Well, color me surprised.
Not only did the lead-in to the Beyond Salem web-series spinoff live up to the hype, but Rafe and Ava also had a mature, adult conversation about her jealousy of Nicole.
There were some disappointments on Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-31-21 too, but this was a lot more like it!
Ava and Rafe's conversation was one of the high points of the week.
Too often, relationships fall apart on Days of Our Lives because of some misunderstanding that could easily be straightened out via an honest conversation.
And with Ava seething with jealousy after catching Rafe and Nicole hugging each other goodbye, I expected this to be one of those times. Lani slept with Eli after a similar misunderstanding, and Ava is so much crazier than Lani that anything could have happened.
Instead, she and Rafe sat down and talked things out! That feels like a first for Days of Our Lives, or at least, a first in a long time.
Of course, this story is far from over. If Ava and Rafe's conversation led to the end of Ava's jealousy and Nicole just moved on, that wouldn't be terribly dramatic (or interesting!).
So Ava will probably continue to struggle with jealousy, and Nicole and Rafe's self-imposed distance from each other won't last forever, either.
I'm not sure what will happen next, but SOMETHING will keep this story going.
Most likely, Gabi will continue pushing Ava's buttons while manipulating Nicole into making a play for Rafe. Ava's insecurities are seemingly no match for Gabi, even though in the past, Ava has been far more cunning and evil than Gabi has ever dreamed of being.
Gabi does little else but aggravates people nowadays, and she's not as smart as she thinks she is, either.
Her attempts at manipulation are so see-through. She also thinks she pulled one over on Philip, but hopefully, he's one step ahead of her.
I couldn't stand her whining about the "nepotism" at both Dimera and Titan.
Yes, the charter for both companies requires a member of the family to be at the helm. So what? At least Philip and EJ are QUALIFIED to run their respective companies, unlike when Jake, the mechanic, expected to remain CEO of Dimera simply because he shares DNA with the family.
Gabi and Chad's mutual sniping at one another was also unnecessary. Chad could have ignored her in the Square or walked away, and there was little reason to argue about Abigail, Sonny, or Arianna.
Of course, this was set up for Chad's visit to Sonny on Beyond Salem, but still. There had to be another way to handle that. For example, Sonny could have called Chad and invited him to spend Labor Day weekend in Phoenix because he knew Chad needs cheering up.
That was the only weakness in the Beyond Salem set-up episode, though.
Sure, Paulina's decision to take everyone to Miami because she ruined breakfast was silly, but as she pointed out to Abe, her extravagant and impulsive decision is just who she is.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if she is going to move forward with Abe. She's too impulsive, and he's too strait-laced, so they could be good for each other. Or it would be if she didn't have the secret of Lani's true parentage hanging over her head.
I still don't get why this secret is a big deal. Also, if Paulina and company visit Miami, it would make sense to visit Tamara. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
In any case, all these road trips coming up are a throwback to the Days of Our Lives of the 1980s and 1990s, when the series was a bigger b budget production, and characters traveled all over the world in search of romance and adventure. I'm even more excited for Beyond Salem now that all these trips are part of the deal!
John going on an ISA mission is also a throwback to the past. Thankfully, Marlena didn't try to stop him this time.
I'm not a huge Jarlena fan, mostly because John always seems to have to rescue damsel-in-distress, Marlena from some bad guy, and I prefer stories about strong women who take charge of situations on their own.
But there was an Alice and Tom feel to the way they committed to this trip together, and when they left the penthouse thrilled that things were "as they should be." it could have served as an end to the main series.
Fortunately, Days of Our Lives continues to produce new episodes, but that would have been a perfect way to wrap things up.
As for Anna, she rivals Sami in the unstoppable impulsive woman department.
Roman was right that it wasn't their place to go jetting off to Zurich to fix Carrie and Austin's relationship. In fact, the two might resent Carrie's parents showing up, which could lead to more problems!
Incidentally, could Roman please start locking the door to the Pub when he's not open for business? This is the second time someone's wandered in before he's open to talking to him!
Anyway, Anna wasn't going to listen, though, and that's why Tony ended up going with her. There was no talking her out of this, and much like Lucas reins Sami in from time to time, Tony felt he had to try to do damage control here.
More Thaao Penghliss is always a good thing, though, and Tony and Anna getting tangled up with John's mission in Zurich should be entertaining.
Tony might have also wanted to get out of the middle of Johnny and EJ's conflict, though I'd have loved his take on the rivalry between Johnny and Allie over Chanel.
EJ's advice to Johnny about how to woo Chanel was decent... except it rang hollow since EJ doesn't follow it himself.
He has never, to my knowledge, taken the time to get to know a woman rather than trying to seduce and/or manipulate his way into her bed!
And in fact, his failure to follow his own advice five minutes later reopened the rift between him and Johnny just as they were making headway. Jumping straight to trying again to convince Johnny to join his business was a colossal blunder, and EJ, the master manipulator, should have known better.
I loved Johnny's determination to both prove himself as a filmmaker and win over Chanel, though. I was hoping Chanel could teach him how to write a business plan since his film idea seems to be more a dream than a business venture at this point.
As for Allie, her accusation that Johnny had become a mini-EJ was ridiculous. Johnny didn't do anything that resembled EJ except smile and have a quick-witted response to seeing Allie that she didn't like.
Allie, on the other hand, turned into Sami with her ranting and raving and insisting that Johnny break up with Chanel right now. It was obnoxious, and if I were Chanel, I would want to keep my distance from Allie for a while.
Chanel shouldn't have doubted her own judgment about Johnny just because Allie said a lot of nonsensical things. It was obvious Allie was jealous, and Chanel would be within her rights to be furious that Allie both closed the door on a romance between the two of them and tried to ruin things with Chanel's new potential partner.
Paulina's advice in that department was good as far as it went, though again... Paulina hasn't always exactly followed her own mantra of "chase your dreams but don't hurt anyone else."
In her defense, though, she does seem to learn from her mistakes and is trying to be a better person.
Anyway, Allie wasn't the only one who was irrationally and obnoxiously jealous.
Philip's predictable rejection of Belle's advice and his fight with Brady were more appropriate 20 years ago. Now that these characters are in their 40s, the juvenile arguments over who Chloe really loves need to go.
Of course, Brady isn't making this any easier. It's easy to understand why Philip suspected foul play when Brady's explanation of why he needed to share Chloe's room was so improbable.
Chloe took it at face value that Brady really did get attacked by an elderly couple in his hotel room and that there were no other rooms available. I wouldn't have. Would you?
And while Philip showing up for no reason was irritating, his suggestion that he fly Brady and Chloe to New York so they could finish handling their business there was the most logical solution.
Chloe insisting on staying with Brady to prove she wasn't having sex with him made little sense and is just going to fan the flames of Philip's jealousy more.
Meanwhile, Nicole apparently came back to work after all... just in time to get manipulated by EJ.
To be fair, she held her own for 95% of the conversation but then gave in for no real reason.
Nicole: Xander is a nightmare and he smells like patchouli.
EJ: So we'll get him to switch his cologne.
EJ's threat to fire her was as meaningless as his insistence that being the co-CEO of Dimera meant she had to hire Xander. As she had already said, her contract gave her and Brady autonomy over hiring decisions at Basic Black... including Brady being in charge of her continued employment there, no doubt.
And why did Nicole suddenly turn flirty when EJ suggested she hire Xander, then make him so miserable he quit again? EJ abusing Sami was bad enough. Nicole does not need to fall back into a relationship with the man so hurtful to her that she felt she had to hide a pregnancy from him.
Nicole and EJ's exchanges were better than this Bonnie/Calista nonsense.
Whenever Calista makes an appearance, this awful story takes up most of the episode, rendering it virtually unwatchable.
I don't care if Calista ruins Bonnie and Justin's wedding. I don't care about Calista's late husband. And I don't find the joke names for Calista and her late husband at all funny.
Someone, please make it stop. Steve and Kayla are the only good part of this story, and they're being wasted with this idiocy.
I could also do without Ben and Ciara's honeymoon. (Sorry, Cin fans!)
Maybe if Ben and Ciara had done something other than being in bed together for two weeks straight, the tent scenes would have come off as romantic.
And there had to be a better way to introduce a potential baby storyline than Ciara suddenly realizing she was out of birth control pills and declaring she didn't want to refill them.
Maybe some women do manage to forget to refill their birth control pills... but right before their honeymoon? This is as bad as the way most women in Salem never realize they've missed a period and find out they're pregnant some other way.
A far more plausible beginning to this would be Ciara being so caught up in the moment she realized she hadn't taken her daily pill once since the trip began... meaning the sex they already had was not as protected as she thought it was.
That said, Ben and Ciara disagreeing about whether to have children is a better story than the kidnapping of the month. But is it too much to ask it be written in a way that doesn't imply that women are irresponsible airheads?
Finally, it's too bad that the Gwen/Xander/Jack storyline isn't about Jack actually using his investigative reporting position to try to uncover the truth.
On the surface, Jack is doing just that, but it's happening off-screen while he has the same argument with Gwen over and over. Boo! It would be so much more compelling to follow Jack as he explores this story and uncovers truths about his daughter he's not happy about.
Gwen feels guilty now and has started to come clean, but I doubt she'll tell Jack the truth about why Snyder was blackmailing her. Plus, Jack's irrational and blind loyalty to the daughter he never knew he had is out of character and annoying.
Your turn, Days of Our LIves fanatics! Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-31-21.
Hungry for more Days of Our Lives chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.