** Due to illness, Sari was unable to provide a column this week. Here is her most recent column for your reading enjoyment.
Well, it's been quite a week in Salem. Or perhaps I should say in the two Salems, because as we discovered this week, not only are the recently departed not quite so dead after all, but they are living in a doppelganger Salem on a tropical island! So far we have only seen Alice, Roman, Abe and Doug (and, of course, Marlena), but I can assure you that within the coming months we will be seeing ALL of the victims of the Salem Stalker-and Victor, too! Now what Victor is doing there since he wasn't one of Marlena's victims begs some questions, but I have a whole bunch of those, and I will get to them later. For now, I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled at seeing some of my favorite actors back on-screen (I missed them so much!); I am also going to eat some crow and admit that I have to hand it to Jim Reilly, because this has to be one of (if not THE) biggest and well-kept secrets in daytime. I don't take back absolutely every bad thing I said though, because with the exception of Frances Reid (Alice), none of the actors knew that Reilly and Corday would be asking them to come back-they all thought they were really being killed off. Some of the actors were very upset, as were fans, and even if the "firings" weren't permanent, they sure caused a lot of distress! (Quite frankly, I think Reilly and company are exceptionally lucky that all the actors agreed to, and were able to, come back; I don't know that I would be so accommodating if I were fired after 30 years of loyal service.) But I guess none of that really matters now, and who knows: maybe some of the viewers that stopped watching DAYS in protest will find their way back.
What a strange journey it is to get to this other Salem. We watched Marlena, somehow alive in her buried coffin, seem to fall through the ground and end up on this island in the tropics. Now remember; this is after we saw Marlena's body be shot through the heart, stabbed with a scalpel and embalmed (but then, we saw her "victims" being slashed and hacked). So one of the many questions to ask is how did all these people survive their "deaths"? (Especially Jack, who supposedly donated his organs.) Roman mentioned something about the drug they were given to simulate death, but that still doesn't explain how they survived their very real injuries and embalming, etc. My first thought was that either Lexie (remember, she pronounced many of the victims dead, and was also the only doctor/emergency medical person there for many of the deaths) or the funeral guy was in on the plot and faked the deaths. The funeral guy may still be in on it, but I can't imagine Lexie going along with a plan that had her living without Abe, or making their son live without his father. And honestly, I don't think the funeral guy was in on it either-this is a much too complex plot to have such an easy answer. But just how did those coffins go from being buried in St Luke's to being in the tropics? Does this have something to do with those tunnels and passages below the cemetery that Marlena was using?
Poor Marlena must really feel like Alice in Wonderland-she was given drugs that altered her state of being, she went down a rabbit hole and now she is in a strange-but-familiar land where everything she thought was truth has been turned topsy-turvy. It's no wonder she was near hysteria for a good part of the week! But I suppose seeing four people you thought you had killed seemingly alive and well and in front of you can do that to a person. Actually, it's no wonder that at first Doc was convinced that she was in Hell as punishment for killing everyone! You know, I found it interesting that none of those four seem to harbor any ill will at all towards Marlena. I mean obviously they're still alive, but the fact remains that for whatever reason, Marlena WAS hell-bent on trying to kill them, and didn't stop until she thought she had succeeded. It seems everyone is convinced that Doc was under some sort of mind control or hypnotic influence. Roman pointed out that her behavior quite noticeably changed and when asked, Marlena remembered that weird dream with the tiger that she had (and don't forget, her finger did get pricked by that Gemini pillow at Stefano's will reading). Regardless, Marlena is just incredibly happy that she's not a killer and that her friends and loved ones aren't dead.
It seems, though, that not everyone has shown up on the island, or at least made their presence known. Tony, for example-no one has seen him, which Roman finds very suspicious. If you think about it, that can point to a suspicious motive OR merely to the fact that Tony was never exactly friends with Abe, Roman, Doug or Alice. So is it a case of Tony keeping to himself, or could it be something more sinister? Abe, Roman and Marlena all think that Stefano is behind this; lets face it, it is the logical assumption. But Reilly has said not to be so sure that Stefano is the culprit, and remember that Tony DID have those aerial pictures of a tropical island. Is it possible that he is the mastermind behind this and perhaps had himself "killed" to keep suspicion off and keep an eye on things?
It's very eerie how everything in Fake Salem is an almost exact replica of the Real Salem. Abe said when he first got there he wandered for days looking for his friends and family before realizing that he was alone, not in the real Salem anymore, and had no way to escape (which Doug also found out the hard way when he went one-on-one with an electrical perimeter fence and lost). When Marlena went to "the penthouse" everything was there was copied down to the last detail-with the exception of a new picture of Belle Marlena had just placed there. (And yet, no one seemed to notice the exotic tropical flowers growing everywhere in Fake Salem?) The picture seemed to be an important clue for Roman, who called this the "case of a lifetime." He and Abe are debriefing all the newcomers to the island, and Marlena certainly gave them the most information! (Hey, at least we viewers aren't the only ones who thought Doc's motive for the killings was incredibly flimsy; Roman and Abe don't buy it anymore than we did.) But as Roman and Marlena discussed what this all could mean, Doc had an interesting theory: what if the people on the island are the ones who are safe, and the people left in the real Salem are the real victims? Hmm...
What I want to know is how they are getting their supplies. Abe mentioned how "all the comforts of home" were on that island-food, shelter, clothes, etc. But what if they run out of food? Is there some fully stocked supermarket on this island where they can go and get whatever they need? If they are supposed to be there for a long time (and remember that Abe has been there for almost eight months), how is the food restocked? What if someone gets sick or hurt? Also, Roman told Marlena that there is no contact between the two Salems, yet when she tried to call John he got a call with no one on the other end at that exact moment. Coincidence? Oh, there are so many questions to be answered!
Meanwhile back in the Real Salem...Bo is finally beginning to worry about Shawn since no one has heard from him and his voicemail is full and puts an unofficial APB out on him. And in one of those typical soap near-misses, the cops looking for him are at Jan's, but walk away. Sigh...Watching Jan practically attack Shawn with kisses was revolting... I liked watching John and Kate comfort each other. And it was a big moment for Kate when she confessed to John her past as Stefano's hooker. But I loved how John's reaction was to point out that he was in no position to judge her-she did what she did for the love of her child, and he's sure he did much worse as Stefano's Pawn... But are they setting up a quadrangle for when the island captives comes home? It sure seems like it. John and Kate are leaning on each other and spending a lot of time together; Kate even told him how much he reminds her of Roman! Meanwhile Marlena and Roman are literally stranded together, and I thought it very interesting that he offered to stay at "the penthouse" with her to protect her, since that's how their relationship first began! Then there's a possible Tek/Lexie/Abe triangle...Finally, I'm not sure if I like the revamped DAYS theme. Give me some time to get used to it and I'll let you know.
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