The word of the week in Salem is escape.
On this week's Days of Our Lives, Abigail made an all-too-easy escape from Shady Hills Mental Hospital while Andre managed to get out of jail. Meanwhile, Hope and Aiden went out of town, while Deimos tried to convince Chloe to run away and travel the world with him.
The Chad/Abigail story has been nothing short of devastating. Who expects to start married life with the new bride going insane and the new groom having to fight with his mother-in-law about the best course of treatment?
This storyline would have been even stronger had Abigail been receiving competent medical care. As usual, Dr. Robinson had no empathy and seemed overly eager to sedate Abigail. She even threatened to do it when Abby showed absolutely zero signs of agitation, just because she said she wanted to go home!
I'd much rather see Nicole and JJ team up to investigate the shady goings-on at this hospital than JJ's non-story and Nicole trapped in Kate's lies.
Either there's nobody advising the writers and producers about psychiatric issues or Abby received substandard care so that viewers could cheer for her when she finally escaped.
Dr. Robinson is lying. You are never going to get better.Ben
Abigail's final scenes with Ben were interesting. It was almost like she had converted him in her mind to a trusted friend and ally who was telling her how to get out -- until of course she told him to go to hell. It seemed like Abby cured herself despite the horrible care she received and left the hospital on her own terms.
Chad: Why do you care? You don't even know Abby.
Andre: No, but I know you. You're all I have, Chad. I've done some terrible things to people, especially those closest to me. I swore if I were ever released I'd try to make amends. Father's gone and we should stick together!
How exactly did Andre know so much about it? Even if he'd been pumping Aiden for information, all Aiden knows is that his son is there; it's highly unlikely he knows anything about Abigail unless Jennifer hired him to take Abby's case.
Since Aiden's lawyer skills have all but been forgotten in an effort to turn him into a shady character, that's highly unlikely, and even this new, calculating version of Aiden probably wouldn't break confidentiality.
So is Andre actually pulling the strings at Shady Hills? That could explain why the place is so full of incompetent people and it was so easy to get Chase a bed there. After all, Andre loves acting as a substitute father to Chase and using the boy to keep Aiden under control.
Chad's scenes with Andre were among the best of the week. Andre is at his finest when trying to alternately win over and mess with his younger, less evil-minded brother. Although the way Andre got out of jail was contrived and ridiculous, it was almost worth it to see him trying to get in Chad's good graces.
A low point, however, was Jennifer's scenes with Chad. First of all, it's extremely strange that Jennifer was late because of an accident on the highway and arrived to find her daughter was being given heavy duty pain meds right after Jennifer finally began to kick her addiction to pain meds that began after a major car accident, yet neither of these events affected her at all.
The writers really need to do a better job of connecting the dots and/or not making excuses for characters' absences that should significantly affect them but don't.
Instead, it seems that Jennifer is only allowed to be a scared former pain pill addict when she's in her own storyline. When she is a secondary character in Abby's storyline she magically becomes the person she was pre-pill addiction, as if her addiction and subsequent struggle never occurred.
Jennifer's insistence that Abby stay in the hospital also made no sense because a few weeks ago, she wanted Abby removed from that environment after Dr. Robinson said that having family visit was bad for her, and Chad insisted that they follow doctors' orders.
When characters flip flop like this without explanation, it makes conflicts seem contrived and ridiculous. It didn't help that Jennifer was utterly obnoxious in these scenes, and Chad didn't as much as suggest that maybe she should go to an AA meeting and leave him alone.
Similarly, John accepted Theresa as part of Brady's life months ago, yet this week he suddenly agreed with Victor that Theresa was horrible and likely to break Brady's heart, since people don't really change.
To add insult to injury, John said this about 20 minutes after telling Paul how he hopes Joey is able to turn his life around after what happened in California.
Brady and John talked about this after Brady took his anger out on Paul for suddenly switching jobs.
Considering what a big deal everyone made out of Paul and Gabi signing modeling contracts and committing a year of their time to Basic Black and then Nicole and Theresa negotiated new contracts for them once DJ Wear spun off from Basic Black, it's hard to blame Brady for being annoyed that Paul is quitting after only six months.
I was so, so angry. Which was stupid. I mean, it's not your fault that you look like a woman he loved 30 years ago, right?Kate
Kate admitted to Nicole privately that she wished none of this Deimos mess had ever happened but refused to clear it up with the cops because she'd rather Nicole serve life in jail than her.
Since Kate has spent no time in jail for poisoning Chloe, attempting to murder Nick, or any of the other crimes she's committed over the past 20 years, why would she think she'd ever be locked up now no matter what happens?
Welcome to the club. Kate tried to murder me and she framed Parker's dad for it.Chloe
Meanwhile, in Chicago, Deimos quickly wore down Chloe's resolve to take it slow and figure out if she could actually trust him before getting involved with him. The two got hot and heavy very quickly and then Chloe freaked out when she found out Deimos had fallen for Nicole.
Chloe and Deimos' scenes are extraordinarily well-acted but I can't get behind Chloe being so reckless when her intention is to protect her five-year-old son, nor is Deimos in any way trustworthy. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, especially now that Chloe knows about Deimos and Nicole's quasi-relationship.
Finally, there was some more nonsense with Aiden/Hope/Rafe and with Ciara this week.
Having Aiden return only to make him weak-willed and continue to write him as shady and semi-evil is ridiculously annoying. How much character assassination is necessary? The current writing regime doesn't like that Hope was paired with Aiden a couple years ago. We get it.
If there has to be a love triangle, it should be a legitimate love triangle. Nobody should be acting like a teenager and hiding the other's phone, nobody should be sulking in the background, and nobody should be secretly working for Andre.
Having Aiden come back and restoring his reputation as a good guy and town lawyer would have made for a compelling story. Having Hope be stupid and gullible and in need of Rafe's protection is an insult to all three characters and to fans of both pairings.
As for Ciara, she is about the worst choice for the future of psychotherapy I can think of. The director of Shady Hills calling her mature for her age shows how incompetent that entire institution is.
Ciara would be another Dr. Robinson, and one is bad enough.
In addition, her reaction to Chase was immature and not becoming of a professional, even in a volunteer position. Chase raped her and that is truly horrible, but that doesn't give Ciara license to act any way she pleases towards patients while on the job.
She either needs to keep it together and act professionally or accept Marlena's offer to have her transferred elsewhere.
Furthermore, Chase's commitment to Shady Hills is not about Ciara. He didn't go to that hospital in order to torment her further nor did he ask the orderly to bring him into the day room so he could mess with her.
Ciara needs to work on getting her life back together before she's ready for this kind of volunteer position at all, and the fact that Marlena doesn't realize that doesn't make her look very competent either, although she's a far better doctor for Abigail than Dr. Robinson is.
So what did you think? What was your favorite storyline this week and what could you have done without?
Weigh in 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.