When Days of Our Lives brings it, it really brings it.
The highlight of this week was Jennifer's ghostly visit/dream with Jack as she struggled to get through a night without painkillers. In a highly moving special episode, she went from denial to admitting she had a problem and seeking help, with a little assistance from her late husband.
Elsewhere, Hope, Ciara and Chase all struggled to deal with the fallout from Aiden's return and JJ faced the realities of being a cop whose former best friend is heavily involved in the drug scene.
For a number of years, Jennifer has not seemed like herself. There was very little on-screen mourning for Jack, she jumped into a relationship with Daniel that was on-again off-again that it gave viewers whiplash and she became obsessed with her kids' lives, especially JJ's.
For all of these reasons, it was both refreshing and moving to hear her admit to Jack in a dream that she was lost without him and that she feels like she doesn't have an identity now that her kids are adults and don't need her to take care of them.
Jack's conversation with Jennifer was inspiring, full of the journalism metaphors that defined their lives together, and the chemistry between Melissa Reeves and Matthew Ashford was still as phenomenal as ever.
For me, the saddest thing about this was not Jennifer's plight but the fact that if Jack had not died, the two of them would have grown into a mature, stable couple who could be proud of their children and excited about spoiling their first grandchild together.
Instead, Jack is dead, Abigail is in a mental hospital and JJ is finally finding his way after a tumultuous few years of self-destructive behavior.
Now you want to help? You left me in boarding school half a world a way after Dad died!JJ (in dream)
Having Jennifer finally admit to and confront her guilt over abandoning JJ after his father's death was a nice touch. I wish she and JJ had had this conversation in reality as a precursor to him getting his act together.
My name is Jennifer... and I'm an addict.Jennifer
The final scene of this episode, where Jennifer finally not only went to a meeting but stood up and spoke, was incredibly emotional.
It would have been even more moving had viewers seen Jennifer's gradual decline into addiction. Instead, various characters told Jennifer or each other that they were worried about her but there was no real evidence on-screen that she had a problem until the newly-created flashbacks in this episode.
Even so, this was a realistic, emotional story that will hopefully inspire any viewers who are struggling with this issue in real life to get help.
JJ: I'm just here as a friend.
Rory: Why don't I believe that? Maybe it's because the minute you dressed up as a cop you decided to cut me off.
It was back to business as usual for the rest of the week, but Jennifer wasn't the only one confronting her past. JJ was called in to help interrogate his former best friend Rory, who had been arrested for possession of 5 kilos of drugs.
Rory and JJ bonded over a shared interest in weed and bad behavior back in 2013. After JJ sobered up, Rory never quite understood why he didn't want to do those things anymore. However, for a while he tried to be a good friend to JJ.
Then the writers turned him into a one-note character who existed only to tempt JJ back into drugs and alcohol use. He convinced JJ to drink, leading to the first encounter with Eve. Then Rory disappeared.
Again, this would have been a fantastic story if we'd seen Rory attempt to keep up the friendship and JJ feel he had to walk away because he's a cop now. Hearing after the fact that Rory was hurt by this isn't nearly as effective.
You need to learn to do what we ask and only what we ask. There is no deal.Roman
Roman was obnoxious in the way he handled this.
First of all, JJ may be the newest member of the Salem PD but he worked undercover for months while Roman failed to give him the supervision he needed for such a dangerous assignment. He was able, during this assignment, to get information out of both Kyle Southern and Clyde Weston, leading to Clyde's arrest -- something nobody in Salem was able to do.
So Roman can cut the attitude about JJ not having any experience with interrogation.
There was also no reason for the tongue-lashing JJ received. JJ was out of line to try to tell Roman what to do, but I don't blame him for fighting back after the way he was treated. Ultimately, JJ did his job and Roman punished him for it.
Roman also has no reason to be shocked that JJ doesn't do things by the book considering how little regard he had for Roman's instructions during the undercover assignment.
Roman knew from the get-go that JJ can be difficult and does things his own way. Yet he hired him and is shocked to find that JJ is difficult and does things his own way.
Eduardo: You and JJ are getting... close.
Gabi: Let me guess. You don't like that one bit, do you?
Most likely, though, this nonsense is all a set-up for Gabi to have second thoughts about JJ because a perp punched him. This is really a ridiculous conflict. Eduardo's problem is with himself and the people who are after him, not with JJ or any other cop, and Gabi was right that he was being sexist.
In any event, Gabi really should put the fact that JJ was willing to sacrifice his health and possibly his life for her above the fact that Rory the Stoner decided to punch him. JJ should also just quickly overpower Rory and get him in cuffs, but that wouldn't be dramatic enough so it probably won't happen.
I'm serious. There's this thing inside of me and sometimes it takes over.Chase
Aiden's interactions with Chase and his reaction to Chase's subsequent attack were among the most emotional scenes of the week. I'd rather see more of Aiden and Chase's relationship and less of Aiden wandering around town trying to convince Hope she loves him.
Whatever else happened, Aiden clearly loves his son, and it was heartbreaking for him to hear Chase call himself a monster and to realize that Chase's half-memory of accidentally killing his mother has destroyed him despite Aiden and Hope's attempts to protect him from it in better times.
Even Roman put aside his grumpiness towards Aiden to give him the news and take him to the hospital. Aiden's complete inability to speak and tell the guard that he was Chase's father really got to me.
Whether Hope's empathy goes any further than realizing that Aiden is concerned about his son just like she's concerned about her daughter remains to be seen, but I was glad that she softened enough to comfort him. Her coldness to him has been bordering on obnoxious lately.
Even more obnoxious was Rafe jumping in to speak for her last time she saw Aiden before this. Aiden was wrong to interrupt Hope and Rafe's lunch with yet another attempt to win her back, but Hope is more than capable of speaking for herself.
There's no need for her to be a damsel in distress that Rafe needs to protect, and hopefully she is getting annoyed with it too.
It was also strange that Hope had no reaction to Abigail being in the mental hospital or JJ almost dying of the virus. She also probably still doesn't know that Jen was struggling with pill addiction all these months, since she never noticed anything when she lived there for months on end.
Her only concern seems to be her daughter. She's right to be concerned, but not to the exclusion of all else.
Ciara, for her part, went to a therapy session of sorts in which Marlena proceeded to sit silently and not address major issues Ciara brought up, then returned to the Dimera mansion and broke up with Theo for no apparent reason.
Meanwhile, Nicole and Kate's fight over Deimos hit a ridiculous new low when Kate proposed marriage to Deimos, who turned around and proposed it to Nicole. Equally annoying was Belle and Shawn moving towards getting back together while Belle seems to still half be interested in Philip.
Finally, there was some more silliness between Kayla and Fynn and Joey and Jade that's not even worth mentioning.
What was your favorite storyline this week? Did you enjoy the Jack/Jennifer reunion?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Round Table Discussion.