I like a good kidnapping story as much as the next person.
High-stakes stories where someone disappears and loved ones panic, emote, and get into danger themselves to free the person who means most to them make great drama.
But when there are so many kidnappings that viewers have to wonder why the federal government hasn't started warning tourists not to visit the area, this plot device is overdone, and Days of Our Lives reached that point a while ago.
In the past month, Chad and Gabi have been kidnapped, along with Sonny, in order to fuel the Kiriakis/Hernandez/Dimera war story. Now Deimos kidnapped Chad, Gabi, and Abigail to get revenge for the latest move Chad made against his business.
In between, Nicole kidnapped baby Holly and there's probably another abduction or two that's slipped my mind.
Enough is enough!
This latest kidnapping was utterly silly, too. Abigail and Gabi were both taken by the same thug at around the same time, then Chad got a text saying Abby had been kidnapped and promptly rushed out into a dark alley to get hit over the head.
The only person who seemed to realize anything was actually wrong was Dario, who didn't want the police to really do much about it because then Deimos might know that he wasn't getting away with his plan and hurt the captives.
The FBI agent attending the party had no clue anything was going on and JJ only found out by accident because he stopped by to say hi to his sister.
Could this set-up have been any stupider?
All of that paled in comparison to how ridiculous the actual kidnap scenes were.
Deimos spoke to Chad using a Saw-like voice distorter even though there wasn't a single person in the room who doubted the identity of the kidnapper. While Chad screamed, cried, and otherwise chewed the scenery, Deimos' goon injected both of the women with poison.
Chad was supposed to choose one to save and be forever haunted by the fact that he allowed the other to die, but since we already have Eric to do that kind of brooding, he gave each woman half a dose of antidote.
Deimos couldn't understand where he went wrong in this plan, JJ and Paul showed up, and an ambulance miraculously appeared even though no one had called one.
Afterwards, JJ was conveniently sent off to do paperwork since it would be a tragedy if he was given anything to do beyond insist to the woman who raped him that he's over his ex.
I felt cheated out of the emotional scenes with his sister and/or his ex that we should have got. We didn't even get a predictable, melodramatic scene of Lani walking in and realizing JJ was still in love with Gabi!
We did, however, get a throwaway line about how Deimos thinks he can get away with everything, since the writers want to make it obvious something is going to happen to Deimos and get as many people on the suspect list as possible ahead of time.
Then we got scene after scene of Chad and Abigail and Chad and Gabi, in case there was any confusion about the fact that he couldn't make up his mind which one he wanted to be with.
So, to recap... about a year ago, JJ insisted on giving Gabi an antidote to a deadly virus even if it meant he might die of the virus himself before more medicine arrived. He wanted Gabi to live and to ensure that little Ari wasn't left orphaned.
Fast forward 12 months and Chad deliberates, then gives Gabi half a dose of antidote to another poison because he remembers that they once played baseball in high school, then struggles to decide whether those baseball memories outweigh his love for his wife.
Yet viewers are supposed to believe that Chad is the better man and Gabi dodged a bullet by breaking up with JJ.
Nicole: If it's so safe around here, why are you running around with a gun in your purse?
Hillary: Habit. I'm on a three-months leave of absence, that's why I came up here. In my real life, I'm a cop.
The other stupidest story of the week was the ongoing saga of Nicole kidnapping her own baby.
In Salem, Chloe hooked up with Eduardo after discovering he's the only man in town that'll take her side in this fiasco of a storyline. She also wanted to make Kate jealous, because that always turns out so well.
Meanwhile, Nicole apparently left her brains behind when she crossed the Canadian border and was unable to remember whether Brady was supposed to be a chemical engineer or a mechanical engineer.
Seriously. Street-smart Nicole has been dumbed down to the point where she can't keep a simple cover story straight because she needs a man by her side to function.
This is an insult to the character of Nicole, it's an insult to viewers that loved this smart, sassy character, and it's an insult to women everywhere to suggest that Nicole needs the often dimwitted Brady to save her from her inability to remember details.
Sonny: Brady. You'll never believe what Deimos did now.
Brady: Yes, I can. I just can't get pulled into the middle of it.
Sonny: Of course. What was I thinking? Nicole's your priority. Screw our family, right?
Brady: Stop it. Nicole is my friend.
Sonny: You're in love with her, aren't you? Again?
Brady: Why does everyone keep assuming that?
Meanwhile, Brady needs all of Salem to tell him he's in love with Nicole so that it'll sink in and he'll pursue her.
Somebody please make this stop.
Eric [on phone]: At 16, you're old enough to make your own decisions, but you still have to live with your parents. I understand if you don't want to see them. Here at the Horton Center, your physical and emotional well-being come first. So why don't you come here and talk about it? I'll be here. Just ask for Eric. See you soon.
Jennifer: That. was. amazing.
Eric's work with a runaway teenager might be an interesting, Emmy-worthy story, if I believed for one second that we're actually going to see any of it on screen.
I remember when characters' work lives were actually stories in their own right, not just a conversation starter for people in relationships with them. That made the characters three-dimensional and interesting.
Nowadays, though, nobody has a life outside of who they're sleeping with or hoping to sleep with so all the work stuff is moved off-screen and that really makes the characters flat and uninteresting.
In Eric's case, his work with the Horton Center seems to be a vehicle for Jennifer to tell him she's in love with him because he embodies the vision her grandmother had for the children of Salem.
It's odd that Jennifer never once reflected on her wild teenage years or took advantage of the Center's programming when JJ was a troubled teen who exhibited many of the same problem behaviors she did. It's also strange for her desire to have had a mentor like Eric as a teenager seems to translate into a desire to be with him as an adult.
It made me feel like Jennifer has been looking for a savior since Jack died, and that's not something I associate with the formerly strong, spunky Jennifer who held her own with Jack.
Their relationship worked because they were equals, and all the attempts to recreate it since have failed because Jennifer needs to be made weak for them to make sense.
Adrienne: Damn, damn, damn...
Kate: Oh, honey. You seemed so calm just then.
Adrienne: With all of them staring at me, what was I supposed to do? Oh God, I'm screaming inside.
Kate: Oh, no, now I understand. I do. Now what is it?
Adrienne: I got up this morning and I looked at my breasts and... Oh God, Kate, it hit me. Gone. They're gonna cut them off of me. And everyone wants me to be lucky and feel lucky that I'm having the reconstruction right away but God, that's a whole 'nother world of scary.
There were a couple of bright spots this week. One was Adrienne's breast surgery scenes. These felt like they were written by a different writer because they were heartfelt and realistic.
If only they hadn't been marred by Justin and Lucas wondering which of them she sent her love to before the operation, they would have been perfect.
I also, to my surprise, really enjoyed the scenes with Steve, Kayla, and Tripp.
I was totally opposed to this story before it began. I hated Ava and didn't want to hear her name again, plus I was worried that the story would be all about how Joey killed Tripp's mother.
But Tripp was an instantly likeable character who I could believe was Steve's son, even if the whole set-up in the diner was ridiculous. I really hope it turns out that Tripp and Joey were switched at birth because Joey is not written as if he is related to Steve and Kayla in any meaningful way.
Too bad there was also some more Rafe/Hope nonsense. Hope is supposed to be on a desk and Rafe is supposed to be taking orders from his commanding officer, but instead the two decided to return to doing whatever they want in order to get Deimos.
Last time this ended up with Hope shooting a man in cold blood and Rafe dumping the body for her. I hope we don't have a repeat of that, but things are not looking good.
Deimos stupidly left Hope alone in his living room and she planted a bug. Strangely, this behavior was demonized when Aiden did it to catch her and Rafe confessing to Stefano's murder and the subsequent cover-up, but we're supposed to root for Hope when she does it.
Meanwhile, Rafe is super offended that Deimos attacked his sister, but is too busy seeking revenge to go see her in the hospital and can only make a phone call or two to find out how she is.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Is there a character you wish would be kidnapped and never heard from again? Are you tired of the fake Chad/Gabi flashbacks yet?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back in on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.