Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Week In Review: Lots of Love

Too Little, Too Late

Julie receives devastating news.

Shocking news of David Banning’s death hit Salem late this last week, shaking mother Julie Williams to the core. For months now, DAYS has been dropping hints about David which always tended to coincide with a return – no one could have suspected the writers would kill him off-screen instead. Though I understand why some DAYS fans are upset at this decision considering the reintroduction of the character could have provided closure from David’s last go around while introducing him to a new set of viewers like myself. Personally, I agree with the decision to kill David. Why’s that? Well, not always does life go the way one’s planned, it’s never simple or pretty and oftentimes our soaps tie everything up in a cute bow instead of dealing with reality. This revelation is set to change the lives of so many Salemites across the board. But will it be good, or better yet will it make sense? That has been the major question as of late.

One of the standouts of Kayla and Steve’s latest weddings was actually seeing all of our favorite characters together in a room. I’ve mentioned it earlier, lately there have been big events in town where only half of the relatives show up and it’s obviously for budgetary or scheduling reasons. It was so refreshing to see the room full of familiar faces and they actually all interacted too! Doug and Julie Williams were the clear bright spots in all of it. I was utterly surprised at how well some of the wedding scenes were written, giving actual warm, familial dialogue and interactions between all of these characters who have been together for decades. Julie made a point about getting together with family, how it only reminds her of all the ones who couldn’t be there with them and that didn’t necessarily mean those who passed away. She was thinking of her estranged son in that moment, wishing that he could have shared the same feelings everyone in the room seemed to have been feeling too.

I will say it again and again, until I’m blue in the face and dying of lack of oxygen to the brain… Doug and Julie should be the center of DAYS. Not only is it logical considering Julie is the oldest Horton on screen, the very definition of legacy character but the two of them together are just damn charming, pure magic. Just watch a scene between Claire and Theo (I love them, seriously!) then watch a scene with Doug and Julie. You just can’t help but to smile; Doug and Julie give viewers that warm, fuzzy feeling from seeing true romance while also feeling like your own grandparents. They’re relatable and you want to root for them and you like them, even when they’re getting into everyone else’s business. These actors have so much rich history to build on for Doug and Julie, but these new couples? The material they’re given are scraps in comparison. Connecting to it emotionally has to be difficult which in turn, makes the couples not pop on screen. Doug and Julie front and center can help encourage the return of that magic to the canvas. Unless The Hayes’ don’t want to be on contract and working more frequently, then there really isn’t any reason for them to not be on more often.

But I’ve digressed, so let me refocus! After the high of the wedding, Julie was unfortunately shot right out of the sky when grandson Scotty Banning phoned with bad news. Julie’s son David Banning had met in an accident and had died instantly. Coincidentally, Julie and Doug were not only with Rafe and Hope in Horton Town Square but Abe and Valerie Grant as well. Back in the 70s, Valerie and David was a super couple in the making but before they could really even start, hate mail from racists pressured NBC into axing the interracial couple. Valerie stood in quiet grief before fleeing the scene. Meanwhile Julie was crying her trademark howl, over the top for today’s soap standards but perfect for longtime fans who miss the DAYS that not only had emotion but lots of it. She slayed that scene even when she finally calmed down again, quietly wondering why she’d taken so long to try and reach out to her son again.

The next we see of Valerie, she meets with longtime friend Marlena Evans (I’m going to need so much more of these two together! The grace, wisdom and regality just oozing from Ms. Williams and Ms. Hall was enchanting!) who quickly notices how shaken up she is. Valerie relays the news of David’s passing but Marlena can see there’s something more, especially when she brings up how hurt David’s son must be and Valerie stiffens. Only when Marlena names said son as Scotty does Valerie soften up again and in her emotional state, gets ready to tell Marlena a big secret she’d been harboring only to have Abe arrive to interrupt her. The two women plan to lunch and Valerie sets off on her own in search of some alone time. She’d been planning on leaving Salem in the morning but will Valerie stick around longer to comfort Julie who she has grown closer to recently? And just how will that budding friendship hold up when Valerie’s son Eli arrives in town. I don’t see Julie taking very well to this major secret that Valerie kept hidden especially since she missed out on decades of doting on her grandson.

Julie may have lost her relationship with David before he died but she’ll probably do whatever she can to have a relationship with Eli once he debuts. But just why did Valerie keep her son a secret for all this time? According to her, not even David knew he’d had another son. I’m curious about her reasoning for this deception and even more so about how others will react, namely Abe and Julie.

Why do you think Valerie kept her son away from David and Julie all these years? Also, what a trashy move from Hope to spend forever waltzing with Rafe instead of consoling her sister-step-mother Julie in her time of need? Blegh.

Undercover Sisters

Adrienne, Jennifer and Anne work together to destroy the Orwell device.

The women of Salem are finally getting some of their kick back! For years, so many of our once spunky female characters were reduced to overly emotional crybabies. Eternal widow Jennifer Horton has been leading the charge in uncovering the truth about the Orwell device, getting her own hands dirty in the process of covering the story for her newspaper. Adrienne Johnson and Anne Millbauer have also found their places in the efforts as Jennifer’s co-workers and now co-frauds. What DAYS used to be to me was a show for soapy storylines that could pack a punch but still give you a giggle when you needed them; Adrienne, Jennifer and Anne showcase just that, a lightness and charm to a story that has had so many down points. Thank you, for whoever threw these women together!

After the big wedding, Anne, Adrienne and Jennifer all working together to end this Orwell device drama was the number one highlight. It’s a shame we couldn’t get more of it because I think I would rather watch an entire episode of that than more of Nicole Walker’s crying. Holed up in a Salem Inn room, the three women of the Salem Spectator have to figure out a way to help Shane Donovan bring down this device at the center of the family war. According to Shane a.k.a. The Key, he needs a computer from Titan to be able to hack into the device and shut it down for good. None of these women have any clearance at Titan anymore, especially Adrienne who was caught by the insufferable Deimos Kiriakis during a more recent snooping episode.

So who swoops in to save the day? Well, Anne does… surprisingly enough. The Kiriakis mansion had just been raided by Salem PD, suspicion running high on Deimos’ involvement in the disappearances of Gabi Hernandez and Chad Dimera so the Spectator women use this in their favor. Anne happens to have a Salem PD cop uniform in her closet and plans to use it to infiltrate the mansion to find a Titan computer. Before the shenanigans even began, I was already laughing. DAYS used to do so well with balancing out drama with comedy and in this genre, it’s so necessary to have some light hearted characters because stories can and will get dark. DAYS needs more Anne, this last week proved that.

Like the boss she is, Anne pushed right into the Kiriakis mansion under the pretense of continuing the investigation. Deimos stupidly asked no further questions and let Anne go about her business. Just before she could swipe the computer, another officer arrived and began to interrogate her about her business in the mansion. The two got into a comedic back and forth where they questioned each other’s authority and seniority but still Anne managed to make it out with the laptop. There was this little moment where Anne openly confessed to hoping that Jennifer would trust her now that made me really sympathize for Anne. Her blind hatred for Jennifer was gone and without her best friend Theresa in town, she’s probably feeling pretty lonely so this comradery between her co-workers has to be driving her. Jennifer understandably isn’t sure about Anne just yet but she seems to be opening up and I love it!

For once, the women on this show aren’t dense doormats. Representation is just so important and no matter who or what you are, seeing women kick ass and take charge is just awesome to see. I hope this trio can see this operation through to the end. Please don’t be the end of the Salem Spectator crew, it’s so important to keep them going just like this.

As usual, if I missed something you really wanted to talk about or something you felt was important, let’s start a discussion! Comment below, tweet me and let’s chat!

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.