Days of Our Lives: A Sad Lead-up To Christmas

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I wasn't looking forward to Julie falling down the steps.

Spoilers suggested that Gabi pushed her on purpose, and I didn't want to see yet another legacy character abused for the sake of an obnoxious plot.

But Julie's fall yielded some good, soapy material for her many friends and family in Salem, came at the climax of an epic confrontation and marked what appears to be the beginning of Gabi's downfall.

(TALL) A Nasty Fall - Days of Our Lives

The entire confrontation with Gabi was classic Julie. Julie's never been the kind to keep her opinion to herself, and she's harbored a grudge against Gabi since Nick's death back in 2013. She was the perfect person to confront Gabi.

Julie's moral outrage and her determination to make Gabi pay for what she'd done while Gabi kept trying the same lies that worked on everyone else were more than satisfying payoff for having been forced to sit through this awful storyline for months. 

And that SLAP!

Julie Slaps Gabi - Days of Our Lives

Usually, I dislike the way everyone resolves everything by getting physical, but no one deserved that slap more than Gabi. Julie made it clear to her that her days of playing around with people's lives were over.

It was frustrating that Julie felt a need to gloat about having found the paternity results instead of just leaving and then looking at them in private. Back in the day, she was one of Salem's top schemers and she should have known better.

On the other hand, she was riled up and had finally got one over this woman she has wanted to put in her place for over four years, so it's totally understandable that she would have that "gotcha!" moment even if it was a total soap trope designed to drag the storyline out longer.

Related: 13 Tired Tropes TV Can Turn on Their Heads

Julie's fall was well done. It wasn't a moment I wanted to see and I could do without seeing it over and over again in flashbacks, but the slow-motion fall, Gabi's horrified look, and the fact that Sonny and Chad had heard something and were standing right there made it perfect from a dramatic standpoint.

I just wish that Sonny and Chad were less oblivious.

Chad is a lost cause, obviously, since his questioning of Gabi lasted about three seconds and then he went repeating her story to Kate twice, all without wondering why Kate was so interested.

And Sonny is preoccupied with this Leo nonsense.

But still, no one has figured out that if Julie was looking for proof that Gabi had been gaslighting Abigail AFTER Abby was committed, there had to be a reason.

And both guys believed that Julie just stomped off in a huff and fell down the stairs before Gabi got there even though they saw Gabi standing at the head of the stairs looking like a deer caught in the headlights!

Gabi is Shocked - Days of Our Lives

Despite that, though, this story works, both as a vehicle for finally putting an end to Gabi's reign of terror and to give veteran actors Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes the opportunity to shine in a story of their own.

Susan Seaforth Hayes' acting impressed me both during the confrontation and when a barely able to breathe Julie tried desperately to tell Chad what she knew before she passed out. 

Her real-life husband brought tears to my eyes as Doug sat by Julie's bedside begging her to open her eyes, admitted to his family that Christmas seemed pointless without Julie there to help hang ornaments, and finally got to see her open her eyes right before the final credits rolled for the weekend.

THIS is how to use veteran actors! 

I just hope it doesn't descend into silliness like Marlena's recent injuries and Steve's blindness did. Doug and Julie tend to get the better writing that super-legacy characters of their status deserve so I have high hopes that there won't be any doppelgangers or evil men offering bionic eyes this time.

Related: Why is Days of Our Lives Misusing Abe Carver?

I especially loved the way Julie's injuries brought the whole town together.

We were spared yet another obnoxious Ciara/Claire argument when the girls decided to put their differences aside because of their shared love for Julie, and we had a temporary reprieve from the latest Rafe/Hope nonsense too.

Rafe and Hope Talk - Days of Our Lives

Unfortunately, Rafe and Hope got back to being argumentative and obnoxious shortly before Doug woke up.

I don't understand how Hope can go from kind, sensitive, and concerned about her parents to having that hard jawline and angry voice in a matter of seconds.

As soon as she heard Rafe had tried to broker peace between Stefan and Ted, she immediately accused him of telling Stefan where Ted was and insisted she had to protect Ted herself despite Rafe saying she didn't.

These two are constantly distrusting each other, and Hope acting like she's addicted to messing with Ben isn't helping. 

Enough already! Viewers have suffered through over two years of this awful couple trying to be together. Please soap opera gods, break them up permanently as we head into 2019 and never toy with the idea of them being more than friends again.

I can't do this. This is not the kind of person I am. This is not the kind of mother Arianna needs.

Gabi

The lowest point of the Julie storyline was Gabi's considering killing Julie to keep her quiet.

Thank God she didn't go through with that. If the writers had sacrificed the only character left from the original cast for this nonsensical story I would have been beyond angry.

And this was pure stupidity, anyway. If Gabi had smothered Julie, it would have made it obvious that someone had something to hide and everyone knows Julie and Gabi were fighting right before the accident.

Even Chad might have woken up to what Gabi was really like then!

I enjoyed JJ talking her down from this callous idea, but I wish it had been written as if he were actually talking her down and not just heaping praise on her because it was the one year anniversary of his suicide attempt.

JJ Saves a Life - Days of Our Lives

JJ is a smart, resourceful character and it would have made perfect sense for him to realize a long time ago that Gabi had had a nervous breakdown and tried to pretend he was on her side so he could intervene with her behavior.

That would have allowed him to save her life like she saved his, and there'd be plenty of drama after Gabi was unmasked when she felt betrayed by him and Abigail and Jennifer didn't understand why he was pushing for Gabi to get help instead of going back to prison.

But instead, JJ randomly showed up and more or less accidentally saved Julie's life -- something he'll never know he did -- before stumbling upon a nurse in dire straits.

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

I'm thrilled that he is getting more screen time and what looks like a story. JJ is tragically underused and it's beyond time for him to have a story of his own again.

But his story is missing a few beats that would have packed a greater emotional punch.

Instead of building the storyline with this nurse up to a climactic moment where she attempts suicide and JJ finds her, she appeared for the first time, cried to someone on the phone, and took a deliberate overdose of pills -- all in the space of an hour!

JJ's plea to her to keep living and disclosing of his own suicide attempt was emotional, but it's hard to feel much of anything for the woman he was talking to when we just met her!

And because we've never seen this woman before, her attempting suicide on the anniversary of his own attempt, mere minutes after he thanked Gabi for saving his life, seemed contrived.

I'm in this profession to help people and save lives, not watch them die.

JJ

It also would have been more powerful had we seen JJ's recovery on-screen and went through the journey with him of his epiphany that he could give his life meaning by helping others in similar situations.

Instead, the writers just chose a new career for him and made him entirely stable days after his suicide attempt, which diluted the message they were trying to send through that story.

It also occurred to me that when he found the nurse on the floor, it was similar to when he found Paige's dead body on the floor of her shower. Too bad the writers didn't make that connection, as the idea of JJ wanting to save others the way he couldn't save Paige would have added depth to his character.

Nevertheless, I am curious to see where this goes. I'm worried it's going to go the direction of JJ getting in trouble for not following protocol because he listened to the other nurse who told him not to admit this one because then the administration might find out what she did.

Marlena should also be involved in this storyline since someone with some knowledge of psychiatry needs to oversee Haley's care. But since no psychiatrist was involved in JJ's recovery either, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Sonny and Leo - Days of Our Lives

Meanwhile, this Sonny and Leo story seems to be taking over for the Abigail/Stefan story in terms of sheer offensiveness.

I know there's a shortage of gay villains on American television, so in terms of diversity Leo is an appealing character

But Victor telling Sonny to sleep with Leo in order to appease him and Leo bragging that Sonny has no choice but to have sex with him turns Leo into another rapist.

DAYS does not have a good track record with rape storylines. It continually writes stories like this that include rape but never acknowledges that's what it is, and this is yet another story of that nature.

Related: Days of Our Lives: Why Social Messaging Matters

If the writers made it clear that rape is rape and is wrong, then I'd be happy for a diverse cast of villains, including Leo. But as it is, Leo first made a mockery out of sexual harassment by filing a bogus lawsuit and now is attempting to rape Sonny, while Victor tells Sonny that going along with it will be good for Titan's image.

What kind of message is that? 

In addition, this story continues to be stupid. It seems like the same story as Paul/Will/Sonny, where Sonny wants to be with Will but has decided they should keep their distance from each other because of another man.

Paul was good and Leo is evil, but otherwise, it's a rerun of the same story we've been watching for months, with the added bonus that Sonny is giving into blackmail when there's no reason to do so and Will is getting drunk over it.

Chloe Gets a Letter - Days of Our Lives

There was also some more obnoxiousness in the Holly custody storyline.

Sarah took it upon herself to attack pretty much anyone who got in the way of Eric getting custody of the little girl.

She got in Chloe's face about Chloe having cheated on Daniel years ago, despite the fact that she cares not one bit that Eric killed Daniel in a drunk driving accident.

She also got in Maggie's face and accused Maggie of being selfish because Maggie would rather her granddaughter and grandson be raised together than allow a man who expects the child to heal his own heartbreak to gain custody!

Daniel was my son. He lives on in his children, and I want them to be raised together.

Maggie

Sarah's atrocious behavior made her seem more like a fourteen-year-old than a woman in her thirties! She was throwing tantrums left and right, was incredibly disrespectful to her own mother, and kept butting into something that is none of her business and virtually guaranteeing that Eric won't get custody.

Eric was just as bad as soon as he saw Brady comforting Chloe.

Are the writers trying to get us on Chloe's side by showing Eric and Sarah to be the worst excuse for parents to hit Salem in a long time or what?

Sarah is obnoxious and annoying and I wish she'd go back to Chicago. It's a shame because she is the daughter of a legacy character and there's so much that could be done with her besides this nonsense.

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Why, why, why couldn't we get a story about Sarah being an alcoholic just like her mother? Given Maggie's history and Sarah's drunken behavior, after she broke up with Rex, that's an obvious story and one that would allow Maggie to struggle with guilt as she tried to get her estranged daughter back on the right path.

Since the writers aren't going that way, I hope they at least make Sarah more likable soon.

Abigail's Subterfuge Continues - Days of Our Lives

Finally, Abigail got one over on Stefan as well as confronting Gabi again.

As much as I hate this story and am ready for it to be over, I love seeing Abby take charge of her life.

Stefan: I don't know if I can wait until tomorrow morning to open this.
Abigail: Well, I think you can be forgiven for opening one special present on Christmas Eve.
Stefan: Just don't tell Santa.
[Stefan opens the box.]
Stefan: Oh. [opens and unrolls documents] What the hell is this?
Abigail: Divorce papers. Merry Christmas, you son of a bitch.

I'm not convinced this plan of hers is a good one. Stefan likely isn't going to take the idea of her divorcing him very well and it could lead her into more danger. But the whole set-up of her giving him divorce papers as a "Christmas gift" was a well-executed, powerful play!

What did you think DAYS Fanatics? How do you like the lead-up to Christmas? Are you excited now that Gabi's plan seems to be unraveling? Are you enjoying the Julie storyline?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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