Days of Our Lives Review: What We *Really* Think of the Devil Storyline — Maybe Our Take Will Leave You Going, ‘Hell, Yeah!’
We had high hopes when the soap teased a comeback for the demon in fall of 2021.
We don’t fault Days of Our Lives for going back to the same well again with the devil. All of our shows do that. The Bold and the Beautiful reheats love triangles like they were leftovers that never start to mold. General Hospital and Young & Restless break up Carly and Sonny, and Victor and Nikki, only so they can reunite and remarry them for the umpteenth time. It’s standard operating procedure. We get that.
But there has to be a point. And months after the devil returned to Salem, nope, we just don’t see one.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI
Has the storyline been some fun? At times, yes. Johnny in particular made a helluva host for the demon (though we could have done without his unwanted come-ons to Gabi).
Have there been surprises? You bet. Doug as the devil? That’s swinging for the fences right there. And Eileen Davidson’s reappearance as John’s version of Kristen was an especially big shock.
But at the end of the day, we come back once again to… what was/is the point?
Days of Our Lives seemed to forget what every supernatural show from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to… well, Supernatural always knew: Your Big Bad has to have a big, bad goal. On Buffy, for instance, it was almost always the apocalypse. Here, though, the devil’s mission seems to be to make pretty much the same kind of trouble in Salem that EJ or Gwen might on any given day. There has been no “big” to the bad.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI
Maybe it would have worked, had it been made clear that the devil came back with the single-minded purpose of possessing Ben and Ciara’s baby — you know, so it could stop bopping from one host to the next like it couldn’t decide what dessert to order. Alas, the story hasn’t been told that way, so the demon has made us scratch our heads as it’s made a mess of the lives of, in the grand scheme of things, a buncha not terribly powerful people in a small and inconsequential town.
Perhaps it’s a lesser demon? A demon trainee? Does hell have an internship program? That might explain the demon’s low-level pot-stirring. What do you think? Have you been into the storyline? On your way to the comments…
Check out our countdown of soaps’ all-time wildest storylines in the photo gallery below.
<p>You’re going to see a lot of <em>Guiding Light</em>’s Reva Shayne on this list. And the sanest of the reasons why is the early-1990s revelation that after she plunged to her “death” off an unfinished bridge in the Florida Keys — “Worst… vacation… ever,” declared her soulmate, Josh Lewis — she’d wound up convinced that she was an Amish woman named Rebecca.</p>
<p>Oops. In 2010, <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> had Brooke Logan celebrate daughter Hope’s high-school graduation by sneaking off to a corner of the party and getting it on with her “destiny,” Ridge Forrester. One teensy problem: Erm, that <em>wasn’t</em> Ridge that she boinked, it was Hope’s boyfriend, Oliver Jones. Somehow, thanks to their masks, neither of them realized that the bodies they were fondling didn’t belong to their significant others!</p>
<p>Forget burying the hatchet. In the early 1990s, <em>Days of Our Lives</em>’ Vivian Alamain instead buried alive the thorn in her side, Carly Manning. But that was just the show’s opening act. Its wildest plots were yet to come. Keep scrolling; you’ll get there.</p>
<p>One of daytime’s earliest, bat-guano-crazy storylines was set in motion in 1981, when <em>General Hospital</em> supercouple Luke Spencer and Laura Baldwin embarked on a quest to prevent the stone-cold Cassadines from using a secret formula hidden in the base of a statuette called the Ice Princess to make a popsicle of planet Earth. Now if you’ll excuse us, we need to go get a sweater…</p>
<p><em>Days of Our Lives</em> mixed<em> E.T</em>. and PYTs in 2002 when a meteor shower dropped on Salem scantily-clad twins Rex and Cassie, who weren’t really Martians at all but the genetically engineered offspring of Roman Brady and Kate Roberts. Which, come to think of it, was almost as much of a head-scratcher as the hotties having been from outer space.</p>
<p>We’ll never understand why <em>The Young and the Restless</em>’ supposedly all-powerful Victor Newman can’t beat nemesis Jack Abbott fair and square — but he sure as shooting can’t. So in 2015, he let Jack be abducted by his insane ex, Kelly Andrews, and replaced him — even in wife Phyllis Summers’ bed (eww!) — with a nefarious lookalike, Marco Annicelli. Keep it classy, Vic.</p>
<p>In one of the most demented stories <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> ever told, we learned that Stephanie Forrester had let husband Eric believe for eons that eldest daughter Angela had been stillborn. Meanwhile, the queen bee had had their microcephalic child looked after in secret — until her wheelchair took her on a fatal roll down a hill. In the aftermath, her careless doctor brought in a substitute Angela, who lost her marbles after being badly singed in a car crash.</p>
<p>“Go big or go home!” pretty much having been <em>Passions</em>’ motto, perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a jaw-dropper in the mid-2000s when the NBC soap revealed that its malevolent blackmailer Vincent Clark was intersex, then proceeded to have them schtup both their brother <em>and</em> father. And <em>then</em> had them give birth to their own half sibling. Mm-hmm, it was so out there, there was no coming back!</p>
<p><em>Days of Our Lives</em> came to resemble <em>Night of the Living Dead</em> in 2004, after the Salem Stalker — Marlena Evans in Jason Voorhees drag — laid waste to half the town before being killed herself… <em>and</em> turning up alive and well along with all of her loved ones on the island of Melaswen (New Salem spelled backwards). Who was to blame for the horrific bait and switch? Tony DiMera, that was who. Only even <em>that</em> reveal was a trick: He turned out to be his lookalike cousin, Andre!</p>
<p>Art aficionados don’t come any more enthusiastic than <em>Guiding Light</em>’s Reva, who in 2001 became so fixated on a painting that she allowed it to transport her through time, first to Edwardian England, then to the Civil War era, WWII Germany… You name it, she went there. Short of <em>Family Guy</em>’s time-tripping baby Stewie Griffin, no one is more well-traveled than the so-called Slut of Springfield. (By the way, this photo <em>isn’t</em> from that plot, it’s from when she was the princess of San Cristobel; don’t ask.)</p>
<p>It might have been the pandemic that inspired <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> to pair poor, mental Thomas Forrester with a murderous mannequin that resembled the object of his obsession, Hope Logan. How much safer could love scenes get, right? But the big shock of the twisted arc that resulted wasn’t its ingenuity but its poignancy; in the end, the whole weird mess was less bonkers than it was brilliant.</p>
<p><em>Dark Shadows</em> was knock, knock, knocking at death’s door in 1967, when the gothic soap’s creator Dan Curtis threw a Hail Mary — or was it a <em>Hell</em> Mary? — and disentombed long-in-the-tooth vampire Barnabas Collins. Ironically, the move pumped new life’s blood into the show and made it, however fleetingly, an overnight sensation.</p>
<p>By 2007, <em>Young & Restless</em>’ embattled Lauren Fenmore thought that she was finally rid of the evil nurse who had stolen her husband, son and peace of mind. “Not so fast,” replied Sheila. The Michael Myers of daytime had inexplicably had herself plastic surgery’d to look like Lauren’s pal, Phyllis, only to be “killed” yet again and returned with her old face to <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> in ’17.</p>
<p>There would be no phoning home for the <em>General Hospital</em> E.T. who landed in Port Charles in 1990; roaming charges, don’t ya know? Following a brief stay in the orbit of Anna Devane and daughter Robin Scorpio, the space cadet obtained the critical intergalactic crystal that would send him rocketing back to planet Lumina, leaving behind a doppelgänger to woo his benefactor.</p>
<p>After <em>Guiding Light</em> “killed” Reva for the umpteenth time in the late 1990s — or was it the umpteenth-and-seventh? — “widower” Josh was so sick of using air quotes to describe their relationship that he just up and Xeroxed his death-defying wife, a to-hell-with-it gambit that had viewers saying, “Well, hello, Dolly!” to a replica that grew up as fast as she was put down.</p>
<p>When folks say that daytime soaps are silly, unreal, over the top, often what they mean is that they’ve vaguely heard of the <em>Days of Our Lives</em> storyline in which beloved heroine Marlena was demonically possessed. What they never know, and probably never will, is that the storyline was as thrilling and successful as it was daring and unexpected.</p>
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