Gabi’s Back, and What Happens Next Could Be A Game-Changer — Plus, Why the Show Really Needs to Start Keeping Secrets
Taking full advantage of the fact that it was the only soap airing a new episode the day after Thanksgiving, Days of Our Lives ended the week with a heckuva cliffhanger. How will the newly-returned Gabi react to having seen Jake and Kate in one another’s arms? Before we discuss that, let’s talk about some of the other highlights which unfolded this week, shall we?
Chad’s Big Mistake
I’m a sucker for stories in which a character is hoisted by his own petard. In this case, it’s Chad who is proving to be his own worst enemy by making mistakes at every single turn. He’s letting Gwen whisper in his ear (despite having expressed uncertainty about the nanny and her motivations in the past) even as his loathing for Jake gives the vixen ammunition to use against him. Normally, I’m totally Team Chad, but in this case, the guy is being a complete jerk and for no good reason.
Chad might see Jake as a DiMera interloper, but he’d do well to remember that he wasn’t to the manor born… literally. In fact, while we’ve seen no real evidence that Jake is anything but a hard worker with a penchant for troublemaking brunettes, the same can’t be said for Chad. While he’s now firmly ensconced in the DiMera mansion and boardroom, he was such a hellion in high school that (before we met the character) his mischief-making and drug use led his mom and supposed dad to ship him off to boarding school.
In any case, Chad’s attitude toward Jake opened the door for Gwen to walk right in and start manipulating him. But what’s troubling here is that Chad isn’t just suspicious of Jake’s motives, he’s openly fretting that Abigail might fall into bed with his rival. What does that say about the level of trust he has in his wife? (Ironically, this same scenario is unfolding over on The Bold and the Beautiful, where Liam this week made it clear exactly how little faith he has in his wife’s fidelity.)
If Chad’s not careful, he’s going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy where his wife and brother are concerned.
Hurricane Gabi Blows Into Salem
When talking about November sweeps, headwriter Ron Carlivati warned that when Gabi returned to Salem, she’d quickly stir things up. Well, he certainly didn’t lie! In a single episode, she pushed Chad’s buttons, had a verbal catfight with Gwen and found Jake in bed — er, cot? — with older woman Kate.
Not a bad start.
Happy as I am to have Gabi back on screen, I can’t help thinking we probably could have postponed her arrival by a few weeks. Kate and Jake’s secret affair is only just starting to go from no-strings-attached to “Wait, what are these threads stretching from me to you?” I know some in the audience aren’t digging this relationship, but the natural chemistry between Brandon Barash and Lauren Koslow, combined with the messiness of their characters’ relationship, is ticking a lot of boxes for me.
I’m hearing this isn’t going to play out the way you might expect, and if things play out the way I suspect they will, things are going to get very, very complicated for all involved.
Married, With Issues
Jan forcing Shawn to marry her was fascinating in that it was silly as heck and yet managed to create some good drama at the same time. That’s a tough balancing act, but the show pulled it off. Take, for example, the moment when Jan insisted John and Marlena hand over their rings so she and Shawn could exchange them. That could have been a nothing scene, but Deidre Hall’s performance when Marlena, acting as officiant, spoke about what wedding rings represent, was captivating. Suddenly, we were thinking about everything John and Doc had been through over the years, as represented by those simple pieces of jewelry.
I have questions about how, exactly, Jan managed to drag Belle from that hotel room to the Kiriakis mansion (not to mention up the stairs and into Philip’s bed). But hopefully, that will play into the next phase of this story. And since I’ve been predicting that someone would murder Jan pretty much since the moment she returned to Salem, I’m hoping someone will sneak into her room and do the deed. After all, the stage has been set for a scenario in which John — who strangled Jan in front of witnesses, including his wife — is accused of finishing her off.
We Gather Together
Thanksgiving is a tough holiday for soaps to get right, and that seemed especially true this year. Both The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital wound up skipping Thanksgiving entirely, while Days of Our Lives and The Young and The Restless took a more traditional approach. For my money, Salem’s lot nailed turkey day and all its delicious complications.
It was a little bittersweet, seeing the extended Horton family come together at a time when the rest of us were being told not to do so. I was glad to see Jennifer stand her ground and suggest Jack spend the day elsewhere but equally glad that he and Abigail were able to work through their recent differences.
Too Much of a Good Thing
This is going to sound weird coming from someone who makes his living writing about spoilers, but maybe Days of Our Lives should consider dialing back on how much it reveals? By now, you’ve probably seen that winter preview promo which revealed everything from Joey getting out of prison to Ciara’s Christmas return.
I get that the idea is to psych up the audience so they’ll tune in to see the twists play out. But I also know that General Hospital, which has been playing its cards close to the vest, has been an absolute blast to watch, in large part because you literally never know what’s going to happen next.
• Xander and Sarah playing detective gave me total Jonathan and Jennifer Hart vibes. And if you don’t get that reference, allow me to introduce the couple in the video below.
• How ridiculous was it that Rafe had no clue about Ciara’s death? I get that the guy was hiding out and protecting his family, but how difficult would it have been for him to keep track of what was going on back in Salem… especially given that his would-be girlfriend’s daughter was missing when he left?
• Watching Doug and Julie host Thanksgiving, it occurred to me that not only have they become the new Tom and Alice, but no other soap has an old-school matriarch/patriarch for others to gather around. I suppose The Young and the Restless has Victor and Nikki, but they just don’t seem cut from the same cloth as Doug and Julie. And the first person who suggests Carly and Sonny fill that role on General Hospital will be sent to their room without dessert. (Also, dessert is pie. You don’t want to miss it.)
That’s my take on this week’s action, now let’s hear what you have to say. Visit the comments below to share your high and low points of the week in Salem. Then check out this Thanksgiving photo gallery, in which we look at some of the stories, stars and twists we’ve loved in 2020.