I don’t think anyone expected Days of Our Lives’ writing overhaul to turn the show on a new leaf so quickly. Compared to the weeks prior, this last week in Salem was an obvious upgrade on many levels. From ambient noise to lush lighting, scenes are looking different under the production of new executive producer Albert Alarr, but new head writers Dena Higley and Josh Griffith have also made sure to cut down the number of scenes in one show, giving us longer interactions between characters and an undeniably smoother flow to storytelling. All of these factors together have produced a show that I enjoyed for the entire week long. I can only hope it sticks.
Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing August 17-21, 2015.
Young, dumb and in love
Salem’s young adult set had a rocky week this last week. Honorable mention goes to WilSon, easily one of the most boring soap opera couples, who finally shattered to pieces this week. Last week, I was ecstatic at the news that Sonny Kiriakis would be leaving town, and though I’ve wanted him gone for a very long time now, his exit was nothing but underwhelming. No, Sonny was not the upcoming Salem serial killer’s first victim, instead he’s set to manage clubs owned by his great-uncle all across that magical place Salemites love to flock to, Europe.
Sonny finally showed some personality this week, furious at Will Horton’s latest attempt at keeping Paul Narita at bay. Even when Will tries to spin his scheme into something more palatable, Sonny wasn’t having any of it and an argument ensued. In a scene that I actually enjoyed with the character of Sonny, he read Will as easily as a children’s book, shutting down his husband’s irrational worry that he’s losing the competition for Sonny’s heart to Paul. It was almost reminiscent of a scene with Marlena Evans chastising her daughter and Will’s mother, Sami Brady for doing something awful for the umpteenth time. Whatever troublemaker gene Sami was carrying was obviously passed down to her first born. From adultery to hiding secrets and now revealing them, Will has been making destructive choice after destructive choice and his husband thinks he can’t help but to do so now.
No matter how bland I have always found the character of Sonny, I have to say that I applauded the way he stood up for himself in these scenes. Will was definitely playing him for a fool, sneaking around in more ways than one and continuously getting away with it for the sake of keeping their family together. No longer wanting to be his husband’s fool, Sonny fled the scene to find Paul. There were heavy glances and almost-kisses exchanged until ultimately Sonny revealed his plan to escape Salem to think of his next step, considering he still has feelings for his ex. While Sonny’s last meeting with Paul ends on a somber note, his last meeting with his husband is nothing but fiery. Will catches Sonny as he’s packing his bags, fearing that his husband is moving out, Will lays his desperation on thickly only to find that Sonny is leaving the country all together. Sonny’s emotional goodbye is more directed to Ariana Grace who will be losing yet another parent. To Will he’s a bit more cold, citing that if they were to make their marriage work then they’ll need this time apart.
Salem’s other pair of star-crossed lovers, Chad Dimera and Abigail Devereaux, did not air much this week but their few scenes were downright electric. Last week ended with Stefano Dimera popping up in Abigail’s office and we pick up there with him urging Abigail to be happy and be with his son, hoping that her feelings toward the mafia mogul won’t get in the way of her feelings for Chad. If anyone knows the signs of lovesickness, it’s Stefano Dimera – though Abigail does her best to refute him. It’s Ben Weston she loves and Ben she’ll be with. The very same Ben who runs into Chad at the park to boast about eloping with Abigail in California where they’ll play house. How classy of him! Mature, even! In the face of Ben’s stinging pride, Chad remains cool only to go home to a fantasy of Abigail admitting her confusion to which he begs her to stay with him. This trick of the mind unravels all of his feelings so much that he has to go see Abigail immediately. They meet in her office at the hospital, the room filled with low light to fit the atmosphere of their conversation that begins with Chad wondering if Abigail is really leaving, a claim she quickly denies. Though relieved, Chad can’t help but wish Abigail had been the one to tell him that she was marrying Ben, instead of walking in on the proposal.
Kate Mansi played Abigail breaking so beautifully; the more Chad spoke, the more Abigail began to wear down until she couldn’t hold in her tears anymore. It was never her intention to hurt him but she appreciates that Chad took the news well, even if it was painful. They part on Chad wishing nothing but happiness for Abigail, thankful that she isn’t moving away though she wonders aloud whether it would have been easier on him if she had. Probably in the most squealworthy moment of the week, Chad assures Abigail that as long as he can see her smile, then he’ll manage. How, just how, is Abigail denying this handsome lovesick puppy? I think I screamed at least a dozen times and watched this scene double that amount, just because everything fit so gorgeously together.
With the promised refocus of romance storylines trickling in, we got to see our young adult set of characters tortured with love. DAYS fans have been itching to see more romance on their screens and finally, they received exactly what they’d wanted – even if it involved the breakup of Salem’s sole gay couple and more forbidden pining from others. In regards to WilSon’s rushed breakup, it felt a lot like GriffLey rushing in to tie up TomSell’s weak and loose ends. While I love the direction they’ve taken Will, making him morally gray like his mother and father (the kid spent half of his life as a bargaining chip between his parents and aunt and uncle, he’s got to be messed up!), the back and forth trio of gays was getting extremely tired. No, it didn’t seem in Sonny’s nature to up and leave town as lots of fans complained, it felt entirely scribbled in last minute, but if this means we can move on to new situations for the more interesting characters of Will and Paul (hopefully into each other’s arms), then I’m all for it. All in all, I am glad to see the old storylines come to a quick end whether they’re morphed into something new or just cut off at the head. Onto better things!