Days of Our Lives Finally Found a Worthy Successor to Stefano — But Are We About to Get an Exit None of Us Saw Coming?

Alex Maggie Megan and Sarah soapbox mashup jpi peacock days

Credit: Peacock screenshot, Jill Johnson/JPI (2)

The show kept the focus (almost) squarely on Salem this week, but it still had its share of the ridiculous. We may, though, have reached the end of some of it. And on the plus side, Days of Our Lives still managed to spring a few surprises on us and deepen its main mystery!

Up to the Challenge

We only got one day with the kidnapped trio now that they’re out of heaven (or wherever), but I definitely enjoyed it more than the afterlife since it’s tying back into reality. Well, Salem reality. You know what I mean.

I will hand it to the show, I think they may have finally found a worthy successor to Stefano in the villain department. Grand schemes, high-tech labs, vicious vendettas — Megan has it all. It’s not her fault we got that Satan/afterlife diversion. Well, it is, because she put the ladies in suspended animation, but that wasn’t part of her plan.

In a lab, Marlena and Kayla sit up in chamber pods, wearing hospital gowns. They stare at Megan who wears a crimson red dress.

“Look, we appreciate the spa treatment, but weren’t planning on sticking around quite this long. How much is all this going to cost us?”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

As for Anna and Tony pondering who she’s trying to raise from the dead, ostensibly, that should be Bo, right? Except Megan already raised him. He woke up at the end of Beyond Salem: Chapter 2. Is this still supposed to be him and she hasn’t quite gotten him fully back to where he can leave his pod yet, or is there someone else she’s working on bringing back too? She grabbed Kate, Kayla and Marlena for some reason other than just revenge (though she made clear that was a big part of it), so why in the world does she need them? And for whom?

And Baby Makes… Two?

I don’t hate how things ended up with The Spectator. With Abigail dead and gone and if the show isn’t going to reliably use Jack and Jennifer, it needed someone visible to work at and run the paper. And Jack did first obtain it through blackmail and underhanded dealings, so it’s just fitting that his daughter and Xander do the same.

In a hospital room, Sarah wears street clothes as she sits on an exam table. Her shoulders hunch and her eyebrows raise. Rex looks at her with a knit brow.

“Sorry, I was just thinking how much easier life was when I was trapped on an island thinking I was a dead woman.”

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Jack’s indignation after he put Gwen in a reprehensible situation — ultimatums demanding loyalty are never good — still rankles me, but I’m sure he’ll come back at some point and patch things up again. Having everyone get along in a family is great, but sometimes, putting space between each other is the best thing you can do when you keep hurting each other over and over again.

That’s kind of why I can see Sarah leaving town, rather than sticking with Xander. The show certainly made it seem like it was a Big Deal that she’s leaving, but is she actually exiting the show? I think, if anything, she’ll leave with Rex for a few weeks, give Gwen and Xander time to bond and become an actual couple, then return when she realizes she’s going to have to tell Xander about the baby sooner or later. That should make things nice and messy.

At Last!

I really thought they were going to go with Xander to run Titan for some reason (and have him fold The Spectator into the company?), but I was surprised and utterly delighted that Maggie’s running the show now. Hopefully this gives her a greater role in general, but also, after that misogyny remark, I think her putting Alex in his place is exactly what he needs.

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Yessss! Get him, Maggie!

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

The show seemed to be making strides with Alex and he and Stephanie, but then that run-in at Titan just felt icky again. Between Alex telling Stephanie she’d do well to remember who’s cutting her checks, to the way he asked if she’d be able to work as closely with him as she did with Sonny when he takes over, it was just feeling creepy again.

But then Stephanie seemed borderline flirty with him as she asserted her independence, which I just did not understand. So yeah, I was actually happy to see Leo. Stephanie’s whole demeanor changed with his revelations and she did what she should have done when Alex started flirting and walked out.

An Ongoing Problem

Days of Our Lives is big on introducing hard-to-like characters and then walking them back and making them more palatable in order to keep them around. It’s not a bad trope and sometimes it works. Both Ben and Xander were redeemed and made lovable, despite the fact that they were both essentially murderous sociopaths.

But they were outright villains. The show seems to struggle more with creating characters who are just far too unlikable for us to go along with them becoming better people. Alex is one that I’m still having a hard time getting on board with after he started out so pushy and predatory.

Rafe sits across from Li in the interrogation room. Sloan stands next to Li, glaring at Rafe with her hand on her hip.

“So you’re saying I have a shot at redemption, right? Just like Sloan here? Oh, wait, you still hate her?”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

Leo’s another one who’s a predatory sleaze. He’s got great lines and is amusing as one of Salem’s cads, but I’m not upset that his tease/friendship with Sonny was dropped. It wasn’t working. I find his bestie Gwen, on the other hand, complex enough to work, especially with her desperation to be loved. But for lots of folks, she caused too much damage too early on to ever like her.

Sloan’s also grown on me, but they aren’t trying to put her with someone she preyed on and they’re mostly keeping her in her amoral role — just with us understanding a bit more how much she’d been hurt by her parents’ deaths. And her shacking up with Eric (which is set to happen again) helps add some edge to that former goody goody.

Then there’s Li who, as I mentioned last week, seemed to be starting on the path to redemption as we learned more about his family dynamics. But this week he was being downright creepy, trying to force Gabi not just to live under the same roof but into his bed. I get that she made her choice and agreed to play his game in her own grab at power, but that whole “No, we need to share a room” thing got icky.

Bad Behavior

Chloe came back and her encounter with Brady went pretty much how I imagined. She wasn’t happy with the whole kidnapping/forced deprogramming thing. And I think she was also hurt that Stefan’s feelings were clearly never genuine for her. That does have to sting, even if you want to move on. What’s ahead for her next? I really hope not forgiving Brady. Philip, on the other hand, has been getting mentioned quite a lot, lately…

Sitting on a Salem Inn bed, Stefan faces an emotional Chloe, who faces straight ahead.

“Sorry, Stefan, this is just a lot to process. Maybe if I’d had the revelation implanted into my head like yours was… Too soon?”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

More: Olivia Rose Keegan has a jaw-dropping new look

As for the others wrapped up in the Stefan drama, I like that Nicole balked a bit at the thought of drugging him as part of her and EJ’s revenge plan. It shows some growth. Not a lot of growth because she jumped on the idea fast enough, but baby steps.

Stray Thoughts…

• Yes, the Stefan brain stuff was ridiculous. But as Stefan put it, at least it’s all over now. The brainwashing, that is. The relationship mess, not even remotely.

Against an iron headboard, Stefan's eyes bulge and his teeth clench. White gauze secures tongs around his head, and a hand holds a small ice cream scooper hear his face. A red light flashes.

I… I’ve got nothing. This says more than any caption I could come up with would.

Credit: Peacock screenshot

• Having the hospital lab “run a few tests” because someone’s nauseous seems a bit like overkill. But this is Salem. So I guess there was a good chance Sarah was poisoned by some rare, exotic toxin.

• Landlords must be super easy-going in Salem with how much people move in and out of apartments, swap leases, invite friends and family to move in with them. So sure, Nicole’s, Allie and Chanel’s, Allie’s Wendy’s apartment has room for Li, Gabi and Tripp!

• Sonny’s comment to Alex about how time consuming being Titan CEO is was a bit odd seeing as how we hardly ever saw him doing any work there.

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