One of the thrills of watching a soap as a young child is getting a peek into the world of adults. Falling in love, committing adultery, murdering blackmailers, keeping your brother from finding out you raped his wife and you’re really the father of the son he adores … all the stuff that adults deal with in everyday life. Hee.
As a child watching Days on my mother’s knee, I didn’t understand everything I saw, but day after day I tuned in and pieced together what I could. Naturally, anything twisted or tawdry was particularly fascinating. So I remember being very intrigued by the love story of Marie Horton and Alex Marshall, played by the fabulous Lanna Saunders and Quinn Redeker.
I didn’t see Marie falling in love with her own brother (when he had plastic surgery and amnesia, and was presumed dead), after which she left town and became a nun. When she returned, still a nun, in 1979 … well, let me quote from Beth’s Days page:
She soon began having flashbacks of a time when she’d been living in New York, after leaving Salem but before joining the convent. At that time, she had been lost and fallen into a seedy life of drug use and sadomasochistic sex, in which her suitors fed her LSD and beat her senseless before sleeping with her.
Hee! Imagine trying to wrap your mind around that at the age of seven. Anyway, Marie soon remembered one of the men she was involved with during this troubled time in her past: charismatic town villain Alex Marshall. Eventually, she remembered that she had been pregnant by him and had given the child up for adoption. She also remembered seeing Alex kill his own brother by pushing him off a balcony. Nevertheless, Marie was attracted to him.
I still remember when they took a plane together bound for Montreal to find out about their daughter, only to crash in the snowy wilderness. She broke her ankle, he took care of her. She accused him of abusing her all those years ago, he told her loved her. The unresolved sexual tension spiraled off the charts. Finally, they kissed, and prepared to have sex, breaking her convent vows … only to be interrupted in the nick of time by the rescue helicopter.
They never married. The show could have done a “redeemed by love” story for these two, and I’m sure they would have done it beautifully. Instead the show kept using the relationship even as they paired them both with others. Somehow, this solemn faced nun always managed to look at Alex like she wanted to rip his clothes off. He in his turn, despite being a murderer, a blackmailer, and (apparently) a former sadist who fed women drugs and abused them, always looked at her as his one true love. Twisted indeed.
As a footnote, even though I knew his family connections, I never really put it together that Marie and Alex are the grandparents of my guy Nick Fallon. For some reason I find that deeply satisfying. That’s the beauty of watching soaps.