When the news broke that Chloe was leaving Days of Our Lives, viewers guessed she'd be pursuing Rex.
The two were headed towards a relationship before Rex abruptly ran off to Chicago, and it would have been a nice nod to DAYS history for them to go off into the sunset together since Kyle Lowder played Brady when Brady and Chloe last dated.
But instead, Chloe left for an unrelated reason on Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-26-19: a random opportunity to join an opera in New York City.
Technically, it wasn't random. After all, Chloe left town once before to pursue a singing career and everyone in Salem knows opera is her first love. In fact, the drug cartel boss that kidnapped her in 2018 used the promise of a role in an opera to try to lure her to Mexico.
However, this new offer came out of the blue. Just as Chloe and Brady were reconnecting as friends or maybe more, Chloe told Brady she'd been out of town auditioning and then got a call that she had got the gig.
This could have been a compelling exit story for Chloe, in which she struggled to decide between her life in Salem and the job of her dreams, and ultimately took the job. Instead, it was nothing but a plot point.
It felt rushed, as if the writers suddenly realized they were running out of time before Nadia Bjorlin's last day of work and had to come up with something.
It would have made far more sense for her to have got a phone call from Rex about a possible opportunity in Chicago, where she has sung in the past, and left both to check it out and spend time with him.
Similarly, across town, Tripp gave his apartment to JJ and Haley and took off for California to attend medical school.
Again, this was a random plot point -- and one that wasn't terribly realistic, either. There'd been no indications that Tripp had renewed interest in pursuing medicine, and definitely no signs he'd applied to medical school.
And what school sends someone an acceptance letter the day before they have to be there?
In both Tripp and Chloe's cases, it felt like the writers were tired of these characters and decided to ship them off-screen mid-storyline. The Tripp/Haley/JJ storyline wasn't compelling to begin with, and having Tripp develop feelings for Haley 30 seconds before leaving town was pointless.
At least no one was killed off this time! And it would be a bizarre, possibly entertaining twist of fate if Tripp found an alive Paige in his medical program and someday returned to Salem with JJ's first love. But an actual story around Tripp's decision to leave still would have been nice.
I'm not sure which was better news: the real Nicole being alive or this ridiculous Kristen-masquerading-as-Nicole story coming to an end.
Julie: You said you forgave me but you don't want to have your party here because you think I'm a racist!
Lani: No. It doesn't have anything to do with that. I'm just superstitious. Celebrations, they always go bad, especially here.
Eli: Yeah, what about John and Marlena's anniversary party?
Julie: There's only one masked lunatic in Salem, and she's behind bars.
There was some great meta-humor in some of the characters' reactions to the news that Kristen was wandering around town with a Nicole mask. Even the characters know how silly and unrealistic this story is!
And Stacey Haiduk sold Kristen's delusional belief that Brady was in love with her.
Despite how over-the-top Kristen's plan was, somehow Haiduk made it completely believable that this crazy woman believed that taking someone else's identity and ruining the lives of everyone Brady cares about would win her his heart. And now that Chloe is gone, Kristen may have a point.
Brady never thinks twice before jumping into bed with the wrong women. It often seems as if he's replaced alcohol and drugs with unhealthy relationships, and I wouldn't be surprised if he falls for Kristen yet again despite what she's done to him and his family.
Either way, enough is enough with these immunity deals!
99% of Salem gets away with horrific crimes without spending a second behind bars. Obviously it wouldn't be much of a show if half the town was in jail (unless it was a spinoff modeled after Orange Is the New Black), but the explanations for why characters are still free are getting more and more ludicrous.
Trask: Kristen is holding out hope to desperate people so that she will not be made to answer for her crimes.
Eric: We have to find out if it's true that Nicole is alive.
Trask: There is no indication that Nicole Walker is in danger. If she is alive, it's her choice to stay away.
Eric: Kristen kidnapped Ted and Kate! And she murdered Ted. There's no way she would have wanted Nicole free to show up in the middle of her plan.
Trask: Do you hear yourself? That list of crimes you just gave me is exactly why I am not giving Kristen Dimera immunity.
And in Kristen's case, surely there was an alternative to complete freedom in exchange for her information about Nicole and Holly's whereabouts! A lesser sentence combined with some high-quality interrogation might have done the trick.
Also, if Kristen was going to be set free, Eric shouldn't have been the one begging Trask to make the deal.
Eric never got justice for Kristen raping him. Last time she was arrested, she forced him to drop the charges in exchange for her saving John's life.
So Eric should be doubly interested in seeing her do time now. She not only got away with that but with making him think Nicole hated him and tormenting people he cared about.
Instead, he was eager to let Kristen go in exchange for the hope that he might see the real Nicole again -- even if that hope turns out to be a big lie.
That doesn't ring true to character, but lately the writers have turned Eric into a Nicole-obsessed maniac who cares about little else, uses other women as a placeholder at times when Nicole is not available and isn't above violence against anyone who interferes with his desire to be with her.
This is the former priest who works as a counselor for troubled youth? Please.
Don't get me wrong: the Eric/Nicole reunion should be all sorts of awesome! But this way of writing Eric is obnoxious and detracts from Eric and Nicole's love story.
The news that Nicole may be alive sent shockwaves through Salem.
One of the highlights of the week of 8-26-19 was the conversation between Maggie, Sarah, and Xander.
Xander is an interesting character. On the one hand, he's never above doing someone else's dirty work, especially if it means he gets some sort of revenge against Victor. On the other, he has this soft spot for Maggie and Sarah that makes him determined to be a better man.
THAT's the kind of villain I want to see! A guy with some redeeming qualities and a strong reason for doing the wrong thing instead of being evil and violent for its own sake.
Anyway, Xander's pain after Maggie and Sarah accused him of playing them was strong, yet Sarah and Maggie were right to distrust him. More of this please!
The only quibble I have with this is that Xander isn't solely to blame for Maggie's choice to drink after 30 years of sobriety.
Maggie drank partially to deal with the pain of losing Holly, and Xander didn't do anything to help her understand that Holly was still alive.
But she was the one who chose not to go to meetings on multiple occasions when she felt tempted to drink before she succumbed, and Victor's choice to put his business relationship with Kate over supporting Maggie through her grief played a large role in her choice too.
Besides, even though Xander didn't tell Maggie the truth, he DID bond with her over their shared pain and that helped her stop drinking, so there's that.
What was with Anna's behavior after Tony was arrested?
Tony should have hired a lawyer and worked out a deal that way. It's ridiculous that Kristen gets to go free after a string of kidnappings, threats against people's families, and attempts to arrange a bunch of murders, while Tony waits behind bars for having killed someone accidentally..
But Anna never should have left Stefan and Gabi locked up in the hopes that it would help Tony make a deal. That made her seem selfish and uncaring, which is not her character.
Now that Kate is free of Kristen's threats for the moment, she's eager to take control back of Dimera Enterprises.
Kate is the best choice to run Dimera, and Shin should have approached her in the first place instead of bothering with Gabi or "Nicole". But her status as an unflappable diva is in jeopardy!
It's hard to swallow the idea of Kate being terrified of Kristen. She's usually the type who gives as good as she gets. And it was not smart for her to tell Kristen that she'd won and Kristen had lost.
Come on, Kate! Kristen almost always gets away with murder. Surely she didn't think this was the last she'd ever see of her.
[Kate walks in on Stefan and Gabi kissing.]
Kate: Oh my God! Do you two ever do anything else? No wonder you flamed out as CEO in record time. It's clear where your priorities lie: flat on your back.
Kate said what I was thinking about Gabi and Stefan, though! They are far from the only couple on Days of Our Lives right now that does nothing but have sex, but they deserved to be called out for it. Sex during business hours won't do much for their company, especially when their job situation is a bit unstable.
JJ and Haley are another couple that has more sex than story. It's too bad they didn't move in with Melinda. That might have provided an interesting dynamic and an actual story that challenged them as a couple.
It was also all sorts of weird that JJ asked Jennifer what kind of man his father really was.
JJ was 16 or 17 when Jack died! Yes, he was away at boarding school, but he supposedly was super close with Jack, to the point that he dealt with his heartbreak after Jack's death by becoming a hoodlum, and it's been implied many times that Jack visited him often while he was at school.
Jack may not have any memories of JJ, but JJ should have plenty of Jack.
It's understandable that he would question how accurate his perceptions were given Jack's recent behavior, but it should have been more nuanced. As it was, it seemed as if history had been rewritten again to make it that Jack died when JJ was a little boy.
I'm not sure what to make out of the conversation Julie had with Eli and Lani before her sudden health crisis.
Racial sensitivity is an important issue, and Eli was right to call Julie out on using Martin Luther King's words about the end of segregation to celebrate Chloe leaving their business partnership. At the very least, it was a ridiculously poor comparison.
But something about the way Eli handled it felt more like the writers put a bunch of buzzwords in his mouth and less like an authentic conversation between a grandmother and grandson.
Part of the problem was that Eli carefully avoided expressing any personal feelings about Julie's behavior.
His focus was on how OTHER people of color might be offended, while he was not. That made what he had to say seem more like a speech about weighty topics than an honest conversation.
Plus, this was yet another example of a serious issue being used as a plot point.
This story would have been more powerful had Eli struggled for weeks or months over the issue of confronting his sensitive grandmother about her insensitive comments. That could have been used to help strengthen the bond between Eli and Lani, too, if she had encouraged him to say something while he wanted to look the other way.
Once Eli and Lani had talked to Julie, Julie could have struggled with what they said instead of immediately agreeing to do better, which would have made for a richer story.
Instead, the whole issue came out of nowhere and was partially centered on the way Julie talks about Gabi, probably for the sole purpose of Julie giving Gabi a half-hearted apology just before collapsing.
Now Eli will likely feel guilty about having said anything to Julie because of her health crisis and when Julie pulls through, agree to drop the whole thing because he's so grateful she's alive.
All of which has the effect, unintentional or not, of doing exactly what Eli accused Julie of doing and minimizing the importance of racial issues! I'm glad DAYS is finally addressing social issues, but in the future, I hope they do it in a more serious manner.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics! Are you glad Kristen is going to be free to wreak more havoc in Salem, or would you rather she had got some of the punishment she deserved? Are you excited for a potential Ericole reunion? And am I the only one who is tired of watching random plot points instead of full-fledged stories?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our 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. Follow him on Twitter.