It's been a rough year for JJ.
Last summer, he drank so much he couldn't consent to sex with Lani, but everyone shamed him for that, and nobody even questioned whether he was the bad guy in the situation.
He ended up stuck with his rapist after Gabi broke up with him and she continually pressured him for sex he didn't want to have while he did all her work for her because she was a totally incompetent cop.
Then, after being stuck on an island where everyone, including his rescuers, totally ignored him, he ended up on the defendant's side of the interrogation table on Days of Our Lives during the week of 6-25.
JJ, like everyone else in the Martin House, was drugged against his will and can't remember anything about the evening's activities, but his rapist very quickly suggested he might be the murderer and between that and the blood that mysteriously landed on his sleeve, now he's in huge trouble.
I'm thrilled that JJ finally has a storyline and that the actor who portrays him finally gets to show off his incredible talent, but there are so many problems with this that I don't know where to begin.
First of all, the set-up for this murder mystery was problematic in many respects.
Everyone was at the Martin House to celebrate the castaways returning home and raise money for the Horton Center, but there was very little of either of that going on. We didn't get to see any actual party scenes before Deimos spiking the drinks with Halo; all we saw of the real party was Eric's toast.
Once everyone imbibed the spiked drinks, the story became like an evil version of the stoned book club scenes of a few years back. Half the party acted drunk, and the other half acted stoned. Everyone seemed drawn toward someone other than the person that they are dating.
These writers are obsessed with non-consensual sexual situations, and this whole party took the cake. Everyone was high on Halo and woke up angry that someone thought they cheated.
Nobody connected that to the way they had shamed JJ mercilessly, and even more strange was the fact that Eric had no flashbacks to Kristen raping him when he woke up next to Nicole with no memory of what had happened between them.
To be fair, this was the second time in a week that Eric forgot about that when he shouldn't have. When counseling Jade about having secretly made a sex tape, he didn't have any reaction to how similar that was to the way he'd been violated, either during the session or privately.
Anyway, JJ seemed to be the only one at the party who realized something was going on. He realized he felt like he did when he used to get stoned. Lani realized for half a second that she felt like she did on Halo before, but quickly dismissed that in favor of assuming that she and JJ had jungle madness.
I realize drugs impair brain function, but Lani is this stupid all the time, so that's no excuse.
Gabi: Why is Lani crying?
JJ: Your ringtone scared her.
Gabi: Some cop, scared of a ringtone.
The main point of drugging everyone, besides finding a reason to randomly implicate JJ for murder, seemed to be so that Lani could continue to be jealous of JJ and Gabi. Even though he was high, JJ only kissed Gabi on the cheek and hugged her, which Lani decided constituted "making out."
Guess Lani doesn't like it when the shoe is on the other foot and feels she's the only one who gets to have chemically induced sexual activity with JJ that he may not actually consent.
Lani then kissed Eli and in the morning insisted it meant nothing despite being offended for the past nine months or so that JJ didn't think her rape of him was the romance of the century. Then, after Deimos' body was found, she quickly accused JJ of being the murderer.
Abby: How could you to do this to JJ of all people?
Eli: But it wasn't her fault.
Abby: But she didn't help!
Lani: Abigail, you have to know this wasn't intentional. This was the last thing I ever wanted to do.
Lani insisted over and over that she was just doing her job as a cop, but since she remembered clearly her anger at JJ over his seeming interest in Gabi, I don't buy it. I think she thought having JJ sent to prison for murder was an appropriate response to no longer being able to control him.
Raines: Okay, JJ, start at the beginning.
JJ: How can I start at the beginning if I don't even know what that is? It's this damn drug! I don't remember anything!
Raines: You'd be wise to drop the attitude and start cooperating.
JJ: I am! I want to answer your questions, but how can I if I don't remember anything?
I have very mixed feelings about JJ being accused of murder. I've clamored for a real storyline for him for months, and if done properly a false accusation story could be a good vehicle for him.
However, it doesn't seem like that's what's going to happen at all.
First of all, the investigation was subpar even by Salem PD standards. Deimos was found with a knife sticking out of him, but nobody checked the weapon for prints.
Instead, guests were allowed to mill around the property and consult each other about what to tell Raines and he detained JJ based on a fuzzy memory and a bloodstain on his sleeve.
Considering that Lani can't tell a drunk person from a sober one and doesn't know the difference between an animal skull and a human one, I don't think her opinion is worth anything.
Plus, there is no more evidence against JJ than against anyone else, since no one can remember anything and Gabi surely also has a bloodstain somewhere from touching the body when it fell.
The interrogation scenes demonstrated the Salem PD's incompetence further.
Lieutenant Raines was a stereotypical television cop who finds people's rights to be an inconvenience because it's harder to close a case without a confession. I laughed at him whining that JJ was giving him an attitude.
JJ should have called an attorney right away, but he has the right not to tell Raines anything, and it won't "go worse for him" if he refuses to incriminate himself.
I was really disappointed in how bad Marlena's attempt to hypnotize him was.
It was great to see JJ get to interact with Marlena, though I wish it would have happened back in 2013 after he had a nervous breakdown and was arrested for breaking a window. But considering how incompetent Marlena was today, maybe it's for the best that she wasn't there when he really needed her.
Marlena made two big mistakes that made me think that anything she got out of JJ's session was worthless. When JJ was first hypnotized, he remembered that he had danced with Gabi and was smiling about it. Instead of going with that and gently leading him to where he needed to go, Marlena quickly jumped to talking about Deimos and asked JJ if he remembered attacking him.
That was a leading question and JJ was in a suggestible state, so it's possible that that question influenced his memories.
Later, when JJ began to struggle with remembering what happened, Marlena told him in a stern, no-nonsense voice to focus. That tone is more appropriate to a parent scolding a child, and I didn't think it would help someone who is already having a hard time facing something to be talked to as if he is in trouble for not being willing to remember.
JJ's agitation was palpable, but it seemed to me that he was more likely agitated by Marlena's tone than by whatever it was he was struggling with. Marlena immediately ended the session and Raines took JJ's non-memory as additional proof of guilt.
I know this is a soap, but I really wish the story wasn't dependent on characters being totally incompetent. Between Marlena and Raines, JJ is probably going to be sent to death row due to their inability to do their jobs and not because there's actual evidence against him!
Steve: What's that? A video game? If it doesn't involve Inky, Blinky, Pinky or Clyde, I'm not interested.
Steve: Come on, dudes. Pacman!
Meanwhile, Steve was glad to see Joey and Tripp bonding, and neither he nor Kayla was concerned for more than half a second that their nephew JJ was being detained for questioning in a murder.
Instead, they rushed off to see Hope in the hospital. Even though Hope had got the same dose of Halo as everyone else, she began having life-threatening symptoms that they did not. This seemed to mostly be a contrived way to get Hope and Rafe in the same room to declare their love for one another.
After several gagworthy such scenes, the story proceeded to Tripp almost killing Hope to make Kayla look bad. For some reason, he was able to get the nurses' station totally empty so that he could change the dosage on Kayla's prescription for Hope, all so he could rush in and randomly shout that that was too much medicine and Kayla could wonder how she could have made such a mistake.
Leaving aside how callous, cold, and calculating this plot of Tripp's was, it really shouldn't work at all. The most logical explanation for the mistake is that whoever typed Kayla's instructions into Hope's chart was the one who messed up, not her.
In any case, I'm already tired of Tripp lurking around the hospital and threatening people's lives to get revenge on Kayla for a murder that she, too, did not commit. Maybe she and JJ can bond over being falsely accused later if she remembers to worry about her nephew at all.
While JJ struggled to remember what happened, his sister was trying to sort out her ever-changing feelings for Chad. She finally showed some concern for her brother after he was taken to the police station, but she spent the time before the party insisting the divorce was final, renewed her vows to Chad while high, and then told him that she only cared about him as a friend and wished Gabi luck with him afterward.
Abby's constant back-and-forth without drugs is bad enough.
Nicole and Eric had some dramatic scenes while on Halo, in which Daniel came to them and asked Eric to forgive himself. This was easily Daniel's best ghostly appearance, though since ghosts supposedly know all, he, Jack, and Paige should all appear to JJ and reassure him that he's not the murderer.
Anyway, I liked the drama of Eric being convinced to forgive himself. I wasn't a fan of Nicole and Eric being together while on Halo because it was still more non-consensual, drug-influenced sexual contact and that makes me feel gross even though I liked the chemistry between Nicole and Eric in those scenes.
Before the party, there were a few miscellaneous things going on, like Theo making his breakup with Claire permanent even though Abe thought he was having trouble with people not meeting his expectations because of his Autism and Eric counseling Jade to take responsibility for her actions.
It's not surprising that Jade doesn't get why Claire is mad at her since everyone is treating her secretly filming other people having sex as less of a crime than those people having sex they didn't approve of.
This would have been a wonderful opportunity for Eric to come full circle by helping Jade realize that she did to her friends exactly what Kristen did to him, but sadly the writers did not go there.
What did you think of the party and the subsequent murder mystery? Does this storyline have promise or is it more contrived nonsense designed to ruin some characters and prop others?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.