In the age of COVID, cancer, drug overdoses, and out-of-control mass shootings, death is all around us. There is no escaping it — even on our soaps, which are a chance to escape life’s intense drama for some of the made-up kind. But unlike real life, folks pop up alive again with alarming regularity, especially in Salem on Days of our Lives. Is this a tone-deaf writing crutch or exactly what viewers need right now?
Days of our Lives: Death Doesn’t Become Them
While many fans may disagree and find these resurrection stories thrilling, for those who are truly suffering, it almost feels like a twist of the knife — their loved ones aren’t coming back from the dead. And the reality of that can be crushing. So what is the point of killing so many characters if you’re just going to turn around and have a convenient mad scientist simply bring them back to life?
Are they giving us the chance to feel a mourning catharsis to help us deal with our own grief? Well, that would entail actually having the funeral and sharing things about those characters that let us get out that collective grief with a good cry. That’s not happening, whether the show just doesn’t want to go there or COVID precautions (or finances) don’t allow for those kinds of big scenes anymore.
Take the brutal murder of young mother Abigail Deveraux DiMera (Marci Miller), whose death we already suffered through once before, only for her to turn out to be alive. Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) played out all those story beats a few years ago and is now being made to go through them…again. Really? One of his best friends, Will Horton (Chandler Massey), has also returned from the dead. Chad’s brothers too. His father Stefano DiMera’s the king of it. Tons of other family, friends, and neighbors too. So why buy that Abby is dead? Or anyone else, for that matter?
If DAYS keeps cheapening the meaning of death, what are we supposed to feel from these characters’ lives? Why should we care and invest in what happens to them when it’s all meaningless and can be undone with the wave of a mad scientist’s hand or special potion injected?
Here’s an idea — maybe lay off the fake deaths for a while and try some emotional stories that reconnect us to these characters and make us feel something and root for them. That’s the reason a lot of us watch our favorite soaps — to feel an emotional connection and be entertained. There’s too much death out there in real life.
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.
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