No Patch

Back when I was watching the show in 1989, I would occasionally tune out for few weeks and then tune back in again without feeling like I missed much. One day in June I watched the show and saw Steve looking something like this:


Then, a few weeks later, I tuned back in and saw this:


You may imagine my surprise.

At the time, I was not against the idea of Steve losing his patch—at least in theory. I thought it was probably a pain for Stephen Nichols to wear, and I also thought that it may have outlived its usefulness as a prop. But when I saw how different—and frankly, how horrible (sorry, Stephen!)—he looked, I immediately wanted it back. He just didn’t look like Steve anymore. Of course, that is rather the point of the storyline, because Steve goes undercover as “Daniel Lucas,” and has to disguise himself from people who knew him as Steve. And maybe they thought it would be better for us fans if Steve looked totally different, instead of the patch being the only thing missing. All I know is, at the time, I was so traumatized that I tuned out again and didn’t tune back in until the fall.

So the scenes surrounding the eye surgery were all totally new to me this time around. I must say, it might have been abrupt, but they did a really nice job with it.

YouTube link

As Steve contemplates going undercover, the show can finally acknowledge how ridiculous Steve-in-disguise has always been, as he puts on his enormous sunglasses at the beginning of this scene. Then I love the way Kayla says hesitantly, “You have a unique look …”, obviously not wanting to mention the patch outright. It’s still a touchy subject, even after all this time. She also looks almost panicked at the idea of Steve losing the patch and assuming a new identity, almost more than the situation warrants. The show seems to be playing around with the idea that Steve won’t be Steve anymore after the surgery. What is Patch without his patch?

Instead of being excited about having two eyes again at last, Steve looks uncomfortable talking about it at all. He keeps saying, “I don’t care what I look like.” And there’s a flicker of insecurity when Kayla says she doesn’t care, either, when he asks, “Are you sure?” They’re almost talking like he’s going to look worse, not better (Which is exactly what happened, but I digress …) When he snaps at Kayla at the end of this scene, saying irritably, “I’m getting a new face out of it, aren’t I?” he seems to be saying, “I should be happy about this, but somehow I’m not.”

And now for the surgery itself:

YouTube link

I love the moment on the operating table when Kayla sees that Steve is holding the patch in his hand. It’s a callback to the patch removal scene, as she slowly uncurls his hand and takes it from him. He looks at her almost pleadingly, as Kayla reassures him. It’s like the patch is a security blanket, or a piece of his identity, and he’s afraid to give it up. It’s a beautiful moment.

After the surgery, I love the way Kayla is holding the patch herself now, looking at it contemplatively. When Steve wakes up from the anesthetic, she gently places it in the red box where he keeps his most treasured things, and goes to him.

But about the actual Daniel Lucas storyline—let’s just say the less said, the better.

26 thoughts on “No Patch

  1. Now that they’ve been let go, it’s hard to believe that these types of scenes from Stephen and Mary Beth will only be seen through old tapes or youtube. Watching brought tears to my eyes as I’m realizing that this iconic character Steve, and the lovely Kayla, are just characters that existed through my TV screen. How could I have become so attached to both of them as though they were family??? If and when their time ends in Salem, I will feel as though I’ve lost good friends.

  2. I know, Sherry, it’s crazy how we can get so attached to fictional characters. But, a part of me is glad that Steve and Kayla will be “safe” now, safe from being ruined by an uncaring writer.

    And it’s great that we can always see them again, in clips.

  3. Watching scenes like these just reinforces how much I love SN and MBE as Steve and Kayla. It is like losing family members. While not every s/l was great back in the 80s, most of the s/l’s were interesting.

    The clips reminded me of how much I loved to see the tenderness between the two characters/actors. There is almost none of that now. A sense of love, compassion, longing and dedication.

    I realize that I’ve been remiss in adding to by S&K CD collection and need to get back on top of that. Mine ended at Stockholm and I keep forgetting to get more. SN and MB always lit up the screen. As much as I always enjoyed other characters on DAYS, Steve and Kayla were so unique. I miss them terribly already.

  4. Yes, clips and DVDs are all we have now, so you should stock up.πŸ˜‰

    I always love the extra love and tenderness that SN and MBE brought to their scenes. It added a lot to scenes. Sigh.

  5. I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who found SN … ahem! … “less than attractive” in his Daniel Lucas get-up. The hair! The glasses! The clothes! The accent! No patch!!! Even once he got his patch back, the hair was a significant distractor from the sexy. Thank goodness SEJ was back to his old self by the time Little Sweetness arrived. Can you imagine having to look at Daniel Lucas in all the birthing flashbacks?

    I guess it’s a true testament to SN’s acting, but still …

    You can add me to the list of those who are glad that S&K are safe now, too. At least this way I can imagine them doing whatever I want as opposed to seeing the not-so-favorable storylines this writing regime comes up with. They’re reunited, happy, and no one is paralyzed. It’ll do.

  6. Like you, MP, I was kind of tuning in and out at this point in the 80’s, so I missed these scenes. At least I did know that Steve was getting a glass eye so I didn’t have to suffer your shock when he was “lucased”. I was really touched by these scenes when I watched them on my DVDs. It’s interesting. In the beginning, the patch was a symbol of Steve’s outsider status. It was a visible symbol of his self-loathing. But by this time in the story, it was really more about the special connection they had with each other. She was the one who could see him behind the walls he had built up, so it was also tied into how special Kayla was. So it makes sense for them both to be a little anxious about losing the patch. Once Steve lost the thing that physically set him apart, would they lose their special connection? As a viewer, I felt some anxiety about this, too. Obviously, I wasn’t the only viewer who felt this because it wasn’t very long before Steve lost the glass eye and was back in the patch again. (And let’s face it– SN is a handsome man, but with that patch on, he’s devastating.)

    I was particularly touched by the scenes with him looking in the mirror with his hand covering the patch while Kayla secretly watched at the doorway. And him clutching the patch in his hand as he went into surgery. If he had to lose the patch, at least they gave it resonance. And yes, those giant sunglasses and the hat were beyond ridiculous.

  7. That’s all so true, Flaco. I still haven’t seen the entire DL story, but I do like that they had Steve test life without the patch at this point, and then make the decision to keep it instead of going back to the glass eye. Even for all of the work he did to get to this point, it feels like there is an additional level of self-acceptance after Italy. He’s not the guy without the patch anymore, and he doesn’t wonder or yearn for that life anymore. It’s almost necessary to his story, though some of the plot to get there is less than stellar.

    I always wanted them to make the patch and the symbolism of it more central in the return story. I’m not sure how it would have worked exactly, but it would have been interesting if it was an issue for somebody. Maybe Billie could have had ambivalent feelings about it, to contrast with Kayla’s acceptance, or something. Sigh…

    Loving all of these clip posts, maryp!

  8. Hee, RileyKay, no, you’re not the only one.

    Flaco, I had some of the same thoughts myself about the symbolism of the patch—I really like the way you equate the patch with Steve’s walls, that Kayla was able to get past. It operates at more of a symbolic level than anything else, the idea that losing the patch would somehow make them lose their special connection. It’s an interesting element to add to all this.

    Lska, I love the idea that getting a glass eye, and then losing it again, was something Steve had to go through so he wouldn’t be yearning and longing to be “whole” again anymore. That was such a strong element of his initial persona, and I love that his journey on the show would include outgrowing that feeling.

    I wish they had done something with his patch in their more recent run too. At least have a scene where he asks Kayla how he lost his eye. SN would have done a great job showing the angst of wondering about it, and his discomfort with asking—but that underneath it all he trusts Kayla to turn to her.

  9. I’ve decided that mourning what could have been after S&K returned can only lead to despair, so I’m trying not to think about that. But yes, you’re right, he should have asked about the patch. I remember watching scenes with him and Bo when everyone was talking about their friendship and thinking “But Steve doesn’t know Bo put out his eye.” Oh, there was so much wasted opportunity.

  10. I loved (note the sarcasm) the small amount of lip-service they paid to it, too, when they finally did acknowledge it.

    Bo: You know, you really might hate me when you remember our past. I’m the one who gave you that patch.

    Steve: You mean this old thing? Kayla and/or Hope told me everything off screen. Don’t sweat it.

    Bo: Cool! Let’s grab a beer!


  11. Yes, I recall that scene well. Steve told Bo that Kayla had informed him about how he lost his eye and about how he had eventually forgiven Bo. He accepted the information way too easily, as in, “Okay, my wife’s brother used to be my best friend, then he stabbed my eye out, but I forgave him, so we’re best friends again. Okay, I’m cool with that.”
    It would have been much more effective to have actually seen Kayla telling him, but at least the writers acknowledged Steve finding out how he lost his eye.

  12. Flaco:

    In case this helps you locate it, I think the scene took place during that period after Steve had returned, but before he recovered his memory and reconciled with Kayla. This was pre-Billie, when he realized he was attracted to Kayla and wanted to work on returning to his old self. Bo and Hope were separated and Steve agreed to help Bo with his problems if Bo helped him unlock the mystery of his disappearance.

  13. He didn’t. He was so obsessed with trying to fix things with Hope that he proved pretty useless to Steve. “Thanks for nuthin’, Dude.”

  14. I remember that scene. It was when they seemed to be setting up a partnership between Bo and Steve, with Steve helping Bo figure out who took the evidence for Chelsea’s trial, and Bo helping Steve solve the mystery of what happened to him. For the life of me I never understood why they dropped all that. Thanks for nuthin, indeed.

  15. The only thing that made any sense about them dropping all of that was the writing transition between JER to Beth Milstein (interim) to Hogan. But they sure could have done a better job of it.

    In any case, as much as I don’t much care for the Daniel Lucas storyline (it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very meaty), I do love the scenes surrounding Steve’s decision to have the eye surgery. There is a lot of subtext to those scenes, some of which is a bit ambiguous in some ways, but it’s still very wonderfully played by both SN and MBE.

  16. One big problem with the Daniel Lucas storyline is that nothing anybody does makes any sense at all. It’s not that there wasn’t goofy stuff in some of the other “adventure” storylines, but this one is beyond the pale. Why does Kayla stroll into the camp with her suitcase? How did she think that was going to help anything? If Shane was bleeding to death, why not get him some help instead of dragging him around the woods? Why is Marcus threatening to head back to South Carolina? He didn’t find out anything the last time — he just got shot at. And that whole computer cave set up! What were these guys after — world domination? I mean, most drug rings are pretty non-technical operations. I don’t think Colombian cartels require such a vast computer network. And what was the network for anyway — distributing virtual drugs? I’m sorry — I’m ranting again. But I’m stuck in this storyline and I know at the other side of it is Marina. It’s hard to keep a positive outlook.

  17. Flaco, hee! You ask many excellent questions. I have been trying to watch all of this as quickly as possible, so I honestly hadn’t noticed all the logical fallacies. But last night when I saw that “computer cave” again I started cracking up. Like you say, what on earth do they need it for?

    I’m watching the big final rescue now, and the stage managing of everything is pretty bad. They’re trying to trade Jericho for Marcus and Jericho asks to be untied. They say, “Sure!” because untying the bad guy at the crucial moment is such a great idea. Naturally he grabs Faith as his hostage. Crazy.

    As for Marina, I’m interested in rewatching it with a fresh eye. Last time I hated the retcon so much I couldn’t get past that.

  18. I just watched the grand denouement of the Saul storyline and you’re right — what a mess. If everyone’s actions were nonsensical before, they get much, much worse as the end nears. Everyone is running around the woods or hanging out a the cave. There’s the wonderful exchange of prisoners with the memorable untying of Jericho’s hands. Then an endless sequence with Kayla hanging out in the tent while Steve crawls around on the mountain top. Wow. They just told Kim Shane is dead, so I’m hoping that’s the end of it. Please tell me that’s the end of it!

  19. Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s all over. There’s a just a few scenes of Gail and Steve on their trip to DC and that’s pretty much it. Can you imagine watching all that in real time?

    Now you can look forward to Marina.πŸ™‚

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