It’s good to see that old Days of Our Lives chestnut, “Big Event X is happening tomorrow even though it’s like 9 pm and we’ve all been running around yapping about it for the whole day and no one has mentioned until this very moment that it’s occurring in 24 hours,” is back! The event in question this time: Hope and Aiden’s wedding.
First up for the festivities: the return of Shawn Douglas Brady.
I’m not gonna lie: I squealed when he walked in. I was so, so sick of Shawn and Belle — especially Belle, who was the Daniel of the 2000s in that she sucked and all anyone ever did was run around fretting about how Belle was doing and talking about how good and kind Belle was — by the time they departed in 2008, but Shawn is an important character, and Jason Cook slipped right back into the show with no indication that it had been nine years since he last played the role. I actually liked Adult Shawn #2, Brandon Beemer, also, but there’s something so familiar and comforting about seeing someone we watched grow from a teenager into a man, who has that long history with Kristian Alfonso (Hope) and the Hayeses (Doug and Julie).
What’s less wonderful is how they basically just gave him the dialogue of the actor who played Shawn before him — you know, the preteen who spent 90% of his screentime saying things like, “When are we going to be a family again?” We get it. You love your dad and want your parents to be together. You’re also a grown-ass man, and your father (seemingly) abandoned your mother and sister, and it isn’t like you dragged your lazy ass back to Salem any time in the last several years to help them get through that. So you can have every seat in the now-considerably-larger Brady Pub and zip it, Shawn.
I did appreciate how they built a mini-arc of him resisting Aiden, coming to understand his mom’s side of things (Kristian Alfonso really sold those scenes in the park), and then accepting the upcoming marriage. But it could’ve been done with a little more, or perhaps any, subtlety.
Then we had the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Hope’s bachelorette party was so much fun to watch. Having all those women together in one room — and seeing them get to enjoy themselves both as actors and characters — was a treat. This was almost like a scaled-back version of the Saylum Wimminz Buk Klub: Pot Donut Edition, with Julie having an appropriate venue for her wackiness (grinding on the stripper!) and Caroline getting in on the action. I was rolling my eyes a little at Caroline’s throwaway line about how “The therapy seems to be working!” while she’s bopping around the room like nothing was ever wrong with her to begin with, but I guess this is the neurological version of someone, like, falling off a roof and then walking around with a band-aid on his head 12 hours later. The bit with the stripper trying to steal Hope’s jewelry and the ensuing arrest was silly, but not in a way that I minded — I loved how, afterward, the ladies were like, “This makes such a good story!” That’s how normal people react to things like that! And Cameron Davis, late of Being Boring Except For the Time He Was a Stripper, got a shoutout (nice callback!), as did Caroline’s enthusiasm for the male strip revue they all randomly went to see. Fun!
I also loved the little character bits of Jennifer worrying over the scandalous lingerie she’d bought Hope and then being a nerd, trying to get them all to play dopey bachelorette party games after the wild excitement of the stripper. It felt very Jennifer, in a good way. Also, how good does Melissa Reeves look? All it took was a decent hairstyle and some non-grandma clothes. This regime might not have much story for her, but at least she doesn’t have to be on national television looking like hot fried ass anymore.
And then things got serious. Hope spoke to Caroline about her “visions” of Bo, which clued Kayla in to Hope’s possible doubts about marrying Aiden — and across town (or, like, 27 feet away, based on the way everyone is always walking back and forth like it’s no big deal), Aiden’s bachelor party took a dark turn when he hit the bottle too hard and was haunted by images of killing Hope. His drunken blathering felt very realistic and tortured. It definitely appears as if they’re going for a grayer, more caught-in-the-middle Aiden now, which raises the question of why they couldn’t have this develop organically, either through his association with Clyde or his role as Chad’s attorney. The retcon that he was working for Stefano all along was lazy, doesn’t jive with what we saw onscreen, and took things too far, too fast — when we could have seen his torn allegiances develop until he wound up in an impossible, tragic situation.
I hope everyone gets some rest before “tomorrow,” because you know that’s going to be one marathon of a day.