‘Days of our Lives’ 2015 Year In Review: The Comeback Kid

DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- Season: 50 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric Martsolf as Brady Black, Judie Evans as Adrien Kiriakis, Jen Lilley as Thersea Donovan, John Aniston as Victor Kiriakis, Meredith Scott Lynn as Anne Milbauer, Josh Taylor as Roman Brady, Peggy McCay as Caroline Brady, Stephen Nichols as Steven Johnson, Mary Beth Evans as Kayla Brady, Greg Vaughan as Eric Brady, Alison Sweeney as Sami Brady, Drake Hogestyn as John Black, Christopher Sean as Paul Narita, Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans, Bill Hayes as Doug Williams, Susan Hayes as Julie Willimas, Kate Mansi as Abigail Deveraux, Robert Scott Wilson as Ben Rogers, Kristian Alfonso as Hope Brady, Missy Reeves as Jennifer Horton, Suzanne Rogers as Maggie Horton, Casey Moss as JJ Deveraux, Camila Banus as Gabi Hernandez, James Reynolds as Abe Carver, Sal Stowers as Lani, A. Martinez as Eduardo, Thaao Penghlis as Tony DiMera, Bryan Dattilo as Lucas Roberts, Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts, Joe Mascolo as Stefano DiMero, Billy Flynn as Chad DiMero -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

The Couples That Defined the Year

Love had been lacking on Days of our Lives. Romance and Days of our Lives were no longer synonymous; each day in Salem was filled with more and more senseless scheming and sleeping around until the turnaround midyear. The writing can still be spotty at times but there’s a visible effort to bring more love back into the lives of Salemites. Here are a few of the couples that defined the year full of redefinition on Days of our Lives.

Steve and Kayla

Patch (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) reunited! Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios
Patch (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) reunited! Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios

Steve Johnson and Kayla Brady was just a couple that I’d heard about at first. Out of the many supercouples in soap opera history, they probably spent the most time apart off canvas. Over a decade was spent with Steve presumed dead and after reconnecting, they broke up again off screen because of his thirst for adventure. Thankfully the writers wasted no time in getting the two back together in 2015. Steve came back to town eager to win his family back and if he had to go to Mexico to rescue a captured Bo Brady then so be it!

There was deservedly a lot of doubt on Kayla’s side because Steve had proven himself the fickle family man plenty of times. What I enjoyed a lot about Kayla’s apprehension was that the writers took her distrust and made it less one-dimensional. When the male halves of these legendary supercouples checked out of Salem for whatever reason, what viewers had left to see on their screens were multiple women complaining about losing their men to adventure – the same adventures they once willingly blew out of town to join in on. The writing was lazy, showing a severe lack of imagination for a soap that always had a whimsical side.

Steve and Kayla’s reconciliation came quickly but with conditions. Kayla didn’t want to rush (but they did find themselves in bed and engaged not very long after that) and wanted to rebuild their family. Unfortunately for them, old nemesis Ava Vitalli returned to town seeking faux forgiveness while their son Joey tailed her with hearts in his eyes. Now that they’re once again a united front, there’s nothing they can’t face.

John and Marlena

Marlena (Deidre Hall) and John (Drake Hogestyn) return to form. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Marlena (Deidre Hall) and John (Drake Hogestyn) return to form. Photo Credit:
© Howard Wise/JPI Studios

When people hear the words “super couple”, the pairing of John Black and Marlena Evens come to mind. The couple has been through demonic possessions, false identities and lots of awful writing but after what felt like an eternity, 2015 finally brought them together again. To be honest, I can’t even recall exactly what pulled the two of them apart anymore. Was it something residual from when John wanted to forgive Kristen back in 2013 and Marlena opposed? All I know was that Dena Higley and Josh Griffith made an excellent decision in deciding to bring the couple not only into the forefront again but back into each other’s lives.

Their reconciliation was a nice slow burner, rich with flashbacks to appease fans that had been rabidly waiting for more from the two. What I really enjoyed from Jarlena in 2015 was the maturity in their interactions. Not only were they being written in true form again with integrity to their past struggles and successes, but they just felt right where they needed to be. Marlena was never the one to let someone get over on her so she held John accountable, told him that they’d take things slowly and they did. Even when John returned to the ISA for a brief stint, Marlena let him know her stance but instead of nagging, she let John do his business – and when it all fell through, she did nothing to hide her happiness either. Now that they’re both in love, shacking up in the penthouse and being one another’s rocks, it really feels like the show has finally gotten them right after doing them wrong for so many years.

Abigail and Chad

Abigail (Kate Mansi) and Chad (Billy Flynn) were a 2015 standout. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Abigail (Kate Mansi) and Chad (Billy Flynn) were a 2015 standout. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

For the last few years, new couples on DAYS were always born in the throes of sweaty passion with very little romance behind them but Chad 2.0 and Abigail’s romance had a healthy mix of it all. 2015 was savage on Chad and Abigail but in all the hardships, grew a super couple for the new era, garnering a passionate fanbase unlike DAYS had seen in years. When Chad came back to town a little shorter, a lot more electrifying and with a lot less fake tumor, the direction in which the two of them were headed was up in the air. Abigail had just ended an affair with his now dead brother and was going steady with deadbeat bartender Ben Rogers. All of which made Chad upset but motivated to win her back.

Ben and Chad had petty arguments and even pettier lawsuits but the creative turnover brought much higher stakes. After a heated hookup in the Dimera mansion backyard, Chad and Abigail thought they could hide their indiscretion from her dope of a boyfriend. Unfortunately for them, Ben snapped and began to frame Chad for a string of murders that eventually lead to him holding the woman thought to be carrying his baby hostage in cabin to keep her away from Chad. What played out were probably some of the most iconic scenes from DAYS in recent years, full of suspense and romance that culminated in Chad rescuing both Abigail and her newborn from Ben’s clutches. But alas, happiness for soap opera couples is always fleeting. A brainwashed Chad is now denying his love for Abigail and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Theresa and Brady

Brady (Eric Martsolf) and Theresa (Jen Lilley) are a polarizing force. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Brady (Eric Martsolf) and Theresa (Jen Lilley) are a polarizing force. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Though polarizing amongst fans, there’s absolutely no doubt that Theresa and Brady’s romance played a huge role in DAYS’ 2015. The two had a whirlwind romance full of drugs and booze the year prior, one that ended abruptly after Brady discovered she had bludgeoned his father into a coma. But little did anyone know, Theresa was going through her own issues. Kristen Dimera had made one final attempt at being in Brady’s life by stealing the unborn baby from Theresa’s womb and fleeing. Thanks to Brady’s awful new flame Melanie Jonas, the pieces of the lost time puzzle were put together and Theresa’s newborn baby was rescued.

The new baby became an impetus for the reconnection of Theresa and Brady. Even though they shared a kid, it wasn’t until the new writers took over the show that Brady became less of a misogynist and Theresa a better-rounded human being which allowed them to fall in harmonious love. There’s no doubt that the pair have chemistry and that they look gorgeous together on screen but if I were Theresa, not even that pair of beautiful pecs would make me forget how awful Brady was. To me (and a few others), the couple seems one-sided with just Theresa out to please Brady; watching the once dynamic character of Theresa water herself down to please a man was just not how I wanted this couple to go. With Brady now struggling to survive after a bad car crash, maybe things will take a different direction for the pairing in 2016.

Will and Sonny and Paul

The Paul (Christopher Sean), Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will (Guy Wilson) story flamed out. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios
The Paul (Christopher Sean), Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will (Guy Wilson) story flamed out. Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

The tumultuous love triangle of Will, Sonny and Paul was a major story for DAYS in the first half of the year. There was an infinite amount of promise for this storyline but it sadly became nothing more than a wasted opportunity. It all began when Will immediately threw out his ethics as a journalist to throw himself into bed with Paul. Later, Will learned that his booty call was his husband’s former flame. From there on out, the love triangle descended into sheer repetitive messiness. Will would desperately try to set Paul up on dates to keep him away from Sonny or repeatedly harass Paul’s mother for information all while Sonny still professed his love and devotion to his husband. Scheming to keep a relationship is a classic soap trope, always good and fun for the viewers tuning in five days a week – but only if there’s a logical explanation for those actions.

Will went from everyone’s sweet grandson to an insecure loser in the blink of an eye, leaving viewers irritated and ultimately confused. In the end, the new writing regime came in to trim the fat and this poorly crafted triangle was one of the first to go. Now the wrong one is dead, another one is living overseas and the last one is wandering aimlessly about Salem with no cute boys to charm.

JJ and Gabi

The new writing on the show has paced many storylines at warp speed, but the unexpected pairing of JJ Devereaux and Gabi Hernandez has been thankfully teetering on at a modest pace. We haven’t had much from them except for cute exchanges where they swear off relationships all while ignoring the fact that she’s his dead ex-girlfriend’s half-sister and she indirectly brought upon his father’s death. It’s the start of something very fresh, organic and already so much better than any other pairing either character has ever seen. They were a standout couple in 2015 and will surely heat up screens in 2016 as well.

Aiden, Hope and Bo

Hope Brady and Aiden Jennings were supposed to be the couple that marked the return of romance to DAYS. Instead, they often brought snoozes and snores for me, though I’m a fan of the actors and the characters. The couple spent too much time in la la land until Aiden suddenly became suspect to everyone in town.  Hope’s super sleuth skills brought her to the deep, dark truth Aiden harbored. Aiden did not kill his wife as everyone has assumed, but it was his young son who was the culprit, the result of a terrible accident. The dark secret was never mentioned again and the couple continued on with more rainbows and sunshine until it Aiden started acting shady and suspicious (again). It was revealed that Aiden was in cahoots with Salem’s favorite villain, Stefano DiMera!

Missed story opportunities for Bo (Peter Reckell), Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and AIden (Daniel Cosgrove). Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios
Missed story opportunities for Bo (Peter Reckell), Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and AIden (Daniel Cosgrove). Photo Credit: © Jill Johnson/JPI Studios

Viewers never learned when, where, how and exactly why Aiden came into becoming Stefano’s unwilling pawn, other than Stefano purchased his debt owed to someone else. To make matters worse, he was roped into a scheme to murder Hope for the insurance money, and deliver his windfall to the DiMeras. Aiden went from an overly sweet guy hurt by the world to a shifty murderer in no time flat. Thankfully, Bo Brady broke out of his Mexican prison (with the help of Patch) in time to stop Aiden from murdering his beloved Fancy Face. In a cruel, ironic twist of fate, Bo would die himself just a few days after.

While not a love triangle in the normal sense, Bo’s absence factored heavily into Hope’s decision to halt truly moving forward with Aiden. It wasn’t until she let him go that she was able to commit to a new life. But even with that decision, the power of Bo and Hope’s love remained strong. What morphed into a pseudo triangle post-August gave us many great things, namely amazing performances from Daniel Cosgrove as a torn Aiden, Bo’s heroic return and Hope struggling with her guilt and now driven mission to bring an end to those responsible for Bo’s death. I wish the show would have explored more of Aiden, venturing into the layers of the character to fully convey what was going on. It’s a missed opportunity that likely came as a result of the creative change. There just should have been more. More everything — except for death, I guess.