It’s not always enough to be sorry.
Alex, Brady, and Li all learned the hard way on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-09-23. Some things cannot be taken back, and an apology is nothing but hot air when there’s no way to make amends.
But is this the end of any of these men’s romantic dreams?
Of these three, Brady probably has the best chance of earning forgiveness. Chloe understands why he chose to keep Kristen’s blackmail secret even though it deeply hurt her, which means that eventually, she might decide to give Brady another chance.
Brady was naive to assume that all he had to do to win Chloe back was tell her that he never meant their break-up to be permanent and that he only dumped her because Kristen held the power of life and death over the people he loved.
Salemites, especially the men, often make the fatal error of assuming the world stops for the person they love as soon they cannot be together. In reality, Chloe wasn’t going to sit around pining for Brady until he came to his sense and un-dumped her.
That would be pathetic. Chloe would have way too much self-respect for that, even if she did move on way too quickly with Stefan.
This situation is complicated for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is that Brady had zero reasons to keep Chloe in the dark about this. If he had trusted her, the two of them could have faked a break-up to keep Kristen at bay while plotting to neutralize her.
Instead, Brady broke Chloe’s heart by refusing to give her any reasonable explanation for his sudden decision to break up. It came minutes after he told Chloe he would not allow Rachel’s feelings to interfere with their relationship.
Chloe should have figured it out on her own since Kristen had outlined what would happen less than a day before. Still, had Brady not lied to Chloe for months, she wouldn’t have had to make sense of anything.
Brady’s decision to listen to Kristen’s nonsense broke Chloe’s heart, and in the end, it was for no reason whatsoever. Kate and Kayla died anyway, and Marlena is at death’s door.
Even if Chloe wasn’t half in love with Stefan, she shouldn’t be so quick to take Brady back. Kristen engineered this disaster, but he betrayed Chloe by keeping the reasons for his behavior to himself.
Hopefully, Chloe has enough self-respect to end it with Stefan, too. She insisted on separate beds after learning the truth about where his feelings for her came from, but will that last?
Chloe knows that Stefan’s feelings for her are manufactured. Although he is insisting now that they aren’t, he doesn’t have access to the memories that would tell him differently, and once those memories come flooding back, that will be the end of him and Chloe as a couple.
Chloe should ask Will about that. When he didn’t remember his love for Sonny, he married Paul, only to break Paul’s heart when he eventually regained his memories. Ciara also hated Ben while suffering from amnesia, only to break Theo’s heart when her memories returned.
These are only two examples — there have been a ton of amnesia/brainwashing stories over the years, and they always end up the same way. Chloe is truly playing with fire if she thinks she has any future with Stefan.
Gabi is involved, so Chloe had better watch out. Gabi is not a murderous blackmailer like Kristen — at least not recently. But she wants Stefan back and will not be nice about it.
Li’s misdeed is the most unforgivable of the three men. He settled on having Stefan brainwashed as an alternative to killing him outright!
The saying “all’s fair in love and war” is not meant to be taken literally, Li. It’s better not to cross certain lines; destroying your rival’s brain is one of them.
Li was right about one thing: Gabi would have done the same thing if their roles were reversed. She doesn’t have much moral high ground here, especially considering that she gained access to Julie’s pacemaker to force Lani to dump Eli at the altar.
Still, Gabi is the wronged party this time, and she will not choose Li over Stefan now that she knows what’s up.
Li will be lucky if Gabi agrees to go their separate ways without making him pay dearly for his betrayal. He’d be wise to cut his losses and leave Salem.
He won’t, though, and his desperation for Gabi’s affection has already reached terrifying proportions.
Li is giving out stalker vibes, showing up at Gabi’s uninvited, and manipulating Wendy into continuing to harass Gabi for him. Rex’s overgrown teenage act with Sarah was disrespectful, but it was nothing like this.
Li seems like he’s capable of anything. He could kidnap Gabi to force her to be with him or go even darker. Li seems despondent at times; could he attempt a murder-suicide?
While that might be a powerful story, it would be hard to take with all the other death and destruction in Salem. Let’s hope someone stops Li before he goes further off the deep end.
Wendy is in the best position to intervene since Li trusts her. Sadly, she sacrificed her friendship with Gabi to keep Li’s secret; Wendy and Gabi were fun together, and I would have loved the idea of the two opening a competing company to crush Li.
It also sucks that Johnny blamed the choice to keep the secret entirely on Wendy when he pushed for it so that he could protect EJ. At this point, protecting EJ’s secret is unnecessary.
Stefan feels that what’s done is done. He didn’t hold it against Johnny that Johnny didn’t tell him the truth earlier, and chances are he wouldn’t hold it against EJ either.
Kristen and Nicole know, making four people not named Stefan aware of EJ’s part in this debacle. Kristen is holding this over EJ’s head, and EJ should have been prepared for that possibility instead of giving in.
With that many people in on it, the risk of someone slipping up is too big.
EJ should come clean with Stefan and let the chips fall where they may.
A considerable part of Salem’s life right now is driven by people’s reactions to Kate and Kayla’s deaths.
Roman and Steve’s grief scenes were extraordinarily well done, but taking any of this seriously is hard. Almost everyone returns from the dead sooner or later, and it’s unlikely that three leading ladies will leave the show in this manner.
Steve: I appreciate you coming to check on me, but I’m fine. Just had to make some arrangements.
Abe: Can I help you with anything?
Steve: No, I can handle it. But thanks.
Abe: Steve. I know that you know that Kayla was one of my closest friends. I was far from the only one. Your wife, she touched so many lives. And for those of us who loved her, and were loved by her, well, we want to do what would make her happy. And right now… right now, that means looking after you.
Deidre Hall is close to celebrating her 5,000-episode milestone, so it would be huge news if she left Days of Our Lives, and Mary Beth Evans and Lauren Koslow are veteran actors who have been on DAYS for decades.
There is no way these three could all leave permanently without a single word ahead of time.
Besides, if they die permanently, Orpheus wins, and the first role of soap opera writing is the bad guys never win in the end.
Steve’s grief scenes were beautiful, though, especially when he found the yellow rose and Roman’s talking to Kate’s urn was also a strong expression of grief — it’s just that this will likely be reversed soon, so what’s the point of getting emotionally involved in these scenes?
Alex did an unforgivable thing by turning off Stephanie’s phone the night Kayla died.
Alex: If you will allow me to make it up to you –
Stephanie: There is nothing you can do! Every time I look at you, all I see is my mother lying in that hospital room, cold and dead.
It wasn’t quite as bad as Li brainwashing Stefan, but that’s only because Alex didn’t know why Chad was calling.
He decided that Stephanie didn’t need to hear from Chad and turned her phone off while she wasn’t in her room. That is a stalker move; he doesn’t get to decide who Stephanie talks to or when people can reach her by phone.
Alex is one of Sonny’s brothers, and I want to like him, but his behavior makes it impossible.
After knowing her for two seconds, he became obsessed with Stephanie and pushed her to date him despite her lack of interest, which goes far beyond disrespect. And once she gave him a chance he didn’t deserve, he began trying to control who had access to her.
It didn’t matter that the only person he didn’t want her to be in contact with was Chad. It didn’t matter whether he had reason to be jealous. And it didn’t even matter why Chad was calling.
Abusive people control their partners and use insecurity and jealousy to excuse their possessive behavior. These giant red flags would still be massive red flags if Chad were calling so that Charlotte could say goodnight to Stephanie rather than trying to get ahold of her in an emergency.
Would Stephanie have accepted it if Alex’s bad behavior hadn’t led to her missing her chance to say goodbye to Kayla? I hope not!
But the fact that her mother supposedly died and she didn’t get to say her last goodbye because of Alex makes it that much worse. Stephanie should stick to her declaration that she never wants to see him again.
I also have a bone to pick with Sonny. The advice he gave Alex was good, and understandably, he wanted to defend his brother to Chad.
But wasn’t Sonny on the way to the hospital to support Will while Marlena was in the ICU?
It’s bad enough that Stephanie didn’t get to say her final goodbye to Kayla. Marlena could pass away any minute, so there is no time for Sonny to hang around the Square arguing with Chad about Alex, Leo, or anyone else.
Chad: You know what your problem is, Sonny?
Sonny: No, but I’m guessing you’re about to tell me.
Chad: Yeah, I am, because I am your best friend, and if your best friend can’t give it to you straight, then who can?
Sonny: All right, then, enlighten me.
Chad: Your problem is, you spend too much time seeing the best in people.
Sonny: This again? Call me naive, but I happen to think that’s a great attribute.
I love that Chad was willing to call Sonny out on his gullibility and overeagerness to give people second chances, but could he have reminded Sonny to get a move on while he was at it?
Of course, Will wasn’t at the hospital. He was at the Horton house, overhearing Leo confess to lying to Sonny. But how will that go over when Will tells Sonny what he heard?
It’s 50-50 whether Sonny will believe Will or think Will is making this up because he doesn’t like Leo. Sonny seems to have a psychological need to defend Leo at all costs; if nothing else, hopefully, we’ll learn why soon.
Leo and Gwen were stupid to discuss this at the Horton house. Leo was worried that Jack might learn Gwen’s secret — if he thought so, not discussing it in her living room would be a good start.
Sloan is also not someone anyone wants to represent, especially not two people she screwed over last time! Come on, Leo and Gwen. If you’re going to hire a lawyer, hire one who might help you.
Sloan also filed a lawsuit against Chanel. I know this is Salem, but how can she expect anything good to come out of this?
She’s accusing a sexual assault victim of seducing her rapist, claiming that the victim is to blame for the rapist’s wife trying to kill her and dying herself, and filing a lawsuit after trying to blackmail the victim’s mother and filing bogus criminal charges failed to work.
Sloan is only humiliating herself unless she manages to pay off a judge. By the end of this, all of Salem ought to know what Sloan’s parents did to Chanel and what this horrible excuse for a human being is still trying to do to her.
Will Eric wake up once this all comes out? As a fellow survivor, he should be 100% on Chanel’s side, not slimy Sloan’s, but he’s invested in being a bad boy now, and his only rule is that Nicole is always wrong, and everyone else is always right.
You know, we ended our marriage because we were too different. I was too much of a sinner and you were too much of a choir boy. But I don’t know who you are anymore.
I was proud of Nicole for calling Eric out on his off-the-rails behavior and not taking any more of his abuse. It’s about time!
Now let’s hope she sticks to it.
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.