I'll see you one screaming at Baby Jesus and raise you a fighting with a trash can at the park! 😂 Yes, there has been some stupid campy stuff, no question. Thankfully, I think now Staci has had more camp and crapola to play than Eileen did.
I don't quite know how to judge Kristen based on her actions, because they were so incredibly entertaining and also, Salem is a world where pretty much everyone is a murderer or rapist or both. I will say that John secretly loving Marlena, refusing to confess this to Kristen and work through it and break up with her was a big part of why she did everything she could to hold onto him. Yes, it was all illegal...but the story was all about the experience of trying to hold onto someone you love desperately and fighting as hard as you possibly can no matter the obstacles. I mean at one point, Kristen used a hypnotizing mirror to get John into bed with her so she could get pregnant again after losing their child, and even though he called her Marlena in bed while under the trance, she continued to have sex with him. That's campy (and rapey)...but also really heartbreaking. She already knew he preferred someone else, but she couldn't bear to lose him. Makes me sad. Also, I liked John with Kristen. Not only were they an attractive couple, I felt they were refreshing and very 90s and I didn't really ever feel like Marlena and John were as interesting as a couple. The show made its choice, and the audience made theirs as well, and Kristen became the loser in the situation...but I definitely think John should have shown her some sympathy or empathy. If he really loved her and then realized she had done all these terrible things just to try to hold onto him, he'd seriously just grab Marlena, get engaged at the restaurant where he was supposed to celebrate Kristen's birthday and then try to get married three days later? That is cooooold, man. He was almost gleeful to be rid of her, instead of conflicted about everything she had done in the name of her love for him. And this was especially weird because the show made it seem as if John had absolutely no suspicions that Kristen was doing evil things during those two years. So if he's suddenly found out she had been doing all this bad stuff, wouldn't you think he'd be even more confused and therefore take a longer time to process it?
The story was slanted to make Kristen the villain and Marlena and John the triumphant couple, but I definitely felt there could have been a mourning period where John would try to wrap his head around just how broken Kristen had become. Instead, after Roman came back and Kristen lied about her and John already being married to give Roman the hope that he and Marlena could be happy again, John basically encouraged her to go kill herself. On Christmas. YIKES. When her body was found in the pool, John finally started to show some remorse and guilt for the way he'd treated her. As much as we all poke fun of Drake and his acting choices, I thought he did a really good job of selling the moment in the Secret Room in 2013 when he revealed to Kristen that he had "doubled down" on her in the aftermath of learning about her schemes and admitted that "it wasn't fair" to do that to her. John could have easily said that back in the 90s. That he felt sorry for Kristen and wanted to see her get some help even though they weren't going to be together anymore. Instead, he was just kind of (understandably) repulsed by her, but it came off as cruel. No matter how many terrible things someone you love has done, they're still someone you love, right? John dumped Kristen hard and never looked back, as if all his prior devotion was an act. A little compassion goes a very long way. Kristen was obviously around the bend and obsessed with him by the time all of her secrets came out, but if John had spent just a little bit of time trying to understand her point of view and have a less traumatic breakup, she might have not have turned into the mega villainess she is now. I'm not trying to blame him, because of course he is the victim and so is Marlena, but Marlena definitely goaded Kristen, and then John dumped her so abruptly that it's easy to see why Kristen would hate them both.
That the writers took the time in 2013 to acknowledge how that little piece of consideration that was never expressed or given by John to Kristen as part of her motivation for constantly seeking revenge against him and Marlena was very moving, I found. The show doesn't often have that kind of nuance but I thought they were completely on the money with showing John acknowledging his complete and total rejection of her as being somewhat unfair given all Kristen had been through. Yes, in that scene he was also telling her what she wanted to hear because he wanted to seduce her away from Brady, but I think Drake played it beautifully... suggesting that he was both putting on an act for her benefit and possibly confessing something that was in fact true of their relationship and how it had originally ended.
But....um...back to spoilers!
Oh I'm with you. Completely. But I wonder what kind of storyline this leaves for Xander. I feel like we've barely seen him working at Titan, and yet that was his goal for years. Now that he's out again is he just going to be Sarah's sex toy? Is he going to plan to murder Phillip?
I hope he doesn't get stuck in lame Jan's orbit.
But...but... just being within proximity of the Necktie Killer's charismatic glow is enough of an honor!