Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Week In Review: Back To Life, Back To Reality

We Are Family

While it’s nice to see fun new stories or characters return to their true selves, my favorite part about a new writing regime – especially a good writing regime – is seeing how the characters’ relationships hold up. Ron Carlivati has already done a great job at bringing familial love back to DAYS. So many head writers of the past few years would much rather forget that half of the town of Salem is related somehow. Sure, it’s tedious work and probably mentally exhausting trying to keep track of cousins and uncles and step-mom-sisters but it’s a part of the show’s history. For a long running serial drama – history is literally everything. So not only have there been small nods to history but there have been lots of re-forging of old bonds, enough to make me smile and melt each time.

Abigail is in critical condition. Courtesy JPI

I loved that Abigail in critical condition story wasn’t just about Abigail being in critical condition. Necessary layers were added atop this shocking turn of events, all with family being front and center. Even though not every single person related to Abigail (and there are a lot) were able to show up to the hospital, even seeing scenes of them sending along their love and wishing they could go were enough for me. I was bewildered seeing the amount of people complain about Adrienne Johnson not going to see her injured niece, clearly forgetting that she was waiting to see her imprisoned son and even felt conflicted about doing so when Lucas Horton was getting ready to leave. That little interaction of Lucas talking Adrienne down in such a stressful situation, promising to send updates on Abigail once he knew them – none of this would have flown on Higley’s DAYS. Characters were severely cut off from one another under Higley, they were even cut off from themselves and their own personal history. We have to remember that because of the show’s production model, we realistically cannot have all 30 of Abigail’s relatives mooning over her in one scene – but just getting acknowledgement now is so nice.

Spinning off of Lucas, his scene with Jennifer Horton was all kinds of heartwarming. Being extremely close to my own siblings, seeing TV siblings come together during tough times just makes me feel all fuzzy inside. We don’t get near enough of the two Horton siblings but I’m happy the new writers are choosing to cement that relationship. I think now more than ever would be a good time to bring back Bill Horton, to see how he changes that dynamic. I’m a little exhausted with Kate Roberts masquerading as trueborn Dimera and would rather see her dive into some history that hasn’t been explored well enough at all. Anyone else think Kate’s deep rooted problem with Abigail greatly stems from her problems with her grandmother, Laura Horton?

But back to all the wonderful family ties explored this last week, even Hope Brady wasn’t immune to it. After years of focusing her every day and night on Rafe Hernandez, Hope showed interest in her family when news of her little cousin being run down hit the Salem Police Department. Not only that, but the concern grew when she thought of what Jennifer must be going through and not wanting her to suffer through that pain alone since she’s been there before with late son Zack. What a great throwback to history, poignant enough that it deepened the tone of the scene and didn’t feel like a throwaway tidbit. Everyone in this town has been through some awful circumstances; some more than others and others in very similar ways, so it’s only natural for these characters to compare to past experiences to get through present ones. Isn’t that what we do and aren’t these characters meant to mimic real people? I am loving this return to humanity, emotion and family love. I’m eating every bit of it up.

With all that said, the absolute winner of the family scenes has to go to JJ and Abigail’s scene. Comparing JJ’s fear of making it through a thunderstorm as a child to Abigail waking up and recovering was so beautifully done, it nearly brought a tear to my eye. JJ and Abigail have such a special relationship which funnily enough, reminds me of Lucas and Jennifer’s too. They may have spent lots of time apart but you can tell they really rely on each other and crave support from one another. From these stories, we learn that Abigail was always there to protect JJ and it’s great to see him be there to protect her now. Though I hope the roles reverse again when she awakens so she can save him from Lani Price!

Pans of the Week

It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay

Thank you, soap Jesus for speeding along this Tripp Dalton revenge plot. As I’ve mentioned countless times, it doesn’t make sense for Tripp to want to avenge Ava Vitali’s death, especially to a point where he’s consumed with the delusion that she would have been this life changing mother figure. The reality being that his mother was a monster that probably would have wanted nothing to do with him if there was no way to use him. It’s so terribly frustrating to have to listen to his constant praise of the woman he only knows through a DVD while people confront him with the truth. This last week, Tripp took his plan to a new desperate level that makes me wonder if there’s more to it.

Steve’s suspicions grow that Tripp set up Kayla at the hospital. Courtesy JPI

Many DAYS viewers are wondering how Tripp is going to be able to come back from holding Kayla Johnson at knifepoint. Lucas Adams is still filming at DAYS which is six months ahead. So what more could they possibly do with this character who seemingly has gone off the rails? Personally, I think it’s obvious that Tripp is having a nervous breakdown of some sort. Do I think he’s a cold, heartless monster like his mother often showed herself to be? Not at all. I don’t believe he truly wants to hurt anyone, he’s just confused and stressed and probably feeling a lot more alone than he lets on. We actually learned that no one’s medication was tampered with when Kayla was reinstated as chief of staff. Any alterations to dosages were only done electronically, thus showing that Tripp did not have it in him to harm anyone. That point was further stressed when he denied his pop-up mobster cousin or uncle’s offer of an untraceable gun. The viewers questioning how he can be brought back from such a dark place have to truly think about the things that this guy has been through in his life. Sold to a family at birth, dealing with discovering that truth, finding his real family only to be affronted by awful stories about a mother who isn’t there to defend herself – it’s really a lot to take on. If the show goes this route, they’d deserve major kudos for highlighting male mental illness in a genre plagued by women driven mad and snapping every few months to a year.

Now, I’m not defending his actions by any means. I still don’t agree with what Tripp has done – nor do I agree with this storyline as a whole. I find it incredibly irresponsible that Steve and Kayla have continued to shield Joey, babying him until he’s basically unable to even think for himself. Having to watch Steve force information out of him by giving him verbal leads was so painful! He’s been coddled so much that he can’t even seem to see the world outside of what’s directly in front of him. Your new brother bad mouths your mom in a particularly sudden and oddly specific way in the middle of your dad investigating someone setting her up and no alarms go off? C’mon, Joey.

The best part of this draining tale was Joey finally realizing that maybe covering up his murder of a sick, defenseless woman wasn’t the greatest idea. He’s drowning in guilt and his parents can’t see nor do they want to help with anything other than continuing to cover it up. Tripp may be suffering with delusional ideas of the family he could have had, that he probably dreamed of as a displaced child but can you really blame him when this family who so desperately wants to take him in is only telling him half-truths? I don’t think all of the blame should fall on Tripp. I think he’s going through some major mental issues that are going to need professional help. The only way for any sort of healing to begin is for the entire truth to be told, allowing Tripp to finally embrace reality and for Joey to work on the unsurmountable guilt he’s built up.

In my opinion, Steve and Kayla really messed up both of these young men and we should be worried about how everyone involved can be redeemed.

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

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!