Days of Our Lives Review: Turning Back the Clock

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Days of Our Lives came so close to having a compelling story when Eli turned out to be Julie's grandson.

Julie's son, David, had just died suddenly and Julie was estranged from him for years.

Eli's mother is David's first love, Valerie, whose history includes being part of the first interracial couple in daytime history.  And of course, Julie and Doug are not only the only remaining supercouple in Salem, but powerful actors who have carried strong storylines for decades.

This kind of story is the stuff soap viewers hunger for, so why is it so rushed and free of drama?

JJ and Lani Flirt - Days of Our Lives

There was so much that was offensive, obnoxious, or downright boring this week on Days of Our Lives, yet the one story that has something to offer is not much of a story at all.

Eli was understandably angry at his mother when he found out that Valerie had kept his true parentage secret from him.

These scenes were emotional and well acted, though Eli had just come to town for David's funeral two weeks previously and Valerie has been developed more as a love interest for be than as a fully fleshed out character.

Then Julie entered and Eli, unable to stand any more of his mother's lies, told her the truth. 

Susan Seaforth Hayes poured her heart into these scenes as always, and Julie's mixture of joy and grief was palpable.

But Julie accepted Eli as her grandson immediately, without any shock or period of adjustment.

I suppose that she was quick to accept Eli because she is eager to get a little part of her lost relationship with David back, but it seemed rushed and I felt just a little bit cheated.

The dramatic potential of this reveal was enormous.

Eli would have been devastated if his grandmother didn't accept him and likely blame his mother for that, too. Julie could have struggled for a while and with Doug's help realize that Eli was her family and that she was making the same mistakes she made with David that cost her her relationship with her.

DAYS could even have thrown in some socially conscious messaging by having Julie feel guilty over her discomfort.

She could have questioned whether her grandson's skin color bothered her more than she wanted to admit, or done something for autism awareness by having Theo in the room for the reveal making blunt or inappropriate comments because of the way autism affects him.

Instead, it felt like the writers wanted to just get this story over with and onto whatever's coming next for these characters. Hopefully, something is actually coming and they won't be backburnered now that their relationship is established.

Abigail Worries About Gabi and Chad - Days of Our Lives

Elsewhere in Salem, people engaged in a variety of questionable behaviors that were not nearly as interesting or enjoyable as the Julie/Eli story that was so quickly disposed of.

I don't know where to begin with the Abigail/Chad/Gabi storyline. First of all, Chad supposedly made his decision and Gabi supposedly accepted it so this nonsense should be over. Instead, Gabi is continuing to look longingly at Chad, who is apologizing for her having to witness him hugging and kissing his wife.

This ridiculous excuse for a triangle needed to end a long time ago. It's just making both Chad and Gabi look terrible, even if some would argue this is Abby's karma for that whole EJ fiasco.

And if that wasn't enough, the triangle went from merely annoying to full-on offensive with the bellydancing subplot.

Chad was trying to convince a business contact to drop his business arrangement with Deimos in favor of working with him. The guy was terrified of Deimos' wrath and uninterested in Chad's offer.

Then, Abigail and Gabi showed up dressed for their bellydancing lesson and the businessman thought they were there to woo him. They did a dance and he suddenly lost all of his fear of Deimos and closed the deal with Chad.

This might have been meant as comic relief, but if so it failed miserably. It was offensive on so many levels that it would take more room than I have to explain fully.

First of all, the use of women as nothing more than sex objects on this show is disgusting and has been for a long time. Even though the businessman said that he enjoyed the performance because his wife was a bellydancer, the whole thing had sexual overtones.

In the past, Gabi has kissed Chad to close a deal without him having to have sex with his contact's wife, and now she and Abby did a dance that could be interpreted as sexual to close a deal.

The message is clear: in Salem right now, sex is a commodity and using your body to make sure your man gets the business arrangement he wants is perfectly acceptable.

Belly dancing was also an originally a Middle Eastern religious ritual that European invaders misinterpreted as a highly sexualized dance form.

Having two women who are not of Middle Eastern descent perform the dance to close a deal perpetuates this misunderstanding and is pretty offensive. Plus, having the women be able to dance so well after one lesson implies that this is not a real art form.

Across town, JJ and Lani's continued relationship competed with this one for which can be most offensive.

Lieutenant Raines correctly admonished the pair for allowing their personal relationship to seep into their work relationship.

However, he should be more concerned about the fact that Lani stalks and seduces every man in the police department and that her and JJ's relationship began by her sleeping with him when he was too drunk to consent.

In any case, Raines is clearly supposed to be the villain here, but he is a breath of fresh air.

He wants a police department that's free of corruption and free of inappropriate relationships. Hopefully, he can break up Rafe and Hope too before he gets run out of town for daring to think that corruption, murder, and rape are not values the police department should hold dear.

During the JJ/Lani scenes, JJ got to lament for a few seconds about missing his mentor, Roman. It would have helped if we'd seen Roman actually mentoring him rather than yelling at him for no apparent reason until disappearing so that Raines could take over the job of verbally abusing JJ.

Steve: He held a needle to your throat, for God's sake!
Kayla: I'm fine. Thanks to you, I'm okay.

Meanwhile, over at the hospital, Jade's father tried to hold Kayla hostage after his liver transplant failed.

The whole Jade/Hal story might have been compelling if viewers had any reason to care about or root for either of these characters. Jade's character has been all over the place. She is often manipulative and immature but when the plot demands it, she's sweet and kind.

That leaves viewers confused and makes her impossible to root for. There's just nothing relatable or understandable about her. She's not a developed character. She's whatever is needed at the moment to fill the slot of Joey's girlfriend for the sake of the story.

Jade's father isn't any better. Most of the time, he's a stereotypical abusive father, yet it seemed like we were suddenly supposed to feel sorry for him because his liver is failing and he's dying.

Hal could have been written as the villain to a sympathetic Jade, as was done with Nicole and her father many years ago, or he could have been written as a father struggling to deal with a rebellious daughter, which seems to be where the writers were trying to go with him and just didn't follow through with.

Instead, he was another big question mark, a stock character who was impossible to invest in, and that made this story fall flat.

Anyway, once Hal held Kayla hostage things might have got more interesting except for that Joey was forced into these scenes, where he so clearly did not belong ,and did nothing but agitate Hal and get in the way.

Joey is supposed to, I think, be impulsive like Steve in his younger years. But he doesn't come across that way at all.

He comes across as really, really stupid, especially when he doesn't understand things like Steve telling him not to give Jade mixed messages or that shouting insults at a man who is holding a deadly weapon on your mother is a really bad idea.

Steve and Kayla Will Be Grandparents - Days of Our Lives

The hostage standoff ended because Jade came out of her room and told her father she couldn't forgive him if he hurt Kayla, who she loves. It's nice that Jade loves Kayla, I guess, but this seemed like a silly ending to an unnecessary story, plus this is the fifth or sixth hostage story in the last couple of months.

Afterward, Kayla told Steve that she was okay thanks to him, even though it was Jade who saved the day. Steve's hostage negotiation techniques and attempts to do damage control over his idiot son's behavior helped, but Jade ultimately got her father to let Kayla go.

It's inconceivable to me that Kayla has never dealt with an unhinged patient before in all her years in the hospital or that she really needs saving as much as the current writers tend to think.

Kayla has always been one of my favorite characters because of her strength, but she's gone from unnecessarily berating Steve for having an adventurous spirit to giving him all the credit for her continued survival and both are equally irritating and out of character for her.

Nicole: It's okay, sweetheart. Mommy's here and I'm never gonna let anyone take you away from me again. Not Chloe, not anyone. [Brady comes in]. Find them?
Brady: I spoke to the clerk. Tiffany and her boyfriend left this morning. They took everything. They're long gone.
Nicole: Along with all my cash.
Brady: I know it's upsetting.
Nicole: I'm not upset. I'm pissed! That bitch pretended to be my friend. She bought me formula and diapers. The whole time she was just plotting to rob me. I mean, how can I be so stupid?
Brady: You aren't stupid. You were desperate and you were alone.

Similar damage was done to Nicole this week. The once street-smart reporter who nobody could get one over on was tricked by a young girl who pretended to befriend her, only to steal all her money and attempt to kidnap baby Holly for ransom.

Nicole wondered how she could be so stupid and Brady reassured her that the problem was that she was alone, again suggesting that in Salem, women are weak and incapable of making good decisions without a man by their side.

This is especially ironic considering that Brady followed this up by making the idiotic decision to abandon his own child to go on the run with Nicole.

It's true that Nicole kidnapped baby Sydney in the past, but when she did she was an amazing mother to her, paying more attention to her than her real mother did while not on the run.

This time around, she's being written as stupid, naive and barely able to take care of a baby, and the last thing she needs is Brady, who really is gullible most of the time, throwing his family away to help her.

Deimos: You must know that you're not welcome here.
Chloe: Where the hell is Nicole?
Deimos: You honestly think that I would even tell you?
Chloe: The police are looking for her and Holly. If you helped Nicole kidnap Holly, you are going back to prison right alongside her.
Deimos: You know, I don't need a lecture from you about who belongs in prison. How can you even live with yourself after what you've done to Nicole?
Chloe: I did nothing but protect Holly from you. Nicole was just too lovesick to see it. And to think she was going to let you be a father to that little girl? But I know what kind of monster you really are. [Deimos laughs] What, you think this is funny?
Deimos: You stole your best friend's baby, Chloe! So why don't we be honest here? Who is the real monster?

Chloe really needs to re-evaluate her behavior in regards to this. Everyone in town has tried to talk some sense into her but she just insists Holly is her baby. When Deimos is the voice of reason, something is wrong.

Instead of thinking twice about her nonsensical insistence on keeping Holly from the best friend that she conceived her for, Chloe went straight to the bar and formed an alliance with Eduardo.

Granted, Eduardo initiated it, but he is a hired assassin who is currently stalking Kate, so how exactly is he a better influence in Holly's life than Deimos?

Eduardo: Hey. Come in.
Kate: Thank you.
Eduardo: Well this is a lovely surprise. Can I get you something? Something to drink?
Kate: No. I won't be staying long. I just came by to deliver a message.
Eduardo: Oh. That's too bad. A message from Andre?
Kate: No, from me. I don't want your gifts. I don't want anything from you.

Apparently, Kate and Eduardo broke up again when I was in the bathroom or something because I didn't know they were in the off part of their on-again/off-again relationship until Kate told Eduardo to stop buying her gifts.

I could care less if these two are together or not, but Eduardo's insistence that he won't stop pursuing Kate and that he'll buy gifts and save them all for when she changes her mind was not cute, endearing or romantic.

It was borderline stalking. Eduardo refusing to accept Kate's boundaries doesn't make him rootable. It just adds to the general sense that the writers don't think boundaries are important and that heroes are whatever characters they like writing for, regardless of those characters' actual behavior.

Finally, Jennifer kissed Eric. The less said the better, though I think this couple would be more palatable if Jennifer didn't dust off the pep talks she used to give her teenage son about loving him unconditionally to give to her prospective lover.

What did you think of Days of Our Lives this week? What storylines are you enjoying, and which do you think the writers need to think through a little better next time?

Weigh in below, and don't forget to check out our Days of Our Lives Round Table on Sunday.

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Days of Our Lives Quotes

Don't spare me any of it. How young she was. How gorgeous she is. Those thighs. If you're going to cut me you want to jam that knife all the way in.

Sami

You had blackout sex!

Gabi