Goodbyes are always sad, whether they're forever or temporary.
On Days of Our Lives during the week of 7-04-02, viewers experienced both.
The sadness of Abigail's funeral was bad enough, but Belle knocked Jan into the water just before Ciara and Ben set off on a trip around the world.
Some viewers were put off by the fact that Abigail's funeral was off-screen. However, the scenes of Abigail's family mourning were so heavy that the full funeral might have been too much.
Jennifer, JJ, and Jack mourned along with Chad, and Julie's heart continued to be broken after the funeral when Ciara told her she was setting sail.
These scenes were all a strong enough sendoff for Abigail; the only thing missing was some sort of memorial in the Pub where everyone could make a mini-eulogy like Days of Our Lives did when Daniel died.
The other disappointing thing is that Jack, Jennifer, and JJ all disappeared from our screens after the funeral. Will we see them again, or will someone mention in passing that Abigail's parents went back to Boston and her brother returned to his job in Africa?
I'd love for JJ to help Chad get to the bottom of who killed Abigail. JJ would be the perfect person to do this since he became a cop after Paige's death partially because he was determined to find out who killed her.
What little we got of JJ was well done, though I wish there had been more to his conflict with Jack than we got.
Jack was upset that JJ suggested Gwen hated Abigail and shouldn't have sent her condolences. He stormed out and appeared to be avoiding JJ on return, only for JJ to apologize.
That was a lot of nothing!
While it's understandable that Jack wants to think the best of his daughter, Gwen has disappointed him repeatedly, each time worse than the last.
She's the type that should only be loved from a distance. She's in prison for poisoning Sarah to stop Sarah from "stealing" Xander from her, and Jack doesn't know that Gwen was ready to murder Abigail because Abigail broke her misshapen cup.
Someone had to try to open Jack's eyes to the truth now. JJ was right. If Gwen wanted to respect the family, she should have left them alone to mourn in peace.
Jennifer's attempt to explain to JJ that parents love their children unconditionally was sweet. Still, unconditional love doesn't mean you keep letting someone back into your life to hurt you and your family again and again.
And Jack's reaction was childish.
Storming out was bad enough, but he didn't have any meaningful conversation with Steve about what had happened once he arrived at the Pub. But then, when he returned, he seemed to be going out of his way to avoid JJ.
That was ridiculous, especially considering how close JJ and Jack were before Jack "died" and how much JJ has forgiven Jack since.
In addition, it seems like that one scene is all we're going to get of this conflict, which makes it feel like an afterthought rather than a genuine part of the story.
Meanwhile, Billy Flynn continued to handle Chad's grief perfectly. Flynn's portrayal had Chad bouncing back and forth between anger and despair; it felt completely realistic.
Chad: Do you remember what I asked you to do when I found Abigail?
EJ: You asked me to get the children out of the house.
Chad: Right. You see, the kids, they get excited sometimes about whatever it is they want to share and they forget to knock before they come in. And I didn't want them to walk in and see their mother bleeding to death because she'd been stabbed just like Sonny had been stabbed by Clyde Weston and you knew he'd threatened our family and you didn't tell me.
Chad is potentially heading down a dark path, especially after swearing that Clyde would face a death sentence "one way or the other."
As longtime viewers know, the first person, the cops, center their investigation around is never the culprit on Days of Our Lives. So if Chad is threatening Clyde, he will potentially order a hit on the wrong man.
Clyde has done plenty wrong in his life, but Abigail's murder isn't one of his sins.
You're unbelievable. I leave for two seconds and next thing I know, you're arrested for murder.Ben
I'd never thought I'd be rooting for him to get OUT of jail, but if Clyde is going to go back to prison, let it be for something he did.
His attempt to shoot EJ might fit the bill, except there's no proof other than EJ's say-so. But if Clyde is released, what's going to happen?
He threatened EJ's family to keep EJ quiet about that shooting, and now EJ has reneged on his part of the deal. Could Clyde also go down a murderous path now that EJ's blabbed about their secret?
Clyde also was involved in some other shady goings-on that seem to have been completely forgotten. Notably, he attempted to drag EJ into some drug-dealing operation.
Will that ever come out, or will Clyde be seen as a changed man once it's proven he didn't kill Abigail?
Despite Chad's claims to the contrary, there's no evidence of motive. EJ didn't tell anyone (except Belle, who Clyde doesn't know about), and Clyde's grief and shock seemed genuine when he learned about Abigail's death.
There's a shortage of suspects, however, which makes this more difficult. Gwen is being built up as the most likely suspect by just about everybody, which means she likely is innocent.
Leo is likely guilty of no more than having stolen the jewelry. At the end of his conversation with Gwen, he said as much when he suggested that the person who stole the jewels likely is not the same one who murdered Abigail.
We know that Leo was hiding in the closet and that somehow he ended up with Abby's money and jewelry. It's a strange setup; he should have seen the murder and had some idea who did it, but since he continually bothers Gwen about whether she could be involved, he clearly has no idea.
It's a shame that Gwen and Leo's relationship has devolved into the two constantly accusing one another of this murder. These two were fun together and made both characters more bearable until this happened.
Elsewhere, Jan's story came to a ridiculous end when Jan fell into the water after fighting with Belle.
This story suffered from a ton of realism problems, to begin with. While many fans could overlook that Jan met two male prisoners who were both working in a female prison wing, it was harder to ignore her taking her premature baby out of the NICU without the child suffering any ill effects.
Babies in the NICU are in intensive care. That's what the acronym stands for Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. In other words, they need supplemental oxygen, heart monitoring, and other lifesaving measures and cannot survive outside the NICU.
Days of Our Lives paid lip service to this by having Shawn suggest the child needs to return to the hospital, but the reality is that if a real mother had decided their baby "doesn't need tubes or lights; he just needs his mother," that baby would be dead within minutes.
Belle and Jan's fight on the docks was cartoonish. For some reason, veteran police officer Shawn couldn't anticipate or block an attempt to hit him in the head with an oar, but Belle could and did; then, during the ensuing scuffle, Jan fell into the water, never to be seen again.
I don't blame Belle for worrying that Jan will pop back up. Jan's body wasn't found, and other characters, such as Nick, have resurfaced (pun fully intended, sorry) after being thrown in the river and presumably perished.
Shawn: I promise if Jan pops up again she'll be arrested and sent back to prison. We're done with her.
Belle: Are we, Shawn? I'll always be looking over my shoulder worrying about what she's going to do.
Shawn: We're safe now because of you.
Belle: I'll never forget what I saw on the docks. I didn't know if she'd killed you and now I might have killed her.
Shawn: You didn't have a choice. You did what you had to do to protect me.
Shawn and Belle nearly reconciled and probably would have if it weren't for the fact that Shawn is still raising "his" baby.
That felt like a manufactured wrinkle. Belle cared about the baby, or she wouldn't have gone to the hospital multiple times to check on it. And if she wanted to be with Shawn, the two of them could surely find a way to work through her feelings about Jan's baby.
Shawn was the victim of rape, after all. Is Belle going to hold it against him that the assault produced a child?
Of course, the baby isn't Shawn's, but that's beside the point. Belle could find a way to deal with its existence if she wasn't only half-committed to Shawn.
She's conflicted about her feelings for EJ and has twice rebuffed him since they slept together, but this isn't over. And Belle also seems hellbent on proving she isn't scared of Sami.
Belle seems to be playing with the idea of being with EJ, but EJ seems genuinely smitten. He may end up left out in the cold, which is unusual for him. This could get interesting!
As for the birth father of Jan's baby, he's the biggest idiot Days of Our Lives has had in a while.
Orpheus invariably ends up working with dim-witted associates who drive him bonkers, but his son is one of the worst offenders.
Evan thought he could blackmail Jan into bringing the baby to Statesville to see him. Considering the only guard around is the moronic one who still doesn't know where Gwen disappeared to, I guess his plan made sense.
Still, Orpheus' dressing down his wayward son was highly satisfying.
Finally, Ben and Ciara sailed away with their infant son.
While I haven't been a huge fan of their repetitive storylines, their sendoff was nice, if a little rushed.
In the space of a few days, they got the boat keys, decided to go on a trip around the world, chose godparents, had a christening for the baby, and said their final goodbyes.
Doug and Julie's last goodbyes were off-screen for some reason, though they had some beautiful scenes beforehand.
Doug and Julie felt like they were channeling Alice and Tom Horton as Julie lamented all the people leaving Salem and Doug assured her he'd always be there for her.
Anyway, everyone's goodbyes were heartfelt as the couple imitated Bo and Hope's journey soon after Shawn was born.
I did not doubt that Victoria Konefal's tears were real. When the couple eventually returns, will baby Bo be a moody teenager who is angry about his father's past?
Only time will tell, but in the meantime, Ben and Ciara's journey continues on Beyond Salem Season 2 before we say our final goodbyes to them. This might be a riveting sendoff!
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about Abigail's funeral and Ciara and Ben's goodbyes!
If you're eager for more Days of Our Lives chat, check on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes or watch on Peacock TV weeknights after 8 PM EST / 5 PM PST.