The last week of Days of Our Lives before the two-week hiatus for the Olympics is a big deal.
In 2012, viewers saw an explosion and didn't know who had lived or died.
Four years later, Chad, Jennifer and JJ got some devastating news that was almost immediately revealed to be phony, Aiden became the new DA, and Rafe and Hope had sex.
Did any of this make viewers eager to tune back in after the hiatus?
The Chad/Abby/JJ/Jennifer story offered a ton of emotion
.Billy Flynn, Casey Moss and Melissa Reeves all did phenomenal work. Chad and JJ's confrontation, in which JJ went back and forth between tears and anger and Chad held back his own tears and just let JJ yell at him, is the kind of stuff I watch a soap opera for.
Chad: I loved your sister.
JJ: You killed my sister!
JJ and Jennifer both lashed out at Chad in their grief, but it was understandable because they were grieving. For the most part, Chad didn't fight back, though his blaming JJ and Jennifer was just as excusable.
However, Andre's confirming with his contact that Abigail's family had all seen the fake evidence fell flat. It's not exciting to get confirmation of what we knew already, which was that Andre was planning to fake Abby's death.
Considering the two week hiatus, it would have been much better to end with a twist. Seeing Abigail somewhere while Jennifer and Chad were grieving would have been a bit cliche, but at least it would have got people talking.
Jack: I'm not going to stand around here and watch the bravest girl I know self-destruct.
Jen: Ok, that's fine. Because that's what you do anyway. You go. So just go.
Jennifer's rejection of Jack's ghost really hurt. Jack's death was part of the last Olympic hiatus cliffhanger. Four years later, Jennifer is accusing him of always disappearing and sending his ghost away.
The rest of Jack and Jennifer's scene was so beautiful, and Jennifer's grief so raw and authentic, that it was doubly painful to watch Jennifer throw away her memories of the man who had sacrificed himself for Abigail almost exactly four years ago.
It really felt like a slap in the face of Jack and Jennifer fans, as well as a continuation of the myth that Jack was never there for his family.
I was glad, though, that Jack at least knew that JJ was part of the family and would support Jennifer.
JJ is so often treated as expendable. He got one powerful scene when Paige died, then disappeared for nearly two weeks. Hopefully he will not get the same treatment as he struggles with grief and doubt over his sister's alleged death.
Aiden: Officer Doza, right?
Doza: Mr. Doza now. And you're the shyster lawyer who just came back from the dead.
The other big story this week offered was Aiden's decision to work with Andre again, culminating with Hope and Rafe's night of romance being ruined by the news that Aiden is now the DA.
There are so many problems with this -- least of all that that cliffhanger is not nearly exciting enough to hold viewers' interest for two weeks -- that it's hard to know where to begin.
First of all, every time Aiden looks like he's getting within walking distance of redemption, the writers decide to twist the knife they stabbed in this character's back a little more. At the beginning of the week, he did an honorable thing by turning Jennifer's request for help down in order to preserve Jen and Hope's relationship.
But by week's end he was once again firmly under Andre's thumb and becoming the DA not because he wants to rebuild his career but because he wants to stick it to Justin.
The writers seem to have conveniently forgotten that Aiden and Justin were friends and that Justin gave JJ's case to Aiden when he couldn't take it himself. Now they're enemies that hate each other and appear to have no prior history.
Justin has been a corrupt and annoying DA from the beginning who wanted to use his position to push a vendetta against the Dimeras and destroyed evidence in an attempt to help Victor defeat Deimos. He certainly deserves to be ousted as DA.
However, that's not why Aiden did it. Aiden did it so we can have the next round of Aiden being stupid enough to trust Andre and Andre screwing him over again.
Jennifer wanted to hire Aiden because he's the best, most ruthless lawyer, but he's written as having neither the spine nor the intelligence to stand up to Andre for more than 30 seconds. This makes no sense and is just more trashing of Aiden's character for no good reason.
Looks like it's gonna be a night of flicks and chill.Rafe
It's bad enough that the writers are stuck on the idea of Rafe/Hope as a super couple. Why must they be involved in a storyline that destroys all the characters involved?
Hope apparently has no problem nowadays with having sex in the same bed she shared with her late husband Bo and where she was almost killed by the fake version of her second husband Aiden, nor does she have a problem with jumping into a sexual relationship super quickly.
Rafe covers up evidence and uses the power of his badge to try to eliminate his romantic rival in addition to treating Hope like a little girl that needs his protection. JJ's tender treatment of Gabi after her attack is more like how Hope ought to be treated, but Rafe never does that.
And Aiden is a desperate, stupid man who will do anything if he thinks it'll get him back in Hope's good graces.
None of these characters is recognizable at all, and the more this Rafe/Hope/Aiden triangle is on screen, the worse they all get.
And even more importantly, half an hour of Rafe romancing Hope, complete with a conveniently timed power outage, is not the riveting drama that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats on the last air date before a two week hiatus.
This whole setup was more filler than anything else and could have aired on a different day or not at all.
Earlier in the week, there was some potential for excitement as Gabi was attacked by a thug n the park. Too bad it was a set-up by Dario to make Eduardo look dangerous.
Gabi defending herself and then allowing JJ to comfort her was great stuff that fizzled to nothing. Dario's involvement in this was just disappointing. Among other things, it now means Nicole's choice is between Deimos and Deimos-lite, as Dario's scheme is something you might expect from Victor or Deimos.
Plus, now the whole thing seems to have been forgotten altogether in favor of Andre's plot to make everyone think Abby is dead.
Also this week, Chloe found out she was carrying Deimos' child while Nicole suddenly decided to sleep with Deimos after all. Did anyone else think Phillip will offer to pretend to be the father as soon as he asked if Chloe was sure the baby was Deimos'?
Finally, there was a warm moment between John and Marlena before John took off to look for Tate in Indianapolis. That story could also have heated up more before the hiatus. Confronting a kidnapper or even catching a glimpse of little Tate might have got people talking.
So what did you think? Did the pre-hiatus week of Days of Our Lives deliver any of what you had hoped for? What are you hoping to see when the soap returns on August 22? Comment below!
Days of Our Lives may be on a two week hiatus, but there is still a Round Table this week! Make sure to check back for it on Sunday.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.