The last of Salem's summer weddings ended with a bang.
Whoever was sabotaging Ciara and Ben's wedding graduated from childish tricks to setting a bomb.
This story has been done before and was unnecessarily violent, but the fallout from the explosion has been terrific.
The wedding itself had some nice moments, too. Chief among them were the scenes in the hospital where Hope and Allie gave Ciara her pre-wedding gifts.
I half expected the earrings to be one of the pairs little Ciara manipulated Sami into giving her, so I was pleasantly surprised by the reference to Bo.
The memorial gifts from family members who have passed on are always the best part of any Salem wedding, and this was no exception.
There were also some great comedic and semi-comedic moments, like Julie's nervousness about conducting the ceremony and her decision to rip up the notecard about people objecting.
I loved Julie's story about little Ciara and the feral cat. It might have been made up on the spot, but at least it fit Ciara's original character.
And the vows were beautiful even though Ben and Ciara's love story has lacked substance lately, making it harder to root for this couple.
Nevertheless, I'm glad that they got married before the bomb hit. If Ben ever escapes from whoever has him, he and Ciara can finally start their married life together.
The least interesting aspect of this is the mystery surrounding who set the bomb.
Obviously, it isn't Claire. When all signs point to someone in soapland, it's almost always someone else.
It's most likely someone connected to Clyde since he told Ben he got him a "wedding present" and was offended that his invitation got lost in the prison mail system.
But Claire's anger at being accused of the latest heinous act against Ciara and her sense of betrayal when Shawn and Belle doubted her mental health were some of Olivia Rose Keegan's most powerful scenes to date.
If only this was a properly written mental health storyline instead of yet another variation of people with mental illness expected to be violent, it would have been perfect.
Claire's hurt and anger were justified...and so was her parents' mistrust. And Ciara was right that Claire can't use the "I would never do that" defense when she's tried to burn Ciara alive in the past.
There was something hypocritical in Ciara's accusations, though.
As soon as she began demanding Claire's arrest, I flashed back in my mind to about a year ago when Hope insisted that she'd eventually find proof that Ben was the one to set the cabin ablaze with Ciara inside.
Now the roles were reversed and Ciara was insisting without proof that Claire was guilty because of her past, while Hope didn't believe it.
I'd love it if someone brought that up.
Ciara's self-righteousness isn't helping anything here. It's just upsetting Claire and her parents without doing anything to help find Ben or catch the bomber.
Plus, a bomb isn't Claire's MO. None of these stupid hijinks surrounding the wedding is anything like what Claire used to do.
Claire set fires, but not with bombs. She used a black lighter that looked like one Ben owned.
Rigging an explosive to go off at the exact moment that Ben and Ciara were about to leave the vestibule takes expertise that Claire simply doesn't have, too. Even in Salem, bombers usually have to know how to put a bomb together before they plant one.
The whole thing reminded me of Orpheus' original plot against John (then believed to be Roman) and Marlena in the 1980s.
Back then, Orpheus planted a bomb in Marlena's house and when her body couldn't be found, she was presumed to be dead -- but was really being held hostage on an island and forced to take care of Orpheus' children.
Since Hope recently defused a similar bomb that Orpheus left under John and Marlena's sofa, that should be the first line of investigation.
Orpheus is supposedly in jail, but that doesn't mean he didn't influence someone on the outside to plant the bomb.
It would be terrific drama for Rafe to suspect Zoey of being involved. She's Orpheus' daughter and has done his bidding out of fear for her child's life before. But she might think Rafe is using his position to regain custody of David.
Clyde has worked with Orpheus before, and both of them are in jail. So they might have concocted this plot together.
But it would make too much sense for the cops to focus on them, so instead they'll probably center their investigation around Claire until she proves her innocence by uncovering the real culprit.
There's also the issue of who has Ben.
Clyde is the most likely suspect here, though that may be a little bit too obvious.
Many fans think Eve or Eduardo, both of whom are slated to return to Days of Our Lives sometime this summer, might have taken Ben to get revenge for Paige's death.
I hope not, though. I like both Eve and Eduardo and I don't want either of them being turned into a mindlessly violent goon.
Plus, if Eve is the culprit, it'll likely be explained away by having never gotten over Paige's death, and we've had more than enough stories about women "snapping" in the last few years.
And Paige shouldn't be used as a prop for Eve's storylines, either. Since her death, the only time she's ever mentioned is when it's convenient for Eve's story, and that's wrong.
In any case, this bombing plot makes little sense, especially if the same person who played childish tricks on Ciara and Ben was responsible.
Bombing a church is a far cry from putting nail polish on a wedding dress or stealing an engagement ring.
It seemed like someone moved from playing pranks to actually trying to hurt Ciara.
If someone wanted to hurt her, there was no need to try to derail the wedding ahead of time. If it didn't go ahead, the culprit wouldn't be able to try to kill Ciara and kidnap Ben.
For that matter, why drug Ciara's drink and risk her being too sick to go ahead with the wedding if the culprit was planning an explosion and abduction?
Could there be a twist in this story...like there being two bad guys at odds with each other? Or are the writers making it up as they go along again?
Another thing that didn't really add up: after the explosion, everyone seemed aware that a bomb had gone off, yet the next day they were all surprised to hear that the eruption was due to an act of terrorism and not a faulty gas line.
Rafe even questioned Ciara in front of Hope about whether she'd been threatened, yet later Hope was shocked to hear that the explosion was deliberate.
Hope might not have comprehended what was going on because it was so traumatic, but that didn't come across at all. It felt more like the writers forgot that everyone already knew it was a bomb.
Most of the fallout after the explosion was great, though.
Allie's scenes in the hospital were particularly strong.
Lucas: You are your mother's daughter. You have a lot of fire in your belly and you are so brave. But I know you must have been so scared for yourself and for your baby when that explosion happened.
Allie: It was like one minute we were so happy and the next there was nothing but smoke and flames and it looked like the world ended.
She bonded with Will over gummy bears and he did his best to help fend off Sami's relentless desire to control everything. But the best part was her semi-reconciliation with Lucas.
Allie was suspicious of every overture Lucas made, convinced that it was all part of some plot to manipulate her into keeping her baby.
You can hardly blame her for that, considering that in the next room, Sami was busy trying to guilt Rafe into backing out of adopting the baby.
The one thing I didn't like is that Lucas and Sami both still act as if giving up a baby for adoption is an inferior choice to raising one when you're not ready.
Sami: Maybe we need to have another talk about you adopting Allie's baby.
Rafe: I'm not gonna go Round Two with you, Sami. You made your feelings abundantly clear.
Sami: Okay, so I came on a bit strong. I just want what's best for my daughter and her child.
Rafe: No, Sami. You want what's best for YOU, as usual. And you lost the right to tell me what to do when you divorced me.
That negative messaging about adoption has to go. I'm glad that Will told Allie that she wasn't being selfish by allowing others to raise her baby, because that's the truth.
I'm also curious about who the baby's father is going to turn out to be, since Allie still won't tell Lucas.
The most logical choice would be Tripp, Steve's son who is Allie's age and has dated both Ciara and Claire. Why not complete the trifecta by getting Ciara's cousin pregnant?
Lani also got some nice scenes in the aftermath of the explosion. Julie's support brought Days of Our Lives back to its roots, when it used to be about families supporting each other through the good and bad in their lives.
And thank goodness Lani's baby was all right! If Lani had lost the baby after her previous miscarriage, it wouldn't have just been too much for her. It would have been too much for the audience.
While Lani and Allie had the best post-explosion scenes, Gabi and Jake had the worst.
Seriously, did anyone find Gabi screaming at Jake that he nearly got her killed at all entertaining? I certainly didn't, and Gabi and Julie's war of words wasn't much better.
The whole thing was obnoxious, and if I were Jake I'd turn to someone more stable to answer questions about the Dimeras.
I hope this isn't the beginning of a new relationship for Gabi and Jake. Gabi is insufferable, and Jake needs to stay a mechanic and not give in to the elitist attitudes Gabi keeps displaying about his current job.
But with the two of them bonding over having grown up poor, the chances are high that Gabi will accept him as her Stefan substitute soon.
And the Vivian fake death thing is just silly.
Vivian may be out of jail, but she's not free. She has to stay hidden or she'll go right back to the slammer. How is she supposed to put her plan to re-educate Jake into motion that way?
What did you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics?
Whether you love, hate, or are somewhere in between on the wedding bombing and Ben's kidnapping, we want to hear your thoughts.
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and share your opinion.
And don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
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