Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Picks and Pans of the Week of May 8, 2017

Chloe visits Brady and is upset by his rapidly declining health.

Days of Our Lives is hitting May sweeps – which means we’re even closer to July and Ron Carlivati’s material! Now, this isn’t the worst sweeps that DAYS has seen in a while but as usual with Dena Higley, the stories leave so much to be desired. Most of the cast is flying off to a Melaswan version of Greece to hunt a mysterious cursed pendant but there’s really no sense of adventure, just an empty feeling where the intrigue should go. But even with that being said, I enjoyed most of this week and thanks to a good idea, busted out a new format to express my likes and dislikes (instead of constantly digging into the show)! Weekly reviews have become weekly picks and pans for me, highlighting a host of small or large bits of DAYS’ week that I enjoyed paired with what I didn’t enjoy, explaining why and how it might be improved upon. Hopefully this new format will open up more discussion between writer and readers because that’s what I’m really here for! Let’s get into my picks and pans of this last week in Salem, USA!

Picks of the Week

Dark Horse

Xander Cook single handedly made this last week in Salem – uh, Greece – extremely entertaining. It’s funny that he came onto the show as yet another contrived character with a thin connection to history and then really grew into his own. Isn’t that how it used to be? Mainly on DAYS, fans dread the second a new character or a soap veteran joins the show because it often means weak story and quick exit; Xander has become the gift that keeps on giving.

What I think makes Xander so great is that Paul Telfer commits 1000% to the role. Xander is over the top but never embarrassingly so, he’s campy but doesn’t chew the scenery; it’s really the perfect balance and honestly what the show needs right now. Telfer isn’t one of those new to daytime actors that just regurgitates a script, collects his check and goes home. I think he’s really made a connection to Xander at this point. And while DAYS isn’t completely gloomy right now but damn, none of these people are happy. That’s why I took to Xander’s complete bliss over locking Salem’s resident weepy wench (thanks Michael) in a cage in Greece! Their scenes together were so fun because of Xander, it made it easy to ignore Nicole’s blubbering over the latest love of her life Brady Black and countless Daniel Jonas name drops.

Unfortunately, Xander working with Deimos Kiriakis for a bogus rescue mission to win over Nicole’s heart feels a lot like a set up for the character to be the scape goat. I’m worried this will all fall on his shoulders and he’ll ultimately die for it — for real this time. I love that Xander is the black sheep of the family, that he has all this resentment toward the Kiriakis clan and that they don’t care for him either; this builds his character, making him one of few on the show that has one. I just think it’d be a big mistake to lose Telfer in this role. Maybe I’m speaking too soon but it feels like the writing is on the wall. But wouldn’t we all rather have a charismatic, hunky bad boy with an accent instead of boring Brady? Xander’s digs at Nicole watering herself down to settle down with white bread Brady were so spot on, it was like he was speaking in the viewers’ voices.

Thank you, Xander. I hope we get to keep you around for a while, shirtless or not. But next time, throw away the key to Nicole’s cage.

Shape of My Heart

Apparently Daniel Jonas’ heart just isn’t a fit for Brady Black anymore! Get it? It’s the wrong shape… shape of my heart… Backstreet Boys reference and the title of this little pick section? Well, anyway DAYS viewers got some of the best news of all time and that was the final little piece of the dirty doctor was dying out for good. There had been a collective eye roll when Daniel died but his heart was donated to a dying Brady, now after a gunshot at the hands of his cousin-ish Xander, Brady is once again in need of a new vital organ.

I’ve said it before; I could really do without Brady at this point. Not only does the character have no personality outside of berating others (much like the original owner of his heart), his only purpose is to be a love interest to women who soon after get cycled out of the show. There’s been rumblings of Deimos being killed off in a major murder mystery story this summer coinciding with Vincent Irizarry’s exit, so could he be the future heart donor for Brady?

It’s a shame that we can’t get a two for one death deal in finally losing Daniel and then Brady. But when do you ever get everything you’ve always wanted? Recently news came out that Shawn Christian would reprise his role as Jonas probably for one final time when his heart gives out, which is way more than we could have asked for with this awful character. Daniel has been mentioned non-stop since passing but quintessential DAYS hero Bo Brady got a paltry send off, no further mention and not even a single post-humous scene. Where’s the justice?

Concrete Angel

Lani hides her withdrawal symptoms from JJ.

Honestly, I had a bit of trouble trying to classify this one only because it could be just me reading too deeply into it. In knowing that Dena Higley’s material is still playing on the air waves, I also know that most of the story we’ll see will be shallow and maybe even forgotten in a week’s time since it’s all so plot-driven. Lani Price’s story shockingly kept me interested this last week when often times, I want to speed right through her scenes. Lani arrived in town as Abe Carver’s wooden insta-daughter and hasn’t been much else since (except maybe a sexual predator) then, which is unfortunate because I really enjoyed Sal Stowers as Cassandra on the All My Children reboot but there she was actually given material to bite into. On DAYS? Not so much.

I missed some episodes and apparently she went undercover to bust up a drug lord and wound up a junkie herself? Just another example of how this show is moving far too quickly and leaving important things underdeveloped. Like I’m sure this story was meant to provide intrigue but it just looked like a rush job from seeing the fall out. The highlight of it all was when Eli Grant came to check in on a visibly messed up Lani, calling her out on the fact that she was putting up a front about being okay after overdosing when her body was in peril. I loved to see him gently calling her out on on her bull but was even more surprised to see Lani open up a little, admitting that she only plays tough because as a woman on the police force, she has so many doubters.

Now that is character development! No matter how small of a development it is, I wholly welcome it. Lani saying that felt realistic and understandable looking at her constant rigidity in the face of — well, everything. With Higley’s writing it’s hard to have hope, but I do hope this point is expanded upon and explored until Lani loosens up.

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!