Days of Our Lives Review: Who's On What Side?

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Soap operas thrive on fakeouts and double crossings.

With the number of people who backed off after Gabi told them her lies and fake explanations, I have to think that at least some of them are placating her so they can trap her. This story has dragged on for far too long as it is without an entire town turning stupid.

Meanwhile, Ben talked Stefan into hiring him as his new head of security, but what was that really about? Is Ben still embracing his dark side, or is this part of some elaborate plan to redeem himself by helping Abigail?

(TALL) Ben and Stefan - Days of Our Lives

Although I have mixed feelings about Ben and Ciara's relationship, I have to say I enjoy Ben.

Robert Scott Wilson is a master at keeping audiences guessing by having Ben make subtle faces or gestures that make him seem like he's going back to his old ways while also infusing him with genuine softness when he's with Ciara.

I don't believe he set the fire that almost killed her, and I'm rooting for Hope's stubborn belief that he did to bite her in the butt.

But at the same time, Ben definitely still has a dark side and I'm not sure what he's really after with this new alliance with Stefan.

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Ben has been showing signs that there are still violent tendencies underneath the surface.

He threatened Claire during the week of 11-26-18, stopping just short of strangling her, and just as he did with Wyatt, emphasized that it was lucky for her he was no longer the Necktie Killer.

And then when Chad wouldn't hire him to help him get inside Bayview, he turned around and practically begged Stefan for a job as the head of Dimera security.

Ben Weston: [speaking to portrait of Stefano]: Bet you never imagined that I'd be sitting here instead of Chad. But life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

Ben talked a good game about how he needs a job, any job, in order to impress Ciara and how he can be helpful to Stefan because of his experience exploiting weaknesses in jail and mental hospital settings in order to escape.

But Ciara would not be happy if she knew Ben was hiring himself out as the primary muscle for her family's sworn enemies, even if Stefan is Theo's uncle, and manipulating his way into the Dimera mansion gives Ben a reason to be near Abigail's baby, if not Abigail herself.

What is Ben's end game here? Is it revenge against Chad for rejecting him or for that long-ago cheating incident that led Ben to snap and kill a bunch of women in the first place? Is he trying to take Stefan down to avenge what Stefan did to Abigail? 

His conversation with Stefano's portrait suggested there was more to this than met the eye and taking Chad's place in the mansion was definitely part of it, but I can't figure out exactly what Ben is up to.

Forbidden Love - Days of Our Lives

It also isn't lost on me that Ciara and Ben both keep saying that Ben was mentally ill when he killed and therefore not responsible. That makes him just like Abigail, except people are giving her more of a pass.

I can't help but wonder if Ben still carries a torch for Abby and if she's the one he wants to convince he has changed despite his professed feelings for Ciara.

In addition, while I hate what Hope is doing to try to keep Ben and Ciara apart, I'm not convinced that Ben is 100% safe for Ciara to be around.

I doubt he's going to kill again, but given his temper, I could easily see some sort of domestic violence storyline in the future.

Ciara is already on the outs with her family because of her devotion to Ben, so if he were to lose his temper and hit her she'd be reluctant to tell anyone what was going on. That would mean admitting her family had a point when it came to Ben and she already took this huge stand against them.

This could be a compelling story if done right, especially since Ciara loves and completely believes in Ben.

A Dangerous Alliance - Days of Our Lives

What's definitely dangerous is Hope's new alliance with Ted.

Hope has a one-track mind when it comes to proving Ben is dangerous and keeping him away from Ciara. She doesn't care what she has to do, legal or otherwise, and she won't listen to anyone.

I am disliking Hope more and more. Her assertion that she never goes outside the law is laughable and all Ted had to do was say the name "Ben Weston" and she was eager to do his bidding.


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Hope deserves to lose her position as police commissioner over this nonsense. She's deserved it for a long time, but this latest stunt seals the deal.

She was just falsely accused of planting evidence against Ben! That should have been a wake-up call and she should have thought a little bit more before agreeing to work with Ted.

And for the love of all that is holy, please let her stay out of his bed!

As it is, the focus of this story seems to be Hope's inability to give Rafe a reasonable explanation for where she's been and his belief she's hiding something from him, and I can't take any more of this ridiculous excuse for angst from this couple.

Anyway, Ted said something about how he wouldn't be nearly as forgiving as Hope was and was, in fact, the jealous type. I could be wrong, but that seemed like a gigantic red flag.

I wonder if Ted will turn violent with Hope and whether Ciara will have to rescue her instead of the other way around!

As for Rafe, I'm not sure he can get any more hypocritical than he did. 

He grabbed Ben off Ciara and threw him against a wall while claiming that Ben had to be abusing her and Ciara couldn't possibly want to kiss him, then called Hope to tattle about Ciara's kissing Ben. 

But then when Hope was upset about it, he told her that Ciara was an adult and they had to back off and trust her.

I'd love for Rafe to have been the voice of reason, but it seemed like the writers thought viewers wouldn't remember what he had just done!

Kate Mansi Returns - Days of Our Lives

Rafe was also one of three people who questioned Gabi, then seemed to back off when she denied everything.

JJ and Kayla both did the same thing, and they're both generally intelligent characters who aren't easily hoodwinked!

Rafe tends to be biased towards Gabi, so I'm not sure what he thinks. But I'm hoping JJ and Kayla were both placating Gabi while they considered their next move.

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

It's beyond time for this storyline to end, so this had better be the beginning of the unraveling of Gabi's plan!

Abigail is now locked in a mental institution and being treated similarly to a prisoner who is placed in solitary confinement as punishment for bad behavior.

The writers can't seem to decide what the deal is with her visiting privileges, either.

Supposedly she's in isolation and not allowed any visitors at all, but JJ knew about Gabi's subterfuge because he and Jen had visited Abigail after she was placed in isolation and Abigail told Chad that she already knew about baby Charlotte being healthy because JJ had told her.

Which is it? Is she allowed visitors or not?

The biggest news in this storyline, of course, is that Kate Mansi reprised the role of Abigail following Marci Miller's departure.

Picking up a storyline in the middle is always challenging for an actor, and this storyline is especially difficult because Miller put her own mark on Abigail's alters. Kudos to Kate Mansi for being willing to give it her all!

Her performance is different than Miller's, of course, and I thought she was at her most powerful in her scenes with Chad where she made it clear over and over that she blamed him for her confinement in the hospital.

I found her introduction to be weird, though. The cliffhanger of one episode was Abigail turning around, revealing she was now played by a different actress. But it's supposed to be the same character, and making that reveal the cliffhanger scene suggested she wasn't, which is silly.

Chad: Where was the wig, then?
Abigail: Obviously she hid it somewhere. I don't know. I can't prove it. But I shouldn't have to, not to you. I'm your wife. You're supposed to know me.

In any case, Abigail was right when she confronted Chad.

He should trust her. He should be able to use his own instincts about what's going on with his wife instead of needing Gabi to force-feed him the belief that Abby is mentally ill. He should be questioning more deeply why Abby's "relapse" only ever seems to occur in Gabi's presence.

I wish he'd ask Marlena for an opinion about all of this. In addition to being a world-renowned psychiatrist, Marlena knows about John poisoning Steve and might be able to draw a parallel here that would let her come to the right conclusion.

Instead, Chad has become an idiot who listens to whatever Gabi says, and I was proud of Abigail for calling him out on it.

Related: Days of Our Lives: Why Social Messaging Matters

I wish this mental hospital was depicted as a hospital rather than a jail-like setting.

Chad told Abby she has to get treatment and get re-integrated, but what are the staff doing besides locking her in a room by herself and telling her not to get upset?

She's not getting any treatment at all, making her whole commitment absolutely pointless.

Plus, when she'd had enough of Chad she told the orderly that he was disturbing her and the orderly made Chad leave. If she'd done that in the first place when Gabi came to see her instead of trying to strangle her, she wouldn't be in isolation at all.

Old Friends Together Again - Days of Our Lives

Kate wins my award for most irritating character of the week of 11-30-18, though.

She continually tells Gabi she doesn't want anything to do with this plan, then backs her up instead of letting her lies unravel.

It's ridiculous enough that Kate has been scared of an amateur like Gabi for months, but for her to continue covering for her seconds after expressing guilt that she got involved with Leo and Ted and hurt her grandson is unfathomable.

I kept wishing that Kate would record her conversation with Gabi just like she recorded her conversation with Stefan and turn that over to Roman too.

Gabi: I will find a way to get into Kayla's computer and get those DNA test results.
Kate: You'd better, because it's beyond time for the truth to come out.
[Will comes up to them]
Will: I couldn't agree more.

Will showing up in time to overhear Kate wanting Gabi to tell the truth was the best part of this ridiculous Leo story, but I wished it had been JJ who had overheard that.

JJ is already suspicious of Gabi and would have something to say about Kate helping put his sister in a mental hospital For her to be accosted by him and then have Will confront her about the Leo thing on top of it would be a delicious double helping of karma.

I'm not sure that Will has any clue that Gabi has been up to no good. She told him in the past that she wanted to be a good person like him, but he didn't follow up on exactly what that meant.

Sonny and Will Reunite - Days of Our Lives

Sonny and Will's reunion was underwhelming, and Leo's re-emergence didn't help.

Will was sad about having broken Paul's heart for all of one day before becoming eager to jump into bed with Sonny. It felt rushed and added to the problems with this story.

Ever since Will's return, Sonny has been pathetically clingy and Will has been wishy-washy, and this is no exception. I'm glad Paul is no longer part of the story because that means this ridiculous triangle has to end, but Leo is not an improvement.

Leo is a ridiculous cartoon character who so far has had the same conversation with Sonny over and over. Leo keeps rehashing the past and then saying he'll give Sonny 24 hours to agree to marry him. 24 hours later, he says it again!

His empty threats are contiually issued from Victor's living room, yet no one has thought to ask Victor for help.

It looks like we're headed down the road of yet another story about someone giving into blackmail for absolutely no reason. Surely there's some better story  to be told than this!

So what did you think, DAYS Fanatics? 

Is the slow unraveling of Gabi's plan exciting to you, or do you wish they'd hurry up and get this story over with?

Do you think Ben is really reformed, and what is he up to with Stefan?

And do you think Abigail's plan to make Stefan think "Gabby" is back is going to work?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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