Kidnapped babies. False accusations. Women dating "nice guys" that turn out to be psychopathically evil.
Days of Our Lives seems to be starting 2021 off with more of the same old stuff.
The most exciting thing about Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-04-21 is that we are headed toward the climax with some of these irritating stories. But will the serial give us something new to sink our teeth into soon?
Let's start with the latest kidnapping: Lani and Eli's twins disappeared from the hospital while their parents waited for them to be discharged.
Babynappings are a soap staple, and when done right, they can be riveting stories. I still remember Steve and Kayla chasing distraught Sheila across the globe to Australia when she kidnapped baby Stephanie back in the late 1980s!
And there's deep drama here already, with Lani being afraid her babies will be taken from her just when she thought she was out of the woods as far as suffering another heartbreaking loss, Eli being determined to not only find his babies but get revenge on the kidnapper, and Abe using his influence as Mayor to get priority on this case.
The problem is, we've suffered through countless kidnappings in the last several months, and that dilutes the impact of this story.
Instead of being eager to experience the drama, we're yawning and wondering when we'll get something different.
Plus, there was another story staring the writers in the face that might have been more fun.
When Valerie visited the hospital, she was quick to get upset that her granddaughter wasn't named after her and gave Lani and Eli a pump so that Eli could feed the babies breast milk -- something Lani didn't want to do.
Since Valerie was already being portrayed as being strongly opinionated about how Lani and Eli should raise their children and Abe and Julie are both also known for thinking their way is the best way, all the ingredients were in place for some domestic drama.
Eli might have been inclined to go along with his mother's wishes, adding to the drama since his relationship with Lani is already so fragile, and Lani might have been tempted to go along with Abe's advice.
This kind of story is not as splashy as a kidnapping, but it would be a hell of a lot more realistic, and viewers could probably relate to it. Who doesn't have at least one well-meaning older relative who is always putting their nose into how they deal with family issues?
At least Abe is on the case, and he and Eli are competent at their jobs. Too often, the police either let criminals slip through their fingers or nobody consults them at all. Either way, citizens are left to do the cops' jobs for them, which is a silly and annoying trope.
But considering how many babies are stolen from Salem University Hospital, Valerie's assertion that such a thing was impossible struck me as ridiculous.
And why in God's name does Dr. Raynor have to be involved with this?
The idea that she could waltz into the hospital and they'd presume she was back on staff was laughable. Didn't she lose her medical license for switching Sarah's dead baby with Kristen's live one last time around?
No one should be allowing her anywhere near the nursery, and her inclusion in this mess makes the story seem like a rerun.
Too bad Bonnie couldn't keep her in the park a little longer... like, until someone who knew what was going on could show up.
I did get a laugh out of Bonnie's obliviousness as she oohed and aahed over the stolen babies while Raynor stood by anxiously waiting to get rid of her.
And the fact that Raynor was totally okay with a stranger picking up one of her children was proof positive she's not the mother. What mother wouldn't freak out about some weird lady swooping in to comfort their crying infant?
Hopefully, Bonnie's encounter with Raynor means this story will be short-lived. Raynor should once again be caught and, this time, go to jail. The end.
Of course, that would be too easy, so presumably, there's going to be some mystery around who she's working for, and she probably won't get caught until she's delivered the kids to that person.
I guess that Gabi is behind the kidnapping.
Bad girl Gabi hates Lani almost as much as she hates Abigail and Chad. Her plot to break up Lani and Eli and snag Eli for herself fell apart, turning Gabi into the town pariah for a while.
So what better way to get revenge than stealing Lani and Eli's babies?
The only other options are the usual bad guys.
Kristen is in jail and having some sort of boundary-crossing borderline emotional affair with Lani, so she's out.
Orpheus and Clyde are back in jail and have no reason to mess with Lani and Eli's kids. And maybe Rolf would want them for experiments, but he has no real connection to Lani and Eli and mostly works for Kristen.
Of course, Vivian is alive and well somewhere, but her archnemesis is Kate -- who again, has nothing to do with these particular kids.
So if not Gabi, then who?
Honestly, I don't care all that much. Let's just get the babies back and get it over with.
The silver lining is that this crisis might force Valerie to stay awhile, which means that there will be more opportunities for her and Abe to get close.
I wasn't initially a fan of this couple. They'd tried once before, years ago, and it didn't make sense that Valerie forgave Abe so easily for not wanting to settle down with her.
And I liked him better with Maxine, which unfortunately fizzled out.
Abe: Do you and Billy do a lot of cooking?
Valerie: There is no me and Billy. We broke up.
Abe: I'm sorry. Although I have to say... no, it's none of my business.
Valerie: What? Say what's on your mind.
Abe: Well, I'm sorry to hear that you and Billy aren't together, but I never thought he was good enough to be your romantic partner.
Valerie: Really? Though that begs the question, what kind of characteristics does a man who would be good enough to be my romantic partner have to have?
Abe: Well, he would have to be a lot like me.
But Abe and Valerie's awkward discussion about who would be a suitable dating partner for Valerie was all sorts of cute.
I'd much prefer that Valerie left this new, non-serious boyfriend in DC, fought her feelings for Abe for a while, and then eventually realized he was the man for her after all.
Days of Our Lives doesn't do enough of these types of romances. It's all either a rush to the bedroom or people falling for someone who turns out to be a serial killer or another violent criminal.
Speaking of which, what was wrong with Marlena that she felt she couldn't tell anyone about the danger Charlie poses until John gets back?
Not only did that turn her into a helpless woman who needs a man to speak for her, but it also interfered with her goal of keeping Claire safe!
Claire had no idea what was going on, and Ben couldn't tell her since he didn't know either.
It wasn't reasonable to expect Claire just to pack up and go, never look back, and never talk to Charlie again just because Marlena said so.
As a therapist, Marlena should know that communication is the key to healthy relationships. She told Claire that Charlie might be Tripp's half brother. Ava had been found and was saying that Charlie was trying to kill her. Marlena could have easily explained her suspicions.
So why didn't she? Because the writers thought it would be more dramatic if Claire had to be convinced to trust Marlena blindly.
Except it wasn't. It was just stupid.
Thank goodness she didn't end up sleeping with Charlie, though.
This whole thing would have been an even bigger mess if Claire ended up pregnant with his baby. As it is, she's going to be heartbroken that the man she thought was her soulmate turned out to be yet another psychopath.
Of course, if Charlie gets help and comes back to Salem ready to stop raping and attacking people, Claire might take him back. She spent time in Bayview for trying to set people on fire for similar reasons, after all.
I hate how Days of Our Lives treats both mental health issues and sexual assault, but given the internal logic in Salem, it would be unsurprising if that's exactly what happens.
The pre-sex scenes between Claire and Charlie were a painful reminder of what could have been since the two talked about both feeling like misfits who lived in someone else's shadow.
If only we hadn't gone the predictable route, these two could have had an empowering, uplifting story about two damaged people finding solace in each other's arms. But sadly, Days of Our Lives chooses the violent story over the romantic one every single time.
As for Ava, I'm glad the portion of her storyline where Charlie is tormenting her both while she's asleep and while she's awake is over with.
I could have done without that long dream sequence that ended with Charlie stabbing Tripp, It was unnecessary filler that wasted time, and the story would have made just as much sense without it.
She still would have been screaming about non-existent blood on the floor, thought Rafe was Charlie and insisted Tripp was dead. We didn't need to see her hallucination unfold in real-time.
Also, is this the same drug that Gwen gave Abigail? The symptomatology was incredibly similar.
Either way, I'm looking forward to a few people eating crow once the truth comes out.
This ridiculous story of who really raped Allie was so farfetched the characters had to admit it regularly. And it focused too much on Tripp being falsely accused and not enough on Allie's trauma.
But Tripp was the victim of more than one attempt at vigilante justice, got yelled at and kicked out of places incessantly, and was generally treated terribly over a lie.
So since all that happened, some people owe him major apologies.
Meanwhile, I was glad that Gwen's evil schemes finally came to light.
Her manipulations were so freaking obvious that they should never have gotten anywhere -- but again, people refused to engage in basic communication.
That said, now that the truth is starting to come out, I was thrilled with Abigail's feisty side.
For the first time, I believed she could be an investigative reporter. The meek, gullible girl next door was gone, and this Abby was fierce, strong, and refusing to accept any BS.
If only she'd been like this the whole time, we wouldn't have had to suffer through this story!
As for Chad, he'd better not give in to Gwen's blackmail attempt.
Characters on Days of Our Lives are forever giving in to the weakest, stupidest threats.
Considering all the lies Gwen has told, there's no reason for anyone to believe her claims that Chad slept with her. And all Chad has to do is tell Abigail himself and let the chips fall where they may.
He was too drunk to consent anyway.
Abigail should be mad at him that he didn't trust her and went to the bottom of the bottle over it, but not that Gwen took advantage of his drunken state while pretending to do the opposite.
In any case, let's put an end to these dumb blackmail stories, shall we?
Brady and Chloe's platonic kiss caused a lot of trouble. Who thought it was a good idea for them to give the newspaper permission to use a photo of it?
In any case, all Brady had to do was tell Kristen about Chloe seeming to fall back into Philip's clutches. Problem solved.
We didn't need Kristen's whining about it for half an episode, only for her to back off.
I doubt this is the end of her jealousy. That would be pointless. But I hope she doesn't go into full revenge mode on Chloe because I do not need any more such stories.
As for Philip and Chloe, Philip has no common sense whatsoever. I couldn't believe that he thought the mob would leave him alone because Ava was out of commission.
And Chloe was right: he should go to the cops. If he's worried about going to jail, there's a simple solution: offer info on the mob bosses in exchange for a sentence that doesn't include jail time.
And why does he think Victor would want him sentenced to the maximum penalty, anyway? He's Victor's only son who can do no wrong in his father's eyes.
This whole thing would also be resolved a lot quicker if Sarah stopped stomping around and whining childishly about Xander paying attention to something other than her.
Did anyone find that entertaining? I certainly didn't.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-04-21? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.
Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.