A lot happened this week on Days of Our Lives, and for once not all of it revolved around the Hernandez family.
Not that there wasn't plenty of that, too.
Dario's idea of a date was taking Nicole to the shooting range and later interrupting her meal with Parker, Adriana reiterated her concerns about Hope yet again, and Eduardo received another threat after encouraging Steve to try to win back Kayla.
Meanwhile, life went on for the rest of Salem.
The Hernandezes are a new-ish family in town. Rafe and Gabi have both been there for years and Dario is back after a long absence, while the parents are completely new characters. Having a vibrant, interesting Hispanic family could add diversity to the canvas.
However, this family seems to have gotten bogged down by two things: dull or non-existent storylines and too much Rafe/Hope propping.
On Monday, Adriana must have said at least four times that her son is a wonderful guy who deserves better than Hope. Viewers who don't like Rafe/Hope might agree with her sentiment that there are better matches for Rafe out there if she didn't say it so often, so passionately and for such superficial reasons.
It's clear Mama is supposed to be the antagonist in this drama. I'd love to see her drop the "dead husband" bit which is irrelevant and instead discover that Rafe helped Hope cover up Stefano's murder.
Maybe then she'd have a point other than reminding the audience that we're supposed to root for Rafe/Hope.
As it is, Adriana is just becoming a giant pain in the butt. Maybe if Rafe/Hope were a more rootable couple, this would be interesting drama. Instead, it seems like more telling rather than showing. Instead of giving viewers a reason to want Rafe and Hope together, this character is being used as an annoying reminder of what we're supposed to think.
Adriana also felt a need to tell Blanca that she shouldn't live near the hospital because it's dangerous, solidifying her identity as yet another annoying busybody. Her entire family was rightfully annoyed that she wants to control her middle-aged son's love life. She then ran away from Eduardo again because she found a threatening note he was trying to hide from her.
This is a continuation of the black roses story that was abruptly dropped about three months ago, though it seems more like a rerun. Eduardo is easily the most interesting of the Herndandezes, with his troubled background, friendships with John and Steve, and desire to reconnect with the family he abandoned years ago.
This story should be front and center, not an afterthought that is used to fill time between attempts to prop Rafe and Hope. A Martinez is a veteran soap actor and an excellent one; it's really shameful to have his character playing second fiddle instead of his story being in the forefront.
Similarly, Gabi and JJ are one of the most popular new couples, played by two talented actors, and have a significant fanbase on social media, yet they are also rarely seen.
JJ is mainly being used as a background player or as a foil for Chad – another character viewers are being told by the writers to like no matter what he does, and when he and Gabi do appear together it's generally for a short, sweet scene.
This week, Gabi had the opportunity to bond with Blanca and help her figure out how to find a apartment. This might be an interesting friendship, though I couldn't help thinking that it would be deliciously ironic if Blanca turned out to be gay and disappointed that Gabi was not available.
As for Dario, he has become a complete pain who does nothing but try to convince Nicole she should be in love with him. He took her to the shooting range to blow off some steam, then later on had dinner with her. Nicole told Dario how much she still misses Daniel and that today was the anniversary of her decision to be honest with him instead of covering up a mistake, which added to her pain.
Dario was sweet and empathetic, then ruined it by asking Nicole to kiss him. This put her in the awkward position of having to let him down gently for about the 15th time.
Maybe Nicole needs to be a little bit mean to him at this point. He's refusing to get it and it's annoying.
You've got to be kidding me.Kayla
The most ridiculous storyline of the week might be Steve's decision to become a bartender. I'm no fan of the way Kayla has been rewritten to suddenly hate Steve for his adventurous ways, but she was right that bartending isn't for him.
She was also right that he shouldn't change who he is for her. Maybe she needs to be as insightful with herself and figure out why the man she loved for over 30 years is suddenly not good enough for her.
Pushing Steve away because Joey has problems makes no more sense than it did when Jennifer broke up with Daniel because JJ had problems. Of course, Joey's problems make far less sense than JJ's did, so this whole redux of JJ's initial storyline is ridiculous anyway.
Jade's Dad: She was never raised that way.
Jade: I wasn't raised at all!
Joey defending Jade from her father, who has suddenly flip-flopped from having given up on Jade because she runs away all the time to blaming Joey for Jade's first-ever experience with running away, was especially annoying.
First of all, it seemed like his defense of Jade was an attempt to show us that he's just like Steve, as it was juxtaposed with Kayla telling Steve he would never turn his back on someone who is being bullied.
On top of that, Fynn's insertion into this situation was a blatant rip-off of the Daniel/JJ dynamic that was abruptly written out a few months before Daniel was killed off.
Fynn is no Daniel, and Joey is no JJ, so hopefully this storyline will begin going in an original direction soon.
Every imitation of JJ's story just serves to point out how interesting and woefully underused JJ is, as the far less interesting Joey is eating up airtime he could be featured in.
You know, you've been saying for some time now that you want to make amends. This offer is a good step in putting the past behind us. But if I'm to move on with my life, I, uh, I need to do the same thing. Accept my guilt. I was responsible for the argument that caused Helena to lose her life. I was so hurt and angry by the fact that you stole her from me that I let you spend 30 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit. Over the years I convinced myself that I'd done nothing wrong. Now I know that I did. So the question is, can we truly move on?Victor
Victor's semi mea culpa was classic Victor. It took everything out of him to even admit he was wrong to frame Deimos all those years ago. Many viewers were rooting for a complete turnaround for Victor, but it would have taken too much pride for him to make actual peace with Deimos.
This was really the best that could be expected from Victor. Hopefully it won't backfire on him.
Deimos: As I told your grandfather, I know it's going to take some time before all of you trust me after what I did.
Brady: You were very right about that.
Deimos: And if I knew something, Brady, I would certainly tell you. But I don't. You're wasting your time here with me. But I hope to God that you find your son. And soon.
Brady and Theresa finally got a clue in their son's disappearance!
Theresa went to confront Summer. In one of the sillier sequences the show has had lately, they had a physical fight that ended with Summer knocking Theresa into an end table or something. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same one that felled Clark.
Deimos should be glad his fight with Kate was at the river and not in the Salem Inn or he may have been a goner after all.
Anyway, Summer panicked for about two seconds, then decided that since Theresa had a pulse she would be okay and proceeded to run away. Apparently she couldn't disappear by taxi, as she ran into Maggie in the Square and refused to accept that Maggie could actually still love her.
Then she ran off again, hopefully for the last time.
While that was going on, Theresa woke up and called Brady. Her head was bleeding but that didn't bother her as much as the fact that the believed-to-be kidnapper had got away. She and Brady had another disagreement about that while searching a room that Summer had left a note for them about.
Then Brady moved a television set and found Tate's rattle.
This might have been a better clue had he called Shawn to check out the forensics before picking the toy up and getting his fingerprints all over it, but hopefully this will lead to some movement in this story.
There was also some more silliness this week with Hope, Ciara and Chase. Hope was nervous when she heard Ciara works at the hospital where Chase is a patient.
Ciara responded by going to the hospital and more or less seeking Chase out to tell him she wanted nothing to do with him.
First, of course, she had to tell him that his father really is a murderer. This is more nonsense courtesy of the Salem Police Department of Jumping to Conclusions, but who knows how Chase may take it.
After all, he is a patient in a mental hospital who is refusing his medication regime.
Ciara should not be working at that hospital, and if her careless and vindictive actions are any indication of how she will be in general with patients, she needs to be barred from the field of psychiatry forever.
In between all this, Sonny made a surprise visit home. A bigger surprise was that he actually talked about missing Will and admitted he'd stayed away because of his grief. Naturally, he ran into Paul soon afterwards.
Hopefully Paul will stay firmly in the friend zone this time. It's bad enough we have Dario relentlessly pursuing Nicole; we don't need Paul to follow suit with Sonny.
Paul is a very likeable character whenever he's not around Sonny. Last time they were together, he was bothering Sonny at Will's grave, which was extremely inappropriate and disrespectful.
Plus, if Sonny were to get together with Paul now it would suffer the same consolation-prize problem as Rafe and Hope do. Nobody wants to be with someone who chose them only because the person they really want is dead, unavailable, or a disappointment.
There are more than two gay guys in the world, so hopefully Sonny will move on with someone new and he and Paul can maintain a friendship that doesn't go further.
Sonny's scenes with his parents were enjoyable, though, and made me glad to have him back. Justin seemed so happy and like himself that his problems with the destroyed evidence are almost heartbreaking.
So what did you think? Are you excited about Sonny's return? Which is more ridiculous: Steve becoming a bartender or Ciara thinking she can become a psychiatrist?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Round Table discussion!