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Days of Our Lives November Sweeps Review — What’s Working and What Needs to Be Fixed *Pronto*?

jada eric nicole ava ej xander jpi peacock mashup days

Credit: Peacock screenshot, Jill Johnson/JPI (5)

After what felt like weeks (or in some cases, months) of stories spinning their wheels, November finally kicked off some pretty explosive (sorry, Susan!) movement! But was it enough to salvage some of these plots? As we look back on all to be thankful for this year, let’s take a moment to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t in this fall’s sweeps. 

Seeing Ava and EJ really square off and try to prove who was the most vicious was a blast. And Tripp’s kidnapping as EJ and Ava tried outmaneuvering each other was a great way to compare how alike the two are. His rescue, though, was just way too easy and anticlimactic to be all that worthwhile. I was hoping for so much more than bad mobster playacting.

Overall, though, this story’s a win for me. I have a hard time feeling much empathy towards EJ a lot of times, but that moment he paid Ava and she told him she’d release Susan’s body to him was heart-achingly cruel. I’m really interested in seeing what direction they take him, because if Susan really is dead, it could (and I’m hoping will) get dark.

At night outdoors, EJ holds a gun on Ava, who spreads her arms. A sign reads, Salem Airfield.

Careful, EJ! If you shoot Ava, she’ll drop the invisible box she’s carrying! It looks heavy.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

I’m not sure how I feel about this turn for Ava, though. I’ve seen fans praising her craziness, but I wasn’t really getting that vibe. Yes, she’s clearly been losing her mind, but outside of Charlie’s egging her on, to me, she’s still felt too rational and in control to be believable as someone who’s had a psychotic break. Granted, the one (major) exception was her driving the car off the road.

But since the show has already tipped us off that she’s survived, that’s obviously the only way they can take her if she’s to be salvaged as a character. She was out of her mind and not in control. I still think she and EJ are the perfect match made in hell, but getting a pass for losing her mind or not, I don’t see how they can come back from this.

Moral Morass

Abe hit the nail on the head with the Paulina/Chanel/Sloan mess: “What concerns me is the cover-up. Paulina meant well, but it could be a problem.”

In the interrogation room, Paulina tightly embraces Chanel, who sits in chair. Both their eyes are closed.

“I appreciate the hug, mama, but why am I the only one in prison again?”

Credit: Peacock screenshot

Could be? If Sloan had gone about this legitimately instead of pulling her extortion attempt, I think Paulina would already be in a boatload of trouble. As it is, I’m not entirely sure why she’s running around free. If Chanel was arrested for murder in a self-defense case, shouldn’t Paulina be arrested for tampering with evidence or something? Does Trask have jurisdiction to do that? I don’t see how she would, but that didn’t stop her from locking Chanel up.

There is one element to this that I’m curious about whether Days of Our Lives will tackle or not, but I want to stay mum a bit longer to see if they’ll go there before I bring it up.

So far, I will say, I think the show’s done a great job of creating one heck of a moral quandary here. No one’s saying Chanel’s a murderer, but accident or not, how Paulina went about covering it makes Sloan’s resentment and revenge attempt a whole lot more understandable. I’m not sure if she can actually be developed enough to stick around, though.

The DiMera Dilemma

As for Stefan, I think we need to start wrapping this up. Gabi learning what happened only to have her memory erased right away wasn’t my favorite twist. It just seemed pointless. If you don’t want her to know, don’t let her find out. Don’t tease what could have been a great story — her plotting Li’s downfall even as she moved ahead with their wedding — and then just yank it away.

In a tropical motel, a shirtless and oiled up Johnny stands with a towel wrapped around his waist. He puts a hand on his hip as he stands over Wendy at a desk. She leans away from him with raised brows and a tight smile.

See what we mean? Just look at that… chemistry.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

I love Wendy and Johnny’s chemistry, but something about their search is falling flat for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but they just don’t seem… capable? They got the goods on Rolf and Li and all, but I feel like there’s still an element missing here for them to actually go up against their respective family members.

Maybe (hopefully) their next step will involve tipping off Stefan and Gabi and the four of them secretly working in tandem to take down EJ and Li. I’m wondering, though, whether Stefan will get his loving memories back in the process or they’ve been wiped clean for good. And if they have been, are we just going to keep going down this retread of his and Gabi’s original story with their hate slowly burning into love? Because that feels like what’s happening right now.

Cop Out

As for Jada/Eric/Nicole/Rafe, I’m just happy something is finally moving forward with them! Well, it was. Jada and Eric deciding to raise their kid together feels like we’re going right back to the status quo, but with those two holding things up this time instead of Rafe and Nicole.

At the Pub, Kate, Roman, Eric, and Jada sit around a table. Eric leans in grinning, and Kate gapes. Nicole watches in a doorway behind them.

Poor Nicole walked in just as they’d reached the customary “Make fun of Eric’s ex-wife” part of Thanksgiving dinner.

Credit: Peacock screenshot

This may be a controversial opinion, but I think the show really missed out by being too afraid to actually tackle abortion. (And yes, too afraid. Notice they still haven’t said the word itself even though they talked about “terminating” the pregnancy!) That would have taken on a tough topic and provided conflict that didn’t just revolve around switching which couple’s obligations were holding up the reunion this time. We’ll have to see where this goes, though.

If nothing else, so long as Rafe comes out of this with a bit more edge to him, I’m going to consider it a win.

Coupling Up

Alex and Stephanie are inching forward, but their triangle with Chad looks like it’ll take some time to heat up. They’re more in the “holding” category than the November sweeps group. And then there’s Sonny and Leo. Nothing explosive is happening here, either, but I get the uneasy feeling that they’re also being inched towards friends and then lovers. Which I emphatically do not want.

Kristen and Brady aren’t making many big moves right now either, but we know from the winter preview that things are going to go very wrong, very fast.

In John and Marlena's living room, Kristen reaches out to Rachel. Brady watches them, leaning his face on his hand.

We’re right there with you, Brady.

Credit: Peacock screenshot

And with Xander getting pulled into Ava’s scheme, he and Sarah are on very thin ice. He covered nicely with his lie-based-in-truth about quitting his job because his boss tried to get him to do something horrible, but the actual truth has to come out sometime. Can Sarah forgive him? Do we want her to?

I liked how much Xander and Gwen were on the same page. Maybe he shouldn’t forgive her for what she’s done to Sarah, either, but I think his morality and ability to shrug off bad deeds is far greater than his wife’s. And the fact that all his good behavior is just because Sarah wouldn’t approve shows us that he’s still got a very wonky moral compass.

Stray Thoughts…

• Sometimes, soap time is jarring. I feel like only a day or so passed in Salem after Chanel’s election-day arrest… and then suddenly they were eating Thanksgiving dinner together.

• Was I the only one hoping that at some point Susan would “sense” or hear Charlie or something?

• I loved Susan’s offering to help Xander find a new place to hold her captive after he spared her life.

Days of Our Lives now exclusively airs 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.

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