Salem weddings are known for their fireworks. Someone always spills a secret, gets into a fight, or decides at the last second they don't want to get married after all.
I thought the craziest wedding was Sami and EJ's back in 2013, which ended with Sami making sure her groom was arrested as part of a complicated revenge scheme after learning he slept with Abigail!
But John and Marlena's wedding on Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-20-18 was even more over-the-top.
I have to admit I wasn't really looking forward to this wedding.
John and Marlena are not my favorite couple.
Their story tends to revolve around Marlena being the damsel in distress that John has to rescue -- over and over -- and I don't find that romantic. Plus Marlena is a strong woman when she's not being kidnapped for the umpteenth time, so why can't we see more of that and less of the helpless woman in need of a white knight?
Similarly, they've been married and divorced so many times that making a big fuss out of their wedding seemed ridiculous.
So I thought the lead-up to the wedding, especially during the week of 8-13-18 when Marlena freaked out about John seeing her in her wedding dress ahead of time, was ridiculous.
But I have to admit that almost everything about this wedding was classic DAYS, and I found myself getting caught up in it.
DAYS chose to devote a lot of airtime to preparing for the wedding.
This was a risky move since it might turn off non-"Jarlena" fans like me, but I have to say getting a break from Chad rape-shaming Abby, Stefan forcing Kayla to help him torment the woman he sexually assaulted, and Gabi plotting revenge against Abigail for having a mental illness was refreshing.
I could have done without Marlena seeing everything as a sign that the wedding was doomed to failure, but the use of the Marlena doll was a nice touch. There really was a Marlena doll manufactured by Mattel in the 1990s, and seeing it appear again was fun.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Susan's scenes. I try not to judge recasts ahead of watching them, but Eileen Davison's playing Kristen, Susan, and two other roles was something special that I thought it would be hard to duplicate.
Stacy Haiduk did a great job, though, making Susan -- and Kristen -- her own. Sometimes she lost Susan's Southern accent, which was distracting, but hopefully that's just because she was new to the role when she filmed these scenes.
Or because she was supposed to be Kristen pretending to be Susan, since I'm not quite sure when the switch happened.
Anyway, Susan's mismatched wedding outfit that she was worried would be prettier than Marlena's bridal gown was classic Susan that the actress pulled off perfectly!
I just wish that Susan had stayed Susan and we didn't have all this violence at the wedding. Interrupted weddings are one thing, but death threats are another, and I felt like it ruined one of the few romantic moments we've had on DAYS recently.
I know violence and over-the-top villains are soap staples, but the thing that drew me to DAYS in the first place wasn't all the kidnappings and murders that seem to plague Salem in the 21st century.
There was always some of that, but in the past it was weaved into the fabric of a story about families coming together to support one another through good times and bad.
Now, the story seems to be about bad things that happen to people, and both family ties and romantic relationships are a second thought.
That's backwards, and I'm far from the only fan who is hungry to see some real romance in the afternoons.
John and Marlena's vows to one another and their desire to stand by one another no matter what certainly qualified, until the wedding descended into chaos.
Susan turned out to really be Kristen, seeking Marlena's death because Marlena allowed her to be thrown out a window after she kidnapped unborn baby Tate and put him in her own womb.
So now we're back to a Marlena-as-damsel-in-distress situation, since she's likely the one who got shot..
I also feel like Sami being the shooter is going to end up as a rerun of the Sami shoots Bernardi storyline, which wasn't enjoyable the first time.
Plus, there were so many opportunities to take Kristen down, but nobody took them.
Sami could have shot her immediately when she got the gun instead of listening to a long speech about how if she did that, she wouldn't be reunited with EJ.
Brady could have pretended to want to rekindle his relationship with Kristen instead of trying to convince her to take responsibility for the things she was holding people hostage over. Hostage negotiations 101, dude.
Abe could have also tried negotiating tactics instead of telling Kristen she wasn't going to get away with it.
There were four or five cops and ISA agents there -- surely they could have all worked together instead of sitting around staring or making random moves against Kristen that were doomed to failure.
Plus, Sami deciding not to shoot the woman who had kidnapped her and wanted to kill her mom because she said EJ was alive made no sense.
There's no reason to believe Kristen, and anyway I never bought Sami and EJ's alleged love story, which is no more a love story than JJ and Lani or Stefan and Abigail.
It was yet another instance of a rape victim suddenly declaring love for their rapist.
Sami and EJ were constantly engaging in fights almost to the death. They screamed at each other and schemed against each other, and EJ did truly horrible things to Sami (like making her think her son was dead) that made this couple entirely unrootable.
It would have made far more sense for Lucas to be at the wedding and help Sami bring Kristen down. Then they could have rekindled their decades-old relationship while John and Marlena's wedding went on with nobody being shot.
Now THAT would have been a happily-ever-after worth watching.
It's kind of funny, don't you think? You asked the most off-center person to make sure the centerpieces were perfectly centered.Belle
Another thing I could have done without was Belle and Brady making fun of Susan having a mental illness.
The messaging around mental health issues continues to be atrocious on this show.
For these writers, mental illness equals violence, and people regularly laugh at or otherwise badmouth sufferers, increasing the stigmatization around mental illness and discouraging real-life sufferers from getting help.
It especially annoys me when Marlena, who is supposed to be a mental health professional, says nothing to counteract others' negative comments about those who have mental illness.
She should not condone these types of attitudes, especially when she is the first to give people like Susan or Ben a second chance!
I also found the bachelor parties underwhelming.
Jennifer's idea of a paint party wasn't bad, except no one knew that's what they were going to be doing and were all wearing fancy dresses. Plus, all the sniping between Jennifer and Eve was irritating and Susan's tarot card readings were silly.
The guys' party was just plain boring. All it was was a bunch of people throwing darts. Then Paul and John went out into the Square to play catch, and I kept thinking someone would break a store window.
I know DAYS lacks sets, but couldn't they have at least played at the park?
All the secrecy around John trying to hide his black eye from Marlena after getting hit with a baseball was typical DAYS pre-wedding humor, though. I loved Steve teasing John, and Marlena revealing at the wedding that she knew it all along was cute.
John and Marlena's wedding seemed almost like a double wedding because Will and Sonny had so many flashbacks of their own wedding.
I loved Will and Sonny's wedding when it was originally on, and when Marlena pronounced them "husbands for life", it brought tears to my eyes.
It was hard to see Chandler Massey in these scenes since I so clearly remembered Guy Wilson standing at the altar at the original wedding, and now so much has changed that they made me sad.
That wedding happened before Will was turned into a lunatic who tried to blackmail Paul's mother to keep Paul away from Sonny, then killed off in an unnecessarily brutal and violent way as if to announce to the world that DAYS was backtracking and no longer wanted a gay family on its canvas.
It was a milestone that the groundbreaking series had every right to be proud of... until the next set of writers ruined it all.
And now Will has moved on with Paul and Sonny has been rewritten into some sort of unlikeable, money-hungry person who pines over his lost love as if none of the bad stuff ever happened and whose refusal to give up on his relationship with Will teeter-totters between pathetic and disrespectful of Will's boundaries.
So seeing their wedding all over again was bittersweet.
On the other hand, I loved the fact that the show reaffirmed its commitment to LGBTQ equality. Roman and Sonny's exchange was my favorite scene of the week.
Roman: You know what, Sonny? There's something I wanna say. I know that you remember when Will came out, that I wasn't the most accepting member of the family.
Sonny: Yeah. Well, it was a shock to all of you.
Roman: Yeah, but Sami made it very clear that I had to change my ways if I wanted to be a part of Will's life and hers. And then, I watched you two guys fall in love and I watched you accept that baby that Will had with Gabi as your own. And then I saw the three of you make a family together for that little girl. I gotta tell you, what a beautiful thing to see. And not only that, but you guys made me lose some very stupid and backwards ideas I had, and I can't thank you enough for that.
For once, we had some positive social messaging, and it felt almost as if the show was reassuring viewers that it would never again violently kill a gay character just to appease those members of the audience who were not comfortable with seeing gay characters on their screens.
I loved seeing Roman support Sonny, and it almost made up for him not being at the wedding for the ridiculous reason that he was once Marlena's husband. He and John have been friends for years, and clearly they wanted him at their wedding.
That choice seemed to be a contrived way of keeping Roman away from the celebration for whatever reason, but it led to a great scene, so I can't really complain.
Although most of the week of 8-20 was devoted to John and Marlena's wedding, there were some other goings-on too.
Notably, both Ciara and Claire stood up to their parents about Ben living with them.
I was glad to hear Ciara tell Hope in no uncertain terms that if she didn't back off, their relationship was over as well as call her out on her abuse of power.
Disappointingly, Hope didn't understand it at all. Maybe Bo's ghost needs to come see her. In addition, since she feels bad that Eve and Paige were on the outs when Paige died, maybe she should stop acting like Eve did when Paige was with JJ.
Shawn and Belle's anger that Claire wouldn't listen to them about Ben became a heartwarming moment in which Shawn admitted he didn't like being far away from Claire. Claire is at her most enjoyable when with her parents, and I'd like to see more scenes like this.
Your turn, DAYS Fanatics! What did you think of John and Marlena's wedding?
Are you glad for all the chaos Kristen and Sami caused, or would you rather have had a wedding that didn't get interrupted with this sort of thing?
Comment below! And don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.