Days of Our Lives Review: Facing the Unforgivable

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Soap operas are at their best when they deal with powerful, raw emotion.

I hated that Paige Larson was gratuitously killed off back in 2015 and JJ wasn't allowed to grieve for her, then was shoved into jobs and relationships that didn't fit him at all.

And I doubly hated that her murderer was set free without as much as a parole hearing where her loved ones could beg a judge not to dishonor her memory by granting him that release.

But seeing Eve confront Ben in the park about the loss being unforgivable was satisfying.

Finally, Paige's life and death were treated like they mattered, and Kassie De Paiva brought the heartache, bitterness and anger to the screen so well that I almost forgot that Eve recently messed things up for JJ all over again.

Eve Confronts Ben - Days of Our Lives

Eve didn't mince words, and she certainly had the right to be angry that the bright, beautiful daughter that gave her life  meaning had her own life snuffed out for no reason at all.

While it's a travesty that DAYS still refuses to acknowledge what Paige was to JJ, instead having him call his rapist the love of his life and not allowing him to have much of a reaction to the fact that Paige's killer is walking around free, Eve said everything that I had wanted her to say at the non-existent release hearing.

Sorry. What about the debt you owe me? What about what you took from me? I want you to look me in the eye and tell me how you did it. How could you take such a beautiful life? How could you squeeze the life out of her, take such a light out of the world? TELL ME HOW YOU DID IT.

Eve

It was raw, powerful, and emotional... and then Eve went and did what many people fantasize about doing to people who hurt their families.

She knocked Ben to the ground, put her hands around his throat and screamed that he deserved to die for what he had done to her daughter.

Her violent reaction was understandable, though it certainly didn't help anything to get violent and Ben probably could press charges or sue her for assault -- except that the cops in Salem go by the rule that he is automatically guilty of everything until proven innocent.

Anyway, Hope's reaction to seeing Eve beat up Ben wasn't surprising, though it was awful.

Hope walked into the park and stood still, watching Eve hold Ben down and attempt to strangle him. Rafe showed up a minute later and pulled Eve off of Ben, then -- also unsurprisingly -- accused Ben of starting trouble with her.

  Related: Get True Crime Files by ID via Prime Video Channels for Over 1,000 Real-life Mystery & Suspense Shows!

Over the last several years, Hope and Rafe have become more and more corrupt, and doubly so when it comes to Ben. They have both decided without any real evidence that Ben set his cabin on fire to try to kill Ciara and are more or less using the power of the badge to interfere with her friendship.

In addition, Hope killed Stefano and then she and Rafe covered it up -- a fact that the two of them would like to forget, but which turned many viewers off to both characters. 

So as awful as the idea is that the police commissioner witnessed a violent crime in progress and did nothing to stop it because she didn't like the victim, it's entirely in character for the version of Hope that has attached herself to Rafe for the past few years.

As for Rafe, it's nice that he actually didn't allow this to continue, but he could have made more of an effort to connect with Eve. After all, Paige was his half-sister and he told Hope earlier that he was furious that Ben robbed him of the chance to get to know her. 

Of course, Rafe's only interaction with Paige, while she was alive, was to contribute to her untimely death by questioning her in public about witnessing a murder, so his rage rang more than a little hollow!

And now the point of Hope's inappropriate behavior was for Rafe to call her on it so she could confide in him.

While JJ immediately lost his job for a mere suspicion that he used drugs, Hope will surely keep hers despite almost allowing a murder to occur on her watch.

Gabi Confides in JJ - Days of Our Lives

Meanwhile, JJ appears to again be a supporting player in his own story. Jennifer quickly figured out that the social worker who visited his home planted the drugs and that Victor was behind it, while JJ was on the receiving end of Gabi's latest rant and then disappeared after an update from his mom about his case.

I love the idea of Jennifer going back to her investigative roots, but she should be working with her son, not fixing this for him!

And if there had to be yet another idiotic story involving JJ being falsely accused of drugs thanks to Eve, there should have been an actual story. Jennifer cleared this mess up in a matter of days and JJ most likely is getting his job back -- all without him being involved in the story.

I really don't understand why the writers continue to force JJ onto the backburner when he's a rich, dynamic, complicated character played by a talented actor. His suicide storyline fizzled out into nothing and now this one seems to be going in the same direction.

And unlike Eve, he likely isn't even going to get any scenes confronting Ben -- and if he does, he will probably only be allowed to mention Abigail and not that Ben killed the love of his life.

Related: 7 Ways Days of Our Lives Could (And Should!) Be Using JJ Deveraux

JJ's conversation with Gabi could have driven story since they have a complicated history, but instead, JJ barely got a word in edgewise while Gabi went on a rant that made her look worse than ever.

Apparently Gabi not only still believes that Kayla told her she can never have children when what she was actually told was that there was a chance she couldn't conceive, but wants another baby for the sole purpose of bribing her five-year-old into loving her again.

Could Gabi be any more selfish and immature? She's regressing far, far behind where she was when Ari was a baby and she wanted to take her to New York and didn't care if Will ever saw her again!

There is no five-year-old in the world who just stays angry for days on end over her mother not being home when she wanted her.

And if Arianna is angry, it is her mother's job to help her channel her anger positively, communicate with her, and be there for her so that she won't be scared that she has actually succeeded in driving her away for good!

Instead, Gabi is leaving the parenting to Will and Sonny and whining that she can't give Ari the baby brother or sister she dreams of, in  between trying to force Abby to carry a baby to term and plotting revenge on Stefan.

Those are horrible reasons to bring a child into the world and Gabi is in no shape to be a decent mother to the one she has, never mind a new baby.

Not that Will and Sonny are great parents either. They're busy trying to cover up Leo's death and keep it secret from Paul that anything's going on! 

These anonymous letters Will is getting are a silly twist. I don't get how Ted knows everything nor has time to cut out magazine letters to make these notes.

It's obvious the whole thing is a vehicle to get Will and Sonny back together and/or make Paul jealous.

Plus, half the story seems to be centered around this fear that Kate will break up with Ted when she finds out what he's up to, and they're not a compelling enough couple for me to care.

Carrying His Brother's Baby - Days of Our Lives

The Abigail and Chad story hit new lows, with Gabi trying to guilt Abby out having an abortion since Gabi can't have children, then making Stefan think he was the father so he would do it for her.

Afterwards, Abigail told Chad she was carrying Stefan's baby and his response was to get angry and accuse her of secretly being in love with Stefan.

Let's be clear about this: Abigail's baby is the product of rape.

Stefan had sex with a mentally ill Abigail who was dissociating and calling herself "Gabby". 30 seconds before said sex, Abigail was in control of herself and literally told Stefan not to touch her and that he disgusted her.

It doesn't matter how many times Stefan insists that Gabby is part of Abigail so clearly Abby is in love with him. It's still rape and he is still using Abigail's illness against her to get what he wants.

Another Fight Between Brothers - Days of Our Lives

And by having Abigail and Chad both flip-flop constantly on whether or not this was rape while the only other character who acknowledges it is Steve, generally while ranting and flailing blindly at Stefan, the show sends the message that the accusation of rape here is not to be taken seriously and is nothing more than an excuse for Abby to cheat on Chad with Stefan.

It's beyond disgusting.

Meanwhile, while in real life the debate about abortion rages on and many women fear that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, Days of Our Lives tells a story in which a woman is painted as a villain for wanting to abort her rapist's child and is then shamed for having slept with him in the first place when she changes her mind.

Abortion is a controversial topic that could get people on both sides of the debate talking if it was taken seriously, but instead it is often used as a plot point on DAYS and this time the woman in question was vilified and then "saved" from going through with it by her rapist.


Related: Get Great Selection of New & Classic Movies With the Lifetime Video Club via Prime Video Channels!

It's hard to believe this is the same show that was once a groundbreaker on serious social issues like marital rape.

Steve and His Lady in Red - Days of Our Lives

The best story of the week of 7-23-18 was, as usual, the one that got the least airtime.

Steve had his eye surgery but at first was still unable to see. Then, while he and Kayla were reminiscing about their wedding 30 years ago, he called her his Lady in Red and she realized he had his vision back.

It was a moment that brought tears to my eyes, and it was even sweeter that Steve's sight was restored on the 30th anniversary of the day that Kayla's ability to speak came back just in time to say her vows.

The only thing missing was some flashbacks of their wedding. The one time viewers would have loved to see some, there weren't any, yet there is always room for a ten-minute flashback of things that happened less than a day ago.

Steve said twice that you don't realize you've got a good thing til it's gone. I couldn't help wondering if that was a subtle reference by the dialogue writers to the fact that the show is going to lose Stephen Nichols as a result of him being underutilized.

Related: Stephen Nichols Breaks Silence on His Days of Our Lives Departure

A side bonus of this story is that Claire and Ciara finally made up! But with Ben showing up at Ciara's doorstep, how long will the truce last this time? I hope it's for a while because I'm tired of seeing two girls who should be best friends be at each other's throats over a boy. But unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if their fragile truce doesn't last.

And finally, John and Marlena asked Brady and Eric to walk Marlena down the aisle.

I don't know which is sillier: Marlena treating her fifth wedding like it's her first or Brady almost refusing to let go of his feud with Eric over Nicole for long enough to make her wedding day happy. I hope he and Eric don't come to blows at the wedding.

Days of Our Lives - A Special Wedding Request

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics! What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 7-23-18?

Which storyline grabbed you by the heartstrings and didn't let go?

Which stories do you wish would slow down?

Which ones do you think should disappear altogether?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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