the scenes for Dr. Michael Easton, Chase, and Rebecca Budig too. I'm really thrilled to have RB back. I was sorry to see her go in 2017, so I hope she sticks around long term.
Mac being funny ("I see you've never had in-laws")! Intentionally!
I don't think Michelle Stafford was necessarily playing Nina the way she was because she was bringing the crazy. When the character first appeared, sure, but for the recent era of happily married Nina, doting stepparent and new "parent," brilliant Crimson editor and taunter of schoolteachers, Nina has been intended to be in a stable period. Stafford is just so mannered and wired all the time that it read otherwise. I'm glad Cynthia Watros didn't watch tape and try to imitate the performance Stafford was giving, because love The Staff or hate her, she's inimitable. I don't have a doubt that when everything about Valentin and Sasha comes out, and if/when Nina implodes over it, Watros will play "over the edge" in her own way. So far, I like that piece of recasting.