Beyond Salem’s Second Chapter Review: Is the Days of Our Lives Blast From the Past Worth Checking Out?
Spoiler warning! If you haven’t finished Beyond Salem’s second chapter yet, go do that first or check out our recap galleries for each episode!
With Beyond Salem Chapter 2 officially finished today, we thought it might be fun to do something of an unofficial “soapbox” to figure out whether Peacock’s second foray into the Days of Our Lives spinoff worked or not. I’ll be honest: The first chapter was, well, kind of up and down for me, which made me a little leery about this second one.
So color me surprised to come out feeling like this second one mostly worked and worked well! I had my doubts at first, but as a self-contained story, it zipped right along nicely and was pretty darn fun. With that said, I think it’s more made for longtime fans than newbies looking to jump in.
From Megan Hathaway’s villainous (but helpful?) return from the dead, to Harris Michaels popping back up in a big way, the whole thing wasn’t just a love letter to Bo and Hope, but to ‘80s Days of Our Lives. Heck, we even got the affable Chris Kositchek running a San Francisco gym. And those prisms that Megan was so desperately tracking down? Ripped straight from the sci-fi era of Days.
Even those heaven scenes. Let’s call them what they are: cheesy. But unlike other recent supernatural elements on Days of Our Lives which shall remain unnamed, they had a certain nostalgic cheese to them. That was true for many of the more over-the-top elements.
Characters like Thomas Banks and Sister Mary Moira Banks are even more out there than their sis, Susan, and fans will either love them or hate them, but man, Eileen Davidson really throws herself into them!
And that fake-out in the beginning where it almost seemed like the show was about to reveal that the Kristen DiMera in prison in Salem isn’t the real Kristen almost had me. But it would have been hugely disrespectful to the work Stacy Haiduk has been doing for years, so I’m so glad they didn’t go there.
Here’s a thought, though: there are four nearly-identical Bankses (Banksi?) running around plus Kristen, so having both Davidson and Haiduk appear in a scene together some day could be a fun way to have the various characters really interact!
Speaking of character interacting, can we move Wendy Shin over to the main show now, please? She was one of the best things to come out of the Peacock series. Smart, scrappy, self-assured and she can handle a gun! Oh, and she can handle two dates at once. Good for Gabi cheering her on.
But outside of that, Gabi was completely wasted, I’m sorry. Why did it feel like she was playing second fiddle to Li when she is the schemer who wrestled control of DiMera Enterprises from the family whose name is on the building? She shouldn’t be a C character.
And while it was so nice seeing Steve and Kayla actually get time with their family (new faces and all), it felt far too brief. We got a few minutes of that before they were all torn apart again and scattered to the four winds. But it was a lot of fun to see everyone run into each other in Hong Kong, especially characters who hadn’t seen each other in ages. “Wait, I know you!!”
Hear Me Out
This is going to get me in a whole lot of trouble, I already know, but one other, I won’t say gripe, but thought that maybe they could have gone in another direction is that there’s a part of me that almost wanted Hope to stay dead. But that was only because this would have made a beautiful sendoff! Hope’s reaction to seeing Zack… no, you’re crying.
It could have left us knowing that she and Bo are dancing together forever and spending eternity with Zack. Plus, Kristian Alfonso has all but made clear the chances of her ever coming back fulltime are next to nothing (but nothing’s impossible, I suppose), so this would have taken care of the missing Hope problem. No more need for Ciara to (rightfully!) excoriate Hope for ignoring her family, danger or not. Cue eye roll at Hope’s excuses…
But clearly, this chapter of Beyond Salem was intent on going an entirely different, shocking direction. So I can’t blame them for not making it a touching final sendoff.
When I found out Bo giving his “Second Chance” to Hope involved time being rewound, my mind was racing as to what that would have meant for Bo. Would sending him back to Earth have restarted a new timeline where Bo never died? The story possibilities for how that would have impacted the modern day Salem were really fascinating, even as I knew the show would never go there.
But we learned in the show’s final moment that Bo was still alive, and suddenly the whole series turned from one, last, touching farewell to a tantalizing hope for a happily ever after! You can bet there’s going to be much more to come in the next chapter. (But please not a Harris/Hope pairing for real. Pretty please?)
• Andrew Donovan? Jury’s still out on him. He and Paul have great chemistry, and it’s cute that they’re giving Paul a chance for love with another legacy character, but I was kind of hoping he’d come back so poor Sonny wouldn’t be left alone in Salem while Will’s off doing his thing. Actually, that would work if they brought Andrew back to Salem too. (Are he and Sonny related? Who’s got the family tree chart?)
• Is Marlena really that great at deprogramming brainwashing? How many times have Steve, John, and pretty much anyone else brainwashed by Stefano been put back under? Maybe get someone else to do the deprogramming this time.
• A devilishly judgy Larry Welch seems like exactly where he should have ended up. Though maybe not with that kind of power.
After this trip down memory lane, check out our photo gallery of former Days of Our Lives stars, then and now!