Soaps

Days of our Lives Week in Review: Makes Sense to Me

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

If you read anything that I’ve ever written here on TVSource, then you’d know that Brady Black and Nicole Walker together with Rafe Hernandez and Hope Brady make up two of my least favorite couples. So you’re probably wondering why in the world did I include them in my picks for this last week. Perplexing, isn’t it? If you watched this last week, then you’d know exactly why it shouldn’t be a mystery at all.

Finally, seeds of doubt were sown between these two couples. Hope seemed to grow almost exhausted of being around Rafe while Nicole couldn’t keep Eric Brady out of her mind while Brady ordered her around. It’s about time that these women begin to realize that they’ve shacked up with two of the most misogynistic jerks in all of Salem!

With baby Holly, Nicole felt like her life was finally complete and in a way, I was happy for her. While I’m sad that Holly is an eternal tie to Daniel Jonas and that she has to raise her long awaited miracle baby with Brady, I can’t help but be happy for how far she’s come to get here. But again, why did Nicole go through so much stress, hurt and heart ache only to wind up with a man so eerily reminiscent of her abusive father? This last week after expressing a desire to work at the Horton Center with Eric, Brady more or less told her that she couldn’t – and she listened! The Nicole that was once a beloved minx to every DAYS viewer would have probably tried to kill Brady for even attempting to control her life, but modern day Nicole just took it!

NBC.com and JPI Studios

Now those are my usual frustrations with Nicole and Brady, but the thing that I’ve been enjoying lately is everyone calling them out on that. There’s the usual soap opera trope of uninvolved character harping about the pull of first loves like Bonnie did, but then there’s the times that these characters heavy handedly allude to the truth. John Black had his man-child of a son shook this last week when he told him to basically get his act together. How could he possibly say that he loved Nicole if he didn’t trust her? After their chat, Brady did his best to show Nicole that he trusted her and granted her his permission to go back to work with Eric. But even as he’s trying to relinquish that control, the jealousy inside him is threatening to explode. I love that Brady’s being deliberately written as unlikable now! I hated being the only one who hated him because he was written as a hero even while constantly tearing women down.

Although I can’t say I’m rooting for this mad dash Ericole, I am excited to see Brady completely crumble and lose the pseudo-family he’s built. He’s much more interesting when he loses control of himself instead of unrightfully exerting control upon others. He’s still one of the worst though.

Then there’s Rope, the couple that dominated the airwaves a year ago during their crime spree only to fade away as Ron Carlivati took the helm. Their reduction as a couple was easily one of my favorite new aspects of the new DAYS, only because they just don’t have that romantic chemistry. Rafe and Hope work so well as buddies and partners, but I can pass on the lover part. This last week showed the couple in bed on a day off, Rafe ranting as usual while Hope tried to enjoy her time away from work.

Seeing Hope on her own recently, especially this last week as she was forced to take in buddy Hattie for her crimes has slowly begun to move her back onto my good list. Last week really disturbed me with her arrest of Commissioner Raines, so I was thankful to see her apart from her worst half and behaving like herself. Speaking of that worst half, Rafe couldn’t seem to let go of the fact that Hope’s cousin made a risky shot that did not harm his sister at all but saved her life. From there, he segued into desperately trying to set up a wedding date with a less than excited Hope. I think Hope has every right to not want to marry Rafe yet – and not just because I don’t like him, but because her recent history with love and marriage isn’t one to boast about.

How long ago was it when she had two husbands die on her? Rafe has never been able to read the room and that was on full display this last week. Much like how Brady is being written as a jealous idiot, Rafe is again being penned as almost blind when it comes to other’s feelings which is how I’ve most often seen him. There’s sure to be more drama coming up as Abe Carver starts his hunt for a new police commissioner and as two qualified members in their field, it’s clear that drama won’t be a work place exclusive. But will it be enough to tear them apart? I know that I hope so but what about you?

Enough

Only a week ago, I complained that Gabi Hernandez has been through far too much to still be a damsel in distress. At this point, she should be a pro at getting out of sticky situations and defending herself. Funnily enough, just this last week on DAYS, Gabi pretty much said the exact same thing about herself. We’ve all seen it before, a soap opera character going through every trial and tribulation in the book only for that history to not be taken into consideration a year or two later. However, in Gabi’s case, these kidnappings were rarely brought up again when the next kidnapping came around weeks later after she fell into all of the exact same traps. I’m really hoping that after this last week, we might see a new development in her character.

Eli Grant and Gabi have a really easy, natural chemistry. Even though my feelings for Gabi had been soured after the last few months, her scenes with Eli just naturally make me smile. It helps that Lamon Archey and Camila Banus are just so damn pretty together! I’m happy that Rafe Hernandez’s incessant moaning about Eli literally saving Gabi’s life isn’t keeping them apart. Even Julie Williams didn’t complain when she ran into the two of them at the Martin house. It’s really about time that Gabi found herself with a guy that wasn’t married, not into her, gay or a sociopath – Eli could really be that for her.

Other than seeing them bond over cute things like retro video games, Gabi expressed her annoyance in always getting caught in hostage situations. I think the entire nation clapped along with that statement! It’s only natural to no longer want to be a victim after years of victimization (or self-victimization, depending on who you ask). For once, Gabi finally took control of the situation which led to a cute impromptu self-defense lesson from Eli. Obviously, this was just a ploy to get some physical contact in there but I’d love to see these lessons continue. One of my favorite soap opera tropes is when two characters who are clearly into each other must learn together. Close proximity does something to people and again, Gabi getting together with Eli could mean her possible first normal relationship! Grandma Julie may have tapped out for the time being but I doubt she’ll be a bridge between the Horton Black Widow and her grandson.

Again, it felt so satisfactory to see some logical thinking play into this story. Fight back, be strong and be an example for your young daughter, Gabi! I truly hope that this story continues to head into that direction of self-defense and protection, especially since I don’t think Gabi will ever be anything but nosy.

Pans of the Week

Follow Through

In a similar vein to my critique on Gabi, Marlena Evans was rescued from her umpteenth kidnapping this last week and proved to be just fine. But why though? Thanks to Hope Brady’s brain returning, Hattie Adams’ plot was found out and all the prisoners at Bayview were freed. But remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Marlena was having a near panic attack while strapped into a straightjacket. Even while lamenting their sticky past situations, this still felt like something else entirely, especially for a psychologist who has most likely sent people off to facilities just like the one she’d been trapped in.  Or even for a woman who has literally been in this exact situation before, nearly meeting with an electroshock therapy machine for the second time in her life. Wouldn’t it be interesting if that left a lasting mark?

Marlena is superwoman (or Dyna Girl?) and I would never want to take that title from her. She’s an incredible character who has literally seen it all, but I can’t help but always wonder why no one bothers to let these things affect her. Being strong doesn’t mean one does not have moments of weakness, in fact rebounding from that is the truest sign of strength. Seeing Marlena jump out of the sanitarium right into profiling Hattie, visiting friends and family all like a normal day was a little jarring. You’re among friends, Marlena! You don’t always have to play it so tough!

I think an interesting way to take the fall out of this story would be to have Marlena quietly suffer through PTSD. Tie her most recent captive experience that hit so close to home into her past and slowly just have Marlena unravel – not in the typical soap crazy way, but in a realistic way. Anxiety is a probably that millions of people suffer with every day, and it would just make so much sense in this situation for Marlena to join those ranks. Deidre Hall could play the hell out of a human story like this for Marlena, that’s obvious. As a true leading woman, Marlena is the perfect character to portray a struggle with an anxiety disorder like PTSD and have it mean something. It’s a reach, that much I know, but I can’t help but to think of the potential for great human drama that a story like this could bring to DAYS.

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!

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined TVSource Magazine as a staff writer in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs and forums. On top of writing duties, Coryon is also a panelist for the TVSource Podcast and Soap Countdown Podcast.