Days of Our Lives Review for the Week of 8-07-23: Shawn’s New Job, Sarah’s Plan, and A Whole Lot of Unrealistic Ideas

Spoilers

Wait, what?

SHAWN is the new Commissioner? Shawn, who was recently suspended for drinking on the job?

And that wasn’t the least realistic story on Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-07-23, either! Things often happen in Salem that would never happen in real life, but these stories took the cake.

The new acting mayor gave Shawn an ultimatum: become Commissioner or lose your badge. That wasn’t shady at all.

Days of Our Lives wanted to address racism in police hiring decisions, which is admirable, but their execution of this story has been clunky.

Acting Mayor Rawlings comes across like one of the “good ol’ boys” from some 1930s Western.

He’s one-note and very clearly racist — so far, he’s dedicated himself to making the lives of every Black character in Salem miserable, and he gives white characters like Shawn a pass for egregious and dangerous violations of the rules.

Unfortunately, he’s more of a stereotypical racist than anything else, and viewers don’t know what motivates him beyond wanting to hurt people he doesn’t like.

Even people with deplorable beliefs usually have more to their personality than being a troublemaker to those they dislike. But Rawlings has burst onto the scene for the sole purpose of causing trouble, and that interferes with the social messaging Days of Our Lives is going for.

When racist characters come across as purely evil, one-note cartoons, it dilutes the power of any storyline involving racism. Viewers start questioning why this guy is doing things like this and whether racism of this nature really exists.

The story falls flat for another reason: Rawlings came into power when Abe was presumed dead, so he must have been serving as the deputy mayor under Abe.

Why would Abe choose a running mate who holds racist beliefs that oppose what Abe stands for? I doubt he needed the vote of all the closet racists in Salem to pull off another win, considering that this is his fourth or fifth term, and he’s a popular political figure.

Rawlings didn’t even spare Abe in his racist rants. He’s busy telling anyone who will listen that Abe is dishonest and will turn a blind eye to the law where his family is concerned. That’s the opposite of who Abe is (even if some of his behavior toward Lani has been questionable) and again raises the question of why Abe ran with this guy in the first place.

Jada isn’t automatically entitled to be Commissioner after working at the police station for 14 months. So for some viewers, her complaint that she was passed over because of her skin color didn’t ring true.

However, when the only other candidate is a person who was recently suspended for drinking on the job, and the mayor sees that as less problematic than Jada having a relationship with Rafe that was against the rules, it’s hard not to imagine that race played a role in his decision.

It seems that Shawn gets a free pass on behavior he shouldn’t, while Jada is punished harshly for a far less serious violation of the rules. If that isn’t racial bias, perhaps with a dose of sexism mixed in, I don’t know what is!

If Shawn hadn’t become an alcoholic after shooting Bo, Rawlings’ claims would hold water. Shawn has a good record, has been on the force a long time, and has grown up in a family of cops and commissioners.

Ordinarily, he’d be as close to the Salem version of Blue Bloods‘ Reagan family as possible.

But putting someone who was recently suspended for cause in his old boss’ seat is suspect, especially when Shawn’s violation involved being intoxicated while carrying a firearm!

Of course, this is the same town where a judge somehow thought Kristen’s mile-long list of violent crimes wasn’t a reason to deny her custody of her daughter.

Brady almost did the stupidest thing he could in response. John was right; going on the run with Rachel was a terrible idea that would only cause Rachel greater psychological damage and land Brady in jail.

Besides, what would happen when an angry Rachel escaped from Brady and told the cops he illegally kept her from her mother?

Brady’s upset was more than understandable. A judge rewarded Kristen for kidnapping Rachel — or, at the very least, hiding her from her father — and didn’t care about the damage Kristen would do to her daughter day in and day out.

Brady wanted to protect Rachel, but this wasn’t how. He needs to keep his nose clean so that Belle can have a chance of winning an appeal.

I’m still waiting for a judge to say that neither Brady nor Kristen should have custody! They’ve both been awful. But if one has to have it, it should be Brady.

Meanwhile, after butting heads with Xander, Brady ran straight to Chloe and kissed her. This was probably meant to be sexy and exciting,  but it was gross.

Brady and Chloe agreed to move on from each other for Rachel’s sake, so if Brady thinks they belong together now that Rachel isn’t living with him, he needs to talk to Chloe about that, not simply show up and kiss her.

It’s even more gross because he knows Chloe is considering marrying Xander. It felt like he decided to sabotage that relationship by kissing Chloe, and that’s not cool.

Chloe: I appreciate your concern. I really do. But I’m a grown-ass woman and I can decide for myself who I want to be with.
Belle: I understand. But if Xander steps one toe out of line –
Chloe: You’ll say I told you so?
Belle: No. I’ll help you kick his ass from here all the way to Scotland.

This isn’t the first time Brady’s done this back-and-forth dance with Chloe, nor the first time he’s tried to stop her from having another boyfriend. She didn’t appreciate it when he stalked her to prevent her from developing a relationship with Stefan, and she probably won’t appreciate this now.

Chloe had just told Belle off for trying to push her to dump Xander, so the last thing she needs or wants is Brady kissing her!

Of course, any potential union with Xander will end in disaster since Sarah is secretly carrying Xander’s baby. Everyone but Sarah and Rex seem to know that this won’t end well.

Rex’s idea about marrying Sarah is terrible. I don’t know which is sillier: his thinking that no court will award the biological father parental rights because Xander isn’t a nice guy or Sarah’s belief that all Xander has to do to learn the truth is ask for a paternity test.

We just played the latest round of Salem DNA Test Swap, and Sarah’s lived in Salem for a while, so she should know DNA tests can and will be faked to cause trouble.

In any case, marrying a man she doesn’t love to keep up a lie is a bad idea. And it’s a doubly terrible one when Rex is involved.

Rex has been obsessed with getting Sarah back in his bed for years.

His behavior ranges from cringe to annoying. He was ready to run off with fake Sarah on her wedding day to Xander without a second thought, he followed Sarah around with balloons and flowers, and now he’s offering to marry her “for the baby’s sake.”

Don’t do it, Sarah. Don’t marry your stalker.

Unless, of course, Xander finds out the truth just in time to stop the wedding.

Maggie’s attempt to tell him went nowhere because of the shocking news about Victor’s plane, but eventually, she’ll get around to it if Xander doesn’t find out some other way.

What’ll happen to Chloe then? Xander’ll leave her high and dry, and Chloe will be stuck with Nicole and Belle to comfort her and help her kick his ass. Maybe she should get out now while the getting’s still good, but where would the drama be then?

She’ll probably accept Xander’s proposal, so it’ll hurt more when he leaves her for Sarah.

That missing plane is the beginning of the end for Victor.

I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. Days of Our Lives would have to deal with John Aniston’s death eventually, and Victor dying in a plane crash just as his family is set to welcome him home probably symbolizes how the cast feels about the loss of the actor.

Still, this story could become cartoonish and not provide the exit Victor deserves if the writers aren’t careful.

At any rate, Justin’s shock upon learning the plane was missing was one of the most realistic moments of the week. Wally Kurth did a great job here, and there’s sure to be more grief and upset as the family learns that Victor’s gone forever.

Meanwhile, Abe’s set to become the mayor again — but how will this work?

Paulina begged him to take his old job back to stop Rawlings’ harassing Chanel. But if Abe has no memories of his former life, how will he know what to do as mayor?

It’s not the first time; an amnesiac Jack led Salem down the wrong path until he got his memories back and asked Abe to take over. But still, Rawlings probably won’t relinquish the office easily unless Abe can prove he’s mentally fit to serve.

Marlena might be able to testify to that if she believes Abe is ready to return to work. Kayla didn’t, so who knows what Marlena thinks?

The town psychiatrist has been busy between outpatient therapy sessions and visits to Harris at Bayview.

I would have preferred more of Harris and Eve rebuilding their relationship to Harris and Ava. Tamara Braun portrayed Ava’s hallucinations, confusion, and guilt, but Ava is always a loose cannon who goes too far in the name of revenge, and Harris doesn’t need that in his life.

Harris and Eve have history, so engaging in a second-chance romance would be more compelling than this Ava/Harris matchup.

Marlena also counseled Talia to tell Chanel how she felt about her. This advice gets a solid C- from me.

Marlena’s right that Talia will live with regrets if she ignores her feelings and that repression isn’t the way to go. However, something must be said for Talia learning to accept consequences for her actions and exploring her feelings without necessarily acting on them.

Talia sabotaged Chanel’s business and nearly got the bakery closed for good. Rafe and Trask were both sick enough to be hospitalized. And as a doctor, she should have known better.

Yes, Colin was manipulating her, but she doesn’t belong in Bayview with Harris — she still had free will and a conscience. And while throwing her in jail forever wouldn’t have been justice, the slap on the wrist she got wasn’t enough.

Chanel can and should limit her contact with Talia to a casual acquaintanceship. There’s no need for anything more than that with someone she can’t trust.

This also sets up yet another triangle involving Johnny. Why, soap gods, why?

Love triangles may be a soap staple, but they aren’t supposed to be endless. There has to be a payoff in the end.

Johnny lost Chanel to Allie and Wendy to Tripp because he was still into Chanel. The logical next step is for Johnny and Chanel to finally admit their feelings for each other, get together, and move on to the next story.

Instead, Chanel is poised not to know whether she wants to be with Johnny or Talia. This is boring and disappointing, and it also reinforces false stereotypes about bisexuals not being able to commit because they like more than one gender.

Enough already!

The Gwen/Dmitri/Leo story took a silly turn, with Dimitri giving Leo a plane ticket to Iceland. How is this supposed to work? Dimitri is supposed to be on a honeymoon with Gwen; he can’t get away with sneaking down the hall to see Leo.

Hopefully, this nonsense means the story is almost over! I can’t take much more of this ridiculousness.

Finally, Chad and Stephanie fought about Alex. They were both wrong.

Chad was wrong not to discuss with Stephanie the boundaries he was setting before or after setting them. But Stephanie was wrong to think Alex’s behavior didn’t warrant any boundary-setting.

She’s told him several times to stop dropping in unannounced, so why does she suddenly think Chad is wrong for setting a hard boundary? These two need to get to a marriage counselor ASAP before they let Alex ruin their relationship.

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and tell us what you think of this week’s episodes.

Check out the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion on Sunday for more Days of Our Lives chat.

Days of Our Lives streams exclusively on Peacock. New episodes drop on weekday mornings at 6/5c.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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