Viewers were shocked and disgusted when Stefan took advantage of a mentally ill Abigail to have sex while she was in a dissociated state.
A year later, that outrage seems to have been forgotten, at least by the writers.
Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-23-20 featured a sham marriage between Stevano and a microchipped Marlena -- for the purpose of getting her into his bed -- will viewers again be disgusted?
The one thing that can be said for this awful Marlena/Stevano storyline is that some characters acknowledge that this is rape.
Tony even went as far as telling Stevano that he couldn't take advantage of Marlena when she wasn't all there, and John was determined to stop Stevano from having sex with his wife.
The real test will be what happens now that John found Stevano and Marlena in bed, though. This time around, will it be treated as a rape story, or will that be glossed over like it was when Stefan raped Abigail?
If Days of Our Lives returns to writing responsibly about rape, the idea of Marlena, who is a psychiatrist that specializes in helping people with PTSD, having to deal with her own PTSD could be fascinating.
Given Days of Our Lives' recent track record on rape and other important social issues, though, it's hard to trust that this story will be written at all responsibly.
John and Tony might both be aware that Marlena isn't herself, but that may end up being a side note, glossed over, or turned into Marlena "cheating" on John with Stevano.
We'll see. In the meantime, this has been the latest bad plot point in one of the worst stories in recent Days of Our Lives history,
Chad being brainwashed to turn him into a violent wanna-be killer is one of the worst aspects of all the ridiculous sci-fi nonsense surrounding the Dimeras nowadays.
The Steve-as-Stefano storyline was already deeply unpopular before this development, and Chad's part in it hasn't done the story any favors.
First of all, there's no reason for Stevano to use Chad as a henchman. The original Stefano had goons for that. They weren't always terribly bright, but they were loyal and did his bidding to the best of their ability.
And Chad simply isn't enjoyable as a violent henchman. Billy Flynn is doing a good job with the awful material he's been given, but this behavior just doesn't fit Chad's character and isn't fun to watch.
Plus, this just recycles the same old plot devices that have been used over and over.
Once again, someone in the Dimera mansion has lost control of their faculties, turned violent, and... put Kate in the secret room.
She gets locked in there so often that it might as well be her second home. At least this time it didn't take weeks of nobody being able to get in touch with her and her nearly dying of starvation before she got out.
Kate quipped that if she got out of this alive, she'd make sure that room was fully stocked for future prisoners. How about just board up the room or take the lock off the door so nobody can be locked in there again?
Being stuck in there gave her and Gabi time to bond, I guess, but I don't like Gabi being right about anything since she's generally insufferable.
Also, Abigail shouldn't have needed Anna's prodding and Kate whipping out the letter Stevano gave Chad to realize something was wrong with her husband.
She's supposed to be an investigative reporter, but she naively nodded and accepted everything Chad told her as gospel truth even when it made no sense whatsoever.
Abby: Do you trust them?
Anna: Only as far as I can throw their father.
That's not a good trait to have if you're going to be reporting on things that people want to keep hidden. And considering all the other things that have gone on in the Dimera mansion, she has no reason to be wide-eyed and overly trusting when Chad is acting strange.
It was nice for Anna to be mentoring Abby on how to deal with being a Dimera wife, though. Anna can be overbearing and irritating, and the mentorship role is an improvement.
I wish Anna and Abby's lunch had been on-screen, though. Friendship scenes are one of the backbones of Days of Our Lives, and it would have been fun to watch them bond and/or for Roman to deal with Anna right after having dealt with Hattie.
As it was, either they didn't ever go to lunch or it was a 30-second lunch because they were back after ten minutes of conversation to witness Chad shaking hands with Kristen and Tony.
It was all set up for Anna to realize something was wrong and go looking for Tony, and her lunch with Abby was incidental. But it still pulled me out of the story for them to be back so soon.
Meanwhile, John was mostly useless. He spent his time fuming that Stevano dared send fake divorce papers and trying to interrogate Hope about what she did as Gina, then stormed off with Brady to find Marlena without any plan for what to do once they got there.
Brady walking in just in time to save Kristen from Chad was a nice twist, though. From the set-up, I'd predicted that Brady and John would stop the wedding and Brady would be angry at Kristen for "betraying" him by attending it.
That nonsense could still happen, but since Brady saw Chad attack Kristen, he's less likely to think she's a willing participant in this farce.
Kristen and Brady's other storyline is a lot more compelling than this, so I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that bump in the road.
I'm still not a fan of Brady and Kristen as a couple, but I'm enjoying this more reformed version of Kristen, and Stacey Haiduk has been hitting it out of the park with Kristen's grief scenes.
Of course, her baby isn't dead, and who knows how she's going to react when she finds that out.
She accidentally shoved Haley to her death when she learned the baby was gone, so what will she do when she learns her old nemesis Xander helped steal the child and make her think her daughter was dead?
Anyway, if this baby switch plan falls apart, it won't be because Nicole is a better investigative reporter than Abigail -- which she is.
It'll be because Xander can't seem to resist needling the people he pays off, and sooner or later he's going to get caught.
Nicole began realizing something was off when she saw Xander bothering Dr. Raynor over and over. Now, Xander has accosted the DNA technician twice at the nurses' station, where anyone could see it, to remind him that betrayal is deadly.
To Nicole's credit, she became the first person in Salem history to remember that the hospital never gets DNA tests right on the first try and became more convinced of her theory once she got that doctored test.
But even if she hadn't, all it takes is one person overhearing Xander's unnecessary conversation with the DNA technician for the jig to be up.
In any case, the best thing to come out of this so far is Nicole's conversation with Abe.
Abe and Nicole share a relationship with Brandon even though they aren't blood related, and Abe is the exact kind of intelligent, calm influence that Nicole needs so she doesn't impulsively ruin her life.
Plus, Abe needs something to do besides forgive Lani for things that it's not in his character to easily forgive. He is at his best when he works alongside the cops on a case, and trying to protect Nicole while she investigates Xander is a perfect storyline for him.
His conversation with her was pure fun. Abe was skeptical of her theory, which gave viewers who had missed something the chance to review the evidence along with her, and gently tried to encourage Nicole to be careful, yet accepted that she wasn't about to listen to that.
Hopefully, Abe will continue to work with Nicole on this rather than that being a sideline that is never picked up again, like when she helped protect JJ after Theresa's overdose but the two never interacted again.
The only downside to this storyline is Eric.
First of all, Nicole doesn't want to give Eric false hope, so she's keeping her suspicions to herself for the moment and making up stories when Eric asks her what she's up to.
Although she is well-intentioned--this time she's protecting Eric instead of trying to stop him from leaving her--this is still a bad idea and it's obvious where it's going.
When Eric learns that he is not Mackenzie's father, that's going to hurt, and when he learns that Nicole suspected and kept it from him, we're probably in for yet another round of Nicole apologizing profusely while Eric berates her.
A far better way to go would be for Eric to know Nicole well enough to realize she's lying to him and, instead of getting angry, have a civil conversation about what's going on and how he wants her to trust him this time.
But that's not likely to happen, since Days of Our LIves seems invested in repeating this irritating cycle over and over.
Eric's behavior with Sarah and Xander was also obnoxious.
He believes he is Mackenzie's father, but that doesn't mean he has the right to tell Sarah who she can date or marry, and she was under no obligation to inform him immediately on getting engaged.
And even if his concerns are valid, throwing a tantrum doesn't win him any points. I was glad Sarah told him off.
Most likely, Eric's rage will be explained as jealousy once the baby switch comes out and his and Sarah's relationships both implode.
I wish Sarah and Xander wouldn't implode, but it doesn't seem likely that she can put up with Xander having stolen another baby so that she wouldn't know hers was dead, and I'm fully expecting Eric and Sarah to reunite after the reveal.
In any case, Eric insisting that Rex, who couldn't stay faithful, was a better choice than Xander was ridiculous. Thank goodness he doesn't get to make relationship decisions for Sarah.
Meanwhile, Maggie made the rounds to say goodbye before heading off to prison. It was surprising she didn't say goodbye to her beloved niece Jennifer, too, but her goodbyes with Sonny, Will, and Victor were heartfelt.
Maggie isn't likely to remain in prison long-term, which means either the judge will give her a lighter sentence than she thinks she deserves or there will be another twist in this and it will turn out she wasn't driving the car after all.
Those kinds of twists get annoying after a while -- pick a story and stick with it, Days! But in this case, it's probably the best solution other than Adrienne miraculously returning from the dead.
There's not much storyline potential for Maggie in prison and the entire family has already forgiven her for driving drunk, so what would be the point of her getting a long sentence?
Plus, since she doesn't even remember the first drink she took that night, it's entirely possible that she was drugged and placed in the car for some nefarious reason. Many viewers suspect Summer was the real culprit, and that makes sense, so we'll see if that's what happens.
Maggie wasn't the only one planning to leave Salem, though, and Hattie's goodbye scenes were surprisingly satisfying.
She's gone from being comic relief to being a kind, yet insecure, woman who happens to look like Marlena.
And unlike most of the women in Salem, she realized she doesn't need to have a man to have a sense of identity. That was a refreshing change and a positive message that isn't emphasized enough on soaps.
Roman's encouragement was nice, too, though it was sad to see Hattie go and for Roman to once again end up alone.
Ben was released from prison and ran straight into Ciara's arms.
This should have happened a while ago. Once someone else was charged with the same murder he was being imprisoned for, it made no logical sense for him to remain incarcerated, and Justin shouldn't have had to convince a judge of that.
But hey, Justin finally won a case, so there's that.
Anyway, hopefully, Ben will have something more interesting to do soon than have sex with Ciara.
This couple could be compelling, but they don't do anything but have sex and argue over Ben trying to protect Ciara, and that makes their relationship fall flat.
Ciara should have been splitting her time between worrying about Ben and worrying about her mom in the first place, not rushing to Hope's side almost at the last minute and feeling guilty that she was too pre-occupied with Ben to do anything about her mother's problems before.
Hope is awake and seems to be herself again, though, so let's hope that lasts.
I loved her supporting Kayla, though Kayla seemed determined to convince herself she is in love with Justin, not Steve. Keeping feelings secret because it could hurt the relationship never turns out well, and Kayla should know better.
And finally, Rafe's reunion with little David was rushed.
This wasn't a great story, but it seemed silly that Evan refused to tell anyone where David was because he wanted to be his son's caretaker, yet quickly caved after a five-minute pep talk from his ex.
Plus, what was the point of Evan turning out to be Orpheus' son? The two are headed to jail now and will likely not be seen again.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics.
Hit that blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-23-20.
And don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives continue to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.