I'm shocked by how much I'm enjoying the aftermath of Marlena's shooting.
I've never been much of a fan of John and Marlena, and I thought the violence at the wedding was unnecessary.
But John showed a vulnerable side that I've never seen before as he sat beside Marlena's bedside, begging her to wake up, and fought off everyone's attempts to get him to take a break and take care of himself.
Instead of the rugged action hero pulling out all the stops to save his damsel in distress, the John we saw on Days of Our Lives during the week of 9-4-18 was heartbroken and powerless to pull Marlena back from the brink of death after she suffered septic shock and went into a coma.
Kudos to Drake Hogysten for his performance, which brought tears to my eyes more than once!
John was by turns angry and sad. He didn't want to hear comforting words, and he didn't want to leave Marlena's side to get some sleep or some food. And he didn't want to change out of that bloodstained shirt he'd worn to their wedding that morning.
And then he got a double shock when he learned his son Paul had fallen out a window and was in critical condition too.
Brady asked Will how much a man could take. He was talking about Paul getting dumped yet again because of being caught between Will and Sonny, but he really should have been asking that about his father.
John's got two family members to worry about and his best friend Steve is in jail, thanks to the writers finding the stupidest possible way to take Stephen Nichols off the canvas.
Steve was last seen comforting John, but shortly before Marlena's health took a turn for the worse, Roman came to see Kayla and told her that the Feds had swooped in and arrested Steve for espionage.
A majority of viewers probably shared Kayla's reaction. Steve is a professional spy, so arresting him for espionage made no sense whatsoever, and the explanation didn't help.
Supposedly Steve's bionic eye downloaded files he read and transmitted them to foreign government agents. I have a hard time believing that any of this works this way at all, and to add insult to injury, we never saw Steve reading any documents at all!
After Steve got his bionic eye, he left the hospital and immediately began helping John with wedding plans and trying to find out what was going on with Kayla. Then Marlena was shot, and Steve was literally by his best friend's side 24/7.
There are no words for how disappointing and insulting an ending this is for Steve. The writers can claim all they like that they had to scramble to rewrite after they decided not to renew Stephen Nichols' contract, but the fact is they knew for several months that there was a chance negotiations would break down.
There was no reason for this rushed, ridiculous ending. It was disrespectful to one of the most iconic characters and couples DAYS has ever had, made little sense, and was especially irritating given the ongoing issues with foreign interference in our elections in real life.
And there was a better solution available! Marlena's health is failing, so it would be logical for Steve to go off to parts unknown in search of a cure.
How hard would that have been?
At least this time, we didn't suffer a gratuitous death! The writers favor killing people off who have legitimate reasons to leave town, and this is a step above that, but it's still a poor ending, even if it did give Roman something real to do for a second.
Roman seemed more like the cop he used to be than the bartender he's been transformed into for no apparent reason when he went to see Kayla and tell her the bad news.
He promised he would get to the bottom of what had happened and get Steve out of jail, then promptly disappeared. I hope that wasn't a throwaway line, and we'll have some proper resolution, but I have my doubts since Steve is gone and doesn't appear to be coming back any time soon.
He risked his life to save Sami, with zero concern for his own safety. He definitely has John Black's DNA.Belle
Also annoying: Belle and her obsession with blaming Sami for Marlena and Paul's injuries.
First of all, the gun went off when Eric tried to grab Sami's arm, yet no one is blaming Eric.
And that's a shame, too, because Marlena is now close to the state that Daniel was in after a drunk Eric ran him over. So if Eric were to struggle with guilt over his part in this, it would be a powerful story.
And it would give JJ something of substance to do, too, because Eric counseled him about his guilt over shooting Theo, so he could come full circle and help Eric now.
But instead, almost everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Eric had anything to do with what happened and Belle and Hope appear to compete for who can be most obnoxious about it.
Belle's constant insistence that Sami caused all this is doubly annoying because John does not need this stress right now.
He's focused on believing that Marlena will come out of her coma, while Belle is focused on convincing everyone that Sami should be exiled from the family. She keeps calling Sami selfish, but what is this constant harping about her half-sister when her father needs support?
When Belle isn't focused on Sami, her grief is realistic and moving. Some of the best scenes of the week of 9-4-18 involved her sitting at Marlena's bedside, and her discovery of Marlena's living will is a sad but realistic addition to this storyline.
I also loved Eric's scenes with John. Although Eric is no longer a priest, his faith helps buoy John's spirits, and their prayer together seemed to help John be willing to take care of himself for a few minutes.
I don't care if you're the old Will or any kind of Will. You're my Will.Lucas
Meanwhile, Will struggled with what to do about his newfound feelings for Sonny and what to tell his seriously injured boyfriend about his new desire to be with his ex.
This story would be more powerful if I believed in Will's change of heart. It wasn't that long ago that he told Sonny that he "loved him but was in love with Paul" and now he is saying the opposite.
I find it hard to believe that just because Will remembers being married to Sonny, he now has these passionate feelings for him. Considering how hard Sonny was pushing for them to get back together, I wouldn't be surprised if Will is confusing Sonny's desire and his feelings.
Plus, Will and Sonny never dealt with their issues in any meaningful way. Sonny apologizing for leaving and Will saying he remembered cheating on Sonny doesn't count; that was just a summary of their relationship for the benefit of those viewers who weren't watching their original story.
Brady: What are you going to do, Will? How do you see this conversation going? "Gee Paul, thanks for saving my mother's life and falling out of that window and nearly killing yourself. Oh,by the way, I've got my memory back, so see ya. Don't let the door hit ya in the ass on the way out."
Will: Brady, come on, you know it's not like that.
Brady: Then what is it like? How do you see it going? You gonna sit by his bedside and let him down easy and he's gonna be okay with it and say "Hey, no hard feelings"? I got news for you, Will. It's not gonna go that way. There's only so much a man can take! Sonny used him when he thought you were dead, but as soon as he found out you were alive, he dumped him.
Will: No, Brady, that's not true.
Brady: Yes it is! He literally left their wedding to go looking for you, Will! That's exactly what happened. And you're doing the same damn thing. You know what Paul is? Paul's a placeholder for you for when you got your memory back.
Brady's not often right, but his assessment of the way Will and Sonny treat Paul was spot on.
Paul is a placeholder for these guys. He's constantly bounced back and forth between the two of them as if there are no other options a gay man might have besides his first love and his first love's ex-husband.
Sonny flirted with Paul at Will's grave, then left Paul at the altar to see if the rumor that Will was alive could be true.
Will broke up with Sonny right after he returned to Salem to be with Paul and now wants to leave Paul to be with Sonny.
Will is wishy-washy, Sonny is pushy, and Paul is a glutton for punishment since he keeps sticking around to get dumped by one or the other of these guys.
It's sad because these are three strong characters, but right now none of them is looking too good. And since Marlena is on death's door and Paul isn't far behind, this just doesn't seem like the right time for Will and Sonny to cuddle on the couch and talk about their future.
I was right there with Brady until he said that Will should put Paul's feelings first and stay with him so that he won't experience heartbreak.
If Will doesn't want to be with Paul anymore, it's not fair to either of them for Will to stay with him just to protect his feelings.
Paul is not stupid and has already worried endlessly that Will recovering his memories could mean the end of their relationship. It's bad enough that Will kept lying about why he was spending so much time with Sonny during the Leo fiasco; having a relationship that is based on a lie is no good for anybody.
I'm not sure that the minute Paul comes out of a coma is the right time to discuss this -- but what alternative is there?
Paul is already insecure and already asked what Will's new memories mean for their relationship, and putting this conversation off until he's fully recovered might be crueler in some ways than just admitting that WIll wants out.
In any case, while Brady's advice was 95% rational, Paul and Will are both adults, and it is not Brady's responsibility to decide what they do about this. I hope that now that he's said his piece, he'll butt out and focus on his own love life.
Brady is in a relationship with a woman who is lying to him, and sooner or later that's going to come out. Eve's lie was comparatively small as these things go -- she just kept her involvement in Victor's scheme to ruin Theresa's reputation to herself -- but when that secret comes out that is going to be the end of Brady and Eve.
I hope that Brady doesn't deal with the fallout of that lie by jumping into bed with Kristen, whose lies are far worse. This is the woman who raped his brother and recently attempted to rape Brady too, and we don't need any more rape turned to romance on this show.
Has Kristen met her match in Stefan, or was double-crossing her a fatal error on his part?
As much as I hate Stefan, seeing him match wits with Kristen was fun.
I don't understand why Kristen doesn't have a key to the Dimera mansion since she lived there for years, but that tiny plot hole allowed her to beg Stefan to protect her and allowed him to fire off sardonic comments about Kristen's penchant for falling out windows.
I did wonder which one of them was crazier. Kristen suffers from the delusion that Brady is in love with her, while Stefan believes that Abigail's alter will resurface and come back to him.
Once the cops arrived, it became a contest to see who could be stupidest.
Stefan consented to them searching the entire house except for the tunnels, Kristen didn't think of the possibility that Stefan would trap her down there, and Lani and Eli discussed not believing Stefan's claims about not seeing Kristen but somehow didn't hear Kristen and Stefan arguing mere feet from where they were standing.
Afterward, Lani and Eli headed off to talk about their feelings for each other while applying for a search warrant.
Last I checked, "I have a hunch he's lying" isn't grounds for a warrant, so I hope they'll at least mention that Stefan was fine with them searching everywhere but the tunnels and that he has a history of hiding people down there!
And Stefan informed Kristen she was going to be confined to the tunnels until he could get her out of his house.
Kristen should have seen this one coming, but really, that's just going to make her more determined to get Stefan to help her... until she has no further use for him.
Are the writers trying to set up a battle to see who will be the new Stefano? If so, it's a losing proposition.
Stefan is a weak villain, and anyway, if they wanted someone to carry on Stefano's legacy of tormenting everyone, they shouldn't have killed Andre off.
Across town, the best part of the Abby vs Gabi mess was Abigail's confiding in JJ.
Abby and JJ have always had a special bond, and it was great to see JJ again, as he's still tragically underused.
It could be interesting for JJ to be caught in the middle between Abigail and Gabi, too. After all, Gabi saved his life, and Abigail's his sister. But Gabi trying to ruin Abigail's life is going too far, and I don't see how JJ will be able to forgive her despite what she did for him in the past.
Anyway, unfortunately, JJ's bonding session with his sister was interrupted by Julie, causing JJ to run away and not be seen since. Supposedly he had to study, which was a weird excuse since he passed the EMT test months ago -- unless he changed careers off-screen.
I wouldn't be surprised about that since the writers are allergic to giving him a real story.
Julie got Abigail to confide in her, too, and advised her to stay far away from Gabi. I long for the days when Julie's anti-Gabi attitude was just a lot of hot air!
Gabi's behavior is pathetic, senseless, and again makes a mockery of mental illness.
She sneaked into the Horton House, which was unlocked for some reason even though it appeared everyone had gone to bed, to put a wig in Abigail's room and make her think that the Gabby alter had returned.
When Abby caught her, she told a lot of lies about coming over to visit her and insisted she hadn't broken in because the door was open.
Abby finally got her to admit she was angry at her and she said a lot of things that didn't make any sense, such as hating Abigail for ruining her relationship with her daughter even though that relationship had already been repaired.
Besides, psychology doesn't work the way it does in this storyline. Most people feel better after they get their anger and resentment off their chest. Expressing it doesn't give them increased motivation to act on it; it makes the feelings die down.
Gabi's hatred of Abigail is almost entirely based on the idea that her mental illness is just an excuse for bad behavior, a message that DAYS needs to stop sending. And if Gabi doesn't believe DID is a real thing, then what's the point of planting the wig in Abby's room?
I wish Julie had been home to derail that ridiculous plan of Gabi's. It would have been fun to see her confront her when Gabi is actually in the wrong!
I also wish Chad would develop some common sense. It's so obvious what Gabi is doing. I hate when they make characters stupid just for the sake of the plot. I also hate that they so often make men out to be sex-crazed and unable to think when in the presence of an attractive woman.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.