Days of Our Lives Review for the Week of 1-23-23: Will the Devil Possess Marlena Again?Jack Ori at . Updated at .
Marlena's death left a gaping hole in her loved ones' lives.
Eric did some more drinking, Allie threw a tantrum, and John wondered how he was supposed to go on.
And that was only what was going on in this world! Marlena also encountered a nasty surprise in the afterworld on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-23-23; has she caught on yet?
Marlena's otherworldy encounter with Susan could have been some badly-needed comic relief. We'd been treated to scene after scene of everyone crying over Marlena's death, Stephanie was still miserable about not saying goodbye before Kayla passed away, and Eric was drinking again.
So we needed something lighthearted, and until Susan turned out to be the Devil in disguise, we got that in her scenes with Marlena.
In retrospect, it couldn't have been any other way.
Susan's non-explanations for why Kate and Kayla weren't in Heaven with Marlena made no sense, and Susan had only been in the afterlife herself for a few weeks. There was no reason for her to be anyone's guardian angel.
Still, this isn't a welcome addition to the story, and it brings up too many unanswerable questions.
For one thing, where is Marlena? It doesn't make sense for her to be in Hell, especially since the set is the same one we visited Bo in during Beyond Salem 2. Nor does it make sense for the Devil to be in Heaven and be the only being Marlena encounters.
If that's the Devil, where is Susan? Is she even dead? Or is the Devil taking her form for funsies while the real Susan is still alive and held captive somewhere? And why did the Devil have an attendance roster for Heaven that included Bo with an asterisk next to his name?
What is the Devil's plan here? Surely even Lucifer himself isn't arrogant enough to think it can possess Marlena's soul in front of God.
There are persistent rumors that one of the recently deceased ladies will make a deal with the Devil to get the three back to Earth. Let's hope that these rumors are false.
After two rounds of the Devil possessing Marlena and others, viewers have had more than enough. There were 25 years between the Devil's first appearance and this nonsense; we need at least another quarter century before it returns.
This also isn't the first time Marlena's visited the afterlife. After she was shot, she went to some sort of purgatory where Tony and Andre fought for possession of her soul before she discovered it wasn't her time yet and returned to Earth.
So she shouldn't have been so confused about where she was, given that she's been here before.
Marlena's afterlife adventure has only taken up one day so far; there's been too much going on in Salem in her absence to spend much time on this. But we still have to solve the mystery of where Kate and Kayla are and how these three women will return to their lives.
This story is far from over, so if you don't like supernatural or campy stuff, you might not be happy for the next few months.
Allie and Eric seem to be in extreme need of therapy now that Marlena isn't there to give it to them. At least Eric's bad behavior isn't obnoxious.
Johnny: Allie, stop.
Allie: It's a good thing I stopped it. Because if I hadn't walked in, the two of you might have had sex on the couch!
Johnny: Allie, would you stop overreacting? Right before you walked in here, I was telling Chanel I was happy you two are together.
Chanel: And I was telling Johnny that I was happy he found Wendy.
Johnny: What you saw was just us wishing each other well. So just chill, okay?
Allie: Yeah, maybe I could chill if the two of you hadn't almost kissed last night.
Chanel: It was a dumb, impulsive moment and it will never happen again.
Allie: Why would I believe that?
Johnny: Because it's the truth! All right, will you stop? You're getting yourself all worked up over nothing. And all this jealousy. You're starting to sound like -
Allie: Mom? Were you about to say I sound like Mom?
Johnny: I mean -
Allie: You take that back right now!
Johnny: Why would I? You are acting exactly like her.
Marlena's death doesn't excuse Johnny and Chanel's near-kiss, but that doesn't mean Allie's continual tantrums about it are fair, reasonable, or watchable.
Johnny admitted he was wrong to make a pass at Chanel, whether or not he was caught up in the moment while she was comforting him. Chanel told him she was committed to Allie regardless of any lingering feelings of attraction to her ex-husband.
Theoretically, that's the end of it. Allie would be within her rights to tell Chanel she doesn't trust Johnny not to behave inappropriately with Chanel again, but that's not what she said or did.
Instead, Allie continually threw accusations at Chanel and Johnny, refused to let anyone get a word in edgewise, and ran away every time Chanel tried to talk to her.
These are not the actions of a mature woman. At best, Allie was acting like a jealous high schooler.
She also had no business getting offended that Johnny accused her of acting like Sami. If she doesn't like that suggestion, stop imitating Sami at her worst, and nobody will have anything to say.
It wasn't that long ago that Allie said she was so grateful for Chanel's support during Marlena's illness and death. But all that flew out the window as soon as she learned about a near-kiss that didn't happen. Now she's pushing Chanel further and further away with her nonsense.
Allie seems to have mastered the art of self-sabotage to an unusual degree. She made Wendy think that Johnny was ditching her for Chanel, almost ruining that relationship, when Johnny having another girlfriend would reduce the chances that he try to woo Chanel away from Allie! And she wants Chanel to be with her and only her but alienates her with loud accusations and temper tantrums.
Allie seemed devastated when Chanel decided to go to Paulina's and didn't kiss her goodbye, but what did she expect after the way she behaved?
She's going to end up alone, and it'll be her own fault. Will she learn from it, or is the stubborn refusal to accept the consequences for her actions something else she has in common with Sami?
Gabi also made a bold but stupid decision this week.
Wendy's pep talk wasn't meant to encourage Gabi to commit felonies in the name of love, but that's where Gabi went with this.
Tying Stefan up in the secret room and seducing Li to steal his burner phone were not great plans.
EJ could find Stefan any second now; all he has to do is decide to get a new bottle of champagne since Nicole had a strange reaction to the last one.
If EJ rescues Stefan, Stefan may forgive him for his part in the brainwashing scheme and might even let it slip that he drugged Nicole's drink, intending for EJ to drink it.
I don't know what would happen then, but it wouldn't be good for Gabi, whatever it was.
Seducing Li was also a bad idea.
He's stupid and egotistical enough to believe Gabi forgave him, and he will not stop bothering her now. Even if she manages to leave without having sex with him this time, there's no guarantee he won't push her for it later, and he's as devious and underhanded as she is.
Why would Rolf even listen to Gabi anyway? She's not a Dimera and has no power over him. He doesn't have to come to Salem because she said so.
Gabi's plan had the unintended consequence of interfering with Stefan's plan to drug EJ.
I was dreading this drugged Nicole/EJ encounter. Historically, Days of Our Lives has handled these situations poorly, often painting them as consensual sexual encounters when they were anything but.
EJ: Nicole. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.
Nicole: What is the problem? At New Years you were all about us getting together, remember?
EJ: Yes, and you put the brakes on, remember? You said you wanted to stop making impulsive decisions.
Nicole: Okay, well it's been almost a month so there's nothing impulsive about it.
EJ: You made it very clear that you weren't ready.
Nicole: But now I AM ready. Looks like you are too. Why are you doing this? EJ, don't you want me?
EJ: Of course I do.
Nicole: Then why do you keep pulling away>>
EJ: Because I don't think you're in the right mind to make an informed decision.
Nicole: Ugh. Why not?
EJ: Well, in common parlance, you are as drunk as a skunk.
This time, though, EJ recognized that Nicole was not in any state to consent to sex, and he continually refused to do it with her. This welcome surprise was even sweeter, considering EJ has historically been a villain who abuses and dominates women.
Nicole and EJ had an honest, mature conversation after Nicole got enough of the drug out of her system to talk coherently. It's sweet that EJ wants to have a date with her, but they'll probably run into Eric and Sloan and have to put up with a lot of noise.
Eric's unconditional support for Sloan is aggravating, especially since he is also a sexual assault survivor. Sloan's father was a professor, and Chanel was a student who was failing his class when he propositioned her. That's not a consensual encounter, and Sloan continually blames the victim for what happened next.
After what Kristen did to Eric, he should be unequivocally on Chanel's side, not Sloan's. Yet he only cares that Sloan is in pain because her mother died.
Roman: Is this relationship starting to be serious? What about Nicole?
Eric: Nicole and I are done.
Roman: I've heard that before. Are you sure this time?
As Roman pointed out, Eric's claim to be done with Nicole is dubious at best.
Sloan seems to be developing feelings for Eric no matter what she says about only wanting him as a sex buddy; what will happen if he eventually dumps her for Nicole, as he always ends up doing with the not-Nicole girlfriend of the moment?
Will Sloan do an Ava and seek revenge if Eric breaks her heart? She's endlessly pursuing "justice" against Paulina and Chanel, so God only knows what she'll do to Eric when their relationship eventually implodes.
Sloan's lawsuit is ridiculous, and she'd have no chance of winning in any court other than in Salem. She will only humiliate herself and expose her family's wrongdoing. How does that help anything?
Eric and Belle will butt heads now that Belle has taken Paulina's case. But why was Paulina so considerate of Belle's grief but eager to get Stephanie to help with the PR on this case despite Stephanie's similar loss?
Paulina: Take some time to grieve, but get ready for war too. Oh, I wish I could do this myself, but I'm too much a part of it. Sloan made my baby a target, and I went to DEFCON 1.
Stephanie: My mom would have done the same. If anyone came for one of us, they'd have to go through her first.
Paulina: You and I are going to open a bottle of wine one night, Steph darling, and you're gonna tell me all about her. But do yourself a favor. Don't focus on not getting to say goodbye.
Paulina gave Stephanie good advice, but couldn't the writers have found a different reason for these two to cross paths? Stephanie's PR skills won't help Paulina with this problem; she needs a lawyer.
That conversation felt like a setup for Stephanie to forgive Alex while working closely with Chad. In other words, she'll be right back where she started.
While everyone else was handling grief in destructive ways, John gave a heartwrenching performance.
It's hard to take this seriously when the chances of Marlena not returning within the next year are between slim and nonexistent. But Jhn's heartbreak was real, raw, and realistic, and Drake Hogysten deserves an Emmy nomination for his performance.
John: We were just looking at family photos.
Abe: Oh. That's what the projector was for.
John: She wanted me to take her home. I thought this was a good compromise. Just trying to make her happy, you know?
Abe: You did.
John: And I know that she's up there looking down on me now wanting me to be strong. She wants me to know that I'm gonna get past this.
Abe: That would be her.
John: But she's wrong, Abraham, because I am never getting past this.
What did you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know. And don't forget to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives streams exclusively on Peacock. New episodes drop on weekdays at 6 AM EST / 3 AM PST.
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.