Days of Our Lives this last week was… peculiar. It’s been slow going for February sweeps for DAYS with much more interesting things going on backstage than on screen. In the last week, DAYS was renewed for another year, a more conventional production schedule was rumored and another head writer bit the dust. Meanwhile in Salem, two formerly upstanding cops continue to selfishly cover up their crime, a mother spirals into Mommie Dearest-dom, a former vixen sobs over lost “love” all of which leave devoted DAYS fans scratching their heads. The happenings in Salem have gotten both confused and confusing, sometimes making it hard for me to like the show that I love. Everything’s there, we just need more of it, a stronger push! Don’t skimp on the creativity anymore, DAYS!
Now onto a few highlights from Salem, USA this last week!
Week in Review for Days of Our Lives episodes airing February 15th-19th, 2016.
There’s something not right when a viewer wants to root for the rookie character just gaining a personality over the veteran heroine. Hope Brady has been freefalling down a slippery slope ever since last fall and it does not seem to be looking any better for her on the other end. Hope may have stressed the point that all of her current shenanigans are to ensure the safety of her family yet she seems completely blind to the building turmoil under her roof. Rafe Hernandez and Hope have been starring in their own self-contained buddy cop movie instead of worrying about real life and the repercussions their actions could bring about.
With Andre hot on their tail, Hope and Rafe decide that their only option is to pin Hope’s erroneous murder of Stefano Dimera on his son instead. Fake tears are poured out so Hope can convince Roman Brady of her suspicions toward Andre. She cites that she’s been having a rough time since Bo Brady’s death but from what we’ve seen the last few months on screen, it’s kind of hard to decipher if that’s a part of Hope’s frame job or if she was being sincere. Strike one. Rafe and Hope plant evidence ranging from the smoking gun to Stefano’s bloody statue to point toward Andre in a whimsical tale that not even Roman buys. Strike two. Then after bringing Andre down to the station for questioning, Rafe practically steamrolls the innocent (of this particular crime) man with his bravado, speaking as if he’s already solved the case and is ready to book Andre. Strike three.
Just why do these characters have to be dragged through the mud for this silliness? Only a few months ago, Rafe was shaping up to be a character I could like. He was level-headed, smart and not at all as cocky as he’d been for 80% of his run on DAYS but now we’ve come right back to square one. For someone so self-righteous, should he really be covering up yet another crime? Has Rafe not learned from the last time where he was fired and had to work as a glorified bouncer at a club to make ends meet? Then there’s Hope who was supposed to always be the good cop to everyone else’s bad or ambiguous cop, now she’s executing octogenarian wheelchair bound villains for crimes with no supporting evidence!
I think the most annoying part about this storyline is that it’s so muddled. There’s a sense that the writers want us to root for Hope and Rafe, to see this big cover up as some kind of sweeping romance in the making when it’s just kind of cringe worthy. I can’t see Rafe as anything more than Hope’s friend. In fact, they’ve always seemed a bit like little brother and big sister. And I know this is soap world where everyone is fair game, but even metaphorical siblings should be off limits romantically. So there’s that side to the story but then there’s also a side that makes me wonder if the writers want us to hate Rafe and Hope too. They’ve insolated themselves, ignoring many around them, behaving cockily and then there are characters clocking their bad behavior left and right without really knowing it. The best parts where when Shawn D. Brady prattled on about Hope’s spotless reputation in the Salem PD; hearing her son praise her work certainly made Hope uncomfortable what with the secret she was harboring. The foreshadowing was titillating too when she passed on Bo’s medal that helped him solve the most difficult cases. Shawn will obviously be playing a big part in breaking open his mother’s murder cover up, as well as his new nosy date Lani Price. Slowly but surely, Lani is coming alive as a part of this story. I think pretty soon she’ll be a full fleshed out person! She already wasn’t a fan of Hope for getting in the way of her little crush on Rafe so she’ll definitely have no mercy when the truth is revealed. I can’t wait for it!
What are your thoughts on Hope and Rafe’s bloody Valentine’s week?
Prince of Darkness
With the king Stefano Dimera fallen, Andre Dimera has risen to his post as the head of the threadbare Dimera family. Chad Dimera is far too busy searching for a house to play in with Abigail Devereaux and their son (Chabby is too young and sexy for a story like this!) to fall in line, so Andre instead decided to give Hope Brady a hit close to home. Chase Jennings, her step-son, becomes Andre’s quick protégé and tool to bring about the collapse of Hope’s life.
Chase ran away from home when Ciara Brady refused to forgive him for bullying Theo Carver through anonymous texts. Apparently a cross country super star at Salem High, Chase evades all of the guards hired to protect him from the very man who easily approaches him in the park. For the viewers, this marks the slightly creepy beginning to a creepy friendship but to Chase, this marks a turn to darkness that he seemed to have been waiting for. Now I like the character of Chase, I find him interesting and he’s in a situation unique to soap teenagers where instead of blindly hating the parent right there, Chase hates his father that’s long gone now. He’s been obsessing over the one instance where Aiden Jennings went bad in fear of that same darkness taking him over. Other than that one time where Aiden tried to kill Hope on their wedding night, he was a pretty upstanding guy! We watched him participate in week long church bake sales, for God’s sake! For me, Chase was just waiting for the right impetus to bring him over to the dark side which was why he so easily fell into Andre’s trap.
Now what Andre convinced Chase to do was evil but also very cunning. He gives a pump to the vulnerable Chase’s ego, the latter of whom then proceeds to force himself on his step-sister, Ciara right in the Horton living room. Yikes. Because of this Andre effectively dismantles Hope’s world from the inside while he can sit safely at a distance to watch the implosion. Hope is already on the edge and by doing this, Andre is sure to increase her anxiety and maybe even force out a confession from the former cop. While a smart plan, I do think there could have been a more organic way to approach this story to make it topical and important. Unfortunately, soap operas these days don’t really make the effort to present issues like rape in a way to get a discussion going. The mark always tends to be missed. If the pacing of the show wasn’t at 1000 mph, then Chase jumping to rape Ciara may have been more grippingly shocking than disgusting. Or imagine if the writers had gone with Andre grooming his nephew Theo instead to harm Chase! An impressionable, family oriented and trusting boy like Theo would have easily fallen to Andre’s charm as well then you pair that with his rage toward Chase and you have a recipe for disaster. Have Theo bring a gun to school or beat Chase senseless, do something other than rape. In 2016, sexual abuse shouldn’t still be the go-to story for opening a discussion – or for shock value, as has been done many times before. I can only hope that this story is done with integrity and is handled as seriously as it should be. As mentioned above, there is potential for the fallout to be a compelling watch but stacked up against that is a track record of soaps not handling rape very well at all.
Do you think the Chase and Ciara’s story could have gone another way and how do you think it’ll turn out?
As usual, if I missed something you really wanted to talk about or something you felt was important, let’s start a discussion! Comment below, tweet me and let’s chat!
Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios