Days of Our Lives Review Week of 1-20-20: Salem's Saddest Day

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Talk about intense.

Days of Our Lives offered a much-anticipated week of flashbacks from the missing year during the week of 1-20-20, and they were painful to watch. 

The flashbacks covered the terrible day when a beloved character lost her life along with two other Salemites, making this one of the most tragic weeks in Days of Our Lives history.

(TALL) Tragedy Strikes - Days of Our Lives

Adrienne's death was hard to watch, especially since viewers knew it was coming.

It's not that we didn't want to know what happened -- after all, Will, Sonny, and Justin have been talking about it for months as if we're supposed to know what went down. 

But her happy Mother's Day scenes were doubly tragic because we knew that was the last day of her life, and as soon as she got into the car with Sarah I began dreading what was about to happen.

The writers faked viewers out, too, by having Adrienne have a flat tire before the fatal accident.

If only she'd taken that as a sign that she shouldn't be driving and called an ambulance for Sarah, everything might have been different.

(TALL) Xander's Decision - Days of Our Lives

The accident and death were more or less a redux of Daniel's death on New Year's Eve 2015. In some ways, it worked and in some, it didn't.

Sonny: What was so important that you couldn't wait til you got home to text?
Will: I realized I hadn't texted my mother to say Happy Mother's Day. You kept telling me to do it and I kept putting it off because I was busy, and I wanted to do it before it was too late.
Sonny: So you were sending a text that you were too busy to send earlier. Why the hell are you so much busier than everyone else? Why do you think you're so much better than the rest of us?

Will's decision to text and drive made for a good PSA about how dangerous that is, but the strength of that message was diluted by a few things.

The decision seemed to come out of nowhere. Everyone kept pressuring Will to text Sami and he kept forgetting, then suddenly decided he had to do it while driving.

That was realistic, I guess -- many texting and driving accidents occur when someone spontaneously decides to read or write a text while on the road. But Will's urgent need to text Sami came out of no place and didn't seem to fit his character.

(TALL) Confiding in JJ - Days of Our Lives

Part of the blame for that is this whole time jump. The writers only had a week to catch viewers up on what happened on that fatal Mother's Day, so they had to start at the end of the story. 

There was no time to build up a story about Will always being busy or always texting on the road. 

The bigger issue with this story is that Will didn't kill Adrienne.

He didn't drift into her lane and cause the accident and he didn't hit her.

All he did was get scared when she honked, stop texting, and call 911 before deciding he must be to blame.

(TALL) Will Confesses - Days of Our Lives

If the writers were trying to warn people about the dangers of texting and driving, having Will be an entirely innocent bystander wasn't the way to go.

By doing that, the show acknowledged that texting and driving could be dangerous, but made it seem like the bigger danger was getting blamed for an accident.

The writers teased us by having this happen just as Will and Sonny were planning on having another child, too.

I'd have much rather have seen a story about the guys preparing to either adopt or use a surrogate.

Considering that surrogacy is such an important issue to Deidre Hall in real life, a surrogacy storyline would have made a lot of sense. That would have also been a compelling, realistic story about a gay couple instead of the constant evil interlopers in Will and Sonny's life.

Will Signs the Papers - Days of Our Lives

Also, it didn't make sense that Will went to jail for this.

Sarah, the only surviving witness, said she saw a black car, and two different people said Will's car is grey.

Plus forensic evidence, like tire tracks or any paint on Adrienne's car from getting bumped by the person in her lane, should have proven conclusively that Will did not cause the accident.

And distracted or not, shouldn't Will know whether or not he hit Adrienne's car? He would have felt the impact of a crash, even a small one, even if he wasn't watching where he was going.

He seems to be under the impression that Adrienne swerved to avoid him and fell into a ditch, but that didn't appear to be what happened and doesn't match Sarah's testimony.

The other problem with this scenario is that Maggie's relapse felt like contrived nonsense as if the writers needed a reason for her to get drunk so that they could do the story they wanted to do.

Summer showed up out of nowhere, announced she was dying, and poured a drink that Maggie wasn't interested in. 

It didn't seem likely that Maggie would touch the drink at all, never mind go on a bender, over this.

It's a soap trope that alcoholism relapses come out of nowhere. One second someone gets bad news and the next they are passed out drunk.

But that's not generally how it happens, especially not for someone who is actively involved in AA or other programs that support sobriety.  More common is the person gradually falling away from the program over time and then relapsing.

Again, there wasn't time to show that happening with Maggie since everything was compressed into one day. But it didn't help that Summer was the catalyst for all this.

Summer was a useless character who hadn't appeared since 2017. Her reappearance was random enough, but then the writers also threw in that she blamed Maggie for her own alcoholism and that she was dying.

All of that was supposed to help viewers believe that her news drove Maggie over the edge, but just seemed like over-the-top melodrama.

(TALL) An Early Labor - Days of Our Lives

Plus, Maggie is a strong character that stands up to people like Summer. Her decision not to take Sarah to the hospital herself so the daughter she didn't know til adulthood and hadn't spoken to in years could get her way didn't make any sense.

This was all so that a drunk Maggie could run Adrienne and Sarah off the road and put multiple tragedies into motion, and that kind of contrived circumstance weakened the resulting stories considerably.

This isn't to say that Adrienne's death scenes weren't well done, because they were.

Instead of a funeral, we got scene after scene of Sonny and Justin sobbing and Justin remembering his life with Adrienne.

Those flashbacks and Justin's grief were so raw and real that my own tears while watching these scenes exhausted me.

Adrienne's death was so painful to watch that I began to look forward to flashback week being over.

But one death was enough, and three on the same night was so over-the-top that it was hard to believe.

The baby switch story was especially annoying. 

There was no real reason to kill off Sarah's baby except to facilitate the baby switch and the fallout from Kristen "losing her baby", including Haley's death.

I'm not sure it was realistic that the baby was perfectly healthy when born, then died of traumatic injuries a few hours later. 

(TALL) A Dramatic Delivery - Days of Our Lives

But regardless, there was a doctor in the room that pronounced baby Horton dead.

And she told the presumptive father of said baby that she was sorry and gave him time alone with the corpse.

Did that doctor suddenly develop amnesia?

How is it that after Victor decided to switch the dead baby with the live one, she confirmed that baby Dimera had died and gave that same dead baby to Kristen and Brady so they could say goodbye?

Also, if Kristen had looked at the dead baby's face, she should have realized that that was not her baby.

Victor's plan to protect Maggie was callous, but typical Victor. The most interesting part of this whole thing was Xander.

In the present, Xander seems completely invested in protecting the alternate reality that Victor engineered in which Will killed Adrienne and Sarah's baby didn't die. He's even reverted to pre-Sarah behaviors like threatening Ciara.

But when it happened, he was disturbed. He didn't like the idea of blaming Will for Adrienne's death and he kept giving the baby guilty looks after he passed it off as Sarah's.

I wonder if that guilt will come back into play in the present and influence his decisions now that Ciara and Will both know the truth.

(TALL) A Tragic Fall - Days of Our Lives

Haley's death was an unnecessary consequence of Victor's baby switch plan.

First of all, after being in labor for several hours and a difficult delivery, it doesn't make sense that Kristen had the strength to chase Haley and throw her down the stairs. But in soapland people heal quickly, so there's that.

More importantly, this was a ridiculous end to a contrived love story for JJ. All along, Haley has been imitation Paige, and her death was no exception.

Paige had a crazy mother who tried to keep her and JJ apart. Haley had a crazy mother (originally said to be her sister) who tried to keep her and JJ apart.

Paige fell hard for JJ when he played his guitar for her. So did Haley.

Paige worked for Kayla as a doctor-in-training. Haley worked for Kayla as a nurse.

And now, JJ cried over Haley's body the same way he cried over Paige's, laying his head on her and holding her.

Thankfully, he didn't find the body this time, but that was the only substantive difference between these storylines, other than JJ's feelings for Paige being a lot more believable.

Casey Moss did a great job with JJ's grief, but the writers did not do a great job creating a love story for JJ and Haley. And on top of that, JJ didn't get a goodbye scene with Adrienne because of Haley's death.

Haley's death was unnecessary, and it would have been a more powerful story had she not been the third person to die in the space of an hour. Plus, when the truth comes out about Kristen and Brady's baby, it'll mean that Haley took that fall down the stairs for no reason at all.

(TALL) Anna's Betrayal - Days of Our Lives

Most of the flashback week focused on the triple tragedy, but for some reason, Tony and Anna had a cameo appearance as well.

It's always a pleasure to see Thaao Penghlis. Tony and Anna's scenes were silly, but they made me wish that Tony or Andre were still on Days of Our Lives... or that  Penglhis had taken over the Stefano role instead of this ridiculous Stefano/Steve story.

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics?  What did you think of the tragic events during the week of 1-20-20?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.

And we sure would appreciate a follow of our new Twitter account as we work to rebuild our audience!


Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Days of Our Lives Quotes

Gwen: Did you get your old job back?
Claire: Nope.
Gwen: Why not?
Claire: They are under new ownership. My old boss Fran is still there, but she said they were looking for a 'more sophisticated type of employee.' You know, saving her from the embarrassment of telling me to my face that they don't want a psycho pyromaniac waiting tables.
Gwen: Well, that's too bad. You know, you should have told them that you can serve the hell out of bananas flambe!

Jack: I was under the impression that this was going to be a fair and unbiased interview. Are you going to quote what I said or are you going to post fake news?
Jennifer: Fake news is what comes out every time you open your mouth.