When Marlena was shot at her own wedding during the summer of 2019 and slipped into a coma, Drake Hogysten (John)'s performance as her grieving almost-husband had me in tears.
This repeat performance on Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-11-19 isn't nearly as moving. Hogysten is still putting his heart and soul into John's grief, but we just saw this!
The writers seemed to believe that because it was emotional once, doing it again will be just as compelling. But couldn't they have come up with something more original instead of repeating the same story twice in half a year?
The biggest weakness in the original story was that it descended quickly from a realistic story about Advance Directives to silliness where Marlena was replaced by a doppleganger.
At least this story doesn't seem to be headed in that direction!
It isn't all bad...it's just that the premise is unoriginal. And to make matters worse, John is entirely naive and clueless here -- not a good look for Salem's premier private eye!
I just have this nagging feeling. I could be totally wrong but do you think it could have been my mother who tried to kill Marlena?Leo
Diana's plan was so obvious. She should have been a prime suspect from the start.
Ever since she came to town, she's been trying to break John and Marlena up. John never considered the possibility that she was using Leo's alleged paternity to drive a wedge between them and Marlena had to tell him that.
After Marlena's poisoning, Diana showed up to comfort John every chance she got. She kept touching his shoulder and patting his hand. She even offered to go with him to visit Marlena!
How could John not suspect she was involved?
Of course, it would help if both the Salem PD and hospital security staff weren't totally inept.
I couldn't believe that Eli and John were debating whether or not to believe Haley's claim that someone forged her signature on the card that came with the poisoned treats. That's something that's easily proven!
Not to mention that Haley was hiding from immigration services at the time of the attack. She was arrested elsewhere at around the same time that John found Marlena passed out on the floor, and Claire telling Eve where she was matched the timeline of when Marlena was poisoned. And Ciara saw Haley there before Claire got home!
Haley was never a viable suspect. Period. So why was Eli wasting time coming hard at her in interrogation to try to scare her into confessing?
As for the hospital security team, it should have taken more than just Nurse Shelley providing a password for Diana to get into Marlena's files in the first place.
There was no reason for Marlena's personal medical history to be on the same database where she keeps files on her own patients and no reason that there isn't a receptionist who would have seen an intruder go into Marlena's office.
This stupid trope of anyone being able to walk into doctors' offices and break into their computer files has got to go! It was stupid when it happened to Kayla during the Abby/Chad/Gabi/Stefan story and it's equally stupid during this story.
And what hospital not only doesn't have security cameras in its pharmacy but takes out the IV when transporting patients? Not to mention that no hospital would let some random person sit around an empty room while the patient was getting diagnostic tests elsewhere.
Diana: You need to eat. While you’re with Marlena I am going to get you some food.
Diana: And hopefully by the time I get back it’ll be goodnight Marlena for good.
I know it's a soap opera, but when the plot depends on so much stupidity that it insults the viewers' intelligence, that's a problem.
There was one thing that was moving about this whole story and that's Leo's discovery that he's John's son (at least for the moment).
I'm not convinced that this is true; in fact, I suspect that Diana is the latest person to switch DNA test results.
But Leo was a different person when he came to the hospital to see John and Marlena. He wasn't nasty or angling for a quick buck, even if he did try to guess John's net worth. He was softer, more compassionate.
And it wasn't a matter of changing his character to suit the plot as they so often do, either. It was more like he let go of some of his anger at the world because there was this possibility that a decent guy was his father.
Leo seemed genuinely upset that Marlena's life hung in the balance as well as curious about John's life and eager to be a part of it. He didn't suggest Diana was guilty to score points but because he thought she was and wanted to help John.
And his spontaneous decision to hug John when he heard what the DNA test had to say showed how eager he was to be part of a loving family. John's bemused reaction was hilarious and broke up the tension!
I doubt Leo will ever become a purely good guy, but it was nice to see him have some redeeming qualities. The best soap villains do, and Leo is finally more than a one-note baddie.
Too bad the rest of this story is being written so sloppily.
Suppose that Marlena had realized the cookies were poisoned before she tried to eat them and reported it to the cops -- and when they declined to arrest Haley for this murder attempt, Jack and Eve convinced some of the public that they were covering up her involvement because they don't want to admit that illegal immigrants truly are dangerous.
Unfortunately, Haley being accused was just a plot point to make the horror of her arrest for violating immigration laws that much worse. Her story continued to be all about her acting like a helpless victim who can't do anything to protect herself.
Oddly, she refused JJ's help even before he "betrayed" her, yet was willing to accept an offer from Tripp to get a lawyer. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. If she was consistent about not wanting any help, that would be irritating, but at least she wouldn't be flip-flopping as the story demands!
I had to agree with Justin, though -- if Haley doesn't want JJ's help, he needs to back off. I wish the show would go deeper into this and let JJ realize that he's trying to save Haley because he couldn't save Paige.
Instead, they seem to be selling him begging her to let him help as "true love". This is ridiculous, and not a good look for either character. JJ looks desperate and Haley looks like she enjoys playing the victim more than she wants to stay in the United States.
Her arrest scenes were well-done, though, and got the point across about the inhumanity of the way immigration policies are enforced.
Even Eli and Lani thought this was stupid and weren't happy about having to do it, and Jack's self-serving speech at the scene wouldn't win him any political competitions in a just world.
In reality, the video Eve shot would be shared by people who were on Haley's side as an example of how barbaric the policy is and questioning whether this is a good use of police power.
Tripp got physical with Jack, but that could easily have been spun as justified by the other side.
I don't see how voters will see this as anything but a political stunt -- but then again with people like Shelley in town who are easily persuaded that "illegal immigrants are taking jobs that are owed to Americans", Jack might score points with some people.
Of course, mayors have nothing to do with federal immigration policy and cops do not work for the DA's office -- except in Salem. So politics clearly work differently there and it's not clear what's going to happen now.
Claire is becoming completely unlikeable, too -- what has happened to this character?
Insecurity is one thing, but setting fires and turning people in to Immigration Enforcement just to make sure she gets Tripp to herself is another.
And she's a terrible liar, too! Tripp is almost as oblivious as John if he believes a word Claire said about the neighbor turning Haley in or anything else she's said recently.
Meanwhile, did the uninteresting Eric/Sarah/Rex/Chloe/Brady story need to take so many weird turns while Marlena is in a hospital bed?
This is the most irritating story on canvas. Sarah didn't need to be the latest one to kiss someone without permission, especially not minutes after Eric told her how Kristen raped him when he was a priest!
I wish this whole thing had been done with more sensitivity. I'd like Eric to have the same awkwardness, embarrassment, and fear of rejection that many female rape victims have when they talk about what was done to them.
That would have been a powerful moment! Instead, Eric gave a summary of that storyline... and then Sarah decided to kiss him.
Not only was that insensitive to what he'd just told her, but she did that in a church chapel where Eric had just been praying that his mom would survive. That was doubly disrespectful.
And of course, it wouldn't have been complete without Brady walking in right then so that he could make veiled references to Eric and Nicole cheating on him over and over.
Take a seat, Brady. First of all, this grudge is old news by now.
Plus, somehow whenever he tells this story, Brady leaves out the part where he stalked Nicole relentlessly and was convinced she and Eric were sleeping together when all they were doing was agreeing that Brady would be upset that Nicole forgave Eric for Daniel's death.
His stalking and violent behavior didn't start with blackmailing Nicole to break up with Eric -- it predated the affair for MONTHS.
Plus, if we're going by the bro code of "never sleep with your brother's ex" then Brady was in the wrong to begin with because Eric was with Nicole first. I don't beleive in that code, but since Brady does, he might as well apply it consistently.
In any case, this latest development is obnoxious.
I'm not up for months of Brady threatening to tell Rex while Eric begs him not to, only for Rex to overhear one of these days and have a meltdown over how betrayed he was -- even though he cheated on Sarah twice and is halfway to trying to do it again with Chloe.
Two wrongs don't make a right, but I'm just saying.
And in any case, this is not really Brady's business. This is between Sarah and Rex. If Eric had the morals he claims to have, he would be pushing Sarah to come clean about the fact that she impulsively kissed Eric and make it clear that it was her decision.
Rex might be heartbroken, but Sarah coming clean is the only honorable thing to do, and she should face some consequences for her actions.
I'm not sure how I feel about Chloe and Stefan, but I know one thing: Brady has no business interfering with that either.
His tendency to "fall in love" in seconds is bad enough, but this belief that women are his property has got to go.
In any case, I think Chloe is wise to hold off on any romantic relationships with anyone until she has this El Fiedo situation under better control and is in a position to date again.
Stefan himself is a weird character. He hasn't admitted that he raped Abigail, making redemption difficult, yet lately he's showing a softer side with Chloe as well as with Ben.
I've already had enough of Ben refusing to date Ciara in case he gets violent, but I had to laugh when Julie agreed with Ciara not to talk about her kidnapping, then went on a long rant about just that!
I love Julie, but Ciara was right about her hypocrisy. Also, if everyone deserves a second chance, what was with the four years of Gabi hate before Gabi started acting exactly like Julie always said she was?
Your turn, DAYS fanatics!
Do you find this Marlena story compelling even though it seems like a rerun? What about this Haley immigration story?
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.