When Days of Our Lives gets it right, it really gets it right.
The all-too-realistic story arc of Eric's drunk driving leading to Daniel's death and Jennifer being all messed up ended this Friday with Eric being sentenced to five years in prison.
Eric has been far too absent from the canvas since he got out of the hospital. At the time, I didn't really miss him because before that he'd been involved in a number of annoying storylines. Plus I was mourning Daniel.
But seeing his final scenes made me wish there was more build-up. Just like Daniel's death wasn't as powerful as it might have been because viewers hadn't seen him for months, Eric's send-off was watered down by his relative absence from the screen.
Eric claimed to have been sober for three days. Whether that's true or not was anybody's guess. However, he reappeared all of a sudden in the middle of the week so that he could show up drunk on Jennifer's doorstep. Jennifer was out of it on painkillers and one thing led to another.
The Jennifer painkiller storyline has gone from 0 to 60 in a matter of days too -- up until this point, viewers hadn't seen much evidence that she actually has a problem with pills. Suddenly, Lucas yelled at her that she was staggering around the Square and worrying Chad and she downed a pill with a glass of wine.
It would have been helpful to have seen Jennifer staggering around and for her dependence on the pills to gradually increase. This all seems a bit contrived since viewers didn't see any evidence of a problem until now.
Anyway, both Melissa Reeves and Greg Vaughan hit their final scenes together out of the park. They both captured how hungover and guilty they felt. Having Jennifer have a bunch of missed calls from JJ was a nice touch -- oh how the tables have turned!
What the hell were you doing? You let Eric get drunk the night before his sentencing for drunk driving? What the hell were you thinking?Marlena
Marlena's blaming Jennifer for Eric's irresponsible behavior was ridiculous. Jen hit it right on the mark when she said Marlena was acting out her hurt and fear for Eric. (For someone who is hung over after drinking and abusing pain medication, Jen certainly is thinking clearly!)
At any rate, as a psychiatrist, Marlena should know that Eric is responsible for his own behavior. Jennifer wasn't this overbearing or ridiculous when JJ first sobered up, and that's saying a lot! Treating both Eric and Jennifer like 15-year-olds isn't helpful and probably made everything worse.
Eric asked Jennifer to stay off the pills and she said she would, but will she really? Now she probably blames herself for Eric's prison sentence. I hope that JJ having tried to call her means he is going to get involved in this story in a big way. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that he's the sober one and his mom is the addict in denial instead of the other way around.
At any rate, I'm impressed with these last scenes because Eric has been an annoying character for a very long time and yet his goodbyes were emotional and I almost wished we'd get to see what happens to him once he gets to prison.
Theresa: Well, next time you don't know where to turn, just remember: NOT HERE!
Summer's ridiculous interference in Brady and Theresa's lives ate up a ton of screen time that could have been used developing other characters and storylines this week. Perhaps if there wasn't quite so much of this, there would have been room to see Eric's courtroom scene or actual scenes of Jennifer abusing pills. Maybe there could have even been a scene of JJ frantically trying to reach his mom and Roman, Rafe or Gabi trying to convince him he was overreacting because of Abigail's ordeal.
In any event, Theresa was about 99% right in everything she said to Summer. I think Theresa may be out of Brady's league, not the other way around. Now that Theresa has finally grown up a little, she has become remarkably perceptive and sensitive.
Furthermore, it was ridiculous for Brady to basically abandon his date with Theresa to check on Summer, invite her to stay with them without checking with Theresa, ask after her as soon as he came home and get mad that Theresa doesn't trust her. And then on top of all that he turned the conflict into Theresa being unreasonably jealous.
Brady had better get a clue before he loses his bride-to-be to his own stupidity.
Summer's past is not all that tragic, and her storyline continues to paint people with bipolar disorder in a bad light as well as turning adoption into an evil thing. The sooner she leaves Salem, the better.
Assessment. It's the kind of word doctors use when they don't know what the hell they're doing.Victor
Maggie's storyline is annoying because it seems like a rerun from 30 years ago, and a vehicle for bonding with Summer on top of it. Maggie's scenes with Victor were sweet, but the rest of it is entirely unnecessary. I have no doubt that a miracle will occur and she will again walk at the end of this storyline.
Philip: I sat here watching you sleep, trying to wrack my brain for some way to make up for what I've done.
Victor: Well, then you'd have to go back on time, change every stupid decision you've made.
Deimos' misbehavior seems to have affected most of Salem. Victor wants revenge for Maggie's injuries and is again pressuring Philip to help him with it in exchange for forgiveness (maybe). Nicole is investigating Deimos, Kate is sleeping with him and Hope and Caroline are interested in his role in Bo's death.
There was even a scene some months ago of Roman telling Shawn and JJ to keep an eye on Deimos, though it never went anywhere.
I hope Andre will escape from prison soon because with Deimos in town, we have the second generation of Kiriakis and Dimera villains and the resulting fireworks will be interesting.
One way or the other, you will pay. You. will. pay.JJ
Ben's reappearance seems to have driven Abigail over the edge. Abby was upset at first that Chad didn't let her kill Ben, while both Chad and JJ seem to wish they could finish the job themselves.
Will we have a whodunit soon or will Roman train JJ in the art of looking the other way when your family does something horribly wrong?
It was great to see JJ finally show the passion, anger and loyalty to his family that has been missing for months. Hopefully he won't imitate his young cousin Joey and kill Ben while he's in the hospital.
Kate Mansi is doing a great job showing Abigail's nervous breakdown. It's also really clear how similar Abby and Jen are. Both women go around insisting they're fine when they are falling apart, are insecure about their relationships with their sons and fear being inadequate.
Abby, of course, has a lot more reason to be upset that she can't calm baby Thomas than Jen ever did when she was jealous of Daniel's friendship with her then 19-year-old son. Still, the similarities were uncanny.
I wish that Laura's schizophrenia would stop being brought up in this context. If anything, Abby is suffering from major PTSD, not schizophrenia. I will forever wish they had explored this history when JJ broke the store window instead of branding him a criminal, as it would have been a more realistic storyline than this.
In any event, though, seeing Chad deal with his new wife's nervous breakdown is really effective. I feel bad for the couple that this is how married life has started out for them.
So what did you think? Will you miss Eric? Who's having more of a nervous breakdown -- Abigail or her mother? And how badly do you wish Summer would go away?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table Discussion.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.