Abigail's horrifying descent into madness on this week's Days of Our Lives is the stuff soap opera fans live for.
It was dramatic, emotional and painful to watch. The idea that Ben could break out of a mental hospital and into the heavily guarded Dimera mansion was ridiculous, but that was forgotten in the chaos.
Kate Mansi delivered a stellar performance. Abigail's moods changed from one moment to the next. She was, at times, eerily calm, at other times furious or paranoid and every once in a while there was a glimmer of the woman Chad fell in love with.
Both Chad and JJ's reactions to her erratic behavior were also perfect, and Jennifer even put down her pill bottle for long enough to rush over to the mansion and try to do something to help.
I've never been a big Abigail fan. In the last few years, she's been extremely judgmental while doing quite a lot of bedhopping. I felt she constantly looked down her nose at JJ and acted like she was above reproach while being just as self-destructive. Most of Salem treated the Deveraux kids the same way Abby treated JJ, which didn't help at all.
But this storyline really made me feel for her.
It was so effective that I was almost able to overlook the fact that when JJ was the one having a nervous breakdown, almost no one reached out to him and that, more recently, Abby was too busy worrying about Chad to care how JJ was doing after finding Paige's lifeless body and the uniforms who arrived on scene assuming he was the murderer.
Anyway, Abigail's breakdown in the motel room where she'd hidden away with her son was interesting. It not only showed how bad off Abigail was, but how Jen has been a step away from madness for the last year or two.
Abby's demand that Chad and JJ stay away from her son and that she knows how to take care of him was extremely similar to Jen's angry demands a year or two ago that Daniel not support JJ or give her any input into how to parent her son.
I also like the fact that JJ has become the most stable member of the Horton-Deveraux family, though I wish we'd seen his growth occur on screen instead of him magically becoming more mature. Jen's demand that he not hover over her and worry about her was amusing considering her behavior towards her son until very recently.
I'm also really glad that JJ is aware of Jen's drug problem. Between being a former addict and being a cop, it would be ridiculous for him not to know.
I loved Helena for who she was. I loved her with my whole heart. The pain of losing her has never gone away.Deimos
I'm not a fan of Victor's plan to get revenge on Deimos, but Nicole and Deimos' scenes were interesting. When Deimos said he originally was playing Helena but then fell for her, it made me wonder if he's hoping that'll happen to Nicole. He saw through her right away and it's doubtful he bought her story about turning Victor down.
It was hard to know what was true in what Deimos said, but I was pretty convinced he did actually love Helena, which added another layer to his character. This may end up being an interesting storyline, if it doesn't end up being a rehash of last year's stupid Nicole/Xander plot.
Dario and Kate should both have strong reactions to Nicole's "union" with Deimos, which might be fun to watch. Not so fun was Hope and Rafe making fun of Nicole.
I actually saw her earlier and congratulated her on staying out of trouble.Rafe
Rafe has always been one of Nicole's biggest supporters. In the past, he's taken her sneakiness in stride, has gently tried to steer her onto a better path when needed and has been totally non-judgmental. He and Nicole have been supportive, good friends.
All of a sudden, because Hope doesn't like Nicole, Rafe feels a need to join in judging her?
This isn't true to character, it's unnecessary, and incidentally Hope has no room to judge Nicole at all. At least Nicole didn't neglect her teenage daughter and step-son in order to pursue some bizarre revenge agenda fueled by her belief that her late husband was telling her to.
Nor did she confront Deimos planning to do the same thing again.
Nicole's entrance probably saved Hope, because it forced her to leave before she could decide to pull out that gun again. Besides, Hope knows Nicole is a former investigative reporter who is connected to the Kiriakis family through Brady and Daniel. Why on earth wouldn't Nicole investigate Deimos too?
This scene was obnoxious. I like Rafe and I like Hope, but every time they're on screen together it seems to ruin both characters. That's a strong sign this couple is not meant to be.
You have to find happiness wherever you can. We both know love can be fleeting.Steve
Steve pimping Rafe/Hope was disappointing. The mess the writers have made out of Steve and Kayla lately is bad enough, but this just felt like telling rather than showing. If Rafe and Hope are a worthwhile couple, viewers will support them without characters telling them to.
The Steve/Kayla mess is another storyline I could do without. This week, Kayla fainted again in front of Fynn, after which they had a rather flirty conversation in her hospital room and she signed herself out in order to assist with a major car accident.
Oddly, neither Kayla nor Fynn was reminded of Daniel's death when they first heard the news even though they were both devastated when he was killed in a similar crash.
Afterwards, more flirting ensued and Fynn had the audacity to tell Steve that he causes Kayla too much stress and should stay away from her.
Can this character get any more unlikeable? He is a poor, poor replacement for Daniel. He has no bedside manner, he prescribes medication irresponsibly and now he's flirting with the chief of staff and telling her estranged husband to stay out of the way.
I hope Kayla makes it clear that Fynn is the one causing stress. Better yet, where's Anne Milbauer to snarkily enforce the rules and get Fynn before the board to be disciplined for this?
Jade, are we serious about this? I mean, are we serious about running away together?Joey
Joey and Jade are the most ridiculous excuse for a couple I've seen on this show in a long time. Kayla's right -- Jade is a bad influence, though Joey chose to kill Ava all on his own.
I'm wondering if Jade will turn out to be Ava's long-lost baby or otherwise related to her.
Joey seems to have gone from Ava to mini-Ava. Jade would also be wise to not run away with a guy who she knows smothered a woman who was lying unconscious in a hospital bed and doesn't think twice about sneaking into his house to get the motorcycle keys his dad took away for drunk driving so that they can ride off into the sunset.
Steve, you can't blame yourself for all the terrible trouble Ava caused.Hope
Hope was the voice of reason. I just hope she can talk some into Kayla. I adore Hope and Steve's friendship; the scenes between them were a bright spot in an otherwise annoying set of scenes in Brady Pub.
Finally, the kids prepared for prom. It's nice to see the teen set doing something remotely related to teenage life, though some more build-up to this event would have been nice. I also thought it was highly unlikely that this guy who looks a lot like Chase would suddenly aggressively grab and kiss Ciara. What are the odds?
I was wondering whether Claire knows that Henry is gay or whether he was using her to make himself appear straight. There was a slightly flirty tone to their banter that didn't make sense. These two kids are the most interesting of all the teens, so I hope their storylines continue to develop.
So what did you think of Abigail's nervous breakdown? Emmy-deserving, over-the-top or somewhere in-between?
Weigh in on that and all of this week's storylines below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Round Table Discussion!
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.