Days of Our Lives Review: Unnecessary Tragedies

Television

No one who lives in a soap city is immune to tragedy.

Since the time jump, Salem has been an especially tragic place to live. Haley and Adrienne are dead, Will is in prison, and Xander has been raising Eric’s baby.

But on Days of Our Lives during the week of 12-2-19, the sudser took the tragedy to new heights–and some of it was unnecessary.

JJ’s storyline is a prime example.

Casey Moss is a brilliant actor who quite frankly deserves better material than he is getting. 

He is able to sell viewers on JJ’s grief and pain turning him into a killer even though the entire thing is out of character nonsense that also makes a mockery out of the issue of addiction.

There are so many problems with this story that it’s hard to know where to begin.

From the beginning, Paige’s death — or more specifically, JJ’s non-reaction to it — cast a shadow over this story. 

It’s difficult, to say the least, to believe that JJ is so grief-stricken over Kristen killing Haley that he has lost his sobriety and become a violent would-be killer when he had zero reaction to his sister’s boyfriend killing his first girlfriend.

And it doesn’t help that Abigail keeps mentioning that Eve must be telling the truth because she swore so on Paige’s memory, yet nobody has once suggested that JJ’s torment might be related to having lost TWO girlfriends to death.

His introduction to Haley, when he found her passed out on the hospital floor and saved her, was exactly the same as when he found Paige’s body except for he couldn’t save Paige, for goodness sake.

And we’re supposed to believe that his relationship with Paige and her untimely death had nothing to do with any of this and he is behaving this way because Haley was the love of his life? Please.

On top of that, JJ’s addiction story isn’t an addiction story. It’s a plot point.

As unbelievable as it is that JJ would return to drug use over Haley’s death, it would be acceptable if the story was about his friends and family trying to get him back on the right path.

Instead, JJ being high all the time and saying things like his life is not worth living is virtually ignored even though he survived a suicide  attempt two years earlier.

Sure, Jen is lying in a hospital bed saying she “so worried” about JJ, and Abby told Chad she was concerned, but nobody is doing much about it.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, his pill addiction bears no resemblance to how these things work in reality.

JJ is seen popping pills literally every five minutes, yet he has no problems comprehending what is going on around him, talking to people, or making complex plans.

While there is such a thing as a functional addict, it doesn’t work that way. Most addicts use again after they have started to come down, and taking 100 times the normal dose in minutes would  have some sort of effect on the person, even if they have built up a tolerance.

This is yet another example of how Days of Our Lives is irresponsible in how it depicts mental health issues.

The only effect the pills have on JJ is that they are being used as an excuse for his angry behavior.

This perpetuates the lie that people with mental health issues are all violent as well as provide inaccurate stereotypes about how and why people use drugs and what those drugs do to them.

Plus there are too many major suspensions of disbelief required for this story to work.

JJ was able to grab some pills because a nurse left all of her patients’ medications sitting unattended on a counter.

Those pills happened to be the same ones he keeps taking.

He was able to not only sneak onto a private plane while high and carrying pills but sneak into another country undetected.

He then was able to  convince a clerk to let him into someone else’s hotel room, where he knew exactly where to find Eli’s gun and how to get to a monastery in a secret location so he could try to shoot Kristen.

And his hand didn’t shake one bit while pointing a gun at her despite the copious amount of drugs he was on.

Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, the reason Eli was in Rome was silly.

Gabi’s plan to use Eli to manipulate Kristen into selling him her stock instead of giving it to the church is unlikely to work.

And since the Dimera family is full of billionaires who can do whatever they want, why can’t Chad just buy an equal amount of stock at home to what Gabi is trying to get from Kristen?

Chad threatening Gabi was somewhat enjoyable, though. After all the nonsense she’s pulled over the past two years, it was about time someone put her on the hot seat.

Her belief that all she has to do is snap her fingers and the board will fire Chad — the heir to the company founder — was naive at best and obnoxious at worst.

And even if she had controlling interest via her stock buys, wouldn’t replacing the entire board garner a lot of press attention and possibly spook other investors into selling their stock before Dimera Enterprises went belly-up?

Plus, Gabi can’t keep her evil ways from her daughter forever. Ari is old enough to understand what’s going on and will someday become disillusioned with her mother.

Instead of being angry that Chad threatened that day would come soon, maybe Gabi should think twice about her behavior and become the kind of person that makes her daughter proud.

As for Lani, she was never destined to be a nun.

As weird as it is for Kristen to be the voice of reason, that’s exactly what she’s been since she and Lani entered the convent together.

Lani: Are you really okay with this? Letting go of the women we used to be, giving up all our worldly goods? You had more worldly goods than most.
Kristen: I don’t care about the money. All that Dimera stock just puts a target on your back. Everyone wants what you have. But giving up on love is not going to be easy.
Lani: We take our vows tonight and we are closing the door on Eli and Brady.
Kristen: It’s going to be hard never to see them again, but Lani, we have made our choice.

Kristen was right that Lani was hiding from her past and that there was no reason to keep the truth secret from Eli.

If only Lani’s fantasy of telling Eli the truth and him supporting her in the fight against Gabi had been reality, none of this nonsense would be happening.

Lani STILL misses the point that she and Eli would have faced Gabi’s threats together. She has convinced herself there was nothing she could do when there were a ton of options she didn’t pursue.

But since praying for a sign resulted in coming face-to-face with Eli, maybe Lani will finally get it.

The silly nun stuff is a lot more enjoyable than ex-priest Eric’s behavior, though.

Eric’s love stories always end the same way. He finds out about some secret that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, breaks up with the person, and berates her to anyone who will listen while claiming to be heartbroken.

The Eric/Nicole aspect of this latest story is a rerun of Eric finding out that Nicole shredded the proof he was raped that would have allowed him to resume his priestly duties.

The dialogue was so similar it could have been lifted directly from those scripts.

Eric berated Nicole and told her not to make promises she couldn’t keep when she promised to do better next time. He told her she should have had faith in him. He never wanted to see her again.

And Nicole cried and berated herself and thought she should beg Eric to take her back while leaning on Brady.

The only difference is now there are two children involved, making Eric’s behavior even more selfish than last time.

Eric demanded that Sarah excise Xander from her life or lose custody of the baby.

This is yet another situation where there is zero reason to give in, yet Sarah and Xander both keep giving in anyway.

Anyway, Eric’s demands separate the baby from a father figure she is attached to.

Eric keeps whining that his relationship with baby Mickey may be harmed by him not having been there for the first six months. But what will harm Mickey is the loss of one of her caregivers at such a young age. 

And Eric is supposed to be a counselor, so he should know this.

And Marlena, stay out of it.

Mickey’s illness constituted an emergency situation.

It was cruel enough that Eric told Sarah he would not let her see her own daughter in the hospital if Xander was present — a threat that, incidentally, held no weight whatsoever, but which Sarah went along with anyway.

But then for Marlena to tell Xander that if he loved the child he would go home and forget about her illness was ridiculous and unprofessional.

Marlena could have said that she wasn’t allowed to release information since Xander wasn’t the child’s legal guardian, but instead she decided to give him a piece of her mind.

If there is any justice in Salem, somehow it’ll turn out that Xander is the father after all so Eric can be left out in the cold.

And thank you, Brady, for pointing out that Eric is also abandoning Holly.

Eric isn’t Holly’s father just like Xander isn’t Mickey’s. But Holly is attached to Eric — who at one point wanted to fight for custody of her — so for him to just exit stage right because he’s mad at Nicole will hurt that child too.

Meanwhile, the sooner someone figures out that Gina has taken over Hope’s life, the better.

Marlena, Rafe, and Abigail have all noticed Gina’s odd behavior and Jennifer is starting to remember what happened to her.

So hopefully this silly story will be over soon. Then the only question is whether Stefano is really Stefano or if Steve has been similarly refashioned into becoming his old nemesis.

Of course, this could be a vehicle to put Rafe and Hope back together, which would be a huge mistake. 

These two drag each other (and the ratings!) down every time the writers try to force a romance out of them.

After trying it two or three times, hopefully, the writers have learned their lesson about that.

The Will in prison story has taken a predictable turn.

For some reason, every DAYS prison story involves someone getting beaten up by an old enemy, and this was no exception.

Also unsurprisingly, Will and Ben are on their way to becoming friends now.

And with Evan expressing interest in Sonny, the most likely outcome of all of this is Will getting paroled or exonerated just as Sonny decides to move on.

A couple of other random thoughts.

  • Justin and Kayla can’t possibly last, so Stefano is likely to turn out to be Steve. Also, the jury is still out on whether Will killed Adrienne or Bonnie.
  • Abigail is supposed to be this brilliant reporter, but she didn’t know that police records are public until Roman told her.
  • Kate being a waitress allows her free rein to put her nose into everyone’s business, which is always fun. But Kate and Abe both need proper storylines.

What’d you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics?

Are you enjoying the many tragic stories post-time-jump, or do you find some of this to be contrived?

Is anyone on Eric’s side in this whole custody storyline?

And who else thinks Will is going to get out of jail just as Sonny and Evan become a thing?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.

And don’t forget to check back on Sunday for our 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.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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