Days of Our Lives Review: A Shot in the Dark

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I've been dreading this upcoming JJ/Theo storyline since I first read spoilers about it months ago.

JJ is my favorite character and I have no doubt Casey Moss can handle this heavy story, but as it is Days tends to create stories for him, when they use him at all, that are designed to ruin his character.

And with all the real life gun violence and racial tension involving police shootings, this story could go really bad really quick.

On Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-6-17, JJ shot Theo after Theo appeared to point a gun at him, not realizing either who he was dealing with or what he was holding.

Theo was actually holding some sort of radar device that's supposed to disarm security alarms.

These scenes certainly caught my attention, but I'm still not sure how I feel about them.

Abe Makes Things Difficult - Days of Our Lives

After a surprise party where JJ disarmed Lani's gun so she wouldn't shoot her family by accident, JJ and Lani were called to the scene of a break-in at the docks.

They saw Theo from the back, wearing a hoodie and messing with the alarm. When JJ ordered Theo to freeze, he ran.

Now, in real life, there might have been a good reason for Theo to do so, if he'd been harassed by white cops before and afraid that if he submitted he'd end up dead.

But that's not the case in this fictional setting, and it's certainly not the case if he recognized JJ's voice, because he and Theo had just been at Lani's surprise party half an hour ago and Theo's family has been friends with JJ's family forever.

I'm confused as to why, exactly, Theo ran.

Was he afraid of disappointing his father by getting arrested?

Did he think Kate's directive not to tell anyone what he was doing extended to running from the police?

Did he panic?

None of that means Theo deserved to get shot, of course, but it did contribute to what happened, and it would have been nice to understand what he was thinking.

Regardless,  I thought the show did a good job of making the situation more ambiguous. 

JJ and Lani's adrenalin were pumping, making it more likely that they were going to feel threatened or turn to their gun first.

It was dark, Theo wasn't obeying orders, and he turned towards JJ with what appeared to be a weapon.

JJ probably thought he was about to get shot himself, while Theo might have thought that if he turned JJ would see he didn't have a weapon or that JJ would recognize him.

But there is still the question of whether this was inevitable or whether JJ could or should have done something else despite Theo's idiotic behavior.

JJ has a history of making impulsive decisions and recently was disciplined for inappropriately using his gun. 

All of this meant that the stage for tragedy was set, with people making serious mistakes on both sides that could possibly be fatal.

Theo Talks to Chad - Days of Our Lives

This is a tough, tough subject to do well. No matter how it's portrayed, it could offend some viewers. 

It's risky to show either side of this because there are serious problems between many cops and communities of color, and showing the cops' side of it can be interpreted as supporting the racism that has pervaded our legal system.

Yet fiction is one of the best media for addressing topical issues because people can more easily discuss fictional conflicts than real ones, and nuances often get lost in dialogue about real-life tragedies.

It makes me uncomfortable that part of the reason this will be so emotional for JJ is because he knows and loves Theo.

It wouldn't be any less tragic if it was a stranger who turned out to be unarmed, because someone's life still would hang in the balance.

I hope the show makes that clear, but I applaud Days for having the courage to go here.

I'm not happy about this story, but it gives me hope that we are returning to the groundbreaking, topical stories that once made Days the bravest of all soaps instead of the serious wrong turn it took a few years back by destroying its first gay couple to please the homophobes in the audience.
Lani and JJ - Days of Our Lives

Story wise, though, there are some problems.

First of all, this would be a stronger story if JJ and Lani were a couple viewers could actually invest in.

JJ shot Lani's brother, which is sure to cause chaos within the relationship, yet that doesn't make me care about this couple.

Their relationship began with Lani raping JJ, and moments before the deadly shooting Lani was chastising JJ for taking too long to declare his love for her even though he'd gone to all this trouble to make her birthday special.

The 30 seconds of Paige and JJ's reunion during the Halloween fantasy on Days of Our Lives during the week of 10-30-17 made it more clear what real love looks like and that JJ and Lani don't have it.

So that part of the story is a wash. I wish it wouldn't take a tragedy to break this awful pairing up but if it does, that's a silver lining to this story.

I'm more concerned about JJ's relationship with Abe. Abe randomly goes back and forth between liking and hating JJ, and JJ's self-esteem is still a little fragile. I didn't think his joke about how he'd worry about his daughter dating someone like him was really a joke.

I hate to see this tear JJ and Abe apart, especially since Abe accidentally shot and nearly killed a child in the line of duty years ago. It's going to be hard for Abe to wear the shoe on the other foot, but he should have some empathy.

So how often do you need to check in with your boss? I mean your girlfriend. I mean your boss.

Sami

It's also really, really hard to be invested in a story about a cop being disciplined for his potential excessive use of force when the rest of the Salem PD is such a joke.

I lost track of how many times Eve asked for her lawyer while being questioned about Deimos' death, only for Rafe or Eli to inform her that since it was a murder investigation it was better to answer their questions.

And that was only after Rafe did his frat boy routine in order to harass Eli, who has no real recourse because their boss is Rafe's girlfriend.

There was also absolutely no evidence against Eve whatsoever. Rafe claimed after the fact that he knew that and grilled her so that she could help him figure out who framed her. Either that was a lie to cover his incompetence or an abuse of power.

Arresting innocent people in order to make them angry enough to find the person who framed them is wrong, as well as extremely lazy police work.

Warrantless searches, inappropriate questioning, and dragging people down to the station for no better reason than they just don't like them are common in the Salem PD, and that doesn't even count Hope emptying her gun into Stefano and Rafe covering it up.

But now we're supposed to take the police seriously on this show and get behind the same corrupt cops who do these things every day judging JJ?

It's important that shootings by police officers be investigated properly and that cops who use force inappropriately be disciplined, but because of all the other crap that goes on at Salem PD, it feels like yet another instance of a double standard where JJ is subject to harsher treatment than the rest of the town of Salem.

That dilutes the power of this story.

Eve Returns to Salem - Days of Our Lives

The Eve vs Brady storyline is certainly entertaining, though. 

My favorite part was Victor pointing out what an idiot Brady is. This impulsive plan was sure to backfire, and just as Victor pointed out, Brady lost his leverage against Nicole and implicated himself in Deimos' murder in one fell swoop.

Seeing Eve get the upper hand was fun, although I couldn't help thinking this was partially karma for her involvement in trying to plant drugs on JJ a few years ago.

Paul Worries Over Sonny - Days of Our Lives

Meanwhile, in Memphis the search for Will dragged on and on, until it didn't.

Susan insisted that Will was dead and that Rolf failed in his plan, which everyone but Sami believed, while Paul sat on the knowledge that he'd seen Will tending bar.

I was glad that Paul didn't keep that knowledge to himself for too long. In the end, he came clean, giving Sonny just enough time to throw his ring back at him before Sami came rushing in to inform him that Will is alive.

Marlena: Honey. Rolf is dead, and Susan has told us all she is going to tell us. And there is nobody on Earth who can tell you anymore.
Sami: No, you're right. Maybe I'm gonna have to find someone not on Earth.
Roman: Well, that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Sami: No. But I know what I have to do. [gets up]
Marlena: Sami? Honey, wait a sec. [Sami leaves] Well, should we go after her?
Roman: There is no stopping her once she gets an idea in her head.
Marlena: Yeah. Heaven help us all.

Hopefully, this storyline will get moving now. Sonny just left the hospital to confront Will and Sami is back in Memphis, so let's get on with it! All those shots of Will at the bar while everyone in Salem mourned the fact that he was still dead were getting tedious.

I think that Paul deserved Sonny being upset since he kept the information to himself, though Paul can be excused for needing time to process it. I'm very curious as to how Sami will react when she sees Paul crying.

Sami insisting that Will was alive and Marlena trying to restrain her wayward daughter was pure fun. I also liked Roman's blase attitude. He just accepts that Sami is a loose cannon who will end up in jail more often than not.

That has to be hard for the former police commissioner to accept.

Lucas: Hey, hey! What is the problem?
Chloe: You are the problem, Lucas. You're an alcoholic.
Lucas: You got a policy against serving drunks? You run a bar, that might affect your business.

Lucas continued to drink himself into a stupor over believing Will is dead. I thought his complaint to Chloe that as a bar owner she can't interfere with people drinking was stupid.

Of course, he was drunk and not thinking clearly, but bartenders are legally obligated to refuse to serve intoxicated people. 

Chloe being Eve's alibi was also a little bit random, but it gave her something to do besides try to stop Lucas from drinking and made up for Eve's right to an attorney being violated over and over, so I'll take it.

What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-6-17?

Do you think Days is handling the Theo shooting story well from what little we've seen of it so far? 

Are you hoping this incident breaks JJ and Lani up?

Are you glad that the secret about Will being alive is finally out?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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