- Mick Dante
Mick Dante As the World Turns Portrayed by Tom Pelphrey First appearance November 10, 2009 Last appearance February 25, 2010 Profile Aliases James Stenbeck Gender Male Occupation Medical researcher; drifter Residence Oakdale, Illinois
Relationships Romances Alison Stewart (flirtatious/lovers)
Barbara Ryan (flirtatious)
Mick Dante is a fictional character on the American soap opera As the World Turns who has been portrayed by Tom Pelphrey since November 10, 2009. When Mick arrives in town, he poses as a medical researcher developing a youth serum. Later, he claims to be the presumed-dead James Stenbeck, having undergone his own treatment. Eventually, it is revealed that he is not James, but had been brainwashed by James prior to his death.
Mick Dante was first introduced when he encountered nurse Alison Stewart in a hospital stairwell during a power outage. Allison, who had twisted her ankle, guided Mick to the exit and he escorted her there. When he told Allison that Bob Hughes had cancelled a meeting with him to discuss funding for his research, she offered to introduce him to her wealthy brother-in-law, Paul Ryan, explaining that she knows what it's like to not be given a chance. Mick met with Paul and his wife, Allison's sister Emily Stewart, and explained that he had discovered a plant in South America that was used by villagers to prolong their lives and to enable women in their sixties to give birth. Emily, struggling with her own fertility issues, persuaded Paul to finance Mick's research and also decided to participate in the clinical trial. When Mick encountered Paul's mother, Barbara Ryan, he persuaded her to also become a test subject for the treatment. Mick then experienced a severe nosebleed and rushed to the hospital where Alison treated him; he refused to see a doctor.
Mick began to demonstrate an unusual level of knowledge about both Barbara and Paul, and it became clear to the show's audience that he was not what he seemed. When giving Barbara her treatments, he dropped hints that indicated he was familiar with her past, particularly her relationship with James Stenbeck. He also told Emily that he researched Paul's upbringing. Mick spied on Alison while she spent time with her ex-boyfriend, Casey Hughes. Mick went to see Paul and used a handheld strobe light to knock him unconscious . Mick then drew blood from Paul. When Paul regained consciousness, Mick told him that he had fallen asleep due to his boring explanation of his research. When Barbara came into Mick's hotel room unbidden, he was startled and the vial of Paul's blood broke, causing him to lash out angrily at Barbara. Mick continued to experience serious nosebleeds and also headaches, particularly when he was angry or upset. Alison continued to treat him as well as she could while he refused to see a doctor. At Paul's insistence, Mick agreed to allow Alison to observe while he administered Emily's treatments.
Barbara and Emily both became suspicious of Mick, and worked separately to learn more about him. Barbara asked Mick about his signet ring, which bore the inscription "JS," and he said he bought it from a street vendor and didn't know anything about the inscription's origin. Barbara later snuck back into his hotel room, where she found photographs of a young Paul and of herself. She also stole a glass in order to have it fingerprinted; the tests showed that James Stenbeck's prints were on the glass. She confronted Mick, initially assuming that he had helped James fake his death and was working with him. Mick stunned Barbara by informing her that he in fact is James Stenbeck, having successfully used his own treatments. He told her that the rejuvenation process was imperfect, which is why he didn't look the same as James did as a young man. Initially disbelieving, Barbara began to accept the possibility that this story was the truth when Mick showed her that he had the scar from when Barbara shot James. He tells Barbara that he wants them to start a new life together as a young couple. Meanwhile, Mick was interfering in Emily and Paul's relationship, first by making sure Emily knew Paul was spending time with Meg Snyder instead of with her, and later by tipping off the police that Paul was hiding the fugitive Meg at his home, which Paul blamed on Emily. When Mick suffered another nosebleed, Emily found his satchel and discovered the same photographs Barbara had seen. When Emily confronted Mick, he used the strobe to leave her in a coma.
Alison begins to have strange, vivid dreams about Mick; in one, she sees them entering a church together. Later, Alison goes for a walk and finds the church from her dream. She discovers that Mick is living in the bell tower. On a later visit with him there, around Christmas 2009, Mick confides in Alison that feels like he's at war with himself. She tells him that she understands, because she has given into her demons and made bad decisions in the past. She urges him to talk to her whenever he feels conflicted. Casey soon finds Alison at the church, the couple having previously reconciled, and Mick witnesses Alison's acceptance of Casey's proposal. However, Alison continues to dream about Mick, and she also discovers that Mick has been spying on her. Alison becomes concerned about Mick's involvement in her life after he threatens a doctor who was rude to her.
With Emily in a coma, Mick worked to deflect speculation that his treatments were responsible. When Emily began to move her hand, suggesting she would soon come out of her coma, Mick injected a drug into her IV. Feeling conflicted, he called Alison but she refused to take his call as she was upset at his behavior. Only then did Mick go through with his plan. Emily lapsed back into her coma. Paul and his mother-in-law Susan Stewart gained access to Mick's hotel room and found the pictures from James' past. Barbara, upset with Mick after discovering his fixation with Alison, convinced him that the only way to gain Paul's trust was to bring Emily out of her coma. He injected Emily with a drug, claiming to have discovered an interaction between his treatments and an herbal supplement Emily had been taking. Paul, planning to confront Mick, entered Emily's hospital room just as this was happening, but then left to find a doctor when Emily did immediately wake up. Alone with Emily, Mick was able to exercise a hypnotic hold over her just by speaking to her. He instructed her to declare her absolute trust in him. Paul was soon stunned to learn that Emily had invited Mick to live with them at Fairwinds, but he eventually agreed so as to please Emily. However, due to Emily's recent coma, Paul becomes reluctant to go forward with their plans to have a baby.
Alison continued to be disturbed by encounters with Mick. He claimed that he hadn't done anything to cause her to dream about him, but insisted that they had a connection which she could not deny. When she saw him later at the Lakeview, she left her own bridal shower to speak with him. She told him that she wanted to go through with her wedding to Casey, but he asked her to spend one night with him before deciding. She initially refused, but then did come to him at the church and they had sex. Alison immediately declared that it had been a mistake. When Barbara arrived soon after Alison left, Mick persuaded her that, despite having had sex with Alison, Barbara was the woman he wanted to be with.
Mick continued to manipulate Emily, going so far as to coerce her into agreeing that she would let him father her baby if Paul refused. Paul confronted Emily after learning that she had had her eggs harvested. Emily initially behaved as if her behavior had been totally reasonable, then became confused about some of the details Paul challenged her on, and eventually broke down, telling Paul she believed Mick was brainwashing her. Together, they laid a trap for Mick. Emily lured Mick to Fairwinds, where Paul attacked him, demanding answers. Barbara begged Paul to release him, revealing that she believed Mick to be James. Paul didn't believe them, and had Mick arrested for fraud and assault. He took a strand of Mick's hair for DNA testing. Alison learned what had happened and visited Mick at the police station, but he wouldn't open up to her. When the DNA results arrived, seemingly proving that Mick really is James Stenbeck, Paul still refused to believe them. While alone in an interrogation room, Mick seemed to argue with himself in two voices, with the Mick identity asking the James identity to free him to be with Alison, while the James identity told him he had no chance with her. Mick then overpowered his guard and convinced Alison to come with him to the church. There, Mick revealed his true identity. He was an orphan whom James Stenbeck took in, treating him like a son. In return, Mick would do various favors for James. Mick eventually began to question James' morality, at which point James began using the handheld strobe to force Mick to do as he wanted. James eventually brainwashed Mick into believing that he was James, so that he could carry out James' revenge on those he saw as his enemies, even after his own death. Mick's headaches and nosebleeds come when he fights against the James persona. Alison was sympathetic, but continued to insist that she wants to be with Casey, not him. Mick refused to agree to Alison's urgings that he seek professional help. When Paul arrived at the church with a gun, Alison lied that Mick had run off. They both left, and Mick was overcome by James' personality.
Things came to a head on Alison and Casey's wedding day, Valentine's Day 2010. Mick came to Alison in the church and held a gun on her. She agreed to meet him at the bell tower so they could run away, but she tipped off the police and Mick was arrested. Mick then overpowered his police escort and took his gun. He reentered the church and held the entire wedding hostage. Bob Hughes faked a heart attack, and Reid Oliver was able to use this to persuade Mick to let most of the wedding attendees go free; he kept Casey, Alison, Barbara, Paul, Emily, and Henry Coleman inside the church. Mick then revealed that he and Alison had slept together. Casey initially didn't believe him, but Alison confessed to him. Mick then directed Henry to tie Alison and Casey together in chairs and moved them into a side room. He returned in time to prevent the others from escaping. In the next room, Alison admitted everything to Casey, and they ultimately were able to work together to free themselves. Alison then offered herself to Mick, which caused Mick's identity to reassert itself. He took Alison's hand and they ran out the back together, followed by Casey. Margo Hughes then arrived, having discovered an underground passage into the church. Outside, Mick asked Alison to run away with him, just as Casey caught up with them. Alison stopped Mick from shooting Casey, and then Margo arrived as well, demanding Mick's surrender. Mick dropped his gun and jumped in front of an approaching truck. Mick was rushed to the hospital with internal injuries.
Mick's health remained precarious, and it was unclear if he would live. Unable to speak, Mick managed to express to Paul that he wanted him to pull the plug on his respirator, but Paul refused. Then, while Alison was present, Mick's heart stopped but then restarted while Alison cried and kissed his cheek. Mick regained full consciousness, and told Alison that he was now completely free of James' influence. He convinced Alison to take him up to the roof in his wheelchair, so he could experience the fresh air as a free man. Casey followed them and confronted them on the roof, threatening to push Mick off. Mick was able to fight Casey off and escaped back into the hospital, while Casey and Alison admitted that they still loved each other. Alison later found Mick alone in a stairwell and told him that she would speak up for him in the hopes that he would receive medical treatment instead of a prison term. She urged him to learn how to be Mick Dante again. A police officer then arrived to take Mick back into custody, leaving Alison in tears.
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