I've been waiting for a long time for something to be excited about again on Days of Our Lives.
There's just too much hypocrisy, especially among the Hernandezes, and it makes it hard to tolerate a lot of what's currently on the show. And that's sad, because I've watched this show for 30 years and I love it.
But this week, there was a real breath of fresh air as Roman stepped down and Lieutenant Raines became the new Commissioner.
Roman used to be a by-the-book, no nonsense cop, but in recent years he's become more of a bumbling country sheriff who leads with a smile and looks the other way every time someone he likes does something wrong.
I like the character of Roman and I hope his retirement doesn't mean he's going to disappear into a black hole and a year from now someone will mention that he moved to California with Caroline and Kim.
However, it's beyond time for new blood in the police department. Except for JJ, there's not one cop who hasn't done something morally questionable, and Roman, Rafe, and Hope were all involved in a major cover-up that in real life would be a PR disaster for the police department.
I just wish Raines weren't portrayed as the villain in this. The writing is very heavy handed and it's clear viewers are supposed to think that Raines is a problem. If Rafe and Hope were actual heroes, I might be aggravated with Raines not letting Rafe help investigate Nicole or putting Hope on desk duty.
But not getting plum assignments is the least of what these two deserve.
Andre: She certainly has a nerve showing up here!
Kate: Well she didn't stay long, apparently.
Andre: Well it's probably cause Chad had the sense to throw her out.
Chad: I did nothing of the sort.
Andre: Have you forgotten what she did to Father?
Chad: No, she owns it. She feels terrible.
Andre: Does she? Well, she shot a helpless old man in cold blood.
Andre seems to be the only one who remembers or cares that Hope shot an unarmed man in a wheelchair and Rafe helped hide the body. The "but it wasn't really Stefano" excuse really doesn't fly. Hope still shot someone and she and Rafe showed depraved indifference to human life, even if that life was the evil Stefano Dimera.
Neither of them should even be on the force after what they did. And they certainly shouldn't be giving each other lust-filled looks while Raines is talking about cleaning up the department.
Of course, it would be nice if Raines was consistent. If the writers remembered their history, JJ wouldn't be allowed on Nicole's case either since she was instrumental in helping him turn his life around after Theresa overdosed and was engaged to his surrogate father. And he certainly shouldn't be investigating his ex-girlfriend's family!
And that's what the huge problem with Days of Our Lives is under the current writing regime. The whole show reeks of hypocrisy because characters the writers like literally get away with murder, while characters they don't get ostracized, bullied and shamed for far less meaningful sins and sometimes for no sin at all.
The way Chad and Gabi's behavior in the meat locker was treated, in constrast to the way Gabi treated JJ again this week, is a shining example of the double standards on this show.
JJ, as we all know by now, had too much to drink one night and woke up the next morning naked and with no memory of what happened. As we also all know by now, everyone in town has shamed him for having "blackout sex" (AKA getting raped) and Gabi is the prime offender.
This week, this got even more offensive because JJ went on a date with Lani that Gabi interrupted to tell him he'd better not get drunk this time and that Lani was the woman he "cheated with by having sex."
That kind of nonsense is nothing new, though the dialogue left something to be desired. However, Gabi then got angry at Sonny for questioning her recent sexual encounter with Chad and she whined that she was the victim and was being shamed for something that wasn't her fault.
And on top of Gabi, the ultimate victim-shamer and hypocrite, making herself a victim when she wasn't one, Abigail immediately forgave Chad for his transgression because being kidnapped meant he had no choice but to have sex.
So to recap, JJ having sex when he was so drunk he couldn't consent is unforgiveable, but Chad taking off his clothes in subzero temperatures because he's trapped there with a woman he used to love is completely not his fault and nothing to worry about.
Then there's the whole issue of the way Roman treats Nicole vs the way he treats Hope.
Roman told Hope and Rafe that Nicole broke some serious laws and will have to face consequences regardless of why she kidnapped Baby Holly. Five seconds later, he told Hope he was proud of the legacy that he created with her and Rafe and that he didn't regret covering for her crime.
If the writers are going to play favorites, could they at least be a little bit more subtle about it? Viewers do actually notice these things and end up resenting characters that take up a lot of screen time getting away with things while other characters never get away with anything no matter how justified their behavior is.
The Chloe/Nicole custody story was disappointing in so many ways this week.
First of all, Chloe's behavior makes no sense. She got pregnant in the first place because she loved her bestie Nicole so much that she wanted to give her a child after Daniel died, but now she hates Nicole, thinks she's a horrible person, and wants to use any means necessary to ensure Nicole has no contact with baby Holly.
This is the problem with totally changing characters' attitudes, feelings, and personalities to suit the plot. It causes plots to make so little sense that viewers wonder if the writers think they're idiots and change the channel out of disgust, confusion, or boredom.
Deimos: Do you honestly think that I'm just gonna stand by, do absolutely nothing to help her while you run to her rescue? The bottom line, Brady, is this. I love her! And I know she still loves me. And once I'm able to get her baby back for her, nothing else will matter. She'll forgive everything that happened before.
Brady: She'll forgive everything. Man, you REALLY don't know who she is, do you?
Deimos: If I could just get my man to track her down... I will do everything in my power to get the authorities to go easy on her.
Brady: You gonna do that with another bribe, Deimos? Is that your plan?
Deimos: If that's what it takes, you're damn right I will! If that doesn't work, I'll make arrangements for her to disappear so she can raise her daughter without interference. At least then she'll finally have what she wants, and I'll finally be able to sleep at night knowing that I was the reason.
Brady: You're the reason she lost her baby in the first place! She's out there on the run, with her daughter, because you didn't get her what she wanted. And because of that, she's probably gonna lose her baby for good.
Then there's the disappointing and ridiculous twist of Nicole kidnapping her baby before Deimos can.
I'm not surprised at all that Nicole would do something to counteract Chloe's nonsense, but it didn't need to be this.
First of all, it opens the door for Chloe to say that she was right in her claim that Nicole is an unfit mother who goes around kidnapping babies even though the statute of limitations on Nicole's last crimes ran out a long time ago.
More importantly, it's yet another rerun of a previous storyline without the emotional elements that made that storyline work. Nicole's previous baby kidnapping story was the aftermath of a heartbreaking miscarriage. It was believable, it was emotional, and it was hard not to root for Nicole even though what she was doing was totally wrong.
The current storyline, however, is a convoluted, unrealistic mess.
Soaps aren't known for their realism, but this one is so far off base that it seems like the writers replaced any research they should have done with whatever was convienent to make the storyline work.
Legally, Chloe had no claim to the baby and her entire argument consisted of Nicole being unfit because of things she did at least a decade ago, with some shaming of her past status as a sex abuse victim thrown in for good measure. Yet she was awarded custody for no apparent reason.
After that, Chloe was somehow granted a restraining order against Nicole. Not only did she provide absolutely no evidence that Nicole was a danger to her, but her lawyer phoned this in from Hong Kong and Chloe served the paper to Nicole personally, which is not how such things work at all.
Short of Chloe secretly being a Dimera who has the entire Salem justice system in her pocket, none of this makes any sense whatsoever.
Nicole's half of the story isn't any better.
Nicole kidnapped the baby by chloroforming Chloe and running to the nearest motel with a wig and sunglasses on. Approximately 30 seconds later, an Amber Alert was issued, despite the fact that the cops didn't yet know who the kidnapper was and there was no reason to think the baby was in imminent danger of harm or death.
Nicole's next move was to contact someone who had provided information on a city council corruption story she once did to help her hide the baby. Nice acknowledgement of her more interesting past as an investigative reporter, but what sense does this make whatsoever?
If that wasn't enough, Nicole called the doctor who Chloe asked to help her with lactation, who was blissfully unaware of the whole thing and reassured her he could help her bottle feed Holly.
Abigail: This isn't the 1950s. I'm more than somebody's wife.
Andre: Ah, Abigail, I didn't mean to diminish your position. It's just that I'm glad to see you take your rightful place by your husband.
Meanwhile, Andre came up with a few plans to improve the Dimeras' bottom line through subterfuge but when Chad and Abby weren't having that, he resorted to telling Abigail to worry about Gabi's hold on Chad.
Abby's insistence that this wasn't the 1950s was ironic considering how women on this show in general are treated as weak and in need of a man, especially since her main storyline seems to be to reassure Gabi that she's not jealous of her while silently seething every time Gabi interacts with Chad.
Since Abby isn't a 1950s woman how about she gets up on stage with Chad and Ari instead of glaring at Gabi when she makes a move like that? That's worth a lot more than her empty words to Andre about how she wants to be treated as more than just the woman behind a powerful man.
Sonny was determined to take down Deimos, but nobody wanted to help.
This Sonny as mobster meme is completely ridiculous and out of character, and I can't believe that Sonny was oblivious to Victor's crimes and needed Brady to point out that Victor's hands are no cleaner than Deimos'.
The point of this story seems to be that Paul cares about Sonny so much that he will try to talk him out of this crazy plan and then go to JJ to ask for his help.
I love seeing Paul and JJ's friendship, but the rest of this is more contrived nonsense to boost a couple that is no longer popular.
Paul and Sonny were once an interesting, rootable couple, but then Will was violently murdered for no good reason and Paul flirted with Sonny at Will's grave. There was no real way to come back from something that offensive that ruined both characters.
A contrived story written with the clear goal of getting viewers invested in this couple won't help, and neither will cheap imitations of things Sonny did in his relationship with Will such as giving Paul a book of poems just like he gave Will a novel.
I'd like to see Paul as a character in his own right. I'm interested in seeing his friendship with JJ develop far more than I am in his storyline with Sonny, which is just not viable anymore.
The only pairing that's worse is JJ and Lani. If their relationship hadn't begun with Lani raping JJ on top of being written as a character who does nothing but stalk every man in the police department, there might be some potential here. JJ's family and Abe's are close and Abe is protective of his children, so there could have been some drama around JJ dating Lani.
But as it stands, it's offensive. JJ apologized to Lani more than once for "disrespecting" her. Apparently the thing that is wrong with the scenario is that he doesn't remember having sex he couldn't consent to, not the fact that it occurred in the first place.
His date with Lani was mostly about Gabi shaming him for his rape, adding to the offense.
And even if none of this was true, I've yet to see any evidence that these two have anything in common. JJ is a smart, resourceful detective with an interest in music and Lani is a one-note character who is so dense she doesn't realize when she's being asked out.
JJ and Lani arm wrestling might have been cute if it fit either of their characters, but a guitarist like JJ would likely not risk an injury to his arm, and it felt like someone decided that this is a stereotypically male activity so therefore JJ should engage in it.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Do you like Lieutenant Raines stepping up to run the police department? What do you find to be the most irritating storyline right now?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion!