Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Week In Review: Celebrations, Returns and Introductions

Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios
Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios

What a week in a Salem! After feeling a little uneventful last week, Days of our Lives really cranked everything up a notch this last week. Viewers experienced peak levels of romance, suspense and intrigue that only (in my humble opinion) DAYS has always done so well. Even with minor complaints here and there, the good points heavily outweighed the bad. Ratings for the quinquagenarian sudser have been on a steady climb, reaching heights it hasn’t seen in not only months but years and it’s well deserved! No soap will ever be perfect but the newly well-oiled machine that is DAYS is definitely aiming for the best!

Now onto the highlights from Salem, USA this last week!

Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing November 2nd- 6th, 2015.

This Town

Viewers of Days of our Lives have only been able to experience Salem for the last 50 years, but this week all of our beloved characters celebrated 200 drama-filled years of the town. Favorites, not so favorites and new faces all mingled in the restored Martin mansion to celebrate. It was obviously smaller in scale compared to anniversary and big events of the past, but getting the chance to see so many characters on screen again all at once was just a treat. The gala had a 1960s theme which for some characters (Nicole Walker, Daniel Jonas, Gabi Hernandez, etc.), it worked really well. But then there was Kate Roberts’ wig, Theresa Donovan‘s wig and poor, poor Caroline Brady drowning in floral prints.

Fashion aside, the party gave us reunions and new beginnings that had me squealing. Please tell me you squealed too. JJ Devereaux and Gabi Hernandez were the source of my squealing and from the way they behaved at the gala, it was almost as if they knew it too. The two hung close to one another for the whole night which was great for Gabi who always only seemed to follow behind Rafe Hernandez, her brother. What I’m enjoying about this pairing is that they aren’t being laid so heavily on us like JJ and Paige Larson were. They’re taking things slowly, both the writers and the characters, and I think that’s what’s making them so adorable. They’re grown adults who seem content to just take a tour of the mansion together – they might have fooled around a bit in one of the old dusty bedrooms but not on screen! So it’s still cute! The pinnacle of the JJ and Gabi moments was at the fireworks festival after the gala. Victor Kiriakis spoke up about a fictional Greek tradition where everyone must share a kiss at midnight during any town gathering. Like sheep to meadow, everyone in town followed suit which lead to some interesting happenings (Eric Brady kissed Jennifer Horton… Seriously, what?) but the cutest had to be JJ and Gabi. Like the doting sister she is, Gabi made sure to give her lonely brother a peck on the cheek only to moments later get one in return from JJ. It was a silent moment but oh so precious. They’re just so pretty together! We haven’t seen much of either of these two characters lately so I’m not exactly sure where their story can go other than an overprotective Rafe drilling rookie JJ once he joins the force. But hey, whatever may come, I’m totally on their team! I just hope someone advises JJ to watch his back. Gabi has become a Horton Man Black Widow, he can’t be too careful.

There was also a beginning of another kind of relationship at the party, one between father and daughter. Lani Price came to town a wooden, stoic rookie cop from Miami who always seemed to pop up whenever Mayor Abe Carver came in the picture. We knew, she knew but he seemingly didn’t know that the only other black character in town was related to him! Abe should know by now… I kid, I kid. When Lani first joined the show I was excited especially since Sal Stowers really surprised me during the online reboot of All My Children. I had not been expecting her to do well but the material really brought her to life on screen – the same couldn’t be said for Lani. I do think the pitfalls with the character coming across as boring have to do with the writing. One day there was no Lani then the next day there was nothing but Lani. She even somehow got invited to the gala without even knowing anyone in town other than Rafe who became her date by chance. Thanks to him, she gets to meet a few more people in Salem but it’s one in particular that she really wanted to see. And vice versa it seems.

Abe found Lani and asked outright why the rookie cop hadn’t told him who her mother was. Lani is revealed to be the daughter of Tamara Price, an old flame of Abe’s way before Lexi Carver and after Fay Walker. She left town pregnant with his child and he never knew. The scene unfolds emotionally with Lani admitting to only moving to Salem to get to know Abe. After watching soaps for so long, I’m very used to long lost children coming out of the woodwork slowly and to meeting negative reactions but Abe immediately takes in Lani. He wants to be a part of her life – but it has to be slowly, for his autistic son Theo’s sake. The two vow to keep t heir connection a secret which piques the interest of John Black and Marlena Evans, Lani’s mother’s former college roommate, after they see them together talking. People will surely begin to talk, probably thinking Abe is jumping into the kiddie dating pool which in turn will still probably upset poor Theo. It’s like Abe doesn’t know that sneaking around will only lead to more trouble! Someone has to re-educate the town’s mayor on soap tropes!

It’ll be fun to see Abe back on screens again now that his family has grown once more. With a newly aged up Theo, the introduction of Lani and his new position as mayor, there are endless possibilities for them all. I just hope Nicole is thrown in to the mix too. Too many writers have forgotten that Abe and Nicole are close, almost like father and daughter considering he’s the biological father of her brother. I’ve always enjoyed those two. Cheers to more Abe in general!

Honeymooning

From a completely saccharine couple to an unsettling one on one brawl, Aiden and Hope Jennings had one tumultuous week. For the last few weeks, Aiden has been doing whatever he can to try to back out of the plot to kill Hope in which he’d been ensnared. All of his attempts were unsuccessful. Everything came down to this week and whether or not Aiden could kill the woman he claimed to love to get out of debt. Daniel Cosgrove has given a master class on showing confliction within a character over the last few weeks. Back when Aiden was just a humdrum lawyer, his love for Hope was almost too sweet to believe but with this new added stress and anguish, his feelings for Hope are much more palpable.

Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

The entire town of Salem was packed into the Martin mansion for the wedding double-billed with the Bicentennial Gala. Even Stefano and Andre Dimera showed up early on, giving their ominous well wishes to the bride whom they knew was set to die soon after the ceremony. It was in fact a part of their scheme. The townsfolk oust them quickly while Andre calls for righteous indignation, vowing to pay everyone in Salem back once his brother Chad is cleared of all charges. They go but not soon after a funeral wreath is delivered instead of wedding flowers, all thanks to the dastardly Dimeras. The flower mix up is brushed off as a mistake as Hope and others worry more about Caroline Brady who can’t keep quiet about her new vision of Bo Brady in danger. No one believes her and instead worry about her new medication failing her, but away from the crowd she receives a call from Bo who is on his way to get back Hope. Peggy McKay is thriving in Caroline’s new material, some fans have even mentioned that re-writing her Alzheimer’s into an unknown disease similar to it have given Caroline much more to do and work with. And it’s working! She fools everyone easily after telling them she spoke with Bo just before she’s “unable to find” her cell phone. Hope had gone home to go change into her wedding gown by this time so Caroline uses her dementia to not head to the bathroom as promised, but to slip out the door to inform Hope of Bo’s impending arrival. Kayla Brady arrives and scoops up her mother after she upsets Hope with the news, wanting to take her in for an examination though Caroline assures she’s fine. Everyone else is a bit unsure.

Later, the wedding finally begins. Aiden still can’t seem to stand still but no one notices as a beautiful Hope is walked down the aisle by her parents. The scene is a beautiful one (if one is ignorant of the groom’s plot) but is cut off just as soon as it begins when Caroline interrupts with a shout. Now that she’s positive that her son is coming back, Caroline is working overtime to pull every stunt possible to hold up the wedding. She does it well for a time before her daughter has her carted off to the hospital for a checkup. The wedding continues again. Let’s say this wedding wasn’t happening on a soap opera and I was in attendance, when the groom insists on saying, “I do love you” instead of the standard then I think my eyebrow would rise. Aiden hasn’t done anything in the past to make anyone suspect he’d commit murder for a life insurance payout, but his mannerisms, intonation and speech felt suspect. Still, the wedding goes off without a hitch and the two tie the knot.

In a gross move, Aiden still makes love to his new wife on their wedding night before heading down to prepare to murder her. I know, I know but if that was unsettling then the real action that kicks in after will truly bring chills. I was definitely upset when after letting Hope rest (and fantasize about reuniting with Bo), Aiden goes downstairs to don his Necktie Killer garb. At this point, my palms were sweaty and my heart beat was kicking in because God, was it tense. He almost talks himself out of it before deciding against it, sneaking up on Hope to begin strangling her just like in his past fantasies but what he doesn’t expect is for her to fight back. As if a cop with decades of experience under her belt wouldn’t? She turns the tides by taking up a pair of scissors and stabbing him, immediately going for the mask to find her beloved beneath it. Kristian Alfonso cuts me open (no pun intended) in these moments, the sounds coming from her were nothing but pure anguish paired with confusion. This man was supposed to love her but now he was after her life? She makes it downstairs to retrieve her gun but Aiden is too fast though wounded. They have an all-out brawl with punches, flying vases and more strangling but Aiden eventually gets the upper hand and chokes her until she loses consciousness. Unfortunately for him it’s not over as an amped up Bo charges in soon after.

No matter what injustice fans may feel is being done to Peter Reckell and Bo Brady or to Daniel Cosgrove and Aiden Jennings, both men and Kristian’s Hope were in full form this week. Any of the flaws were miniscule compared to how well executed the story was, especially in the fight scene choreography. It’s the weekend and I’m still clutching my metaphorical pearls while waiting for Monday to come. Were these scenes as shocking to you too?

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined as Staff Writer for Soaps at TVSource Magazine in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs all while staying updated with his multiple "stories" like the elderly person in his soul. TV is a big part of his life, and it shows as he has been known to try to incorporate TV hijinks into his life with varying results. Follow him at @sourcecoryon for soapy soap reactions and more!