Performer Of The Week
Arianne Zucker (Nicole, DAYS OF OUR LIVES)
As Nicole struggled to come to terms with the cruel hand fate dealt her, the death of her newborn son, Arianne Zucker delivered a mesmerizing performance, completely embodying her character’s deep grief and heartache.
At the hospital, EJ assured his wife that Dimitri, the man who caused her tragic car crash and fled the scene with their baby, would be brought to justice. Zucker stared off into space, her face devoid of any emotion. “Nothing matters now. My baby’s gone, and nothing’s going to bring him back,” she muttered. Holly’s attempt to cheer up her mother resulted in a testy Nicole snapping at her, but her burst of anger quickly reverted back to somberness. She told EJ she just wanted to sleep and rolled to her side as tears streamed down her face.
It was a visit from Eric that prompted Nicole to open up and begin to accept comfort from her loved ones. Zucker physically softened as Nicole questioned why God would let her carry a child only to rip him away. Contemplating the cruelness of it all, her whole body shook and she wept in Eric’s arms. Then she let EJ in, and the pair embraced, finally sharing their grief. Later, Abe visited to offer assurance that she wasn’t alone, further bolstering Nicole to realize how desperately she needed her friends and family’s support.
Having gathered some emotional strength, Nicole was composed, yet confused, when the duplicitous Dr. Pierce explained that her son had “died” from injuries sustained in the car accident. She recounted holding a perfect baby boy after she’d given birth. Then she asked to see the child. “I want to hold my son one last time,” she pleaded, fighting back tears. When Pierce returned and lied that Nicole’s son had accidentally been cremated, Zucker reacted forcefully, infusing Nicole with rage as she lunged at the doctor and threatened to kill him, fierce and fiery as she then ordered him to leave. But once alone with EJ, she hung her head and dissolved into sobs.
Before returning home, EJ and Nicole stopped by the pub, where Nicole happened upon Eric pushing his newly adopted son in a stroller. A simple request to hold the infant for “a little solace” turned into a light-bulb moment for Nicole, who sensed an instant connection to him. Zucker’s whole face lit up. “This is my baby. This is my son,” she beamed.
EJ gently explained that the little boy in Nicole’s arms wasn’t their son, and she relented. Trembling, she returned the child to Eric and apologized. However, once at the DiMera mansion, Nicole insisted to EJ that Eric’s baby looked just like the baby she had birthed and that holding him felt the same way it had felt to hold their son. EJ reminded her that she only held their son for a moment, and the agony of Nicole’s loss swept over her once again. She began to cry and asked him to hold her, even as she failed to shake her deep-seated feeling that Eric and Sloan’s son was hers, her voice ringing with conviction as she muttered to herself in a private moment, “I know that was my baby.”
Zucker mastered an emotional roller-coaster of a week, navigating the depths of Nicole’s despair with impeccable finesse. It was a gut-wrenching performance that DAYS fans won’t soon forget.