eric returns to salem days of our lives

Days of Our LIves Review Week of 12-27-21: Out With The Old, In With The… Old?

Was it just me, or was this one of the most dismal New Years Eves in Salem history?

Everyone seemed depressed and mostly planned to spend New Year’s by themselves.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Days of Our Lives during the week of 12-27-21 went through a dramatic exorcism for Marlena, only to reveal that the Devil jumped to someone else.

Eric Returns to Salem / Tall - Days of Our Lives

The exorcism was easily the best part of the week and the entire Devil storyline.

Most of Marlena’s family rushed over to the penthouse to help save her soul, and John had to manage all of their fears and stop them from fighting with each other.

Sami: Shawn slept with Jan Spears?
Belle: The Devil made him think she was me.
Sami: I wish I had that excuse with EJ.
Belle: Really, Sami? This isn’t funny. You were the one who brought Jan Spears back to town last time.
Sami: Nicole was trying to steal my granddaughter from me! What was I supposed to do?
John: No, no, no! We will not have a house divided in here.

He even got Sami and Belle to stop rehashing the past and get along for Marlena’s sake, and Sami even stood up for Belle when the Devil called Belle a slut.

John Begins Marlena's Exorcism / Tall - Days of Our Lives

Talk about a Christmas miracle!

Of course, there were plenty of problems with the exorcism, too, starting with the leap of logic it requires to accept that the Devil can break police handcuffs but can’t break the ropes that John used to tie Marlena to the bed.

I’m not Catholic, but do most exorcism attempts include arguing with the Devil about whether it can be exorcised and responding to its taunts against the person trying to get rid of it?

This didn’t seem like a religious ceremony until the end. It seemed like a bunch of people arguing with the Devil about whether it was going or not. That was silly, and in some cases, went beyond that to inappropriate.

Possessed Marlena Toys With Lucas and Sami / Tall - Days of Our Lives

The Eric scenes were incredibly cringeworthy.

First of all, Kristen raped Eric, and Days of Our Lives’ cavalier attitude toward that in these scenes was just as bad as its treatment of sexual assault in other storylines.

The writers might have meant for the Devil to be so devoid of morality that it would make fun of rape. But why did Eric almost give in to temptation, then?

And as many viewers have pointed out, even without that issue, the Devil was inhabiting his mother’s body. So Eric was technically tempted to have sex with his mother? Ick!

Johnny and Chanel Deliver Good News / Tall - Days of Our Lives

Once the exorcism properly began, it seemed like it was worth it.

The flashbacks of Marlena with her family were beautiful, and juxtaposing them against huge orange flames effectively illustrated the struggle for Marlena’s soul.

When Marlena awoke as herself, though, I had to wonder why people believed the Devil was gone. It had hidden deep within her before, after all, and only a few minutes earlier pretended to be gone only to start laughing maniacally.

And, as it turns out, the Devil was not gone from Salem and probably won’t be for at least another half a year.

Christmas Morning 2021 / Tall - Days of Our Lives

Johnny spent most of New Years’ Eve nursing a cold, only to reveal as the clock struck midnight that the Devil now possessed him.

Days of Our Lives meant this twist to be shocking, but it fell flat for a couple of reasons. First of all, the heavy-handed dialogue about how everyone was glad that the Devil was gone for good made it obvious that it wasn’t. So it was just a matter of when the Devil would show itself and who it would possess.

Also, in this story, the Devil possesses whoever it wants whenever it wants. Despite all the prayers surrounding Marlena’s exorcism, this Devil still has zero connection to Catholic theology and instead is nothing more than a supernatural doppelganger.

There has been no explanation for how the Devil possessed Doug or Johnny. These possessions are convenient for the plot but don’t make sense if the Devil is the fallen angel of the Bible who is supposed to prey on those vulnerable because of guilt, depression, or sinfulness.

Nicole's Latest Heartbreak / Tall - Days of Our Lives

Johnny is more logical a choice than Doug. At least he isn’t considered this generation’s Tom Horton, and he has been shown to walk on the wild side from time to time. And since the story just started, maybe we’ll get an explanation somewhere down the line.

But still, this would be much more compelling if there’d been any prior evidence that Johnny was open to possession. For example, if he’d dabbled in dark arts while researching his movie or joked about being willing to make a deal with the Devil to get the film funded before EJ offered.

Anyway, the bigger question is: what happens now?

The Devil will probably break up Johnny and Chanel’s marriage so that Chanel can turn to Allie and interfere with Allie’s relationship with Tripp.

Ben and Ciara Look Forward to the Future / Tall - Days of Our Lives

The problem is, though, that having the Devil push two women together would suggest that homosexuality is evil or from the Devil, and that’s not a message any show should be pushing in 2022.

Plus, once the Devil is sent away from Johnny’s soul, he and Chanel will probably get back together, so this is a pointless story development if it goes that way.

Let’s hope we’re not stuck with the Devil forever. Once it’s exorcised from Johnny, let’s hope it disappears from Salem altogether.

It’s almost as if the writers are using it as an allegory for the COVID-19 pandemic, infecting people who are supposed to be immune and reappearing just when it seems like the worst is behind us. Can we at least have a permanent solution in fantasy?

Steve and Kayla Have a Little Romance / Tall - Days of Our Lives

Besides the Devil storyline, the most disappointing development was Lucas’ involvement in Sami’s disappearance.

Once again, I’m finding myself annoyed that a couple I ship is being pushed together in a terrible way that makes it clear they aren’t endgame.

Sami and Lucas belong together, full stop. But Lucas turning himself into EJ 2.0 with this stupid kidnapping plot isn’t good for the couple’s chances long-term, nor is it suitable for his character.

The Devil suggested that it put the idea for the kidnapping into his head, but that’s a cop-out, even if it does make sense. Lucas’s out-of-character behavior is designed to make Lucas/Sami a temporary bump in the road for EJ/Sami.

As multiple people have pointed out to Sami, EJ was a serial abuser who mistreated her all the damn time. Still, now he’s the “innocent” victim of Lucas’ manipulations, and Sami and Lucas’ reconciliation will likely end in an ugly, permanent manner when the truth comes out.

And what is wrong with Chad? He thought about it for all of two seconds before going along with Lucas’ plan. This is going to backfire on him, too, eventually.

EJ will get the karmic benefits of Lucas and Chad’s manipulations as if he is the hero that overcomes everyone else’s bad behavior in the end. Ugh

The best thing to come out of all this, though, besides the false victory for Lucas, is Gabi and Sami’s friendship.

Gabi is generally an annoying character who has nothing nice to say about anybody. Having her support Sami through the “revelation” that EJ kidnapped her was a nice change of pace.

Gabi: I’m the last person who should be giving relationship advice. I’ve dated so many men who didn’t treat me right and repeated the same mistakes over and over. But Jake is different.
Sami: He treats you right?
Gabi: Yes, but more important than that, I’ve learned not to settle for a man who sees me as anything less than his equal. I don’t know if anyone can be your equal, but you deserve better than EJ Dimera.
Sami: Not a fan?
Gabi: No, but I am a big fan of you.
Sami: Wow. That’s really nice of you to say. It means a lot to me.
Gabi: You taught me to stand up for myself. I know we have had our differences, but you are Will’s mother and Ari’s abuelita, and I will always have your back.

Gabi gave Sami strong advice about finding a man who is her equal. I was sad that a powerhouse like Sami felt her life was meaningless outside of her relationship with EJ, though.

Come on, Sami! You’re much better than that.

Speaking of which, Nicole showed surprising maturity when she found out that EJ intended to return to Sami and hadn’t bothered to tell her, though.

Nicole: So it is true!
EJ: I’m sorry, Nicole.
Sami: I’m sorry too. It must be so humiliating for you.
Nicole: I’m not humiliated. I’m grateful for the reminder that EJ is an amoral son of a bitch. I’m not wasting any more of my time with him. You want him, you can have him. I hope you’re miserable together for however long this lasts this time.

This was how Sami should have reacted when she found EJ in bed with Nicole instead of starting a catfight!

Unfortunately for Nicole, Ava has already gotten violent after learning that Nicole and Rafe slept together.

EJ Has a Change of Heart / Tall - Days of Our Lives

This story so far is a redux of what we just went through with Philip and Chloe, although Rafe and Nicole did sleep together.

Rafe is far more to blame for this mess than Nicole. Nicole has been trying to stay away from him so that his relationship with Ava can heal, while Rafe begs her to be with him, then turns around and tells Ava she’s the only woman for him.

And instead of admitting she knows what Rafe is up to, Ava keeps what she knows to herself and gets violent after listening at doors.

Ugh. Rafe/Nicole have been my one true pairing forever, but this whole story ruins them and Rafe, and I hate for Nicole to be the one bearing the brunt of Ava’s anger when she’s the least bad person in this equation.

The Devil Makes Its Next Move / Tall - Days of Our Lives

I know a lot of viewers hated the stuffed bear, but it didn’t deserve to be decapitated, either, and this was a repeat of Philip pulling out the tree he’d planted for Chloe, anyway.

Not to mention that it’s also a repeat of Claire setting fire to the cabin because of her jealousy of Ciara. Days of Our Lives too often does this thing where characters, usually female ones, “can’t help” getting violent when they’re upset. That’s another trope that needs to go in 2022!

Speaking of Chloe, I’m thrilled that she and Brady finally admitted their part in the Philip mess.

Yes, Philip should have controlled himself better, but Brady was pushing his buttons every chance he got, and Chloe kept spending time with Brady despite his clear refusal to respect her boundaries.

Kate Hides The Truth / Tall - Days of Our Lives

These two want to apologize to Philip now,  but will they remember any of this when it eventually comes out that he faked his death to get back at them?

Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. What did you think of the end of 2021 in Salem? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!

Eager for more Days of Our Lives chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.

Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check local listings for airtimes or watch on Peacock TV weeknights after 8 PM EST/5 PM PST.

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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