Ciara, Ben park touch face Days

Image: Jill Johnson/JPI

Reforming daytime villains and viewers’ reactions.

Ben’s innocent introduction

When Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson) arrived on Days of our Lives in 2014, he was a seemingly innocent young man who took a job as a waiter at Club TBD. Viewers eventually learned he and his sister Jordan Ridgeway (Chrishell Stause) had long been on the run from their estranged father Clyde Weston (James Reed). So when Ben turned out to be the Necktie Killer, who was responsible for several beloved characters’ deaths, viewers were shocked. Years of abuse by his father, including witnessing the murder of a family pet, had caused Ben to have a psychotic break. Ben was eventually remanded to Bayview for treatment, and later after escaping, sent to prison.

Ben in jail

Ben’s redemption

When Ben escaped a third time and revealed to Salem that Will Horton (Chandler Massey), one of his victims, was alive, people were stunned. Will had amnesia, and Will’s mother Sami (Alison Sweeney) tried to convince Ben to re-enact Will’s murder to jog his memory, but Ben couldn’t do it. The incident was the trigger that caused Ben to realize he had changed and needed help. With Marlena Evans’ (Deidre Hall’s) direction and guidance, he was able to get on medication and was eventually deemed sane and released. However, not everyone in Salem was immediately convinced he was better, and even viewers remain divided over whether Ben is worthy of this second chance.

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A deserved second chance

I feel Ben has earned his second chance, and here’s why. First, he did the work and got better. A number of characters across soap operas have suffered from some sort of mental illness and been able to recover. General Hospital’s Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and his struggle with bipolar disorder is one of the most well-known examples, and this fan-favorite mob boss has killed more people than Ben without much remorse. Ben at least has shown remorse and knows he can never make amends fully for his past. Andre DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) on Days of our Lives is another character who has a long history of murder, but in the end, became a family man. Other characters started as villains and were redeemed. On One Life to Live, Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) gang-raped Marty Saybrooke (Susan Haskell) and went on to become one of the show’s most popular characters. General Hospital supercouple Luke and Laura’s (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis) relationship started off with Luke raping her. Young & Restless’ Adam Newman (Mark Grossman) has done terrible things over the years and still has a fanbase that loves him, though Adam is far from a good guy.

ciara and ben sit on bed days of our lives

Soaps are not real life. We watch them for escapism and entertainment. We also love stories where good triumphs over evil, which includes the redemption of characters we loved to hate once upon a time, or just outright detested. Vote in our poll and let us know if you think Ben deserves this second chance, and be sure to subscribe to Soaps.com’s newsletter to keep up with the latest news. Also view our gallery of other controversial soap storylines below.