Days of Our LivesSoapbox
Chad, Abby, Gwen and Rolf Made the Blackout More Fun Than it Should Have Been
Sing along if you know the tune: “That’s the night that the lights went out in Salem.” This week, Days of Our Lives trod familiar territory by not only staging another jailbreak but once again setting Orpheus and Clyde loose upon the locals. Just to shake things up, Rolf went along for the ride, making the DiMera mansion the place to be. What else went down in the dark? Let’s shine a light on the high and low points of the week, shall we?
Things That Go Bump in the Night
A while back, word spread that Days of Our Lives would be crafting sort of a mini-arc which could be dropped into the unfolding stories. This became necessary because the show had assumed it would be pre-empted for two weeks by NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics. Remember, Days was filming — at the time — months in advance, so without a story to slide into that period, the Hortons would have been decorating their Christmas tree while the rest of us were still fighting over whether or not to put nuts in the Thanksgiving stuffing. Fortunately, the show just happened to have a bunch of people chillin’ like villains, waiting to be unleashed. One massive, Orpheus-arranged power outage later, and the prisoners were Salem-bound.
Now, call me crazy, but if I was Clyde, I’d have gone somewhere other than my son’s hotel room. I mean, clearly, that was the first place the cops were going to look. And it’s not like Clyde couldn’t have tried to talk Ben out of trying to kill Vincent from somewhere else. You know, someplace like, say, Ben Weston Island. Orpheus, meanwhile, went — where else? — straight to Marlena, the eternally burning flame to which his moth can’t help but be drawn.
The real fun, however, was unfolding at the DiMera mansion. Even before the lights went out, a good time was being had, thanks to several scripts which proved exposition may be a necessary evil, but it doesn’t have to be sinfully dull. “You’re planning a party to celebrate the anniversary of someone coming out of a coma,” a skeptical Jake said to Gwen. “You celebrate Christmas with slasher movies and a bottle of vodka. Ya ain’t exactly the celebration type.”
I interrupt my already-in-progress column to say again how much I’m loving Brandon Barash in this part. I’ve always enjoyed his performances in past roles, but never have I seen him look like he’s having such a blast. And as I always say, if the actors are having fun, so am I.
Now, where was I? Oh, right… as Gwen and Jake were bickering downstairs, Chad and Abigail were being downright adorable while, again, really just spouting dolled-up exposition. “Everybody we know right now is grieving,” Abs told her fella. “Our nanny is the ex-girlfriend of a brother you never knew existed. They’re both living in my house. Their breakup was nasty, so they never stop sniping. You hate the brother you never knew existed, so you never stop sniping… and you’re telling me it’s all downhill from here?”
Before long, Chad was being held at gunpoint by Rolf (who I’m still convinced was head over heels in love with Stefano). So caught up was I in their scenes that I completely forgot about Rolf and Gwen’s mysterious connection until the second she entered the fray. I will say that Chad not being immediately suspicious of Gwen’s whole “I’m afraid to go down the stairs in the dark” thing was sort of ludicrous, but otherwise, this whole sequence worked for me.
Enter Crazy, Stage Left
The other highlight of the blackout was the Jan/Belle confrontation. There’s a whole lot of history there, and not just between the ladies. Belle would probably love nothing more than to forget about her past indiscretions with Philip, but Jan’s not one to let a button go unpushed. That said, the moment Jan broke out that ginormous crystal, I reset my Countdown to Murder clock. Because sure as I always insist on being Miss Scarlett when playing the board game Clue, I’m willing to bet that crystal will be the weapon of choice when someone decides to give Ms. Spears a taste of her own medicine!
Stop Being So Dang Cute!
The more adorable they make Charlie and Claire, the more I’m convinced he’s going to turn out to be Allie’s rapist and the father of her baby. I desperately don’t want this to be true, but the writing definitely seems to be on the wall. It doesn’t help that Claire’s ex, Theo, has been recast and will soon arrive in Salem. I’m going to hold out hope that this means we’re about to get a nice little triangle for Claire, but I fear it instead means Theo’s return will involve him riding to her rescue after Charlie’s dark side emerges. Only time will tell, but until someone — I’m lookin’ at you, headwriter Ron Carlivati! — sinks it, I’m going to continue sailing on the Claire/Charlie ship.
One thing that’s not so cute is the way Sarah’s behaving lately. Despite knowing that beau Xander has a major hate-on for Philip, she continues to not only spend time with the guy but do so in situations which would unleash the little green monster in any guy, let alone one like Xander. Then, when Xander gets jealous, Sarah lashes out at him. Worse, she does so in front of Philip, who sits there with that smug look on his totally slappable face. (It’s worth mentioning that I love Philip because he’s so insufferably smug. He’s just this side of Snidely Whiplash, and Jay Kenneth Johnson embodies him with an oiliness that’s right up there with the infamous J.R. Ewing. That may not sound like a compliment, but playing that particular role wasn’t exactly bad for the career of Larry Hagman!)
• After playing heavily the past few weeks, there wasn’t much movement in the Tripp/Allie story. It’s all down to the DNA test now, as well as the fallout once he finds how his dad facilitated the testing. We also got a bit of Allie bonding with her son, which seems like a pretty good indication that she’ll wind up fighting the babydaddy for custody (assuming this mess is sorted out before little Henry is old enough to care for himself).
• The Kristen/Brady story also wound up taking a backseat to the blackout this week. I can’t help wishing that they were living in the DiMera mansion with the rest of her crazy clan. Sure, it’s silly when all of your rich folks reside under one roof, but is it any worse than having half of your characters living in hotel rooms? I know more than a few people who are living with their extended families and not a one who calls a hotel home.
• I’d completely forgotten that Orpheus’ real name is Milo Harp, so it was fun having that nugget casually dropped into the dialogue. Better still, Days of Our Lives fans on Twitter helped fill in some of the blanks for newer viewers, even posting clips of Marlena being forced to help Orpheus raise his children (Zoey and Christian, whom we’d later re-meet as Evan). While soap Twitter can sometimes be a harsh place, it’s also a community filled with some pretty awesome people whose love of the genre dates back decades and is one they’re willing and eager to share. Any way you slice it, that’s pretty darn awesome.
What was your take on the blackout-centric week? Hit the comments with your thoughts and theories, then check out this gallery of the all-time best Days of Our Lives characters, ranked. Chances are, you’ll disagree with where some of them fall, but we’re pretty sure you’ll concede they all deserve to have made the cut!