Days of Our Lives Review: So Many Sad Goodbyes

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They say bad things come in threes.

Days of Our Lives proved that during the week of 11-19-18 when not one but three characters exited in as many days. 

Thanksgiving 2018 was the first on-screen celebration of the holiday Salem has had in a while, but it was dampened both by how small the celebrations were and the loss of three strong actors.

Gabi Gloats - Days of Our Lives

Marci Miller (Abigail) was the first to leave after an explosive set of final scenes.

There was no fanfare, likely because the character of Abigail will still be on canvas, just played by a different actress.

Instead, DAYS does what it often does and had Abigail disappear off-screen so that she can return with a different face.

I will miss Miller, who brought an intensity and quiet sweetness to Abigail's character that made me believe she was Jennifer's daughter even though the story she was given to play was as ridiculous as it was offensive.

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From her debut in 2016, Miller's Abigail was written as suffering from severe mental health issues, but DAYS often used the story to mock the idea of mental illness, and these final scenes were no exception.

Gabi easily got into Abigail's room so that she could make fun of her, make disparaging comments about people with mental illness, and claim to be the victim when Abigail attacked her.

She stated over and over that Abigail's Dissociative Identity Disorder wasn't real.

She said that Abby hadn't gotten punished for things she did while in a dissociated state, implied Abby wasn't the mother of her child because of her disorder and used disparaging terms for mentally ill people while smirking about how she'd destroyed Abby's life.

Abigail: You knew it was my alter. Gabi, I have apologized to you a thousand times. I never meant to hurt you.
Gabi: But I do want to hurt you, Abigail. I do. Because you, you just keep on leading this amazing, great life, and I'm the one who keeps getting screwed. You didn't even get punished for what you did, you didn't even get a slap on the wrist. You even told Chad you wanted to be punished. You're welcome. And yes, I did drug you, and yes I did put this wig on your head to make sure you were having a relapse. Hold the applause.
Abigail: Why are you confessing all this now?
Gabi: Because you can't do anything about it. I have you exactly where I want you.
Abigail: Well, you know I'm gonna tell everybody that you confessed.
Gabi: Oh like you told everybody about my last so-called confession at the courts? No one is gonna believe anything that you say, because what you said came out of a crazy person's mouth.

Meanwhile, no staff member seemed aware of someone tormenting a patient, and it never occurred to Abby to call the nurse or a security guard to get her unwanted visitor out. Instead, she jumped up and tried to choke Gabi.

That did nothing except lend credence to Gabi's claims that Abigail was insane, and somehow Chad missed the smirk on Gabi's face as she went on about how out of control Abby was and how she needed to be locked up.

To be clear, the problem with this isn't that Gabi is a particularly obnoxious villain. If everyone were rational and kind, there would be no stories worth watching.

But in this case, Gabi is an inept villain that everyone should have seen through by now, especially Chad, and Abigail's sudden violent outburst was entirely plot driven.

There was no reason for it, it wasn't in character, and it happened for the sole purpose of helping Chad to believe Gabi's lies. 

Plus, Gabi's disgusting comments about people with mental illness and bad behavior aren't written as the rantings of a bad girl with which no one should agree.

Chad was quick to commit his wife to a mental hospital without even asking for a psychiatric evaluation and it never even occurred to Jennifer to ask her mother -- the treating psychiatrist -- whether it was possible that Abby had relapsed.

Everyone but Gabi is written as weak and stupid, and it's clear we're supposed to think she's the wronged party here, that she's doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

But she's not. Her reasons for wanting to hurt Abby are all lies. 


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Little Ari forgave Gabi in about two days, and the whole reason for the rift was because Sonny made the boneheaded decision to lie to the child about where her mom was. Plus Gabi has spent zero time with her since they made up.

Gabi was never told she could not have children. She was told that it would be hard to conceive and she MIGHT not be able to have children. She should ask Mimi how that goes since Mimi was given the same diagnosis and just showed up in Salem with the baby she wasn't supposed to be able to conceive.

Her injuries leading to that diagnosis were due to negligence on the part of the jail, and while "Dr. Laura" told a lie on the stand about her that helped convict her, there's also the fact that her lawyer refused to put on any defense at all.

If Gabi wanted to sue Justin or the prison for their part in that, I'd be all for it, but she's putting the sole blame on Abigail when 99% of the problems were caused by other people!

Plus she never resists an opportunity to rub it in that Abigail suffers from mental illness.

(TALL) Stefan Bonds With the Baby - Days of Our Lives
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In addition to all of that, Gabi's behavior has led to Abigail's child being in the sole custody of the man who raped her -- while Gabi denies that that rape was rape and says cruel things about Abigail not being the mother of her child since she suffers from mental illness.

There is nothing sympathetic about Gabi, not the way this is written. If anything, it makes Abby even more sympathetic, so if the writers were trying to make the point that Abby has advantages that Gabi doesn't, they failed.

Paul Says Goodbye - Days of Our Lives

Paul's exit was much better. I'm equally sad to see Christopher Sean go, but I'm glad Paul wasn't killed off or locked up for no reason, which seems to be the go-to for DAYS when characters leave.

Christopher Sean is a talented actor, but Paul's story was going nowhere. He was bounced back and forth between Will and Sonny, over and over, which was frustrating to watch.

Paul deserved so much better.

John: This facility really looks top notch, Paul. The success rate is really impressive. It's off the charts. Your mom did a lot of research.
Brady: Come on, Dad, you're supposed to be talking him into staying.
John: Brady. As much as I want Paul to stay here, I can't be selfish. I know this is what he needs to do.

Paul's original story, where he risked his baseball career to come out not only to his traditional Japanese family but to the world, made him an important role model to LGBTQ+ viewers, and I wish DAYS had continued in that vein.

At one point, Paul was seen mentoring a young gay kid who was scared to come out, but then that kid mysteriously disappeared, and Paul got stuck in the middle of Will and Sonny's story forever.

That was a waste of his character.

Anyway, Paul's ending was as good as it gets given the history. After learning Will's feelings for Sonny had been rekindled, after all, Paul's decision to return to San Francisco for rehabilitation was a mature, self-respecting decision. 

I loved Paul pointing out that his story had come full circle and the goodbye scenes between him and John were incredibly genuine.

I also felt like the actor was talking to the audience about how difficult his decision to leave the cast was just as much as Paul was talking to John about leaving Salem.

And the little hint at romance with the physical therapist was a nice touch! Finally, Paul got free of Will and Sonny.

Victor: What the hell are you doing here?
Adrienne: Justin and I invited him.
Justin: If Sonny were home, he'd want Will to join us.
Victor: Well, Sonny's not here. You should have your holiday elsewhere.
Maggie: Please, Victor. You know that Sonny still loves Will.
Victor: I know that he's attracted to him for some unknown reason. Why am I the only one who cares about letting Sonny open for another betrayal?

As grumpy as Victor was, though, I had to agree with his assessment of Will and Sonny.

I used to love this couple, but they got ruined a long time ago.

Will turned into a clone of his mother for a while and not only cheated on Sonny but did various horrible things like blackmailing Paul's mother-- a detail the current writers seem to be hoping viewers will all forget, since it's rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Sonny just walked out of the relationship without a word.

And then when Will returned, Sonny was so pathetically hungry for a relationship with him that Will didn't want, and Will suddenly switched from Paul being his future to Sonny being his future after Sonny said that's what his returned memories had to mean.

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It is not a love story at this point, no matter how many times characters say it is. The writers still haven't learned that dialogue is not a substitution for what viewers see with their own eyes!

Imposing the point of view that this is the love story of the century doesn't make it so. It's annoying and makes the characters all look stupid.

Plus, even though Will was upset about the break-up with Paul and felt guilty about hurting him, it was like he forgot him the second he was gone.

They didn't say goodbye on-screen, and Will didn't seem to care. Once Paul left, Will was all about reuniting with Sonny as if Paul had never existed.

That was disrespectful to Paul and Will's relationship and didn't do the seemingly inevitable Will/Sonny reunion any favors.

Who's Being Selfish? - Days of Our Lives

Valerie also left town, and I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Abe has been tragically underused for most of 2018. After Theo's miraculous recovery and Abe's mea culpa for driving JJ towards suicide, he's either been off-screen or used as a bit player.

That's a shame considering James Reynolds won an Emmy for his portrayal of Abe's anguish after his son got shot in late 2017.

A byproduct of the lack of Abe is that his relationship with Valerie has become a whole lot of nothing.

Valerie unmasked Lani's deception of JJ, which should have led to a story for the couple, but other than a couple of arguments that quickly fizzled out, it went nowhere.

And now Valerie is leaving town after Abe displayed a selfish attitude for an entire episode before coming to his senses.

Abe: I know how important this job is to her, but you know, you'd think at this point in Val's life that she would want something more. A home. A family.
Lani: Same could be said for you, Dad.
Abe: Me?
Lani: You've been a great mayor for Salem, but you're not the only one who can do the job.
Abe: What are you trying to say? I should leave my job and move to DC with Valerie.
Lani: Believe me, I don't want you to. I'm pointing out that there are options.

This is the same thing that happened when Abe was dating Maxine, except that relationship fizzled out for no apparent reason and then Maxine disappeared from the canvas.

At least Valerie had some goodbye scenes!

Still, though, it seemed like the second Abe finally had a story other than yelling at Sheila about parking in his spot, it was resolved, and Valerie left.

We didn't even know she was applying for a job in DC or that this had been her dream opportunity!

It would have been a strong story if it had been a story. Instead, it was a plot point that was probably borne out of necessity because Vanessa Williams (Valerie) was leaving the show.

And to make matters worse, it seemed to have paved the way for Abe to get involved in some sort of bizarre triangle with Eli over Sheila.

Sheila is another character that could be awesome if she was used for anything other than comic relief.

Her difficulty getting a job after having been in prison is a real issue about which DAYS could have done a powerful story, but instead, Sheila is an irresponsible idiot who does nothing but gets into fights with veteran characters like Abe and Julie.

I liked her standing up to Julie even though Julie thinking Sheila was the hired help when she hadn't actually hired her was ridiculous, but why did we need to follow that up with her telling Abe she couldn't get his shoes from the dry cleaners for the stupidest of reasons?

Lani Shares the Death Certificate - Days of Our Lives

Both she and Eli were totally irresponsible when she got sick. They just blew off work altogether, for the sole purpose of Lani storming over to be jealous of Sheila.

Lani is much more likable when she sticks to giving Abe advice than when she is in a romantic storyline. Until she learns to be a grown-up around men, she needs to stay away from love stories.

And Sheila's story perpetuates the stereotype that ex-felons are all lazy and conniving, which defeats the purpose of having a story about an ex-felon trying to turn her life around. Plus Abe should not be involved in all this petty nonsense.

Julie and Doug - Days of Our Lives

DAYS finally acknowledged Thanksgiving! This holiday has been notably absent in the 2010s.

I loved Julie going from totally frazzled to grateful for Doug. I don't know if it's because the couple is legendary or their real-life romance seeps into their scenes, but I always get teary-eyed when they state their devotion to one another.

Julie: It's a tradition in our family to go around the table and say aloud what we're most thankful for.
Doug: I'll go first. I'm thankful for all my family, for all my friends, no matter where they are. I'm especially thankful for my beautiful wife, who brings magic to my life, peace to my soul, music to my heart. There is no better woman and there is no luckier husband.
Julie: Doug Williams is always a hard act to follow. I'd follow him anywhere, and I have, and he's brought me to this wonderful place, to this wonderful time in our lives. You still surprise me after all these years, you still inspire me, you keep me young. I will be eternally thankful for you my darling. Always.

DAYS desperately needs more romance, and it's sad that Doug and Julie are the only couple to consistently bring it. Hopefully someday Steve will be back so we will have two couples worth rooting for on our screens.

I didn't like how small Julie's gathering was, though. It was just her and her grandson's family. Where was stepdaughter Hope? Or Jen and her family, who are Julie's cousins? 

For that matter, instead of Victor almost choking to death and becoming a nice guy for the moment, maybe all the people he was mean to could have crashed Julie's party instead.

Julie is no less judgmental, but Doug is better at keeping her under control than Maggie is Victor, and she closed an entire restaurant for a tiny celebration.

A New Family - Days of Our Lives

Half the reason for Victor's attitude seemed to be to get Eric and Sarah together in a hurry.

Way to be subtle, DAYS! Also, even though Eric's killing Daniel in a drunk driving accident wasn't purposeful, Daniel WAS Sarah's half-brother so it would be nice if she fought her feelings for Eric for half a second.

Plus, this should come up in the context of Sarah's ridiculous drunken behavior instead of Eric being totally cool with it. At the very least, he should have pointed out that Sarah was headed down the same path that led to Daniel's death!

And could Eric stop and grieve for the alleged love of his life for a minute before going onto the next relationship that will get ruined when Nicole inevitably turns out to not be quite as dead as we thought?

Shocked at The Truth - Days of Our Lives

Finally, the secret is out about Tripp's involvement in framing Ben!

The best part of this story was Ben being pushed almost to the edge, leaving viewers to wonder if it was possible he could snap again.

Robert Scott Wilson is at his best playing Ben as unpredictable and dangerous when crossed.

I think Ben's holding himself back from actually hurting anyone is supposed to suggest he is reformed, but his temper is still scary! Could Ciara be headed for some sort of domestic violence storyline?

I have my doubts since it's so obvious that Ben and Ciara are endgame here, but in the hands of the right writers that would be a powerful twist.

Your turn, DAYS fanatics! What did you think? 

Was DAYS' Thanksgiving episode heartwarming enough? Do you think Ben and Ciara have a viable future as a couple now that they've dealt with Tripp? And which departing actor will you miss the most?

Vote below!


WHO WILL YOU MISS THE MOST ON DAYS OF OUR LIVES?

Don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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