It's hard to say who is tortured more by Ben's ordeal: Him or viewers.
On Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-10-20, we were treated to nightmares, flashbacks, and another brainwashing attempt.
Yay for acknowledging that trauma doesn't just go away, but who thought fans wanted to see any of this?
If Ben had to be tormented, Ciara is the best person to go through it with him.
As a rape survivor, she understands what it's like to have lingering aftereffects of a traumatic event, even though her own PTSD was not handled appropriately on-screen.
She was patient and kind, accepting fully that Ben might not be ready to have sex with her and encouraging him to seek help.
If only the next step were an actual discussion with Marlena instead of this ridiculous Vincent switcheroo, I might even applaud Days of Our Lives for changing its poor depiction of people with mental illness.
Instead, we went back into unreality and Vincent tormented Ben some more while Marlena was nowhere to be seen. At least this time Marlena wasn't kidnapped!
Meanwhile, viewers were treated to multiple flashbacks of Ben's torture. I get that he's supposed to be remembering bits and pieces of what happened to him, but it was still annoying.
Days of Our Lives has this bad habit of depicting some terrible event that nobody wants to see, teasing us by ending the event... and then keeping it alive through daily flashbacks.
Flashbacks are way overused on this show altogether.
Half the time, we get 10-minute plus renditions of things that originally happened a few episodes before. On occasion, DAYS slips in a flashback of something that happened twenty minutes ago, as if the writers are afraid that viewers somehow missed it the first time.
That's bad enough without constant flashbacks of one character torturing another. There has to be another way to portray Ben's fragmented memories than that.
Plus, how many stories like this have there been in recent months? Jack had amnesia when he returned, Maggie had bits and pieces come back to her of the night Adrienne was killed, and Steve and Hope have only fragments of memory about their time as Stevano and Gina.
This is unoriginal, uninteresting, and unnecessary. Let's hope it's shortlived.
That doesn't mean it's not well acted, though. Newcomer Isabel Durant slipped effortlessly into Claire's role just in time to confront Eve, and there were definite fireworks there.
Claire: You need help, Eve. I know because I was nuts, I was crazy and dangerous. I'm not anymore, but you are. Killing Ben won't bring Paige back.
Eve: Don't you dare say my daughter's name!
Claire: It won't. It will only kill any chance you have of being a person. And right now you're not. You're pathetic. And you know who would agree with me? Paige. If she was standing here, she'd say the same thing. She wouldn't want you to do this. She'd want you to get help. But she's not. I am. And maybe there was a reason we bumped into each other today. Maybe I can help you. For Paige.
As I predicted, Eve relied on having "protected" Claire during her firesetter days to try to manipulate her. I was glad Claire didn't fall for it and instead tried to do what Eve didn't do for her and convince Eve to get help.
It failed, of course, but at least Claire's head was in the right place. Even better: she told Ben and Ciara right away that she'd seen Eve instead of keeping it to herself.
I only wish that she'd gone ahead with her original plan to call the cops. That would make Hope and Rafe's job a lot easier and interrupt their move back toward each other or whatever that was supposed to be.
Hope and Rafe were an incredibly mismatched and unpopular couple to begin with, and it was refreshing for Hope to tell Rafe she wanted to just be friends for now.
But if both Galen Gering and Kristian Alfonso weren't leaving Days of Our Lives, I'd worry about how long that promise would last, though.
Hope and Rafe are better off as friends. It's too bad they didn't give Rafe and Zoey a try instead of shuffling Zoey and baby David off-screen so quickly. They had that hate-turns-to-love vibe which makes some relationships pop.
That said, this was the first mature conversation Hope and Rafe have had about their relationship since it blew up in their faces, and a major problem with them as a couple was that they turned into bickering teenagers who tore each other down all the time.
Anyway, now that Hope is back on the force, Claire needs to tell HER about the Eve sighting, not just Ben and Ciara.
And she'd better hope that Eve doesn't find out she helped Allie run away, because Eve wouldn't hesitate to blackmail her into helping her with her sick plan.
This Allie story has become even more of a mess now that Allie has run away.
I hope this isn't the last of her. Lindsay Arnold is a fantastic addition to the cast.
Plus, Allie ran away TO Salem when she turned up on Eric's doorstep. It would have been nice for her to grow up and stop taking off whenever the going gets tough.
Allie should have had legal papers drawn up before she took off. Her note is strong evidence of her wishes, but it wasn't signed in front of witnesses or notarized, so I'm not sure it would hold up in court.
In the real world, that is. Salem courts run on a different set of principles: what will cause the most drama?
The answer to that, of course, is that Sami contesting Nicole adopting the baby is sure to cause sparks to fly.
I don't like it, though. Sami has always been a bit of a loose cannon, but all of this seems over the top, even for her.
Her daughter disowned her over her attempts to interfere in her decisions regarding the baby, and her response is to double down on the controlling and obnoxious behavior. That's sad.
I hate the emphasis on characters doing the same thing over and over. It makes stories go around in circles and frankly isn't interesting.
Sami is prone to doing crazy things, but also has a good heart.
But this time around, she is all hard edges, which makes it hard to root for her to do anything but get off our screens. And that's a shame, because she's an iconic character played by a talented actress.
Also, even though I love Lindsay Arnold as Allie, this story would make more sense if Sydney was the one dealing with an accidental pregnancy.
Nicole and Sami's rivalry dates back to Nicole stealing baby Sydney to raise as her own, and Sydney always shared a bond with Nicole that Sami couldn't undo.
So if Sydney had shown up on Nicole's doorstep with an unexpected baby bump, it would have fit history and reignited that old rivalry better. Even so, though, Allie's reasons for preferring Nicole to Sami are reasonable.
Nicole really did listen and guide Allie instead of trying to manipulate her.
Sami can turn that into Nicole trying to take her daughter away again all she wants, but that's not exactly what happened. Sami alienated Allie. Everyone tried to warn her and she didn't listen. Now she is reaping the consequences of that decision.
Granted, her decision to talk to Rafe has been blown out of proportion.
Sami manipulated Rafe, but he most likely would have made the same decision anyway since he is legitimately grieving the loss of baby David.
She deserves some anger for going against Allie's wishes, but there are people in Salem who have done much worse. Hell, SHE has done much worse--like selling her baby sister on the black market.
And Sonny's reaction to Will not telling him what Sami did is the most over the top.
Yes, Will lied...but Sonny alternated between giving him the silent treatment and screaming at him for a couple of days, only to instantly forgive him once Will got a word in edgewise.
If this is how Sonny is going to behave when something goes wrong, he and Will definitely weren't the right people to give Baby Boy Brady a stable home.
I also wasn't a fan of how he and Will have been handling Ari throughout this whole thing.
They are spoiling the kid, giving her a puppy because she wants one even though it's not the best decision for their family, and acting like a dog should be a bargaining chip to get her to accept a sibling.
That's a surefire way for Ari to grow up to be another diva like her mom, and one Gabi is more than enough.
Speaking of which, this Chad/Gwen vs. Gabi/Jake thing needs to go away.
There seems to always be a war for Dimera Enterprises, and this is one of the least interesting ones.
It's also predictable. Who didn't think that Gabi would find a way to needle Abby while she recovers by suggesting Chad and Gwen are getting it on? Or that Gabi and Jake wouldn't get closer or Jake wouldn't end up sealing the deal?
The most annoying aspect of this is the elitism. From the second he appeared on canvas, Gabi has taken the attitude that being a lowly mechanic is beneath him. Now Jake is wheeling and dealing and his auto mechanic business is mostly forgotten.
Days of Our Lives has a shortage of blue collar workers, and we have enough classism in the real world without the soap sending messages about how these types of jobs make people inferior.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
Did you love or hate something about Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-10-20? Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button to sound off!
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 airtimes.