Marlena is the type of character viewers either love or hate.
She’s revered by many in Salem but can also be arrogant or judgmental, and she holds the record for damsel-in-distress stories.
In honor of Deidre Hall reaching her 5000th episode, Days of Our Lives during the week of 5-10-23 offered a tribute to Marlena with flashbacks and conversations with John. It was a nice gift for her and her fans, though it could have used more emphasis on the past.
John wasn’t around for Marlena’s entire run, but Days of Our Lives got around that by having him take her out to dinner to celebrate having seen approximately 5000 patients.
During that dinner, the couple hit a few of Marlena’s highlights. The ones they chose were appropriate, but I wanted more!
It wasn’t easy to fit the tribute into the time allotted. This tribute would have been ideally suited to the single-story specials Days of Our Lives occasionally offered, but that would have stalled movement on a few other stories.
In any case, we jumped quickly from the late 1970s to the present day, with John and Marlena discussing how much she helped Ben.
It was strange for a Ben flashback to air in the same episode where Robert Scott Wilson’s Alex Kiriakis had a significant role. Moreover, it felt unnecessary.
The flashbacks gave viewers who hadn’t seen or did not remember old stories context. They also provided nostalgia for long-time viewers who wanted to relive their favorite scenes again.
But Ben’s sessions with Marlena were pretty recent, so that flashback didn’t feel the same.
John: Do you remember Roger Lombard?
Marlena: He wasn’t even the most dangerous member of that family. His wife Stella was convinced he and I were having an affair and she showed her class and elegance by throwing me into a pit.
John: And when I tried to rescue you, I fell right down into that pit with you.
Although it was meant to show that Marlena helps people to this day, that flashback felt like filler, mainly because the scenes only highlighted a few of Marlena’s storylines over the years.
Two of my favorite past stories weren’t included: Orpheus kidnapping Marlena and forcing her to raise his children on an island and the Salem Strangler calling into her radio show.
John wasn’t around for the radio show story, though it could have been handled similarly to the flashback of Marlena meeting Mickey in 1976.
But the Orpheus one would have been especially poignant to include. At the time, “Roman” (really John) learned Marlena wasn’t as dead as it seemed and had to find and rescue her, which is similar to what Roman is going through with Kate right now.
Days of Our Lives chose the infamous Stella story as its example of Marlena’s many kidnappings. The episode mainly focused on Marlena’s long career, but it might have been fun to lean into how well (and often!) she falls into the kidnapped wife trope with flashbacks of many such incidents.
Of course, then we might have had flashbacks of both of Marlena’s possessions by the Devil. That storyline is a sore spot for many viewers, so, understandably, the showrunners would leave it out.
The John/Marlena scenes were also a tribute to these two as a couple and how grateful John is that Marlena rescued him from his identity confusion. That’s always been the appeal of this couple. She saved him, and he spent the rest of his life rescuing her.
Things began to move forward with the mission to rescue Kate. Harris’ expertise and connections came in handy when the trio needed to look for the boat that Kate had likely boarded.
After a few false starts, they quickly found the right boat, leading to an exciting cliffhanger. But what the heck was that nonsense about leaving Chad behind?
Steve was right that Chad has small children and shouldn’t take extra risks. But the time to say that was at the beginning of the mission.
There was no reason to let Chad do all the grunt work but to balk at him joining the rescue. Predictably, Chad refused to be left out, and Steve backed down immediately.
Was Steve testing Chad? That’s the only way this makes any sense. Otherwise, those scenes were nothing but a stalling technique when we needed to get on with the rescue.
Chad’s inclusion in the mission meant he burst into the room at the most inopportune time when Dimitri was just about to explain his plan to Kate.
I guess that’ll have to wait. And if never learning the plan is the price for getting rid of this stupid story, I’ll take that.
But most likely, this merely adds complications and danger as the group tries to find and rescue Kate.
Kate’s refusal to subordinate herself to these idiots is the best part of this bizarre story.
The story still feels like a retread of the original Kate on a fishing boat story. That time, Vivian Alamain was behind Kate’s kidnapping. This time, one of her enemies is.
I can’t imagine what Dimitri wants. The only motive that makes sense is if he wants Billie’s attention. But if so, why kidnap and flirt with Billie’s mother?
The setup of no one learning that Dimitri had escaped a Supermax prison until the guys asked a guard to check was silly. Maximum security prisons associated with Salem have even more lax security than Statesville!
I’m curious why Dimitri kidnapped Kate if he’s afraid to use her as leverage. I like this character and found him interesting on Beyond Salem 1. Let’s hope he has something better to do than what he’s been given so far!
In Salem, Jada came close to arresting Talia, only to be fooled by her lies at the last second.
Talia’s sob story contained a kernel or two of truth. I believe that she doesn’t like who she becomes around Colin and feels helpless to resist him or his demands. And she probably wishes she dared to tell him she’s done forever.
But she hasn’t made more than a half-hearted attempt to stand up to him and his ridiculous plan. She’s too attached to him to do that, so he has her right where he wants her.
Jada now feels terrible for Talia and guilty about suspecting her. That doesn’t mean this investigation is dead in the water, though. Jada may now shift her efforts to ensuring Colin doesn’t continue to upset Talia, which should lead her to discover that Talia only told her half the story.
And predictably, Talia is falling for Chanel for real, while Paulina insists Talia is too nice to even be on the suspect list.
This plot of Colin’s makes no sense. If Talia honestly had no interest in dating women, I doubt she’d want to kiss one or be able to convincingly act like she was into this.
And Colin’s desire to make Paullina’s mental health suffer is deplorable. I hope he gets caught soon so we can end this stupidity.
Sloan is the wild card in this story. Surprisingly, she not only disapproves of Colin’s tactics but is starting to turn over s new leaf.
Sloan claims that falling for Eric has made her realize there’s more to life than revenge. But will that last?
What will happen to Sloan and Eric if Nicole’s baby turns out to be yet another Eric miracle baby? And if Eric decides he has to be with Nicole and breaks up with Sloan, will Sloan go back to petty revenge schemes?
At the moment, she’s on the road to redemption, and that’s terrible news for Colin.
Sloan told him in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t cover for him if she were called into the police station again over his nonsense, prompting Colin to begin packing his bags.
But will it be as simple as Colin running away and leaving air holding the bag for his crimes?
Colin: What is it that I’ve been doing?
Sloan: There it is, the same ‘who me?’ act you’ve been doing since we were five.
That would be stupid on his part. Without him there to mess with Talia’s head, her thinking might clear up, and she might tell Jada what she did and why.
Besides, that would be an unsatisfying ending to his story. I want Colin brought to justice. I don’t want him to disappear and never be made to pay for his part in this mess.
And while Sloan’s new attitude is much easier to take, can we stop calling Chanel a little slut? Sloan’s father took advantage of Chanel when she was a student in his class. As hard as it is for Sloan to admit, Chanel is the victim here, and it would be real growth for Sloan to admit it.
If Sloan were ever to face that her father was not a good guy and grapple with realizing the man she idolized was a predator who went after young female students, that would lead to fantastic drama for her!
Instead, she’s stuck in this stupid Eric/Nicole/EJ thing. I’m disappointed by so many things in this story!
Nicole keeps using early menopause as a cover story for her pregnancy, underscoring how much better it would have been if that was the real story. Instead, she’s telling an idiotic lie that will be hard to undo.
What is going to happen when Nicole starts showing? Or even if she never does — some women don’t, and I can’t remember if she did during her last pregnancy story — she can’t drink while pregnant, and she’s a three-martini kind of woman.
The first time EJ offers her a drink and she opts for water instead, he will wonder what’s wrong.
And let’s say that Nicole carries to term without anyone discovering the truth. How will she explain how she ended up with a baby when she was supposedly going through menopause?
This lie and her reason for it is partly why I was unwilling to ship Nicole/EJ. The writers are obsessed with putting her back with Eric, and in addition, she’s as afraid of EJ’s anger as she was when she hid her last pregnancy from him a decade ago.
If they had to do this, could they have at least let Rafe help her again? That way, this could end with a Nicole/Rafe reconciliation.
Also, I’m tired of Nicole having conversations on the phone in places where people can overhear. This tired plot device is annoying and only makes Nicole look stupid.
EJ’s other story is equally silly. These games between him and Stefan are juvenile and beneath either of them.
Plus, it’s hard to stay invested in this story when we know Gabi is leaving Days of Our Lives.
Finally, across town, Alex talked his way into unemployment.
I have been on Maggie’s side the whole time, but this was wrong.
The bottom line is Yuri didn’t like Maggie’s plan, and he didn’t sign because he backtracked and supported Maggie’s ideas instead of undermining her.
Alex was in a lose-lose situation here. Yuri would have signed if he had continued to negotiate his way, but Maggie would have fired Alex for not sticking to her plan.
Just because she assumed the deal was done doesn’t mean it was. In addition, going to the bathroom to get more energy suggests Yuri did a line of coke — is that the kind of client Maggie wants?
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts.
Don’t forget to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
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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.