JJ left just as Gabi returned to Salem in time to see Jake in bed with Kate! Philip pined for Belle, abducted before her re-wedding to Shawn, and Thanksgiving was a little lackluster this year.
Our TV Fanatics, Jack Ori and Christine Orlando, are joined by Sportsgirl and Andy from MyHourglass, a Days of Our Lives fan forum, to debate JJ's departure, Gabi's return, Jake and Kate's sexcapades, and the Thanksgiving that mostly wasn't this week in Salem.
What do you think of Kate and Jake as a couple? Would you prefer him paired with Gabi or someone else?
Jack: I was annoyed that Jake and Kate's sexathon took precedence over Thanksgiving. Him supporting her after was nice, I guess, but I'd rather have seen her interactions at Nicole's house for myself.
As for Jake and Kate as a couple, meh. I could take or leave them, considering that 99% of what they do is have lots and lots of sex. I'd prefer Kate and Roman give each other another try to this Jake nonsense.
I don't like Gabi, and I don't like Jake paired with her either. How about he stays single and continues defying the Dimera's expectations by choosing his garage over being Stefan 2.0?
Sportsgirl: I don't like them as a couple, it feels forced, but I did like him with Gabi. I felt the same chemistry with Jake as I did with Stefan. I think storylines with Gabi could be more fun than any storyline with Kate.
Andy: Kate and Jake together is not my cup of tea at all. I know Kate is a cougar and a Dimera groupie, but we don't need two simultaneous stories about her affairs with different men being exposed.
I prefer seeing more of Jake and Gabi, mostly because the actors have great chemistry. And why not let Kate and Roman rekindle their romance to give him more to do?
Christine: I'm in the minority here, but I've really been enjoying Kate and Jake. There's something honest and oddly sweet between them.
I know that Gabi and Jake are probably the end game, but I wouldn't mind seeing where this Kate and Jake relationship could lead.
You tell us, TV Fanatics. Who do you think Jake should be paired with?
JJ's headed back to South Africa. Was his return to Salem worth it?
Jack: I was so excited that my favorite character was coming back! And then they did little with him and made a stupid excuse to send him away. I'm so heartbroken.
I'm not sorry he returned for the limited time he did, but I wish they'd have 1) kept him longer and 2) done more with him. JJ has always had Jack's investigative skills. Instead of his ridiculous infatuation with Gwen, he should have been suspicious of her from the get-go.
JJ could have tried to find out what was really going on with her and stayed until she was unmasked!
I'd also have liked to have seen JJ deal with his parents' problems a little differently. I liked his support of Abigail, but JJ's problems stemmed from Jack and Jennifer's last divorce and then Jack's "death" while JJ was at boarding school.
He should have had a more emotional reaction to this whole thing rather than living with Jen at the Salem Inn and privately supporting Jack too.
Finally... even though I don't like Lani, she and Eli live in JJ's apartment! They didn't ask him how long he's staying or if he's going to want his place back.
Sportsgirl: It was nice to see JJ again, but I wish he could have stayed a little longer. So any sighting of JJ is worth it.
Andy: I loved seeing JJ again and am sad to see him go so soon. His return served its purpose and was better than hearing some convoluted excuse about why he couldn't be there.
But it was definitely watered down by having a different actress portraying Jennifer, who took away from the reunion and their scenes together. I also could have done without him being so taken with Gwen.
Christine: His return was so short! I wish they'd send Abigail away and keep JJ. And what was up with his infatuation with Gwen?
I thought it would at least be used to have him unearth Gwen's real plan, but then it all came to nothing. The whole visit felt like a bit of a waste.
Gabi is back! Have you missed her, or do you wish she'd have stayed away?
Jack: I wish Gabi had run off to wherever Dario disappeared. She came back and immediately started with the ableist, anti-people with mental illness comments, exchanged barbs with Chad and Gwen, and spied on Jake and Kate having sex (ew!).
Her return is pointless. We already have Gwen to be the anti-Abby bad girl and don't need Gabi in the mix. She doesn't bring ANYTHING except an obnoxious attitude that nobody needs. Go away!
Sportsgirl: I actually liked Gabi; I just wish she would show the more vulnerable side from time to time. I realize she wants to be tough, but being tough & being mean are two different things.
Now she needs to clear her name & tell Chad what a jerk he is.
Andy: As a big Gabi fan, I'm thrilled she's back! (Rafe could have stayed gone, though.) She has a lot to contend with between Jake and Kate, Chad and Abigail, and Gwen still in the mix.
I'm ready for her name to be cleared on drugging Abigail so that Chad can eat some crow.
Christine: Gabi can be entertaining, mostly when she isn't stuck in Chad's orbit or sniping with Julie. However, I want to see Chad and Abigail learn that Gabi didn't drug Abigail, and the nanny Abigail thinks hung the moon is the actual culprit.
But I don't like the idea of Kate and Gabi both vying for Jake. I prefer to see Gabi and Kate working together, and I fear Jake's fling with Kate will only serve to make them enemies.
Rate this year's Thanksgiving in Salem from a 1 (Horrible) to 10 (One of the best!)
Jack: I'm giving it a 1.5, and the only reason it's that high is because Doug and Julie had some nice scenes. There was nothing festive about this holiday. It was as if the writers realized that suddenly, Thanksgiving was coming up and used it as a vehicle to push forward their Gwen and Jake dramas. Nothing more, nothing less.
Too many people were missing. There was no reason for Jack to be sitting alone at the Pub. What happened to Steve? No Thanksgiving for him, Kayla, and Tripp? Or how about Roman?
The Bradys should have been having a Thanksgiving celebration in the Pub, if not at someone's house. Why was Kate's Thanksgiving off-screen when her description of it sounded more interesting than anything on-screen? Why was JJ mostly in the background at the Horton Thanksgiving?
Then he was quickly shuffled out of town as soon as it was over? And what about Abe, Lani, and Eli? Abe often comes to the Horton family gatherings but was nowhere to be seen -- did they go to South Africa to spend it with Theo?
How about Maggie, Victor, Sarah, maybe Xander? How come Victor did not react to Philip spending Thanksgiving at Nicole's? Where were Claire, Shawn, and Belle? The list goes on and on.
The Horton Thanksgiving was so pathetic. There were no scenes of anyone interacting, really, other than Gwen's causing trouble all over the place. Very few people were there (most of the missing people above would have fit right in), and Jennifer spent Thanksgiving hiding in the kitchen.
Simultaneously, Julie and Doug only interacted with JJ in the background while all eyes were on Gwen and Abigail. All in all, this was one of the worst Thanksgiving holidays in Salem, second only to that time that there was a Thanksgiving dinner at the Brady Pub that was entirely a montage after Abby supposedly "died."
Sportsgirl: Thanksgiving was a 2, but I realize because of Covid, they can't have big groups of people together.
Andy: Maybe a 3 or 4? We didn't really get much in the way of a Thanksgiving celebration; it was mostly off-screen. I'm surprised we didn't see how Thanksgiving dinner was for Steve, Kayla, and Tripp.
That probably would have been an awkward meal, and Ava could have crashed for added drama.
Christine: I'll give it a 2, but I realize that Covid restrictions probably made a traditional Thanksgiving scene difficult. Still, it felt like the writers could have done a better job.
As in real life, they could have shown parts of each family holding their own Thanksgiving meal.
Maggie and Philip talked about Belle as if she was the love of his life. Do you see it that way?
Jack: Philip is about as flighty as Brady, as it appears for both of them; every woman they've ever been with is the love of their life. I do not doubt that if Chloe came to town, all of a sudden, Philip would totally forget Belle and lust after her.
He needs to stop living in the past and find someone to be within the present that isn't with someone else or isn't just a ghost of love's past.
Sportsgirl: Even though I am a big Brady/Chloe fan or even a Rex/Chloe fan because of Kyle, I still feel Philip loved Chloe way more than he ever did for Belle.
Andy: I was never big on Belle and Philip as a couple. He always just seemed like an obstacle between her and Shawn. I buy Chloe more as the love of his life with their history and hope we get to see them have another chance on screen.
Christine: It felt as though they were rewriting history with this story. Belle and Philip always felt like friends who had a fling more than a great love story. Philip has more of a connection to Chloe, and I'm hoping we'll get to see that on-screen soon.
What was the most annoying thing to happen in Salem this week?
Jack: On top of being heartbroken that JJ left, the excuse was ridiculous. I thought he and Theo were volunteers helping the humanitarian effort... all of a sudden, they have a business similar to Dimera Enterprises that requires him to talk to stakeholders in person? And why couldn't he do that over video chat anyway?
A close second is that, as I mentioned above, Kate's off-screen Thanksgiving sounded a hell of a lot more interesting than anything we got.
Oh, and this whole Jan/Shawn nonsense could have been stopped before it started. Shawn is a cop! All he had to do was arrest Jan and then spend the rest of the day looking for Belle. Instead, he and everyone else gave in to her very empty threats for no reason whatsoever.
Sportsgirl: Most annoying has to be this story with Gwen. We don't even know why she is doing all this & the story also seems to be taking forever to get anywhere. All this time & we are still clueless. A close second is Lani/Eli?Kristen one.
Andy: A lot of the wedding scenes annoyed me. Jan's ridiculous veil to keep her face hidden (and no one thought that was strange?), her never-ending motive to marry a man who doesn't love her, and her probably ending up in a coma again...it was all a disappointing conclusion to Jan's return after some interesting build-up.
Christine: The Jan/Shawn wedding was just over-the-top ridiculous. I was hoping for a more mature storyline for Jan this time around instead of this cartoon villain stuff.
And somehow, we're supposed to believe that Jan got Belle's unconscious body across town, into the Kiriakis mansion, and Philip's bed without help or anyone noticing. Can't the writers do better than that?
What was your favorite quote, scene, or storyline from this week's Days of Our Lives?
Jack: I liked both Julie's conversation with Jennifer and Jack and Abby's honest conversation. Those were some bright moments in an otherwise blah week.
Sportsgirl: I enjoyed the Sarah/Xander detective scenes. I thought it was fun & campy, especially when Xander said he drank too much coffee & Sarah gasped & said such a rookie mistake.
A close second was when Jack, Abigail, and JJ hugged, and Jack said they are still the best family in the world. That was so sweet.
Andy: Xander and Sarah's scenes were fun and broke up the rest of the storylines. And Gabi's return made me happy. Otherwise, it was kind of a blah week for me. I hope things start to pick up more.
Christine: Sarah and Xander's stakeout scenes were fun and had a rom-com feel to them. I also liked it when Kate opened up to Jake about all of the drama in her life. It's nice to see Kate confiding in someone who seems to care about her.
Want to chat more about the happenings in Salem? Then check out Jack Ori's Days of Our Lives review about the disappointing holiday here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.