The war over the Orwell device exploded on Days of Our Lives during the week of January 30.
Two people nearly died, two more reconciled, and two got kidnapped.
This kind of storyline is a soap staple, and it might have been very moving had it involved characters viewers can actually care about and root for.
After Dario was beaten up and nearly killed, Nicole found him and stayed with him until the ambulance came. In a scene eerily reminiscent of Marlena helping JJ after he was shot a few months ago, Nicole begged Dario to stay alive and got him to utter the name of his attacker.
Besides the fact that this was yet another rerun of something we'd seen not that long ago, there was the problem of Nicole and Dario's friendship having lapsed ages ago.
I forgot they were once good friends, because Dario forgot about Nicole until he needed to hire a hit man to take care of Deimos and didn't want her caught in the crossfire.
That made it hard to believe that Nicole had anything more than the compassion we hope that most people would feel if they found a stranger near death in the street.
And after all that, Nicole still wasn't sure that Deimos had done anything worth breaking up with him over. She did it, eventually, but first she defended him to Chad and tried to convince herself that Dario was too out of it to know who had hurt him.
This was more of the horrific and nonsensical nosedive her character has taken recently. Chad was right that Nicole is smarter than this.
She is far too smart to be obsessed with a man who is clearly not worthy of her, who thinks violence is the answer to everything, and has a glib comeback every time he gets caught doing something horrible.
While Nicole was pulling the wool over her own eyes, Kate and Eduardo bonded over Dario's injuries. These could have been touching scenes. Almost all the ingredients were there.
Eduardo was anxious and upset, and he felt guilty because his last words to Dario were angry ones. Kate displayed a softer side while agreeing to declare a truce with him for the sake of appearances.
If only Dario or Eduardo was a character viewers could root for these scenes would have been the emotional highlight of the week.
It's hard to root for Dario at all when he doesn't do anything but yell at people, threaten them, and hire hit men.
The only thing I'm rooting for is for him to disappear from my screen, and that's a shame because he's played by a talented actor and his character had potential at one point.
Dario as the black sheep who works at a minimum wage job to defy Rafe's expectations that he be a corporate bigwig would have been interesting. Dario the stereotypical hotheaded Latino and his lack of any morals whatsoever is not.
Similarly, Eduardo is a character I really want to like. A Martinez is a soap legend that DAYS is lucky to have and I wish the writers were giving him something more worthwhile to do.
When Eduardo first appeared on the scene wishing he'd repaired things with Eve before his daughter died, he had a ton of potential. But it's hard to get into him when all he does is act violently.
Even having been angry at Dario right before the attack doesn't make him sympathetic, not when the argument was about how Dario hired his own hit man instead of letting Eduardo take care of any murdering that needed to be done.
Kate: I think that since he appears to be going after both families that we should just stick together, that we should just present a united front.
Eduardo: Yeah, sure, we'll just pretend everything is okay between us.
Kate: Right. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Kate and Eduardo's reconciliation was pretty predictable. Kate's anger at Eduardo was so silly in the first place that I was glad to be rid of it. However, something a little more original than pretending to be reconciled while secretly wanting to reconcile for real would have been nice.
I like seeing Kate show a softer side, but I'm not really invested in her and Eduardo.
Most of the problem is Eduardo not being all that likeable; in addition to being a murderer, he abandoned two families and didn't bother to reappear until two of his daughters were dead.
And Kate has done almost as many horrible things as Deimos, so her hurt over being suspected of theft and his insistence she's a good person don't quite ring true.
I wondered how she felt about hearing that Andre was poisoned, since that has been her weapon of choice from time to time.
Don't let the fact that I'm a freshman detective fool you. I've been around you Dimeras my whole life. I know there's something between you, the Hernandezes, and the Kiriakises. I want to help but I can't unless you level with me.JJ
There were a few breaths of fresh air this week. One was JJ. When he is written properly he is a joy to watch, and his confidence and ability to take on Andre Dimera was one of the highlights of the week.
I just wish he weren't saddled with Lani.
Lani's inability to realize that JJ was unable to consent to sex with her is sadly believable, though it doesn't change what she did to him.
Even though she supposedly has years of experience on the force in Miami, she seemed clueless about the case she was assigned to help JJ investigate. He found a source who told him what was going on, led the investigation, and explained to her what was happening.
It's not only clear that Lani is being written as incompetent and stupid, but that JJ would never be with someone like her of his own free will because she just isn't smart enough for him.
I hate that Abe's daughter and one of two African Americans on the show is being written this way.
Lani is yet another character who could have potential but instead she is written as a perfect insta-daughter for Abe who sexually harasses every male cop on the force while he isn't looking. When she isn't being sleazy, she's being stupid. How on earth is anyone supposed to enjoy this character?
Anyway, the cargo that Lani and JJ were too late to investigate was none other than Drew Donovan, Shane's n'er-do-well twin.
Drew provided comic relief and his interactions with Jennifer were interesting. I enjoyed their burgeoning friendship, though I had to wonder whether Jennifer was aware of all the trouble Drew had caused for Shane and Kim in the past.
Drew is apparently the key to the Orwell. I'm not really clear on why or how, but I'll go with it because I want to see more Drew! I'd love to see him and Hattie in a scene together.
What I would not like to see more of, however, is the mindless violence surrounding this Orwell story.
First of all, with world events being the way they are, the idea of a device that can hack into any computer and spy on anybody is more than a little disturbing. The writers undoubtedly knew this, as they christened the device the Orwell for a reason.
Leaving that aside, there is the problem that this story has just denigrated into violence, violence and more violence.
Dario tried to kill Deimos over it, leading to Nicole stabbing the hit man. Deimos retaliated by ordering hits on both Dario and Andre. Deimos blackmailed Drew into helping him with the device by threatening his wife's life.
Then Deimos held Chad and Gabi at gunpoint and locked them in a storage room because Drew is missing.
If that wasn't enough, Deimos threatened to kill his hostages if he didn't get the "key" even though no one knows what he's talking about, and Eduardo responded by trying to strangle Deimos because he hurt Gabi.
I realize this is supposed to be a gang war type story, but enough already! If the violence wasn't bad enough, most of these incidents are reruns of prior storylines.
Chad and Gabi have already been locked together in a storage room and I would prefer not to see them panic and take their clothes off because it's hot for a second time.
Similarly, Deimos was just imitating Andre's threatening Chase to get Aiden to do his bidding, and hit men seem to be awfully plentiful in Salem.
Deimos supposedly is doing all this because he loves Nicole. How that twisted logic works, I'm not sure, but I wish she'd dump him permanently.
I also wish this whole Chloe/Nicole custody battle would go away. I didn't enjoy the obnoxious Jennifer/Chad custody battle a year ago and this one is equally aggravating.
First of all, Chloe does not have any legal rights to the baby, period. She signed a contract and Daniel's death doesn't change the fact that she was carrying the baby for Nicole.
It doesn't matter if she hates Nicole's boyfriend, it doesn't matter that Nicole stabbed someone, and it doesn't matter that Chloe's feelings are hurt when Nicole calls her names. She still has no legal right to the baby.
Some of these things are problematic and Child Protective Services might put the baby in foster care or place her with a blood relative (which Chloe is not), but suing for custody because you don't like the baby's actual parent is not a thing in the real world.
And this storyline doesn't do anyone any favors.
Chloe is coming off as entitled, delusional and nasty. Some viewers were offended that Nicole was angry about Chloe breastfeeding, but the problem is that Chloe is using breastfeeding to manipulate the situation and make sure Holly bonds with her, not Nicole.
Holly is going to have serious issues with feeling abandoned at some later point because Chloe created a bond that cannot be permanent and is interfering with Nicole bonding with her baby.
This is not healthy for Holly, and Chloe's claim that it's in Holly's best interest for her to do whatever she can think of to make sure Holly believes she is her mother is BS.
Meanwhile, Nicole resorted to name calling and getting emotional and the random cop sitting at the bar was so stupid that he thought a quiet conversation is equivalent to harassment just because Chloe said so.
He didn't even bother to ask how Nicole was bothering Chloe or how the two women knew each other.
This gave Justin another opportunity to be condescending and give Nicole bad advice that reinforces the stereotype that women are just too emotional to be taken seriously.
Instead of doing anything to move forward with the custody case or otherwise interfere with Chloe's behavior, he told Nicole to not get angry because if she gets upset it means Chloe will be seen as the better mother.
I don't know what century the writers live in, but I live in 2017, where women have as much right to their anger as men, especially when they're being treated unjustly, and where custody decisions are made on the basis of the child's best interest and not based on which parent is better at being emotionless.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Do you want to see more of Drew? What storyline is driving you the most nuts right now?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table Discussion.