I was really excited when the news was leaked that Vivian Alamain was returning to Days of Our Lives.
Vivian was always one of my favorite villainesses. She was witty, charming, and completely calculating and evil.
Her coachman, Ivan, was great for comic relief and you never knew what she was up to.
Vivian made a grand entrance on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-1-2018. She definitely added some fireworks to the beginning of the New Year, but I'm not really convinced yet that this story is worthy of her.
Vivian's initial scenes were all sorts of fabulous as she and Kate traded barbs and she revealed that she had invited herself to the party.
I thought it was a little strange that Abigail saw an email she didn't recognize on her RSVP list and just shrugged it off, especially considering all the recent sabotage against Dimera Enterprises. But I guess that moment of airheadedness wa swhat it took to get the plot rolling.
Stefan: I'll be happy to keep taking DNA tests. You can keep plucking hairs from my head until I'm bald, for all I care.
Vivian: Oh, such a generous young man!
I'm not sure I'm a fan of this Stefan O. Dimera character. Tyler Christopher's performance is fine so far, but I don't find the character particularly interesting.
Since Joe Mascolo is no longer with us, I guess the show had to do something to keep the Dimera legacy going.
A lot of people love the DImera family war storylines, but I've never been a fan, and I think the joke of Stefan's name being similar to Stefano's because of the middle initial has already worn thin.
In addition, I don't like where this story is going.
After a completely ridiculous and unrealistic plot twist made Stefan the owner of the Dimera mansion as well as the CEO of Dimera Enterprises, he offered to let Chad and Abigail work for him. Abby decided to do some sort of corporate espionage thing to try to unseat Stefan.
Naturally, the very first thing she did was walk in on Stefan in a towel, while elsewhere Kate informed Chad that Stefan is interested in Abby.
First of all, we already have two cheating/secret tryst stories on canvas right now plus confusion in the Sonny/Paul/Will department because of Will kissing Paul. So we don't need any other storylines involving one half of a couple potentially cheating on the supposed love of her life.
In addition, this sort of espionage story has been done over and over. It made me think of Xander and Nicole, back when Nicole was pretending to be into Xander instead of Daniel in order to find out what he was up to, only that was a lot more interesting.
In addition, Stefan trying to break up Chad and Abby or whatever he's doing is not all that different than Brady and Eve plotting against each other and ending up in bed, and we don't need two of those stories either.
I like Chad and Abigail as a couple, but surely there's a better storyline out there for them than this.
When they were on opposite sides of JJ's culpability for Theo's shooting, that had promise, but it never went beyond one argument that was never mentioned again. I'd much rather have seen that realistic conflict play out than round 2000 of Abigail potentially sleeping with the wrong guy.
Vivian: You can dispense with the name calling. We're alone.
Andre: Are you certain?
Vivian: Yes. And that's no way to treat your partner in crime, especially when the plan is going so well.
I am very curious as to what Vivian and Andre are up to. For months, Andre has been outraged that anyone thought he was behind the sabotage at Dimera, only for it to be revealed that he is in league with Vivian!
This could be interesting, though I'm still sad that Ivan was left behind in India. I would love to know exactly what Andre's plan is. Andre generally does things only to benefit himself, so I'm wondering what his angle is on this.
I was far more interested in what was going on with Theo's recovery than any of the Dimera shenanigans.
Just when I thought Abe had got back into his right mind, he came storming into Theo's hospital room to demand that he give up working for the Dimeras.
I understand Abe's concern. After all, Theo did just survive being shot by a cop while committing a crime.
However, Abe still seems to not be fully aware that Theo is responsible for his own choices and actions. While Kate encouraged Theo to break into the warehouse, he came up with the idea himself.
In addition, throwing his weight around is going to accomplish nothing. I think Abe would have been far better off asking Hope to bring the case against Theo to the DA and allow him to suffer some legal consequences for his behavior.
Maybe facing charges in addition to almost dying might help Theo think twice about his choices.
Instead, Abe demanded that Theo quit working for the Dimeras, which predictably caused Theo to declare that he was an adult and was not going to be controlled by his father so that Abe had to tell him to go ahead and do whatever he wanted. This non-productive conversation was then interrupted by Kayla interrupting to tell Theo that if he wanted full mobility he would have to join a clinical trial in South Africa.
I couldn't help thinking that it was odd that Theo would have to go to South Africa for this because normally the rich families of Salem just pay for specialists to randomly show up in Salem from other parts of the world. Maybe Abe would let go of his hatred of the Dimeras if they got someone to come to Salem to take care of Theo's treatment.
Anyway, I'm not a fan of Abe immediately deciding that his on-the-spectrum son should go to the other side of the world by himself to get experimental treatment rather than researching the treatment or finding a way to get it for him without him going all the way to South Africa.
Abe seemed to think this was a good way to get Theo away from the Dimeras, which came off as kind of selfish and ridiculous. Theo himself pointed out that he needs his friends and family around him to help him heal.
I prefer the version of Abe who is a good father and a level-headed cop. I hope Abe's personality transplant doesn't last too much longer, because I'm not sure how much more I can take.
Ciara and Claire had some more annoying bickering over Theo before Ciara set out to destroy Hope and Rafe.
This version of Ciara is certainly more true to her original character than the last incarnation, but for the most part I'm not enjoying her.
Seeing her bait Rafe is fun, but she's coming off as bratty and entitled most of the time. She is just lashing out at everyone and has no filter, and it needs to stop.
Rafe: I'm sorry that you overheard me and Sami talking.
Ciara: You mean you're sorry that I found out that you cheated on my mother.
I thought Rafe's conversation with Ciara was all sorts of inappropriate, too.
I get that she overheard him and Sami talking about their tryst, but if he and Hope were to make it to the altar, she would be his stepdaughter, and she whined a lot about thinking of him as a second father.
No father figure should be telling his 20-something stepdaughter about the reasons he cheated on her mother. This is a conversation Rafe should only be having with Hope if he is going to have it at all.
In addition, all the almost-tellings of this secret drove me nuts.
I know that getting interrupted while trying to say something is a soap staple, but this plot device has been way overused in this Rafe/Hope storyline.
Every time anyone got close to telling the truth, someone burst in or someone's phone rang. At one point, this happened twice in the space of about 10 minutes.
When a plot device is used this frequently, it becomes a parody of itself as well as testing viewers' patience. I'm not sure which is more annoying: this or the flashback of Ciara overhearing Rafe's conversation that gets inserted at least once an episode.
Jennifer: Hope, it's not like we were saints when we were Ciara's age.
Hope: I know. But she doesn't need to know that.
I enjoyed seeing Hope and Jennifer have some cousin/best friend time. Jennifer and Hope's relationship has always been something special and it's been neglected in recent years. I only wish they had had this closeness when JJ was the angry teenager who was acting out all the time.
I'm not happy about this contrived problem for Jennifer and Eric, though. Jennifer broke up with Eric months ago because of his feelings for Nicole and now seems surprised that he thinks she only wants to be friends.
I like Jen and Eric as a couple, but I don't like the way they've tried to quietly replace Daniel with Eric by making him Jennifer's on-again off-again boyfriend and JJ's mentor. And I didn't like Jennifer's wishy-washiness when it came to Daniel, so I don't need to see it again with Eric.
Anyway, I was thrilled that Hope got Jennifer to finally agree to actually assert herself instead of acting like she has to just passively wait around for the object of her affections to notice her.
But then Jen ran into Anna, who was randomly in town, and naturally Anna announced that Eric is still in love with Nicole.
I'm not honestly sure why this is even a problem. Nicole broke up with Eric and left town. She's not actually competition.
Besides, this could all be cleared up by an honest conversation between Eric and Jennifer instead of Jennifer taking someone else's word for it that Eric is not ever going to be into her.
Will broke up with Sonny after telling him he kissed Paul.
I just knew John's awful advice to Paul to not mention the kiss to Sonny would backfire.
Had Paul told Sonny, Sonny would know right away who started what and might have some clarity about what's going on.
Instead, Will -- who I am becoming more and more convinced is faking his amnesia for his own purposes -- told Sonny himself and took a while before adding that he kissed Paul and not the other way around.
Sonny looked really pathetic begging supposedly-amnesiac Will not to divorce him. I don't know what has happened to his character, but I used to like him and now I can't stand him.
Finally, Eve and Brady slept together and then both of them secretly believed they had the upper hand over the other one.
This is an improvement over Eve harassing and bedding JJ and then the two of them declaring mutual hate, I guess, but I could care less about what they're up to.
I love Eve, but this storyline has become a waste. I'd much rather see her try to get custody of Tate away from constantly-drunk Brady.
What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-1-18?
Have Vivian's return and Tyler Christopher's debut lived up to your expectations?
Was anyone else as creeped out as I was by Rafe discussing his sex life with his potential stepdaughter?
Do you think Theo should go to South Africa?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.