Soaps

‘Days of our Lives’ Week in Review: Our Town

Rafe and Hope make a shocking arrest. Courtesy JPI

Days of Our Lives again showed that under a competent writer, a soap opera could still be entertaining while showcasing different story elements and characters in varying capacities. Salem is feeling alive again and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The new pacing of the show is much quicker but it still has its slow moments, but now those moments are used to give stories some time to marinate and sink in, instead of just being boring. I haven’t been bored with this show in weeks! That new writer shine has yet to wear off especially since the new team’s full material still hasn’t aired. There’s still a lot of anticipation from all the fans to see what further changes Calivati, Anderson and Quan will bring to Salem. While they’re doing a great job so far, no show will ever be completely perfect but we’re all excited to see these fully capable creatives helm our favorite show.

Let’s check out some of my picks and pans from this last week on Days of Our Lives!

Picks of the Week

(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes

Let’s first address that for the first time in years, Abe Carver is at the center of a story. Yes, the mayor and one of the last few remaining moral centers of Salem is actually in a main story! As other soap operas have kept their African-American characters segregated or as talk-tos for their lighter skinned friends, DAYS has moved to do the opposite. The biggest surprise is that the story hasn’t just linked up just about everyone in town, but that it’s also quite good? DAYS has been missing high stakes from all of their storylines until recently. The mayor of Salem has just been caught up in a counterfeiting scheme, his friends and his family are either rallying around him or keeping quiet as evidence builds but in the meantime the whole town is buzzing about the case. As it should! Salem is beginning to feel like a living, breathing town again not just a place where random dramatic situations pop up around town and Salemites handle them in isolation.

As it should have, Abe being taken into police custody was a big news story. While it really made me sick to see Rafe Hernandez and Hope Brady, two of the town’s most decorated dirty cops, take down Abe there was still a part of me that made me wonder if it was all true. At Salem PD, Abe confronted a room full of family and friends to plead his innocence while Eli Grant read off a list of circumstantial evidence against him. Walking around town with a wad of cash that was allegedly full of counterfeits, part of which he’d used to lace Valerie Grant’s neck with new diamonds, just didn’t’ sound like the Abe we all know. As a veteran police officer, I don’t think he’d be so blind as to miss counterfeits mixed in with all that cash. He may seem to be guilty, but it’s very clear that this is a ploy to flush out who the true partner of Dario Hernandez might be. Abe laid out some good clues by reminding everyone that Dario’s partner was someone in a position of power and the only person around who is as high ranking as Abe – is Commissioner Raines.

I’m guessing that Lani Price played a big part in this set up. After he continued to press her for information on her investigation with Eli, she mentioned how her father would get rid of Raines if he ever fired her over keeping confidential. His look of quiet happiness when Abe came in wearing handcuffs wasn’t missed by me! While I think this plot is so interesting and a nice change of pace, I hate that Raines will be painted as the bad guy when not that long ago he was really the only good cop the force had. When Hope and Rafe were running from murder charges, he was the only logical person in that police department that said they had to answer for their crimes. Something tells me he won’t be getting off as easily as they did though, and that’s truly upsetting.

On a final note, did anyone make a GIF of Valerie tugging her diamonds off to the floor when Eli asked to take them for evidence? What a moment. I will need much more of this in future episodes, please. You know everyone watching with a black momma of their own knew that Eli was shaken to the core, waiting for that hand to come up and tug him down too!

How Bizarre

Courtesy JPI

Love it or hate it, the doppelganger storyline has injected DAYS with some much needed fun and energy. I do agree, Hattie Adams and Bonnie Lockhart together can be a bit much sometimes but other times, they’re truly the perfect remedy for what’s been ailing this show. What I enjoyed most about the doppelganger antics this last week is that the other Salemites roped into this plot were only barely fooled. Far too often we see our favorite characters behaving like idiots to further a plot but John Black, Roman Brady and even Eric Brady knew something was up and voiced their concerns. Even though they don’t suspect their loved ones have been replaced with imposters (I mean, it’s happened so many times before that maybe these characters should jump to that conclusion), they can see that Hattie and Bonnie are the same pair of bumbling fools that the viewers see.

As I mentioned before, some viewers are really not enjoying this tale of doppelganger deception. Yes, it’s been played out on this show before but even as I watch it myself, I can’t help but wonder what it could have been. At least seeing “Marlena” confess her deep feelings for Roman and lay a big wet one on him only to be turned away is entertaining. For all we know, Anjelica Deveraux’s secret partner could have been one of Maggie Kiriakis’ newest egg babies if we were to think of how far Dena Higley’s imagination could stretch. We know for sure that there was no real plan or thought that went into Anjelica’s sudden return to Salem. She just wanted the Salem Spectator and it was probably just going to end there. Ron Carlivati may have taken this story to the extreme, but at least it’s entertaining and characters are behaving in the face of these extremities with understandable confusion. Roman’s questioning “Marlena” every step of the way as she forgot their children and kissed him in a very un-Marlena-like way was the character’s first highlight in a long time.
It’s almost like this story took this direction on purpose, knowing it would draw hugely polarizing opinions with its silliness. The original plan for the story was probably so dull and drab that there was no choice but to make it over the top to compensate. John and others growing more and more puzzled but curious as “Marlena” traipses around town covered in cheese puff dust is the kind of dramatic irony that just pulls it all together.

Anjelica thought she had a fool proof plan but not even a full day with it set into action and nothing is going right. Hattie was immediately turned down by Roman, Bonnie seems to regret being so cruel to Lucas and is having wet daydreams about him all while the kidnapping victims suffer in silence – but for how long? I really do think this story was meant to just be fun filler to lead into different stories for the fall as those planted seeds seem to already be growing. Roman and Kate Dimera found themselves back in each other’s arms for a moment thanks to Hattie reawakening the former’s romantic spirit. I was enjoying Roman as just a talk to for other Salemites, however I was a fan of Kate and Roman in the early 2000s and considering they do have often ignored children together, it’s amazing their connection hasn’t been touched upon again in so long. Color me intrigued. Instead of interloping with every Dimera or Dimera prototype new character, Kate has been interacting with people she shared a significant amount of her onscreen history with again. I’d love for her to be the one to finally connect everyone’s suspicions about these imposters and bust up the equally bitchy Anjelica and run her out of town.

Again, looking at this through literary lenses, the dramatic and situational and sometimes verbal irony of this story make it a lot more smart than some people give it credit for. I really don’t think this is the part of the story that viewers should get invested in though, just kick back and enjoy it for what it is worth and watch how the drama unfolds around it in the coming weeks as it heads into its climax. That simple!

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined as Staff Writer for Soaps at TVSource Magazine in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs all while staying updated with his multiple "stories" like the elderly person in his soul. TV is a big part of his life, and it shows as he has been known to try to incorporate TV hijinks into his life with varying results. Follow him at @sourcecoryon for soapy soap reactions and more!