Back from the dead stories have been a common soap trope throughout the genre’s history and few soaps have used it as often and egregiously as Days of our Lives. And, no back from the dead story has been as ridiculous as the one we have been witnessing on this show since January.
Days of our Lives Gave No Emotional Investment
From the first time the Phoenix himself, Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo), rose from the ashes in the early 1980s, it’s been hard to believe anyone dies in Salem. Half the town even “died” once just to turn up on an island called Melaswen (New Salem spelled backward).
In recent years, every time a character has died, we knew we could count on Dr. Wilhelm Rolf (Richard Wharton) to revive them, so it’s been hard to even feel any sort of connection to the grief our favorite characters feel. Heck, we are sure Chad’s (Billy Flynn) mourning was all for nothing because Abigail (Marci Miller) is destined to reappear again.
In the case of the three women in some weird version of purgatory, it’s been hard to get emotionally involved with a death storyline that you know is not even real. Of course, DAYS didn’t kill off Marlena (Deidre Hall), Kate (Lauren Koslow), and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans). The actresses have not been let go or quit, and we still see them in purgatory several times a week in a parallel storyline that has them encountering both good and evil with other dead characters who may or may not stay that way.
Now, we learn they have never been dead at all and instead are in a dream state, apparently conjuring up everything that has happened in purgatory in their minds.
Grief Took A Holiday
Back in Salem, it’s been business as usual for most of the ladies’ loved ones, which really makes these fake deaths even more inconsequential. Stephanie Johnson (Abigail Klein) lost her mother but has been more concerned with forging a new relationship with Chad than anything else. That was right after she broke things off with Alex (Robert Scott Wilson).
Kate has two kids, Billie and Austin, who couldn’t even make it back for her funeral. And Marlena’s grandkids? Well, Allie (Lindsay Arnold) lost TWO grandmas, Marlena and Kate, but spent her grieving period fighting with Chanel and sleeping with Alex behind Chanel’s back. Heck, it took more than a month in real time to even bury these not-so-dead women.
When Days of our Lives Back From The Dead Works
Sometimes back from the dead does work if a character A-never should have been killed off at all and B-has been gone for years and truly missed. That is what we will be getting soon as Bo (Peter Reckell) is resurrected in the same lab where Marlena, Kate, and Kayla are. But Salem truly mourned Bo. Hope (Kristian Alfonso) even shot Stefano in her grief months after he ‘died’ in her arms way back in 2015. And, it has been nearly eight years of mourning for Hope and the audience.
We can accept Bo’s return because Bo and Hope always deserved a happy ending. They ushered in DAYS’ 1980s supercouple era and are probably the most popular pair this 57-year-old soap ever produced. But, we had to plod through this mess with the ladies for no reason. There was no suspense, no real grief in Salem, and no investment in what was going to happen because we knew the eventual outcome. That’s not how to do death on a soap, even if it’s not really death.
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on Peacock+ in the U.S. and The W Network or Global TV App in Canada. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on DAYS spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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