Mother, May I?
Here’s a screenshot I snagged of Friday’s dramatic twist, in which Julie choked on a large piece of the Horton Town Square set.
Oh, wait, this was right after she received a phone call that her only child, David, was killed in a motorcycle accident. I truly do live for any time they let Susan Seaforth Hayes go to town with the Vaudeville-style dramatics — see also: “OH MY GOD, NICK! YOU’VE BEEN SHOT!!!!!” — and even though it was so over-the-top that it looped back around and came out on the bottom (no, I don’t even know what that means), it did feel like exactly the way Julie would react to this news.
And luckily Doug took Julie home right away, so that Hope could slip off to dance with Rafe instead of being there for her family.
Does it suck that they killed a legacy Horton offscreen? Of course. Do I think this is some crime against the fans or irrefutable proof of ineptitude? No way. David hasn’t been seen onscreen since 1983. Yes, he absolutely could’ve been brought in and used in story, but frankly, he and Mike Horton would serve most of the same purposes at this point. The characters in that rough age range who need love interests are Hope and Jennifer, neither of whom could be paired with David. And I strongly believe that a huge part of the reason that Julie’s branch of the family has been neglected for so long is because of all the SORASing confusion that took place in the 70s and 80s: David, born in 1968, was an adult by 1976, and his son, Scotty, was born in 1978 and an adult by 1989. I think subsequent writers have shied away from dealing with the absolute confusion of Julie having a grandson who should be around Jennifer’s age right now — or how the hell old David would have to be in order for that to work. If anything, this strikes me not as killing off a long-unseen character just to clean up a loose end, but a move intended to generate story.
I’ll put the rest of this behind a cut because it’s getting into spoiler territory, but they’re also the kinds of spoilers that anyone who thinks about this stuff has probably figured out, so… proceed with moderate caution.
As random and contrived as it was for Valerie and Abe to be there when Julie got the news, it was clearly an important part of the puzzle. Valerie has a son. Valerie also has a secret. Valerie has not wanted to interact with Julie much. Hmmm. Isn’t it much more powerful for Valerie’s son to learn that David was his father only after David is dead and gone? That makes him resent Valerie for never giving him the chance to know David. That makes Julie pissed at Valerie for this unilateral decision that now can’t be rectified. That makes Eli perhaps want to bond with the other Hortons harder, as if to make up for lost time. I see lots of story value in this, as opposed to the truth coming out and Eli going, “Oh, I’m going to fly to Downtown Europe to see my father.” Of course it would’ve been cool for them to cast David after all these years and craft a story involving him, but I definitely see the value in this, too.
It also means, in theory, that it’s less awkward to cast Scotty now — they could make him Brady and Eric’s age and not futz with the timeline too much, especially if they downplay or fudge his past connection to Eve — though who knows if they’ll have the sense to do that.
And how fitting that, as the subject of Days‘ first-ever huge custody battle dies, another even more convoluted one is playing out!
They could not have been more crammed into that judge’s chambers (or is this what we’re calling a “meat locker” these days?) if they’d tried, which of course ratchets the drama down about 20 points, and I don’t even know what to say about the special, inept brand of lawyering on display from both Belle and Justin. Martha Madison’s Belle has grown on me considerably since they got her out of that terrible Philip rehash, to the point where I was sad that she and Shawn left, but boy, was she terrible on Friday. The way she kept tripping over her lines as she presented Chloe’s case… I didn’t even buy that Belle would’ve passed a single class in law school, let alone actually been hired by anyone to represent them in court. Even Chloe up there is like, “Jesus, what have I gotten myself into?” Not that the writing helped her at all. “Nicole was involved in porn… not to mention the incident involving my client and flesh-eating bacteria!” Are you going to elaborate, or are we just presuming that the judge watches Days and/or keeps all these characters’ Wikipedia pages bookmarked for easy reference? She certainly didn’t even flinch at the mention of flesh-eating bacteria in a custody case, sooooo…
At least Nicole looked nice. Small victories.