Days of Our Lives Review: Paying Lip Service to Murder

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As much as I hate the idea of JJ getting arrested for a murder he probably didn't commit, it could have been a dramatic storyline for him.

His barely restrained tears and Hope's regret as she informed him he was under arrest were a promising start.

But then JJ's arrest didn't amount to much of a loss of freedom at all and everyone who supposedly loves him mostly had better things to do than try to support him.

This storyline should be front-burner material, not a watered down afterthought that was so unrealistic that it was impossible to suspend disbelief.

Someone Stabs Deimos - Days of Our Lives

One of the things that made this storyline less than compelling this week was that JJ's arrest seemed to amount to him sitting in the interrogation room without any supervision, allowed to see whoever he wanted whenever he wanted to see them.

I know Days' budget is small and not using an actual jail set probably saved money, but this was just ridiculous.

JJ is supposed to be under arrest, not ordered to work the case 24 hours a day from the interrogation room. It was unrealistic and stupid to think that someone accused of a violent crime would be left to his own devices.

From the cops' perspective, there were massive security risks because any of his visitors could have sneaked him a weapon while nobody was looking or he could have just got up and walked away while everyone was preoccupied.

And dramatically, JJ's ordeal was extremely watered down because he was not being treated like a prisoner.

The scenes in which everyone said goodbye and his lawyer told him not to worry would have had much more impact if he were in handcuffs and had been told he was being transferred to a prison upstate to await trial.

As it was, there seemed no reason for them, since JJ had been charged days ago and didn't appear to be headed for a cell anytime soon.

In addition, the show is not making any use of JJ's past here, and that's a shame. His becoming a cop was supposed to be the ultimate proof that he'd left his days of engaging in criminal behavior behind him.

For someone like him who worked so hard to turn his life around, getting arrested for murder should feel like the ultimate failure as well as make him wonder whether he will ever be anything but a suspect to his colleagues.

Yet his past has not been mentioned once. All these people who are supposedly worried about him don't want him to think he killed anyone but have no concern about how this might affect his ability to keep moving forward in his life even if he is proven to be innocent.

Lucas: Hey. I remember you. Dimly.
Adrienne: Yeah. Sorry, I've been swamped. I thought the one thing I could do to help Jennifer is make sure she didn't have to worry about the paper.
Lucas: Yeah, I read your coverage on JJ's arrest. That must have been tough for you.

There are so many missed beats in this storyline, too.

Since Jennifer owns the Spectator now, she should be dealing with a massive conflict between her paper reporting on JJ's arrest and her dealing with it as his mother. But instead, Adrienne covered the story off-screen and mentioned it to Lucas before moving on to something else.

Since JJ is a cop accused of murder while under the influence of drugs, there should be an Internal Affairs investigation into his behavior to determine whether he truly was drugged against his will and whether he engaged in any conduct that could cost him his badge.

There should also be people protesting outside the police station and insisting that if JJ walks it's because cops get a free pass to kill people. 

These side stories could add to JJ's belief he is guilty and determination to get punished for it, leading him to sabotage his own case.

Jennifer: I know you. I know the man you are, and I know you didn't kill Deimos.
JJ: Mom, his DNA was under my fingernails. That could easily convince a jury of my peers.
Justin: That you and Deimos had a fight. And since it's pretty obvious that Deimos was responsible for your altered state, we could argue diminished capacity as well as self-defense as well as the fact that you are a police officer. You were trying to apprehend a man who was wanted for kidnapping, producing and selling illegal drugs...
JJ: Yes, Justin. I know you think that you can clear me, but I still killed a man. I don't know how to live with that.

Instead, we got him sitting in an interrogation room and one scene where he insisted he is guilty before moving onto discussing Abby's marriage to Dario.

Abigail let Dario manipulate her into this sham marriage while JJ sat in the interrogation room.  There was a lot of stupidity surrounding this, including Abe calling Jennifer for permission to proceed with her adult daughter's marriage ceremony.

Eventually, Abigail and Dario were married, and Dario recited some ridiculous vows that made it clear that he hopes being forced to marry him will cause her to fall in love with him.

Afterward, Abby went to see JJ , and he interrogated her about her wedding.

It made sense in a way, because someone like JJ who is facing murder charges might prefer to get into his sister's business than admit that he is powerless over his own fate or be unable to express any anger over his own situation and thus project it onto her.

But given that every conversation about JJ's legal problem quickly devolves into a discussion of someone else's problems, it seemed like more of the writers pushing JJ out of the center of his own story in favor of somebody else's nonsense.

Sonny: It had to be me. What other explanation could there be?
Victor: How many people had contact with Deimos? That's the number of other possible explanations.

Meanwhile, across town, Sonny continued to have memories that suggested to him that he might have killed Deimos.

Paul's insistence that Sonny didn't know that for sure was so similar to Jennifer's speech to JJ about the same thing that it felt like the writers had cut and pasted the dialogue from one scene into the other.

Party at the Martin House - Days of Our Lives

It was nice to see Sonny actually have a conscience and some caring for his cousin, considering how ruthless he's been lately. Too bad he took a break from that to fight with Brady over whether he should have fired the 50 employees Deimos had hired.

I wasn't happy with Victor's advice to Sonny on the matter. Victor seemed to think no one should be prosecuted for Deimos' murder. So then why was he so happy to let JJ risk a trial rather than using his considerable resources to make sure that JJ is released?

JJ wouldn't want Victor doing anything underhanded and neither would I, but it seemed to me that Victor's attitude was really more about letting JJ take the blame so that Sonny won't get in trouble than anything else.

Sonny may be Victor's nephew, but JJ is Maggie's, so he should be equally worried about either of them facing consequences for this, especially if he thinks the murder is no big deal.

It was also strange to see Paul take the stand that Sonny should let JJ face charges without saying a word. Paul is a pretty moral guy, and JJ is one of his best friends.

Love On the Island - Days of Our Lives

Naturally, one person who was on JJ's side was Gabi.

Gabi went behind Chad's back to visit JJ at the police station and tell him she cares about him. 

This doesn't salvage the damage done to this couple through Gabi dumping JJ because he'd been raped. In fact, it made Gabi even less rootable as a person and proved JJ deserves better than her.

When Gabi was with JJ, she made any and all excuses to go behind his back to spend time with Chad and carried on an emotional affair under his nose, while insisting she and Chad were just friends and that JJ was overreacting when he was upset about it.

Now she is with Chad and is sneaking behind his back to spend time with JJ while insisting that she and JJ are just friends.

It's clear Gabi just enjoys being with someone other than the man she claims to love and has issues with commitment.

Plus she probably thinks she and JJ have something in common now because they have both spent several days confined to the interrogation room instead of a jail cell over the murder of someone else.

However, Gabi actually did kill Nick and didn't have any memory issues over it. JJ's problem is that he is feeling a ton of guilt over circumstantial evidence that really shouldn't even be enough to arrest him on. 

Gabi is a step above Lani, who is so untrustworthy that I'm not convinced she was actually hypnotized by Marlena and wasn't just faking.

Lani's hypnotic session consisted of her sitting with her eyes closed. She didn't seem to be in any kind of trance at all as she recounted a story of being locked in a garage that no one else remembers and that she could easily have made up to clear herself.

The woman with the dog who supposedly found Lani and Eli in the garage didn't do so until midnight. Apparently, Lani being locked in the garage before 9 PM is an airtight alibi, but the cops only have Lani's dubious word for it that she wasn't actually locked in until after killing Deimos.

Lani was angry that JJ woke up next to Gabi despite the fact that she woke up next to Eli, so implicating him for the murder and then faking hypnosis to clear herself isn't out of the realm of possibility for this amoral rapist who is no longer able to control her victim.

It's absolutely ridiculous that she, Gabi, and Nicole are all asserting the fact that their drug-influenced sexual behavior was meaningless because of the drugs yet nobody makes the connection that that was also the case when JJ was too drunk to consent to Lani's advances in the first place.

The only way to make JJ and Gabi a rootable couple again would be for Gabi to realize after this experience that that was exactly what happened to him and that she was wrong to have shamed him and broken up with him over cheating that didn't happen. Otherwise, she's just a hypocrite, and that's not an attractive quality at all.

Rafe Proposes to Hope - Days of Our Lives

While JJ was on the hook for Deimos' murder, Hope wanted to keep investigating and try to clear his name. However, Rafe insisted on meeting her in the park instead so he could propose to her.

This was so selfish and obnoxious, and it really drove home the writers' opinion that JJ is an afterthought and Hope and Rafe's so-called romance is the show's priority.

Rafe insisting on a romantic picnic that Hope did not want was bad enough. He then ran all over town getting permission from Hope's relatives to marry her.

This was so insulting. Hope is a middle-aged woman who has been married twice before. As with all things Rafe and Hope, she was again stripped of her power to make life decisions for herself as Julie babysat her so that Rafe could fulfill his mission.

Rafe was sent from one person to another to gain permission that he should not need to ask. Julie sent him to Doug who sent him to Victor who sent him to Roman.

Roman said Rafe didn't need anyone's blessing and should do what he wanted, so a lot of time could have been saved if he'd visited him first.

This whole thing also reinforced the noxious idea that Hope is a piece of property who Bo passed on to Rafe. All of Rafe's conversations were about how Bo was the love of Hope's life, but he wanted Rafe to be with her after he died. 

Considering that Hope wasn't even allowed any say in whether or not to go on this date in the middle of a murder investigation, it's not surprising that the show wants viewers to accept that she has no say in who she chooses to be with after Bo's death, either.

Theo Breaks Up With Claire - Days of Our Lives

Theo and Claire easily had the best storyline of the week, with Claire realizing too late that Theo represents the stability she's hungered for her whole life and refusing to give him the space he needs to get over the mistakes they have both made when it comes to trusting each other.

I was thrilled to see Claire's recent self-absorption disappear and a normal teen storyline instead of one involving rape or murder. I really hope that she and Theo do find their way back to each other despite Claire's impatience and tendency to do the opposite of what would make the relationship succeed.

Tripp's Revenge - Days of Our Lives

Not so thrilling was Tripp's continued attempts to get revenge on Kayla. He changed something else in her tablet then changed his mind and changed it back. Later, Kayla was called to the hospital and accused of making careless and fatal errors.

Seth Burns insisted on making this accusation in the hallway and in front of Steve and Tripp.

I'm all for Steve investigating what is going on and discovering that his new son is risking people's lives to make Kayla look bad. However, Kayla should have had this meeting in private and then told Steve about it later.

Steve being present diminished Kayla's strength and made her look like yet another woman who can't defend herself and needs a man's protection. Plus, his random angry outbursts reflected poorly on her and interfered with her professionalism.

I'm also not sure what to make of Tripp. He set up this whole plan without much thought about what it could do to a patient to be given the wrong medication, then jumped to Kayla's defense. Is he feeling remorse or is this part of his plan too? I couldn't tell.

Nicole Argues with Eric - Days of Our Lives

Nicole found herself torn between Eric and Brady after hearing Eric counsel a veteran who was suffering from PTSD.

I really wish Eric would stop counseling people with the door open. I also am tired of this merry-go-round where Nicole is with some other guy and has to worry that he will reject her because she kissed Eric during some bizarre situation in which they were trapped.

This is the third such storyline in the last two years.

It's also the second time in as many weeks that Nicole has had second thoughts about Eric after spying on one of his counseling sessions.

I loved seeing Eric with the vet, and it was nice to see PTSD being written properly, unlike Abby's supposed problems with it, but I wish that Eric counseling people was its own storyline and not just a vehicle for Nicole to be impressed with him.

Kate: How about we drink to Deimos' untimely death?
Andre: You want to toast to the demise of a man who was skewered like a kabob? Me too!

Kate and Andre's banter provided some real comic relief, though I don't think Andre plans on divorcing Kate any time soon and I can't believe Kate is only now realizing Andre is insane.

That poor reporter that had to suffer through that interview where Kate continually threw verbal daggers at Andre!

I'd like to see more of this sort of thing, though. Light comedy can help relieve the stress of some of the more serious storylines, and these scenes were pure fun.

What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Did Rafe and Hope's marriage proposal make you nauseated? Was the unrealistic nature of JJ's arrest a distraction from the drama?

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


Editor Rating: 3.2 / 5.0
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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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Days of Our Lives Quotes

I'm the DA. I could threaten to prosecute him for withholding information, see how he reacts.


Brady: You can't be serious. You're not going to tell me not to see my grandfather.
Kristen: After everything he put us through, you're really going to choose that old coot over me?