lani. tr, eli, paulina mashup jpi days
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (3)

The show seems to want to have its cake and eat it too.

From the moment he walked onto our screens, Days of Our Lives’ TR has been a puzzle. And that, we need to point out, isn’t a bad thing. Being uncertain of a character’s true motives is a hallmark of drama and daytime. But as time’s gone on, it’s started to seem like the show itself doesn’t know how to put that puzzle together.

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It was clear for some time before he showed up, that after all we’d heard about from Paulina’s suffering at TR’s hands, we’d be meeting Lani’s biodad sooner, rather than later. And when he did show up, this monster of a man seemed destined to be a villain for the ages. That would have been something, especially since what we heard of him made him sound far more terrifying than the actual devil running around playing games in Salem.

But then we met TR and he seemed… reasonable. And not fake reasonable. He was calm, mature and as he ran into Paulina, appeared genuinely remorseful for his past actions. Sure, maybe he got a bit cutthroat with his business dealings, but that’s par for the course in Salem.

Then he met Lani, and as Paulina threw him out of her daughter’s apartment, TR’s façade dropped. In that moment, even we were scared of him. Was his reformation all just an act? Maybe not. His behavior after that seemed to be genuine in wanting to make amends with his daughter. Lani, while not willing to forgive him, was willing to find out more about him. Paulina even seemed to be considering giving him a second chance.

Forgiving your abuser or the abuser of someone close to you isn’t necessary, but continuing down this path would have allowed Days of Our Lives to tell a rich, honest story about moving on after trauma. This could have been an emotional exploration of forgiveness and lingering pain as the story opened some truly deep dialogue about surviving domestic abuse and ways it ripples through generations. It didn’t even need to end with TR in their lives.

Instead, TR, despite initially seeming genuine, just went almost full-fledged evil. He shot Eli and immediately moved on to how to neutralize his ex. We say “almost,” because after shooting Eli, Lani’s dad was obviously shaken and even appeared remorseful. But does it really matter if he is? There’s just no coming back from this. Or at least, there shouldn’t be.

William Christian, Lamon Archey, tr, eli, shooting, jpi, days

Above: Yeah, no, Days of Our Lives. We’ve lost all interest in getting to know TR as a human after this.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

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Folks were willing to give him a chance. He proved he hasn’t changed in what was one of the worst ways possible. The complex story about struggling with forgiveness and healing is no longer an option.

As for the villain for the ages story? Well, it seems like they’re still trying to keep shades of grey in TR’s behavior, and that’s not really an option anymore either. There’s a line between adding complexity to a bad guy and trying to humanize a monster.

And when you have someone vowing to get close to his daughter no matter what it takes while planning to take care of his ex and uttering lines like, “There’s always a woman that gets in the way,” you’ve plowed right into misogynistic monster territory. Are we supposed to believe that the same person who said that feels bad about shooting his son-in-law and murdering his drug dealer to cover up the crime?

It’s obvious that TR won’t be stopping at shooting Eli. He’ll soon be terrorizing Beth (Don’t let him put you in a position where he has control over you! That will not end well!), Paulina and even, we’re willing to bet, Lani. With that said, William Christian is an incredible actor, capable of making all of TR’s emotional shifts believable — and at times, downright chilling. We just wish he’d been given a clearer path.

Still, despite our sinking feeling, there’s still time for the story to play out. Some fans are already noting how bizarre TR’s behavior is and comparing it to some sort of dissociative identity disorder. He went from panic to cold calculation at the flip of a switch. Maybe the show’s not trying to humanize a monster nor destroy a chance for forgiveness. Maybe he’s got mental health problems.

But are we really going to go down that route to, in the end, give TR an easy out when its time to redeem him? Let’s hope not.

What are your thoughts? Have you been happy with the way TR’s been handled, or were you hoping for something more? Let us know, then before heading out, how about taking a look at some of daytime’s best villains. Could Lani’s dad soon be added to their ranks?