It's been a long time since Days of Our Lives had me glued to the screen, but Allie's return changed that.
I was skeptical of the idea of Allie being yet another good child turned evil for the sake of the story, but everything about it makes sense, and her interactions with her family on Days of Our Lives during the week of 6-08-20 made for compelling drama.
This is a far stronger story than Claire's rushed release from the mental hospital. It's also exactly what Days of Our Lives needs.
Allie's return works on so many levels.
First of all, this is the most realistic story Days of Our Lives has seen in months. Allie hasn't been kidnapped by the Dimeras, got sucked into a revenge plot that makes no sense, or been saddled with a made-up mental illness that turns her violent.
Instead, she's a troubled young woman who has been sucked up into the partying scene, ended up with an unplanned pregnancy, and returned to Salem determined to handle this her way and not her equally headstrong mother's.
Promise not to tell my mother?Allie
Thrusting Eric and Nicole into the middle of it offers the couple a chance at a real storyline instead of the constant back-and-forth over unnecessary secrets. This time, Eric and Nicole are being asked to keep a major secret, and it's understandable that Eric is conflicted about what to do.
Eric and Nicole are being thrust into the roles of surrogate parents to a troubled 20-something who has no job, a bad attitude, and a pregnancy she is afraid to tell her parents about.
That's going to be tough, and Allie has already figured out she can play them against each other because Nicole keeps encouraging hotheaded Eric to be more sensitive to Allie's feelings. How they navigate this -- or don't -- will affect their relationship as well as Allie's future.
Plus, as Nicole tried to tell Allie, the longer this drags on, the more furious Sami is going to be when she finds out. We already know from the Days of Our Lives summer spoilers that Sami pushes Nicole into a wedding cake -- could this be the reason she does it?
In any case, Eric and Nicole's conversations with Allie were believable, realistic drama...and then Lucas and Kate showed up.
Lucas is one of the most severely underused characters in recent Days of Our Lives history, but this time he finally got a chance to shine!
His interactions with Kate were the perfect mix of sardonic, bemusement, and irritation. As worried as he was about his daughter, he couldn't help shaking his head at some of his mother's antics. And he and Will also got the chance to laugh a little at how Sami might react to all of this.
But once he finally caught up with Allie at Eric and Nicole's, things got serious fast, leading to one of the most compelling exchanges of the week.
Lucas: You're pregnant? How could you let this happen? What is wrong with you?
Allie: My God! You're as bad as Mom.
Kate: Allie... [to Lucas] Now look, you and Sami are hardly the ones to be moralizing about an unplanned pregnancy to her. Just calm down.
Lucas: I AM CALM. I'm calm, all right? Don't I seem calm to you?
Allie: No, Dad. You seem like you're about to have a stroke.
Lucas, like Eric before him, was equal parts enraged and scared for his daughter, but all that did was make Allie defensive.
Allie's pregnancy is the beginning of the story for viewers, but for Lucas, it's the tail end of a long battle to keep his daughter from going down a bad path, and now it seems his worst nightmares about where she was headed have come true.
It's too bad Allison Sweeney wasn't available for some on-screen scenes of working with Lucas to try to protect Allie from herself. It would have been fascinating.
Lucas and Sami together always light up the screen no matter what they're doing, and Sami would be forced to reckon with her own role in Allie's self-destructive behavior. Hopefully, we'll get that once Sami learns about the pregnancy, though.
I'm also curious as to what Allie's relationships with Johnny and Sydney are like. So far, there's no news about these two characters being recast, and it's as if the writers have forgotten all about them.
That's a shame, as it's a hole in an otherwise solid story.
Allie's realistic mental health issues haven't been labeled as such, but that's what real mental health problems are about.
They're not splashy, over-the-top bizarre behavior that leads people to be locked up. They're things like alcoholism, which Lucas correctly pointed out has a genetic component, Allie's belief that she isn't important enough for her mother to pay attention to, and her being so determined to be independent that she doesn't realize she's shooting herself in the foot.
Her problems stand in stark contrast to Claire's.
Claire is that over-the-top mentally ill person who secretly hums bridal songs to herself while staring obsessively at the save-the-date card that she stole from her doctor's office and puts on a wide smile in front of her family in the hopes they'll believe she's normal.
Her release story has some of the ingredients needed for a good story, but the unrealistic and obnoxious parts make it difficult to enjoy even though Olivia Rose Keegan continues to do phenomonal work as Claire.
Shawn and Belle's role in this made things sillier instead of more realistic.
First of all, Claire's doctors should have been working on a transition plan with her, including a discussion of where it was best for her to live. There's no way Shawn and Belle could just swoop in and take her to Hong Kong.
Even if you accept the ridiculous way Claire's release was handled, it still should have been up to her doctors where she was going to live. And also, if she was only being released on a trial basis, what sense did it make to move her halfway around the world?
It doesn't seem like a great idea to take her to another country when it's not yet known how stable she is or how much care she might still need. Plus, continuity of care is important, and it would be harder for her to continue working with her doctors while in Hong Kong.
In any case, since they both seemed to have a LOT of doubt about Claire's motives and her stability level, it didn't make any sense at all to go along with her desire to come home.
What a compelling story this might have been if the doctors ordered Claire to stay with John and Marlena against Belle and Shawn's wishes instead of them just giving in to what their unstable daughter wants.
Claire's smile whenever she has to deal with her family is so obviously fake that it's irritating that no one picked up on it, too.
John is too invested in the Claire he used to know and his belief that things can go back to normal now to notice anything, so I'll give him a pass even though as a detective and ISA agent he really should be more observant.
But between all that phony smiling and Claire's weird reaction to Marlena finding the stolen save-the-date card, there is no excuse for Salem's most pre-eminent psychiatrist to not wonder what's really going on.
And of course, somehow Claire sneaked out of a top-floor penthouse to go visit Ciara without anyone noticing, either. That penthouse must have a Star Trek style materializer, considering how often people leave without using the only exit!
Predictably, Claire got to Ciara before anyone could warn her that Claire was still in Salem.
Let's hope this isn't the start of yet another Ciara-in-danger story, especially since Ciara finally got a shot at a story where she can hold her own.
I'm not talking about the Gwen nonsense, which is another ridiculous storyline. No, Ciara's big story is confronting Brady.
Usually these business war storylines and revenge storylines bore me to tears, but there was something about the way Ciara caught onto Brady's real motives that intrigued me.
Ciara working to save the company that Brady is trying to destroy would be a more worthwhile story than any of this other nonsense and could help restore Ciara to being a strong woman instead of this clingy, irritating person who can't go two minutes without Ben.
Too bad she also has to join this idiotic search for Gabi storyline.
Jake is a fun character, but his backstory is stupid and based on stereotypes instead of anything resembling reality. And it was annoying that Will and Sonny kept defending Gabi's decision to try to inject him with hallucinogenic serum.
At least the police are involved now, thanks to the guys and not to Ciara and Ben's endless arguments about whether or not to call them.
It makes sense that Lani would assume that Gabi skipped bail. But when she finds out the truth, I don't want her to fall over apologizing to the woman who made her life a living hell.
Also, if Lani loses this baby because she's chasing after Gabi and these goons, I'm going to be beyond irritated. Lani's fear of having a miscarriage is my second favorite story after the Allie storyline, and I don't want it to end in some stupid way.
Also, Eli and Lani need to find a place for their bed other than the living room. That scene with Abe could have been all kinds of awkward, and it was unnecessary.
Another welcome surprise, though: how emotional the scenes with Rafe losing custody of baby David were.
Jordan was an annoying character and so is Zoey, and i couldn't care less who ended up with custody of David...until Rafe didn't and his heart broke all over our screens.
It would have been nice for some of the custody drama to play out on-screen, but even so, the aftermath was superb. Rafe's barely held back tears, his anger, and even his scenes with Hope were well done enough to make me cry.
Usually, I have no use for Rafe and Hope as a couple, but she turned out to be the perfect person to give him some emotional support. I wondered if she was thinking about Zach's death as she packed up David's things.
It probably wasn't the right time to mention it, but I hope the writers go there later on. Zach was only a little older than David when he was killed, and I got the sense that Hope was thinking about that when she told Rafe that it would get easier over time.
I wonder, too, if Rafe will move to wherever Zoey is to be closer to David. With Galen Garing slated to exit in September, that would make sense, and this whole Rafe/Hope getting close again seems even more pointless if Rafe isn't staying.
The Steve/Kayla/Justin storyline needs a jump-start.
Steve keeps insisting to anyone who will listen that he is giving up on Kayla because he loves her, while Justin keeps jumping to jealous conclusions every time Kayla tells him about her latest encounter with Steve, only to apologize just in time for Steve to walk in on Justin and Kayla's latest declaration of love.
Yawn. This story once had promise, but let's get on with it, please.
Jack: You are stubborn and used to getting your way, but you have to learn to listen.
Xander: What, to you? How many times have you dumped your wife and kids?
Jack: And I've learned from all that that words are cheap and it's what you do that matters.
Xander: You make a living with words.
Jack: But in my life, I'm learning to walk the walk. If you run this ad, Sarah will not only be humiliated, but will see it as the empty gesture it is.
Xander: What should I do then?
Jack: I don't know. Do I look like Dear Abby?
Xander: Come on, we were friends back in Nashville.
Jack: Friends? When one person holds the key to a locked door and the other person is behind that locked door, that's not friendship.
Also, what the heck was with Jack and Xander's conversation? I felt like this was the kind of conversation Jack would have had with JJ after the Paige fiasco if he'd been around then.
Even so, that was more entertaining than Sarah whining to Maggie, trying to badmouth Xander, and then kissing Brady just because Maggie said it was a bad idea.
Sarah has been stuck in junior high mode since she first returned to Salem, and this is no better than the rest of her ridiculous behavior.
At this point, it's not that Sarah is too good for Xander...it's that he's too good for her.
And Maggie is right. Sarah and Brady together is a disaster waiting to happen. But when has that ever stopped Sarah?
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics.
What did you think of Allie's return, Claire's release from the mental hospital, or anything else that happened on Days of Our Lives during the week of 6-08-20?
Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button and share your thoughts!
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.