Those were two incredibly painful days of television viewing.
And I don’t mean that in the way I meant it back in May, when I had to force myself to watch 38 minutes of Serena muttering to herself about statues and Daniel telling Nicole what a piece of shit she is. The fallout from Will’s murder has been tremendously well executed — visceral, real, played out in excruciating detail. I could not do this every day, but it’s been compelling and so emotional. I wasn’t able to watch yesterday’s episode until nighttime, and I was in tears from the get-go, and then I idiotically watched today’s in real time (well, almost — I gave it enough time to buffer a good DVR lead, because I don’t really need to watch ads in which Alison Sweeney is shilling toothpaste when I know I’ll probably have to watch her peddling Nature Valley Granola Oat Clusters at Will’s funeral anyway) and was a complete mess, too.
Letting us see everyone find out in different ways was very wise. I know that I complained that we missed this stuff with Paige’s murder, but it’s much more powerful to see people learning that Will Horton — a character who has essentially grown up in real time on the show, who is connected to just about everyone on the canvas in some way, who is a young man and the father of a toddler — was viciously murdered. I was worried they might give short shrift to Lucas in all this, but they wisely didn’t. I love Bryan Dattilo and Lucas, but I actually thought he was a little fake and shouty in Monday’s episode — the dialogue did him no favors, with all the “Aw, man” and “Oh, no!” stuff — but he completely got me during that scene where he walked into the police station and hugged Marlena, and he was fantastic in Tuesday’s episode, fighting back tears and almost losing it at the mere mention of any little thing. (Also: it struck me as incredibly odd that they had Lucas in a red tie when he came over and found out about Will. It makes me wonder if the entire premise of this storyline was that they got a surplus of red ties, though that makes me wonder why we didn’t get a Club TBD Burgundy Shirt Killer earlier this year…)
And then we got Sami.
I completely understand why they wanted her to return in the thick of this, rather than showing up the next morning, but it did feel pretty wonky how they backfilled that she was, like, planning to come to Salem anyway and had been in Chicago and also Will called her between when he left Sonny that message and when Ben killed him. It seemed they could’ve said that she was rushing home to see Caroline, who took a turn for the worse earlier this damn day, and got the bad news while making her connection or something. Logistical idiocy (which is par for the course anyway) aside, it’s so, so good to see her, even under such terrible circumstances, and it strangely does not feel at all like she’s been gone for a year. It’s an interesting choice to have Sami so stone-faced and in shock, given her well documented background of histrionics, while Lucas is continually breaking down. I’m curious to see what they do with this, but it at least feels thought-out, as opposed to just a bunch of rote crying and shrieking. And their scenes in the morgue were absolutely gut-wrenching, considering that we saw Will grow up onscreen, with these same two actors playing his parents from their teens into near middle age.