Days of Our Lives Review: More of the Same

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Days of Our Lives could have told a powerful story about rape, pregnancy, and reproductive stories.

This was the show that made the groundbreaking declaration that a woman was not obligated to have sex with her husband and that marital rape was a thing, after all.

And Kayla, the survivor of that rape, is Abigail's aunt as well as the one person in the family who already knew she was pregnant.

So she could have counseled her about her options, and if Abigail was considering abortion, she could have talked to her as a fellow rape survivor in addition to talking to her as a doctor.

Tryng to Work it Out - Days of Our Lives

Instead, abortion was used as a cheap plot point, and then on Days of Our Lives during the week of 7-30-18, Chad accused Abigail of having feelings for her rapist while she insisted that healing her mental health issues required denying that she was raped at all.

How much more tone deaf can this once revolutionary show be?

I'm not as upset with Abigail as I am with Chad.

Abby suffers from mental illness, not that DAYS has taken her Dissociative Identity Disorder at all seriously.

So it's understandable that she might be confused as to the meaning of what happened and vulnerable to a predator like Stefan manipulating her into thinking the rape was her fault.

But the people around her should know better, and it should be obvious that those who don't either have malicious intentions or are seriously misguided.

Instead, Chad is struggling not with how to raise the product of his wife's rape by his brother but how to get over the fact that he caught Abby in bed with Stefan and his fear that her refusal to get an abortion means she secretly loves her rapist.

Gabi is gloating that she got one over on Abby and made her think she's having Stefan's baby, and the focus is on whether or not she can use this lie to break Abby and Chad up and deprive Chad of knowing he is about to be a father again.

Kate mostly disapproves because Abby almost aborted Chad's child, not because this makes the rape worse.

At least JJ was given the token mention of the week that this was actually rape, though Gabi immediately began talking about how hard this must be for Chad as if she didn't understand what that word meant, and JJ was not allowed to pursue it.

Jennifer: It just seems like every time I pray for Chad and Abigail to have a little light sent their way, they get thrown into some new nightmare.
Kayla: Yes, but they love each other. So they'll work through this.
Jen: I hope so. I want to believe that, but I also know that love makes you vulnerable. You can get desperate to protect it and do things you wouldn't normally do in order to hold onto it.

Even Jennifer -- another rape survivor --  was more worried about whether this would break Abby and Chad up than about the fact that Abby had been manipulated by her rapist into carrying his child when she didn't want to.

Note to the writers and producers: having characters randomly remind us that this was actually rape while treating it like a consensual affair is neither entertaining nor appropriate.

It's offensive, and with DAYS' six month lead time it's going to go on for a while longer and probably get worse.

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I was doubly irritated that JJ's conversation with Gabi started off with a ripoff of how his relationship with Paige began.

In 2013, JJ was in the Square searching for his wallet when a beautiful girl who later turned out to be his first real girlfriend tapped him on the shoulder and told him she thought he'd dropped it.

This time around, JJ was taking a break from jogging in the Square and was searching for his keys when Gabi came up to him and told him that he'd dropped them and she'd found them.

I don't want to overreact, but I felt like this was yet another slap in the face to JJ's relationship with Paige. It's bad enough that after she was killed off for no good reason, he wasn't allowed to grieve for her and his guitar -- a passionate interest of his that drew them together -- suddenly disappeared.

But Gabi's current behavior makes her nothing like Paige and seeing her do the exact same thing was irritating, to say the least.

Gabi Confides in JJ - Days of Our Lives

I'm also confused as to how this can be in any way, shape, or form the same woman who saved JJ's life when he was suicidal.

Gabi purposely told JJ his sister's news about her pregnancy and that she had advised her to keep the baby's paternity secret.

JJ pointed out that that was the same thing that Lani did that deeply hurt him, but did Gabi care? No. She just changed the subject to how Abby refused to listen to her sage advice on this matter.

I'm hoping that the strange looks he gave her means he's on to her and her nonsense. JJ, when written properly, is highly intelligent and intuitive. But lately, DAYS makes characters stupid whenever it suits the plot, so I'm not holding out hope for anything better this time.

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

Meanwhile, Eve was up to her old tricks, and it looks like Jennifer might have fallen into her trap.

Jennifer uncovered the entire plot between Eve and Victor, even walking in on Eve saying she would handle Jen.

Victor used every trick he could think of to deflect blame and distract Jennifer,  but Eve wouldn't stop talking, and eventually, the two had to confess.

That was all well and good until Victor left the room and Eve warned Jen that if she told Brady about Eve's part in this plot, Eve would tell Eric that Nicole didn't leave him voluntarily.

Jennifer struggled with this and ultimately didn't tell Eric because he didn't want to hear about Nicole. She then considered turning down his marriage proposal because she didn't want to get married when she was lying to him.

But she changed her mind because, well, Eve told her to.

Okay. Jennifer Rose, you have lost your mind!

Jennifer is Engaged - Days of Our Lives

First of all, I'm not sure exactly when Jennifer became so insecure.

The Jennifer I fell in love with as an eight-year-old who barely understood what was going on was a strong career woman with a big enough heart to try to soothe her husband's many insecurities. She was always chasing after Jack to get him to come home when his low self-esteem caused him to insist she was too good for him.

But the Jennifer of 2018 has already broken up with Eric twice because she was convinced that he wanted Nicole, not her. She listened to gossip from Anna Dimera about this instead of talking to Eric about it, for goodness sake!

And now she's accepting Eve's opinion that Eric loves Nicole and Jennifer is merely a consolation prize. Or at least I assume that's her problem because she's flashed back to it three times in the same week that it happened.

Do the writers need to hit us over the head with the fact that Nicole coming back would throw a huge monkey wrench into Eric and Jennifer's relationship? And if they do, can they do it without turning Jennifer into this weak, insecure woman?

Plus, I'm afraid this is going to turn into a redux of the Shredder Controversy of 2014, in which Eric told Nicole that he did  not care about the priesthood because he wanted to be with her, then threw a fit when he learned she destroyed the evidence that could have allowed him to return to the priesthood.

Ironically, Jennifer was the one who spilled the beans about that secret.

And now, Eric has told both Brady and Jen that he doesn't care about what did or didn't happen with Nicole anymore.

But if he finds out in some distant future that Jennifer knew the truth about Nicole's departure and didn't tell him, I won't be surprised if he breaks up with her and berates her for the next year for ruining his life, just like he did with Nicole and the priesthood.

John and Marlena Plan a Wedding - Days of Our Lives

Eric's proposal was a little rushed since he and Jen have not been on-screen together very much and they just said I Love You for the first time last week.

But what's worse is all the mentions of him and Brady walking Marlena down the aisle.

Never mind the fact that John and Marlena are planning their fifth wedding as if it's their first. Every time someone mentions how wonderful this is, alarm bells start going off in my head.

It's obvious this is going to be a disaster.

Soap weddings often are, but I'd like the fun of guessing what's going to happen instead of being told ahead of time.

And why was Eric so quick to agree that he would go tell Marlena the news about his engagement by himself? I loved seeing Jen and Kayla talk, but whatever happened to engaged couples going to their families together?

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I did have to laugh at Will saying Sami didn't RSVP to the wedding because she's Sami, though. I guess he's got a lot more of his memories back than we've seen.

This Sonny/Will/Paul nonsense is getting on my last nerve, though. 

John asking Paul to help him with his vows because he wrote such beautiful ones at a wedding that never happened was all sorts of insensitive. And Paul is a private investigator, so he should be keenly aware that Will is lying to him after all the half-truths and stammered explanations he's received.

Similarly, Will and Sonny are idiots not to involve Paul, especially since they feel they can't go to the cops since they already made the colossal mistake of trying to cover up Leo's death.

Ted's latest trick really stretched the boundaries of credibility, too. 

Ted somehow cobbled together another threatening letter while Sonny was at breakfast with Adrienne and slipped it into the bill holder when he asked for his check.

First of all, in most restaurants, no one but waiters or maybe managers handle the checks, so I don't understand how he performed this particular trick.

In addition, when did Ted have time to do this? I realize Kate was busy making plans with Gabi, so he wasn't distracted by the promise of sex with her, but shouldn't he have another case to prepare for now? Like, perhaps, Ben's?

And he tipped his hand by making it clear he was the one sending the letters. What was the point of that?

Ben and Ciara Bond - Days of Our Lives

Finally, Hope outdid herself in her attempt to control Ciara's relationship with Ben, and I don't mean that in a good way.

I'm so conflicted about what I feel about Ben. On the one hand, having worked as a social worker in the criminal justice system, I am thrilled to see a story addressing the difficulties many people face when trying to piece together a productive life after serving time in prison.

On the other hand, Ben killed three people and tried to kill two others, most of whom were part of Ciara's family. He killed her cousin Eric's girlfriend, her cousin JJ's girlfriend, attempted to kill her cousin Will and attempted to kill Marlena too -- who was a close friend of Hope's family.

Plus all that nonsense with the fake Aiden trying to kill Hope was because of Andre trying to create a copycat murderer after Ben started killing people.

The only person Ben hurt that wasn't related somehow to Ciara was Wendy, the midwife, and that was part of his plot to kidnap and torment her cousin Abigail!

So Ciara hooking up with Ben is more than a little uncomfortable.

But Hope's behavior is worse.

Hope broke down the door, holding a gun on a person who was not doing anything but talking and ordering that person to leave despite the fact that the only person who actually lived there welcomed his presence.

She didn't care that Ben had a concussion, nor did she care that she and Rafe didn't have the legal right to make Ben leave or that she was doing nothing but alienating her daughter.

Later, Rafe gave Ben the address of a homeless shelter and ordered him to stay there and leave Ciara alone.

Homeless shelters are not jails, and there is no restraining order against Ben spending time with Ciara. Contrary to what Hope and Rafe think, there is no law against being friends with someone whose parent doesn't like you!

This whole thing is nothing but one big abuse of police power, plus it's not much different than how Eve tried to manipulate Paige into breaking up with JJ because she didn't want her daughter dating a boy with a criminal record, except JJ's crimes were more easily forgivable.

Adrienne Visits Steve - Days of Our Lives

Finally, it was great to see Steve getting the family attention he deserved after his eye surgery! I only wish JJ had come to visit him too. I always thought JJ should see Steve as the closest thing to having his late father back and I don't understand why the writers rarely have them spend time together.

It's especially sad since JJ and Tripp have such similar pasts and should be best friends.

Also, why on Earth is Steve being siphoned off into this silly search for Bonnie story? Adrienne's explanation for why she wanted to find Bonnie made no sense. Bonnie didn't stay behind bars last time she was there; that's what caused all the trouble. So how is locating her and sending her back to prison going to help anything?

Plus it isn't such an emergency that Steve had to skip breakfast with Kayla to tell Adrienne he had a lead. Instead, Stephanie should have been back in town to help with her dad's recovery, and they should have had a family breakfast before heading off to see Joey in prison.

So what did you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics? Are you loving or hating this Ben story? Which love triangle do you find the most irritating? And do you want Steve to go in search of Bonnie or would you rather he stay home?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Days of Our Lives Quotes

Getting older is not for sissies.

Victor

Shawn-Douglas Brady: You know what? For the first time in my life, I'm glad that my dad is biologically a Kiriakis.
Belle Black Kiriakis: Why would you say that?
Shawn-Douglas Brady: Because, otherwise, we would be related. Your grandmother is a Brady, remember?
Belle Black Kiriakis: Oh, my god. I never even thought about that. Actually, that makes me more of a Brady than you.