The Phantom of the (Soap) Opera

How cool and spooky is this:


That scar is the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. It mesmerizes me.

Honestly, I’m truly intrigued. They managed to use that anticlimactic story of John’s trip to New Orleans, when he saw his mom and found out his father was dead. I know she sold him out to the bad guys, and that should have been suspenseful. But it all happened so fast, it was over before we had time to care. This time, the appearance of John’s father had time to build — we knew someone was after both John and Eduardo, we found out someone was after the serum, we got a little Marlena kidnapping, a big shootout, and now this.

And really, managing to tie in the Alamain adoption and the Petrov/Stefano pawn connection to actually make a compelling story out of Yet Another Version of John’s Past?


John and Yo Ling’s scenes were very heavy on the exposition, and I’m not really sure I got it all. But hey, we’ve got a shadowy “Alliance,” a Shane Donovan mention, cryptic Chinese aliases and tattoos, indoctrination of helpless teenage boys, a traitor father who is in desperate need of a blood donor … works for me.

And we’ve got a bunch of awesome Salemites ready to leap into action to find John and rescue him:


And Steve called John his “partner”! Maybe we’ll finally see the Blackpatch team working together!

I’m liking the Hernandez family dynamics too:


Eduardo’s heroic actions to save Rafe, coming right on top of the revelation that he was an assassin, instantly complicates their already thorny relationships. Rafe is obviously affected by what Eduardo did (he referred to him as “my father” in this episode, instead of “Eduardo”), and Gabi is obviously upset at the idea that they almost lost him. The scene with Ari and Eduardo and the ring, was really touching.

Also good was the brief scene of the Johnsons at the Brady pub that opened the episode. I particularly liked that Joey wants to confess (very important for us to continue to like him), and that Steve and Kayla both attributed that to what he has in common with Steve. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I believe that Joey was primarily motivated to save his mother when he killed Ava — but it would be so perfect if he were! Then they could call back to Steve’s attempt to kill Duke, back when he was five, in order to protect his mother. I hope this gets a mention sometime during this story.

At any rate, I liked how Kayla ruefully drew the parallel between Steve’s always wanting to protect her, Joey wanting to do the same, and Steve now wanting to protect Joey. She knows how the Johnson men can go way too far with this self-sacrifice thing. Girl, we know how you feel.

Screencaps Forever Safe


10 thoughts on “The Phantom of the (Soap) Opera

  1. Finally, the umbrella story we’ve been waiting for!

    If you had told me a year ago that I would be totally engrossed by a story about John’s parentage and another featuring Rafe, I would not have believed you. Yet here I am, in complete agreement with your assessment. Somehow, the writers managed to tie together all those loose threads of John’s past. The acting was superb; I haven’t liked Drake this much in ages. He seems invigorated by both the story and his acting partner.

    I also loved the Shane Donovan mention. I turned away from the tv for a moment when Finn was on and I actually did a double-take because I thought it was Shane’s voice. Alas, no.

    • What I really like is the patience with which they’ve tied things together. That bodes well for how this is going to unfold going forward. I particularly like how the relationships are being brought into it, like Eduardo and Rafe. And I’m really looking forward to seeing Steve brought into the mix. I’m excited!

  2. Mary Pickford. Your Blog is always so enjoyable to read..and your perspective is “right on”. Thank you!!!

  3. Explain something to me about Roman (as far as Drake H. is concerned). Back in 1987 for the Stockholm story with S&K looking for Marlena kidnapped by Orpheus, etc – that was with Roman Brady.
    Is the Roman that was in Stockholm actually Roman as we know him now, or was it John Black THINKING he was Roman (with the real Roman elsewhere at the time)?
    In other words, is Drake the actor now being thought of as there, or is Drake playing John Black now with the real Roman having been in Stockholm (but still played by Drake)? I hope that didn’t confuse my question further! Ever since Drake became Black and Chris Kosichek (Josh T) played Roman, I’ve been thrown off ever since!

    • I think the bonds stuff was supposed to be the real Roman. John was programmed with his memories though so he thought it had happened to him. John had only become Roman in 85.

      • So it was Roman who had hidden the bonds and had a past with Orpheus but it was John as Roman who retrieved the bonds and rescued Marlena.

    • Roman in 1987 was John, thinking he was Roman. So character of John as we know him today was really that guy – he just thought he was Roman. When Wayne Northrup came back in 1991, they revealed that Stefano had implanted John with Roman’s memories (so dumb) and he wasn’t Roman after all. Since then we’ve been in the revolving door of “John’s past” stories.

      • You know it’s interesting to me that Steve was part of that whole thing. In 85 they had the Miami Vice rip off storyline that I believe was supposed to be the end of the Steve Johnson character. He had come to town basically to get revenge on Bo but wound up working for Savannah helping her with her drug trafficking business she was operating for Victor. Of course Bo and Theo Carver (Abe’s brother) were investigating what Savannah was up to. I think Theo was killed in a shootout with the corrupt police commander. There was another storyline where Shane and Kim were investigating Victor (where Kim wound up sleeping with Victor so Shane could escape and then wound up pregnant with Andrew) but they all ended up in Miami where there was this big Miami Vice style shootout on the water with exploding boats and Shane dangling from a helicopter. Anyway I think Shane shot Steve (it looked like in the chest) and Steve fell into the ocean but Bo jumped in to pull him out and get him to the hospital. (From what I remember Hope did her usual standing around yelling BO!) Turns out Steve was only shot in the shoulder and while he was in what I believe was supposed to be Victor’s private hospital in Miami he goes walking around and sees an unconscious man on a gurney with his face covered…he pulled back the cover and says something like “I know you!….What are you doing here?” And that was the beginning of the Pawn storyline. Roman was supposedly dead but his body had disappeared from the beach a year or two earlier. So Steve was supposed to have seen Roman on the gurney before the facial reconstruction surgery turned him into the pawn. That’s why it’s sad to me that when Steve returned from the dead they never addressed any of the Roman/John stuff with him because he was part of the history of that story on multiple levels.

        This Miami stuff was the storyline that got me HOOKED! I was already a fan but in 85 I had gotten the VCR so I recorded the show daily and I really got to experience the whole umbrella story unfolding and how they were setting up the next thing as they went along!

        I do appreciate how they appear to be telling a bit of am umbrella story now with John’s father having been the one in need of the serum and tying in Deimos and Petrov with John and Eduardo. I will need to see how it plays out to see how well they pull it off but I do appreciate the effort.

  4. Thanks for clearing up the RomanBlack thing. I get it now. Its just that I remember Steven and “Roman” in Stockholm fighting like no one’s business, and I remember Roman punching Steve during the Jack Deverau stuff when Steve turned Kayla over to him. I don’t remember a real time when they got along and became the buddies they are today. He used to call him Ro-Man sarcastically. Interesting.

    Yes that is dumb for a storyline to have had Roman’s memories planted into John Black. Soaps already stretch suspension of disbelief, but person’s entire memories implanted into someone else? Give me a break. All the stories he and Kayla shared when they were kids, as told by Drake, were implanted memories by the real Roman. I wonder if they planned it that way, and for Northrop to come back. I never cared for his Roman and wish they’d just left Drake be Roman. I sure don’t care for seeing Josh T as Roman after he was Kayla’s love interest once as Chris Kosicheck. All that REALLY stretches reality and disbelief.

    It was interesting when the old eps on Miami became available. I don’t really care to see it again, but it was really fun seeing the pre-Kayla backstories. Didn’t Steve even punch and knock out Kosicheck once in 85? I didn’t start watching til a friend got me into it, and then hooked – right at the time Kayla started on the show in Cleveland. I had no idea characters like Patch existed on dreary soaps about rich people. Strait out of Escape From New York, I thought. I loved his sarcasm, and showed my mom. She got hooked too, and we loved Steve’s acting and style. One of my favorite moments of SN’s was in 1987 (I think) at the ER at Xmas when he got all psycho on Kayla saying that he thought he saw “Santi Claus” and bursts out in maniacal laughter. My mom loved that. We were like, soap characters just don’t do stuff like that. Well, they didn’t and still don’t. Except for SN.

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