The JJ shooting Theo storyline could easily become a preachy, one-sided mess.
But Days of Our Lives is handling the story sensitively so far, making it more about characters and people than about plot or making a particular point.
There were some powerful performances on Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-13-17 that really helped elevate this story to a new level.
JJ spent most of the week staring at the scene of the shooting and convincing himself that he knew who he was dealing with when he shot Theo.
I don't believe for a second that his memories are accurate.
JJ is a guilt magnet to begin with and Abe and Lani are constantly accusing him of shooting Theo on purpose. Plus, JJ seemed to be having some PTSD-like reactions to the shooting.
Abby tried to get him to go home and shower but he wouldn't leave the scene of the shooting, and the longer he stayed there the more he became convinced that he shot Theo on purpose.
I was glad he stormed off even though he needs his family's support, because him leaving gives him the only chance of clearing his head.
JJ: Mom, just leave me alone, okay?
Jennifer: JJ, please, just come home with me. Please!
Jennifer: Chad will let us know if anything happens. Please just go with me.
JJ: Don't you get it? We can't just act like nothing happened.
Jennifer: I'm not doing that.
JJ: I shot him. I put him in a coma. I have to live with that for the rest of my life.
All of JJ's scenes in the Square were emotional. I kept wanting to jump through my screen and hold him.
I was also thrilled to see him finally confront Jennifer about her habit of sweeping unpleasant emotions and situations under the rug. Those words were three years overdue, though it's really sad that it takes such a major tragedy for JJ to finally say them.
And I felt Jennifer's pain too at not being able to help her son and knowing what he is capable of when he is in his extreme guilt and self-hating mode.
It was not lost on me that the scene of the shooting appeared to be very close to the area of the Square where JJ broke a store window several years ago while in the throes of a similar emotional crisis.
I do think that there is an overemphasis on the fact that he shot Theo, who he knows and loves, though.
This is good, soapy drama, and of course JJ is wracked with guilt over having harmed someone he has loved his whole life.
Yet the emphasis on the fact that he shot Theo leaves out an important point.
I don't think JJ would have felt less guilty if it was a random kid who was holding a radar gun and a random father who blamed him and believed he shot indiscriminately.
Either way, JJ would have been overwhelmed by guilt and fear that he did this on purpose. It matters less that he didn't know it was Theo than that he didn't know what Theo was holding was a security device and not a gun.
And the hypothetical random kid's life would have mattered just as much as Theo's, though it wouldn't have the additional layer of drama associated with it being a beloved character who got shot.
That being said, Abe's reaction is as over-the-top and ridiculous as when he randomly decided JJ was a loose cannon that Lani should not have been dating.
To be clear, I don't blame Abe for being emotional about his son's life hanging in the balance and wondering how this could have happened.
But I do blame Abe for acting like he has no idea how police procedures work and ignoring the fact that he, too, has shot people on the job who did not deserve to be shot.
Abe acknowledged their families' long friendship to Jennifer and JJ pointed out that he'd known the Carvers his entire life, but Abe is again acting like JJ is a random cop who he knows nothing about.
And worse, Abe is acting like his relationship with the police is adversarial, as if his only dealings with them is with them unfairly harassing his son, when Abe himself was a cop and we never saw Theo have any negative dealings with the police before this incident.
In addition, Abe is waffling between denial that Theo was actually doing anything illegal and simply not caring because he blames the Dimeras and JJ rather than accepting that his son's choices contributed to this situation.
That's out of character for Abe, who always put morality above family relationships in the past, and it makes me wonder what will happen if he manages to alienate most of Salem and things go south with Theo's condition.
All Abe is accomplishing is making me not hate Lani as much as I usually do because she thinks Theo's recovery is more important than blaming everyone in town for how he got shot in the first place, and I don't appreciate that.
Jennifer thinks Lani is a wonderful girlfriend for JJ and we keep hearing about how great she is, but it's really hard to buy when her relationship with JJ started with her raping him and then being angry at him for not even remembering the encounter once he sobered up.
Ignoring that history is a mistake.
If it had been dealt with in some way, if there had been some story of Lani being remorseful and JJ forgiving her, I might not be happy but at least I wouldn't feel like I'm supposed to forget what happened in the past and just accept Lani as this amazing girlfriend because everyone says so.
The distaste I feel for Lani and JJ as a couple is diluting the power of this story.
I feel for Lani in the sense that I believe in her relationship with Theo and her pain over him being in critical condition, but I don't feel like she's truly caught in the middle because of the way her relationship with JJ has been underdeveloped other than its gross beginning.
It doesn't help that just before the shooting, she whined about JJ taking a long time to tell her he loves her, nor that she defends JJ to Abe yet treats JJ as if she agrees with her father.
Nor does it help that Lani and Abe's relationship never had much substance prior to this storyline. She showed up in town, announced she was Abe's daughter, and was welcomed with open arms. The end.
If only Lani had actually been rooted in the fabric of the canvas and she and JJ were a rootable couple, her conflict would be painful. As it is, I'm hoping she breaks up with JJ because him not being stuck with her would be a silver lining to this tragedy.
Excluding that, the story so far is doing a good job of pitting townspeople against one another. I actually felt bad for Andre that Chad was accusing him of being behind Theo breaking into the warehouse in the first place.
Andre has mellowed with age and is not really evil anymore, making him actually sympathetic.
Kate, on the other hand, drove me nuts. All she seemed to care about was that she not get implicated in Theo's illegal behavior.
I hate blackmail stories in general and I thought her blackmailing Tripp was weak.
No one would believe Kate if she claimed Tripp was behind Kayla's hospital fiasco last summer if she announced this while being dragged away in handcuffs, and Tripp could easily have got the upper hand by recording the conversation on Theo's phone and sharing it with Hope when he turned the phone over.
Plus it should be obvious even to the Salem PD that Kate manipulated the situation if they discover messages were deleted right after she was told that Tripp had Theo's phone.
Sami: It's so unfair. I can't believe I had to spend the night in jail. I didn't do anything wrong.
Cop: Oh, you mean aside from assaulting a woman and giving her a black eye?
Sami: That woman kidnapped my son and held him against his will and oh, I have to be the one to go to jail, and she gets to go free.
Cop: And this young man you claim was kidnapped? He's dead.
Sami: No, my son is not dead. As it turns out, he's alive.
Cop: Okay, so let me see if I can get this straight. Your son, Will Horton, was raised from the dead, brainwashed, now he has amnesia, and thinks he is a guy named EJ Dimera, who by the way you used to be married to.
While Salem was reeling from the shock of Theo getting shot, in Memphis Sami and Sonny tried to break through Will's brainwashing.
This Will story is completely crazy and unrealistic, not that coming back from the dead stories are often based in any kind of reality.
Will apparently now believes he is EJ and has never questioned why he has zero childhood memories, nor has he wondered until now why he is kept isolated without access to Internet, newspapers or television.
This story provided some much needed comic relief to balance out the tragic events in Salem, though, so I can't complain too much.
Brainwashing Will to think he is EJ is a risky move for a couple of reasons. First of all, it borders on an incest storyline because he believes he was married to his mother and if he hadn't been conditioned to hate her that could go into really icky territory.
It also is risky because Will is gay and he has been brainwashed to believe he is straight.
I've seen some backlash about this from fans who are concerned that it suggests that being gay is a choice or that a gay person can be turned straight.
I don't think that's the writers' intentions with this. If anything, I got the feeling DAYS is laughing at people whose belief system includes ideas like sexual orientation being changeable or that gay people can't possibly have children before coming out.
Susan comes off as completely unhinged and her claim that her son is not gay so therefore Will isn't made her sound stupid, and brainwashed Will asking how he could have a daughter if he was married to a man was equally ignorant.
Even so, though, the show needs to be careful with this sort of thing because Will's death was so violent and pandered to a segment of the audience that was disgusted by their show including a gay couple. So DAYS doesn't need any hint of homophobia now.
For that reason, I'm really glad that Gabi told Eli how she enjoyed being part of an unconventional family with Will and Sonny and that Ari was stronger for it.
For once, Gabi served an actual purpose! In addition, when she lived with Will and Sonny she wasn't quite so annoying and I'd like to hope that that version of her character is going to make a reappearance someday.
Adrienne: I understand why you're angry, but keeping it to himself, that doesn't sound like the Paul I know.
Sonny: It was Paul. He admitted it, Mom.
Sonny is angry at Paul for keeping it secret that he saw Will for all of 24 hours, while Paul beat himself up over having made that decision.
I'm glad Paul came to his senses and told Sonny the truth, but I could have done without John encouraging him to embrace his competitive spirit and fight for Sonny.
That has never worked out well for Paul in the past and it won't work out well now.
If Sonny does forgive him he needs to take several steps back and be supportive without pushing for them to be a couple while Sonny is trying to wrap his head around the fact that his late husband is still alive.
And since Adrienne was replaced by a crazy doppleganger for several months, as soon as she said Paul's behavior didn't sound like him, it should have given Sonny pause. Just saying.
Hopefully, this Memphis story is coming to an end soon so we can get on with the business of reintroducing Will to life in Salem and seeing what happens.
I'd like to see an end to Sami getting arrested every other day. There's more to her character than that and the joke is getting old.
What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-13-17?
Do you think Abe is going overboard, or do you think both sides of Theo's tragedy are being portrayed well?
Have you had enough of the Memphis adventure yet?
Do you think John and Marlena give their kids bad advice?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.