It looks like Days of Our Lives has another whodunit on its hands.
Less than a year after Deimos met a grisly end at a party where everyone was drugged against his will, Abigail walked into Andre's office to find him dead on the floor.
In the three minutes before her gruesome discovery, one suspect after another made a suspicious comment or appeared nervous for no apparent reason.
I hope Andre is faking his death. That would be pretty typical behavior for him, and if this murder is for real, it's an unworthy end for a legacy character.
Andre has always been a loose cannon, and his alliance with Vivian, manipulation of Abigail, and double-crossing Gabi are all in character for him.
So would be faking his death.
Andre, in the old days, loved convoluted schemes that satisfied his need for revenge, threw Salem into chaos, and seemed to be the most difficult way imaginable to achieve his goals.
He clearly did not like either Vivian or Gabi, so it would make sense from his point of view to get revenge on both of them by faking his death and framing one or both of them for his murder, then watching them be put on trial from a secret location.
That's the story I'd like to see, and I'll be disappointed if we don't get it.
Vivian: We have more important things to think about besides your love life and Abigail.
Stefan: Like what?
Vivian: Andre. He's becoming too much of a liability. I'm afraid we're going to have to, how do I say this... neutralize him. Permanently.
If this is a straightforward whodunit, it's a poor imitation of the Deimos murder, which was already one of the worst murder mysteries in DAYS history.
Andre went from beloved to hated within a matter of minutes, and some people announced they were going to kill him just so that they could become suspects.
In addition, killing off Andre cuts off so many more interesting storylines.
Right before the murder, the show had set up a perfect, topical storyline by having Stefan proposition Gabi and then having Andre fire her while Abby confronted Stefan about a potential lawsuit for sexual harassment and/or wrongful termination.
Don't be coy. You are in charge of Gabi's employment. That makes this sexual harassment.Abigail
I didn't expect much from DAYS in the way of actually dealing with this issue appropriately. There's been too much misogyny over the years, and Abigail and Gabi are constantly being asked to use sex to close deals for Dimera Enterprises.
Plus, it didn't make much sense that Abby confronted Stefan about his behavior when it was directed towards Gabi, nor did Andre's reasons for firing Gabi make any sense at all.
And to really do a sexual harassment storyline, Gabi should have been fired by Stefan after refusing his advances.
Nevertheless, it would have gone a long way towards engaging modern viewers and addressing the issue of sexual harassment if Gabi had sued Dimera Enterprises and claimed that Andre fired her at Stefan's bequest because she wouldn't go out to dinner with Stefan.
Andre and his lawyers would no doubt have tried to use Gabi's history with Nick and/or the fact that she has had three serious boyfriends in less than a year to discredit her.
She might have found herself in a situation where she had to consider whether the rumors that were now reaching her kindergarten-age daughter's ears were worth it or whether she should drop the whole thing for Ari's sake.
Maybe I'm giving the DAYS writers too much credit and they wouldn't have explored the situation with any nuance. But even a weak sexual harassment storyline would be better than just throwing the situation in there to appear progressive and to give Gabi a motive for possibly killing Andre.
In fact, Gabi potentially responding to the situation in such a violent manner undercuts the strong woman vibe the writers were going for, suggesting that women who are put in these situations react by killing the perpetrator instead of standing up for themselves in a more appropriate manner.
We have enough of that kind of nonsense in the Lani storyline. We don't need it in this one too.
Lani made several half-hearted attempts to tell JJ that he is not the father of her baby, but as soon as she got interrupted, she dropped the whole thing.
I know that's a soap staple, but it doesn't make Lani look any better than she did before. Her pathetic attempts at confession don't negate the fact that she tried to convince Kayla that it was entirely okay for Lani to lie about this to hold onto JJ.
Lani was never any prize in the first place. She and JJ are only together because she raped him, something which the show refuses to acknowledge. She then spent months and months trying to force JJ to have sex again, using manipulation and guilt to try to convince him he was a bad boyfriend if he said no to sex.
The show called that romance, but it was nothing but Lani attempting to rape JJ again several times after the first rape.
Now she's lying about who fathered her baby to hold onto him -- more forcing him into a relationship, he doesn't want -- while he goes around saying he's in love with her.
This is more like Stockholm Syndrome than love, and the writers putting the words in JJ's mouth don't erase the awful history and the fact that this was never a love story and still isn't.
And on top of that, Lani justified her latest subterfuge by telling Kayla that all men, including JJ, are too stupid ever to realize that her baby will be born two months later than it should be.
I hope that this secret comes out sooner rather than later and that JJ finally sees Lani for what she is.
I'm afraid, though, that he'll blame himself and say this is karma for him "cheating" on Gabi, which was non-consensual, or "cheating" on Paige, which was also non-consensual though not as blatantly so.
The show has an agenda of making JJ the bad guy no matter what. Every time he gets victimized, he gets painted as the villain, and I wouldn't be surprised if everything is twisted out of shape to do that again even though Lani is clearly the bad one here.
If JJ had a competent therapist, he could work through his inability to walk away from this relationship when the love, if there is any, is so clearly one-sided.
Instead, he's saddled with his mother's semi-boyfriend.
It was bad enough that Eric used JJ's first on-screen session to discuss his own love life after violating his confidentiality by calling Jennifer to tell her her son had therapy.
Then he met him in Brady Pub, gave him some extremely incompetent counseling in a public place, and paid for his meal, while JJ left early because he felt like going to see Theo.
It is not counseling. It is friendship. And if it is counseling, Eric violated half a dozen ethical guidelines despite his telling Kayla that the ethics of his profession require him to keep quiet about whether JJ is doing well.
In addition to ignoring rules against dual relationships and paying for clients' meals, Eric also glossed over how much responsibility an unplanned baby might be and how JJ intends to support it since he quit his job just before getting the news. Instead, he questioned JJ about how close Lani wants to be with him.
Then when Eric asked the only proper question he asked in this whole so-called therapy session, and JJ responded by saying he was going to cut the session short, Eric didn't call him on his avoidance of the issue at all.
I know it's a soap and not always realistic, but considering that this storyline began with a suicide attempt, it should be handled responsibly. Instead of using JJ's therapy as a vehicle to get Eric and Jennifer together, JJ should be seeing a competent therapist and making changes that influence and enhance his storyline.
Meanwhile, Eric and Jennifer competed with Anna and Roman for silliest couple storyline.
Jennifer went on a date with Dr. Henry Shah, who she was unable to call by his first name, while Eric silently seethed. Jennifer, for her part, assumed Eric was not into her because Anna kept spreading rumors that Roman and Eric were talking about Eric's love for Nicole.
This nonsense belonged in the teen storylines.
Worse still, Anna attempted to go out with Roman while lugging around her urn with Tony's ashes, then broke up with him because he thought she should scatter the ashes and move on.
Marlena: Anna, did you and Tony have a special place you were very fond of?
Anna: Why do you want to know that?
Marlena: Well, I thought that might be a good place for you to scatter his ashes.
Anna: Marlena. Tony and I took vows. Til death do us part.
Roman: He died. You parted.
Roman never brought up the fact that it's hard to compete with the late husband who's sitting on the table. Instead, he convinced Marlena to give Anna therapy without permission -- another breach of American Psychological Association ethics.
Needless to say, that didn't work and led to Anna breaking things off with Roman.
Nobody knows what became of her after that, but since she went on and on about how Andre killed her beloved Tony, she's sure to be yet another suspect in his death.
A couple of other things happened that aren't worth spending a lot of time on, like Eve having more sex with Brady, Eli telling his mom about the sex he had with Lani, and Maggie being offended that Eve told Tate who his mother was.
Most notably, though, Theo said goodbye to his friends and family.
This whole sending Theo off to South Africa scenario is a little silly. There was no reason to write Theo out instead of letting him have his treatment in Salem, and Abe didn't go with him to help him get settled.
But Theo got one of the nicer exits, and it was lovely to see everyone hugging him and wishing him well. It was especially good to see him and JJ share a hug after the torment JJ has put himself through over the whole shooting.
I just wish that everyone would listen to Theo's repeated claims that he is responsible for not following police orders and for breaking into a warehouse in the first place.
Instead, the Dimeras keep arguing about whether JJ or Kate is to blame for the shooting, which is a tired old conversation that shouldn't be happening at all.
Do you think that Andre is really dead? If so, what do you think of this murder mystery?
Weigh in below on that and all other things DAYS.
And don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.