Xander has always been a fun villain.
Hie's witty, seemingly devoid of conscience, and driven by anger that Victor won't treat him as a full-blooded Kiriakis.
But everything changed for Xander on Days of Our Lives during the week of 6-10-19. Will his first selfless act lead to redemption?
Stranger things have happened. After all, this is the same town where Ciara is dating the reformed serial killer who murdered her cousin's girlfriend and tried to kill two of her other cousins!
Xander displayed a softer, gentler side that viewers might find as hard to take as the family he's made into enemies. His drunken conversation with Maggie seemed to have changed him. It was as if someone showing him some kindness reawakened something in him.
Xander claimed to himself and to Brady that he was returning Rolf's diary to score points with Sarah, but he wasn't even thinking of her until Kristen pointed out that getting friendly with Maggie could get him closer to her.
It seemed that Maggie was the key to Xander's attempt at redemption and everyone was talking to her the way people talk to Ciara about Ben!
Xander and Maggie's feelings for each other are platonic and hopefully, it will stay that way (no repeats of that JJ/Eve debacle by having Xander sleep with Sarah's mother, please). But either way, seeing these two unlikely friends is the most compelling part of this story!
Everyone thinks Maggie misremembers Xander's attempt to take advantage of her because she was heavily intoxicated and/or thinks she's totally lost her mind, while Xander ignores all the naysayers and talks to her as if she's the only one in the room.
Uncle Victor could learn a thing or two about how to treat his wife from what Xander is doing!
As for the diary itself, maybe it'll be traced back to Eve and maybe it won't. At this point, why does it matter? Xander returned it, Will will likely be saved, and life can go on.
Eve should be thrilled to take responsibility for Xander doing the right thing even though she had nothing to do with it. Instead, she is running all over town trying to make sure nobody knows she was the one who stole the diary in the first place.
Kayla: Eve. May I ask you a question?
Eve: What's that?
Kayla: How can you live with yourself?
It's ironic that everyone keeps accusing Eve of the one thing she hasn't done: deliberately kept the diary from Will so that he'll die an early, painful death. Eve has done plenty that people could be on her case about, but everyone seems clueless about most of it.
Eve's relationship with Claire has become weird and twisted. Eve knows Claire set those fires and that she's another Ben in the making, yet protects her so that she can get revenge on the original Ben for killing Paige.
And to add insult to injury, Eve claimed that Claire reminded her of Paige -- right after learning that Claire almost killed two people for no real reason! That was an insult to the memory of sweet, gentle Paige who never hurt a fly (except in a crazy Halloween dream sequence in 2017).
I've long lamented Paige's unnecessary death, but if the writers think she's an unstable person who kills out of insecurity, God only knows what they'd do to her character if she were resurrected now.
Paige's ghost needs to descend and slap some sense into her mother because Eve has totally lost it.
Eve and Jack's conversation about the diary was one of the more interesting aspects of this storyline. While I always enjoy Jennifer and Eve bickering, it does get old after a while -- especially the one time that Eve is innocent.
Jennifer's words seemed to get through to Jack. Of course, that's happened a million times before, only for Eve to brainwash him 30 seconds later, but this time something seemed different.
Jack questioned whether Eve would really hide the memory-restoring formula from him and insisted he loved his life now and would still choose Eve if he regained his memories.
We all know what happened after Will made the same promises to Paul, and in this case, the end can't come soon enough.
You're a changed man. I get it. But even the way you are now, I know you're not heartless. Get your wife to do the right thing.Jennifer
Jack ruining the lives of everyone who loves him has gone on for long enough. It's time for the real Jack to emerge and try desperately to fix the mess that amnesiac Jack made while his family fears that it's all an act.
Of course, that would put three redemption stories on air at the same time. Xander decided to do the right thing in an attempt to impress Sarah and Maggie, while Ted came up with a similar idea to impress Hope.
But since one of the three is most likely dead now and the other one has inherited the Kiriakis sarcastic wit gene, Jack redeeming himself could still be fun.
It certainly would be better than any more of evil Jack!
I almost felt sorry for Ted. Almost.
He's a creepy stalker who won't take no for an answer, and Kate was more right than wrong to warn Hope about him, especially since Ciara issued the same warning not more than a month ago.
But clearly Ted has some sort of conscience and didn't like the idea of Nicole thinking her baby was dead.
If only Nicole was Nicole, it would have worked out perfectly.
Unfortunately, since Kristen is masquerading as Nicole, Ted made a fatal mistake. Kristen really had no choice but to get rid of him because otherwise, he would destroy her entire plan.
Of course, Kristen's plan is far weaker than she thinks it is if it can be so easily ruined by an idiot like Ted. She already almost got caught by Gabi -- twice! And she nearly screwed up while talking to Stefan.
Plus, there may be an unanticipated wrinkle in the plan. Stefan tends to fall for strong women who express hatred towards him.
Could he want to use "Nicole" to get over his recently broken heart, unaware that she is not Nicole, but his evil half-sister Kristen?
I'm more than ready for Kristen to be literally unmasked. She's so obvious and so obnoxious, and her plan is ridiculous.
But couldn't someone other than Gabi be the one to overhear her bragging to Stefano's portrait? I'd much rather someone rootable finds her out than fellow heartless schemer Gabi.
Meanwhile, the aftermath of Maggie drinking continued to be a high point -- and not just because of this interesting alliance with Xander! Maggie is the only one who knows Kristen is Kristen as well as the only one to see the good in Xander, but her night of binge drinking destroyed her credibility on both counts.
And even better: the normally undefeatable Victor Kiriakis was forced to admit that his wife's drinking had him beat.
Victor worried that his recent behavior had driven Maggie to drink, blamed everyone other than Maggie for her relapse, and confessed to Kate that he had no clue what to do.
Victor has used violence to force Brady into rehab, and that's generally his answer to everything, but even he knew that was not a proper solution for Maggie.
Of course, neither is Victor continuing to hang out with Kate while knowing that his wife is vulnerable and that jealousy of Kate is one of her triggers!
Victor asking Kate for advice made sense since she's gone through this with Lucas, but Kate had to get her digs in against Maggie too, suggesting that Victor would not be able to drink at home ever again and describing Maggie's drunken behavior in graphic detail.
Kate was right about one thing, though: Maggie is a step ahead of where Lucas was because she wants to stop drinking.
And if Victor wants to help reduce temptation, there's a simple solution: put away that open bar in the living room so that Maggie and all the other alcoholics living in that house don't get a visual reminder that they could be drinking every time they walk through the door in a bad mood!
Lani finally realized that everyone was right and she was trying to replace her stillborn son with Jordan's baby. While I've never been a fan of Lani at all, I give major props to Sal Stowers for Lani's emotional breakdown!
Lani's pain and guilt were raw and real as it hit her that she'd been throwing her life away for the fantasy that David was her son.
I'd predicted a long time ago that Lani would make a pass for the only male cop in Salem she hadn't slept with yet, but I was glad that it ended with Rafe's rejection bringing Lani to her senses instead of yet another notch on her bedpost.
It seemed like a pat ending in some ways, almost as if the writers had planned a Rafe/Lani romance and changed their minds. But it was so refreshing to see Lani have something to do other than jump in bed with a colleague that I can't complain too much.
Will's brain tumor story also seems rushed. Back in 2016, Bo discovered he had a brain tumor and died in a matter of weeks, which was annoyingly fast and disrespectful to a legacy character. This isn't QUITE that bad since Will likely won't die.
But still, he's lying in bed supposedly dying and at peace with it, while his family struggles to accept that he's going to leave this Earth. There are some great performances here, but it's all cheapened by the fact that it happened too fast to be believed and that everyone's grief is probably premature.
You are the love of my life, even if that life only lasts another couple of days.Will
Will's remarriage to Sonny before he dies makes sense legally as well as emotionally. Legally, Sonny needs to be married to Will to take care of his estate, his funeral, and other practicalities. But that's less important than the two of them re-affirming their love before it's too late.
This wedding will be bittersweet if Will hasn't been cured by then, and characters like Gabi got a little too happy when they heard the news, considering that Will could die immediately after the nuptials. Still, it's a nice testimony to this couple's heyday that Will wants his last act to be a wedding.
It didn't make sense for John to visit Paul to comfort him about Will instead of the other way around. Paul was never selfish and it seemed he'd want to come see Will one last time even if he does have another boyfriend now.
I know Drake Hogysten had to be off-screen because of the wildfires in California when this was filmed, but the writers could have come up with an excuse for John's absence that made no sense or just not show him until Hogysten was able to return to work!
The biggest story, of course, is Claire's latest attempt to kill people by setting things on fire. Half of Salem is skeptical of Eve and Eli's claim that Ben set the fire, so hopefully the truth will come out soon.
Ben and Ciara's plan sounds like it'll just prolong the reveal that Ciara was the firestarter. And Ciara claiming she believes Ben setting the fire could be used against him in court. There has to be a better way to trap Claire than this!
But at least Hope started to use her brain again and also realized Ben setting the fire didn't make sense. Maybe if Ciara, Ben, and Tripp all talked to her she could help. Nothing bars her from joining John's private detective agency now that she's no longer a cop, after all.
JJ and Haley's goodbyes would have been emotional... if Haley were Paige's ghost.
Haley said all the things about JJ needing to move on and not waste his life that Paige would have said after she died if she had been able to pay JJ a ghostly visit, and JJ said some nonsense about being dead inside until he met Haley that was far more true of when he met Paige.
At the very least, JJ should have felt that this was a similar situation even though Haley was still alive. Casey Moss would have rocked JJ doubly grieving Haley's deportation because he never properly grieved Paige's death and realizing that he wanted to save Haley because he couldn't save Paige.
As it was, Moss did awesome work with these scenes, but it takes more than JJ saying Haley saved him from depression for it to be believable and viewers never saw any such thing on-screen.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
Do you want to see Xander continue on the path towards redemption? How soon do you think Will will be cured? And are you ready for Jack to get his memory back?
Hit the comments 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 on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for air times.
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.