Days of Our Lives has had a balance problem for a while.
It often seems like there are too many stories and characters, and some get lost in the shuffle. Some characters and storylines dominate available airtime, while others vanish for weeks.
The off-kilter pacing of some stories can kill viewer interest or make fans feel like the writers are playing favorites. The way the Bo storyline played out on Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-27-23 is a great example, as the old-school adventure dominated the days it aired while other stories felt like they were left in the lurch.
The Bo/Hope reunion story was initially pitched as Beyond Salem 3, and it shows. When this story airs, it often takes up most of the hour, leaving little room for stories in Salem proper.
Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso might have only been available for a limited time, but that doesn’t mean their scenes couldn’t have been combined with other stories so that their storyline lasts longer on-screen. Since the story is on Days of Our Lives and not its spinoff this time, there’s no five-day time limit; Days of Our Lives can take as much time as they want.
Instead, this story airs as a mostly single-episode story two or three times a week, making it feel like Beyond Salem 3 has been shoehorned into Days of Our Lives.
That’s not to say it isn’t a great story. Beyond Salem always excelled at capturing the look and feel of the 1980s Days of Our Lives, full of madcap adventures and super couples fighting omnipotent villains, and this is no exception.
This story’s biggest weakness is its constant insistence that Kate is dead. I don’t believe that for a second, and the more the characters insist that’s the case, the more eager I am for Kate to make a grand re-entrance.
In the meantime, we got some great reunion scenes for Marlena and her family, while Kayla and Bo’s reconnection took a bizarre turn.
Bo is starting to remind me of how Steve acted when he had a microchip in his head, convincing him he was Stefano.
He keeps threatening Kayla at gunpoint, demanding she help him with his semi-evil plan to build an empire based on his possession of the magic orchid and insists that he was never a Brady and that people should stop telling him how to be.
You say my father is a criminal. But what would you call people who deny a child the right to be who he is or even know who that is?
As a transgender person, I found his words poignant, but not for the reasons the writers intended.
Bo’s claim that his family denied him the right to be himself is something that I went through as a child because I didn’t have the language to express my identity. Transgender children whose parents refuse to accept their transition feel the same confusion and anger Bo described.
Bo’s claim came for a different reason, of course. I wish more than ever that John Aniston had been able to film a few more scenes so that he and Bo could have reunited as part of this storyline.
I didn’t like Kayla telling Bo that Victor was a vicious criminal with no heart. That was true forty years ago, but the Victor who graced our screens for eleven years had a softer side.
Even back in the day, he wasn’t all bad. He could be tender and loving with Caroline, though he did horrible things to her daughters that didn’t square with his love for her. Isn’t the first rule of organized crime that the family of people you love are untouchable?
In any case, Kayla’s claims seemed outdated unless Rolf’s serum worked without anyone acknowledging it, and we’ve traveled back in time to the late 1980s.
I’m also unsure why Kayla took Bo’s warning seriously not to run away. He needs her, so he’s not going to shoot her, and I have a feeling that even brainwashed, he wouldn’t be capable of hurting his sister.
Instead, Kayla found a hidden phone and called Stephanie when she couldn’t reach Steve. (By the way, are busy signals still a thing? When I can’t get through to someone, it usually goes straight to voice mail or an automated message saying the call could not be connected.)
Oddly, Stephanie could call Steve while he was in the tombs with Megan, so there can’t be an issue of no cell signal down there. It seems Steve’s phone has suffered a plot-driven malady.
Bo will probably return before she can say much, but at least Stephanie’ll know her mother is alive! It seems like Steve’s deal with Megan was premature, too, since they can probably trace the phone’s location to find Kayla.
Steve likely won’t believe Megan if she says that Bo kidnapped Kayla. He thinks Bo is dead and won’t believe he’s alive even though they just learned that two other supposedly-dead people (three if you count Megan herself) have been alive and held captive since their “deaths.”
Hope’s plan to intimidate Megan also backfired. Megan is thrilled by the idea of Hope and Harris getting together because she thinks it leaves the door open for Bo to fall for her instead. But will Hope believe that Bo is alive and has turned evil?
Hope and Harris might be an interesting couple if Bo wasn’t coming back, assuming Harris has been deprogrammed.
Hope is more than willing to give him a second chance, but his pocket of self-doubt over whether he’s been restored to his true self could be a compelling obstacle to their romance.
Thankfully, Ciara’s anger over Hope and Harris being together was short-lived. Ciara said all the same things about Harris that Hope once said about Ben, then backed off when Hope finally pointed that out.
Ciara’s disrespectful comments to her mother were hard to take, so let’s hope this is the end of it and we don’t have any more of that later!
Meanwhile, the biggest mystery in Salem proper is what happened to Paulina’s office.
What are you two doing shooting the breeze when you should be out there arresting Sloan Petersen?
Sloan is the most obvious suspect, but with all the noise Paulina and Belle are making about her needing to pay for her crimes, she’s likely innocent — this time.`
I can’t think of anyone else who would trash Paulina’s office and leave her a threatening note. Paulina’s other biggest enemy is TR, and he’s dead for now.
Someone could want to settle a score from some real estate deal she made once. Trask might not be happy that she doesn’t get to prosecute Paulina, but would she stoop to this level?
The situation allowed Days of Our Lives to make important points about mental health after Paulina’s panic attack. I’ve often criticized the soap’s handling of mental health issues, but they got it right this time.
Instead of mocking mental health, Paulina’s panic attack was treated seriously. Talia responded appropriately to help Pauilna through it and then encouraged her to seek therapy to handle her anxiety.
Talia even pointed out that many Black women feel ashamed or uncomfortable about needing help and that it’s not a sign of weakness. Well done, Days writers!
Meanwhile, Eric continued to take Sloan’s side, refusing to acknowledge that Sloan’s harassment of Paulina and Chanel is inappropriate.
He and Bo are both engaging in the good-guy-decides-his-true-self-is-evil trope, but at least Bo doesn’t take the side of someone treating a sexual assault survivor as the aggressor. As a survivor himself, Eric should have way more doubts about Sloan’s behavior no matter how much he identifies with her loss of her mother.
And now that Marlena has been proven to be alive and well, that empathy is somewhat outdated. Will her reappearance change anything for him? Similarly, will Stephanie’s anger that Alex stopped her from saying goodbye to Kayla for the last time melt now that she knows Kayla is alive?
Speaking of Alex, the sooner Maggie rids herself of him, the better.
He’s shown zero evidence that he’s lost the entitled attitude. He still thinks he belongs in the CEO chair and is only working from home so that Maggie doesn’t fire him before he can change the situation.
Justin going to her shouldn’t score any points, either. No adult needs their father to stand up for them with their boss!
That said, if she thinks Xander is a great guy, Maggie has blinders on. He’s not above violence, even if he does have a better work ethic, and Sarah was right to dump him.
Xander may redeem himself partially by his kindness to Chloe, but it isn’t enough. He still kidnapped Susan, which is the latest in his long list of crimes. He is the Kiriakis version of EJ and shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily.
The Chloe storyline is silly. It’s bad enough that she fretted about Brady possibly learning that she called his bratty daughter precisely what she is. But now Chloe lied to Brady about why she was worried about Leo’s column instead of telling him what had happened.
Leo took a photo of Xander and Chloe hugging, which he will either blackmail her with or try to put in the Spectator. But Chloe wouldn’t be in this position if she’d told Brady what happened n the first place.
There was NO reason to lie, and if Brady and CHloe’s relationship can’t survive her telling Kristen to stop turning Rachel into her clone, then it was a fragile relationship, to begin with.
Chloe should be more competent and stronger than this.
Similarly, the Rachel-in-prison scenes were ridiculous. Statesville never operates like a real prison, but allowing an unaccompanied six-year-old to see her mother because she cried was a bit much, even for them!
Brady tracked Rachel down before Kristen could tell her why she wrote that letter encouraging Brady and Chloe’s relationship, but Rachel isn’t stupid. She knows that letter was a pile of BS.
If Brady thinks the problems between Rachel and Chloe are over, he’s an idiot.
In addition, Rachel should be punished for running away from school to go to Statesville, which doesn’t appear to be happening unless you count having to spend time with Chloe as a punishment.
EJ and Nicole’s plan backfired spectacularly. I don’t know why Trask would agree to fake sex with Stefan unless she’s hoping to snare him for herself eventually, but EJ and Nicole should have known that Stefan would see through their blatant attempt to mess with him.
Nicole used to be smart and savvy; between her assumption that this plan worked and her decision to bother Eric about Sloan, she was a big disappointment this week.
Meanwhile, Tripp was the latest man not to realize that parading around your home practically naked is a bad idea when you live with people you’re not romantically involved with.
Predictably, Wendy came in while he was dancing and pouring cereal while dressed in nothing but a pair of boxers, leading to an awkward situation.
Johnny’s jealousy was ridiculous. Wendy was fully dressed, so obviously, nothing was going on between her and Tripp, even if he should have worn a bathrobe.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button, and let us know your thoughts.
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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.