Days of Our Lives Review: Slipping Back into Bad Habits

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Will Days of Our Lives ever stop reinforcing lies about mental illness?

May is Mental Health Awareness month, so a realistic story about Abigail or anyone else dealing with PTSD or other serious mental illnesses would be timely and compelling.

Unfortunately, Days of Our Lives again relied on stereotypes for the latest Abigail hallucination story, while Kristen dealt with the aftermath of being the latest woman to “go nuts” and attack someone.

The Abigail story could have made sense if it was written as a realistic PTSD story instead of Abigail being drugged with a powerful hallucinogenic that doesn’t exist in the real world.

Her initial hallucination of Ben attacking her appeared to be triggered by Chad taking off his tie — something which could happen to a PTSD survivor even years after the fact.

Of course, PTSD flashbacks aren’t literal hallucinations, something which Days of Our Lives already got wrong when Haley supposedly suffered from it. But at least the premise would have made some sort of sense.

Abigail’s further hallucinations didn’t make much sense either. Ben terrorized her, but I can’t remember if she was even in Salem when Orpheus forced Jennifer to wear a bomb. So drugged or not, there was no reason for her to be hallucinating that happenig again.

Dimera Enterprises invents all sorts of things that don’t exist in reality, like back-from-the-dead serums and microchips that make people think they are other people, but still.

Even within a fanastical world, certain things should be realistic or it distracts viewers from the story. 

It’s annoying that Kayla has been involved more than once in diagnosing Abby’s psychiatric issues when she’s not a psychiatrist. When Jennifer asked her whether Abigail was having a DID relapse, her answer should have been that they’d have to wait to see what Marlena said.

It’s also irritating that Marlena said she didn’t have enough time to make a full evaluation.

If Days wanted to do a story about how doctors face time pressure because of their patient loads, that would have been fine. But Marlena didn’t seem to have anything else to do besides go for a walk with John. There was no reason she couldn’t take as long as she needed with Abigail.

That isn’t to say this story was all bad. 

Jack’s scenes with his children are always a highlight of any episode of Days of Our Lives, and his conversation with Abigail was no exception.

Their father/daughter bond was as strong as ever, though Jack needs to get over not having been there for Abigail and JJ because he was being used as a guinea pig by the Dimeras.

He also came dangerously close to justifying Gabi’s hatred of Abigail.

It’s bad enough that she goes around complaining to anyone who will listen that she can’t have children when that’s not even what Kayla told her about her injuries int he first place. Let’s not have Jack do it too, please.

Speaking of Gabi, can she be any more irritating?

I cheered when Rafe yelled at her that she can’t keep doing crazy things and expecting him to fix it. It’s about time he stopped enabling her.

Her slurs against people with mental health issues need to go too.

I wish someone would realize that Gabi needs mental health treatment too so that she can stop messing around with revenge schemes that constantly blow up in her face.

In this case, she might be innocent, but it’s ridiculous that she doesn’t understand why people think she drugged Abigail when she warned Chad that Abby’s mental health issues would return 30 seconds before someone gave Abby hallucinogens, swore revenge on Chad and Abby 30 seconds before that, and has done this before.

The question is: who did drug Abby if it wasn’t Gabi?

Some fans have speculated that Tony did it before he left, but unless Tony is really Andre, he’d have no reason to do that.

Sure, he hates Gabi, but he wouldn’t want Abigail to be collateral damage in a plan to oust Gabi from Dimera. Besides, he probably knew that the Dimera board was about to fire her.

Since Orpheus keeps appearing in Abigail’s hallucinations and he and Evan did something or other they don’t want anyone to know about, could he have done it?

Orpheus wouldn’t be above doing illegal and dangerous things to smear Gabi and increase the chances that a judge deny Rafe custody of baby David, and he couldn’t care less if Abigail got hurt in the process.

That might spice up this otherwise uninteresting story about Orpheus and his kids. I’ve always wanted to know what became of the twins he forced Marlena to raise for a bit, so it’s a shame they weren’t given a better story than a rerun of Jordan protecting Ben from an abusive father.

The other Gabi story — that her dead husband has a doppelganger roaming around Salem — might be more compelling, though it’s a bit early to tell.

Days of Our Lives has had more than its fair share of doppelgangers since 2017, so inroducing yet another one isn’t the best move. But at least this time Jake’s resemblence to Stefan is a coincidence, at least so far.

There wasn’t really any other way to bring Brandon Barash back on canvas. Julie supposedly has Stefan’s heart, and as Kate pointed out, resurrecting him now would be too incredible to believe even in Salem.

Jake: Why do you want to know if there’s a lady in my life?
Ben: I just thought it would be good for us to get to know each other.
Jake: Well, there isn’t now.
Ben: But there was someone.
Jake: Why don’t you mind your own damn business?

Hopefully, Jake will turn out to be a lookalike with a compelling backstory of his own and not a Stefan clone or Stefan with amnesia or something.

Either way, Ciara’s claim that she didn’t believe everyone had a double til now was the stupidest line of the week. There have been ten dopplegangers in the last two years, and her mother’s life was taken over by one not too long ago.

Days of Our Lives really needs to quit this idiotic thing they’ve got going on where characters don’t remember things that just happened because it would be inconvenient for the current plot.

Anyway, Ben working at a garage for a guy who is tightlipped about his past could be an interesting story, if only it was separate from Ben and Ciara’s constant lovefest.

Ciara should not be allowed to just show up at Ben’s workplace and interrupt what he’s doing, regardless of whether Victor is in the hospital. If Jake refused to accept that, it would lead to a story where Ben and Ciara would have to change for Ben to be successful.

Instead, they’re still entirely co-dependent, their story continues to revolve around their latest sexual encounter, and they’ve gone from being one of the hottest new couples to incredibly boring.

Brady’s decision to cover for Kristen has been done a billion times before and wasn’t particularly ntelligent on his part, but at least it gave Eric and Nicole something to do other than fight with each other.

The two of them figuring out the truth separately and then comparing notes was fun. More of this, less of Eric berating Nicole for dumb decisions, please.

Brady: It’s like one of those Greek tragedies Grandfather likes so much, where the head of the family was so evil his own flesh and blood had to stab him. The Fall of the House of Kiriakis.
Eric: That’s…what’s the word I’m looking for? A load of bull.

The ease with which they both realized what was going on should have made Brady realize that this plan isn’t going to work.

With the exception of Lani, who doesn’t want to believe that her BFF Kristen would stab Victor, and Xander, who has no excuse for believing this lie, everyone has put together the pieces in a matter of minutes.

The best course of action would have been for Kristen to come clean, because if it’s proven that Brady covered for Kristen it could be bad for both of them.

Plus, since Kristen entertained the idea of killing VIctor to keep him from telling the truth, it’s probably better that she be in jail where she can’t give in to impulses to hurt anyone.

It’s all a moot point, since Victor mustered the strength to tell Eli that Kristen stabbed him

It’s anyone’s guess whether that would hold up in court, since an old man first waking up from surgery after being stabbed might not be completely mentally competent. But it certainly seemed like the end of this plan.

The bigger question is how Brady could want to be with Kristen after something like this.

He is willing to go to jail for her because he loves her. But given her impulse control issues, how can he trust she won’t turn violently on him too one of these days?

I hate this trope of the heartbroken woman turning violent. It’s misogynistic as well as reinforcing myths about mentally ill people being violent.

Kristen: Even if I keep my mouth shut, that doesn’t mean we’re going to find Rachel.
Brady: Don’t say that. We will find her. And when we do, she’s going to need her mother.
Kristen: She’s going to need you too.
Brady: Don’t worry about that. The DA is still furious that Haley Chen’s deat was ruled an accident. So if you plead guilty to stabbing Victor, you are going to go away for the rest of your life.
Kristen: Oh God. I wish I’d thought of that before I stabbed Victor.

But since Days of Our Lives went there with Kristen twice, then Brady should face the reality that he is dating a woman with serious anger management issues.

If Days wanted to be groundbreaking, they could have Kristen abuse Brady — domestic violence stories where women abuse men are rare even though it happens in real life — but I get the sense they’re just going to ignore the whole issue of Kristen’s problems beyond this story.

Sarah’s instability and refusal to give up the baby is as irritating as Kristen’s violence.

It was a huge coincidence that Rex was in Paris too, and his attempt to reason with Sarah went nowhere.

She’s probably going to get violent too since Rex wants to call the cops. I wish that just once, someone would be smart enough to do that outside of the presence of the person who doesn’t want them to so that they don’t get attacked.

And Sarah sounded delusional when she insisted that she was the one who got the baby through cancer. 

She certainly had no right to say that Kristen didn’t deserve a child, and Kristen isn’t the only one who seems mentally unstable in this situation.

Nicole’s discussion with Kristen about how she was going to need to control herself if she was going to take care of a child was a far stronger scene than any of this nonsense.

Although Nicole has been judgmental of Kristen, and certainly was earlier in the scene, she didn’t impose her opinion on Kristen about this, which was refreshing, and it got Kristen thinking more clearly for a moment.

Finally, I’d like to have a word with whoever thought this Steve/Kayla mess was a good idea.

It’s bad enough that Steve feels guilty about behavior that belonged to someone else and is pushing Kayla away because of it.

But now we appear headed for a Steve/Hope relationship.

No, no, no. This is bringing back memories of when Kayla dated Shane back in the 1980s, which was an awful mismatch that made Rafe and Hope look like an ideal couple.

Steve should discuss his guilt with Marlena, not Hope, so he can get a handle on it and stop pushing Kayla away. Or better yet, he could go down the hall and talk to Abigail. That microchip was like medically-induced DID, so if anyone can convince him he’s being too hard on himself, it’s Abby.

Your turn, Days of Our LIves fanatics. What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 4-27-20? Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button and share 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 airtimes.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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