Soaps

Days of our Lives Week in Review: Gainer Dismount, Soft Landing to Start 2018

Photo Credit: NBC.com

Days of our Lives catapulted itself into 2018 – and landed softly. This last week wasn’t the most exciting, but it was gripping in a way that I haven’t seen soaps be in a long time. A villainess returned with charm, wit and struck fear in the hearts of her enemies – as one should! On top of that, we met a new DiMera and saw the dismantling of a dud of a super couple soon after. While the pacing was a bit slower, there was still a lot that unfolded to set up 2018 in an intriguing way!

With that said, let’s check out my top pick and pan from the week of January 1, 2018 on Days of Our Lives!

Pick of the Week

  • Time Stands Still

Now this is how you bring back the iconic Vivian Alamain. Let’s now go ahead and scratch her 2009 return out of our memories and instead focus our attention on the silent, cloaked figure crashing Abigail and Chad DiMera’s New Year’s Eve party. The utter drama and suspense that came with her chauffeured entrance (Yes, there was an actual car, driver and a parking lot set!) through me right back into the decadent early 90’s era of DAYS. It was a time when scenes were lush, every actor gave (or attempted to give) 110% and Vivian was a force to be reckoned with – not the kooky granny who got buried alive… above ground.

Her return shocked the entire room full of Salemites (though John Black and Marlena Evans were notably missing), as expected. Such a far cry from Andre DiMera’s 2015 return! I understand wanting to redeem villains, so they can be worked into day to day story, but Andre did a lot of vile things that should have the town fleeing at every chance; Vivian is similar, but DAYS creatives Ron Carlivati, Sheri Anderson and Ryan Quan introduced her just right. There was a flash of camp, lots of snark and that wit that only Madam Alamain possesses front and center! I loved every bit of it, especially when she immediately began to snap at Kate DiMera. God knows that woman deserves every insult coming her way, especially after her latest stunt with Theo Carver.

Photo Credit: NBC.com

But I digress, Vivian’s return was great but it only escalated when she introduced her and Stefano DiMera’s long lost son, played by Emmy winning Lead Actor Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas, General Hospital). Then came another chorus of surprised gasps but this one made me roll my eyes so hard they almost got stuck! I still don’t know why anyone would be surprised to hear The Phoenix had fertilized yet another egg somewhere out in the world, it’s his modus operandi outside of other dastardly deeds.

With that said, Vivian and Stefan O. DiMera played the room with skills so masterful they could make your head spin. For every question posed, the duo had an answer. Some fans thought the story was too convoluted and too convenient, but so are most of the retconned characters we’ve grown to love! Plus, I feel like it’s very on brand for Stefano and Vivian to have conceived a child that had gone missing for decades in this very maze-like manner. I mean, during the short time those two were married, Stefano implanted a microchip in Vivian’s tooth to control her… We can buy a long lost son in 2018!

As I mentioned before, this mother-son duo arrived in Salem with all their ducks in a row; ready for the doubters and naysayers with all kinds of proof. But I think my favorite power play was when Stefan announced that not only was the DiMera mansion his, he’d bought the bank that held the home’s mortgage so his claim superseded anyone else’s. Only on Days of our Lives do so many people who hate each other live in the same house but you notice it all across town! With that said, that move alone really set Stefan up to be formidable villain – or anti-hero, depending on how this all plays out.

DAYS has been thirsting for a true villain for years, especially one that isn’t from a generation gone by. Xander Cook was a close contender but they constantly portrayed him as incompetent (part of his charm – along with those arms) but Stefan seems to have it all under control. Tyler Christopher melted his way right onto the DAYS canvas, proving himself to be the capable actor we’ve always known him to be as Nikolas Cassadine but furthering the point as someone entirely new.

All that being said, I have a sneaking suspicion that Stefan won’t quite love the fact that his mother is in cahoots with Andre. What a twist that was! After years of preaching about his redemption, Andre getting his hands dirty again feels like a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the prolific serial killer and hopefully, Vivian has even more gagworthy one liners to bestow upon us. “I have copies (of the DNA results) for both of you, they’re in my other cape!” Already a classic!

  • Don’t Believe The Hype
Photo Credit: NBC.com

The feeling of vindication has been strong these last few weeks, a driving force that keeps me excited to watch every episode of DAYS on time. That excitement only builds when I know Sonny Kiriakis, Will Horton and Paul Narita are in play because as this love triangle develops, it’s so clear to see who will be on the outside looking in – and deservedly so. This last week, Sonny showed the side of him that I’d seen from his debut in 2011 and it was so great to see the chorus of similar opinions across soap Twitter. Sonny is not a good character, not a friend and absolutely not a good husband.

When Will agreed to give Sonny a shot, he made no guarantees or promises except that he needed a slow start to all of this. For two years he was presumed dead but was actually living someone else’s life, completely unaware of his true self but almost immediately, Sonny showed that he didn’t care about what pace Will needed for his own mental health. From trying to sleep in the same room as him, setting up Ariana Grace with adorable “Daddy” filled ambushes and breakfasts; Sonny did everything he could to speed along the return of Will’s memory. Only to repeatedly fail.

After being too overwhelmed by supposedly familiar faces at the party, Will ran right into the arms of his hot step-uncle, Paul Narita. At midnight, the pair kissed and it was all the magic I’ve ever wanted from these two characters. Christopher Sean and Chandler Massey have chemistry that could power the Times Square New Year’s spectacle, everything about them makes you want to watch – unlike their other respective pairing. It only helped when Will opened up to Paul about how comfortable he made him feel, having no expectations for who Will had to be and Paul agreed to that, wishing him nothing but the best. This was one of my most favorite moments of this last week and definitely a poignant one too.

Because of the mounting pressure and discomfort Sonny brought his way, Will broke things off before they even began. Could we blame Will? Before he died, he clearly wasn’t ready for marriage and now that he’s back it’s the same thing – Will is in his mid-twenties, has a child and has only had one boyfriend. Shouldn’t he be allowed to live? But poor Sonny just couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that Will would want to do anything – even breathe – unless he was right there. So many of these memories Sonny tried to reawaken in his future ex-husband were all centered around him and he told them with this smile like they were all his own stories, nothing belonging to Will himself. I’m ecstatic for Will to finally free himself of this chain so he can be himself, for once.

Not even Sonny using family photos as emotional blackmail could get Will to rethink his decision to ho around. I couldn’t be more proud.

Pan of the Week

  • It’s Tricky
Photo Credit: NBC.com

This last week we learned that Theo Carver is going to need some more recovery time – on an entirely different continent. What started off as a compelling story (and still holds up well as a great umbrella story, hitting many points across the canvas) just crumpled into a standard soap opera affair. Where has all of the desire for storytellers to go there gone?

Just a disclaimer, this is absolutely speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if something happened off screen that turned this story. Given the excellent way the tale was initially set up and now seeing how it petered out in the end just makes no sense, there’s this huge disconnect there! Now Kyler Pettis is set to vacate the role of Theo, a role that he took over from a capable actor and became a capable actor in his own right over the last three years, all so that Theo can venture to South Africa for treatment. On his own!

In what world would Abe Carver allow his youngest son to go half way around the world for an experimental treatment to help him walk again? At least have Brandon Walker meet him in Capetown so he’s not alone! From the instant forgiveness of Kate to this, the ending of this story pales in comparison to the beginning and climax; it’s almost sad. What’s definitely sad is having to say goodbye the Pettis though I’m sure the role will be recast within the next few months, if it hasn’t been already.

I had so many hopes with this story and now I have to see them come crashing down. While a major disappointment, it’s still wild to think that it was still the most well-crafted character driven storyline on soap operas in 2017. That’s saying a lot!

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.