Soaps

‘Days of Our Lives’ Week In Review: Bullies and Broken Dreams

Photo: © Howard Wise/JPI
Photo: © Howard Wise/JPI

Days of Our Lives had an extremely odd week this last week. What exactly happened? Why did it happen? There were lots of questions to be raised and very little answers to be found which is never good for a soap opera. To tune in five days a week, a viewer has to be invested and there has been very little on screen to invest in at the beginning of this month. Bring back last fall’s excitement and energy, please!

Now onto a few highlights from Salem, USA this last week!

Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing February 1st-5th, 2016.

Teenage Wasteland

The domination of the new teens in Salem left me feeling conflicted as a viewer. When the teens quietly entered Salem a few months back, I was probably one of the only people hoping to see more of them – until they laid the adolescence on a little too thick this last week. It couldn’t have just been me who felt like the teens were on every single day of the week and on the front burner? While there are favorites in the bunch, I don’t think any of them are quite ready to be thrust into a front burner story just yet – and the writers haven’t written anything meaty enough to even warrant that yet either. Out of the group of teens Theo Carver, Claire Brady and Chase Jennings are my favorites and in that order as well! The three of them had their stories move ahead this week with two of them heading the predictable route and one ending in some head scratching.

Chase was revealed to be the person behind the mean text messages to Theo after Ciara Brady found the burner phone he used to anonymously text the autistic teen. From the very first hateful message sent, viewers knew Chase had to be the culprit considering he was the only person with any motive to harm Theo. Chase had a crush on his step-sister, step-sister wanted it platonic, step-sister is close to Theo so in Chase’s head that meant it was time to insult his difference. Clever. The saddest part is not just that the writers didn’t try with this storyline, but that if they had, I think Kyler Pettis and Jonathon McClendon would have respectively excelled with it; but from the very beginning, it was easy to map out which points the story would hit and why. That doesn’t make for compelling TV! Maybe this is just the beginning of the story? While the SORASed Theo fit right onto the canvas, I feel (in part thanks to his portrayer), I’ve finally begun to grow to like Chase as he settles in and be interested in what’s going on with him. From his constant running away and skulking about the Brady house, I have to think that maybe there’s more going on. Sometimes I have the tendency to wish homosexuality on characters I like a lot but what a turn the story could take if Chase was bullying Theo because he was actually crushing on him instead of Ciara? Because really, who falls in love with their step-sister – well, almost step-sister? Aside from the obvious turn of events for Chase and Theo, Hope Brady’s push for Ciara and Chase was honestly bizarre. I know that to her she only sees them as siblings and wants them to reconcile but knowing what we know as viewers makes it feel like an uncomfortable, pseudo-incestuous couple propping. I wonder what Aiden Jennings will think when Daniel Cosgrove returns in the role later this year… Somehow…

For Claire, this week proved to be yet another trying week as her family was nowhere to be found when she needed support. Belle Brady’s wishy-washy attitude was always the factor that drove me to dislike her so when she came back to Salem late last year headstrong and sure of herself (much like her mother), I was very much into it. But in no time flat Belle began to ignore her daughter in favor of Philip Kiriakis’ bed all while lying to Shawn D. Brady about hopefully repairing their marriage. The whole of last week was a study in Belle’s flip-flopping and how it brought down her daughter and will continue to do so unless she finally makes a decision.

Photo: © Jill Johnson/JPI
Photo: © Jill Johnson/JPI

Desperate for an adult to encourage her, Claire began to grow close to her vocal coach Eve Donovan as they prepared for a Julliard audition in New York. Though initially not so sold on Claire’s airy personality, Olivia Rose Keegan’s portrayal of her recent tenacity has me rooting for the teenager, especially when she expresses not wanting to give up on her dreams when so many people around her seem always ready to give in. That’s a powerful message to stand by and it doesn’t feel heavy handed or melodramatic when taking in Claire’s current situation. But a jealous Belle has to try and fight her way in between her daughter’s search for herself, calling Eve out on getting too close to her daughter to try and make up for ruining her dead daughter’s life. Ouch. Now I can understand where Belle was coming from, her delivery and timing was completely wrong – considering she’s much more in the wrong. Eve attempting to redeem herself by guiding Claire seemed wholly innocent, not completely driven by regret and guilt. Who is Belle to tell her not to try and outweigh the bad karma that comes with sleeping with your teenage daughter’s boyfriend? It’s Belle that should be experiencing regret as she misses out on one of the biggest moments of her daughter’s life so that she can sleep with the man who she once had to kidnap said daughter from.

I’m enjoying the fact that not only is Claire extremely vocal about her neglectful mother, but so is everyone else in town. Far too often soap operas let parents forget about their children in favor of meeting plot points but no one is letting Belle catch any breaks, and I wish Eve was sticking around to continue shoving her bond with Claire into Belle’s face. Unfortunately, Claire will be coming home from New York City without her vocal coach at her side. And like the many DAYS fans on Twitter have said, this ambiguous ending for Kassie DePaiva’s Eve should not have been an ending at all, but the beginning of new stories that didn’t involve her daughter or crying over her daughter. But alas, it’s the end.

What did you think of the teens this last week?

Pot and Kettle

Only in Salem do people battle over who is the bigger addict in a public place. Jennifer Horton and Eric Brady should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as two of the world’s fastest addicts. Though Eric’s alcoholism has been building gradually and Jennifer was in the car accident a month ago but now she lives on her pain medication, we’ve hardly seen these things progress on screen so buying into it is difficult. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny that their scenes together were some of the only bright spots the entire week.

Thanks to a pop up Lucas Horton, Jennifer and Eric found their way to an AA meeting at Salem University Hospital this last week. A rightfully grim Eric remained in the back while Jennifer somehow stayed even farther away from the group of addicts, ironically popping a pill in secret after saying she didn’t need one. But in general, how ironic is it that the once moral centers of Salem have fallen deep into the abyss? I hope for the two of them to become destructive influences for one another, very much in the vein of Theresa Donovan and Brady Black from two years ago – but just with an actual narrative. There’s so much emotion just bubbling under the surface there, ready to be let loose as it was teased when Jenn defended he addictive actions by blaming Eric for the accident. Not only is Greg Vaughn great to look at, the way he expresses emotion without even using words is astounding as I still recall his pained looks from Jennifer’s accusations.

It’s truly a shame that Eric will only be around for another three months or so before being ushered off canvas. How can he realistically work through all these issues in such a short time, even while trapped in DAYS’ lightspeed vortex? He does eventually promise Jennifer to continue seeking help but he quickly finds himself at the bar in a kneejerk reaction though he winds up not drinking. Jennifer however must be in excruciating pain as she continues to down her medication. Theresa – of all people – took notice of this when she dropped off Abigail’s wedding dress and even advised Abigail to count the pills in her mother’s bottle. But let’s be real, if Theresa Donovan is giving out warnings related to drugs then there’s really something going down. Don’t even waste your time, Abigail!

What do you think about the pairing – if it winds up being one – of Eric and Jennifer?

As usual, if I missed something you really wanted to talk about or if I missed something important in my recap, let’s start a discussion! Comment below, tweet me and let’s chat!

Sneak Peek at this week’s Days of Our Lives

Photos courtesy of JPI. Video courtesy of NBC.

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!