Lots of viewers predicted that Nicole would turn out to be Kristen in disguise.
I wasn't one of them, and I was hoping that even with Nicole acting weirdly detached from Holly, that wouldn't be the case. After all, Nicole could have easily been brainwashed by Xander, who also brought blank-slate Jack to Eve to turn into her partner in crime.
But on Days of Our Lives during the week of 5-20-19, Nicole's behavior became more erratic and then she peeled off a mask, proving that she was indeed Kristen Dimera.
I don't like this latest twist.
First of all, it was predictable -- judging from comments on various fan forums, about 95% of fans guessed it.
More importantly, this is the second time a beloved character has been brought back from the dead, only to turn out to be nothing like the person everyone remembers.
The writers did the same thing with Jack. He is one of the most popular characters in DAYS history, and most fans were beyond thrilled to hear Matthew Ashford had been rehired and that Jack was coming back as a live character, not a ghost.
But his amnesia story quickly turned into an eivl Jack clone story thanks to Eve's manipulations, leaving many of those same fans devastated.
And now the same thing is happening with Nicole/Kristen.
When the writers do stuff like this, it makes these character returns seem like cheap tricks to raise ratings. Viewers don't like being tricked, and when it happens over and over it makes it hard to get excited about any projected returns.
Plus, the more doppelgangers and amnesiac formerly dead people there are running around Salem, the more difficult it is to suspend disbelief.
These resurrection stories are silly and unrealistic to begin with, but when it happens every few months or so it becomes a huge problem.
Kristen[disguised as Nicole]: People in Salem hold grudges like nobody's business. The only way I could possibly come back is as the late Nicole Walker.
Xander: You play the part so well that sometimes even I forget that the part of Nicole Walker is now being played by the one and only Kristen Dimera.
Considering that Marlena was kidnapped and replaced by a doppelganger a year or so before Nicole's miraculous return, Eric, Brady, and everyone else should be suspicious of a Nicole who is not acting like herself.
The standard explanation is "she's grieving". But her grief is over the top and lashing out at people like Maggie who have stood by her no matter what is out of character, grieving or not.
Plus, since Brady and Kristen were lovers before, shouldn't Brady realize that he's kissing the wrong woman every time she comes on to him?
The cruelest part of this story is that Kristen and Xander faked the death of a child to facilitate their evil plans.
Half of Salem is heartbroken and blaming each other but it's all one big gaslighting incident, because Holly isn't dead.
The worst part is also one of the best-acted and emotional stories to come out of this mess: Maggie's relapse into alcoholism.
I find it unrealistic that Maggie would be tempted three or four times in a row and not even consider going to a meeting, but I guess if she's depressed anything is possible.
Brady: You've always been there to pick me up and dust me off when I slipped. Now it's my turn, okay? We're not going to a meeting tonight, but tomorrow you and I, we have a date. Tell me that's okay.
Brady: Good. But tonight, we're going to go to bed because I think that's the best idea.
Maggie: Please don't tell Victor.
Brady: Victor is not going to know because you're going to sleep in my room tonight.
In any case, Maggie's complete breakdown throughout the week of 5-20-19 is more than Emmy-worthy material for Suzanne Rogers! Maggie has clearly lost it, and her alcoholism is a symptom of the problem, as it should be.
Brady is not generally the most likable character, but his support of Maggie when he found her passed out was full of the painful emotions that soap viewers love!
Brady could have easily been judgmental about Maggie falling not only off the wagon but off the high horse she sometimes gets on, but he didn't. He just quietly accepted her slip and comforted her.
The only mistake he made was agreeing not to tell Victor.
It's an understandable mistake. Brady wants Maggie to trust him. But keeping an alcoholic's behavior secret can be a terrible idea. Too much protecting her from the consequences of her drinking leaves her with no motivation to change and frustrates and burns out the secret keepers.
Plus this is Victor we're talking about. Not much gets past him even at his advanced age, and it's unlikely that he isn't aware that Maggie was drunk when Brady took her upstairs.
Maggie's jealousy of Kate has been over-the-top and out of character, but it makes sense if Maggie's having a nervous breakdown. Victor's interest in Kate is purely that he wants to protect his business from Xander's manipulations, but Maggie does need him more than he realizes and that could blow up in his face.
Kate would be wise not to get involved with Gabi, however. Gabi screwed her over last time, and this new plan isn't likely to turn out any better.
This whole Chloe/Stefan/Gabi triangle has been a low point, and it was hard to get invested in Chloe's heartbreak after she was tricked into walking in on Stefan and Gabi in bed.
Chloe and Stefan weren't anything. They were roommates who went on one date, and Chloe continually kept Stefan at arm's length.
She had good reasons for doing that -- drug cartel after her and her children, anybody? -- but still, she and Stefan weren't a long-established couple.
Chloe reacted as if she were in a committed relationship with Stefan and he slept with someone else behind her back. Was it sleazy of him to keep his flings with Gabi secret? Sure. But Chloe's hurt was all out of proportion to what she and Stefan were.
Stefan and Gabi's relationship never made any sense either, and Stefan being written as being unable to resist temptation can go any time now.
But this was hardly the dealbreaker Chloe made it out to be.
There's also the issue of Kate and Gabi's trick being super obvious.
Gabi lured Stefan back to the mansion by claiming Parker was melting down when he wasn't. Kate lured Chloe back by making the same false claim.
Angry or not, Chloe should be smart enough to figure out that Kate WANTED her to walk in on Stefan and Gabi. She knows Kate is no friend of hers and should be asking herself why Kate wanted her to be aware of Stefan's indiscretion.
Plus Gabi's plan isn't going to work. Stefan isn't going to marry her because he can't have Chloe. Or at least I hope not!
It'll be interesting to see how this affects Kristen's plans, though. She thinks she can pull off getting Brady for herself by pretending to be Nicole, but Chloe will likely run to Brady now that she's officially done with Stefan.
Brady already turned "Nicole" down so that he wouldn't hurt Eric and has had feelings for Chloe for a while, so could this throw a huge monkey wrench into Kristen's attempt to seduce him?
Jack's beginning his tenure as mayor of Salem was equal parts ridiculous and entertaining.
Salem is the only city in the world where there's no lame duck period before power changes hands, but whatever. The deeper issue is Eve becoming commissioner.
Jack: Does anyone have any questions?
Jennifer: I have one. Have you lost whatever's left of your mind?
Jennifer was right: Eve is in no way qualified to be commissioner. She has no knowledge of the law, no experience with police procedures, nothing that makes her remotely capable of doing this job.
And she only wants the position so that she can engage in personal vendettas.
Hope wasn't doing the bang-up job everyone in Salem except for Jack and Eve thought she was, but that's beside the point. Jack didn't fire her out of any deeply held principles. He just wanted to help his wife get revenge on Ben Weston.
I'd much, much rather Paige be alive to put her mother in her place than see her memory be misused this way. We've had more than enough police corruption stories on DAYS in the last couple years without a non-cop making things 100 times worse at the Salem PD!
On the other hand, the story works wonderfully as commentary on the current political situation and is well-timed considering that in real life, we are at the very beginning of the 2020 Presidential election campaign season.
JJ and Haley being on the run has potential, but it's difficult to invest in when JJ and Haley's relationship was built up out of nothing.
There's no chemistry between them and everything positive about JJ/Haley is a carbon copy of what made JJ and Paige such a great couple. Even Haley's twisted parentage tale properly belonged to Paige, who was robbed of the chance to learn who her father was before she died.
It's awesome that Casey Moss is finally getting substantial screen time, but this story is not as good as it could be.
JJ doesn't seem to see the long prison sentence he's risking if he's caught as a big deal, and this story would be stronger if he were conflicted but chose to take the risk anyway. JJ worked so hard to turn his life around after almost going to prison for drugs that for him to not even blink before risking multiple felony charges makes no sense.
The running away to Canada motif is overdone, too -- Brady and Nicole did it not that long ago -- and it makes no sense that JJ knows anything about Canada at all.
He went to boarding school in England unless his history was suddenly changed so that he could be passionate about revisiting Canada. It would, quite frankly, make more sense for him to hook up with his old boarding school buddies to somehow get back to Europe undetected, especially since Abigail lives in Paris.
It'll be great to see Rory again, but too bad he was never turned into a full-fledged character and is about to make yet another silly cameo doing something shady!
And Jennifer is far too accepting of JJ's decision. She should not only be begging Hope to bring him home without making him face charges but be attempting to use her journalistic skills to find her son and convince him that this impulsive course of action is no solution to Haley's immigration problem!
THAT would be the kind of soapy drama that is worthy of this show and be more in character for Jennifer.
Claire has gone completely bonkers since Tripp decided to break up with her for good. It's a terrible character-assassinating plot, but Olivia Rose Keegan is hitting these scenes out of the park!
I'm tired of every woman in Salem having a mental breakdown that results in violence. That perpetuates so many harmful myths that there's not room to list them all.
Yet every time Crazy Claire is on screen she is impossible not to watch thanks to the quality of the acting.
Ben will hopefully unmask Claire's pyromaniac ways sooner rather than later, though. I'm not sure why he didn't tell Ciara what he'd seen at the loft but I hope she gets it out of him!
And finally, Lani needs to realize for once and for all that this is NOT HER BABY.
Rafe was too calm and gentle when he put her in her place, and I doubt this is the last boundary she's going to cross in the name of protecting baby David from Ben or anyone else.
So what did you think, DAYS fanatics?
Are you enjoying this Kristen as Nicole storyline or do you find it disappointing?
Did Chloe's heartbreak make sense?
And are you hoping Jack gets his memory back soon?
Hit the comments with your thoughts, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion!
Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.