Stop me if you've heard this one before.
A character has sex that he or she isn't capable of consenting to and which they don't remember afterward. Later, the character learns he or she is about to become a parent thanks to that sex. The character's partner isn't sure how to proceed with the relationship given this news.
We've been dealing with this storyline ever since Stefan raped Abby, but on Days of Our Lives during the week of 9-17-18 Chloe was the one struggling after Lucas learned his blacked-out drunk sex episode with Bonnie resulted in a baby (at least for now).
And just like JJ's too-drunk-to-consent tryst with Lani got labeled "cheating," Lucas' encounter with Bonnie has not been labeled as anything but consensual.
Will these writers ever learn?
This Lucas/Bonnie story is being played for laughs, but it's a rerun of two other rape-shaming stories, and that isn't funny.
In real life, sexual assault victims are coming forward by the scores and some people are debating things like what constitutes rape and whether a rape three decades ago is that big a deal. So for DAYS to continually use rape as a plot point, shame the victims, and label non-consensual sex as consensual is irresponsible.
To add insult to injury, we have two versions of the same story at once!
For weeks, Chad has been berating Abigail and saying he can't see how he's going to support and love the child that resulted from her rape.
During the week of 9-17-18, a lot of time was devoted to Chloe telling everyone she met that she didn't know how she could help support Lucas' child if it meant a tie to Bonnie.
The dialogue was so similar that the writers might as well have cut and pasted it and changed the names! Did anyone think viewers were going to forget they'd already seen this story?
Lucas is a stand-up guy and doesn't get nearly enough story, so I wish he'd been given a better one than this.
The best part of this storyline was him telling Bonnie that he was raising his baby himself. Unfortunately, that led to a manipulation on Bonnie's part that should have been easily resolved but wasn't.
Bonnie had someone take the baby and then told Lucas that if he didn't ensure she got out of jail, he'd never learn where his infant daughter was.
She told him this in the interrogation room at the police station since she's supposedly under arrest. All Lucas had to do was find out who had been by to visit Bonnie and/or inform one of the dozen cops in the next room that he wanted to press charges for parental kidnapping.
Instead, he went straight to Adrienne and manipulated her into dropping the charges against Bonnie just like Bonnie demanded.
Lucas: This isn't about me. It's about Baby Bonnie.
Adrienne: Baby Bonnie?? Please tell me that's not the baby's name.
Lucas: Are you surprised?
I enjoyed Lucas' scenes with Adrienne, and there's no doubt that Judi Evans is a talented actress who easily switches roles and makes both these women into believable characters.
But it was entirely unnecessary, and it seemed cruel to insist Adrienne do this.
Plus, she was offended that Lucas couldn't tell the difference between her and Bonnie, coming perilously close to yet another rape-shaming scene.
I enjoyed Brady and Chloe's scenes, though I'm pretty sure where this is going.
Brady has a habit of recycling exes and thinking whoever he's with at the time is the love of his life.
Chloe is one of those exes and is turning to him for advice about her insecurities about Lucas.
Brady: I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask about relationships.
Chloe: That's why I'm here. You're my favorite walking disaster.
Is there any doubt that once Eve's secret is out and Brady/Eve blow up, that Chloe will be the next woman on whom he fixates?
Meanwhile, the Gabi/Abigail storyline went from bad to worse.
Gabi's plan to break up Abby and Chad seems to rely mostly on Chad being oblivious to super-obvious ploys such as Gabi trying to talk him out of going on a picnic with Abby because Abby showing now will be upsetting for him.
To his credit, Chad only half fell for this nonsense this time. He insisted on going on the picnic anyway, causing Gabi to get desperate and come up with another plan. Her new plan involved drugging Abigail to make Chad think Abby's Dissociative Identity Disorder had returned.
Apparently, as Gabi explained to Kate later, this is supposed to make Chad put Abby in a mental hospital and forget all about her so that Gabi can swoop in and claim him for herself, all while claiming she has no feelings for Chad and this is all about getting revenge on Abby.
This story involves a lot of terrible social messaging. It once again mocks mental illness and includes more rape shaming.
It also is another story that insults viewers' intelligence.
Gabi got the keys to Abby's house from Chad, thanks to some lie about how Ari glued her key to a piece of wood. But somehow Chad, worried because Abby didn't show up for the picnic, was able to get into the house too.
Chad then was so busy looking for Abby that he didn't see Gabi hiding next to a chair in the living room. And I guess Gabi walked to the Horton House because otherwise, Chad would have seen her car in the area, as would JJ, who had just left.
And how, exactly, did Gabi carry Abigail up the stairs and to Abby's bedroom? Abigail is easily twice Gabi's size!
Elsewhere, Hope appears to have become a dirty cop. Her likely shenanigans when it came to the evidence against Ben are so obvious that even Rafe is wondering precisely what she did!
I have such mixed feelings about this storyline and always will.
If it were written properly, I think a story about an ex-convict trying to rebuild his life would be timely, topical, and interesting. But it would be more effective with a convict whose crime wasn't murdering three women and attempting to kill one of the few gay characters in town.
I also think that Hope's behavior is supposed to be understandable, except that it isn't. A dirty cop is a dirty cop, and there's no excuse for planting evidence.
Somehow I doubt that Hope will face many, if any, consequences for planting evidence if the truth comes out.
Her only consequence will probably be losing her relationship with Rafe. While I'd like to see something more serious happen to Hope, like her losing her position as commissioner, ending this travesty of a relationship is more than fine with me.
I found it interesting that Hope complained now that Rafe doesn't trust her and thinks the worst of her all the time.
It didn't seem to bother her when he was belittling her but did when he more or less caught her in the act and pointed out that she asked him to help her cover up serious crimes on her part.
It also didn't bother her that Rafe thought nothing of her before Sami came back to town.
Hope's behavior towards Sami goes beyond obnoxious. She was so jealous of Sami that she didn't want her to be allowed to go to the hospital to say goodbye to Sami's possibly-dying mother!
Every time Hope sees Rafe and Sami together, she gets this angry look on her face that rivals the one Gabi gets whenever she realizes Chad and Abby are still committed to each other.
Hope is supposed to be close with John and Marlena, but she didn't seem to care very much that her friend was dying. She was too busy trying to get Ben arrested to get him out of Ciara's life and trying to keep Rafe from having any compassion for Sami.
She is not the Hope Williams Brady I grew up watching.
Hope has never been warm and fuzzy, but she used to be compassionate. She used to be part cop and part social worker, encouraging people like Nick or JJ to get off the negative path they were on so that they could stay out of prison.
Now she's cold, callous, and cruel, and all she cares about is preserving her relationship with Rafe and controlling her adult daughter.
And the saddest thing about all of this is that Rafe is a guy that, by her own admission, is not worth it.
She says he puts her down and distrusts her. So why would she want to save this relationship at all costs?
Hattie: I'm going stir crazy here. When you broke me out of prison I didn't know I would be confined to this bed without a cute guy to share it. And I don't know what's gonna happen when Dr. Marlena Evans wakes up. Old Hattie's gonna go right back to the slammer.
Roman: Not necessarily. That depends on if you hold up your end of the bargain. You need to make sure that everyone believes that you are Marlena.
Hattie: I'm real good at impersonating Dr. Marlena Evans. When I feel like it.
The biggest story of the week of 9-17-18, of course, was the Marlena/Hattie switcheroo.
This is another one that is leaving me scratching my head and wondering what to think.
On the one hand, DAYS had a realistic, compelling story that has now been turned into utter nonsense.
I loved the heartbreaking scenes as John and Belle battled it out over Marlena's Advance Directive. But the storyline seemed rushed, and now I know why.
It wasn't the real story. This silliness with John, Roman, and Kayla putting Hattie into Marlena's hospital bed was the story.
That's pretty disappointing, but at the same time, there's always something enjoyable about Hattie.
Hattie is the antithesis of Marlena. She's crass and opportunistic, and while Marlena's great love is John, Hattie has eyes only for Roman.
Roman's struggle not to crack up every time he tries to put Hattie in her place makes him more interesting, and I'd love to see a real Roman/Hattie hookup someday.
This is also the most Roman has had to do since he retired as commissioner to make room for corruption and pettiness, and I'm enjoying seeing him on screen again.
But this story also further ruins Kayla's character. Lately, she's been written as willing to do anything for those she loves, which is an admirable quality except she seems always to be doing something unethical.
That is not Kayla.
She's sneaking around and hiding Marlena in a wing that's under renovation (hope no one bulldozes Marlena's room!) to defy an Advance Directive, and that's on top of all the secrecy surrounding Steve's bionic eye.
Plus, the Kayla I know wouldn't be standing by waiting for Steve's call after he was falsely arrested. She'd be moving hell and high water to get down to Washington and try to straighten this out!
It's nice that the writers are keeping Steve's name alive, but this thing about everyone just waiting for Shane to fix the situation still rankles.
Steve's exit should never have been off-screen, and Kayla shouldn't be getting into all this other trouble while praying for a call from him. He should be at the front of her mind, not the back.
Of course, Steve was never treated with respect when he was on-screen, so it's no surprise he's continuing to get the short end of the stick now that he's gone.
Another veteran character who is being misused is Abe Carver.
Abe has always been one of my favorites. He is the model of integrity and conducts himself with class and dignity most of the time.
I didn't like his behavior after JJ accidentally shot Theo, but at least he had significant screen time. Now he's a bit player whose job appears to be to prop his worthless daughter and her relationship with Eli.
The Abe I know would have been extremely disappointed in Lani since she is the opposite of honest and doesn't seem to have any moral compass at all.
He might even feel guilty and wonder whether Lani's failure to act like a decent human being most of the time is because he wasn't in her life when she was a child.
There is so much story potential there, but as usual, the writers ignore it. They seem to think that having Abe and Eli say that Lani is the most wonderful person on Earth makes it true.
It doesn't. Lani is a rapist who is now refusing to commit Eli because he's a guy who actually wants her instead of one she has to manipulate and stalk to get him to be with her.
Besides endlessly trying to convince her to give his girlfriend's son a chance, Abe's role during the week of 9-17-18 was to allow Sheila to manipulate her way out of trouble for attempting to steal Abe's credit card.
This was another beat that I think was meant to be comic relief but wasn't funny. Sheila had no money and wanted to eat at the Brady Pub, so she attempted to take Abe's credit card off the table.
When Abe confronted her, she denied that that was what she wanted to do and then screamed assault when he touched her arm.
Good going, DAYS. Make a mockery of real women being intimidated by men with this nonsense on top of having Abe behave entirely out of character.
Abe was terrified of what was going to happen and relieved when Eli came along and said that he knew Sheila and would take care of this.
Really? Abe was a cop for over 30 years, and half the time the writers don't seem to be aware that the mayor isn't part of the police department! Yet he couldn't think to explain that he was making a citizen's arrest, nor did it occur to him to call Sheila's bluff.
I'm sure if she had called the cops, she would have succeeded only in getting herself busted for theft, that is if Hope wasn't too busy being jealous of Sami even to dispatch anyone to the Pub to deal with the situation.
So there was no need for Abe to worry or need Eli to rescue him from this.
And on top of that, Sheila got away with it. Her intimidation caused Abe to leave without even considering filing charges, and Eli bought her lunch while she laughed about it.
Your turn! What did you love or hate about Days of Our Lives during the week of 9-17-18, and which characters do you think are most tragically underused?