Family has always been the backbone of Days of Our Lives.
No matter what crazy things were going on, the Hortons and the Bradys stuck together. Weddings and funerals were important, emotional centerpieces because they were a time for family members to celebrate or mourn together.
But when Julie's son David died, the funeral paid only lip service to either him or his family, instead serving as a backdrop for all sorts of other things that the writers apparently thought were more important than mourning David.
First, there was the pre-funeral nonsense.
Claire and Ciara fought over the fact that Claire wasn't dressed yet, but the real problem between them is they both love their roommate Theo.
Love triangles in which two women are so invested in the same man that they forget why they were even friends are incredibly cliche, uninteresting, and obnoxious.
DAYS has not one, but two such triangles, with Chloe demonizing Nicole every chance she gets because several men from her past like Nicole too and Ciara and Claire becoming the worst of enemies over Theo.
Plus, Claire's character has been completely re-written. Instead of being a sweet, level-headed girl – which was apparently only a ploy to get viewers to think she was the reincarnation of Paige so that Eve sponsoring her singing career made sense – Claire is suddenly a self-absorbed brat.
This kind of heavyhanded writing is designed to force viewers to root for the couple the writers have chosen as endgame. That's doomed to backfire. Viewers don't like being told what to think and often rebel.
And it is doubly annoying moments before a funeral, when all other considerations should be put aside to cope with the loved one's death.
While Claire and Ciara were arguing, JJ was checking his watch and deciding he'd better go to the funeral because Jennifer couldn't.
First of all, Jennifer should have been there, not working. Secondly, Lani offering to tag along to a funeral on the grounds that her dad might be there was tacky. And thirdly, JJ is not insensitive and unfeeling.
He was reluctant to go to Daniel's funeral because it brought up memories of his father's death and the JJ I know and love would have empathized with Julie because of how deeply that loss affected him.
Eli: Hi Ms. Williams, I'm Eli Grant.
Valerie: Uh, this is my son, Julie. I didn't know he was coming.
Eli: You're David's mother, aren't you? I'm so sorry for your loss.
Julie: Thank you.
Eli: Do you mind if I stay? I don't want to intrude on the family.
Julie: No, of course. Please stay. I think it'll help your mother.
Eli: Thank you.
Julie: I'm sorry. You look so familiar to me. Have we met before?
The biggest, most important thing about the funeral appeared to have been the appearance of Valerie's son, Eli – who just found out David was his father.
This might have been more impactful if viewers had ever met Eli before. Certainly it's possible to feel bad for him that his mother lied about who his father was and that he never got the chance to get to know him.
But a funeral is not the time to show up with dramatic pronouncements about how unfair it is and how angry you are at your mother.
My son David. He was... beautiful. He was whip smart. He was passionate. He was... as a mother and son, we had a rocky relationship. I think that was because he must have inherited all my worst traits. He was rash. He always spoke his mind. He always thought his opinion was the only opinion that mattered. We loved each other, but we had a hard time getting along with each other. The last few years, we hardly saw each other at all and I... I regret that. I always will. I hope to God he knew how much I loved him. He was a shining light to me. I thank God that light will continue to shine, brightly, in his son, my grandson Scotty. This morning I was getting ready for this and I... I tried to remember all the things that we quarreled over, the things that were so important to me I could not let them go. They were STUPID and I am sorry. I wish... I wish instead I'd told him that I'd prayed for him all the days of his life and I know he's found his place now, in the house of the Lord, forever.Juile
Julie's eulogy was the only part of this funeral worth watching. She gave a perfect description of her often tumultuous relationship with her son.
It also was an amazing description of how JJ's relationship with his mother was until the writers decided to magically fix it and restrict the number of scenes they share to ensure there's no chance of real conflict between them anymore.
Imagine how powerful it would have been if JJ and Jennifer's relationship had been written properly and JJ, recognizing himself in what she said, turned to his mother and offered a heartfelt apology for some conflict that had occurred earlier in the week.
Instead, all we got was JJ making eyes at the woman who raped him and not caring very much that his older cousin was heartbroken, neither of which made any sense at all.
Throughout the funeral, Claire and Ciara made a ton of references to how they had no idea who David was. I felt like the writers were telling us we shouldn't care either, and that disgusted me.
David was before my time, but he was a legacy character – the only son of the only character left from the original Horton family of 1965. Few fans really know what he was like, but that doesn't make him unimportant.
To treat him as expendable, to kill him off unceremoniously and then make his funeral about everyone but him, to give stupid excuses for why half the family isn't there... this goes beyond the pale.
Killing off David was totally unnecessary in the first place but if DAYS was going to do it, they should have done it right, with some actual flashbacks of him and Julie and/or her telling the younger generation stories about him instead of one eulogy and a lot of drama distracting from the fact of his death.
Brady: Thanks for meeting me.
Chloe: Yeah. So... what does Nicole want now?
Brady: She doesn't know I'm here. Just wanted the two of us to talk.
Chloe: Well I don't really see the point. Nicole lost the case and Holly's mine now. And if you really care about what's best for Holly, I think you should get Nicole to change her mind about appealing.
Brady: That's never gonna happen.
Chloe: Well, if you've come here to change MY mind, that's never gonna happen either. Holly is mine, and that's never gonna change.
While some of Salem was paying lip service to David's death, Brady was busy trying to convince Chloe to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, earlier in the week Nicole and Chloe had met in the ridiculously small judge's chambers to hear a judge decide that Nicole was unfit to be a mother to a child that was biologically hers because years ago she kidnapped a baby.
Much was made out of Nicole's history of being sexually abused, which was depicted as voluntary and proof that she is an immoral person, and the judge granted custody to a person who had no legal standing to even file for it in the first place.
If this judge wasn't a replacement for the one Deimos had tried to bribe, I'd wonder who paid her off to be so biased towards Chloe!
Anyway, since Chloe got custody, she decided the thing to do was leave for New York so that there'd be no chance Nicole could ever see her daughter again. According to Chloe, Nicole was horrible and evil and stupid and every good decision she made was really Daniel controlling her.
How disrespectful and demeaning, not only to Nicole and to womankind in general, but to Nicole's relationship with Daniel, who was far from controlling.
It also made no sense whatsoever. Chloe decided to carry the baby so that Nicole could have a child. Why would she do that for someone she hates so much?
It seemed to me that Chloe was jealous that Nicole got Daniel in the end, jealous that Nicole is still close with Brady, and maybe even jealous that evil Deimos chose Nicole over her.
This is even worse than the typical "woman hates best friend" love triangle. Chloe wants three men to reject Nicole for her, and one of them is dead. She shouldn't be that needy and desperate, especially not when she had an opportunity to be with Philip, who never had any interest in Nicole, and she rejected him!
Finally, the big kidnapping story resulted in Paul helping to rescue Sonny and Abby forgiving Chad after she found him and Gabi naked in the meat freezer and he admitted he kissed Gabi.
The Chad/Gabi story is such a ripoff of Eric and Nicole's story from a couple of years ago that it's impossible to be interested in it.
Two years ago, Xander locked Eric and Nicole in the furnace room at Titan. They thought they were dying and Nicole kissed Eric. Afterwards, Daniel helped rescue them and Nicole decided the kiss was a mistake, leaving Eric heartbroken.
Now, Deimos – whose behavior, motivations and relationship dynamics with Victor are almost exactly like Xander's were – locked Chad and Gabi in a meat locker at a Titan property.
They thought they were dying and Gabi kissed Chad. Afterwards, Abby helped rescue them and Chad decided the kiss was a mistake. Gabi claims to be okay with that but is most likely heartbroken.
While there are only so many soap plots, this one was so obviously copied from an earlier storyline that the writers might as well have used the same scripts and substituted Chad and Gabi's names for Nicole and Eric's.
This has left fans of Nicole and Eric outraged that their storyline was given to characters they are not interested in. This story was also yet another one that made no sense and didn't have to happen, and it being a copy of an earlier storyline didn't help that.
Meanwhile, Eduardo and Andre had Sonny kidnapped in retaliation for Chad and Gabi's kidnappings. I would have enjoyed this story more if it hadn't involved Sonny.
JJ and Paul play off each other well and it was nice to see them as friends, and I enjoyed seeing JJ get the upper hand over a thug that was holding him at gunpoint. But everything was ultimately cheapened by Paul once again having no story beyond his and Sonny's interest in each other.
The end result of the story was that Sonny decided becoming a mobster was the way to go and JJ went off to the funeral with no reaction whatsoever to any of what he'd just been through.
Adrienne: Have you come to tell me you've found Sonny?
Justin: I'm afraid not.
Adrienne: How many times can this happen? How many times can your family suck him back in to their wars?
Justin: Sonny knew what he was getting himself into.
Adrienne: And that's supposed to make it all right?
Justin: No. I just want you to know that he knew what he was getting himself into.
Adrienne: You know, Deimos goes around trying to kill people, holding others hostage... and what, he thinks there's not gonna be any blowback?
Justin: I know. The situation's out of control and I was hoping Sonny would have stayed in Europe until this whole battle between the families had blown over.
Adrienne: Please. It'll never blow over. There's always gonna be another battle with the Kiriakises. Sonny's never gonna be safe, just like you weren't when you were growing up, Justin.
Justin: Adrienne, I'm worried about you. You need to be home resting.
Adrienne: I'm not going anywhere til we find Sonny.
Justin: JJ is looking for him. We have to trust the police.
Adrienne: He's our son!
Justin: Yes. I know he is. And if he were here he would tell you that you need to take care of your health. You're not doing him any favors by getting yourself sicker! C'mon. I'll give you a ride home.
Adrienne: Stop it. Stop babying me. Our son has been kidnapped. Look, I admit it's been nice, you looking after me recently but I don't need it today and I don't want it. So if you're going to keep talking about my health while my son's life is in danger you can just leave. I'm not a cancer patient today. I am a mother who needs to find her son and bring him home. Can you live with that?
The one nice thing about this storyline was that Adrienne got back to being her fiery, feisty self. It was a little unrealistic that someone who is going through chemo had the energy to get involved in a major adventure, but seeing Adrienne stand up to Justin and refuse to back down until her son was returned was great.
Strong women are in short supply on this show nowadays and I want to see more of this and less of some other nonsense.
Not great was seeing JJ ask his rapist out on a date.
Even if JJ hadn't been too drunk to be able to consent when he and Lani had their one-night stand and Lani hadn't been too stupid to recognize what blacked out drunk looks like despite years of experience on the police force, right after his cousin's funeral wasn't the time for romance anyway.
But hearing him call his rape a bad start to their relationship moved the needle from mildly inappropriate to all out disgusting.
What happened to JJ is nothing to be flippant about, especially after all the shaming he endured from virtually every character on canvas, and now he's dismissing the whole thing as a lot of nothing and viewers are expected to, too.
On top of that, Lani is so stupid that she didn't even realize JJ was asking her out until after he'd suggested four different activities in a flirty tone and then directly told her.
Someone as intelligent and resourceful as JJ deserves far, far better than this idiot, and her overhearing Eli tell the casket who his father was is not going to end well.
I couldn't tell whether Lani is going to try to get Eli into her clutches next or try to blackmail him, but either way something bad is going to happen and I really don't want to see it.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Did you find David's funeral worth watching? Do you like the addition of Eli to the cast? What storyline disgusted you most?
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.