Pop-up children are a soap staple.
A father discovering late in life that he was robbed of a son or daughter's childhood is a natural source of drama, and there's hardly a man in soapland who hasn't met a surprise child twenty to thirty years after the fact.
Many viewers guessed that was Gwen's problem when she first came to Salem, and she confirmed that on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-18-21.
There's only one problem, besides the obvious one of this plot device being overused: Jack has no idea who this woman he supposedly fathered a child with is.
Weirdly, Gwen's backstory sounds more like Eve and Eduardo's story.
An alive Paige would have been justified telling Eduardo off for choosing his other family over her since he literally left Eve to go back to the Hernandezes, and Gwen also implied that Jack had a steady stream of one-night stands back in the day -- something that was true of Eve during Paige's childhood.
It's true that Jack wasn't always a great guy, and in fact, he raped Kayla -- a groundbreaking story about marital rape that Days of Our Lives likes to dust off for the sole purpose of sneering at him now.
But this type of history sounds more typical of Eve than him, and I was surprised that Gwen didn't reference recent history instead, like the one-night stand with Kate or amnesiac Jack's love affair with Eve.
There were also a ton of gaps in Gwen's story that made it difficult to suspend disbelief.
The money Jack supposedly sent her mother every month wasn't enough to meet their needs, yet it was enough for her mother to move her to a different country and buy enough drugs to kill herself with besides.
Gwen was supposedly the result of a one-night stand between a waitress and a customer, yet her mother allegedly knew Jack well enough to know who he was, where he lived, and how to track him down.
She never filed for child support, instead supposedly informing Jack of their child only for him to give her hush money every month.
And most egregious of all, Gwen learned that Jack had also moved to England and sulked that he didn't try to get in touch with her but never made any effort whatsoever to get in touch with him.
And if that wasn't bad enough, it sounds as if Gwen is older than Abigail and was conceived before Jack met Jennifer, yet the way she frames her grievance, it sounds like she is younger than Abigail and Jack rejected Gwen because he already had a child. Which is it?
In any case, this could have been cleared up by Gwen going about this a different way.
There's no reason for anyone to believe her story when she's spent the past few months trying to ruin all of the Deverauxes' lives and telling them lie after lie in service of that goal.
Her story is so implausible, too, and her mother conveniently dead so that she can't corroborate any of it.
Why on Earth would Jack believe it, especially since Gwen insists she won't believe paternity test results and discouraged Jack from taking one?
Granted, DNA test results in Salem are less than secure. But still.
Gwen got offended that Jack thought she wanted money when her behavior over the past six months demonstrates that she will do anything to get what she wants, including making up a fake paternity story to get a payout.
I may not remember every detail of every one-night stand from 30 years ago, but I think I would remember if someone told me that I fathered a child.Jack
Also, it's not likely Jack would lie about this. He confessed to the one-night stand with Kate as soon as the truth came out, so he wouldn't stand there insisting he didn't reject a daughter than he did reject.
And anyway, he couldn't pull it off. Jennifer knows him too well and would pick up immediately on lies and half-truths.
That doesn't mean Gwen isn't absolutely convinced she's telling the truth.
She's dangerous because even though her stupid vengeance scheme didn't win her any points with the Deverauxes the first time, she's decided that Jack's refusal to go along with her delusion means she wants more revenge.
Of course, Jack and Jennifer could ask for police protection, and Chad could report her drugging Abigail to the cops too, but that would be too easy and too sensible for a soap opera.
Speaking of Chad and Abigail, it's obvious what's coming next for these two now that Gabi is back in town.
Abigail was right to want space from Chad. He didn't trust her and fell for two manipulative women's lies in a row about her.
Her strength in declaring that she loves Chad but can't trust him was refreshing.
But unfortunately, her rejection right now while he is determined to protect her from Gwen and prove he's trustworthy leaves him vulnerable to making yet another stupid decision.
And since he already told Gabi that he now knows who really drugged Abigail, it's not hard to guess the next move here.
Gabi and Chad will likely team up to get Gwen, leaving Abigail feeling jealous and insecure even though she's the one who broke up with Chad.
Plus, Gabi may try to manipulate Chad some more. After all, her opening line involved making fun of Abigail's mental illness.
Gabi's snide remarks about Abby's mental health are among her least enduring traits, along with her huge ego and generally obnoxious attitude.
It's bad enough that Gwen makes fun of "poor fragile Abigail who belongs in a padded room" without Gabi doing it too.
Even her annoying scenes with Jake and Kate were more enjoyable than her run-in with Chad. I was hoping that she'd stay out of Chad and Abigail's orbit this time around!
But thank goodness that Kate didn't seem to fall for Gabi's manipulations, at least not yet.
She had a weird look on her face when she and Jake were toasting, and it didn't help that Tony had recently filled her head with nonsense about Jake leaving her for a younger man.
But Kate managed not to have a fit of insecurity, and there was no screaming match either before or after Gabi left. So there's that.
The Tony scenes were weird too. Tony seemed more like Andre in the way he was teasing Kate and disparaging Jake.
I got the sense, though, that the point of those scenes was to celebrate Lauren Koslow's 25th anniversary on Days of Our Lives, which was the day that the flashbacks of her first-ever scene aired.
Jake: I asked for a business proposal and Gabi threw herself at me.
Gabi: I think we can agree that Jake saying I threw myself at him is an example of his huge male ego.
Kate: I think you're the one with the big ego. You think you can dump any man and then come back to town and win him back.
Anyway, Kate never used to be one of my favorite characters, but she's been growing on me lately. She is a classy diva who doesn't mind using her biting sarcasm to cut certain people (yes, you, Gabi!) down to size.
Anna is another fun character. Her comments to Gwen had me cracking up, and she's smart to boot. She saw through Gwen right away and hasn't let up since.
Take your suitcase and slither back to wherever you came from.Anna [to Gwen]
If Jack and Jennifer don't want to go to the police about Gwen's latest threats, maybe they should team up with Anna. She'll keep Gwen in line!
Elsewhere, the least interesting story award goes to this Philip/Chloe/Brady nonsense.
Brady: You put a target on your back. You want to put one on hers too?
Chloe: I'm not your wife anymore, Brady. Back off!
Props to Chloe for standing up to Brady about his overprotective attitude, but the rest of this can go.
Chloe seems to be gravitating back toward Philip while Brady is gravitating toward Chloe. Unfortunately, we've seen this all before.
This is why Chloe and Philip need new partners rather than giving each other yet another try. The first time there was a competition between Brady and Philip for Chloe might have been fun, but this is old news at this point.
Plus, Brady is supposed to be married to Kristen, who is almost as bad as Kate at getting violent toward anyone who takes "her" man.
Sure, Kristen is in prison, but when has that ever stopped her? And I'm not in the mood for Kristen pulling out all the stops to get revenge on Chloe. Blah.
And Philip's story is dumb. Philip should be a seasoned businessman and world traveler and not be naive enough to think he can rip off the mob while Ava was incapacitated or that he can use Titan to launder money without Victor finding out somehow.
Since it's been established that Philip is a gambling addict, I wish he and Brady had bonded over their similar problems.
It would have been a far more compelling story for Brady to try to convince a reluctant Philip to seek help for his gambling addiction while Philip thinks Brady is projecting his own alcoholism onto him.
At least Sarah managed to avoid acting like a toddler this week, for the most part.
It was ridiculous that she thought Xander would sit on the info he found instead of putting a stop to Philip's money laundering activities, though. What did she expect?
And when their argument about that got interrupted by Xander being dragged to the station to talk about Raynor, Sarab didn't help anything by mentioning Xander's offhand comment about the twins but not bringing up all the reasons why it was stupid to think he was involved.
Eli really shouldn't be interviewing suspects in cases he's involved in, either. Still, the police station seems to suffer from the same staffing shortage as the hospital, leaving people to work on cases they can't be objective about all the time.
And finally, there was some movement on the Allie rape storyline.
I was so sure it was Tripp. And now it seems like it could be Charlie, in which case the father of my baby is a lunatic who tied up and drugged his own mother. So no, I'm not okay.Allie
Now that Allie realizes Tripp wasn't the rapist, she's a mess. I wonder if she and Tripp will end up dating sooner or later. I've had that feeling for a while.
Her conversation with Ben was all sorts of random, too. I don't think the two of them have ever talked before, at least not about anything substantial.
Meanwhile, I'm glad Ben came along when he did because Claire seemed conflicted about Charlie's manipulations.
I didn't want her to fall for it, but I was also worried that Charlie might turn violent if Claire rejected him, and I didn't want another kidnapping storyline either.
Thankfully, Charlie and Tripp didn't come to blows either.
Charlie and Gwen seem to be two of a kind. Since they both came from Philly, Days of Our Lives missed an opportunity by not making them have anything to do with one another, especially given that they both fly off the handle because they believe their parent to have rejected them in favor of a half-sibling.
As for Allie, I'm glad that she finally asked Marlena to hypnotize her.
Of course, you can't remember what you did while blacked out drunk in real life because the excess alcohol interferes with the memory encoding process. But in Salem, hypnosis works for this sort of thing, so it's beyond time Allie went for it.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-18-21.
Eager for even more Days of Our Lives chat? Check back on Sunday for the 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.