Days of Our Lives Review Week of 1-11-21: Not What It Seems

Movies/TV

Abigail has a problem.

She used to have an addiction to jumping into bed with the wrong men, but now she’s moved on to making the wrong friends.

And on Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-11-21, she was shocked and hurt to discover that Gwen was no ally of hers and, in fact, was her worst enemy.

Abigail had some choice words for Chad after she learned that Gwen slept with him, and most of them were spot on.

Like me, she’s more hurt by the underlying motive than the sex. Chad was blacked out drunk, and people in that state can’t consent no matter how much they say they want it.

So I was glad that at least Days of Our Lives sidestepped turning a non-consensual encounter into cheating again without letting Chad off the hook for what he did do.

And what he did, as Abigail pointed out, was choose to trust an enemy’s word over her own.

Gwen manipulated Chad easily because he was all too eager to believe that Abigail had slept with Jake, and there was no reason for him to distrust his wife so much.

I think part of the problem is that Abigail forgave him too easily last time.

Chad: We got through this before. You forgave me.
Abigail: Because you promised that this would never happen again, that you would never believe someone else over me! And now here we are in the same place all over again.

Once she decided to reconcile with him after the Gabi mess was over, the whole thing was swept under the rug. Chad never took a look, hard or otherwise, at why he had fallen for Gabi’s manipulations.

Without that introspection, the insecurities were still there and ripe for future manipulation.

A large part of the issue has to do with Chad’s misunderstanding of Abigail’s mental illness.  And the way that’s being handled is offensive.

Chad’s original mistake was believing that Abigail was having a psychotic breakdown just because Gabi said so, and that was bad enough.

But now, he apparently views Abigail’s mental illness as a phony excuse for bad behavior, has forgotten that Stefan raped her. At the same time, she was dissociated and couldn’t consent, and she thinks she’s so shallow that she would sleep with Jake just because he looks like the man she supposedly cheated with.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Gwen could manipulate him by using anti-mental illness slurs. She constantly said things like Abigail would go back to ‘the looney bin” for life at the slightest provocation and sneered at the idea of Abigail having a mental illness.

Of course, Abby’s illness wasn’t at all realistic, which didn’t help things either.  But either way, the constant bashing of mental illness and mental health treatment needs to go.

Gwen isn’t supposed to be a likable or rootable character, but putting nasty words about people with mental illness in her mouth isn’t okay when nobody pushes back on them.

It would be one thing if nasty, vile characters said nasty, vile things and were told in no uncertain terms to cut it out.

But instead, Days of Our Lives tends to use characters like Gwen and Gabi to push negative messaging without any push back at all, making it seem like these ideas are acceptable even if the character’s other behavior is not.

And the few times a character has been called out on using pejorative terms, it’s been played for laughs. For example, Jake getting called out on using the word “looney bin” was met with him responding sarcastically about the need to be sensitive.

Obviously, the writers did that to make fun of fans who think that it’s uncool and irresponsible to continually bash people with mental illness on a popular daytime serial rather than actually changing their messaging.

This story would also be easier to take if Abigail didn’t turn her investigative reporting skills on and off as the plot demanded.

She was at her best while confronting Gwen, refusing to take any BS and pushing hard for answers. That made it believable that she’s a reporter… except that she missed so many obvious signs that Gwen wasn’t her friend.

Gwen’s manipulations should have raised at least a dozen red flags in the first minute, and Abigail and Chad should never have hired a nanny for their children without doing a thorough background check.

No one with the barest modicum of street smarts turns their kids’ care over to a total stranger without making sure that person isn’t a pedophile or otherwise out to harm the kids, and that should be doubly true of members of one of the most wealthy families in town!

Are we really supposed to believe a top-notch investigative reporter and the CEO of a multi-million dollar international company never thought of that?

Also, Abigail needs introspection as much as Chad does.

This is the second or third time this supposed brilliant investigative mind got hoodwinked by a troublemaker posing as her friend. She fell for both Gwen and Gabi’s easy-to-spot manipulations, and she never guessed that Sami had figured out her secret and was befriending her to get revenge.

This means one of two things: either Abigail is so desperate for friends she is ignoring red flags, or the writers are making her stupid when it’s convenient for the plot.

While all signs suggest weak writing, I’d love for her to grapple with deeper reasons for picking the wrong friends. If only Days of Our Lives took mental illness seriously, they could come up with a moving story about how and why she latches on to people who clearly mean her harm.

Interestingly, they are doing this to an extent with Claire.

Claire: I believed he was the man I saw. Good, kind, sweet, romantic… but I guess I was so desperate for a boyfriend I didn’t see he was lying to me.
Belle: No, honey, you weren’t desperate.
Claire: Desperate is my thing. It’s what I do. I crush on a guy and get obsessed.

It would have been a stronger story if Claire had actually been attached to Charlie for the wrong reasons, though. As Belle pointed out, Claire had every reason to trust Charlie. He’s written as this super manipulative sociopath who acts like the greatest guy in the world but is really a violent asshole.

Salem is overrun with people like this, probably because the writers don’t clearly understand mental illness to write villains who aren’t Jekyll and Hyde types.

But what I would have preferred is a realistic domestic violence story. Someone like Claire, who is starting over after spending time in a mental institution, would seem like easy prey to an abuser because of her fear that no one could ever love her.

So if Charlie’s two sides hadn’t been quite so extreme and he’d instead been this amazing guy who made her feel so special but also berated her or hit her whenever she displeased him and/or pulled the “you owe me since I treat you so well” card whenever she didn’t want to succumb to his control, that would have been a compelling story.

Claire has all the feelings that go with that kind of thing, but Charlie’s crimes are so over-the-top that it’s hard to take him seriously.

Rafe: I’m waiting and waiting, and I’m tired of your bull. So let’s hear it [your explanation].
Charlie: Okay, fine. Ava came to my place. She was talking about knives and hurting herself and I didn’t know what to do so I guess I just panicked and I tied her up.
Rafe: You tied her up to protect her from herself?
Charlie: Yes.
Rafe: Why didn’t you call the police?
Charlie: It never occurred to me.
Rafe: So a woman comes to your door talking about knives and self-harm and instead of calling the police you tied her up. Maybe you didn’t call the police because you didn’t want anyone to know she was at your apartment. So okay, why didn’t you at least call a doctor?
Charlie: I… I thought…
Rafe: You thought what?
Charlie: She hates doctors! She’s terrified of them.
Rafe: Your mother is terrified of doctors? Why?
Charlie: I don’t know.
Rafe: There it is. Ava’s your mother.

Rafe tricking Charlie into admitting Ava is his mother was fun, though. Charlie was smart enough to ask for a lawyer but not smart enough to keep his mouth shut till one arrived.

And his cover story about Ava just showing up wanting to kill herself was so ridiculous that it was impossible for anyone to believe.

I was surprised Claire hasn’t begged Belle to take Charlie’s case yet, though she has her own doubts about Charlie, so I guess that’s why.

And Claire and Abby need to be in a support group for people who miss obvious red flags since Charlie’s behavior ever since Christmas has been all sorts of weird. Plus, Claire fell for Jan’s manipulations too.

Anyway, I’m glad that this whole mess of a rape storyline is coming to an end. It was a huge mistake, and disrespectful to real-life survivors, to focus on the falsely accused suspect instead of the traumatized victim. 

But at least Tripp wants to get Allie justice, so there’s that.

Who else thinks this is moving toward Tripp and Allie ending up together once she figures out he didn’t rape her?

The way Tripp talks about Allie makes me think he cares deeply about her and will instantly forgive her for thinking he raped her. I’d rather this story not be a vehicle for them to hook up eventually, but it sure looks that way!

In any case, I wish he’d stop saying that getting Charlie’s DNA will prove Charlie is baby Henry’s father.

Supposedly getting Tripp’s DNA didn’t prove Tripp was the father because he and Charlie share the same gene pool.

DNA doesn’t really work that way, but since in this story it does, if both Tripp and Charlie are DNA matches for the baby, it proves nothing about who the father is. It just proves that either one of them could be.

In my mind, that whole thing makes it impossible to prosecute either of them for the rape. Allie insisted for months she remembered Tripp raping her, then flipped to saying maybe it’s not him, both men’s DNA match, and they both claim the other did it. 

I can hear Law and Order SVU‘s Sonny Carisi saying that that adds up to reasonable doubt, and he needs more before he can move forward with a case. Not that this case is prosecutable anyway since it happened in London — or are we going to conveniently forget that now that we have the right man?

Steve: I told you not to go rogue.
Tripp: Okay, so what’s your excuse for being here?
Steve: Because someone needs to save you from yourself.

Of course, Days of Our Lives isn’t a legal drama, and in most cases, people take matters into their own hands without facing any legal consequences.

That seems to be the way things are going this time, too, since Tripp not only ignored all of Steve’s advice but managed to come face-to-face with Charlie while illegally inside Charlie’s apartment.

Meanwhile, the other big crime story took a giant leap forward, with the audience learning who was behind the baby napping.

I still wish nobody was behind it and that we had a relatable story that didn’t have to do with babies disappearing from the hospital for the umpteenth time.

But since we do have it, I wish Julie’s theory had been right. Gabi was my prime suspect, and Vivian’s MO is to bury her perceived enemies alive, not to steal their children.

Well, she did steal Nicholas, kind of. But at least he was related to her.

Anyway, this scheme doesn’t seem worthy of Vivian just yet, but we’ll see.

So far, there’s been too much silliness in the investigation, especially Bonnie’s inability to realize that Raynor had kidnapped the babies even when given all the facts.

I don’t blame her for not being able to describe Raynor too well, though. She’d only seen the woman for a minute, didn’t know she was a criminal and focused on the babies. 

But what I do object to is Raynor getting away with messing with other people’s babies over and over. She should have lost her medical license after the last time and never been heard from again.

I find it impossible to buy that anyone would think she was still on staff after the last trick she’d pulled. And her crocodile tears about how she didn’t go into obstetrics to stela babies were ridiculous considering she’s done this before.

The one silver lining in this story is that Valerie may stick around a while to support Eli and Lani and determine what’s become of her grandbabies.

Valerie is a legacy character who I was sorry to see go, and a triangle between her and Kate for Abe’s affections could be compelling.

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics.

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of Days of Our Lives during the week of 1-11-21.

Hungry for more Days of Our Lives chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the 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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