All right, who thought killing Laura off was a good idea?
A year ago, Bill Horton died off-screen for no reason other than it gave the writers a flimsy exit story for JJ that didn't respect his character at all.
And now, Laura's joined her husband in the great beyond as part of an equally ridiculous storyline.
Laura was not one of my favorite characters, and she certainly did herself no favors this time around.
But she is a legacy character and one of the last links to Alice and Tom. Remember them, writers? The heads of the family that Days of Our Lives revolved around from 1965 until MacDonald Carey died in 1994?
And she died in a particularly unoriginal way for no reason other than that it will likely cause a conflict between Jack and Jennifer when the truth comes out about what happened to her.
Once again, Days of Our Lives disrespected long-time fans and core characters to bring us the same old stories.
I get that this is 2021, not 1965, but the way to deal with changing times is not to kill off all the people who were important in years gone by.
Plus, Days of Our Lives got fans excited by hyping Laura's "visit," only to have her die of hitting her head in a hotel room at the end of a particularly senseless story.
After Laura revealed that she was the one who had paid Gwen's mother off to go away, the writers didn't seem to know what to do with her.
She wandered around Salem, running into Kate for an extremely underwhelming confrontation, then showed up at Gwen's doorstep to apologize for not thinking Gwen's life was important.
What was this supposed to accomplish?
No explanation would satisfy Gwen, who is busy blaming everybody and everything for her violent behavior and obnoxious attitude.
Gwen's mother was a drug addict who poisoned her mind against her father, but Gwen bears no ill will toward her -- only toward Jack and his family for not being there to support a child they didn't know existed.
And even though Laura contributed to that situation with an unnecessary lie for a stupid reason, she isn't solely to blame for Gwen's behavior now.
Gwen mused that maybe she wouldn't be a miserable, vindictive bitch if she had been allowed to get to know her father.
Well, she's an adult now, and he's right there. Nothing stops her from choosing to stop being vindictive and start trying to get to know the family she always wanted.
But that's going to be a tall, if not impossible, order now that she's killed Jennifer's mother-in-law.
The whole thing was so damn unnecessary. Laura came, said her nonsensical piece about how sorry she was and how she pushed Gwen's mother away because she thought that would protect Jack and Jennifer's fragile marriage, and turned to leave.
Gwen could have just let her go and then thrown things all over the room like everyone else in Salem does.
She didn't have to grab her by the arm and get into a fight that ended up with Laura bleeding out on the floor after hitting her head. (And seriously, someone could make a fortune selling rubber guards for the edges of desks in Salem since this happens at least a couple of times a year!)
It's not that there won't be any good drama coming out of this.
Jack wants to defend his newly discovered daughter, at least to the extent of leaving her involvement out of the news that Laura is gone.
Jack and Jennifer will almost certainly be at each other's throats over this eventually, and Abigail will have to take a side.
Unfortunately, JJ isn't in town to either mourn his grandmother or weigh in on whether or not to hate Gwen, which is bizarre considering that he's a Horton and that he had a crush on Gwen last time he was in Salem.
Anyway, there's also the fact that the last time Jack saw Laura, he berated her for what she did to Gwen, and Jennifer's last words were to tell her mother to stay out of things now.
And not that she'll care, but Kate had an argument with Laura moments before this all went down.
Hopefully, Gwen won't use that to try to pin the accident on Kate, but if she does, Kate cutting the wanna-be diva down to size might be fun.
Meanwhile, Days of Our Lives hastily wrapped up the Vivian baby-napping story.
Vivian: You must be the public defender. You have to get me out of here. I need to go home to my children.
Kate: Vivian. Knock it off. You know exactly who I am.
Vivian: How could I? I've never even seen you before.
Kate: Yeah right. [opens door for Jake] Well, maybe you know who this is.
[After Jake enters]
Kate: So. Aren't you going to say hello to your long-lost son?
In a way, I don't mind. This was another unnecessary story. And now it looks like we're going to get a story about Lani and Eli being nervous new parents, which is what I wanted in the first place.
But it seemed like this story built up to a fever pitch for absolutely nothing.
Lani and Eli tracked down Ivan, who locked them in a spare room, and after some silly attempts at covering it up, Ivan told Vivian... who was eager to go after them with a gun.
But the next scene was Eli coming out of that room with a handcuffed Vivian and a comment that she shouldn't have underestimated him.
Now, maybe a scene got deleted in editing, but if not, the climax of this story happened off-screen!
That's bad writing, not to mention that the entire thing felt pointless.
On the positive side, Lani and Eli getting the babies back means they get to finally begin their parenthood journey.
Valerie: Hey. I thought you were going to nap. You okay?
Lani: I have spent the last I don't know how many days being terrified and I know it's over, but I can't seem to calm down. Valerie, what if I drop one of them tonight, or what if I fall asleep while I'm holding them and I can't even keep the swaddle blanket on and their nails... their nails need to be clipped and I'm so afraid to do it.
Valerie: Well, they're asleep now, so this is the perfect time.
Lani: What about the umbilical cords?
Valerie: I'll show you how to take care of them.
Lani: There's so much to learn, and there's two of them!
Valerie: Lucky for them, there's two of us.
I loved Lani and Valerie's conversation. Valerie is such a supportive, calming influence, and I hope she sticks around for a while.
Now that they don't have to worry about whether they will ever see the babies again, Lani is freaking out about standard parenting stuff.
All we need is Julie or Abe putting their two cents in, and we have a compelling story.
Unfortunately, we also had more silliness after Vivian's arrest.
When the writers aren't giving us literal doppelgangers, they're giving us people pretending to have amnesia or otherwise not being themselves.
Vivian did just that, insisting the babies were hers and that she didn't recognize either Eli or Kate.
Kate was smart to bring Jake in, but if Vivian took some sort of amnesia pill (remember, last time she took medication that made her appear dead!), she won't remember Jake either.
Either way, I hope this ends soon and that Vivian and Ivan go off to jail. Enough already!
Speaking of doppelgangers, who was surprised that Kristen wants to switch places with Susan?
I predicted this, and so did many viewers.
This happens every time Susan is in town, and the current writers are also fond of having the wrong person be stuck in jail while their double is free to wreak havoc in Salem.
And if Susan goes along with this nonsense, Kristen will undoubtedly make good on the threat to go after Chloe that the cops ignored when she made it right in front of them.
This whole thing is annoying, especially since Chloe seems to be more interested in Philip than Brady.
Philip is pushing Brady and Chloe together, though, and Kristen is setting herself up as their mortal enemy, so it's likely this is where this is headed.
The biggest question here is how Brady will react to Kristen's shenanigans.
He's been reassuring her all along that he loves her, but supposedly she's "changed" and doesn't do crazy, violent things anymore.
If Kristen goes after Chloe, how will Brady feel?
Despite all this going on, Days of Our Livs found time to waste on a fantasy rendition of all the most famous scenes from Romeo and Juliet.
These scenes were clearly meant only for Cin superfans, many of whom were thrilled with Ciara as Juliet and Ben as Romeo.
But for anyone who is lukewarm, uninterested, or otherwise not a Cin shipper, these scenes felt like a hell of a lot of unnecessary filler.
For one thing, most of us don't tune in because we want to watch a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Stories based on it, yes. But not the play itself.
If we wanted that, we'd find a movie version instead of turning on our favorite soap opera.
No offense to the actors, who aren't Shakesperean trained, but this felt like a high school production.
The music was gorgeous, if a bit too loud, but many of the lines were delivered in a wooden manner, and the whole thing seemed meant to drive the point home that Ben and Ciara are Romeo and Juliet.
Except they aren't. Once again, this trope was more applicable to JJ and Paige -- who were robbed of any real stories than Ciara and Ben.
Most people's problem with Ben dating Ciara was that he was a former serial killer. Clyde was just a footnote to their main objection.
And even if you buy the trope, these fantasies moved nothing forward.
They were part of a nonsensical storyline about Ciara being held hostage in a luxury suite surrounded by Plexiglass and took up valuable time that could have been used on any one of the other more compelling stories that were put off for this stupidity.
Fortunately, the Romeo and Juliet stupidity was offset by Steve and Kayla's surprise wedding.
I always laugh at the soap trope of a surprise wedding. There are so much planning and so many legalities that go into a marriage that it's not realistic to think anyone can set one up without the other partner knowing about it.
Nevertheless, these scenes were romantic despite COVID protocols and DAYS' small budget leaving the wedding short on guests.
With only Tripp and Sarah to serve as attendants and Abe doing the ceremony from memory, Stayla again declared their true love for one another.
The vows were beautiful, and I laughed when Kayla said this was the last time she was doing this because I was thinking the same thing!
Abe: Steve, you have something you'd like to say to Kayla?
Steve: I do. I almost lost you because I decided without talking with you that you were better off without me. I knew I was going out on a limb when I decided to organize this wedding without talking with you. But I just couldn't wait. I couldn't wait any longer. It is Valentine's Day, my love.
Steve: Everything that's happened lately reminds me of how we need to cherish each day and make the most of every moment. And for me, that means cherishing you. Being your man. Your devoted husband. And Sweetness, from the very first minute I laid eyes on you, you had my heart. Through everything. All the years. Even the times we were apart. My heart belonged to you and only you. I... I love you with all of my being and I always will. And that is a vow that can never be broken.
Steve: Oh no, no. Hey, it's not fair for me to ask you to come up with something at the last minute like this.
Kayla: No, I don't need time. I know what's in my heart. I know I could never love another man the way I love you. I love you. I love your courage and your kindness. Your passion. You're smart and funny and so sexy. I love your devotion to your family and to me. I will never get tired of looking at your handsome face for the rest of my life. But I'm gonna tell you right now, this is the last time I'm doing this. Okay? This is the last time! I am never letting you go again.
The only downside to this was that there were so few people there, and the excuses the writers came up with for not having them were silly.
If Marlena and John had food poisoning, it had to have been from eating Claire's chicken casserole, and I don't think they meant to imply that.
And it was a shame that Joey and Stephanie stayed home because they didn't think the wedding was going on. But there was no explanation for why they didn't get on Zoom to wish their parents well.
Steve and Kayla weren't the only ones taking a step forward. Abigail decided to move back in with Chad.
I have mixed feelings about this. I'm tired of Chad and Abigail's story going in circles.
But I feel Chad needs to suffer more consequences than he did for not only not having a single bit of faith in Abby or their marriage but for the horrible things he said about her using mental illness as an excuse for bad behavior.
I'm glad Chad and Abby will be going to marriage counseling, or I would be if there were any chance that Days of Our Lives would take it seriously.
Instead, they'll either have their sessions off-screen or be "cured" of their issues after half a session over breakfast in the Brady Pub.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics.
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Eager for more DAYS chat? Check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.