Valentine's Day began in Salem, but there were more broken hearts than anything else.
On Days of Our Lives during the week of 2-21-22, Nancy turned to Marlena while Craig tried to explain his struggle to Chloe. Elsewhere, Johnny caused more trouble for Gabi and Jake.
Even Tripp's plans for a romantic proposal are in jeopardy, both because of a couple of blabbermouths and because he doesn't know yet that Allie and Chanel slept together.
Craig's late-in-life revelation that he is gay is a complicated, painful story that is long overdue.
Up until now, Days of Our Lives' gay characters have all belonged to the younger generation. But older gay people exist too, and they often have different issues and experiences that aren't usually addressed on daytime TV.
Craig: That young man was Johnny Dimera. He tore a muscle in his chest.
Chloe: How did he even know you were a doctor? Why would you even strike up a conversation with him?
Craig: You know what, Chloe? Even if I was looking at him the way you thought I was, I need you to understand something. I have spent my entire life pretending to not be interested in men because I thought the way I felt made me a bad person. And if I ever acted out those feelings, I would hurt the people I love. You, and your sister, and most of all your mom. The constant feeling of pretending to be happy and fulfilled... and I was at times, believe me. I loved being a father and I still do. Your mother and I, we had some great times together but... I love you all very much. I do. But the lie that I told you all, and myself, I won't live that anymore. I can't.
Craig's story is, sadly, realistic. When I worked on an LGBT crisis line, I fielded calls from countless numbers of older people who felt trapped because they'd been living a lie for so long, reluctant to hurt a long-term marriage partner with their truth, and full of regret about the time they'd wasted living a lie.
Many of them were calling a hotline geared toward LGBT youth because there were no other resources for them, either. That's one of the reasons this story is so important. It gives a voice to people who often feel they don't have one.
So far, this story has been written realistically, too, and has given equal weight to both Craig and Nancy's pain.
I was especially thrilled that Nancy turned to Marlena and that it was written appropriately. Days of Our Lives often takes mental health lightly, and in the past, therapy scenes have felt more like a parody of therapy than anything approaching reality.
Not so this time.
Despite the absurdity of Marlena spending the day in her office with no patients scheduled, she was there when Nancy needed her, and their session felt like an actual therapy session.
Nancy: Maybe Craig isn't gay. Maybe this is just a phase. Is there any way I can convert my husband?
Marlena: Are you familiar with conversion therapy? It's a debunked type of therapy in which the therapist tries to make the gay person straight.
Nancy: I've heard of it.
Marlena: The thing is, gay people aren't broken. They don't need to be fixed.
I appreciated Marlena explaining to Nancy that conversion therapy has been debunked and that gay people aren't broken. She made an important distinction between Craig's sexual orientation and his choice to cheat on Nancy.
Marlena also insisted that they keep the focus on the patient in front of her instead of going off on tangents about what Craig might or might not be feeling. That's something any therapist worth their salt would do in a situation like this, and Nancy desperately needed that.
She was too caught up in her fantasy that Craig's fling with a man was nothing more than a midlife crisis, and he'd later decide he was straight after all, and that wasn't going to do her any good.
As for Craig, he's also in fantasy land to a degree. He'd like for his family to immediately accept that he's gay, forget that he cheated on Nancy, and all move forward as friends.
That's not reasonable, but it's also common among LGBT people. By the time someone comes out to their family, they've done a ton of soul searching, and they tend to forget that this is all new to their loved ones. And in Craig's case, he also caused considerable pain by choosing to live his truth.
Nancy isn't going to want to be friends right away, and Chloe isn't going to immediately be thrilled about the idea of meeting Craig's new partner. It doesn't work that way, not when Craig living his truth means ending a 30-year marriage and admitting he's been cheating on his wife with a man.
In some ways, it might be easier than if Craig cheated with another woman. At least Nancy can eventually realize that it wasn't that she was inadequate--her husband wasn't capable of being attracted to any woman.
But right now, the pain is too raw, and Nancy and Chloe both need time to deal with this.
That said, Chloe's attitude towards Craig left something to be desired.
First of all, the Devil was trying to cause trouble by flirting with Craig and trying to get him to touch Johnny after Craig said he didn't want to.
But Devil or no Devil, Chloe's demand that Craig keeps his gayness to himself in public so that Nancy can't get hurt wasn't reasonable.
That defeats the purpose of Craig coming out at all. No, he shouldn't deliberately flirt in front of Nancy right now. But he was sitting in the cafe minding his own business when Johnny came along, and it's not like he was looking that way at a ten-year-old.
Johnny's an adult, even if he is a lot younger than Craig, and Craig shouldn't have to hide his attraction any more than a straight person should have to hide their attraction to a member of the opposite sex who passes by.
Chloe came off as super judgmental, which was annoying both because it was unfair to Craig and a serial cheater herself.
Did she refrain from being with her new lover in public to spare her ex's feelings? Of course not, so she has nothing to say here, even if it is natural for her to want to protect her mom.
That said, it is way too soon for Craig to expect Chloe to want to meet his new partner. It's only been a couple of weeks since he came out. Chloe needs more time than that!
I do want to find out who it is, though.
There have been persistent rumors that it's Leo Stark, and I'm praying it's not. Leo is goofy, immature, and hung up on Sonny. And anyway, it would make far more sense for Craig to have met someone at a medical convention, especially since that's where he was coming from when Nancy found condoms in his briefcase.
Anyway, this story is missing one thing, or rather, one person.
Days of Our Lives needs to cast an actress to play Joy Wesley as soon as possible. Nancy didn't want to bother Joy while she was in grad school, but at this point, that doesn't make sense.
Nancy wants a divorce. Doesn't her younger daughter deserve to know that and the reasons behind it?
Or is the plan for Joy to someday show up in Salem to surprise her parents, only to find that Craig is marrying his new partner and that no one bothered to tell her anything?
It was bad enough that Jennifer left JJ in boarding school for a year after Jack's supposed death. Let's not repeat that mistake with Joy and her parents, please.
Except for John and Marlena, no one else had a happy Valentine's Day either.
It certainly wasn't one for Rafe, who was stuck in jail and ended up telling Ava that he and Nicole had slept together.
I'm glad that this is all finally out in the open. Nicole trying to prove Rafe's innocence is a better use of her character than most of what she's been doing recently. Nicole has strong investigative skills, and rather than pretending to be Jennifer, she needs to quit Basic Black and ask Jack for a job on The Salem Spectator!
And the sooner Ava's plans are neutralized, the better. The kinder version of Ava that spoke with Allie is so preferable to the unhinged version.
I wish Days of Our Lives would make supposedly airtight cases actually airtight, though.
Three criminals claiming that Rafe planted evidence on them when he wasn't even the arresting officer is not proof of anything, yet Trask thinks the fact that they don't know each other is a smoking gun.
This is only slightly less ridiculous than when she thought a missing jacket button was ironclad proof that Belle killed Charlie and wasn't worried that the four other "definite killers" that the cops had previously arrested for the crime might constitute reasonable doubt.
I can't wait til Nicole finally finds her proof so that she can wipe that smirk off Trask's face until the next case comes along that Trask thinks she can prove with laughable evidence, anyway.
The worst Valentine's Day sequence involved the Devil, though.
It's bad enough that Gabi keeps falling for Johnny's tricks and isn't her usually snarky, strong self. She shouldn't be listening to his nonsense. She should be confronting Jake, so this can be straightened out already!
But the Devil kept biting into Anna's chocolates and then putting them back in the tin. Ew! No one wants its germs. Why Gabi agreed to taste the half-eaten candies is beyond me.
At least the Devil's days seem to be numbered. Julie got Ben and Ciara thinking about the possibility that the demon was still in Salem, and the couple quickly figured out who it must have possessed.
I don't know what took them so long. As soon as they realized that Johnny delivered the upside-down cross that is supposed to be a sign of the Devil and that Julie couldn't bring it over herself because her stove mysteriously caught on fire, that should have been that.
But before the Devil is caught, it's likely to cause trouble for Tripp and Allie. After all, Tripp is about to propose to Allie and confided in Chanel about it, who lied to his face and said that she and Allie were over a long time ago.
There's no reason Tripp would listen to Johnny, who he now hates, about what Allie and Chanel did. But if the Devil disguises itself as Chanel and makes a heartfelt confession to Tripp, that might work.
There was a ton of movement in the island captivity story.
Having Sarah think she's a character who was last on-screen in 1983 was a risky move. Newer viewers have no idea who Renee Dumonde is, and that may make it harder for them to invest in this story.
In addition, we've had a billion doppelganger and mistaken identity stories.
Amnesiac Ciara was openly hostile to Ben, Steve thought he was Stefano thanks to a microchip, and Will once thought he was EJ (thankfully, he never tried to come on to his mother while confused about who he was!). And that's only a tiny sampling of these types of stories.
Still, though, so far, this story has been more fun than some of the other doppelgangers. And with Tony headed to the island to rescue Abigail and Anna ready to make a movie about how she triumphed over Renee back in the 1980s, this should get interesting soon!
Of course, once Steve and Kayla manage to get Sarah back to Salem, they should immediately check her into Bayview and have Marlena paged. But that's not likely to happen, at least not until Tony and Anna find a way to vanquish this latest threat to their marriage.
Anna also kept TR away from Paulina and Lani for a little bit. Paulina has ample reason to be worried about his reappearance, but she needs to forget about bothering Lani's landlord and hire a lawyer to help her get a restraining order!
Also, could someone please teach Chanel how to keep her mouth shut? Not only did she spill the beans to TR about Lani being Paulina's daughter, but she blabbed to Allie about Tripp showing her the engagement ring!
She's almost as bad as Chloe used to be about being the town crier. Sheesh.
It's your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about the various Salem goings-on!
Eager for more DAYS 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 or watch on Peacock TV on weeknights after 8 PM EST/5 PM PST.