“#Days of Our Lives Review Week of 7-19-21: Relationship Disasters Everywhere”
With a two-week hiatus coming up, you’d think Days of Our Lives would want viewers on the edge of their seats.
In 2012, Jack appeared to plunge to his death as the credits rolled, and the planned cliffhanger in 2020 for the Olympics that weren’t involved the church Ben and Ciara got married in blowing up just as they were leaving for their honeymoon.
But in 2021, the pre-Olympic cliffhanger was… Claire taking Ciara’s place at her ho-hum wedding to Theo while Ben turned out to be driving Ciara’s limo past the church. Really?
Diehard Cin shippers loved this cliffhanger, but sadly, I found it lacking in several respects.
First of all, we didn’t get anyone’s emotional reaction to the Ciara/Claire switcheroo or Ciara discovering Ben was taking her to parts unknown. (And how did Ciara not realize Ben was the one driving the limo?)
It was all sort of… there. Ben revealed himself to Ciara, and Theo pulled up the veil to find Claire. The end, fade to black.
If Theo or Ciara had had an emotional reaction to any of this, it might have left viewers excited for what comes next, even if they aren’t Cin shippers. Instead, it seemed like this cliffhanger was a present for those who love the couple and a letdown for everyone else.
Plus, Days of Our Lives was really pushing the narrative that Ben and Ciara are the new Bo and Hope, even going as far as to have Claire and Ben plot to recreate the iconic sequence in which Bo rescued Hope from Larry Welch and left a man named Howie under her veil.
Some of the dialogue was the same as what Bo said to Jennifer during that classic story in 1984 or what Hope said when Bo tried to talk her out of marrying Larry!
And Claire told Ben the story to convince both him and viewers that Ciara and Ben are Bo and Hope 2.0.
Newsflash: they’re not. Bo was rescuing Hope from an evil man who had forced her into marriage while she was trying to convince herself that she did love Larry and he was a good guy.
Ciara is a poor imitation of her mother. The only thing she has in common with Hope or her situation is that they both tried to talk themselves into being in love with the wrong man and hating the right one.
But Ciara spent most of the lead-up to her wedding throwing tantrums, yelling at everyone who dared question her insistence on rushing into a wedding with Theo, and claiming the whole world was against her and trying to stop her wedding to her “true love” Theo.
Claire even suggested that Ben was better off without Ciara and her obnoxious, abusive behavior. She was 100% right — but all of a sudden, she agreed with Ben that kidnapping Ciara from her wedding is the right thing to do, merely because it worked out for Bo and Hope!
It’s really too bad that Days of Our Lives is refusing to recast Hope. Rather than Hope being stuck in Africa, I’d have loved for her to be in Salem and giving Ciara a piece of her mind about this nonsense!
Instead, literally, everyone at “Hope” and Larry’s wedding made a silly excuse for not coming to Theo and Ciara’s. I know the budget is small, and there are COVID restrictions in place, but the only ones there were Abe, Lani, Shawn, and Belle.
Even more ridiculous was Theo’s explanation to Abe about why he was going ahead with the wedding. He more or less admitted that he didn’t think this was a good idea but was marrying Ciara anyway so that she wouldn’t be upset.
What sense does that make?
Abe was committed to keeping his mouth shut after Theo insisted that he knew what he was doing. But when that nonsense came out of Theo’s mouth, someone should have said something.
This would have been the time to explain that if the only reason you’re getting married is that you’re afraid of the other person’s reaction to not doing it, going through with the wedding is the LAST thing you should be doing.
Abe could have also explained that he knows Theo doesn’t always understand social rules because of his Autism and that he wasn’t obligated to marry Ciara just because she wanted it so badly.
I’ll give Claire credit for one thing: she was right that Theo wasn’t thinking clearly, and someone had to protect him from impending doom. What kind of marriage would he and Ciara have had when he knew it was a terrible idea and was only doing it for her sake?
Meanwhile, EJ learned Sami’s secret across town, which was a way more interesting cliffhanger!
EJ has laid it on thick about how grateful he is to have a faithful wife like Sami before, begging the question of whether he’s known about Sami and Lucas’ tryst all along.
But this time, we know that he knows… and that made his declaration creepy.
What is EJ going to do to or with Sami? Is he going to continue playing mind games and trying to get her to confess, or is this the beginning of some sort of revenge plot?
Now THAT’s a cliffhanger to talk about while Days of Our Lives takes a two-week hiatus!
Lucas may have to rescue Sami from EJ’s clutches sooner than he thinks unless EJ decides to mess with Sami’s mind for a while longer.
Either way, I’m grateful for the forward movement in this storyline. As much as I love Lucas’ eternal declarations of love and his clear-eyed view of EJ’s abuse of Sami, that was getting old and going nowhere.
The 500th such declaration wasn’t much different than the first, other than Lucas deciding to back off because he loves Sami so much. And Sami’s tearful reaction afterward proved that her heart belongs to Lucas no matter what she says about EJ.
And now her affair with Lucas is out in the open, and it’s anyone’s guess what’ll happen now!
Nicole got some great scenes, too. The implosion of her marriage to Eric was heartbreaking, but she held her own both with Sami and EJ.
You know, at least I gave you this letter in the privacy of your office. Thanks to his devoted twin, Eric found out what I did with Xander in front of his mother. And as it turns out, Sami is just as much a slut as I am and did the exact same thing.
Nicole was her strong, snarky self in scenes with both of them. Her conversation with EJ was especially riveting because Nicole used to be married to him and knew exactly how to push his buttons.
EJ got some of his own digs in, but in the end, Nicole emerged victorious, rubbing his nose in the fact that Sami cheated on him too and pointing out that at least Nicole had the decency to tell him in private.
It’s hard to believe that EJ wasn’t aware of any of this beforehand, including that Sami tried to burn that letter. Usually, the Dimera superpower is knowing things that everyone thinks are secrets, and Sami was super obvious in her attempts to pull the wool over EJ’s eyes.
It would be a great twist if Nicole confirmed what he already knew, and he was just waiting for the right time to do something about it!
Nicole’s scenes with Eric beforehand were incredibly sad… and I’m not even an Ericole fan!
Eric has too often been overly judgmental of Nicole and actively mean to her, like when he found out about the shredded evidence and followed her all over town, telling her she was an awful excuse for a human being for MONTHS on end.
He was all set to do the same thing again, and I was about to draft an essay about how Nicole should really thank her lucky stars for being rid of him.
And then he decided to act like an adult instead, but Nicole ended things anyway.
I was glad that Eric admitted that he was no saint and that he had screwed up badly by leaving Nicole alone for nearly a year while he ran off to Africa. And if Nicole had been equally mature in her decision to end things, it might have felt less tragic.
But instead, Nicole insisted that she would never be good enough for Eric and that he was better off without her.
It left me wishing that Eric had pushed harder for them to stay together. If he’d said that she was worth more than she thought she was and he was going to show her the kind of love she deserved from now on, I might have rooted for this couple.
Unfortunately, that was never going to be a possibility when Greg Vaughan could only commit to a limited number of episodes of Days of Our Lives. So instead, we were left with the tragedy of Nicole giving up on herself and the relationship just as Eric was finally coming to his senses.
Leaving the behind-the-scenes reasons aside, the whole incident demonstrated that the real problem with Eric and Nicole was a total lack of communication.
Eric wasn’t listening at times that Nicole tried to tell him on the phone that she wished he would come home. But when they were together, Nicole was too quick to swallow her real feelings and say what she thought Eric wanted to hear.
She kept saying that she was selfish to want him to be here with her when people in Africa needed him, and before the Xander reveal, Eric had the sense to tell her that was silly.
She also quickly backed down from saying she didn’t want Sami at their anniversary party because she felt that was unfair to Eric.
Those types of lapses in communication and fear of saying what she really felt contributed to the implosion of this relationship, too, along with Eric’s apparent addiction to doing good works and cluelessness about what it takes to make a marriage work.
Eric and Nicole were little more than kids when they first fell in love, and like Philip and Chloe, they never seem to have grown past that 16-year-old mentality.
Speaking of Philip, why is he so invested in blowing up Sami and EJ’s marriage?
He told Nicole that he wanted to help Lucas re-establish his relationship with Sami, but I had a hard time buying that. Lucas and Philip have never been especially close before.
I’m thrilled the half-brothers are finally spending time together, but it all seemed to come out of nowhere, and I had to wonder whether Philip had an ulterior motive.
He was just overly gleeful about the idea of using Nicole to blow up EJ and Sami’s marriage, and I’m wondering if he’s later going to try to convince Lucas to return the favor by helping him wrest Chloe from Brady.
Finally, Paulina’s big news might have seemed anticlimactic to some, but realistically, this story could only have ended with her calling off the demolition.
Abe’s legal battle was off-screen, and it would have been irritating for him to either win or lose his court case without viewers following him into a courtroom.
That’s a shame, in a way. But Days of Our Lives clearly didn’t intend to write a full story about a legal battle. This was just a bump in the road for Abe and Paulina’s romance.
Anyway, the Horton Town Square was never going to be demolished, and now Abe’s willingness to take Paulina at her word may drive a wedge between him and Lani.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics! What did you think of the lead-up to the big cliffhangers? What kept you on the edge of your seat? And what do you hope happens when Days of Our Lives returns after the Olympics?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Hungry for more Days of Our Lives chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. It is taking a hiatus for the 2021 Olympic Games but will return on August 9, 2021.
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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