Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Week In Review: Celebrations, Returns and Introductions

Teenage Dream

I’ve been most anticipating the arrival of Salem’s new teen set since its announcement a few months ago. Above any Necktie Killer or overdue return, the injection of fresh blood onto a (50 year old) canvas will truly revitalize the show. DAYS fell in the unfortunate pattern of bringing in pretty, sometimes talented actors into thin characters with little to no background tied to the canvas. Take Paul Telfer’s Xander Kiriakis, for instance. Great actor, alright character but a nonsensical character nonetheless. Victor Kiriakis’ brother was dead and for decades we knew that he’d had no children, yet here was Xander suddenly on Victor’s doorstep begging for affection. Some parts were fun but it overall made no sense, the rapid aging of some of the children on canvas is beginning to make sense to me.

Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

This last week, four out of the five new teenagers finally made it on our screens. While some shone a little dimmer than others, the transition from children to teens felt pretty seamless and faithful to the characters we already knew. The older Chase Jennings and Ciara Brady were all about their parents’ nuptials, playing the supportive chorus as last week they even made a brunch for the two of them. Their introductions were a bit dull but at the bicentennial gala this last week, a little more of their personalities were showcased. Many fans fretted over whether or not Ciara would still be a world class troublemaker – and thankfully she still is. When her grandmother Caroline Brady pulled a stunt to delay Hope and Aiden’s wedding, Ciara forced her new step-brother to fork over a wad of cash after he’d lost a bet. Apparently Chase hadn’t believed that Salem weddings weren’t smooth sailing. He’s still very much a foil to Ciara, the good boy and son who seems content with rules and order. I can appreciate the opposites attract idea the writers are working on for these two, but Chase is going to need a bit more spunk to keep up. Early Aiden suffered from the cookie cutter personality too until they made him take an extreme turn for the worse. Then again, Chase did shoot his mother “by accident” as a kid so pairing that with inherent teenage angst might make for a good turn.

The new siblings’ dynamic was further showcased when Ciara offered to steal Chase a leather jacket that reminded her of her father. So not only is Ciara a gambler, but a thief with lock picking skills too! Of course Chase panics and Grandma-aunt Julie and Grandpa Doug Williams catch them, leading to an incredibly poignant and touching exchange between Julie and Ciara. The former sees a lot of herself in Ciara, especially the sticky fingers tendencies. This would have been the perfect time for a flashback but all we got was Julie hoping to become Ciara’s shoulder to lean on in a sense. She doesn’t want Ciara to learn lessons the hard way like she did. They come to the conclusion that Ciara’s fixation on the leather coat was because she missed her father, no matter how happy she was for her mother. Again, the moment was really touching, even brought out a little something in Vivian Jovanni we’ve yet to see but it would have been even better if we’d had a flashback to a rebellious Julie Olson.

Theo Carver also showed up to the big party looking a little different. A lot of DAYS fans were worried that Theo’s autism would be cut out, especially after seeing pretty boy Kyler Pettis cast in the role of Mayor Abe Carver’s youngest son. A lot of times on soaps, characters that grow more attractive with each recast begin to lose the important parts of their original character. Everyone was glad to know that the older Theo was still very much living with autism. He shared his first scenes with Joey Johnson outside of the gala, the two friends reconnecting after what seemed like a while. Other teenagers filter in offering alcohol but Joey turns it down, not wanting to give his mom any more trouble. It’s while he’s wondering if Theo has ever caused any trouble; he passes out leaving Theo to panic and run for help.

Though his scenes were short, the new Theo has definitely impressed not only me but a whole host of DAYS fans with his acting. Theo isn’t shy but his autism has him socially awkward, unable to even look the other person in the eye while talking to them. Kyler Pettis’ portrayal was spot on and believable. Out of the bunch, he’s definitely the strongest alongside James Lastovic who has already begun to grow in his role. Vivian Jovanni seems to come alive more when paired with veterans, so maybe they’re helping coach her. Ciara isn’t a flat character; she needs to have some kick to her. It’s Chase that’s kind of the odd one out as we still don’t really know him other than as Ciara’s good half. Jonathon McClendon is good, but like Chandler Massey, he’ll smile through scenes that don’t call for smiles. I do believe these two will only better in time as long as the writing’s there. With a new sister, a family enemy, one parent attempting to murder the other and the arrival of a same age niece all happening within the next few weeks, Salem’s new teens are going to have their hands full. I’m excited to see them grow! What are your thoughts on the characters and their portayals?

This coming week on Days of our Lives, Nicole meets charming stranger Fynn, Hope learns the truth behind Bo’s disappearance, Kayla vows to stick by Steve as a team, Kate and Eduardo connect, Abigail sends a message to Chad and a shocking death occurs!

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!

Preview for next week’s Days of our Lives

Photo Credit: JPI Studios. Video courtesy of NBC.

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined TVSource Magazine as a staff writer in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs and forums. On top of writing duties, Coryon is also a panelist for the TVSource Podcast and Soap Countdown Podcast.