Chad’s been having a rough time lately. Ever since Stephanie brought up marriage, he’s struggled again with the feeling that he’s betraying Abigail by moving on. After losing Stephanie, Chad turned to Julie for comfort on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-01-24.
These scenes were amazing — Susan Seaforth Hayes is a DAYS legend for a reason, and Julie stepped effortlessly into Alice Horton’s shoes to support Chad.
But Chad made a comment that underscored how much the writers have diluted the idea of death and grief through a silly plot device that only happens in Salem.
Chad told Julie that instead of time making things easier for him, they made them more challenging. But he didn’t just say he missed Abigail. He said he found it difficult to believe she wasn’t still alive.
Even after all this time, I still keep thinking Abigail’s alive, that she’s gonna walk through that door any minute now or text me that she’s on her way home. You’d think over time I’d get more used to the fact that she’s gone, but the opposite has happened.
Of course, he did! Chad is not only a Dimera — the people who often employ Dr. Rolf to resurrect deceased loved ones — but has lived through three of his brothers coming back from the dead.
EJ, Tony, and Stefan were all believed to be dead for years. Doctors donated Stefan’s heart to Julie when hers failed, and Tony was cremated; Anna carried his urn around for ages. Yet nowadays, Tony is on an endless cruise with Anna while Stefan and EJ are constantly at each others’ throats.
With that track record, how could Chad ever believe Abigail is gone forever, no matter what excuse Rolf has for being unable to resurrect her?
Rolf’s claims that he has to be present at the moment of death to capture the person’s essence before they cross over no longer hold water now that he’s resurrected Stefan four years after the fact (and built him a new heart while he was at it.).
The Dimeras aren’t the only ones who have recently turned out to be alive after months of loved ones’ grieving.
Kate — who is also Chad’s surrogate mother — was one of three women who not only ‘died’ but spent time in this weird Heaven/Hell environment before turning out to be in suspended animation in Megan’s crypt.
And let’s not forget that Chad got together with Stephanie thanks to a breakup for the sake of drama after she learned Alex deleted a voicemail about Kayla taking a turn for the worse — only for Kayla to turn up alive with Kate and Marlena.
From Chad’s perspective, believing that Abigail is truly dead should be almost impossible. And his comments might very well be foreshadowing — while there’s currently no casting news about a new Abigail, if the story dictates it, it could happen.
But the scenes between Chad and Julie made it clear that Chad’s grief is supposed to be real right now.
The point of these scenes was to demonstrate the pain and heartbreak he’s struggling with that stop him from moving on.
And that’s what the real problem with this overused plot device is: it’s impossible to take any grief scenes seriously when the writers could undo it all with a few strokes of their pens.
While Chad’s been struggling with his grief over Abigail, we’ve also sat through scene after scene of Nicole and EJ’s grief over their allegedly dead baby, who is secretly living across town with Eric and Sloan.
Those scenes were supposed to tug at our heartstrings just as much as Chad’s fervent wish that Abigail would walk through the door. But how are we supposed to take any grief scenes seriously when so many of them are fake?
It starts to feel like trauma porn when we have to suffer through characters’ heartbreak over the death of people we know are alive.
It’s pain for the sake of pain, making viewers wish they could fast-forward to the big reveal that the person is still with us and skip all the pain and suffering.
We’re desensitized to grief because we’re so used to it being phony, so Chad’s scenes fall flat even though, in this case, the grief is supposed to be real.
In addition, the characters are written as if they all have amnesia about all the other fake deaths in Salem. Every time someone comes to the door who is supposed to be dead, everyone is shocked — including the people who just came back from the dead themselves last month.
It wouldn’t take a significant tweak to the dialogue to fix that. It would add to the drama if Chad reflected on how he knows people sometimes come back from the dead and even begged Rolf to do it for Abigail, but no dice.
The more significant issue is that the writers must stop relying on magical resurrections for cheap drama. This is not only a tired TV trope at this point but also is ruining the more realistic storylines.
Right now, there are three mostly realistic storylines on air, all of which should be relatable: Chad’s grief over Abigail persisting two years later, Paulina’s potential cancer diagnosis, and Holly’s drug overdose.
These stories involve characters facing their mortality or that of someone they love, which is the type of high-stakes drama that ought to be the cornerstone of any soap.
But it’s hard to take these realistic stories seriously when they are mixed in with supernatural silliness and can turn into unrealistic nonsense without warning. (Remember when Doug’s supposed dementia storyline turned into a Devil possession story?)
In Chad’s case, viewers are primed for Abigail to return to the canvas, and for all we know, the writers might do it in some ridiculous manner. That adds to the difficulty of taking his grief seriously now.
And that’s a shame because Billy Flynn is bringing his A-game to this story.
We’re not saying to retire the resurrection drug and other back-from-the-dead plot devices permanently. They’re part of the Salem landscape, for better or worse, and have been for years.
A good coming-back-from-the-dead story could bring strong drama if used judiciously instead of being the writers’ first thought every time they write someone out.
What do you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics?
Are you able to buy Chad’s grief, or does the epidemic of people coming back from the dead in Salem ruin it for you?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know! And don’t forget to check out the latest Days of Our Lives spoilers and let us know your thoughts.
Days of Our Lives airs exclusively on Peacock. New episodes drop on weekday mornings at 6/5c.