Days Of Our Lives Cliffhangers That Surprised Fans

© Howard Wise/

There isn’t a soap opera fan alive that doesn’t look forward to Fridays. The last day before the weekend generally signals big events and reveals on a soap show, and sometimes if fans are lucky, they will get a huge cliffhanger to hang on to until Monday. Nobody does cliffhangers quite like Days of Our Lives (DOOL)! Whether a wedding is stopped or a baby is kidnapped, DOOL knows how to end the week in Salem with a bang! Below are some DOOL cliffhangers that surprised fans:

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12. Steve Is Really Stefano?

In today’s world of soaps, a daytime drama will often publicize the return of an actress or actress beforehand, and many DOOL fans were highly anticipating the comeback of Stephen Nichols, who has played the iconic Steve Johnson on the show, when it was revealed that he was heading back to the show. Viewers naturally believed that with Stephen coming back, then Patch would be back … but they were in for quite the plot twist! While audiences waited with bated breath in late 2019 for Steve’s comeback, when he was revealed to be with Gina, and seemingly Stefano DiMera, many DOOL fans were left confused, until things were later explained.

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11. Jenn Thrown Off A Balcony

Speaking of Princess Gina, back in the fall of 2019, Jennifer Horton was remarkably close to finding out what “Hope” was up to. Ready to expose Gina, and place her and Stefano’s plan in jeopardy, the princess knew she had to do something drastic to stop Horton from blabbing her out. Gina would find Jenn and threw her down a balcony, on her wedding day of all days! Would Jennifer be okay? She would be, but at the time, fans were taken aback by the events that were taking place.

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10. Marlena Sees Alice

Seems innocent enough that Marlena would run into a neighbor in Salem, but not back in 2004. If DOOL viewers remember, Salem had a serial killer on the loose, and all arrows pointed towards Marlena Evans. Fans mourned as they watched one popular character after another pass away; however, after Marlena was gunned down by police and thought to have passed on as well, DOOL fans were taken aback when they saw Marlena wake up on a strange island, only to see her long-time friend, Alice Horton (who was one of the victims in all this), alive and well.

©Paul Skipper/JPI

9. Sami And Austin *Almost* Say “I Do”

In the late ‘90s, the ever-manipulative Sami Brady was obsessed with her sister’s boyfriend, Austin Reed. She tried everything to snag Reed, and Austin was gullible enough to believe a lot of what she spewed. One big lie (at that time) was that her first son Will was Austin’s son’s (and not Lucas’). At one point, Austin even proposed and almost married Sami (for the second time, but that’s another story). The wedding day had arrived and during this same time, Carrie had just found out who Will’s real father was. Would she make it in time to stop the wedding? Just as Sami and Austin were about to say their ‘I dos’ Carrie burst into the church – shocking guests and audiences alike. She eventually would reveal that Lucas was Will’s real father. The wedding was stopped; Carrie punched Sami out; and then stepped right her place and would end up marrying Austin herself.

©John Paschal/JPI

8. Zack Brady Passes Away

Tragedy always seems to strike Salem during the holidays, and the passing of young Zack Brady in early 2006 was heart-wrenching. Sadly, his half-sister Chelsea wasn’t paying attention to the road when she was driving that fateful New Year’s Eve night in 2005. Zack’s attention had shifted outside to a cat, and Chelsea’s car hit him. No one likes the idea of a small child getting hurt, let alone passing away, so when the incident occurred, many DOOL fans were left reeling. Did she really hit him? Would Zack survive? Sadly, the boy passed on a couple of weeks later, and the storyline left fans mourning the loss of the sweet Brady boy.


7. Buried Alive

One of the most infamous storylines from the early ‘90s was when Vivian Alamain buried her nemesis, Carly Manning, in a coffin six feet under. The entire concept was outrageous, but also quite terrifying (and intriguing). Faking Carly’s passing, placing a radio transmitter in the coffin so she could still talk to Carly, and streaming a water hose in the box so Manning could drink, was a well-thought plan. For fans who are claustrophobic, the idea of Carly being buried underground while still alive in the coffin was horrifying. Not many viewers will forget that moment when Carly awoke, finding herself in the coffin — a living nightmare for some!

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6. New Year’s Eve 2015

New Year’s Eve 2015 was horrifying when an intoxicated Eric Brady caused the car crash that not only injured pals Jennifer and Brady, but also took the life of the beloved Dr. Daniel Jonas. When the accident happened, it left a huge cliffhanger in the wings. Would anyone pass away? The injuries seemed insurmountable. The weeks following would see many fans shed a tremendous number of tears over the incident. It rocked the land of Salem, and in many ways and still does.

© Howard Wise/

5. Marlena’s Plane Explodes

Many characters have passed away on Days over the years, only to come back again. In 1986, Marlena was reunited with her husband Roman, who as it turned out had not passed, but simply had plastic surgery (as the years have gone by, he turned out to be John Black). Regardless, at that point in time, Marlena believed that she was finally back with Roman and the two got remarried. Sadly, a bomb exploded in their house and Marlena passed away … or so fans thought! She was actually taken, and as Roman finally found her location on a remote island, he sadly watched the plane she was in explode into nothingness. Sad news at the time, but five years later, Marlena would return to Salem, alive and well, picking up where she left off.

©Paul Skipper/JPI

4. Sami *Almost* Gets Punished For A Crime She Didn’t Commit

In the early 2000s, Sami Brady had been involved with a man known as Franco Kelly. Sadly, Kelly only wanted to use Sami to gain a green card. Regardless, the man ended up passing away on their wedding day, and Sami was accused of being behind it. While she was innocent (for once), she was still charged and sentenced for this crime. As she was about to be lethally injected for Kelly’s passing, DOOL fans thought for sure that Sami was a goner for good. With that said, could she be saved at the last moment? It was an intense time for viewers, but thankfully for all involved, Sami was saved and free to continue the scheming life she had grown accustomed to!

© Jesse Grant/JPI

3. Sami Shoots E.J.

These two have had a crazy roller coaster relationship, and in 2010 things got a lot more complicated. Freshly broken up from her *almost* wedding to E.J., only to learn that he had faked their child’s kidnapping just to upset her, Sami snuck into the DiMera mansion and did the unthinkable: she shot E.J. in the head. Think she may have learned something from being in jail (see above), but clearly she hadn’t. Needless to say, fans were shocked and wondering … was this the end of E.J.? If it wasn’t, would he survive and send Sami to jail once and for all? How can anyone survive a gunshot to the head? Well, he did, and oddly enough they would move on to share a roller coaster of a relationship!

© Paul Skipper/

2. John and Marlena’s Affair

The truth always comes out, and there is nothing more dramatic on a soap opera than an affair getting exposed. In the land of daytime drama, it’s always the one person who shouldn’t see two lovebirds engaging in the act that is the first to find out. In the mid ‘90s, a messed up teenaged Sami Brady would literally be a fly on the wall to see her own mother cheating on her father Roman with John Black. This one incident would spiral an already insecure Sami into a full-blown manipulative mess, and the storyline would continue until the affair was revealed months and months later at little Belle’s baptism.

© John Paschal/JPI

1. Hope Shoots Stefano DiMera

As it turns out, Stefano DiMera was not shot in early January 2016, but with rumors of actor Joseph Mascolo’s pending retirement, the shooting of Salem’s number one enemy was unexpected and seemed like the end of an era. While DOOL fans knew Mascolo was ready to take a well-deserved break from acting, no one was quite sure how his iconic character would exit the show. The shooting of DiMera by Hope would spiral into an incredible storyline. Not only did she shoot him three times, where fans and Salem alike thought the villain was gone for good, but the cliffhanger left everyone wondering if Hope would face any repercussions for her act. She did, but the greater testimony to Stefano was that he duped Salemites again by faking his passing and even escaped jail for one final hurrah (at that point in time). A great way to say farewell to the incredible work of Mascolo and the iconic role of Stefano DiMera in the land of Salem. Too bad writers had to ruin it all by having DiMera return in Steve’s body circa 2019.

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Dorathy Gass

Dorathy Gass

Dorathy Gass is an avid fan of daytime drama and has been watching Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and Young and the Restless for over two decades now. As a full-time freelance writer, she gets to combine her love of soap operas and writing through her Fame 10 articles. Also a mother of two busy girls and a mommy blogger, she's been published multiple times over in Huffington Post Parents and Scary Mommy.