Getting older sometimes means facing serious illness.
On Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-29-18, Kayla finally got Steve to go to a doctor. After an off-screen appointment with the enigmatic Dr. Shah, Steve told Kayla that he had an autoimmune disease that had no cure.
This could have been some of the strong, realistic, dramatic material for which the soap fans have been hungering. But instead, it's all phony, because Steve doesn't have an autoimmune disease; he's being poisoned by his business partner and best friend.
It's a shame because there was so much meaty stuff here.
Steve telling Kayla about his condition and her promise to support him was one of the emotional highlights of the week.
This was everything that I love about Steve and Kayla. Kayla was both strong and loving, reassuring Steve that he would never be a burden to her no matter what, while Steve struggled with accepting that his illness was interfering with his ability to live his life.
And if only John weren't the cause of the problem, his sad acceptance that Steve couldn't continue to work on the case with him would have been powerful.
Paul: Look, I care about Marlena too, and if I thought she was in any immediate danger, I would have told her myself. But whatever my dad was talking about on that call had to do with Steve. And before I confront him,I need to know the facts. And for now, I just have to believe there's a reasonable explanation for all of this.
Will: What possible explanation could there be for him to poison his best friend?
Instead, it was a little uncomfortable to watch. Paul asked WIll how his father could pretend to care when he knows he is poisoning Steve, and I'd like to know that too.
The story of John poisoning his best friend is intriguing -- or it would be if there weren't so many heavyhanded comments meant to inspire his guilt -- but it's not realistic. Instead, it's yet another tale of violence and heartache that doesn't have to happen.
I want to know why John is doing this, yet I wish he wasn't doing it at all. It cheapens the very realistic drama of a former adventurer getting older and being unable to fight evil the way he is accustomed.
If we are going to have this story, though, it needs to be less of a vehicle to push Will and Paul together.
Paul dropped off a toolbox for Will for no apparent reason, since he's trying to avoid him. Will picked up that Paul was upset and invited him in to talk, and soon the two were discussing whether John was poisoning Steve.
Paul doesn't believe this is the case and wants to investigate further even though he literally heard the words "I am poisoning my best friend" come out of John's mouth, got a mysterious non-explanation when he asked about it, and found a vial of poison in John's pocket.
I know he doesn't want to believe John is doing this, but come on!
So far Paul and Will argued two times (or was it three? I've lost count!) about whether Will should tell anyone about his suspicions, while John got interrupted every time he was going to tell Marlena what was going on and every time Paul tried to talk to him.
I'm glad that Will finally went to visit Hope, though of course, it's too early for anything to come of it.
Meanwhile, the writers have again forgotten that JJ is Steve's nephew.
Kayla and Steve talked about his illness in the hallway mere feet from JJ, and JJ did not ask a single question about Steve's condition even though he was eager for his aunt to congratulate him on his alleged fatherhood.
This Lani story is awful enough without the writers continuing to refuse to create any sort of relationship between JJ and Steve at all.
Once again, JJ gets the short shrift. A lot of his mental health issues are centered around the loss of Jack and his complicated relationship with his parents when he was a teenager.
There is no way that someone like that would not latch on to his father's only brother with a similar larger-than-life personality to Jack.
But instead, the writers consistently write JJ out of character, not taking his mental health issues seriously at all except when it gives them the opportunity to make a public service announcement.
Since the pregnancy, the writers have made JJ deliriously happy about the baby instead of allowing his belief that he fathered a child with the sister of the man he still feels guilty about shooting to trigger feelings of fear, guilt, and shame that would be consistent with his severe depression that is not getting proper treatment.
And on top of that, he now doesn't care that his only connection to his father may be dying of a serious illness.
Nor does he care that his mom is suddenly dating this doctor and has been talking all about him to the guy even though it has to remind him of Daniel, the closest thing to a stepfather he had who died suddenly too.
It is cheap drama meant to make us hope that JJ never finds out the baby isn't his because we like seeing him smile. Except it doesn't work.
First of all, JJ's smile isn't genuine, and it would be much more powerful to see him work through his feelings of depression and earn some happiness.
Making him deliriously happy doesn't make me root for Lani's secret to stay hidden. It makes me root for her to be found out as soon as possible and held accountable for what she is doing to JJ.
And as happy as I am that Valerie knows the truth now, I would much rather that JJ was written true to character, become suspicious, and investigate himself.
It would have been simple to do, but instead, JJ was quickly sent off to the bar to watch a game and drink a beer as soon as he became aware that something was amiss.
It was out of character on so many levels that I don't have enough room to list them all.
JJ has never been the type to back off when suspicious.
Back when Liam was bothering Jennifer, he was the first to pick up on something wrong, and the reason he ended up having a nervous breakdown and smashing a store window was that he refused to let go of investigating why Kayla had said Jack was not a saint until he knew the truth.
He also has got in trouble with alcohol on numerous occasions. That never bothers anyone when they see him drinking, but it seemed odd that Kayla would encourage it.
And he was once a kid who didn't fit in because his interest was music, not watching sports, so sending him off to watch a game seemed more like some writer deciding that this is what men do than anything that fit his character at all.
Plus Kayla told him to watch with Roman, and he didn't wonder why Roman was absent from the Pub!
Roman's disappearance, of course, was because he got arrested after being caught in a lie.
It was ridiculously hypocritical of Hope and Rafe, considering how happy they were that Roman risked his job and his freedom to cover up their involvement in Stefano's death.
I was so glad when Carrie pointed that out! Hope's nonsequitor answer that Roman taught them to be good cops and that was why they arrested him just proved she completely missed the point.
I've never really been much of a fan of Carrie, but her being the voice of reason was a breath of fresh air, so much so that I'm willing to overlook her lack of knowledge of basic legal terms like perjury and the fact that she tends to be holier-than-thou while being a serial cheater.
Andre had a funeral that was attended by all of five people -- six counting Hattie's surprise appearance.
You'd think the police would make sure to have someone attend the funeral because, on every crime show I've ever seen, they talk about the chance that the murderer will attend.
Instead, the Salem PD was incompetent as usual, and the funeral was attended by all of the people on the current suspect list plus Hattie, and no one else.
I continue to find Abigail's devotion to Andre strange, considering his history with her family.
JJ was born prematurely because Jennifer rushed off to Melaswen while pregnant with him to rescue Jack, who Andre had kidnapped and made everyone think was dead!
I enjoyed Vivian telling Stefan that Andre's developing sentimentality late in life was a fatal flaw, as it was an apt description of the way Andre's character had been rewritten in recent years.
In any event, I continue to be uninterested in this murder mystery. The only interesting thing is Paul finding that watermark on the letter someone sent Anna.
I'm still wondering whether John's behavior towards Steve has anything to do with that letter since it started around the time Roman hired them to investigate that letter. Besides, Vivian mentioned John and made it sound for a second like he was involved, and that didn't seem like an error to me.
Finally, there was some more nonsense with Brady and Eve and this whole competition for control of Titan and Basic Black.
Brady: God! You scared the hell out of me, granddad. What are you doing here?
Victor: Getting your attention.
Brady was overconfident as usual, while Eve spent her time giving Sonny relationship advice.
It made no sense and didn't fit her character. Eve isn't a wise, kind person who gives good advice whether it's asked for or not -- that's Jennifer.
And her history was changed again. Eve was married to Jack for all of five minutes and apparently had some sort of marriage with Deimos, but in the past, it was made clear she was never married either to Frankie or Eduardo.
But now she's been married four times all for the sake of Sonny saying she doesn't know much about relationships.
Eve is not Nicole, just like Eric isn't Daniel. Taking a character and giving them the storyline and relationships that belonged to a different character, complete with a new history that doesn't match viewers' memories, doesn't work and needs to stop.
I'm glad Sonny didn't mention Eve's manipulation of JJ, as that story needs to be forgotten permanently, but it would have made sense to say that instead of giving her a bunch of marriages that had not happened until this moment.
Also, I'd rather see Eve changing as a result of being in a healthy relationship than yet another relationship of mutual convenience and mutual hate.
What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-29-18?
Does John poisoning Steve intrigue you, annoy you, or both?
Do you think Valerie finding out the truth about Lani's baby means this awful storyline is near an end, or will Lani blackmail her to keep the lie going?
Who do you think killed Andre, and do you care?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back in on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.