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.