Get Ready, Because Days of Our Lives Is About to Shake Things Up as Charlie and Gwen’s Secrets Explode — Plus, Is Ben Moving On?
If you’re like me, when things get a little too intense in the real world, you turn to the reel one for a little bit of relief. Thankfully, Days of Our Lives delivered big-time this week. Better still, based on my exclusive sit-down with headwriter Ron Carlivati, I’m extremely stoked for what’s about to go down in Salem. Because now more than ever, I need to see bad guys exposed and evil-doers punished, both of which appear to be on the horizon. Let’s talk a little bit about how this week, the stage was set for some big, upcoming twists, shall we?
I know not everyone agrees, but I kinda love Gwen. I’m a sucker for someone who comes into town with an agenda and proceeds to blow things up. I’m also a sucker for accents and the style of acting Emily O’Brien’s been doing of late, which can probably best be described as “vamping.”
Gwen doesn’t just walk into a room like a normal person, she slinks in. Something about her reminds me of Amanda Donohoe’s Lady Sylvia Marsh in the 1988 flick Lair of the White Worm. Both are snakes — one a bit more literally than the other — and both sort of command your attention as soon as they are on screen.
Credit: Vestron Pictures, Courtesy of the Everett Collection; Jill Johnson/JPI
Yes, it’s kind of ridiculous how easily Gwen managed to manipulate Chad and Abigail, not to mention how easily Anna saw through her. (Then again, that might qualify as a “Takes a former schemer to know a current schemer” scenario.) But O’Brien, Billy Flynn (Chad) and Marci Miller (Abigail) all gave killer performances as Gwen’s web of lies slowly began to unravel.
Of course, this being a soap, the whole truth didn’t come out. We still don’t know exactly why Gwen’s plotting against Abigail and her family (although we, like viewers, have pretty strong suspicions). Don’t expect this to be dragged out much longer, however. “The truth is definitely coming out,” Carlivati told me recently. “It’s not something we felt like we wanted to sit on much longer.”
Pretty sure viewers will be happy to hear that!
Baire? Clen? Whatever… Get Ready For It
Like most of you, I’ve been speculating for a while now that the show is positioning Claire to be Ben’s next love interest. This week, that was pretty much spelled out in big, block letters when Marlena played matchmaker for the two of them. OK, sure, she was really just suggesting that Ben and Claire might help one another deal with their respective grief, but she might as well have told Ben to “swipe right” on Claire’s Tinder profile.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI
I hear the #Cin fans protesting that it’s far too soon to move Ben into a new romance, but I’m all for it. Sad Ben is sexy and all, but having him start a new relationship is the quickest way possible to get Ciara — whether in the form of Victoria Konefal or a recast — back on the canvas. That’s just basic Soap 101.
Of course, before we can move move forward with Ben and Claire, we first have to deal with the Charlie problem. I noted recently that the more we saw of Charlie’s dark side, the more often portrayer Mike Manning donned his alter ego’s Clark Kent-like glasses. This week, the eyewear gimmick was a lot more noticeable, leaving some to speculate that the show might be preparing to reveal that Charlie has multiple-personality disorder in order to keep the character on the canvas.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Abigail “became” Dr. Laura by slipping on a pair of specs.
I get why people might wonder if that’s coming down the pike. After all, Carlivati loves a multiple-personality story… as, I must admit, do I. One Life to Live‘s Niki/Viki was one of my favorite examples, and I was a huge fan of the Jess/Nash/Tess story. That said, I just don’t see Charlie sticking around.
Credit: George De Sota/JPI
I also don’t see Days going the alter route, given that Charlie hasn’t really displayed any of the behaviors we typically associate with such tales. For example, it’s not as if we’ve seen the character losing track of time (as Viki often did) or dressing completely differently (a la the flashy Tess), both of which are usually used to cue the audience in to what’s going on.
Strike That, Reverse It
Big kudos to Days for the way it handled Dr. Raynor’s return. Instead of having people suddenly talk about the character who has been off screen for ages just before she popped up, the writers took the exact opposite approach. After the babies went missing, we were shown Raynor in the park, telling a mysterious someone that she’d stolen the tots as requested… and then Kristen and Brady reminded us of who the shady doc was.
I’d feel bad for Lani and Eli, given all they’ve been through of late, if it weren’t for the fact that this twist keeps them front and center. I’ll admit that it took me a while to warm up to this couple, despite really liking portrayers Lamon Archey and Sal Stowers. Oddly, it was watching Eli and Lani fight after their sort of silly break-up — I mean, she was mad at him for doing his job and arresting her gal pal, who’d stabbed an elderly, defenseless man — that really sold me on them. Despite the ridiculousness of the situation, Stowers and Archey made the resulting arguments feel like ones a real married couple might have.
Oh, and someone really needs to update Archey’s Wikipedia page, because after the performances he’s been giving, it’s safe to say he is no longer “best known for his recurring role as Mason Wilder on The Young and the Restless.”
• Kristen continues to be living her second-best life behind bars. Have we even seen her in a cell, or has she spent her entire incarceration in that visitors room? Meanwhile, Brady can offer his girlfriend all the assurances he wants, but she’s 100-percent right to be threatened by Chloe.
• Speaking of Chloe, I love that she just cuts right through the crap. When Philip realized that Ava being out of the picture only meant Angelo would now be pulling his strings, Chloe immediately turned to Brady for help. Maybe she should be inserted into every storyline whenever it needs to be moved forward.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI
• Anybody else find it weird that Jennifer and Kate were suddenly hanging out like gal pals, dishing about the latter’s love life? Yes, Jennifer now knows that Kate hasn’t been sleeping with Jack in recent months, but that doesn’t erase what happened while she was in a coma. It wasn’t that long ago they were holding slapfests in the park!
That’s a wrap on the first week of 2021, so swing by the comments to share your thoughts on Salem’s goings-on. If you’re in the mood to keep talking soaps, check out this week’s hot topics and burning questions for The Bold and the Beautiful. Then visit our new photo gallery in which we count down the 10 real-life soap couples who’ve been married the longest.