The Final Piece of the Puzzle

Following the hostage situation and shootout in Warehouse #2, we got to meet the mysterious Yo Lin, a.k.a. Timothy Robichaux, a.k.a. John Black’s biological father.

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And I’m going to say something probably controversial: I thought this stuff was very well done. Was it over-the-top? Absolutely. Was it typical Days of Our Lives? Nope. But I found it refreshing in the way the material was presented, and that felt almost necessary to making content like this work. Can you imagine if they’d filmed this stuff at the park bench or in one of those dinky storage rooms we were seeing for a while? I mean, this actually looks and feels cinematic, which is not something I’ve said of Days in years.

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I totally hear the criticisms that, on a show that has become uncharacteristically and unnecessarily dark, this felt like overkill. And the scenes were packed with exposition. But for all these writers’ flaws, they did inherit a John Black who had yet another blank past, and resolving the issue once and for all (please let it be once and for all) makes sense. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the way they played John’s meeting with his mother, to the point where it felt like a false lead, but as hokey as the meeting with his father was, it also felt right. So often, when Days has tried to do this shadowy spy stuff, it comes off as dopey and fake. I was actually scared of this dude, and for John, and all the details about the tea from China and his political delusions really fleshed it out. Of course he’s after the damn serum — ridiculous, though it’s actually smart and economical from a storytelling standpoint — but I appreciated that they took the time to explain where John came from in a way that they won’t have to rewrite later. And casting Tobin Bell (who played the killer, Jigsaw, in the Saw franchise) was a very savvy move, because he pulled off the role in a way that a lot of dayplayers would not have been able to sell.

Am I insane? (I know the answer is usually yes, but still.)

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21 Comments on “The Final Piece of the Puzzle”

  1. Shea Says:

    I absolutely 100% agree with you. The casting of Tobin Bell was genius. He not only has the acting ability to sell this but he and Drake have a resemblance (especially the eyes). That resemblance paired with the scar and overall creepy appearance give this a haunting quality that I am loving. I agree that the spy stuff has always been a little hokey but in a “soapy” way that always worked for me. I loved the 80s and they used all the spy stuff brilliantly to set up those big umbrella stories that incorporated adventure and romance…and FUN!

    Trust me, I am shocked that they have made me give a damn about John’s past at this point- but they have. And I appreciate the fact that they are trying to tie threads together like having John’s father be the one who was after the serum. Whether or not they really pull it off as well as they used to with the umbrella stories remains to be seen but I appreciate the effort.

    • mykleraus Says:

      The resemblance is really noticeable. Great casting. And the scar is creeping me out, in an effective way. I’m just as shocked as you are that I actually have anything resembling a damn to give about this latest backstory, but I think that given the mess of John’s past, they’re doing a decent job of it. Just please don’t change it again!

  2. underyourwing Says:

    i was reading a DOOL thread on data lounge the other night and SOB !!! someone posted a 1992 episode where John was looking for his father….. they went nuts about the Wills and the killing of him also…..great for middle of the damn i can’t sleep night reading times……

  3. Vking Says:

    I agree! Tobin Bell sells this role beautifully! And the writers seem to be making an effort to address questions viewers might have and thus make the story more enjoyable to watch.

    • mykleraus Says:

      That’s what makes it work for me — they’re actually digging into the history we’ve seen before and filling in the holes. And even though it was heavily expository, I think it was necessary just to clarify WTF happened in the past.

  4. ADW Says:

    Bravo casting…after Ciara being such a dud (for the most part) I was losing confidence in the casting people’s abilities. Tobin Bell is superb, not only does his appearance bear a stricking resemblence to John, he talks like John gruff, slight wisper, and breathy. I know Yo-Ling is deranged and resentful; he likely wants to out live an average sea turtle so he could take over the world. I had to laugh at times during his rants because he sounded like an evil Confucius and a twisted Miyagi. Also, I saw a hint of Professor Dumbledore after a knife fight. I’m glad they are finally addressing John’s past this a wonderful way to celebrate “the pawn’s” 30 year Anniversary. 😀

    • mykleraus Says:

      I could see the (deranged) Dumbledore after a knife fight thing! There really is something of a resemblance between Bell and Hogestyn, which is helping sell this.

  5. Mo Says:

    Pulling off lines like “La Cucaracha will inherit the earth!” isn’t easy but Bell is making this 5-episode arc his own! If anything the realism of the warehouse is making the rest of the DAYS sets look more and more embarrassing. How many people are going to live in The Salem Inn?! Victor’s mansion is huge but they all spend their time in that one room?

    I felt like the director used some kind of iphone filter to pull off the affect but it has been a nice change. Not sure why they are putting this much effort into a John Black story after basically ignoring him since his return? Having said that they have spent decades on John’s past so to wrap it up in a big way isn’t a terrible idea.

    Is it wrong I was hoping they would drag Paul into the warehouse shirtless though? This is still a soap opera after all! I’m hearing spoilers…. (DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILED!)… that Paul will end up brainwashed by Yo Lin? They had better not brainwash him into being straight. After the shoddy treatment of Will and Sonny (and Paul for that matter) to turn him straight and have him fall for Lani (because who else!?) would really really annoy this lifelong fan.

    • mykleraus Says:

      There was definitely a glaring difference between the John/Yo Lin scenes and everyone dithering around near the benches, flanked by an abundance of fake plants.

      I hadn’t seen that Paul speculation, but I like the idea — aside from making him straight. Involving him via brainwashing could be fun, albeit only if they don’t use Andre’s Windows 98 montage to do it. But if they even TRY to pair him with Lani or Gabi… ugh.

  6. fluffysmom Says:

    I’m enjoying this story. It actually makes sense now why Stefano wanted John as his Pawn. The writers have done a good job of tying together the loose ends from John’s past. Yo Lin is a scary guy.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Yeah, I give them credit for trying to sort out all the old backstories and do something that ties in the Alamain stuff while also not cramming John into an existing family tree. (I was SURE for a bit that they were going to try and make him Dickie Martin.)

  7. underyourwing Says:

    Myk…..you want to need depends go here: https://www.datalounge.com/thread/16577258-the-datalounge-olympics

  8. underyourwing Says:

    it’s fun for a peek now & then but i get it….sometimes too much of a fun thing isn’t wonderful!


  9. […] risks within the medium, attempting to innovate and do some interesting things? Absolutely. Back when that first episode aired, I found it narratively unsatisfying as the “final” big reveal of John Black’s […]


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