Days of Our LivesSoapbox
The *Real* Reason Days of Our Lives’ Vincent Hasn’t Killed Ciara — Plus, the Wigged-Out Spinoff We Really Need
February 1-5, 2021
It’s safe to say that no other show dove as aggressively into February sweeps as did Days of Our Lives. Big reveals, unexpected returns, gunplay, doppelgängers and wigs were all in play as the show outright dared the audience to think of an uncovered soap trope. The end result was a little chaotic, a lot of fun and at times way over the top.
Welcome to Camp Salem
For me, the highlight of the week had to be the flashbacks in which Marci Miller, Cady McClain and Emily O’Brien donned wigs (and, in Miller’s case, what I’m pretty sure was the notorious puffy pirate shirt from Seinfeld) and took us back to the 1990s. It is almost impossible to describe how insane the scenes were, and whether that’s a good or bad thing may depend entirely on what the show was going for.
If the intent was to lovingly parody soaps, then call it a smashing success and order a late-night spinoff series in the vein of Soap or Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, ’cause I’d be watching every dang night. Plopped down in the middle of the story as a way of illuminating a serious plot point, it may have been a bit less successful. But since most of the audience had figured out before Laura arrived the basics of what she would reveal, kudos to the show for finding a fun way to deal with what would have otherwise been a whole lot of exposition.
Lady in a (Glass) Cage
If ever any of us are taken hostage, we should all look as good as Ciara does months into her imprisonment. How you feel about the Ciara/Ben story right now will depend entirely on how you react to characters talking about trying to “reach out” to one another on a psychic level. I fully admit to finding this kind of stuff borderline hokey, but it’s also very in keeping with classic Days of Our Lives supercouple storytelling. Bo and Hope, John and Marlena, Patch and Kayla… I’m pretty sure all of them at one point or another did the soap equivalent of Dorothy clicking her heels three times and saying “There’s no place like home.”
What I find most interesting about this story, aside from questions about who is doing Ciara’s hair and laundry, is that it’s not playing as a “woman in jeopardy” saga. Sure, she’s being held against her will, but she has an almost playful banter with Rhodes. (Or at least did until she conked him on the head… that’ll likely change things moving forward!) We don’t get the sense that Vincent — if that’s who is really pulling the strings — wants her dead or harmed in any way.
At first, I tried to figure out why Vincent would want to keep Ciara locked up. If his goal is to make Ben suffer by taking away something he loves, why not just kill her? But then I realized that this is a far better way to drag out the torment. After all, if he were to kill Ciara, the game’s over. Ben grieves but eventually moves on. This way, Vincent still has another card to play, perhaps after Ben has found love again. It’s actually far more sadistic and, one would think, more satisfying if you’re looking to cause someone truly long-term pain.
As much as I loved Linda Dano on Another World — where she was fashionista/romance novelist Felicia Gallant — she was entirely the wrong choice to play Vivian. On paper, I can see where it probably sounded like a good fit, but in practice, it fell flatter than the proverbial pancake. In part, that’s because Vivian is Louise Sorel, period, end of statement.
Robin Strasser did a decent job of filling in during the character’s last visit, but that’s because she and Sorel are both from the over-the-top school of acting. While Dano’s Felicia is remembered for her feather boas and extravagant lifestyle, the character was, ultimately, far less quirky than Vivian.
Meanwhile, how ridiculous was it that Eli and Lani went to confront Ivan and reclaim their children without back-up? The scenes were clearly written with the goal of putting Lani and Eli into that locked room, thus delaying them reuniting with their children. But the way they were so easily played by Ivan made them look foolish.
I’m also not sure I get what the point of the babynapping storyline was. We knew Vivian was alive, so her return wasn’t a shock (although revealing that Ivan had acted on his own, not on Madame’s orders, was a very nice twist). And so far, the story doesn’t seem to be having any sort of ripple effect, making it feel as if it was basically designed to give newlyweds Lani and Eli something to do. Perhaps next week’s episodes will prove that notion wrong.
• It’s always a little weird to me when a big, in-progress story disappears entirely from the canvas the way the Charlie saga did this week. Not only did we not see Tripp, Charlie, Ava, Steve or Kayla, but they were barely mentioned. Throwing references, even casual ones, into the conversation of other characters who aren’t actively involved makes the whole canvas feel more like an actual community and less as if Charlie & Co. are living on an island, far removed from their friends and neighbors.
• Anybody else find that by week’s end, they had a strong desire to order Chinese food and ask for extra fortune cookies?
• Sometimes, soaps wild up telling oddly parallel stories, which has definitely been the case where Bold & Beautiful‘s Liam and Days of Our Lives’ Chad are concerned, what with both having made ridiculously bad assumptions about their wives and then sleeping with someone inappropriate. That got us thinking about the special crossover episode we’d love to see.
• An interesting discussion broke out on Twitter after Abigail punched Gwen. While many in the audience love scenes like this — hey, it’s downright cathartic on some levels — others say that this kind of violence shouldn’t be encouraged. (Interestingly, nobody seemed to say anything about Kristen pulling a gun on Chloe!) I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts in the comment section, whether on this or anything else that unfolded this week. While you’re here, check out our brand-new “family album,” a collection of photos of the stars and their real-life moms.