Days of Our Lives Review: End of a Tragic Chapter

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It looks like some truly annoying plots are coming to an end.

Stevano is in the hospital and Rolf might be forced to remove his microchip after he finishes removing Marlena's, while Nicole finally uncovered the truth about the baby switch.

And in between, Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-30-20 managed to pull off a silly April Fools Day episode--but was that a needed distraction or a total waste of time?

Dr. Raynor Gets Caught - Days of Our Lives

That April Fools episode was so unrelated to everything else that it might as well have been a different show.

I'm not a fan of these campy fantasy episodes. They add nothing to the current storylines, and the one-day character returns are always disappointing.

This was no exception.

The April Fools episode revolved around three one-day returns that, to nobody's surprise, turned out to be a joke.

Of the three stories, Sheila's return was the most believable. Her claims that she'd kept a pregnancy secret from Eli and now needed his help because the baby had gotten kidnapped could have been Lani's nightmare. Or they could have been a new storyline for Lani and Eli now that Gabi is out of the way.

Confronting Their Enemy - Days of Our Lives

If Days of Our Lives had just stuck to that, minus the ridiculous ending where it turned out Sheila's baby belonged to Abe, viewers might have gotten fooled.

Heck, they might have even been disappointed because Lani and Eli dealing with Sheila and her baby would have been a more interesting storyline than some of what's currently airing.

Instead, Sheila's story was entangled with three other returns that were so ridiculous they weren't believable for a second.

The Leo story was silly, but the returns of Daniel and Clyde are in competition for which one was stupider.

April Fools Disaster - Days of Our Lives

The beginnings of both of these stories were somewhat believable, but they quickly descended into nonsense.

The Ben/Ciara story was nothing but a rerun of the recent Ben/Ciara story except with the roles reversed--now Ciara was the one in trouble and Ben was the one suggesting he sacrifice his future for her.

It was especially ridiculous to suggest that nobody knew Clyde had escaped from prison until he got tied to the babynapping.

I know the Salem PD is both short-staffed and generally incompetent, but come on!

While the Ben/Ciara story was merely silly, though, the Daniel return story was offensive to Daniel and Daniel/Nicole fans.

Investigating a Baby Switch - Days of Our Lives

"Ericole" is end game even though Eric killed Daniel in a drunk driving accident after sulking for months that Nicole was in love with Daniel and taking a drink every time he saw them together.

It's a soap, so such things are forgivable, though Eric's constantly berating Nicole when he's mad at her doesn't help make this couple rootable. 

Anyway, this fantasy turned Daniel into the opposite of who he was when his character was alive.

Instead of being the sensitive, compassionate doctor who seemed addicted to helping other people at the expense of his well-being, this version of Daniel was a selfish jerk who expected Nicole to wait around for five years for news that he was still alive and claimed Eric should step aside to make up for the drunk driving accident.

He was also goofy and overly bouncy -- the opposite of the soft-spoken wise counselor that he was when he was alive.

Hattie Leaves Salem - Days of Our LIves

No wonder Eric thought he was a doppelganger! Kudos to him for realizing that there's a bunch of fake people running around Salem, but sheesh.

That's my big problem with these fantasy episodes in general. The writers tend to twist my favorite no-longer-on-canvas characters out of shape, almost as if they are making the point that this character will NEVER be back on screen and definitely won't be part of the ship that I love.

That was irritating enough on Halloween of 2017 when Paige "returned" in fantasy, only to murder JJ and Lani even though that was the opposite of her character.

Now they did the same thing with Daniel, giving him a fantasy return in which he acted nothing like himself and Nicole ended up cursing him out and trying to attack him.

Leo was another character who left just as things got interesting, though at least he didn't die. 

His return mostly consisted of summarizing all his previous storylines, along with being involved in this silly babynapping story.

Leo: Can I just say one more thing?
Sonny: What?
Leo: April Fools!

The real Leo was far more three-dimensional than this fantasy caricature, though Greg Rikaart saying April Fools to everyone was a fine way to end this nonsensical diversion from the current storylines.

The sad thing is that silly as this special episode was, it was more enjoyable than the Stevano nonsense.

Tony Disapproves - Days of Our Lives

Thank goodness that awful Marlena marriage/rape storyline was shortlived, though its end was unjustifiably gory.

Anna poked Stevano's eye out with her stiletto, undoubtedly as a precursor to Steve returning to his true identity, patch and all.

That was a fine way to resolve that, but I could have done without Stevano bleeding all over the place.

Days of Our Lives is never realistic, so why did the blood and gore have to be?

I also agreed with Tony that the original Stefano would never be happy with his children threatening each other's lives, nor would he ever attempt to kill one of his children.

Kristen and Tony Bond - Days of Our Lives

Disown, yes. Stefano wouldn't hesitate to kick his children out of the family until they bent themselves to his will. He and EJ were on the outs quite a bit toward the end, after all.

But Stefano valued family above all else and the idea of him even threatening to shoot Tony was ridiculous.

The aftermath of Stevano's attempt to force Marlena into a marriage with him is more compelling than the rescue itself.

First of all, John and Marlena are constantly caught in this cycle of kidnap/rescue/gratitude. Marlena's been abducted so often that being stuck in a dungeon somewhere is just a regular day for her, and she's always waiting for John to rescue her.

And besides that, it didn't make a lot of sense that John could talk Marlena out of believing he was the bad guy and that she was in love with Stevano.

I know it's supposed to be a testimony to her and John's great love, but then how come Kayla couldn't overpower Steve's microchip when he held her captive? She and Steve have been a super couple for at least as long, if not longer, than John and Marlena.

Throughout the whole GIna storyline, viewers were told over and over that nothing works except Rolf removing the microchip, yet both John and Abigail were able to talk their lovers out of being controlled by Stevano.

In Abigail's case, it makes a little more sense. Chad was drugged, not microchipped, and Abby went through something similar with  not being in control of her actions when she was struggling with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Chad: I heard you on the phone just now. Who were you talking to?
Abigail: Oh, just la familia. Did you hear me, Chad? I said "la familia."
Chad: I heard you. Are you testing me?
Abigail: Damn right I am. I love you and I need to make sure you're okay.

But still, Days of Our Lives has this bad habit of setting up its world to work a certain way -- until that's not convenient for the story. Even when dealing with something fantastical like microchips that make people into other people, the rules need to be consistent.

Trying to Break the Spell - Days of Our Lives

Changing how things work midstream is jarring and takes viewers out of the story.

One thing they've done right with this whole silly microchip thing is to leave the question of whether the microchip removal really worked open.

Gina/Hope is certainly acting like Hope now, Chad is acting more like himself, and Marlena was fighting her programming even before the operation.

But some of the characters still have doubts, like John not wanting Hope to come along on the mission to rescue Marlena or Abby using the trigger word to test whether Chad is truly cured of his brainwashing.

And the operations themselves are off-screen, so we have to take Kayla's word for it that they were a success and Rolf didn't play any tricks.

Brady is Shot - Days of Our Lives

Hopefully, this is really the end of the doppelgangers' reign of terror. Few viewers could take another round of Gina, RoboChad, or Microchipped Marlena.

But given this writing team's predilection for doppelganger stories, I don't trust the fake personalities not to rear their heads six months or a year from now.

Tony's reaction to all of this was the most interesting. He hates what Stefano's done, yet the idea of losing him altogether when Steve gets restored to his true personality bothered him.

It made me wonder what he's going to do next. Also, Tony almost always turns out to be Andre in disguise sooner or later, so could his wish for Stefano to remain alive be a precursor to that reveal?

Eric Confronts Abe - Days of Our Lives

The Stevano story took up quite a bit of airtime, but so did the far-more-compelling baby switch investigation story.

Nicole was always better as an investigative reporter than as a fashion mogul, and her trip to New York gave her a chance to shine.

It was weird it was for her to gush about how beautiful New York is in spring while in real life, New York City is one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this was filmed eight months ago, and anyway, people need that escape from the real-life situation.

Anyway, she did great work getting a confession out of Dr. Raynor.

Nicole was right, too, that Raynor could have asked for help instead of letting Xander and Victor intimidate them. If she came forward and then got killed, that would look suspicious, and Victor isn't nearly as omni-powerful as Raynor made him out to be.

Realizing The Truth/Tall - Days of Our Lives

Abe's involvement in this story is the best thing to come out of it. 

Anything that gives James Reynolds meaningful screen time is good news, and Abe is better suited to semi-helping Nicole with a police matter than to wandering around town giving random people advice.

I just wish that Nicole hadn't lied to Eric.

It put super-moral Abe into a difficult position when Eric asked him for the truth, and no good can come out of Nicole keeping secrets.

Right now, Eric is being understanding because he thinks Nicole is trying to protect him from knowing she has a serious illness. But will he continue to be so understanding once he learns the truth she is really trying to protect him from?

Nicole Picks A Fight/Tall - Days of Our Lives

Brady is getting close to the truth anyway, so Nicole's secret investigation may not matter.

Between Kristen feeling drawn to baby Mackenzie and Brady discovering the birthmark, it should be easy for the two of them to figure out what's going on here. 

Right now, Brady is trying to convince himself this is all a big coincidence, but how long is that going to last?

Brady: Where's Nicole?
Eric: She went to New York on business.
Brady: What business?
Eric: Basic Black business. It was a last minute thing. She left last night.
Brady: Eric, Basic Black doesn't have any operations in New York. All of our offices are in Los Angeles.

And while Brady was the one to tip Eric off that Nicole wasn't in New York on Basic Black business, will the brothers continue to get along once it turns out that Eric's baby is really Brady and Kristen's, or will Eric once again lash out irrationally at Brady?

A Frosty Encounter - Days of Our Lives

The only other noteworthy thing that happened was an unnecessary encounter between Eli and Gabi. I was glad he told her off, but Lani still has no backbone and allowed Gabi to manipulate her way into alone time with Eli.

Abe was right to question whether this was a good idea. Hopefully, Gabi doesn't have some new nefarious plan in mind to win Eli back.

Your turn, Days of Our LIves fanatics.

Hit that blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-30-20.

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.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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