Love triangles are a soap staple, but it's been awhile since Days of Our Lives has done a proper one.
In the past couple of years, love "triangles" have been pretty lopsided, with the writers making it extremely obvious which person is going to win the girl. (For some reason, two girls after a guy have gone out of fashion on this show.)
But the Aiden/Hope/Rafe triangle has all the markings of a great, dramatic story -- if the writers' apparent obsessive need to ruin Aiden's character doesn't mess it up.
This love triangle has so much going for it: Hope moving on with a new boyfriend, the ex-husband who she thought tried to kill her reappearing with an unbelievable story, and her own confusion about who she wants. Throw in the fact that Aiden's son raped Hope's daughter, and the obstacles are almost insurmountable.
In soap land, that's sometimes a recipe for on their way back together.
This story would be more compelling if a couple things were different, however. Rafe and Hope's relationship needed to be a little less new (and a little healthier), and Aiden and Hope need to stop lying to each other so they can heal from the past.
Aiden: For me some things are still...
Hope: Still what?
Aiden: The same.
Hope: Nothing is the same. You never should have come back here.
Hope is right -- a lot has changed. She is also right that she never dealt with the past, with Aiden's so-called betrayal on their wedding night moments before Bo walked in and killed the faux Aiden sent to kill her.
One of the things that hasn't changed is that she killed Stefano, despite the fact that she denied it to Aiden. Another thing that has not changed is that Aiden lying and keeping secrets is not a good idea, and he's continuing to do that.
Some viewers question Aiden's motives because of all the lies. I see it as similar as to why Nicole lied to Eric about the shredded evidence. In that case, Nicole was afraid that the truth could destroy her relationship so she proceeded to destroy it herself with a lot of unnecessary lies. Aiden is doing the same thing here.
Meanwhile, Rafe and Eduardo talked about how Rafe has to let Hope make her own decision even though he wants to protect her from Aiden.
This is the entire problem with Rafe and Hope as a couple. Rafe's protective nature is out of control when it comes to Hope, and she becomes this weak damsel-in-distress type who can't make a move without consulting him.
That's not Hope, that's not attractive and that's not healthy. It also makes it very difficult to root for Hope and Rafe as a couple.
Instead of deciding between two mediocre men, Hope should have the dilemma of having to choose between two great men. Hopefully the writing for both guys will improve so that this story can be truly compelling.
I'm trying to bury my past, man, trying to keep it there. I am doing the best that I can.Eduardo
Aiden wasn't the only one trying in vain to make up for lost time and redeem himself for his past this week. Eduardo and Adriana grew closer after Gabi's health scare, but when they returned to Rafe's house, they found black roses on the doorstep. The roses were quickly followed up by an anonymous threat to Eduardo.
In one of the strongest scenes of the week, Rafe tried to convince Adriana that Eduardo's past made him too dangerous to be accepted back into their family.
Rafe: Maybe this is all is a mistake!
Adriana: What is?
Rafe: Letting Eduardo back in our lives, that's what!
Adriana: So we abandon him?
Rafe: He abandoned us!
Adriana: That is not what you do with family. Maybe now, this moment, is where your father needs us the most.
Adriana's attitude is a far cry from her previous refusal to even talk to Eduardo. Will it last, though? She was already kidnapped once because of Eduardo's past, Dario hates Eduardo, and Rafe keeps changing his mind about whether or not to accept his father.
With all this pressure, plus some bad guys after them, how long will it take for Adriana to decide Eduardo isn't worth it after all?
My son, sometimes to protect what's yours, you need to make a sacrifice.Stefano
Chad's heartbreak over Abby's institutionalization and refusal to see her family continued this week. Usually, ghostly visits end up being cheesy and not worth it, but his dream about Stefano was perfect. I had to wonder what kind of sacrifice Chad is thinking about making.
Is this about following doctors' orders and allowing Abby to isolate herself, or something else?
Not so great this week was the resolution of the virus storyline. Nobody really seemed all that ill. JJ kept taking his oxygen mask on and off and wandering around the hospital, dampening the effect of his insistence on sacrificing his health so that Gabi could get the antidote first.
I loved the sweet scenes between them and seeing JJ be the strong, stubborn, sacrificial guy that he used to be, but I want to see some real drama for these two.
Shawn: I just don't understand why you couldn't wait for me to talk to her like we agreed to.
Belle: So this is my fault?
Also not so great: the merry-go-round between Belle and her two guys. Philip came over and they argued. Belle then had a fight with Shawn over whose fault Claire's misbehavior was. Then Belle got drunk and she and Shawn kissed. Yawn. Wake me when this storyline is over.
It doesn't help that Claire comes off as completely entitled and selfish. She's acting like spray painting a car is no big deal and that her parents are being entirely unreasonable and evil for daring to punish her for it.
If she doesn't want to go to jail, she'd better change her attitude before she goes in front of the judge.
Deimos: What do you really want, Nicole?
Nicole: For starters, I want a man with a brain.
Nicole put her plan into place to seduce Deimos in order to get revenge for Maggie's accidentwhile Kate seethed with jealousy. Kate proposed to Deimos and he accepted, but after Nicole talked to him while wearing nothing but a bathrobe, he proposed to her.
Sort of anyway.
I really could do without all of this. Nicole is wasted in this ridiculous storyline, which is a repeat of last year's awful Xander/Nicole mess. I'd much rather see Nicole team up with Rafe and Dario to investigate Eduardo and have the two brothers fight for her heart.
The only good thing about this story is Victor being forced to face that his retirement has been ruined by all of Deimos' nonsense.
John Aniston was at his best in Victor's scenes with Justin. Victor was just vulnerable enough to express his disappointment while still keeping Justin at arm's length and refusing to admit he had a point about anything.
So what did you think? Was there a storyline you loved or hated this week?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion!
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.