Elvis Has Left the Building

You know how sometimes you’re wandering around the woods with no cell reception, and then you hear a gunshot and you find your husband bleeding to death? It happens.

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I was going to do a post about EJ’s death yesterday but decided to wait until after Monday’s episode, hoping it might clarify some things, and it wound up doing that and creating a whole new bucket of questions. Putting the rest of this behind a cut because of casting-related spoilers and a lot of speculation…

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Friday’s episode, featuring the shooting itself, was really strange to me. EJ was shot, Sami found him, and he was pronounced dead and dumped in the morgue all within the space of one episode. It actually reminded me of when Nick was shot to death, because that followed a similar pacing, except at least the episode featuring Nick’s death ended with a montage of all the suspects. Something about this — maybe the fact that he died as a result of a skirmish with a new character and a dayplayer over some vague shady business — felt rushed and perfunctory, like, “Uh-oh. We only have this actor for one more day! Better wrap this up!”

But that’s also what made me think EJ had faked his own death. The way Miguel pulled that gun and fired was way too abrupt, almost as if he’d been instructed to do it. But Sami’s grief was very real, as was Stefano’s, so I didn’t know what to think. EJ was very clearly laid out in the morgue as a pale corpse. Of course, these are the DiMeras, so there’s opportunity for all manner of doppelgängers and foolishness. My bet, by the end of Friday’s episode, was that EJ had faked his death but kept it from Sami so that her reaction would be real, and we’d see him reveal himself to her right before Alison Sweeney leaves the show.

Now I’m much less sure of what’s going to happen. Monday’s episode delivered the emotion that Friday was largely lacking; while Sami and EJ’s goodbye, as he seemingly died in her arms, was great, and Joe Mascolo’s immediate reaction to the news was powerful, there was so much happening in such a short span of time, and it was like the incident had no time to breathe. Monday really made up for that, with Sami’s prolonged farewell in the morgue, Kristen and Chad’s complicated reactions, the flashbacks, Marlena and Roman being there for Sami, and that unexpected but effective choice to show Sami telling the kids shot so that we could see her say, “Your daddy is dead. He’s in Heaven” through the glass doors without hearing it. (There were actually some interesting, fresh camera angles used throughout the episode, like this —

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— which added to the drama.)

So is this the end of EJ DiMera? Apparently not, based on this bit of insanity.

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Setting aside the complete lunacy of Stefano apparently having a drug on hand that can cure death, or what, preserve EJ so that he can be “fixed” later (?!), I’m okay with this. It’s basically the same as what they did with Patch 24 years ago, when everyone believed he was dead-dead but we saw someone switch coffins at the last minute, which was just enough to leave the door open for the character to return years down the line. The mourning is real, and it’s not like EJ is going to waltz in the door in two weeks and resume business as usual. Plus it’s somehow easier to swallow when the subject of resurrection is a DiMera, you know?

I’m still not convinced that we won’t see EJ and Sami reunite when she leaves town in a few weeks. (I think Ali Sweeney still has two or three more weeks on-air.) It would be a thrilling twist, though I’d also be interested to see Sami leave town on her own, hurt but determined to be strong for her children, needing to leave her past behind.

But if this is the end of “EJami”? I’m not mad at it. I’m not really a fan or an opponent of any couples — I watch the whole show, and I’m more interested in the overall movements than getting super-invested in any couple or character — but I do think their story has been significant enough to warrant a Big Ending of some sort. EJ, for all the shitty writing that’s been thrown his way, has been the de facto male lead for most of his eight-plus years on the show, and he’s been a huge part of the overall Sami Brady saga. I still wish there were a way to undo that ill-advised rape — and yes, I maintain it was a rape, because there was coercion involved, but it was mostly typical Hogan Sheffer going-too-far and then being unable to back it up — but the show has done an impressive job of owning exactly who Sami and EJ are in the past year or two. If any line from the past few days sums them up (and tells us what the writers want us to remember this coupling for), it’s when Sami said to EJ’s corpse, “There’s nothing you did to win me that I wouldn’t have done myself.” They’re both screwed-up, vindictive, impulsive people who nevertheless love hard and love deeply. This couple was not meant to get some sweet Belle-and-Shawn ending, because they’re more complicated than that. If we were going to follow them offscreen to some new locale, they’d implode and come back together ten more times in the next ten years. It’s who they are.

So yeah, I have some issues with this exit, mostly with the way the actual death was executed, but maybe I’ll eat my hat if it provides some actual story for Chad, Jordan, Ben, and Clyde moving forward that makes them all more relevant to the show. But for a (temporary) ending to the character of EJ DiMera, and a tribute to James Scott, who, no matter how you feel about EJ, has been a major part of the show and a reliable performer for years, I’m oddly content with this.

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13 Comments on “Elvis Has Left the Building”

  1. Simon Parris Says:

    The moment where Marlena gently told Sami that she would need to change her clothes before seeing the kids was a superb piece of acting from both

  2. Dan Says:

    I don’t care one way or the other for E.J. James Scott was a capable male lead, but his storyline never really compelled me. The baby swap was glorious, but E.J. was such a secondary character in the good part of that story. Once it became E.J.’s story, faking Sydney’s death, I struggled to stomach it. I did enjoy E.J. and Justin taking over Dimera Enterprises last summer, but that wasn’t really a leading story either.

    On paper, I get why they killed off E.J. the way they did. It allows us to hate Clyde, but not necessarily blame him completely for E.J.’s death. If Clyde is sticking around, it’s a good way to jump start his story by eliminating his chief rival in town. With that said, I’m not sure this off the rack Curtis Reed is intended to stay in Salem that long.

    Less said about the Dimera miracle drug the better.

    Unfortunately, I also found E.J.’s death highlighted problems with the decision to eliminate him from the canvas. Eileen Davidson did a glorious job with her grief, but the Kristen-E.J. bond was never developed enough given the complicated history with all parties involved (Kristen / John / E.J. / Brady / Susan / Marlena). Given Kristen’s love of children, I thought Kristen should have mothered E.J. more in her last run and I think that would have made this all more powerful. The flashbacks of the E.J. / Sami love story were well done, but it also went against what Sami has become since Tomsell returned. Over the past two years, Sami hasn’t been driven by her love of a man, but her desire to be protect the ones she loves often at the expense of E.J. First, she was all about protecting Will and guaranteeing he had custody of his child. Then, she went on trial for saving Rafe’s penis, which was a hilarious situation that more people didn’t comment on. Afterwards, she was so worried about what Kristen had done to her brother that she stopped sleeping with E.J. Then, when she did get back with him, she spent most of the time try to punish him for sleeping with Abigail.

    It’s a shame Sami isn’t sticking around because I think the show spent the past two years making her relationship with E.J. irrelevant that she could have survived him quietly leaving town with Susan.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think it’ll be good for Sami to have a rest, at least. She has literally been driving the show for seven years. I actually really think this Sami/EJ relationship has worked very well this go-round, which is to say, not so much as a traditional love story but a tug-of-war. A big part of this whole thing, IMO, is that Sami convinces herself this is True Love because it’s intense, but those aren’t the same thing at all.

      I’m not sure they even know what they intend with Clyde. It’s like they plopped him in town and are just making shit up as they go along.

  3. UnderYourWing Says:

    James Scott is a God. I hate to see him go but know he is off on a hug personal adventure and it ain’t no soap opera…..Bravo James!!

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’ve really enjoyed him. I think people’s opinions of him get mushed up with their annoyance over the sloppy, scattered writing for EJ throughout his tenure. I’ll miss him as a presence on the show.

  4. Andie Says:

    I know its this isn’t real and EJ’s death might be faked (as many fans speculate) but, newly wed and widowed Sami’s heart-wrenching grieving was so authentic. In spite of some overlooked “details” with the “murder”/aftermath there was superb acting and dialogue by EJ, Kristen, Roman, Marlena, and especially Sami.
    I can’t help but, wonder if Marge Bernardi is going to be kicking herself in a prision down state where she’s doing time for attempted murder. Somebody else did what she failed to do (kill EJ).

    • mykleraus Says:

      The mourning is real, and it’s not going to be undone magically, so it FEELS real to me. Even if the shooting and death were a little anticlimactic, the fallout has been classic.

      I still want Marge Bernardi to turn up and get involved with Lucas.

      • Andie Says:

        Haha Lucas needs a woman. 😄 I hear he’s in Hong Kong again on business, evidently this is the same place Lucas goes while he’s on extended leave (that’s where he was for a while after him and Chloe separated).

      • mykleraus Says:

        Maybe he’ll reconnect with Invisible Autumn there!

  5. UnderYourWing Says:

    curtis reed has ALREADY stayed in salem WAY too long…zzzzzzzzzzzz.

  6. UnderYourWing Says:

    you can say that again……where is the cohesiveness?

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