Since making her DAYS debut two years ago, Emily O’Brien has won herself both a legion of fans and a legion of detractors playing a character for whom the phrase “love to hate” seems tailor-made. For this alone, the actress should receive kudos, but today she wins a special prize – Soap Hub’s Performer of the Week award – for her spectacular work during Gwen’s much deserved and long-awaited comeuppance.
Emily O’Brien – Performer of the Week
For a thespian, perhaps the hardest job of all is to stand around and merely react to unfolding action rather than actively participate. As her alter-ego’s world crumbled around her, thanks in no small part to Gwen’s revenge-minded sister, Abigail Deveraux DiMera (Marci Miller), O’Brien stood by and watched, but by no means did she do so passively.
O’Brien clung to co-star Paul Telfer and frequently searched his face – or, more accurately, his character’s – for any indication that he was beginning to buy what her accuser was selling. At times she clutched the neck of Gwen’s gown subtly telegraphing that the noose that was tightening.
The more Abigail pressed on, the more Gwen realized that the game was up, and O’Brien’s grip on his suit became like a vise.
One by one, all of Gwen’s crimes were revealed. Her keeping quiet about Sarah Horton’s (Linsey Godfrey) imprisonment on DiMera island, her impersonation of Sarah, the role she played in Abigail’s kidnapping, and, most damning of all, her decision to monkey with the drug that was supposed to help restore Sarah’s memory.
Once Gwen’s excuse for her actions was well and truly dismissed – I did it all for love she claimed – O’Brien got to finally let loose and vomit Gwen’s self-righteous anger all over her detractors.
“You don’t fool me! Just because you cloud it all in this Horton morality, Horton gentility. I know that this is payback, and you and your old lady, you are no better than me. And your bogus, disgusting piety just makes me sick. It makes me SICK!”
And while all that above had been shouted at full volume for all in the town square to hear, Gwen saved her most biting remark for Abigail and Abigail alone. “Just so you know, your precious Grandmother…I killed that little bitch on purpose!”
Honorable Mention: Matthew Ashford
Ashford and Emily O’Brien have always shared a particularly stellar father/daughter chemistry, but that familial bond that their characters share has been irrevocably damaged. “Don’t EVER call me [dad] again,” his Jack Deveraux demanded. “I forgave, and forgave, and forgave and believed that you could be saved…I am done with you.” The hurt, the disappointment was palpable. It was in Ashford’s body and his eyes, especially the eyes.
Honorable Mention: Marci Miller
As the public excoriator, Miller had the lion’s share of dialogue which she delivered with a true pro’s panache. Her best bit? Without a doubt, it was Abigail’s fervent demand that Gwen, “can it…BITCH!” Nobody, but nobody interrupts Abigail when she’s on a roll.
Honorable Mention: Paul Telfer
On social media, the always affable Telfer had nothing but kudos for O’Brien. On-screen, his Xander had a much less congenial attitude towards Gwen whom he dubbed, “the worst person I have ever known,” in a voice that somehow conveyed dripping disdain and utter heartbreak all at once.
Honorable Mention: Melissa Reeves
It’s rare to see Reeves in fighting form but she gave serious mama bear vibes when her Jennifer Rose Horton Deveraux saddled up to O’Brien’s Gwen and not only denounced her as a coward but outright dared her to continue the hate-filled tirade she’d begun.
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. 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.