Days of Our Lives Upped the Stakes as Ciara Gave Birth and Eli Woke from His Coma, But Was It Enough to Keep the Soap’s Weaker Storylines Afloat?

ciara abe lani eli jack xander gwen mashup

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (3)

We finally returned to the wedding drama this week as the show touched on a number of its biggest storylines running at the moment. The result, though, was a bit uneven as we bounced up and down from repetitive psychic connections to Gwen’s pathos to Eli’s waking. They did, however, finally nail a cliffhanger ending to the week, which is doubly impressive seeing as how it was with one of the most troubling storylines.

About “Last Night”

First thing’s first: It took over a week to get back to the wedding fallout, so everyone talking about how crazy “last night” was felt a little jarring. But at least we finally made it. I am glad that the show didn’t take the easy way out with Gwen’s confession to Abigail and just have folks decide she’s a murderer. Everyone from Jack to Abigail understood that the Brit may have just been trying to hurt her sister back. But it does make for some great tension. We’re pretty sure she didn’t intentionally kill Laura, right? Then again…

Matthew Ashford, Emily O Brien jack gwen jpi days

“All I did was ask what you wanted for lunch, Gwen. It shouldn’t be this difficult to come up with an answer.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

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Honestly, though, Jennifer’s reaction surprised me the most when she admitted that she understood why Gwen would have wanted to kill her mother after what Laura had done to her. That’s an act of charity even I’d have a hard time with, and I’m pretty sure I’m more sympathetic to Gwen than lots of folks. Speaking of which…

I’m going to annoy the Gwen-haters, but I like her complexity. She can make me feel bad for being not just self-destructive, but also damaged and self-loathing, then frustrate the hell out of me for doubling down on tormenting Abigail. Gwen, girl, get out of your own way. You may have deservedly blown things with Xander, but tormenting your sister isn’t going to help repair the family bridges you’re so desperate for but keep burning down. At least she did the right thing with the antidote, and it looks like we may just be seeing a real Xander and Sarah reunion soon!

The Road to Revenge 

We finally learned why Sonny missed the wedding. He had a work call. It seemed about the lamest reason the show could have come up with, which is why when Chad called him out on it after Leo’s drag attack, it made me hope we’ll find out there was something more going on. Still, seeing Sonny and Chad back to hanging out as besties again was some welcome fun, and Leo’s quest for revenge on everyone from Sonny to Brady could be a wild ride. Sometimes a little camp can be a good thing. But just a little, mind you. I can easily see things with Leo going way over the top the longer it drags (sorry, didn’t mean for that pun) on. I’d like to see him provide at least some menace.

Eric Martsolf, Zach Tinker, Greg Rikaart leo brady sonny jpi days

“I packed my bags because this revenge thing is going to be a real trip.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

As for Craig, it seems a shame to bring him back to upend his and Nancy’s lives and then just send him off once more. But he did get a nice farewell with Nancy and Leo. And Craig calling his almost-husband “kid” as he kissed him goodbye was surprisingly sweet. It was nice to see Leo open up with genuine emotion and become a little multi-dimensional. Again, things can’t just be non-stop campy nonsense.

O No, Romeo, Romeo…

Look, the nature of soaps is, for better or worse, to revisit and repeat storylines and themes. You can’t tell ongoing tales for decades without sometimes venturing back into familiar waters. But as quite a few fans have been pointing out, we shouldn’t be getting a “Cin” rehash just a couple years after the first storyline. Once again, we have Ciara missing and kidnapped, one of them believed dead (though this time, to be fair, it’s Ben), and the duo finding each other through their psychic connection — Romeo & Juliet and all! Throw the devil in and it’s just way too over-the-top. The casual way everyone in town just fills each other in on Satan’s doings doesn’t help.

Victoria Konefal, Lindsay Arnold ciara, allie, alliedevil, labor, birth cabin jpi days

“Sorry, Allie, I just ate something that’s really not agreeing with me.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

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When Ben uttered the line, “I really hope we can use your powers to help again, just like we did before,” to Susan, I just about threw my hands up. No, just no. Stop with this nonsense and think for five seconds where the one place where everyone who disappears or is kidnapped ends up: the Horton cabin! Just go check the darn thing instead of you and Johnny beaming psychic thoughts back and forth to the ladies!

At least Friday’s birth is kicking off Satan’s endgame. For real, this time, according to headwriter Ron Carlivati’s May Sweeps preview. And Ciara’s desperation as Allie kept her baby from her felt like some actual stakes. Though once the devil revealed himself and started in on the vamping, the tension deflated somewhat and it was harder to take things seriously again.

Abe to the Rescue?

William Christian plays a great villain, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy seeing TR and Abe circling each other. (Get him, Abe!) But I wish he’d been given a different villain to play, and my problem still stands with the show essentially telling a story of how Paulina welcomes her abuser back into her life. I did take heart at her scoffing at TR’s marriage proposal for the insanity it was, but agreeing to that romantic weekend where she would be isolated with the man who beat her was just sickening.

James Reynolds, William Christian abe tr jpi days

“Whoever blinks first leaves town forever.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

The same goes for Beth. Granted, we haven’t gotten to know her nearly as well as Paulina, but it feels like she was created just to take a survivor and put her back to being terrified and abused. Beth’s screams were truly chilling the other week and seeing TR’s handiwork was horrible. And while getting away from TR is absolutely the best thing she could do, I couldn’t help but feel a little heartbroken when she not only was beaten but was then cruelly told that she could no longer have a role because of it. What’s been the point of her? Re-victimizing a victim? That makes me so uncomfortable.

With all that said, now that Eli’s awake and told Lani who shot him, we know that TR is on the way out! But even knowing that, Abe showing up on Paulina’s doorstep just as Eli told Lani what happened is exactly how you’re supposed to end your Fridays.

Stray Thoughts

• Chad’s cheeky way of filling Sonny in on the wedding is what I enjoy so much about their scenes together. “We had one bride, three grooms and no one said, ‘I do,’” Chad explained. “It was a very Salem wedding.”

Billy Flynn, Zach Tinker chad sonny jpi days

“Cheers to a good bromance.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

• Paulina’s face when Chanel told her that Johnny and Allie were possessed by the devil is the reaction everyone should have when talking about this stuff. It was very much channeling a “What on God’s green earth is this nonsense now?” vibe.

• “You won’t need a lot of clothes where you’re going,” was nauseating, but also confusing. What did that mean? It’s clear TR had some plan after learning Eli was awake, but was he plotting to kill Paulina during the weekend getaway? How would he get her money then?

• Poor Chloe. Her parents really do have the worst taste in men. Nancy looks like she’s all in on drug-running Clyde.

Get a look at some Salem faves when you take a peek at our photo gallery of Bold & Beautiful‘s top 35 couples of all time.


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