No Will, No Way
As Alison Sweeney pointed out in a recent interview, Will Horton was one of the rare characters on soaps that actually grew up on screen. Sure, there were recasts and re-writes but he aged pretty naturally before viewers’ eyes. For that reason, many had a connection to the character who suffered a lot under his mischievous parents and within himself over his sexuality, and for that reason no one ever expected him to be snuffed out by a friend and a necktie. Will Horton is dead whether we like it or not.
Since new writers took up the helm of DAYS, Will has been a rare sight on our TV screens. Even as somewhat a fan of the character, it was a welcome break. The last writing regime really took a lot of liberties with the character which effectively ran him into a corner. With his husband Sonny Kiriakis now living overseas managing casinos, Will has mainly been hopping around town supporting various members of his family. A week ago, Ben Weston asked his friend Will to be his best man. I don’t recall them ever being that close, Ben’s relationship with Sonny was highlighted more but the pickings are very slim in Salem. The only other young adult male in town is Ben’s rival on the run for being a suspected murderer and his fiancee’s little brother. Why not go with your former boss’ husband? The strength of their friendship was put to an extreme test this last week where it unfortunately failed. Will was innocently visiting his cousin Abigail Devereaux, dropping off lists and photos of wedding venues that Sonny had compiled. This was not TomSell’s Will, he had no ulterior motives, not trying to dig out the latest scoop for Sonix but was actually being warm and caring. Abigail though is preoccupied with Chad Dimera again, asking her cousin to stay behind at her place to wait for the cable guy while she sneaks off to check on him thus sealing the fate of GriffLey’s already superior Will.
Ben was all riled up at the end of the week. Not only was his fiancée still prioritizing her ex, the man he’s been trying to set up for months now, but his father was also arrested thanks to said fiancee’s brother. So when he came home to find Will in a suspicious position, the color of the necktie in his best man’s hands wasn’t the only red he saw.
The scenes that followed Ben walking in on Will were so well done that they had my skin tingling from creepiness. For some reason, Will had been working on his new article by hand as if he weren’t living in 2015. That lead to him tossing failed drafts into the bagless garbage can (really Ben?) and after missing a few, he decided to clean them up only to find the double murder weapon at the very bottom. As innocent as the discovery was, Ben saw him as guilty and pretty much stalked him as prey for the next few long moments. Robert Scott Wilson and Guy Wilson tapped right into the subtexts of the scenario; Will did his best to play it cool but we saw immediately when he realized Ben was a murderer, his eyes seemed to plead while Ben grew more and more emotionally erratic. The latter goes on blaming Chad for the murders, blaming JJ Devereaux for getting Clyde Weston taken down and lamenting as to why he isn’t enjoying what’s supposed to be the best time of his life. Will offers to take him out for a walk to cool down but Ben traps him in the apartment, hurls him and strangles him to death with the light of the refrigerator beaming on them. Unsettling could only begin to describe this moment. The scene was taken at an angle, shot from the floor giving viewers first a firsthand view of the murder then a closeup third person angle that seemed to mimic Ben’s skewed sense of reality. Though not so hyper realistic, the realistic shooting style of the scene reminded me a lot of Hollyoaks, the British soap opera that does serial killers very well though too frequently. In real life, there isn’t always a big struggle, no going out with a bang; somehow it’s sadder that Will just went.
Sweeney, who played Will’s onscreen mother Sami Brady for 20 plus years, has been very vocal about her opposition to the killing of Will. She almost chose not to come back to participate in this story arc for she felt it was the wrong decision, and still does. I couldn’t agree with her more! First off, what a breath of fresh air to see an actor be so candid on her disapproval of a storyline and second of all, who better to have a stance on it all than his own TV mother? In her interview with the October 19, 2015 edition of Soap Opera Digest (on newsstands now), she referred to Will as Marlena Evans’ grandson, an important focal character who’s had a very rich legacy on screen that’s just been wiped away. All of those years of custody battles between Lucas, Sami and sometimes Austin and Carrie feel tedious now that he’s just dead like this.
Guy Wilson too was blindsided by the decision that not even the executive producer agreed with. While I don’t think the decision to kill Will was fueled by an anti-gay sentiment (WilSon renewed a lot of interest in DAYS, the show owed them for a new surge in fans), I do worry if it had to do with the actor’s portrayal being far from fan favorite. I enjoyed Guy as Will, especially when he played opposite Alison. Never did it feel clunky or goofy but genuine – then they wrote Will into this strange, one dimensional caricature and ruined him for people. I don’t think Guy was to blame for that. Through it all, he was a class act and I do wish him nothing but the best. I just worry that with this exit, this is somehow a way to maneuver the former portrayer back on screen as he attends more and more Days of our Lives events… But I digress!
This coming week on Days of our Lives, Chad figures out who the real Necktie Killer is, Sami and Sonny come home, Marlena defends Chad, Paul helps John dig into his past and Ben puts Chad in a coma!
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!
Photos courtesy of NBC.