First the good news: after a long absence, Jay Kenneth Johnson is finally back on the daytime scene as the one and only Philip Kiriakis. Now the bad: he’s had precious little to do the past few months. It begs the question, why is Days of our Lives wasting him?
Jay Kenneth Johnson — A Promising Return
After the character made a surprise reappearance in Salem, last year, he was thrust into what appeared to be a promising rivalry. He was pitted against his cousin, Xander (Paul Telfer), making the duo instant adversaries.
As they both vied for control of Titan Industries, Philip used his number one son status with Victor (John Kiriakis) and Xander’s jealousy regarding Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) to his full advantage. But that competitive and combative relationship has fallen by the wayside, nixing the potential for more wheeling, dealing, and outmaneuvering at the workplace.
Then there was the hint of a renewed romance between Philip and his high school sweetheart, Chloe (Nadia Bjorlin). “Phloe” fans were on board for their long-awaited reunion. Yet, sadly, that went nowhere fast. Instead, Chloe started feeling a pull toward her ex, Brady (Eric Martsolf), leaving Philip out in the cold.
Since then it’s been slim pickings for Philip. The show toyed with a flirtation between him and Gabi (Camila Banus), but that was doomed from the get-go. Everyone knew the end game for the vixen was always Jake (Brandon Barash). And any hope that Philip might hook up with his former blackmailer, Ava (Tamara Braun), appears to have been squashed, now that she’s started dating Rafe (Galen Gering).
It’s left Philip, one of the richest, shrewdest, and most available bachelors in town, with little to do and no one to do it with. Surely, there has to be someone the soap could pair him with – be it for a big sweeping romance or a friends-with-benefits situation. Conniving Gwen’s (Emily O’Brien) totally on her own, too, so a match-up with Philip would be intriguing.
Maybe she could apply for a job at Titan and catch his eye. Or the soap could bring back someone from Philip’s past, like his ex-wife, Melanie (Molly Burnett), or former girlfriend, Stephanie (Shelley Hennig), and revisit one or both of their relationships.
Meanwhile, on the business front, the soap should reignite the Kiriakis/DiMera feud of old. In the past, Victor and Stefano’s sons have battled it out for the top dog of Salem. A new power struggle could be set in motion between the DiMera brothers, Chad (Billy Flynn) and Jake, and the Kiriakis clan.
What would make it really interesting would be for Philip and Xander to join forces in a united front, realizing they’re much more powerful together than apart. Viewers will be happy with almost anything that puts Jay Kenneth Johnson front and center where he belongs. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.