TR, Paulina mashup
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (2)

Some issues just can’t be played for laughs.

We have to admit that we’re a bit torn with the direction in which Days of Our Lives seems to be taking Paulina’s story. On the one hand, tackling a subject as weighty as abuse is commendable, and we aren’t opposed to the notions of growth and forgiveness — if done right and handled with extreme care. But that care does not involve even hinting at a survivor like Paulina getting back together with an abuser like TR.

Which is why NBC’s latest promo — teasing what fans can expect once the show’s Olympics-caused hiatus is over — left us… troubled.

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First off, from the intro to Paulina tossing TR’s flowers on the floor, the tone of this promo is far too cutesy for the subject matter at hand. And there’s no real need for that. Yes, Jackée Harry is an incredible comedic actress, but as she’s repeatedly proven since joining the Days cast, she’s also more than capable of playing drama. Surviving abuse is not subject matter for a rom-com, so why is it being presented as one?

TR is not an “a-hole” from Paulina’s past. He’s an abusive man who so terrorized her that she gave up her own daughter rather than risk him being part of Lani’s life. Once she’d escaped his sphere of influence, she built an entire empire to prove herself powerful and strong.

We’re really hoping Paulina is smart enough to keep her distance, but the show tweeting that Paulina “needs some serious relationship advice” isn’t promising. There’s simply no scenario in which we should even be discussing the possibility of them having a “relationship” beyond that of two people connected, regretfully on her part, by a child.

Might Paulina find a way to forgive TR? Perhaps. After all, she’s had to ask forgiveness for several of her own sins in the past. But unless they’re planning to seriously rewrite the history which drove Paulina to allow her first child to be raised by someone else, romance simply can not be in the cards for these two.

It’s important to remember that it’s not only Paulina who must forgive TR’s actions but the audience as well. For months, we’ve heard Lani’s mom talk about just how awful this man was to her. And while TR claims to have changed, we’ve seen precious little evidence of that during his short time in Salem.

Already, TR’s threatened to sue everyone from Allie and Chanel to Johnny, proving himself a man who will do whatever it takes to get his way. He insisted to Lani that he’s grown, and yet when Paulina arrived and — fearing for her daughter’s safety — threw TR out of the apartment, he turned very dark, very quickly. Heck, he even vowed to bulldoze his way into Lani’s life, whether she and her mom liked it or not.

That’s not exactly the language of a man who has changed his ways.

More: Why William Christian almost turned TR down

Even before we met the character, TR was set up to be a hiss-worthy villain… which would be completely appropriate given his past actions. And since his arrival, he’s lived up to that reputation. As a result, even the idea of Paulina somehow being “charmed” by her abuser — let alone exchanging quippy banter with him — is disturbing.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you worried the show’s taking the whole issue too lightly, or are you okay with the direction it’s going? Do you think TR’s even the kind of man who can change? Sound off below.