Okay, I have to give credit where credit is due.
The weekend cliffhanger on Days of Our Lives during the week of 4-22-19 is one of the best I've seen in a LONG time.
Eric staring in shock at a very-much-alive Nicole in his living room just as he was about to be manipulated into a relationship with Sarah was must-see TV, and I'm not even a huge Eric/Nicole fan!
There was a lot to recommend about Nicole's return.
First of all, she's a popular character because (when written properly) she's a strong woman who has been through a ton of crap and managed to come out on top.
Her sarcastic humor, her determination to create a happy life for herself, and her energy level have been sorely missed. And killing her off was NOT a fitting ending to her 20+ years on DAYS, so resurrecting her righted that wrong.
I've been eagerly awaiting her return for another reason: I'm hoping it will save Eric from this snoozeworthy triangle with Sarah and Rex.
I like Eric the best out of these three idiots, but the entire story has been putting me to sleep for months.
There are SO many problems here that I don't know where to begin. It launched all wrong, with Sarah and Rex getting engaged and having problems entirely off-screen, so that there was no reason for viewers to root for this couple at all.
Rex has been oblivious, Sarah has been a flighty, mercurial, overgrown teenager, and Eric has been mopey because he promised God he'd stay away from Sarah if Marlena lived.
Eric: I take my vows to God very seriously.
Sarah: I know. That’s one of the things I admire about you. I’m sorry I accused you of lying. I had no right to say that, especially when I was lying to myself.
Eric: About what?
Sarah: When I said that I was okay with us being just friends. I’m not. It’s killing us. And if I’m being completely honest, the reason I said Yes to Rex is that I didn’t think you’d ever be over Nicole. I was pushing you away because I didn’t think I could ever have you.
As for Marlena, she used to be a competent therapist who understood things like confidentiality. Now she and Maggie are in competition to see who can be the most obnoxious and overbearing mother!
It's great that Marlena and Maggie want Sarah and Eric together. Their kids are in their 30s. Stay out of it!
Anyway, the price viewers had to pay for the amazing Nicole/Eric setup was another awful, tedious argument between Sarah and Eric.
This time, when Sarah couldn't get Eric to tell her the meaning of the private conversation with Marlena she eavesdropped on, she manipulated Marlena into telling her the truth by pretending she already knew it.
Then she stalked Eric at the Pub when she was supposed to be on a date with Rex, locked Eric in with her when he tried to encourage her to go on that date, and pressured him into admitting he had feelings for her.
I've never seen a more pathetic setup.
Eric kept saying he wasn't interested in Sarah and even after admitting how he felt told her that he had no intention of acting on these feelings, ever.
I'd have thought that Eric, being a rape survivor, would have felt more than a little uncomfortable with the way Sarah was going about this! She wasn't trying to rape him but all that pressure should have freaked him out a bit.
Thank God Eric found Rex's message and insisted on heading to the apartment with Sarah to tell Rex that it was over. Please let Nicole rescue Eric from all of this. Please.
As for Sarah, I could care less about her heartbreak upon seeing Nicole, but if she stays with Rex after realizing he's just her consolation prize, I'll lose even more respect for her than I already have.
Nicole's reunion with Rex was fun. I'm surprised Nicole knew who Rex was, but that's a minor point here.
The most important revelation we got out of this was that the letter Nicole wrote granting Chloe custody of Holly was either fake, outdated, or written under duress.
I thought so at the time, and I'm sure I'm not the only viewer who did. It was too convenient and contradicted what Nicole told Eric in the burning building.
Of course, Nicole could have been confused. She was freaked out and severely dehydrated and who knows what's happened to her between her "death" and now.
I could have done without Holly getting kidnapped by a masked intruder, especially not while Chloe and Stefan were downstairs.
This was ridiculous, especially since Stefan swears his house is a fortress and no one can hurt Chloe there. Members of the drug cartel have attacked Ciara there twice in an effort to get Chloe and now someone got in and out of the house with a sleeping toddler!
I'm positive Xander is the kidnapper. He lives to torment Nicole and if she showed up all freaked out, she likely escaped him. Plus Nicole is already unhappy that Chloe has Holly instead of Eric, so letting the baby fall into Nicole's arch-enemy's hands should make for compelling drama.
Anyway, the bigger problem with the Holly-napping story is that we JUST suffered through an extremely violent pair of kidnappings!
CIara held her own with her kidnapper. She talked him into letting her call her mother and stood up to him every time he stuck his gun in her face and ordered her to do something she didn't want to do, like leave with him so the cops couldn't find them.
It was great to see a woman who wasn't scared to face down a bad guy. But the idiot bad guy trope is way overdone on DAYS, and it didn't help that we just went through this with Ciara a month ago!
Once again, Ben helped rescue Ciara from a crazy person who wanted to kill her.
This couple is fast becoming the new John and Marlena, with Ben always being the white knight while Ciara is the damsel in distress, even if Ciara did a better job of standing up for herself than Marlena ever has.
Worse still, Ciara had almost no ill effects from this latest act of violence. In fact, after bedding Ben soon after her rescue she declared that her problems with having been raped were over now that she had him in her life.
That's... not how any of this works.
In fact, it's yet another insult to viewers who suffer from trauma-related mental illness, especially rape survivors, to suggest that all you need is the right man to have sex with and the traumatic violence can be forgotten.
Plus, cooking is always way more romantic than buying Chinese food, especially since everyone in Salem does that on a regular basis anyway. I didn't appreciate Ciara insisting that cooking was too much work.
I'd rather have Ben and Ciara loving each other than anymore of Stefan and Gabi's hate sex, though.
I'm not a fan of stories that consist of people getting turned on by fighting with each other. Jack and Jennifer's good natured sparring doesn't count -- that's a different thing.
Too many people on this show jump into bed with people that disgust them then go right back to hating them after the sex is over.
This particular story brought back flashbacks of JJ/Eve, which is a relationship I'd rather never think about again. But just like those two, these two kept having sex and then declaring they hated each other.
Someone make it stop!
The only enjoyable thing about Gabi/Stefan is Brady coming to his senses for a moment and deciding to abandon this plan after Gabi already seduced Stefan. Brady was playing with fire when he talked Gabi into this plan, and God knows what she's going to do now.
And why on Earth is Stefan trying to keep this secret from Chloe? It's not like they were in an exclusive relationship. Chloe hadn't even committed to a date! And now they're starting off with a major secret between them.
It is crappy that Stefan slept with someone else right after Chloe survived another attempt on her life, but if he was honest, they could work through that. Keeping this secret guarantees Chloe and Stefan have no real future.
Eve can stop being giddy about being in bed with Jack any time now.
If their dialogue didn't confirm they did have sex, I wouldn't believe it. They still seem more like roommates than lovers, and Jack continues to be wishy-washy about Eve.
Obviously, he was dreaming about either the Loretta incident from his past or Jen's retelling of it, and chose to hide that from Eve.
I can't stand Eve dragging him around by the ear like this and talking him out of doing the right thing every time by giving him a half-true story and puppy dog eyes, so I hope he's going to get his memory back soon.
Sheila: This poll has you up by 5 points.
Abe: Oh, yes. I knew the voters wouldn't fall for this cheap marriage ploy.
Sheila: Except this other poll has you down by 10 points.
Abe: How could the voters be so stupid?
First, though, I guess we need to endure more of this mayoral race story.
Considering Clyde already tried to assassinate Abe once, I have a hard time believing that Abe doesn't have a security detail and that Jack can just wander up to him to make snide comments about his campaign.
Is this supposed to be a personification of the way the current President of the United States uses Twitter? Because that's the only way this makes any sense.
Anyway, if I were Abe, I would just ignore Jack and his stupid wedding. It won't stay in the news forever and if the voters see Abe campaigning on actual issues I'd think the wedding would take second place in their minds within a week or two.
Also, Abe would be wise to not discuss that almost-kiss with his assistant in public, though if Jack can marry his campaign manager and even get a polling boost because of it, I don't see why Abe can't kiss his assistant.
Abe also needs to pay a visit to his daughter and try to talk some sense into her.
Lani is my least favorite character and it's obvious this is headed in the direction of her bedding Rafe, the only cop she hasn't slept with yet.
I didn't blame her for being annoyed with Eli's apparent jealousy over her prioritizing baby David, but did she really think inviting Eli to have dinenr with her and Rafe was a realistic solution to the conflict?
And even if she doesn't get it, why did she think telling Rafe that Eli was fine with her staying indefinitely was a good idea after Eli had told her the exact opposite?
Exactly how many more lies is this woman going to tell before she figures out that lying doesn't work out so well?
Finally, this Rafe/Hope/Ted triangle has got to go. There are no winners here at all.
Ted is a sleazeball, but at least he's open about who and what he is. Sure, he didn't tell Hope the truth about his mysterious phone calls, but his attempts to manipulate her are so freaking obvious that the Commissioner of Police should see right through them!
Hope is playing Rafe and Ted against each other. She professes to be committed to Rafe, but runs away from a hard conversation from him to confront Ted and gently let him down when he makes a play for her.
Rafe: The two of you were sitting here looking into each other’s eyes! What am I supposed to think?
Hope: You’re supposed to trust your wife!
As for Rafe... well, the less said the better.
Rafe screaming at the top of his lungs in a public place does him no favors whatsoever, and the more he lets Ted push his buttons, the worse he makes himself look.
This whole mess has convinced me even more that Hope should have annulled her marriage to Rafe when she had the chance. Now she's stuck in this endless cycle of arguing and making up and having the same argument again.
What did you think, DAYS Fanatics? Are you thrilled or disappointed that Nicole is back?
Hit the comments below with your thoughts, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives continues to air weekday afternoons on NBC. Check local listings for air times.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.