Days of Our Lives Review: In with the New

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Over the last several years, summers on Days of Our Lives has meant a change in writing regimes.

The latest writing change came this week, and even though there's some silliness and there's still some social messaging problems, for the most part I'm finding I can enjoy watching DAYS again, and that's a good thing.

I'm in love with one of the first changes made, which is that the stars Abigail had in her eyes for Dario seem to have been surgically removed.

Abigail Finds Dario's Cash - Days of Our Lives

It never made any sense that Abigail was so trusting of Dario in the first place.

Supposedly she had PTSD after being violently abused by Ben, and one of the hallmarks of PTSD is hypervigilance. So if anything, Abigail should have been overly cautious and presumed that anyone who was as nice to her as Dario seemed to be must have had an ulterior motive.

The previous writers had an obsession with the Hernandezes and seemed to expect viewers to worship them no matter what crimes they committed. Abigail was far from the only victim of that lopsided and ridiculous view of the canvas, but she was one of the worst, all things considered.

So I was thrilled that Abigail began to be suspicious and did some detective work to find out that Dario had a ton of counterfeit money.

While the Abigail of last week would have denied that the evidence Theo found on Dario's computer even existed, this much smarter and stronger Abigail was upset about it. Sadly, she thought Dario was a good guy that she could talk into an honest life, and that backfired massively.

I'm not happy with this Dario blackmail storyline, but the new writing team was stuck with Abby having fallen for Dario, so I guess this was the best they could do.

One thing that I hate about Days of Our Lives is that people almost always have a ridiculous excuse for not involving the police and blackmail victims always give in to the weakest of threats. I know blackmail and incompetent police are soap staples, but I find those trends unrealistic and silly.

It was no exception. After Abby discovered what Dario was doing, he threatened to expose Chad as Deimos' killer if Abby told anyone about the counterfeiting, hacking and stealing he'd been doing.

It was a powerful scene because the blinders were ripped off Abby's eyes and she realized her new husband was a monster just one step below Ben. But with a little thought, Abby could have easily shrugged off this threat.

It's likely that, as Kate later pointed out, Dario photoshopped the photo. It's also likely that the cops aren't going to listen to Dario's claims about Chad and will wonder why he witnessed a murder yet took a photo instead of doing anything to help -- which may make him an accessory to said murder!

And even if Salem goes with some wacky version of the law where it doesn't matter that Dario responded to witnessing a murder by photographing the crime and the supposed villain was under the influence of a drug he was given against his will, there's the fact that Chad is a Dimera and has the resources to get off scot-free.

Even if Chad doesn't want to do anything underhanded, is there any chance Andre wouldn't threaten judges, make evidence disappear, or otherwise make sure his brother doesn't go to prison for a murder he likely never committed in the first place?

Kate: What did Chad say when you told him?
Abigail: I didn't tell him, and you can't either.
Kate: You have to tell him right away. What, are you scared he's going to go all Stefano Dimera on your husband?

Unfortunately, Abby took Dario at his word and decided she couldn't tell the police and she couldn't tell Chad. Supposedly she's protecting him from confessing to the murder to get Sonny out of jail, though she had no problem with Sonny doing the same to get JJ out of jail and Sonny is her cousin!

As a side note, once two different people confess to the murder based on fuzzy memories and weak evidence, can anyone be prosecuted for it?

Theo Talks to Chad - Days of Our Lives

Anyway, this story, like most blackmail stories, requires huge leaps in logic, but it's almost worth it to see Abby's illusions about Dario get shattered.

I especially liked the scenes between Abigail, Andre, and Kate at the mansion. Kate didn't hold anything back, informing Abby of the total truth about Dario, and Abby realized how foolish she'd been ever to trust him.

Andre: So Dario is using this photo of Chad to blackmail you into staying in the marriage.
Abby: He's desperate. He knows his marriage is falling apart.
Andre: And what kind of marriage does he think he's going to have under these circumstances?

I also enjoyed the fact that Abby's attempts to protect Chad by going along with Dario's plan were for nothing because the cops caught up with him anyway. I just wish the arresting officer was someone other than Rafe.

Rafe is far from the only cop in Salem, and it's ridiculous for him to keep arresting his family members, especially when he's been no paragon of virtue himself.

I had hoped that Hope's discovery of Dario's involvement in criminal activity would lead to a major conflict for Rafe and Hope and perhaps pave the way towards breaking this awful pairing up.

Hope was angry that Rafe decided to keep Dario's deception of Abigail to himself.

This was a definite departure from the past, and I was glad that Hope no longer wants to be protected and treated as helpless. She made up with Rafe far too quickly for my liking, but maybe this isn't as over as it seems to be.

I wasn't sure Hope bought Rafe's claim that he was afraid Raines would find a reason to terminate her if he knew she knew what Dario was doing.

Rafe should worry about his butt. Covering up the fact that his brother entered a sham marriage to defraud the government isn't any better a look for him than Hope, especially since Raines knows he helped cover up Stefano's murder.

Also, isn't Rafe former FBI? How is it possible his FBI contacts didn't tell him anything about this investigation so that he had to learn secondhand, from Hope of all people?

Kate: Talk to a lawyer. That's what Dario did to find out that all he had to do was refile some paperwork.
Abigail: So he's been lying to me from the beginning. He said there was some Mexican gang of drug lords that was after him.
Kate: I bet he did.
Abigail: No, that was true. I had Lieutenant Raines -
Andre: Never mind that. We need to focus on making sure Dario doesn't send Chad to prison.

I have mixed feelings about a couple of other aspects of this story.

For one thing, Abby's controlling partner accusing Chad of murder and abusing her already happened during the Necktie Killer storyline. This story is faster paced and makes slightly more sense than that one, but I don't want to see it again.

For another, I'm not convinced that someone with Autism would so easily get involved with underhanded dealings and agree not to tell anyone. I know Chad and Andre are Theo's uncles, but I feel like more should have been made out of this.

Nevertheless, this was probably the best way to wrap up this mess of a storyline. Hopefully, when all the old storylines are over, we'll get some stories that make a little more sense.

Angelica: I called you here because I wanted to talk to you about the next step in our little operation.
Hattie: Operation? I'm gonna need an operation if I have to be in these clothes 24/7.

The Angelica storyline got a lot more interesting, though also a lot more ridiculous, now that Angelica has hired Hattie and Bonnie to help her with her crazy plan.

Apparently, Angelica thinks the only way to Justin's heart is to ruin Adrienne's life and is manipulating Hattie into helping her by promising her that deception will win her Roman.

The Hattie/Angelica scenes were, for the most part, hilarious, but this plan is entirely unnecessary. Justin and Roman are both single, and the ladies could pursue them without any schemes involving mistaken identity. This is going to be one wild, crazy ride and I hope it stays mostly in the realm of comic relief.

Hattie is a good vehicle for satirizing Marlena's worst traits, so viewers who dislike Marlena should enjoy her.

I hope, though, that we don't have any more jokes like confusing bisexual and bipolar. The point of this joke was to show Hattie's ignorance, but considering how much homophobia the show must now reverse, jokes suggesting that bisexuality is a mental disorder are in poor taste, to say the least.

Paul: The police broke into that room and they found a phone charger and a porno magazine like the one that was found on you in Greece.
Xander: That's all you have? A phone charger and a magazine that's looked at by every straight man in the world?

While Hattie and Angelica were plotting, the real Marlena enjoyed a brief reunion with John before Paul whisked him away to Greece to investigate Xander. 

I was glad that Paul was integrated into the John/Marlena scenes. There needs to be a lot of interactions between the older and younger generations rather than the silo-ing of characters that have occurred over the past few years, and I'd rather see Paul working with John than pining over Sonny.

It seemed a little silly that John disappeared again the second he ran into Marlena, though, and I was relieved that for once she was mature about it. There have been far too many renditions of this Marlena vs. the ISA storyline, and this couple needs to move on to something else as quickly as possible.

This whole conflict could have been resolved by Marlena going to Greece with John and Paul. Everyone else abandons work at a moment's notice, so why not her?

Paul: The police broke into that room and they found a phone charger and a porno magazine like the one that was found on you in Greece.
Xander: That's all you have? A phone charger and a magazine that's looked at by every straight man in the world?

In any event, John and Paul's mission was a little bizarre. It doesn't make sense that Xander would return to jail after breaking out if he indeed was the murderer, and he was right that their evidence against him was laughable.

It was nice to see Xander again though, and I'm curious as to what the new writers will do with him.

Theo: You snuck out pretty early this morning. Is that so you wouldn't have to see me?
Claire: You wasted your time coming down here. I have nothing new to say.

The Claire/Theo storyline is a fairly realistic story, but I wish that Theo would stop using the sex tape Jade made as an excuse for breaking up with Claire.

I realize he has Autism, but the fact is that Claire was the victim of a sex crime here, and I want the new regime to clean up this obsession with blaming and shaming victims of sexual assault for once and for all.

That said, I liked the fact that no one was completely right here. Claire was so angry at Theo that she rejected his friendship, yet kept trying to insist they be more than friends. That wasn't fair, but it also was typical teenage behavior, and I enjoyed seeing Marlena comfort and counsel her about it.

Steve Offers to Help Kayla - Days of Our Lives

There were a few loose ends left over from the past few months that still need to be wrapped up as quickly as possible. The most disappointing one was the continued JJ/Lani stupidity.

I am thrilled that JJ is moving into his place. It's about time, and I would have loved to have seen Jennifer struggle to accept that her son is embracing his adulthood right after the murder charges against him were dropped.

Surely Jennifer would have felt this was bad timing and wanted him to stay home longer and let her comfort him over having spent time in jail for no good reason.

But instead, JJ just announced he had moved out and that was that. I felt cheated out of a story that should have happened because of this.

Casey Moss is an excellent actor who deserves a really good story, and JJ being quickly shuffled into his apartment so that he can have sex with the woman who raped him isn't it.

Lani was even more pathetic than usual this week. She was angry that she couldn't force JJ to be jealous of Eli. Him finally giving in to all her pressure and having sex with her again wasn't enough for her because he wasn't insecure and frightened of losing her.

Meanwhile, JJ had some ridiculous lines about how wonderful Lani was that he couldn't possibly believe after the way she's treated him all this time. He was joking when he told her her detective skills needed work and gave her back her lost shoe, but truer words were never spoken.

Lani is the worst cop in the department and why she thinks she deserves a promotion is beyond me. She can't even tell an animal skull from a human skull and should have been fired long ago.

She also has a poor work ethic, and JJ should not be taking the blame for her being late to work. 

I hope there is a large scale implosion of this joke of a relationship soon because I can't take too much more. It's a shame that two good actors are saddled with such garbage.

JJ's best scene this week was with his cousin Tripp. I was thrilled that he knows Tripp is his cousin since the previous writers seemed unaware that JJ is related to Steve at all.

However, it was totally out of character for JJ to put sex with Lani above helping Kayla clear her name and I wish he'd joined forces with his uncle to get to the bottom of that instead.

Similarly, Steve is a bright, intuitive guy and should notice how nervous Tripp is every time he brings up getting close to unmasking Kayla's enemy. This is another story that needs to end sooner rather than later. It's ruining too many interesting characters, including Tripp, and I hope the writers move on to something else soon.

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Finally, there was some more silliness between Adrienne, Justin, and Lucas.

I'm glad to see Lucas get a lot of screen time, and he had some funny lines while talking to Chad and Kate. But it was unnecessary for him to be jealous of Justin, especially because Adrienne spent her whole conversation with Justin talking about how great Lucas is.

I would like to see Lucas get back with Sami when she returns in a few months, so I hope this insecurity on his part is a move in that direction. But right now it just seems a little out of place since Adrienne has chosen him over Justin.

What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Are you excited about the shift in writers, disappointed in what you've seen so far, or somewhere in between?

Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Days of Our Lives Quotes

Lucas, I raised you to be a better liar than that.

Kate

Deimos: I believe that the younger generation in this family have been handed everything on a silver platter, and they don't appreciate it.
Maggie: By younger generation, you must mean Sonny.
Deimos: All right, fine. Let's start with Sonny. I'm trying to work with him, Maggie. I've just given him a very important position in the company and instead of being grateful for the opportunity, he's being an oversensitive, temperamental pain in my neck. But at least he's still here. Brady, on the other hand, he's taken off, abandoned the family, Titan. He's left me all alone to deal with the Hernandez family on my own.
Maggie: Well, there's an easy solution to the Dimera and the Hernandez families. Just bow out.
Deimos: I do that and I lose face.
Maggie: With whom?
Deimos: With everyone. Except Nicole. She's taken off too.
Maggie: And to think I naively thought that maybe I'd gotten through to you the last time we had a serious conversation. Let me ask you a question. Has doing things your way gotten you anywhere?