I’m in Shock

I can’t believe Days finally acknowledged that what is happening to John happened to Steve too. It only took eight months!

I loved that it was more than just a reference, more than just Steve saying, “Hey, I’ve been there.” Instead it gave Steve the best reason to be the one to prevent John from killing Stefano, because he would understand the rage that drove him to try.

I also loved the exchange after Steve reassured John that he would get his life back, because Steve did. John says “you wanted it, I don’t.” Steve’s reply, “Hey man, you don’t know what you want,” was interesting. Something the show has toyed with is that nuJohn isn’t John with no memories, but that oldJohn and nuJohn are two totally different people. Kayla made a comment, also on Tuesday, about oldJohn being buried inside. Similarly, Marlena said once that the reason she can’t give up on restoring John’s memories—no matter what nuJohn says he might want—is that oldJohn wouldn’t want her to. She owes it to him to keep trying, no matter what.

When Stephen Nichols played Nick Stockton, his performance was subtly different than his performance as Steve. Nick was less emotional, more detached—all in all, a shallow man. But, in moments of crisis, we would see flashes of “Steve.” This seemed to startle Nick when it happened, and we were left with the impression that Steve was somewhere inside, struggling to get out of this hollow shell.

Drake, however, hasn’t played nuJohn this way, instead he remains consistent with his new character. When we see him caring for Marlena, it seems to be nuJohn who cares for her, not a flash of OldJohn. I think both performance choices are valid. I loved seeing those flashes of Steve, seeing Stephen Nichols transform his voice and body language to do it, but I have to admit I prefer the quirky and morally grey nuJohn over the flatter and less interesting Nick Stockton. (Of course, part of this is the difference in the quality of the writing for the two characters.)

The question remains as to why Stefano would want to brainwash either Steve or John, beyond the general motive of being evil and wanting revenge. This wasn’t my idea, but the possibility of a big umbrella story tying up the missing years of John, Hope, and Steve, showing flashbacks and a general explanation of what they were all doing when they were being assassins and whatnot, has been floated on message boards and in fan fiction ever since Steve came back. That is undoubtedly waaay too much to hope for, but this little mention of the parallel between John and Steve’s respective brainwashings was very, very nice, and long overdue.

10 thoughts on “I’m in Shock

  1. In general, since I’ve started watching again, I’ve noticed that there is very little concept of history or consequences on Days. Things happen to drive ratings, not to develop characters. In the past, I was frequently driven crazy by how long a storyline took to play out, but it felt more like life (even when the storylines were completely bonkers). All those scenes with Steve down in his hole of an apartment with Kayla pounding on the door or him showing up at the Emergency Center on some pretext or another — they were repetitive but they showed consistent character traits. Even when Steve did incredibly dumb things like giving up Kayla to Jack, it made sense — he always thought he and Kayla didn’t belong together. Now really awful things happen, people weep and moan and rage, and then it’s over and forgotten. Very frustrating.

    Just as a side note, I now have my 29 year old daughter completely hooked on Steve and Kayla — the original storyline. Every day, we hunker down over my computer and watch some more past episodes in a tiny little onscreen box with the most dreadful audio. (I am finally going to break down and buy some DVDs. I’m assuming the quality will be much better.) It’s been really fun sharing it with her. She doesn’t want to watch any current stuff until she’s caught up and I’m not sure I want her to watch the current stuff at all given the current quality of the show. Why spoil a good thing?

  2. Sigh, I know what you mean about the events of the show being isolated and without consequence. My single biggest complaint on the state of the show now is that we don’t get long term stories. The Jack storyline is always my go-to example of this. It was horrible and painful at first, but the story was allowed to play out so we understood exactly what was going on, and saw these two characters slowly work their way back to each other. I love the storyline from beginning to end, including the mini-triangle with Jack #1 at the beginning, and with Jack and Steve’s eventual reconciliation.

    That’s great that you’ve got your daughter hooked on 80’s Steve and Kayla! I would have mixed feelings too about letting her watch the show today, but there are some good things about the show now — if not the long-term storytelling I long for.

    And I would highly recommend the DVDs! I think it adds a lot to be able to see their facial expressions and body language more clearly.

  3. It is better, quite a bit, but it’s not perfect. Everything is understandable, but on some of my DVDs there is that overall muted quality you seem to get with any kind of older recording (hope you know what I mean). So I turn it up and sometimes there’s a slight hiss because of that. It’s not that bad, but don’t expect stereo quality sound.

    It makes a different the quality of the speakers too. The speakers on my computer are pretty small and cheap, so the sound on the online clips I think is worse for me than other people. And for the DVDs, it’s the same. We have two TVs, one that is hooked up to our stereo and one that is not. The one hooked up to the stereo has better sound.

    Hope this helps!

  4. The S&K dvds I got from Australia are of excellent quality I thought I was watching in real time. Color and sound…so crisp. I highly recommend them.

  5. I think I know which ones you are talking about, daggerrose, because I have some of hers too. (Or maybe there are two people from Australia selling DVDs!) I agree they are very high quality. Unfortunately she doesn’t have the early, pre-Stockholm stuff.

  6. Well, I wrote to her — if she’s Julie Ann — but she hasn’t responded.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen today’s episode but Joe Johnson has apparently disappeared. I really have to wonder why anyone in the Brady family even bothers to have babies. As soon as they’re born, someone is bound to make off with them. It must be very discouraging. I think if I were a Brady, I might just give up on the whole idea of progeny.

  7. Yes, it’s Julie Ann. Make sure you put “Steve and Kayla DVDs” in the subject line, so she knows it isn’t spam. I’d email her again.

    Salem baby book:

    1. Baby’s first life-threatening illness

    2. Baby’s first kidnapping

    3. Baby’s first paternity test

    4. Baby’s first custody battle

    Any others?

  8. Well, just getting born at all is sort of a miracle on soap operas. Women miscarry at such an alarming rate over the slightest stress or disturbance. Based on the fragility of soap opera pregnancies, it’s surprising that there’s a population problem in the world.

    Then, there’s the other miracle births — twins with different fathers, swamp fetuses. Though I’m not sure that last one really qualifies as a birth — more like frog spawn than anything.

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