Days of Our Lives Review: The Case of the Eternal Teenagers

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The Rex/Sarah/Eric storyline would be great drama ... if the people involved were teenagers.

On Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-14-19, Rex spent most of his time begging Eric to help him with some inane plan involving tricking Sarah into spending time alone with Rex.

To his credit, Eric didn't go along with this, but Rex and Sarah both acted in ways they should have outgrown when they left high school. Why is this a front-burner storyline?

(TALL) Hanging Out at the Pub - Days of Our Lives

Love triangles are a soap staple, but not written like this!

Rex's refusal to give Sarah space was bad enough. It was disrespectful and arrogant, and the message that giving a woman unwanted attention is "romantic" is irresponsible in this day and age where there is too much confusion over appropriate boundaries.

Related: Days of Our Lives: Why Social Messaging Matters

But Rex's behavior has triggered the same conversations over and over. Rex continually told Sarah (and anyone else who would listen) that he was an idiot who didn't deserve her, yet wanted a second chance. Sarah frequently responded that she never wanted to see Rex again.

Then Rex came up with the idea of Eric inviting Sarah out and then disappearing so that Rex could be alone with her and this storyline went from irritating to completely obnoxious.

Rex didn't understand why Eric wouldn't just leave without explanation after inviting Sarah out and continually roped Eric into his plans without Eric agreeing. He also continually assumed Eric was participating in the plan when no such thing was going on.

Chloe: I have to say, Rex, you're an idiot.
Rex: Cause I slept with her sister. I know.
Chloe: No, cause you told her about it!
Rex: What was I supposed to say? She said she'd give me another chance if I told her the truth.
Chloe: That's when you make something up. Tell her you slept with me, or the Chicago Bears team, or you were so drunk you don't remember, anything is better than telling her you slept with her sister.

Then, when Rex finally got Sarah alone due to a real emergency for Eric that Rex assumed was manufactured, the writers upped the ante with a silly reveal.

There was no reason for Sarah to push and push for the name of the person Rex slept with, other than it would cause more trouble for her to know.

And it was equally ridiculous for the woman in question to turn out to be Noelle Curtis, Sarah's half-sister. Noelle hasn't been seen or mentioned in so long I had to double check if she'd ever existed before this storyline!

Anyway, once the one-night-stand was out in the open, Sarah was disgusted that Rex slept with her half-sister and went running off in search of revenge, while Chloe berated Rex for telling Sarah the truth instead of making up a new lie to stop her from finding out the truth.

Chloe Gets a Letter - Days of Our Lives

What?

Again, this might make sense to kids who are 15 or 16 years old and first learning about relationships, but a woman in her 30s who is supposedly a role model to her two kids shouldn't be thinking this way.

I don't know why Sarah wanted to know the name of Rex's secret lover. There was absolutely no good that could come out of knowing that info.

But whatever the reason was, telling her another lie seconds after she said honesty was the foundation of any future relationship wasn't a valid solution to this problem.

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It also would help if any of this was on-screen.

Rex cheated on Sarah twice before he and Sarah returned to Salem. They came there already engaged, only for the revelation that Rex had cheated on Sarah.

That made it hard for viewers to invest in this couple at all. Who cared that these people we never saw before weren't going to make it to the altar?

Giving Rex another off-screen affair that breaks Sarah's heart didn't help matters any.

Noelle isn't even in town and hasn't been on-screen since the character was five years old, making it hard to care that Sarah feels betrayed by her.

And while the dialogue about how Noelle was falling apart and so was Rex and that's why they ended up having sex was beautifully written, viewers don't watch soap operas so that the characters can tell them stories. They watch so that they can see these stories play out!

An Unhappy Couple - Days of Our Lives

Similarly, Rafe told Hope an interesting story about Johnny acting out and needing some time with his erstwhile stepfather. 

Despite the similarities to JJ's return storyline in 2013, this sounded like something I'd love to see on-air -- as did Lucas' description back in December 2018 of Allie drinking and needing her dad to straighten her out.

The writers cheat viewers out of compelling stories when stuff like this is shoved off-screen. Instead of using Sami's kids as a convenient excuse for characters disappearing temporarily, stories about them need to be full-fledged stories. 

I realize DAYS has budget woes, but there has to be a better way to do this.

Either find another reason for characters to go off-screen -- since Rafe has FBI and ISA contacts and Stefan just slipped through his fingers, how hard would it be to make that the reason he leaves town temporarily -- or create more generic reasons for them to leave.

Related: Days of Our Lives: Remembering Caroline Brady

Either way, stop teasing us with compelling stories that are never going to be seen on-air.

Rafe: I hate to leave you like this. But this isn't a choice between you and Sami, or about our marriage. I love you, you're the most important thing to me. Could you please say something?
Hope: [crying] Have a safe trip.

I'll take this excuse for Rafe to leave town if it means the end of Rafe and Hope, though.

This couple has zero chemistry, and neither one trusts the other at all. Their recent arguments have been torturous for viewers to watch.

Rafe is jealous of Ted to the point that he accosted Hope for shaking hands with the guy, while Hope's jealousy of Sami has no bounds.

None of that is entertaining to watch, and there's no point to a couple that continually distrusts and belittles one another. 

If Hope had been halfway reasonable, she and Rafe could have gone to Europe together to look after Johnny, which would give viewers a break from these two annoying characters. But as it is, I hope distance makes Rafe realize this relationship is all wrong and that he needs to end it.

Hope Worries - Days of Our Lives

Hope has become the more unlikeable of the two, and that's really saying something!

Back in the day, she was one of my favorite characters. She was a feisty, strong woman who didn't accept any nonsense while working in a male-dominated career.

But now, she's whiny, needy, and most of all corrupt.

Melinda Trask, no stranger to corruption herself, was 100% right in her assessment of Hope as a failure as the Commissioner and that just goes to show how off track DAYS has gone with this character.

Eli on the Case - Days of Our Lives

Eli is about the only likable member of the Salem PD right now. Hope is both shady and incompetent, and Rafe seemed to be running the investigation into Xander -- until he took a break to argue with Hope about whether he should see Sami.

Salem is starting to look like The Walking Dead.

Eli

Eli's commentary on how many people have come back from the dead was hilarious, and he wasn't afraid of Xander. Plus he actually does his job instead of using his position for personal gain, which is refreshing.

Too bad the Xander storyline took a weird, sideways turn that made no sense whatsoever.

The video evidence disappearing was unrealistic nonsense even by Salem standards!

Related: Days of Our Lives: 13 Things That Only Happen in Salem

Let's leave aside the fact that there's no way there'd only be one copy of that evidence. Even if it somehow got deleted from the police server, whatever security company already took the footage should still have a copy of it.

Plus, no evidence would ever be uploaded to a "secure server" without being backed up elsewhere -- except in Salem, of course.

So far that's all standard Salem silliness, with the bonus of the mayor's office somehow being directly involved with investigating crimes.

But even if you take all that nonsense for granted, there's still the fact that there are witnesses who saw the original tape. John, Brady, and Paul all watched it together, and I'm sure Paul would be happy to send an affidavit to the court while John and Brady testified directly as to what they saw.

Plus Sheila ID'd Xander from a photo when Eli questioned her, and there are probably security cameras in the Mayor's office that could back up her claim that Xander posed as John to get access to the video.

Back Again And Causing Trouble - Days of Our Lives

That should be more than enough for bloodthirsty Trask, who would also love to get revenge on Abe for kicking her out of his office when she suggested Hope was an unfit pick for Commissioner.

But Xander himself told Hope that it would make the police department look bad if anyone prosecuted him for destroying evidence and the Commissioner decided to take a word of a criminal over anything resembling reality.

What makes the police department look bad is allowing criminals to dictate to them whether or not they should get charged, especially since this fiasco came on the hells of Stefan somehow getting exonerated for treason.

John: I'm sorry, Doc. Xander deserves to be punished for what he did to you.
Marlena: I don't want revenge.

And then, to add insult to injury, Marlena parroted the same nonsense Abby has been spreading about how prosecuting people who have engaged in violence against you is equivalent to seeking revenge.

The messaging here is clear: Crime pays, and victims using the legal system to hold their attackers accountable are the ones doing something wrong. What kind of nonsense is this?

Villains are an important part of the show. They drive conflict forward and give viewers a reason to root for the good guys.

But the villains shouldn't win in the end, and the heroes shouldn't apologize for standing up for themselves. In fact, if a villain gets away with it, it should be a cause for the heroes to doubt whether there's goodness in the world, not for them to celebrate that they don't have to seek vengeance by going to court.

Xander and Leo - Days of Our Lives

The Xander/Leo storyline is uncomfortable even though Xander certainly makes Leo more interesting.

Leo is sexually harassing Xander and Sonny at the same time. I doubt it's going to go as far as full-on rape. Xander likely is planning to double-cross Leo, and I wouldn't be surprised if he drugged Leo's champagne.

Still, though, a gay guy trying to force a straight guy into sex with him is a story straight out of porn movies as well as being totally inappropriate.

If Leo being a gay villain is a step forward for daytime TV, then him being one who has attempted to rape two men in the space of a month cancels it out. There's enough homophobic nonsense in the world about gay people being pedophiles and rapists without this story supporting the idea.

Jen Still Loves Jack - Days of Our Lives

The best part of Days of Our Lives continues to be the Jack/Jennifer storyline. This couple has such a rich history, and amnesiac Jack deciding he's not good enough for Jennifer because of a past he can't remember is just a continuation of his lifelong struggle to feel good enough for Jennifer.

It was amazing how similar Jack's behavior was to JJ's when he was with Paige. It made me miss Paige all over again because she would be so eager to help encourage Jack and use herself and JJ as an example.

Jennifer's heartbreak over Jack's inability to remember her is more real than any of the other so-called heartbreaks because these are characters that viewers have seen fall in love and build a family together for over 30 years. 

They aren't randomly thrown together and just as randomly torn apart, they aren't claiming to love one another while being wishy-washy about their commitment, and they aren't having conflicts borne out of sudden and random character changes or bouts of stupidity that make them act in ways that don't make sense.

Jack and Jennifer began in an era where DAYS valued family and relationships over the plot point of the moment, and it shows. 

Trying to Get Her to Talk - Days of Our Lives

That doesn't mean that younger couples don't have a chance to succeed, but if the writers want to make any other couple rootable, they need to look at why Jack and Jen work so well and incorporate some realism into the newer relationships instead of rushing to get people together and/or tear them apart.

I wish Jack had enough of his memory back to counsel his son about Haley.

Haley is better than Lani or Gabi for JJ, which isn't saying much. She's also a very, very weak substitute for Paige. 

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

The show is trying to recreate what JJ and Paige had by attaching Haley to someone who hates JJ and is determined to get in the way. Except that JJ and Paige's relationship had depth and wasn't based on JJ trying to overcome his past by getting way too much in a stranger's business.

And Eve made sense as a villain. Trask does not. If she wanted to mess with JJ, she should have gotten involved in his attempt to turn his life after getting arrested as a teenager or even in his shooting Theo or claiming responsibility for the drugs Victor had planted in his apartment.

An Unwanted Savior - Days of Our Lives

Trask has no basis to mess with JJ, so we're in for yet another illogical story here.

Haley got some excellent scenes with Marlena, though.

It was a slap in JJ's face and an insult to viewers that Marlena told Haley that you can't get over suicide without help when JJ was never allowed to have therapy on-screen and did just that. 

These scenes should have been between Marlena and him a year ago, not a newcomer that has given viewers no reason to care about her.

Plus, after Haley finally promised to tell Marlena her secret, she disappeared -- and three days later Marlena was in the Pub with John.

Is it too much to ask that DAYS stop inserting cliffhangers that never get resolved? 

Related: Lessons Days of Our Lives Can Learn From Australia's Neighbours

Your turn, DAYS Fanatics!

What did you love or hate about Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-14-19?

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

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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