Television

Days of Our Lives Review for the Week of 11-21-02: Revenge Plots and Questionable Situations

It was another week of revenge plots in Salem, but in real life, the world is a bit poorer because of the loss of a phenomenal actor.

John Aniston’s death will leave a gaping hole that can never be filled. On Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-14-22, Maggie and Victor’s non-party was a plot point, but knowing it’s the last one they’ll ever have was painful.

Rest in peace, Mr. Aniston. You are already sorely missed.

Victor and Maggie’s party fell apart because Xander caught Bonnie trying to free Susan and tied her up in the gardening shed. This story is ridiculous beyond words, and it got sillier after Bonnie was kidnapped.

Xander and Bonnie exchanged barbs while Xander was dressed as a creepy clown. That was bad enough, but then he gagged her and left her and Susan alone, where they had a telepathic conversation.

This entire goofy story felt like comic relief, but it wasn’t the kind of comedy I wanted more of. The sooner this nonsense stops, the better!

Xander’s become a cartoon villain, only he’s sporting a Pennywise the Clown mask and a fake American accent instead of a handlebar mustache and an evil laugh.

Meanwhile, every time Ava considered ending this harebrained kidnapping scheme, Charlie’s ghost appeared to tell her that no one but him would ever love her and that she should double down on violent revenge schemes.

Yes, Ava is being controlled by the ghost of her dead, evil son whom she never listened to in life. And for extra fun, only Ava can see him.

The only way this can end is with Ava being shipped off to Bayview or to that clinic in Florida where Abigail was magically cured of her DID. Or is Charlie a stand-in for the Devil since that story wore out its welcome long ago?

Either way, this isn’t entertaining, and the things people outside of Ava and “Charlie” are doing to further this battle aren’t much better.

Steve and Kayla donned disguises to find out where Tripp was. Kayla had on a wig, a leopard print, some padding to make her appear fatter than she is, and a terrible Tri-State Area accent.

Kudos to Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols for doing these scenes with a straight face!

These might have been more fun if they were part of an actual story. Steve and Kayla achieved their mission in an hour; Tripp’s kidnapping was merely an obstacle for Ava to overcome before she came up with her next evil plan for EJ.

It’s too bad. It’s always fun when Steve and Kayla work together, even if, lately, their adventures tend more toward the ridiculous than they did in the past. 

This one was about as silly as when they pretended to be a priest and nun to get info on Kristen, but at least that one went on for a while. This one was a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of story.

Lucas Adams’ cameo was a pleasant surprise, but now that he’s been rescued, will he return to his (off-screen) life in Seattle, or will he return to Salem to try to find out what’s up with his mom?

For all of Steve’s bravado about how Kayla should stay here because it’s too dangerous, there was not a single moment where either of them was in trouble. Steve even used his skills to overpower a far-larger-than-him bartender who didn’t want to give them any info.

That wasn’t much of a story!

While Steve and Kayla’s scenes were fun, I also had in the back of my mind that soon, Kayla would again succumb to the effects of Orpheus’ poisoning. I’d much rather these silly stories than that!

We know that EJ took Tripp, but why didn’t Steve and Kayla ever worry about Orpheus when they found out about the kidnapping? It wasn’t that long ago that Steve was worried about Orpheus going to Seattle to mess with his kids, and incarceration isn’t enough to stop someone like that.

The best part of this ridiculous story was Tony and Anna’s involvement. These two legendary characters never fail to entertain, though I could live without any more discussion of Anna’s broken glass heart.

Tony was also right that EJ’s antics weren’t helping anything. EJ and Ava’s attempts to get revenge on each other will go nowhere good and will only lead to greater and greater violence.

I’m not a fan of derogatory language about mental health issues, but Tony’s assertion that Anna was unhinged was right on the money. She’s motivated by her conversations with her dead son, for goodness’ sake. That means that something horrible is going to happen eventually.

At least Justin and Alex realized now that Bonnie was missing and went looking for her. Hopefully, they actually found her.

Across town, we finally learned Chanel’s secret. It was a story that belonged on Law & Order: SVU, except that SVU would have taken what happened to Chanel far more seriously.

The short version of this story is that Chanel went to a professor for help with her grades, and he kissed her, then began an affair with her. When the professor’s wife found out, she lured Chanel to a rooftop, tried to attack her physically, and fell off the roof when Chanel pushed her away.   The woman was Sloan’s mother, so Sloan now wants Chanel locked up to get revenge for her mother’s death.

There are so many problems with this scenario. One of the biggest is that Allie is the only one who realizes that Chanel was not a fully willing participant in any of this, including sex.

Allie: I don’t buy it, Dupree. You could never hurt anyone.
Chanel: But I did, and I have had to live with it for years.
Allie: But you never said anything about it.
Chanel: I almost did a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want you to know. I didn’t want anyone to know.. But now everyone will know that a woman is dead because of me.

When a professor comes on to a student who wants to improve her grade in his class, the power dynamic makes consent questionable at best. This professor targeted a vulnerable student, came onto her, and then used love bombing and other manipulations to keep her in his clutches.

Chanel thinks it’s consensual because that’s part of the sick game these types of predators play. They are masters at making their victims believe they are responsible for their abuse.

Leaving the consent issues aside, Chanel acted in self-defense. The wife lured her to a rooftop and lunged at her, and now her daughter wants Chanel punished for defending herself, while the DA thinks it’s appropriate to violate Chanel’s rights every chance she gets so that she can put her away for this.

It’s disgusting, and the optics of a white lawyer abusing her position to put a Black woman in jail for the “crime” of defending herself from the violent wife of a sexual predator who preyed on her don’t help.

If Sloan and Trask — both of whom are despicable excuses for human beings — were the only ones who saw Chanel as the bad guy when she was the victim, this story might make a strong point about the sexual abuse of college students. But Paulina’s response reinforces the idea of Chanel being in the wrong here.

Paulina wants to do whatever she can to protect her children, and that’s admirable, as is her refusal to give in to blackmail. However, there was no reason for her to do any of what she did, which ultimately helped bolster Trask’s case.

Chanel acted in self-defense, and the surveillance video would prove that. In addition, the school and the professor would have wanted to avoid the spectacle of a trial in which the professor’s abuse of Chanel (and possibly other students) would have taken center stage.

Paulina probably wanted to protect Chanel from the humiliation and the possible awful attacks by the defense. However, she still should have wanted that surveillance footage to remain intact so that Chanel had incontrovertible proof that she didn’t kill this woman on purpose.

It would have made far more sense for Paulina to hire a lawyer to negotiate with the school to drop a lawsuit against them in exchange for the professor’s resignation. If Chanel faced any charges in this incident, Paulina’s first step should have been to get a criminal lawyer for her, too.

That’s also what she should have done when Sloan came sniffing around.

Sneaking around trying to get the file back was a waste of time. Paulina was aware that someone was threatening to have Chanel arrested and had the supposedly-sealed file from the original incident; the logical thing to do was to get an attorney involved. Someone running for governor should have had a lawyer on staff to help deal with these kinds of attacks on their candidacy, too.

Paulina also should be looking into taking legal action now. Sloan has abused her position and is trying to get someone thrown in jail for revenge. She’s also tried to extort Paulina for money.

These things are illegal, and there is no reason not to report it to the cops and the bar association, even if Trask would rather violate the rights of a sexual assault survivor than punish a defense attorney who is blackmailing people.

Meanwhile, Johnny and Wendy headed to Jakarta to try to prove that Li and EJ hired Rolf to brainwash Stefan.

This is another story that needs to end. This brainwashing nonsense is tedious, and we sat through a similar story with Ben and Ciara not long ago.

Gabi and Stefan’s sniping was obnoxious, and I don’t understand why Gabi accused Stefan of giving “his girlfriend” a promotion when she didn’t know they were dating.

The Johhny/Wendy stuff was typical soap fare, though. It reminded me of when Nicole and Daniel went after Chyka, and it was all fun and games until Rolf caught Wendy.

Rolf keeps stabbing people with syringes full of memory-altering drugs when they find out what he’s been up to, and now he’s got both Johnny and Wendy in his clutches.

What is he going to do to them? And will trying to escape bring them closer together? The writing on the wall has been clear for these two for a while, so it’s only a matter of time before they admit they are attracted to each other.

Finally, there was some ugly business between Eric, Nicole, and Rafe.

The good news: Eric accepts Jada’s right to have an abortion, even if he did follow that up with a guilt trip about how he’s always wanted to have a child (UGH!).

The bad news: a lot of immature behavior from Rafe. Understandably, he’s hurt and angry, but it feels disingenuous considering that he has cheated on every woman he’s been with, including cheating on Ava with Nicole.

Rafe and Nicole could have been a great couple. They should have been, but the writers are obsessed with Nicole and Eric and think that having the whole town tell Nicole how she feels is a compelling romance story.

Now Rafe is being as abusive as Eric usually is toward Nicole. The one guy who always accepted Nicole for who she is has become the latest person to use her as a punching bag.

Meanwhile, Eric is trying as hard as he can to get Jada to stay with him for the baby’s sake despite knowing he’s not in love with her, leaving Nicole with nobody on her side except Brady, who is tangled up with Kristen and associated nonsense.

In my opinion, this is an awful story, but what do you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button, and let us know your thoughts! And don’t forget to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.

Days of Our Lives streams exclusively on Peacock. New episodes drop on weekdays at 6 AM EST / 3 AM PST.

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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