John Black and Marlena Evans – their Days of our Lives story has been a complicated love affair made all the more so by his inability to settle on an identity as well as her penchant for being presumed dead.
How Did John Black and Marlena Evans Meet?
When they were first brought together by Salem University staff members, he was a total amnesiac whose face was swathed in bandages, owing to recent reconstructive surgery. So it’s understandable that Marlena didn’t recognize him months later when he rescued her from a robber/hostage-taker and introduced himself as John Black.
Though an attraction was evident, his inability to recall his past and her recent widowhood kept them from exploring the possibility of something more. Instead, Marlena offered to assist him in uncovering his identity.
Jarlena – The Early Years
Hypnosis failed to yield any positive results and both parties grew frustrated. Complicating matters was the threat posed by Victor Kiriakis and the goons he hired to collect John.
An unexpected adventure sent John and Marlena into the wilds of West Virginia and it was there that Marlena caught sight of a phoenix tattoo on John’s back. The image greatly unsettled her and Marlena began to suspect that John may indeed be a plastic surgery-altered Stefano DiMera.
However, subsequently uncovered documents and X-rays seemed to reveal that John was, in actuality, Roman Brady, the husband that Marlena had been mourning ever since his supposed death at Stefano’s hands.
Trial, Error, and Perils
There was much joy brought about by the “revelation” and the couple immediately staged a remarriage. However, mere months would pass before the revelry was halted.
First, Marlena was abducted and taken to Stockholm by Orpheus, a former ISA agent out to revenge himself on Roman. Afterward, the vile fiend staged Marlena’s death in an explosion, kidnapped her yet again, and then traded her to Stefano DiMera for a large influx of cash.
Marlena lay in a vegetative state for years before finally awakening and making her way back to Salem. And despite her reunion with “Roman,” further complications lay just over the horizon.
Third-Party Interference — A Days of our Lives Staple
In the interim between Marlena’s presumed death and her return, “Roman” had romanced both Diana Colville and Isabella Toscano and in spite of the love he still had for her, John chose to honor his commitment to “Izzy B.”
When Isabella passed away from pancreatic cancer, “Roman” and Marlena attempted to come together only to find themselves torn apart by the reappearance of the actual Roman Brady!
And yet, they persevered. Once Marlena extricated herself from that complicated situation, she helped free John from the clutches of an increasingly psychotic Kristen DiMera and he helped rescue her from the gilded cage Stefano imprisoned her in.
The duo conquered the forces of evil that stood poised to claim Marlena’s soul and together they weathered the machinations of a disgruntled Sami Brady (Marlena’s daughter with Roman), Princess Gina von Amberg (a former paramour of The Pawn, John’s pre-Salem identity), and Doctor Alex North (Marlena’s heretofore unknown first husband).
Further challenges including John’s brainwashing, paralysis (courtesy of the obsessive Dr. Charlotte Taylor), and imprisonment for embezzlement as well as Marlena’s illegal sanctioning in Bayview and near-death experience were met with the appropriate style and aplomb.
The Marrying Kind
Despite a plethora of attempts, John and Marlena have only successfully walked down the aisle once. Their August 22, 1986, ceremony – which was held inside St. Luke’s Catholic Church and included Tamara Price singing Up Where We Belong – as well as one held on July 6, 1999, were invalid due to Marlena’s still being wed to Alex North.
Another attempt in January 2009 – set inside a hospital room – was invalid because of John’s marriage to Hope. Their latest deeming – which took place on November 8, 2018 – stands as the lovers’ sole legal union.
Even though John and Marlena dutifully raised twins Eric and Sami as well as Brady (John’s son with the late Isabella Toscano) together, they only share one biological child – Isabella Black, who was born on October 21, 1993.
John and Marlena – By Any Other Name
“Doc.” It’s a term of endearment that has become forever cemented in the Jarlena lexicon – despite its origins predating the couple. In point of fact, the moniker had been bestowed on Marlena by Roman and when John had first uttered it, he was met with a swift rebuke.
He persisted with its usage and once it seemed that he was indeed a resurrected Roman Brady, the nickname gained an even greater significance. But even after the return of the genuine article, it was John who continued uttering the enduring term. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.