Salem weddings used to be lavish affairs.
After months or years of serious problems that were conquered by true love, a couple would throw together a romantic wedding in a ridiculously short period of time.
Weddings were the ultimate romantic fantasy and viewers were excited about them even though they knew that there was no happily ever after because the characters would have new problems to deal with and obstacles to overcome, maybe even at the wedding itself.
Times have changed and budgets become smaller, but instead of the fairy tale wedding, Days of Our Lives offered a blink-and-you-miss-it wedding for Steve and Kayla in which they seemed more like guests in someone else's story.
Steve and Kayla's wedding was mostly a backdrop for the story of Hope's return from Eric's cabin.
Before the wedding even started, Shane, Steve and Rafe were celebrating Hope's freedom.
Shane: Oh boy, I tell you, we've pulled off some stunts in our time, but this one...
Steve: Yeah, well, we did what we had to do. For Hope.
Steve was less eager to discuss the Stefano shenanigans than his peers, rousing Kayla's suspicions, but he quickly covered, saying he just wanted to get the wedding over with.
This doesn't bode well for their future. If Steve and Shane are so convinced they did the right thing for Hope, why not tell their wives? Or are they afraid that the women will disapprove of their nonsensical and immoral plan to get Hope off for a murder she actually committed?
Their wives would be right if they thought that, but either way this business of keeping secrets from the women seems like more protectionist nonsense. Women are constantly being shown as weak and fragile and in need of men to protect them from the truth so that they don't fall apart and it's quite frankly offensive.
In any case, before the wedding could even get started, it was upstaged by Hope's entrance, complete with two different colored shoes. They might as well have had a welcome home party for Hope, since she seemed to be the guest of honor.
Kayla: When I was coming back from Prague, I thought what an amazing thing that... I'm going to get married again and I actually know what it really means. The first time, I... I thought I knew everything. I thought, generally, I knew what was coming. This time, I know that I don't know anything and that life is unpredictable. So I'm going to focus on what I know and that's that I love you. I have always loved you. I have never stopped loving you. Thank you, thank you for not giving up on us. We have been through a lot to get here. But as we stand here with our beautiful children, as a family, I know we can get through anything together.
Kayla: So I vow to love you completely and unconditionally for all the remaining days of our lives.
Steve: First of all, what she said. And I really don't mean that as a joke because what you said, that's how I feel too. When we first met, the very first time I saw you, I fell hard for you. You were all sweetness and light. And I really had to scramble so that I wouldn't show you how I was feeling. And that was all swagger and bravado. That was just armor. But you saw me anyway. And bit by bit you chipped away at that armor and you started to show me the best parts of myself, the parts I never even knew were there. You know, that's what you do, Kayla. You don't judge people. You heal them. Not just physically. Their hearts, their broken spirits. That's the way you healed mine. Thank you. You have made all my dreams for this life come true. You have given me these beautiful children. Stephanie. Joe. And the thing is, the most wonderful gift I could ever have is you, just you. My life partner, my sweetness, my love. So, I vow to love you completely unconditionally with my whole heart, the rest of our lives. Because the truth is, Kayla, I just can't live without you.
To be clear, the wedding wasn't all bad. Steve and Kayla's vows brought tears to my eyes. They summarized everything I've loved about this couple for years and were sweet and romantic.
I enjoyed seeing all the guests once they finally arrived, and Abe was the perfect officiant. Abe is sort of an unofficial member of both the Horton and Brady clans and belongs at every family function, so getting to preside over the wedding was a well-deserved honor for him.
One of the best parts of any soap wedding is the reception, where people tend to have their own little dramas going on. But here is where the wedding scenes got off track again.
There were some nice moments between Doug and Julie where they talked about not taking family for granted and missing those who were no longer here to celebrate and Abe, Valerie and Theo had some sweet scenes.
However, the biggest side story seemed to be a ridiculous and obnoxious competition between Ciara and Claire for Theo's affections. Ciara was jealous that Theo gave Claire a watch and Claire was annoyingly smug about it. The girls obsessed over who Theo would dance with.
The climax of all this nonsense was that Claire caught the bouquet that Kayla threw -- or, rather, she was first to grab it off the floor after nobody caught it. Ciara frowned while Hope teased Claire about not getting married anytime soon and convinced her to give the flowers to Doug and Julie.
I'm the last person to dismiss legitimate teen angst stories as stupid. I love teen stories when they're well done. But this was superficial, stupid nonsense. It doesn't even qualify as a love triangle. It's just two former best friends giving each other dirty looks and acting superior to each other.
The night quickly ended in tragedy -- the real kind, not Claire and Ciara's stupid meaningless drama. Moments after being inspired to rekindle her relationship with her son David, Julie got a call that he had died in an accident.
While this led to some emotional scenes that were done very well, as always, by Susan Seaforth Hayes, this was entirely unnecessary.
David is a legacy character, the only son of the only Horton left from the original cast in 1965. Julie trying to re-establish a relationship with him after all these years while he is unaware that his old flame Valerie is in town would have been soap opera gold.
Instead, he became yet another in a long line of legacy characters to be killed off for no real reason. We already have suffered through the brutal murders of Will Horton, who was both a Horton and a Brady; and Paige Larson, who was Shane's granddaughter and technically a Brady because of Shane and Kim's relationship.
Now David, who has not been on-screen since the 1970s, is also dead. At least we didn't have to see him meet a gorey, violent end on-screen, but enough is enough.
Viewers have also seen Nicole mourn Daniel's death for about 13 months and Hope was supposedly in the throes of extreme grief over Bo when she killed Stefano -- another legacy character who met a gruesome end.
We don't need more death, especially when there are richer stories to be told using the characters who are so unceremoniously destroyed.
In addition, the tragedy was used as an excuse for an absolutely ridiculous and seemingly heartless Rafe/Hope moment. Everyone went home feeling sad except for Rafe and Hope. Hope expressed a desire to go check on Julie, but Rafe suggested that first she might want to dance with him in the empty club.
This wasn't sweet. It wasn't romantic. It was insulting to David's memory.
It makes no sense that Hope would even want to dance at a time like this. She should be offended that Rafe asked in the middle of a family tragedy, as if it weren't important.
Dario: You know it's weird, I thought my dad would be proud. His son the tough guy puts a hit out.
Abigail: Let me guess. He wasn't happy.
Dario: No. He was shocked and when I think about it, I'm pretty shocked about it too. I mean, I'm always under the radar.
While all this was going on, a war raged elsewhere in Salem. Deimos continued to hold Chad and Gabi hostage, while at the hospital Abby consoled Dario. Apparently he was upset because his father wasn't proud of him for hiring a hit man.
Abby, who supposedly had severe enough PTSD after being abused by her fiance-turned-serial-killer that she had to be institutionalized, should not be attracted to a guy who sets up murders in order to get his daddy's approval. She should be running the other way, not comforting him.
Chad and Gabi, for their part, continued to profess love to one another, while JJ confronted Deimos and Lani came along for the ride.
I love JJ's strength, determination and intelligence, but it makes no sense that Lani doesn't know the basics of how to run an investigation and constantly needs him to explain them to her. She's supposedly a seasoned cop and he's been on the force a year!
Lani is written as stupid and incompetent, which I guess is supposed to explain why she didn't realize that JJ was too drunk to consent to sex and accidentally raped him. It's hard to believe this woman is related to Abe at all or that she was even able to graduate from the police academy.
It's a shame, because Sal Stowers is a talented actress and Abe having a daughter who is also a cop could be compelling. Lani is also one of only two African-American women on canvas, so having her be such a stupid and amoral character does nothing for diversity and in fact perpetuates stereotypes of African Americans as lazy and stupid.
Drew: Oh, Jennifer. Did you find a way of getting into the Kiriakis mansion?
Jennifer: I'm trying, but something went wrong.
Drew: What, at Titan? Listen, Jen, if I'm gonna implant this virus and destroy the Orwell, I have to have a Titan laptop!
Jennifer: Deimos kidnapped my daughter's husband, Chad Dimera, and a young woman named Gabi Hernandez. So apparently Deimos believes that the Dimeras or the Hernandez family has stolen the key.
Drew: Stolen me? What do you mean, stole me? Nobody stole me. I arrived in a crate on a freighter, you found me, brought me here, why does Deimos think anyone's stolen me?
Jennifer: The point is, Deimos is ruthless.
Drew: I think he's evil.
Drew continued to provide comic relief while nobody realized he was the key that Deimos is looking for. It's a shame that Jennifer didn't take him to the wedding as her plus 1 instead of giving in to his desire not to see Shane. That might have been fun.
Instead, the violence escalated, with thugs beating up Paul and kidnapping Sonny in retaliation for Gabi's kidnapping. This, of course, was ordered by Eduardo and Andre; Eduardo chose to keep this secret from Kate just in case she decided to give him a second chance after all.
Finally, Nicole and Chloe faced off in the judge's chambers, which looked like every doctor's office in the hospital except there was a law diploma on one of the walls.
This storyline has been offensive from the beginning. One person after another conspired to keep the truth about Holly's parentage from Nicole in case she was too fragile to deal with it, and now Nicole's status as a victim of sexual abuse is being used against her again.
Belle felt compelled to state that Nicole was unfit as a mother because she used to be a porn star, again ignoring the fact that she was forced into porn as a minor by a father who drugged her, had major PTSD as a result, and made a ton of bad decisions because of mental health issues stemming from being sexually abused.
Justin decided to take the high road and say he wasn't going to talk about Chloe being a prostitute, thus paying lip service to the fact that she's a hypocrite as well as twisting the facts about Nicole's past for her own purposes.
Chloe was so attached to this baby that wasn't hers that she freaked out about letting the social worker take the baby for an hour while she was in court, yet the judge constantly sided with her and Belle and gave Justin a verbal warnig for adring to object to testimony that broke procedural rules.
Supposedly this judge is more impartial than the one that Deimos paid off, but it seemed more like someone on Chloe's side was paying her, considering how biased she was towards her.
Incidentally, Deimos was very sloppy in his attempt to bribe the judge. He is no Victor, or any kind of worthwhile villain. He doesn't seem to know the first thing about covering his tracks and just yells and threatens people a lot.
What did you think of Steve and Kayla's wedding? Are you at all interested in this war between the Kiriakises, Dimeras, and Hernandezes? Did you think Hope and Rafe dancing after hearing about David's death was romantic or just plain creepy?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.