As Days of Our Lives Unravels Gabi and Ava’s Power Grabs, It *Needs* to Figure Out How to Get Its Supercouples Back on Track

ej ava xander sarah chad abigail jpi days mashup peacock

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (2), Peacock screenshot

The week wasn’t a great one for women. EJ finally found the ammunition he needed to take down Ava and unseat Gabi, while Orpheus’ targets are struggling to hold on as they’re reduced to helpless victims. And Alex just doubled down on convincing us that he needs professional help when it comes to respecting boundaries. 

I’m going to spend a good chunk of this week on a bit of a rant here. Days of Our Lives was once the soap of supercouples. They would churn them out and hit them out of the park with stunning regularity. Bo and Hope, John and Marlena, Steve and Kayla, Justin and Adrienne — the show could tell love stories.

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But they have been whiffing it lately. The supercouples of the golden era are front and center, but that’s because Kayla, Marlena and Kate have been reduced to pawns meant to punish the men.

Brady sits at Marlena's hospital bedside with a bag from Sweet Bits

Brady and Chloe still haven’t been holding my interest, even with Stefan’s plotting. And poor Rachel. She must have so much fun visiting a hotel room. (Insert sarcasm there.) Forget Kristen, it’s no wonder she doesn’t like Chloe. I’d be throwing sandwiches too if I was a kid whose caretakers thought a good time was room service at the Salem Inn.

Xander and Sarah’s reunion has been hampered by a lack of screen time. Her warning Gwen to stay the hell away from Xander was a welcome bit of drama, but I have a hard time imagining it going anywhere with how little we’ve seen the newly married couple. I’m still trying to figure out the point of her walking out on Xander for approximately 30 seconds the other week.

DiMera Dramas

I did like seeing that there’s a part of Stefan, whether he admits it or not, that still feels connected to Gabi. His reasoning for not removing his wedding band was just empty excuses because I don’t think even he understood why. Whether he breaks free of his conditioning in time to keep EJ from taking DiMera back, though, remains to be seen.

With a loose tie and holding a mug, a serious EJ faces Stefan in the DiMera living room. The latter raises a brow

Actually, that’s interesting. I shouldn’t be rooting for Gabi. She doesn’t have the most business experience and she schemed her way into the CEO position, swiping control from the family. And yet EJ’s just been such a jerk to everyone and his attacks against Ava and Gabi have been a bit too on the anti-women nose, (I get that he was talking so boorishly about Gabi’s body to try to gauge whether Stefan was at all attracted to her yet or not, but gross) I find myself on her side in the business drama.

With Ava exposed, though, I don’t see Gabi holding on. And is Li really going to want to hold on to her at that point? And what about Johnny learning that Ava lied to him? Who’s he going to be angrier at: her or his dad?

Love Geometry 101

As for Eric and Nicole, I know, their fans aren’t happy when I say I enjoy him with Jada, but I feel like she’s better for him. And he’s trying to make it work with her, whereas Nicole seems to be just barely masking her lack of interest in Rafe these days. The commish is swinging pretty wildly these days between understanding and suspicion, which is completely understandable, but his passivity is starting to get to me. Call. Nicole. Out. End this love quadrangle.

At Basic Black, Nicole stands next to Eric, who uses his hands as he talks to a wide eyed Rafe and Jada

One thing I do appreciate about the lingering Johnny/Chanel/Allie triangle is Allie’s insecurity. It’s relatable. Who among us hasn’t read into the tiniest of things with our significant others, worrying about what it might mean? In this case, though, Allie’s probably right to worry. Not because she and Chanel are both adjusting to their recently realized sexualities, but because this is Salem, and no relationship is secure. Sorry, Allie.

Oh, also, Chanel apparently has some big secret that, it looks like Sloan is about to drop on Paulina. I’ll confess to being completely in the dark about what could risk derailing Paulina’s governor bid. And is it going to rock her already shaky relationship with Allie?

No, No, No and No Means… No!

And then there’s Alex and Stephanie — something I hope is a massive misdirection on the show’s part. I have a feeling Alex is going to turn Chanel and Allie down for the threesome because he’s just so smitten with Stephanie, and this will be considered “growth.” But it wouldn’t be. It’s obsession.

I’m a pretty open-minded person. I know not all viewers will agree, but threesome talk doesn’t faze me (though, Allie talking threesomes with her brother made me cringe). Alex being promiscuous doesn’t faze me either. So long as everyone is a willing participant in both of those things — great, fine, whatever.

In the Square, Allie and chanel face Alex

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So if he does turn them down, that isn’t going to be a signal of change, just moping. The part of Alex that I don’t like, and that I thought they were pulling back on was his refusal to take no for an answer. It’s trying to force himself on someone who has repeatedly made clear she is not a willing participant. How many times are they going to reinforce that?

He had claimed that he did understand no, he just wasn’t used to rejection. It was a lame excuse, but it was at least headed in the right direction. But then his talk with Sonny on Friday just proved that he hasn’t changed at all. He was willing to fire Stephanie — as Sonny said, the definition of sexual harassment — so he could date her. He has an obsession. It’s not romantic.

I didn’t feel a thing for him when he saw Stephanie and Chad holding hands because all he’s feeling is a surface crush that’s been made worse because she’s now “forbidden fruit.” He barely knows her. And yet his brother has to tell him — literally yell in Alex’s face — to leave Stephanie alone and back off because she keeps telling him no. (Side note: I have never loved Sonny more than in that moment.)

Sonny grabs Alex, and shoves a finger in his face on the Kiriakis couch

Robert Scott Wilson is a trooper, and he’s excelled at differentiating his two characters and breathing life into Alex. And while Alex’s move from womanizer to monogamous lover doesn’t have to be rushed, his predatory nature needs to drop sooner, rather than later. They aren’t Justin and Adrienne.

The idea that it’s up to a woman to redeem a bad boy with love is, in itself, a misogynistic and problematic age-old soap trope that needs to go extinct. It shouldn’t be up to women to “fix” whatever’s broken in men — especially when his bad behavior is focused on ignoring her agency and forcing himself on her until she likes him.

As it is right now, I’m all for Chad and Stephanie, though I know fans aren’t ready for him to stop grieving and move on. And I don’t think that’s going to happen just yet. I think he’s just confused and lost and looking for a lifeline and Stephanie’s there and dealing with her own traumas and problems. Even the way he kept smiling at Stephanie had such a tinge of sadness that you could tell he was reaching out to a friendly face in a sea of loss.

billy flinn abigail klein chad stephanie days peacock

But something (eventually) growing between them would be sweet.

Stray Thoughts

• OK, enough is enough. Can the DiMeras put a normal cellar door in at some point so they don’t have to go down the secret passage just to get some wine?

• How does the whole gubernatorial race work in… whatever state Salem’s in? Did Paulina just skip the primaries? She mentioned voting day being a month away, which it is, but it just made me realize how rushed this is.

I wrote about it earlier, but I really wish they’d done more with Jennifer’s addiction ark. It felt rushed, and we were getting great performances that could have lasted longer. This was a chance to let her stretch her legs and go down a darker path without ruining her character.

• What’s Kristen’s game? She and Rolf both seemed like they thought saving the ladies would be the smart thing to do, now they’re playing hide the orchid? I’m guessing she’s going to use it as a bargaining chip for Rachel.

Beginning September 12, Days of Our Lives started airing exclusively on Peacock. To make sure you never miss an episode, click here. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

Join us in remembering the beloved soap stars that we’ve lost in 2022 in the photo gallery below.


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