Days of Our Lives Review: Trapped on a Desert Island

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Stories of people stranded, trapped, or otherwise in danger are soap staples.

These stories can be highly dramatic and engaging, like when an 8-months-pregnant Jennifer traveled to Melaswen to be reunited with Jack and ended up giving birth to JJ prematurely.

JJ is now trapped on an island with Sonny, Paul, Eli, Lani, Gabi, and Chad, but this story is nowhere near as dramatic, interesting, or even coherent as his birth story -- and he doesn't even get to have much of a role.

Eli and JJ - Days of Our Lives

The desert island story is the latest random event to come out of the cursed amulet story, and it's one of the most contrived.

Earlier in the week, JJ was allowed off the plane for long enough to help capture Deimos' henchman, Guy, and get him to turn on Deimos. He then assisted in arresting Deimos and Xander and rescuing Eric and Nicole, although there was a Greek policeman involved who seemed suspiciously like he was on the bad guys' payroll.

Immediately afterwards, Gabi showed up on the Titan jet for the ride home, despite having sworn 24 hours earlier she wasn't going to ride with the cops because she'd just broken up with Eli. She said being with Chad was too awkward, but 30 seconds later Chad showed up too because his plane had mechanical problems.

If this wasn't contrived enough, Sonny decided to display piloting skills no one had ever seen before and as soon as he took over, the plane crashed and they all ended up on a deserted island. Meanwhile, Hope made it back to Salem where she bragged to Rafe about interrogating Guy and catching Deimos.

In other words, JJ did the work but was conveniently stranded on a deserted island so that Hope could take credit and Rafe could look at her with stars in his eyes.

That wasn't romantic or cute. Hope can now add taking credit for others' work to the long list of crimes that have rendered her unlikeable. And it sure was a hell of a statement about the writers' opinion of JJ.

Rafe: Abigail, wait up.
Abigail: Is it the wrong file?
Rafe: No, the file's fine. It's just, when your shift is over I'd like to talk to you about you and my brother.

Hope and Rafe then spent the rest of the episode saying over and over that they couldn't wait for Deimos to go down and that there was no way he was getting out of trouble. So naturally, the star witness that Hope didn't actually interrogate ended up dead and now there's no case.

I know JJ is stuck on the island for now, but you'd think he'd have sent a written statement of the work he'd done to his superiors before leaving Greece that could have been used as a starting point.

[Paul tries to get cell phone signal]
Lani: Don't bother. I already tried.
Paul: I had a feeling.
Chad: So does anybody know where we are?
Sonny: Well, I checked the instruments just before we crashed, and you know, we hadn't been out of Athens for more than a couple of hours, so I'm pretty sure we're on an island in the Mediterreanean or Aegean or the Ionian Sea. I don't know. I went so far off course looking for a landing place I don't know where we are.

To make matters worse, the island story is centered around Gabi's ability to whine constantly.

She spent the first half of the first day on the island hyperventilating and insisting they're never getting off the island and are all going to die before switching to anger mode so she could blame Chad and his cursed amulet for the situation.

I don't know who thinks that Gabi's obnoxious behavior is entertaining, but I sure don't. I didn't enjoy her verbal abuse of JJ while they were dating and I don't enjoy her even more nonsensical anger at Chad now.

Plus, she's now shooting jealous looks at JJ and Lani.

I'm not happy with JJ dating his rapist either, but Gabi made excuse after excuse to dump him so that she could be with Chad and now that Chad is imperfect she suddenly wants JJ.

This kind of shallow, stupid drama is not what I want to see on my soap. The story makes no sense, the supposed heroine is whiny, immature and shallow, and the whole thing is a vehicle for the kind of misogyny the genre should have left behind about 30 years ago.

Besides Gabi whining, there was plenty of Lani being terrified of every noise on the island and complaining that she can't go a day without a shower. Meanwhile, the guys were all completely calm and confident that they would be rescued soon.

JJ and Lani disappeared into the woods to find firewood and nobody worried about why they were taking so long, while Paul teased Sonny about his money and power being meaningless here and everyone was engrossed in Chad and Gabi's argument. Then they all happily shared blankets as if they were on a school camping trip.

This story is worse than an insult to viewers' intelligence. It makes the elephant story look like Shakespeare.

John Comes Home - Days of Our Lives

It's especially disappointing that this story comes on the heels of two days of Brady's friends and family struggling with his failing heart. Those two days felt like they were written by a different writer.

Even though I knew Brady would make some sort of miraculous recovery, I found all of the scenes surrounding his supposed death to be highly emotional. Brady said goodbye to his two-year-old, fully aware that Tate was the same age he was when he lost his mother, and John and Victor both talked about Isabella. 

Victor's scenes in the chapel were especially poignant. His self-blame was reminiscent of Stefano's self-blame after Chad was shot a few years ago, but this was the only flaw in an otherwise emotional performance.

Some viewers were unhappy that Daniel's ghost appeared, but I thought it made a lot of sense and it made me wish they hadn't killed Daniel off.

Victor hasn't been able to forgive Eric for Daniel's death, so Daniel appearing to him was both logical and emotional, and since the heart that's allegedly failing is his, it made sense for him to appear to Brady as well.

In any event, this was an emotional vehicle for many of the vets in Brady's orbit and was the kind of thing I watch soaps for: earnest, honest drama centered around family relationships. Brady isn't even one of my favorite characters but I was sucked into this story!

If only there were more stories like this and less coincidence-filled, contrived nonsense...

Jade Tries to Manipulate Tripp - Days of Our Lives

This Tripp/Jade/Joey story is a prime example of what needs to disappear from this show.

Kayla found out that Jade had sabotaged Joey's date and insisted Joey go tell Jade off. This really didn't make any sense. Kayla is too smart a woman to believe that giving a stalker negative attention is going to work.

If Joey was invested in new girl Alyssa, he could have tried to talk to her and explain his side of the disaster that was his relationship with Jade. But he wasn't, so he should have just left the whole thing alone.

Instead, he took his mom's advice and berated Jade. This made her determined to get revenge on Kayla, who she now hates for not paying her way through life. Naturally, Jade worked on convincing Tripp that Kayla killed his mom.

The frustrating thing about this is how much I want to like Tripp. He's an interesting, smart character that really could be Steve Johnson's son. But he's trapped in this horrible storyline that doesn't do his character any favors at all.

Tripp is obsessed with avenging the death of the mother he never knew who has been proven to him to be completely insane. When he thought Steve was the killer, he hated him and loved Kayla. Now he is practically drooling at the idea of destroying Kayla's life because he thinks she's the murderer.

This kind of senseless flip-flopping happens way too much on this show. Characters turn on a dime so often to fit the needs of the plot that it leaves viewers with whiplash!

And in this case, it's made worse by the fact that Tripp has no reason to be this invested in avenging his mom's death. He never knew Ava. Everything he's heard about her proves she was a total nightmare who was obsessed with Steve and wanted to destroy Kayla -- people who have been really good to him.

So why exactly is he on this mission?

And why does he keep listening to Jade as if he isn't half as intelligent as he is the rest of the time?

Theo Isn't Happy with Ciara's Date - Days of Our Lives

Equally frustrating was the other big teen story, which was apparently a vehicle to escort Ciara out of Salem.

After finding out that Wyatt got info from Theo about her likes and dislikes, Ciara came to the absurd conclusion that that behavior was equivalent to Chase having raped her last year.

Wyatt: Look, I know you're upset, but this whole thing has really gotten blown out of proportion.
Ciara: So lying about who you are is really no big deal?

She berated Theo endlessly about how he destroyed what little trust she has in human beings, then randomly decided she was going to go to Hong Kong to visit her brother.

First, she let Wyatt in one last time so she could tell him she didn't want to see him again, which seemed entirely unnecessary. Then she went to say goodbye to her mom.

Hope must have been preoccupied with locking Deimos up so that she could turn Rafe on because she didn't even try to convince Ciara that running away to the other side of the world was an extreme overreaction to breaking up with her latest boyfriend.

Ciara then grudgingly said goodbye to Theo, right after Claire made him promise he still loved HER despite knowing Ciara was really running away from her feelings for him. 

Claire's jealousy was especially stupid considering Ciara is leaving town so it doesn't really matter anymore. I'm glad she switched off the self-absorption again so she could say goodbye to her aunt and best friend properly.

Eric and Nicole Are Trapped - Days of Our Lives

Finally, Eric and Nicole were rescued and promptly ran off together. Nicole wasn't going to return to Salem but changed her mind when she found out Brady was dying.

After being stuck together for a couple of days, Nicole softened towards Eric, even thanking him for helping her. Her constant beratement of him was hard to take and I didn't like it, but I couldn't help thinking this was karma.

Eric had been just as nasty, unforgiving, and abusive to her for nearly a year after he found out she shredded the evidence that would have allowed him to remain a priest.

In any event, if this story had been written properly it might have been a decent vehicle for Eric and Nicole to end up back together. It was obvious that Nicole still cared for Eric. Why else would she have risked her life to come back for him or reacted so emotionally when he was shot?

And despite Eric's professed love for Jennifer, half his conversations with her have been about Nicole, so it always seemed to me that he wasn't anywhere near over her.

However, instead of a real reunion, we got over-the-top Xander drama and Nicole berating Eric endlessly, then suddenly softening towards him, only for them to decide to return to Salem so she can be with Brady.

What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Is there anyone you wish would just stay on that island (or be eaten by a wild animal)? Was there a storyline you particularly loved or hated?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 2.0 / 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

I hope she didn't run away again. She's so fragile.

Jennifer

Tripp: So how was the wedding?
Claire: Oh, it was a typical Salem wedding. Crashed by a murderer.