Gone With the Wind

Just kidding. There’s no wind in Salem. Fans are expensive to run, and it might knock down the sets!

As for the “gone” part: Tuesday’s episode was the final one of Sonny’s run as a contract character. It also marks the official end of an era — that of “WilSon,” Days‘s first gay couple.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.23.31 AM

I’m not entirely sure what to say or how to feel about all this. I’ve always enjoyed Freddie Smith’s presence onscreen, and he played well off the former Will, Chandler Massey, and jived really nicely with Wally Kurth and Judi Evans, who play his parents. But Sonny has, for just about the entirety of his four-year run, been a B-player in other people’s lives. The only exit that made sense for him was for him to get fed up with Will’s shenanigans and leave Salem — and, given how rushed and slapped-together this exit felt, they actually did a decent job getting him out of town and making me buy that he’d leave Arianna, since he said repeatedly that he’s just taking some time away, not leaving for good. But it’s still all a bit unsatisfying to me.

Will and Sonny’s initial pairing really excited me, but I do think a lot of that was simply because Will’s coming-out was exciting and emotional, and Sonny was a pillar of support. The payoff of a real romance between them was wonderful, and the ensuing baby drama with Gabi and Nick was a very strong umbrella plot. But Sonny and Will have never clicked for me as the “supercouple” people seem to want them to be (a distinction I don’t think they’d come close to getting if the characters were straight). What does Sonny love about Will? What about Sonny is it that makes Will need to be with him? They retroactively addressed all this, in a somewhat roundabout way, during the Paul story, by making a point of the fact that Sonny was coming off Paul’s rejection when he came to Salem, and that Will married his first love without ever living life as a gay man outside that relationship. While that stuff worked from a storytelling perspective, all it did was knock the foundation out from under the myth of WilSon — which I’m not saying was a mistake, since the Will recast doesn’t work and hasn’t had chemistry with Sonny, but it’s made it awfully hard to know what in the hell to root for these past several months.

In fact, the entire pseudo-triangle with Paul has been skewed, perspective-wise. I think the show was blinded by the novelty of a gay love triangle — i.e., one in which all three participants had been involved with one another. And while I agree that’s an interesting variation on the norm and could allow for some real, messy human emotion, it didn’t play out that way. Will’s cheating with Paul played out as mere restlessness (which they then confirmed with the later news that he had already cheated in L.A.), but it had nothing to do with Paul and Sonny’s past. A stronger story would’ve been for Will to catch wind of Sonny and Paul’s past, then start manipulating. I might’ve bought him sleeping with another guy (Derrick?) as a sort of self-destructive move, desperate to feel wanted and needing to lash out, which would have echoed Sami’s behavior in a more organic way than Will continually plotting even though Sonny found out about his infidelity and didn’t leave him. Sami was always scheming to get something that wasn’t hers (or that she’d only acquired through coercion); Sonny was Will’s, and all Will kept doing was chipping away at that by coming up with stupid plots. Finally, I can’t believe they didn’t run with the Sonny/Paul relationship more, given that’s where the longing was, and Christopher Sean plays that stuff very well.

Also, there was this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.23.46 AM

Guy Wilson seems like a very nice guy and a team player, but he isn’t cutting it as Will, and the writing has done him zero favors. If they want him to be Sami 2.0, then give us Sami 2.0. He should have been on the damn floor, screaming and crying, grabbing onto Sonny’s leg and refusing to let him leave that apartment. Instead, we got him standing there looking like he just ate a bunch of sour Warheads and limply watching Sonny walk out.

I have no idea where this goes now. I’m not particularly eager to watch a Will/Paul pairing, because Paul’s feelings for Sonny have been such a throughline that Will is going to be sloppy seconds, and aside from that first fling, I haven’t felt any romantic chemistry between the two. (I do think they work as adversaries who get a little bitchy with one another, though.) It’ll be interesting to see where the show chooses to take these characters — and, especially, if we get any adjustments to Will’s characterization in the coming weeks, or if Sonny’s departure finally gets him to open his damn eyes.

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20 Comments on “Gone With the Wind”

  1. marypickford Says:

    Great analysis. I really hope they don’t pair Will with Paul. It just would feel like such an afterthought.

    Guy Wilson, I’m sorry to say it, just bothers me. I can hardly bear to watch him. As you can see in your screencap above, the little girl who plays Arianna had a lovely, mournful expression watching Sonny go. Guy’s grimace was painful in comparison.

    Sigh. Maybe they’ll bring on new gay character? Not sure where this might be headed.

    • mykleraus Says:

      His grimacing/sad faces are terrible. They don’t convey sadness — it looks like he has to poop!

      I really hope they let Will recede into a background role until they find an actor who can carry a story.

    • Dan Says:

      Sonny’s goodbye was well done for being rushed. All of Will’s lies came out (did Sonny learn about Will blackmailing Paul’s mother?) It was time for Sonny to make a decision and I think they left the door open. I suspect the show is going to separate Paul and Will sending Will to deal with Gabi and Paul may end up in John’s eternal search to learn who the hell he is. It’s interesting that Paul wasn’t mentioned when John told Marlena he was Belle and Brady’s father.

      Paired with the Abby/Chad angst, I was crying by the time Sonny said he was going to send pictures to Ari so she would remember him.

      The Victor / Sonny scene was also very powerful. It brought Sonny’s story full circle when Victor told Sonny he was proud of him. This was the initial conflict when Sonny arrived. Having Sonny leave town with Victor’s approval was a nice way to end Sonny’s story. I thought the Justin / Sonny advice was also powerful. It linked Sonny/Will and Justin/Adrienne in a powerful way without saying it. I do wish we had a more powerful goodbye from Adrienne/ Sonny, but Judi Evans would have blown the group out of the water.

      In terms of acting, the storyline was a mixed bag. In my opinion, Smith was always the strongest actor of the lot, but was simply too quiet for a show like “Days of our Lives” where the bigger the personality, the greater the storyline. Smith did angst well, and Massey could occasionally rise to the occasion and deliver some strong moments. Overall, Massey played Will as a puppy dog who needed to be protected from the big, scary world. Enough has been said about Guy Wilson, but I felt he handled himself well with Blake Berris. I thought Berris/Wilson could have played a rivalry for several years. The loss of Berris and Banus hurt the story because Will / Sonny’s story couldn’t be told in a vortex.

      I don’t think it’s fair to judge Will / Sonny by the traditional heterosexual super couples standards. In context, it was aces compared to what came before it. MarDar’s ‘acclaimed’ storyline was the most conservative thing I’ve ever seen. The pandering sexual-inneudo laden relationship between E.J./Will was pathetic. Sonny spent a year on the backburner doing nothing but serving coffee. Tomsell gave us a story with Will getting Gabi pregnant, Will uniting with Sonny, and Gabi uniting with Nick. The first year of that was solid, but then it all fell apart.

      In my opinion, the biggest mistake for Will / Sonny was not allowing Gabi / Nick to reunite. Nick had endured a terrible trauma. Nick was a desperately needed shit stirrer. I would have downplayed the homophobia because that wasn’t what the story was about. It cheapened the relationship between Nick and Will, and allowed Nick to be the victim. Nick didn’t blackmail Will into giving up custody; he simply convinced him that Nick was the better option. Instead of people berating Will, all joined forces against the big bad Nick rather than playing both sides.

      A continuing rivalry between Nick and Will with Gabi and Sonny uniting under less than stellar circumstances (Sonny was aware of all the shit Gabi had done) would have been powerful. Sprinkle in some Kate, some Julie, some Maggie, and some Marlena and Caroline and this would have just played out for months and months.

      In terms of the wedding, it was a nicely done affair. The last real wedding the show has done. There were some bizarre moments with that guy who supposedly dated Sami or whatever, but overall it was a classic soap wedding.

      Paul Narita is a shame and will have be talked about another time. There was a lot of potential with Paul squandered by the realization that Guy Wilson is not leading material, Freddie Smith’s accident and contract negotiations, and the decision to tie Paul to the canvas with a ridiculous paternity reveal. I would cry if the show decides to rewrite it so that Paul is Paul Dimera or even Paul Blake.

      • mykleraus Says:

        You make a lot of good points. I had sort of forgotten that Wilson played a significant amount of stuff against Nick, but he WAS much better at that. I remember not thinking he was weak or bad until the Paul storyline really started — until then, he was at least ‘fine.’ I get that Berris didn’t want to stay on the show, but the Will/Nick rivalry could have been very valuable for years. I actually could see Billy Flynn having been a Nick recast pretty easily.

        A lot of the Paul stuff has felt made up as they go along. I don’t mind that he’s John’s son, but I don’t think it was necessary at ALL. In fact, it would’ve been interesting to have him and John bond over baseball, and have Brady be jealous that John had this organic bond with a non-relative that the two of them have never had. To me, stuff like that is so much more compelling than just tacking another member on to a family. That said, what’s done is done, and Christopher Sean is good, so they’d better not try and rewrite this. (If they had made him Peter Blake’s son to begin with, I would’ve at least been interested to see what came of that. But enough with paternity roulette.)

  2. Gavin Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with everything you said. As Sami once kind of said to Will when he tried to prank her about dating Sonny, “Why aren’t you running the show?”

    WilSon was what brought me back to watching Days more regularly since the coming out/getting together story was so new for the show that everyone involved in it (including Marlena, Adrienne, Lucas, Sami, etc.) seemed invigorated by it instead of just having to play out the same storyline for the upteenth time.

    I agree that Sonny has been under-utilised and, especially since the recast, he could’ve taken the lead more. I did like his final tirade against Will – it summed everything up perfectly and gave Sonny some backbone.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Will is sidelined now – a sounding board for Abby, Chad, whoever. Although it will be interesting to see what they do with him and Gabi when she’s back. I hope they don’t pair him with Paul. If Sonny never returns, the idea of Will and Paul competing for the same guy down the track could be fun, I guess.

    • Gavin Says:

      Also, the little girl who plays Arianna still looked at Will like he was a stranger, which I guess he is since she’s always with “the sitter”.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Well, if this idiot was schlepping you around in the woods in the middle of the damn night while he sniffled and huffed and puffed, wouldn’t you try to make people think you didn’t know him, too?! 🙂

    • mykleraus Says:

      I was thinking the same thing about Will being sidelined. There’s lots to do with him without him being a lead, and I don’t think this actor can handle heavy story, unfortunately.

      And I think that’s what worked about the coming-out/gay story: it was just fresh content. Marlena was more alive than she’d been in YEARS as she counseled Will, and it added such a new dynamic to the other adults.

  3. underyourwing Says:

    nice analysis ! i don’t think guy wilson has much chemistry with Anyone………maybe they Will (ha) (please!) replace him with someone more captivating and able….

    • mykleraus Says:

      He doesn’t. He was ‘fine’ when he started and was playing more of a supporting role, but I never felt heat between him and Sonny (even though I do think he commits to the same-sex stuff), and he feels cold and weird in scenes with relatives. They need to course-correct fast.

  4. underyourwing Says:

    wishful thinking…..they should have had will leave and go live with his mommy and kept sonny……then they could have put sonny and paul together…..wait…….what could they do with a happy couple in salem??……. turn it into yet another hot mess eventually……

  5. rustyspigot Says:

    Marlena had wind in her hair talking to Julie! I think anyway.

  6. rustyspigot Says:

    Or Marlena’s hair is an alien creature. Plot twist!

  7. otherweb Says:

    I totally agree with the analysis and blame it 100% on the shithead writers for the past couple of years! Now that we are seeing the full new writing team material on air, it’s like freaking night and day! And I’m sooooooooooooooo stoked. This week especially has been phenomenal! I’m like glued to every episode and even wanting to rewind and rewatch scenes again because they were so damn good! I haven’t felt that way about Days in a loooooooooooong time! It’s awesome! I think I saw on the credits that there is even a new director, and that it TOTALLY noticeable as well! I’m so happy for all the great actors on Days too because they must be so siked that the ship is finally being saved from sinking.

    I think the new writers did the best they could with Sonny’s exit, given that they were up against not only Freddie’s contract deadline, but also against so much of the awkward writing team transitions we’ve seen the past couple of months. It was a bit painful at times watching them write their way out of so many god awful SLs and angles that the former tools had devised. But I feel like so much of it is behind us now and we are getting fresh new starts across the board. I mean, just yesterday with John/Marlena, Aiden/Hope was beyond amazing! And Abby/Chad on Tues was gorgeous! I can’t wait to see full-blown new writer material for all the other SLs. Whereas for the past couple of years I was always nervous and dreading what direction SLs were going to take, I have so much confidence now that we are in good hands 🙂 It sounds so over the top, I know, but when you’ve been watching a show ON A DAILY BASIS for more than 30 YEARS, these kinds of attachments to everything are very real! lol. I’m just beyond happy that we are finally back in the hands of a team that knows what the hell they are doing! I hope the former team never gets a job in Hollywood again.

    • mykleraus Says:

      The FEEL of the show is very different already. It isn’t jarring, like, what show am I watching?!, but it’s a different vibe. I also appreciate that, as abrupt as some of the shifts have been, they don’t seem to simply be tossing out the old stories. They’re using them to create drama and are playing out proper conclusions for them. I actually found the Aiden/Clyde stuff VERY good. There’s a tension to that whole scenario that works for me now. Even the change in the Paige storyline feels more tolerable. You can feel the walls closing in on everyone, and Kyle is actually sort of menacing.

      I hear you — it just feels like we have a reason to be optimistic and, most of all, entertained!

      • lifeisbeautiful103 Says:

        I’ll be a total dork and say that this is the Days I feel we are finally going to start seeing again! Well, in contemporary style at least!

      • mykleraus Says:

        I think they’re definitely channeling that era. I love it in terms of complexity of the characters and their emotions, the interconnectedness of Salem, etc. What I’m wary of is that they’ll (once again) try to coast on nostalgia. Just having Steve/Kayla, Bo/Hope, and John/Marlena onscreen isn’t going to make for a good show if they are just facing a bunch of cardboard obstacles. I hope they continue to invest in developing new couples of that ilk — both Chad/Abigail and Eric/Nicole have potential.

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