If there’s one thing Melanie Layton knows a lot about, it’s bad relationships. Ever since she got to Salem, there’s been one after the other of romances gone badly. Okay, so it is a soap opera we’re talking about, but still, talk about bad luck! In this article, I will explain Melanie’s history with relationships and explore where I believe this trend may take her in the future.
Melanie first appeared on the scene as Max’s mischievous and bratty little sister, whom no one had known existed. They tracked her down at a boarding school in France, and she wasn’t at all what Max had expected. She stole and she lied, and she didn’t really care about anyone but herself. The first time we saw Mel in any sort of vulnerable position was when her father set her up with an older man as a means of paying off his debts. She was scared, though she tried to hide it, and ultimately was saved by Max, Stephanie (who was dating Max at the time) and Nick, who played the greatest role and ended up being shot in the process.
Melanie agreed to come back to Salem with the others. A rocky start led to an even worse experience when she arrived in the town. Her father, who had also recently returned, was abusive and threatening. No one in town liked him, so it wasn’t a shock when he turned up dead. Of course, many people suspected Mel of the crime and the only two on her side were her brother and Nick, who had taken a fondness to her.
Mel’s relationship with Nick was possibly the most interesting one and could probably be dissected to death, but I’ll do my best not to bore you with the communications and social media theories which I often relate it to. After saving her from her father’s ‘acquaintances’, he became addicted to painkillers prescribed to him during his recovery. Prior to meeting her in France, Nick had developed feelings for Mel from a video blog she’d made. He convinced himself he loved her and took it upon himself to protect her from everyone and everything that may harm her. Melanie’s interest in him was one ofmoney, since he was related to the wealthy Hortons and was working on an alternative fuel project which, if successful, would make him a very wealthy man.
Melanie thought that because she was the one whose feelings were not invested in the relationship, that she thus held the power. To put it simply, she was wrong. When Trent, Mel’s father, turned up dead, she feared that she may have killed him since she couldn’t recall any of the events which took place that night. She remembered arguing with him in the cemetery where he was found, but the last thing she could recollect was her father pushing her so she fell and hit her head on a gravestone. During the time she was unconscious, Nick had used the opportunity to defend her, putting an end to Trent’s tyranny over her life by ending his own.
Instead of telling her what he’d done, Nick allowed Melanie to live in fear and guilt. While never outwardly lying and telling her she had killed her father, he implied that he thought she was guilty and used this to his advantage. He asked her to run away and marry him so that he couldn’t be forced to testify against her if she was arrested. By this point, she’s started to fall for him, thinking he’s a really great guy. Fearing for her safety and thankful for his protection, she didn’t need much convincing.
Nick took her to a hotel room where she hid. She didn’t realize it, but he had no plans of letting her leave. He convinced himself that she was in love with him and that he was only doing what was best for her. He didn’t want to take the chance that she may leave him. At the same time, everyone back in Salem was worried what happened to Nick and thought Melanie had tricked him into leaving with her. Stephanie and Philip got a call from Nick’s cell phone but all they heard was Melanie screaming at him because she found out what he had done. They set out to find him based on sounds they’d heard in the background and a credit check that had been run on his credit card by Bo and Hope.
While Stephanie and Philip were in the alley behind the hotel, they heard Mel’s piercing scream as she reached the balcony, trying to get away – since he wouldn’t let her out the door. They struggled on the balcony and Nick let go of her with the shock of Bo and Hope busting in. Mel fell over the balcony and Bo grabbed her hand. Philip rushed over to the fire escape and saved her life. Hope then arrested Nick for the murder of Trent Robbins.
As mentioned earlier, Melanie had assumed she had the power and was the one in charge. She was the one manipulating Nick into liking her so she could gain wealth and power through him. Instead, she discovered that he had been the one controlling her. The death of her father had given him the opportunity to gain the upper-hand, and he ran with it. He took advantage of her when she was most vulnerable.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this relationship is that, by all means, Melanie should be considered the traditional damsel in distress. Instead, everyone blamed her for what had happened. Her personality led them to essentially ‘blame the victim’. They believed that Melanie had manipulated Nick into believing what he was doing was right because she made him fall in love with her. She had driven him to kill her father and to kidnap her. Even Stephanie and Philip, who had witnessed her fear of Nick and some of the events which had transpired, believed him to be innocent of blame. She was shown no sympathy from anyone – save for her older brother. Nick still went off to prison.
Once Nick was out of the picture, Mel set her sights on another wealthy man – Philip Kiriakis. Unfortunately for her, at this point, he really didn’t like her and he was involved with Stephanie. It seemed like every time Melanie tried to do something right, she failed and ended up being disliked even more. Even Max was getting sick of her schemes to get rich and fall in love.
One night, during the war with the Kiriakises and the DiMeras, Stephanie was kidnapped and held in a morgue by a man claiming to be on the DiMera side. When Philip set off to save her, Melanie and Brady both tagged along to help. Mel actually played a fairly significant role in saving Steph from the creep who was holding her.
This actually sparked a sort of friendship to develop between the two girls who had hated each other for so long. Sadly for them, it would continue to be a shaky friendship at best. Nathan Horton returned to town and moved into Maggie’s house, where Melanie was currently staying. She noticed how cute he was but he initially blamed her for what happened to his cousin – Nick. He tried to convince Maggie to kick Melanie out, though he later felt guilty upon realizing what happened was not her fault. They continued flirting and going out, until Melanie overheard him making plans to hang out with Steph – who was still on and off with Philip. He was unapologetic, but they later made up. Still, Mel felt insecure.
While Stephanie and Philip got back together, Melanie told Nathan that she wanted to be more than just friends. He told her no because he believed he had too much going on and she would just be a distraction.
Steph and Philip got engaged, but she gave him an ultimatum – leave his family or their engagement was off. She didn’t like the way his father dealt with things, especially after having been brought into everything with the kidnapping. When he refused, she left. However, he changed his mind and told his father he wanted out and Victor then disowned him completely. When he went to tell Steph, she wouldn’t listen to him and he found comfort in Melanie’s arms. They shared a night of passion. Philip and Stephanie got back together soon after, which left Melanie heartbroken, though she agreed not to say anything about it to Steph. Unfortunately for Philip, his encounter with Mel had been taped by the sleazy owner of the motel and posted online. Brady – who had become Melanie’s really good friend – went to take care of it for her, but Steph saw it before it was taken down, and broke it off with Philip.
Melanie finally moved on from Philip (well, kind of) and began to date Nathan. Unfortunately, because she was a nurse and Nathan a doctor, their relationship was against hospital policy. At the same time, Philip realized his true feelings for Melanie, since she was the one who had always accepted him for who he was, unlike Steph who had wanted to change him. Of course, a lot of drama ensued when Nathan found out Mel had feelings for both him and Philip and couldn’t accept that. Then, once Philip and Melanie got engaged – because people on soaps apparently don’t waste any time with marriage proposals – Nathan finally became cognizant of his mistake in letting her go. I’m just going to say, in Nate’s defense, he really didn’t wait that long; how was he supposed to know Melanie would get engaged so quickly? Which, in my opinion, is completely irrational, but it’s a soap opera, so most things are irrational.
Although Nathan kept making passes at Melanie and she was obviously still in love with him, she proceeded to marry Philip. On her wedding day, came the now infamous letter. For the two of you out there who don’t know what the letter was, it basically Melanie telling Nathan that she loved him and would leave Philip if he showed up to the wedding. Of course it got lost on the way to Dr. Horton. Well, lost…hidden…same thing. I still don’t understand why she thought it would be a good idea to send it with Stephanie, when she was clearly falling for Nate herself. I know, technically she didn’t know that, but let’s be honest, with their history, I wouldn’t have trusted Steph as far as I could throw her.
Anyway, Nathan didn’t show and the wedding proceeded. Melanie was shot when she got between Carly and the bullet intended for Vivian. When Nate didn’t visit, she realized she belonged with Philip and she had made the right choice. So it’s all good, right?
Are you kidding? Nothing’s ever ‘all good’ on a soap. Then why would we bother watching? Philip saw Nathan kiss Melanie, but didn’t stick around long enough to see her yell at him for doing so and went pouting to Chloe. Then what happens? Of course, what always happens when you have a serious conversation with a friend – you sleep with them. Isn’t that the obvious response? Now poor Melanie doesn’t know her husband slept with her soon-to-be-step-mother and is bouncing around always worried she did something wrong.
Okay, don’t get me wrong – don’t hate me, Danloe fans – I admit to being a Phloe fan. But seriously, hasn’t Melanie been through enough for the time being? In under two years, she’s had more happen to her than most of us have in a lifetime, and that’s just romantically. I also imagine most of us don’t get shot by our long-lost mothers and find out that our father wasn’t some crazy guy who pimped us out to pay off debts, but actually a really nice doctor.
Mind you, it is all very entertaining. I’m just stating facts, but I don’t really want much to change. Molly Burnett is very talented at playing up the drama. Except that I really think if Philip can’t man up and tell Melanie what he did, then he shouldn’t be with her. What I’m willing to bet is that Chloe will find out she’s pregnant and Philip will know it’s his kid, and that’s how the adultery will be exposed. Poor Melanie can’t catch a break. Hopefully Nathan will treat her better. (Who are we kidding? Nathan and Melanie are obviously being built up as a future supercouple. They’ll be back together eventually.)
Part of me has to wonder if Melanie is sabotaging herself. Every time she gets close to someone, something drastic tears them apart. With Nick, though it was certainly not her fault he went nuts, couldn’t she have seen some signs of it? Lord knows the audience did… With her history, shouldn’t she have been able to see something was off? Nathan is the most obvious example. If she had allowed herself to let go of Philip, she and Nathan likely wouldn’t have broken up. As well, she agreed to marry Philip when she was obviously still in love with Nathan – and she knew it! That was bound to cause some issues right off the bat. Then, once she and Philip were married, she claimed not to love Nate, but yet continues, even to this day, to medal in his life; which, of course, is why he felt vulnerable enough to cheat on her with Chloe (although, really, I don’t take that as a legitimate excuse). Personally, I think she just has commitment issues. She doesn’t want to close off her other options, even when she really should.
With Mel’s track record, I don’t think we can expect her to have a steady relationship for any substantial amount of time like John and Marlena or Steve and Kayla. I would venture to guess that she’ll continue having an on-again-off-again relationship with Nathan, just like Lumi back in the day. (By the way, am I the only one who misses classic Sami and Lucas?) I just hope eventually she gets a few steady periods of happiness. You know what? Maybe she should just try being single for awhile…
Yeah, like that’ll happen. Either way, I can’t wait to see where Melanie’s journey takes her. If Days of Our Lives continues for long enough – which I hope it does! – then I expect she’ll become one of the show’s main leading ladies, if she isn’t considered one already.