Days of Our Lives: 2021 in Review, From a Murder Mystery to Big Returns to the Devil’s Baby Fever
Another year, another year of stories only the NBC soap opera could tell.
Days of Our Lives book ended 2021 with baby drama. It started with Eli and Lani’s babies getting kidnapped and ended with Ben and Ciara’s baby in danger from the devil. Of course, there was a whole bunch of love, betrayal, and even more Satan thrown in between.
Love it or hate it, MarDevil was one of the biggest stories of the year. If nothing else, it involved a lot of the canvas including the aforementioned “Cin,” Doug and Julie, Paulina and Abe, Kristen and Susan, Belle and Shawn, and John and Eric. And even Jan, who, in a sense, also sandwiched the year by killing off Charlie (off-screen) in February (thereby launching a whodunit) and then getting raised from her coma in December.
Another huge development was EJ’s return. After years away, the dastardly DiMera finally came home to Salem to shake up his family, and family business, as well as Nicole’s love life. The estrangement of his marriage to Sami also led to her cheating on him with Lucas, which led to all kinds of drama in the aftermath.
In addition to EJ, other noteworthy additions to the canvas included his son Johnny, and his now in-laws, Chanel and Paulina. The year would have been a lot less interesting without them.
Of course, Days of Our Lives also thought outside the daytime box by going Beyond Salem with their limited series on the Peacock streaming site. They doubled down on that success with their Hallmark-esque Christmas movie, which not only gave fans extended Salem romance and adventure, but also a new Sonny… in more ways than one!
After a year full of love triangles, returns, and diabolical plots, Days of Our Lives is ending on a dramatic high. Not only has Philip’s months-long descent into villainhood led to him faking his death, but Chanel and Johnny went off and got a quickie marriage, Lucas revealed he was Sami’s kidnapper, and the hunt for Sarah may finally be on. All of which sets up 2022 nicely for tons of fireworks.
Of course many, many other things happened this year as well. So take a look at our photo gallery of Days of Our Lives’ highlights from 2021, and then tell us your high and low lights in the comments below.
<p>Charlie was revealed to be Allie’s rapist and Ava’s son — and was then promptly murdered. Most of Salem became a suspect at one time or another, but it was good old Jan Spears, who did it and framed Belle for the deed. All so she could have Shawn Douglas for herself. Did you expect anything less?</p>
<p>After an exhaustive search and a <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/gallery/days-of-our-lives-ben-ciara-romeo-juliet-reunite-fantasy/" target="_blank">Shakespearean linked experience</a>, Ben finally found his presumed dead bride very much alive. But wouldn’t you know it? She had amnesia. They got their fairy tale ending though, but not before Ben kidnapped her himself after she moved to Johannesburg and got engaged to Theo.</p>
<p>Kate faked blindness to keep Jake and Gabi apart. Her beau <em>was</em> making out with another woman at her bedside as she recovered from a car accident, after all. What else was Kate Roberts to do? She kept up her emotional blackmailing ruse just long enough to help oust Jake as CEO from DiMera.</p>
<p>Eli and Lani started 2021 as the happily reunited parents of newborn twins. Things quickly took a devastating turn when Ivan kidnapped their babies for his Madame, who was missing her own (now adult) twins Jake and Stefan (sadly deceased). Thankfully, the detectives got the upper hand, rescued their babies, and spent the rest of the year in familial bliss… well sort of.</p>
<p>Gwen had a busy year. She slept with Chad, revealed herself to be the daughter Jack never knew, and discovered she was pregnant. She sadly lost her and Chad’s baby, but then falsely blamed Abigail, creating all kinds of upheaval in her new family’s life. It also led to her running drugs for Dr. Snyder, oddly growing closer to her father Jack (until he found out), and falling in love with Xander.</p>
<p>Philip returned to the Kiriakis family fold, but he was in debt to a family of a different kind — the Vitali mob. While Ava was neglecting son Charlie, and trying to get to know other son Tripp, she was also forcing Philip to launder money through Titan. </p>
<p>Sarah and Xander’s love was strong in early 2021. Not even Philip actively working against them could stop their love. It came crashing to a halt though after their dual proposal. Just as they were to get married, Kristen impersonated Sarah, broke Xander’s heart, and shipped Sarah off to a deserted island.</p>
<p>Chanel has had chemistry with everyone she’s come in contact with since she burst into Salem marrying a drunk Xander for his non-existent money. The only problem with that is, we now can’t decide if we want her with Johnny or his twin sister Allie. If her quickie wedding to Johnny is any indication she decided on him… or did she?</p>
<p>Chanel’s mama, Paulina also hit town and promptly tried to dismantle Horton Square. Can you even imagine? However, after falling in love with Abe, and reconnecting with her niece, Lani, she had a change of heart. But her attempt at turning the Square into a big box store wasn’t the biggest upheaval she brought with her…</p>
<p>…being forced to admit she was Lani’s mother and not her aunt was. And don’t get us started on Abe who learned he is not <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/617788/days-of-our-lives-lani-search-biodad/" target="_blank">Lani’s biodad</a>. The poor guy has loved Lani as his daughter for the past several years, only to learn the woman he was about to marry has been lying to him about that since the day they met.</p>
<p>Somehow, Adrienne’s lookalike Bonnie convinced Justin to fall in love with and marry her. But not before her ex-sister-in-law showed up, blackmailed her and died after the women struggled over a gun that accidentally went off. You know, the usual pre-wedding activities.</p>
<p>Nicole finally got her wish this year when Eric returned home to her. Unfortunatley, a lonely Nicole had just slept with Xander. A fact Sami was all too happy to publicly reveal — putting a damper on the homecoming fesitivies.</p>
<p>Sami should have kept Nicole’s secret just that, because Nicole gladly repaid the favor by making sure a newly returned EJ found out about Sami’s own affair. You know, the one with Lucas. Which led to…</p>
<p>…Sami getting kidnapped moments after EJ found out about said affair. When she was finally freed by Lucas (who was the one to kidnap her in the first place, which Sami doesn’t know, but MarDevil does), she came home to find EJ in bed with her nemesis — Nicole.</p>
<p>Sami thought it could only happen to a person once, but Marlena proved her wrong when the devil possessed her for a second time this year. The devil also inhabited Susan for a brief moment, kidnapped John, morphed into Eileen Davidson’s Kristen, manipulated Chanel, and brought Jan out of her coma. But MarDevil’s real fixation was on Ben and Ciara’s unborn child.</p>
<p>The devil didn’t just possess the good people of Salem. Oh no, MarDevil also literally brought villains Charlie, Nick and Deimos back from the dead for a little trick or treating fun. Well, MarDevil thought it was fun. Their victims? Not so much.</p>
<p>Philip’s been through a lot over the years, but it was his extreme jealousy regarding Brady and Chloe that sent him over the edge. It took him so far over, he faked his own death and set Brady up for it. Not exactly the best way to win a girl’s heart, or get revenge. Which he eventually realized and left to seek treatment, while continuing to play dead. So, you know, baby steps.</p>
<p><em>Days</em> took several stories on the run in <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/tag/beyond-salem/" target="_blank">Peacock’s limited series </a><em><a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/wp-admin/_wp_link_placeholder">Beyond Salem</a>. </em>By doing so, they brought back classic characters — Carrie, Austin, Billie, etc. — for an adventure spanning several cities and storylines. They also introduced viewers to new friends like Amanda Bottom, Belinda Chinashop and Sonny Delight.</p>
<p>Conference table sex was all anyone could talk about for a couple of weeks, there. In fact, they’re still talking about it. Rafe and Nicole better hope they stop though, because Ava’s on to her beau’s feelings for her good friend.</p>
<p>Kristen went on the lam after abducting Chloe and Kate, and then escaped prison again when she was caught trying to make off with Rachel in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, her doppelganger Susan tried to protect Ben and Ciara’s baby from MarDevil, but she got turned into a cat for her efforts. She also morphed into Eileen Davidson’s version of the mean, mean, mean Kristen DiMera who tried to seduce John Black. </p>
<p><em>Days</em> had so much fun going <em>Beyond Salem, </em>they returned to Peacock for more streaming shenanigans. This time they borrowed from Hallmark for their own version of a Christmas movie. Amanda, Belinda and Sonny even donned their heels again, while their <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/soapbox/617716/days-of-our-lives-very-salem-christmas-review-eric-brady-return/" target="_blank">stripper Santa friends</a> joined them in helping to save the town square.</p>
<p>After several months, Xander finally clued in to Sarah’s disappearance. As hard as Gwen tried to prevent it, Rex revealed “Sarah” dumped him just as quickly as she “reunited” with him. The question now is, what will Xander do with that information?</p>
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