So the highlight of my week, and maybe for all of Days 2007, was Adrienne and Steve today (5/4).
It’s incredibly amusing, and so Days, to have an actress playing one role for a number of years, and then have her come back six weeks later in a completely different role, and not expect the audience to bat an eye. I have to wonder what the people who aren’t familiar with the Adrienne character must have thought. I saw one post that said, “Hey, look, it’s Bonnie Lockhart on Prozac and a bad wig!”
There was also some curiosity (okay, snark) about how quickly Adrienne was able to get to Salem. Adrienne is supposed to be living in Texas, last we heard, and she appears about five minutes after Kayla calls her. I was thinking that perhaps Adrienne would say, “Actually all I had to do was change my voice a little and put on some trashy clothes and no one recognized me! HA HA! Salemites are the stupidest people on earth!”
I heard that Judi Evans enjoyed playing Bonnie, and it must have been a nice change of pace to play the comic relief. She’s such a fantastic crier, and both Beth Raines on GL and Adrienne Johnson on Days (I never saw her as Paulina Cory on Another World, so I can’t comment there) were suffering heroines. The sweet sufferer is the hardest role to make rootable and sympathetic. Often they just come off as weak and pathetic. It’s terrible, but sometimes I just want to slap some of these characters (Belle last summer, for example) to get them to buck up a little.
Still, it must have been wonderful to be able to play against Stephen Nichols again, instead of Farah Fath (Mimi) or Brody Hutzler (Patrick). Both Judi and Stephen were fabulous today. I felt the connection between them as soon as Adrienne laid eyes on Steve. And seeing Steve “wake up” and start to connect to Adrienne, to see her hold him the way he held her after Duke raped her (intentional reference by the actors?), to see the joy and pain of their reunion … well, I haven’t been so moved by a scene on Days in a long, long time.
Also, the use of history was very good, and wonderfully specific. Adrienne showed Steve a bracelet which matched a necklace Steve had (both were gifts from Jo), which he gave to Kayla for Christmas in 1986. (Back then, seeing the bracelet was how Kayla figured out that Steve and Adrienne were brother and sister.) Adrienne told Steve the same story she told him then, to convince him that she really was his sister. The story involved him helping a pigeon with a broken wing, which was symbolic back then of the help he would soon give Adrienne.
They only made one error, which is that Duke never abused (not physically, anyway) Steve or Billy—only Jo, their mother. This is small but somewhat significant, because it’s crucial to Steve’s character that when he tried to kill Duke at age five, he was trying to protect his mother, not himself. Still, they got so much right, I will allow this one error. How great was it to see that bracelet again? What if after the necklace mention, they had cut to Kayla in the car and shown her holding it? Too cheesy?
I’m more and more convinced that the Dimera brainwashing specifically tried to wipe out Steve’s feelings for Kayla and Stephanie. This wouldn’t apply to Adrienne, and would explain why she was able to reach him. Once she reached him, realSteve’s feelings for Kayla (unkillable, of course, sigh) would bubble up for a moment—hence his statement “If there’s a Kayla, maybe I’m not one of them.”
I’m also going to beat the dead horse of my theory that this storyline was supposed to follow the Billie/Steve triangle without the intervening Steve/Kayla reunion. These are the reasons I came up with this theory to begin with: their reunion felt sudden, without much buildup. It followed so closely on the quarantine storyline that the pacing was strange (Thanks, esp, for this one). We were left with no real reason for Steve to have been with Billie all that time. A few hints were dropped that his interest was inexplicable to him (he said to Hope in quarantine: “I can’t get this Billie woman out of my head.”), but these weren’t followed up on.
Now I’d like to paint this scenario: After the quarantine storyline, there follows a period when Steve is with Billie but drawn to Kayla. He keeps recovering bits of memory, but doesn’t have the feelings to go with them. Then he starts having flashbacks of the torture and having episodes of violence. Billie is freaked out and can’t deal with it. She calls Kayla, who (being Kayla) tries to help. Kayla is the one who commits him to the hospital. In this way, Steve’s extreme anger at her at the police station and determined rejection of her afterward makes more sense, because he wasn’t in love with her five minutes before. He escapes from the hospital and goes to Billie, but she’s scared of him now. He tries to fool Kayla as we saw in the cabin, but that also makes more sense because he faked his feelings for her in quarantine too. (In fact, it would take care of almost all of the motivation problems that Steve has had for the last two months.) Other characters’ advice to Kayla that this isn’t Steve and she needs to give up would have even more weight, because she wouldn’t have been with him in 16 years.
Steve’s escape from the hospital to make sure Kayla is okay after the accident would have been extremely significant, because it would be the first sign since the quarantine that he feels anything for her. And the moment today when Adrienne is able to reach him, Kayla actually says, “He’s remembering her!” which would be more exciting if he hadn’t fully gotten his memory back. And when Steve says, “If there’s a Kayla, then maybe I’m not one of them,” it would have been a major, major breakthrough.