Days of Our Lives Review Week of 12-28-20: Here’s to Another Drama-Filled Year

Television

For Days of Our Lives fans, we hope that the new year is filled with love and light to make up for how dismal 2020 was for so many people.

But Salem also celebrated a new year on Days of Our Lives during the week of 12-28-20, and viewers would be bored with an entire year of happiness.

Some characters got some good news, while others were unhappy… and Chad and Gwen made the new year miserable both for themselves and for many viewers with their disgusting antics.

To be clear: Chad is not the first person in Salem to have an alcohol-induced, questionable consent sexual encounter with a woman other than his partner and he certainly won’t be the last.

That’s not the main problem with this storyline — after all, cheating is a soap staple.

But Chad’s behavior was so obnoxious that it left viewers rooting for Abigail to dump him! 

Gwen has been putting the idea in Chad’s head that Abigail is cheating on him with Jake. Okay, that’s also a soap staple, but with her being so obvious about it, it’s hard to believe that Chad fell for it.

Every other word out of her lying mouth is some variation of “Abigail is probably sleeping with Jake,” and on top of that, she has been far from subtle in the way she comes on to Chad, constantly touching his arm in a decidedly romantic way.

Either Chad is a total idiot or some part of him likes Gwen’s attention. Either way, that’s not a good look for him.

And then when he and Abigail missed each other at the New Years’ party because she went to look for him while he went to look for her, it never occurred to him to call her to find out where she was.

Instead, he heard that she and Jake left together, went ballistic, and followed Gwen to a hotel room that Gwen claimed had been reserved for Abigail and Jake.

And with just the tiniest bit of encouragement, he got so heartbroken over the possibility that the room was meant for his wife and her alleged lover that he drank an entire bottle of champagne.

All of that suggested that Chad has zero faith in his wife.

All he had to do was hear that she left the party with Jake and he totally believed that she was arranging a secret rendezvous, drowned his sorrows in alcohol, and then came on strong while Gwen pretended to be concerned about whether this was a good idea.

As a side note: Chad really was too drunk to consent, and Gwen was totally sober. So for Chad to turn around the next morning and say she took advantage of him when it was the other way around was also sickening.

But it’s hard to have sympathy for Chad even though in that sense he was as much a victim as JJ was when Lani did it or Allie was when she was in London (despite the unnecessary addition of someone holding her down, that encounter was not consensual anyway since she was so drunk.)

He said some truly horrible things that offended many viewers, suggesting that Abigail had faked her serious mental illness for the sole purpose of never having to take responsibility for any of her actions and that she cheated on him with Stefan, who he long understood had raped her.

And maybe Chad wouldn’t have said those things sober, but it’s obvious on some level he believes them. In addition, the writers certainly do. This is far from the first time they’ve portrayed mental illness inappropriately or suggested that Stefan’s rape of Abigail was actually a consensual affair.

In any case, the truly infuriating thing here is that Chad fell so easily for something that could have been resolved in about 30 seconds.

First of all, there was never any reason for Kate to keep her relationship with Jake secret. I don’t buy her sudden fear of Chad’s disapproval; she’s dated worse people than Jake — like Clyde Weston — and not batted an eye at Chad’s opinion of her other less-than-worthy boyfriends.

Nor do I buy her claim that as a woman, she has to be more careful about appearances to wield power. That seemed like an attempt to give lip service to feminism by having Kate talk about double standards even though it doesn’t fit her character.

Kate married Stefano and dated Andre. In neither case did she give a damn whether people thought she had slept her way to the top. 

Her thing has always been that she’s going to do what she needs to do for herself, and if people don’t like it or think untrue things about her, she’ll tell them exactly where to put those opinions.

For God’s sake, this is a woman who poisoned Chloe and helped throw Nick in the river, in neither case batting an eye.

She’s slept with pretty much all the eligible men in Salem.

She’s convinced Abe to hire her to be that cutthroat campaign manager who didn’t give a damn about people’s opinions as long as she got him another term as mayor.

Don’t tell me that people knowing she slept with a mechanic who turned out to be a Dimera is a bridge too far for her.

Similarly, I don’t see how she could be too embarrassed to admit she was with Jake after her long, torturous relationship with Clyde.

Clyde may have been the powerful leader of a drug cartel, but he also came across as a stereotypical redneck.

Sure, he was hiding a ton of brains under his imitation of Jed Clampett.

But if Kate is embarrassed to be with a former mechanic who happens to now be a powerful co-CEO of Dimera Enterprises, then she had to have been mortified to have been with hillbilly Clyde, and she never showed a single sign of shame then.

All of this character-twisting insistence on keeping this affair secret proves one thing: Kate’s sneaking around with Jake was totally plot-driven.

The writers needed this ludicrous secret to make the twin silly plots of Jennifer thinking Jack was still sleeping with Kate and Chad thinking Abigail was sleeping with Jake work. So they made it happen and came up with a million senseless reasons for why Kate was keeping the affair discreet after the fact.

That’s not good writing. It was also disappointing that after learning that her silence contributed to Chad’s torment, Kate’s response was to say they DEFINITELY have to keep quiet now to not anger him further.

That was selfish, which granted, Kate often is. But if her whole purpose is to prevent Chad from suffering unnecessary pain, then this snafu should have given her motivation to come clean.

Despite the stupidity of the situation, though, Jake and Kate’s breakup scene was well-done.

I cheered when Jake found his self-respect and told Kate that if he wasn’t good enough for her to feel comfortable with people knowing about their relationship, he didn’t need her.

It’s rare to see anyone in Salem let someone go who doesn’t love them the way they want instead of following them around begging them to feel differently. Jake’s refusal to accept this nonsense was a refreshing change!

Kate is one person who is not having a happy New Year, and that’s her own fault. Another one is Gwen.

I still don’t know what her vendetta against the Deverauxes is and I’m not convinced the writers do either, but Anna seeing through her act is delicious!

Anna realizing what’s really going on was topped only by Tony’s skepticism. Anna and Tony had some great interactions that made me wish they could stay in Salem permanently.

Tony: Anna, you’re not being helpful.
Anna: No, Tony, you’re the one who is not being helpful. You want Abigail to stick her head in the sand while this woman takes her husband and her life!
Tony: Stick her head… what exactly are you hoping to find? A file marked ‘My Secret Plan?’
Anna: It wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve found weirder things in this house.

These two play off each other so well. Who didn’t laugh at Tony’s sarcasm about the whole thing or the perverse pleasure Anna took not only in being right but in getting Kate’s goat on top of it?

Anyway, I’m glad that Anna and Abigail found that magazine full of newspaper clippings, though Gwen forgot the ones about JJ’s arrest for breaking a store window all those years ago. 

Abigail needs someone like Anna to push her to stop thinking the best of people who mean her harm. Abby thinks she and Jennifer are great investigative reporters, but I’ve never seen two people whose instincts are more off than theirs have been recently!

And now that Jack knows too, Gwen’s plan should unravel quickly.  I can’t wait for the confrontation now that Gwen’s wandered into the room where Jack is studying those clippings.

And with Jack and Jennifer having reconciled and having told each other about Gwen giving them opposite advice, she won’t be able to easily turn the Deverauxes against each other anymore, either.

Meanwhile, it looks like we’re headed toward a Brady/Chloe/Philip triangle.

Right now, Brady is “just friends” with Chloe and committed to Kristen while Kristen is in jail. But with all the talk of how evil Kristen will turn if she learns about Brady and Chloe’s innocent kiss, we all know that’s exactly what will happen.

If Kristen again goes to the dark side, that leaves Brady free to pursue Chloe, and Philip is already jealous. Plus, Chloe knows Philip’s secret and will probably insist on helping him despite his fear that it could put her in danger.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Even after all these years, Chloe has great chemistry both with Brady and Philip. But Philip was recently moping over the fact that “love of his life” Belle had remarried Shawn instead of having another affair with him. And he got in trouble in the first place after hanging out with Mimi.

I’d like for Philip to find someone new instead of flitting from one high school ex to another. High school was 20 years ago. Time to move on.

Besides, mooning over one old ex after another makes Philip seem flighty and immature, as if he is stuck in that high school mentality and trying to relive his glory days.

All of this is a welcome departure from the tried-and-true trope of Sarah and Philip entering a phony relationship to try to advance their own ends, only to fall for each other for real, though!

That’s what I thought was going to happen, and I have never been so relieved to be wrong.

Elsewhere, the best thing that can be said about this Charlie/Ava mess is that at least it only took up one episode’s worth of screen time during the week of 12-28-20.

At least Charlie didn’t kidnap Claire to keep her quiet… yet.

I’m sure that’s coming, and I dread it. Claire is so in love with a guy she doesn’t know anything about, and there’s no way it can end well.

Plus, Charlie’s constant insistence that raping Allie was a “mistake” and he only did it to hurt Tripp is so cringe-inducing.

But with Steve and John on the case and Allie already feeling suspicious and like she knows Charlie from somewhere, hopefully, the end of this awful story is somewhere in sight.

Thank goodness Marlena convinced John to give Steve a second chance. After all, Kayla had a harder time than Steve with forgiving John after John poisoned Steve and made him go blind.

Also, what was with Will’s cameo appearance? He showed up in Salem to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, pass judgment on Tripp, and wander around giving people advice. Then he left again.

His quick online visit with Sonny was one of the nicest, warmest moments of this holiday season, but once again Days of Our Lives made a big deal out of a return that amounted to nothing.

Finally, Eli and Lani named their babies!

These were also mostly warm family scenes — something which Days of Our Lives has been missing lately.

I could have done without the mysterious person watching the babies after Abe and Julie left, though. Can’t the writers come up with something other than kidnapped babies to keep the drama going?

I also would have preferred they not name the boy after Abe, since their late son is already named after him. But since they decided to go this route, naming the baby Carver was a nice gesture without using Abe’s given name.

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!

Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know how you think the new year is going for our friends in Salem and what you hope happens for your favorite characters this year!

Hungry for more Days of Our Lives chat? Make sure 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. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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