Stephanie hugging Kayla alex xander sarah tripp wendy johnny eric looking sad jpi days mashup
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (6)

These deaths have a point… but is it a good one?

It all started with Susan dying in a fiery car crash. We thought, at the time, that Ava had died too, but it turns out Days of Our Lives had another way to remove her from the board. Then the trio of deaths hit us after Kristen’s orchid was stolen. Kate and Kayla went down almost immediately, and now Marlena’s followed.

In other words, it’s been quite the opposite of a laugh a minute for some time. And whether or not we actually believe the deaths are sticking, we do think we’ve figured out their purpose.

You see, in the end it all comes down to love. Wait, what?

Well, let’s take a quick look at all that’s gone down.

Johnny’s reeling from losing his aunt and both grandmothers and Chanel’s there to comfort him. With a borderline kiss. As one does. That’s driving Allie crazy, and pushing her to confide in Alex, someone with whom she has chemistry. And seeing as how Stephanie wants nothing to do with him after he switched off her phone, he’s clearly ready to turn to the next person who shows him kindness — like Allie!

And with Alex having turned into a huge disappointment, Stephanie’s being pushed right into Chad’s arms. With his own loss still fresh, they’ve now found new reason to bond with each other.

At Steve and Kayla's, Alex gestures toward Chad while grimacing at Stephanie

Then there’s Eric. He had brief flashes of his old self, especially when he led the family in prayer and if he had continued down the path, we could have seen him reconciling with Nicole. But now that he’s lost Marlena, he’s back with Sloan. Of course, they both made it clear this was lust, not love, but we all know how these things go in the soap opera world.

And Susan’s death so wounded EJ that he actually seems to be trying to be at least a halfway decent person. He opened his home up to Nicole and Holly and in one of the least surprising developments ever, they’ve been growing closer.

Oh, and Kristen so completely messed things up, we’d be surprised if even Brady could forgive her. And that lug has overlooked a lot of her past crimes. That means he and Chloe are likely back on — depending on where she lands with Stefan.

Wrapped in a towel, Sloan opens her door to a gaping Nicole. Sloan looks over her shoulder at a bare chested Eric, who wears a towel around his waist.

What else could there be?

So far, Xander and Sarah’s tale has mostly been kept separate from the orchid deaths, but if the show keeps Rex around, that could change. With Kate gone, he could use a shoulder to cry on, and right now, Sarah’s fed up with her own husband. The two exes would have plenty of misery to bond over.

And now that Johnny’s bonding with Chanel over all the losses he’s faced recently, he’s pulled away from Wendy. If Days of Our Lives actually allows Joey and Tripp to stick around for a bit as well, that triangle we were teased back in Beyond Salem: Chapter 2 between the brothers and Wendy could finally come to fruition.

Looked at as isolated incidents, it may not seem like much, but when you put it all together, these deaths are shaking up the very fabric of Salem more than even the devil’s run did. And they also make a bit more sense than Satan’s seemingly unending time on earth amounting to little more than messing in folks’ love lives. (Fingers crossed that his appearance in heaven — or is Marlena in hell?! — amounts to little more than a blip and he doesn’t start messing with things again.)

Tripp falls backward as Johnny follows through on a punch. Wendy gasps.

More: The Sonny plot twist Zach Tinker is waiting for

Regardless of whether Kayla, Kate and Marlena end up coming back, these things have all been set in motion — or could be. And when it comes to love, once the ball starts rolling, it’s hard to put a stop to it.

But is it all worth it in the end? That’s something that remains to be seen. Because even if the point of all this was to shake up the love scene, is that the only way the show could have done it?

What do you think?

Sound off, then check out our updated Days of Our Lives couples photo gallery to see where everyone is!