Days of Our Lives was a little more enjoyable this last week. Two big stories took up the week, both encompassing many of our favorite and least favorite Salemites to varying degrees of success. One was definitely stronger than the other and it showed, the end of the week was much more enjoyable than the start. More than ever DAYS has got to be its best self. There were so many blunders last week, it almost felt hopeless but this last week set up some stories that could give 2017 a really solid start for the show. It’s been a while since I last saw some real potential with the stories. Even if the storylines don’t pan out exactly as the fans hoped for, the possibilities are still endless and potentially interesting. On that note, let’s get into some of the highlights of this last week in Salem, USA!
Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing January 9th – 13th.
Panic in Prague
I have never denied my love for soap opera silliness, there is a warm place in my heart for evil twins, witches and hysterical pregnancies but I do have my limits. DAYS brought us to Bizarro World Salem this last week and tried to convince us it was Prague, all while hunting the shadow of a dead man. I didn’t enjoy the beginning of this week, not because I know we’ll never see Joe Mascolo’s Stefano Dimera but because – well, it was stupidly boring. The best part of the storyline was seeing familiar faces again and they weren’t even meant to be central players, and that’s really not the best of signs.
Marlena Evans, Rafe Hernandez, Paul Narita and Steve Johnson jetted to Prague after hearing a man resembling Stefano had been spotted. One of the undercover ISA agents had perhaps glimpsed him during a meeting of big wigs in the illegal arms business – but it was too dark to be sure, she’d said. I think I laughed out loud hearing that. This rag tag team of mainly people over 40 are out to capture what they think is their ever elusive archenemy for the umpteenth time. It was obvious that the writers thought they were laying it on thick with intrigue, but I think I found myself laughing more than anything as everyone just spent time drinking at cafes whether they were scouting or not. And if Stefano is really found alive, then what? Does him surviving his attack completely erase the fact that Hope Brady still shot him thus ending her time in lock up? She still fired a gun on an unarmed man and left him for dead, whether or not that death was faked the criminal intent was still there. I don’t know why US soaps have such an issue with taking a character off screen for a time, letting them serve at least a few months of their sentence quietly before springing them.
And Hope was definitely sprung this week, all thanks to a genius plot by Hattie Adams. As I said before, everything around this umbrella storyline was a lot more comical than I think the writers intended it to be. Sometimes that worked, as in Hattie using her feminine wiles to get the prison’s garbage man to take an unconscious Hope out of the facility. Still injured from her attack in prison, Hope wasn’t able to handle the stress of being spirited away by a stranger and passed out only to be found by another stranger. Though viewers only saw his gloved hands at the end of the week, this mysterious appearance coincides with Eric Brady’s return to our screens. So while Hope is rescued by her nephew (who should also be in jail still?), across the pond another past character showed up again but showed all of her face – and her gun!
Marlena and Paul’s plan was to sit in a cafe they’d heard “Stefano” had visited recently to wait, hoping that maybe he’d show again. The plan wasn’t the best conceived but someone resembling The Phoenix did show only to get fired at by Anna Dimera. Everyone scattered and in a great move by the writers, Marlena was the one to find and corner Anna. I have always loved their dynamic as women who have shared many loves and hates and even children in a sense, and that relationship fell easily back into place. Almost as if no time had been lost since Anna’s last time on canvas. There’s no love lost between the women since last time, Anna had played a major role in kidnapping Sami Brady’s daughter so Marlena was not mincing any words.”Oh Anna, honey, you’re in an alleyway in a foreign city with a gun and your husband’s ashes. Can you hear that as a cry for help?” Not only was that he best quote of the week coming from Marlena, but will probably win as best quote of the year already. I love that shady Marlena had a comeback this last week.
Because of Anna, they’d lost sight of the supposed Stefano and had to start all over again. While the two women argue over how crazy Anna looks holding a gun and Tony Dimera’s ashes (which she refers to affectionately whenever she can), a Czech policeman comes to arrest both women in relation to the cafe shooting. To everyone’s surprise, Austin and Carrie Reed show up at the station to help bail the two women out while Paul is trying to figure out how everyone’s related. Pretty hilarious!
There were a lot of fans complaining that Carrie and Anna finally shared scenes together after 30 years and they were at odds. I really enjoyed how the writers brought them all back on the scene as if they’d always been there, no exhausting catch up for decades lost and instead gave us authentic conflict between mother and daughter. Anna is a handful for anyone, imagine being her daughter? Carrie spent a lot more time with Marlena, a much more level-headed mother figure similar to her in nature – Anna is wild, unpredictable and even kidnapped Carrie’s niece! You can’t really expect them to be on the best of terms. I enjoyed the dynamic a lot, the flip-flopped mother-daughter dynamic where Carrie seemed so exasperated having to once again bail her mother out. The re-introduction of these three was the definite highlight of the week. I almost wish we could have had an entire episode of their comical family interactions.
I care so little about the finding Stefano story that I’m not really looking forward to it continuing next week. Ken Corday promised that whoever died after the last writing regime took over that they’d stay dead, so far the resurrections have been piling up but not really for anyone the viewers are asking for. (Ahem, Will Horton?) If Stefano must rise again, keep him out of Salem, keep him an ever elusive omniscient sort of presence that torments Salemites from afar time to time. Let the character rest along with Joe Mascolo.